April 30, 2012

Awwww <3

See?

Our anniversary party is gonna be awesome. :o)

Posted at 12:39 pm in: Anniversary , Blake , Spring , Summer , Sunnyland
April 29, 2012

…A Retrospective…

Y’know…I’m not gonna name any names or be specific in this comment but a “retrospective” art show is not where an emerging artist puts up all of his or her previously unsold or unseen work. An “emerging” artist could be emerging for like, 10 years but unless their work has been seen and exhibited somewhere (and a website is debatable), it’s not a “retrospective”. A retrospective, and maybe this is just my own definition, I dunno, is when an established artist looks back at his or her oeuvre in a gallery setting (or a website because I still think websites are just as valid as galleries) and you can see the progression of their work throughout the years.

I won’t say what prompted the above paragraph because I don’t want to seem “catty” but I still wanted to put my opinion on the subject out there. Y’know, like, for the record.

Speaking of art, Gwenn Seemel, who I know I’ve posted about before, tweeted this vlog she posted a while back about the secret to being an artist. I thought her theory was pretty interesting and the fact that someone was THAT condescending to her is one of the very many reasons I don’t like leaving the house.

When I was at Steph the Geek’s wedding reception, lined up to get some food, there was this old guy in front of me who was really chatty. He asked what I did for a living and I said I was an artist. Or maybe I said I was a painter. I forget now how he phrased the question but after I answered him, he asked like, “what media?” or something like that and I was caught so off-guard because I don’t really HAVE a media or at least I didn’t really think I did at the time, I’d never given it much thought, so I answered “acrylic?” and he had nothing to say to that so he kinda just turned slowly back around and started talking to the person in front of him. It was really really weird. I felt like I gave the wrong answer, like was he offended that I didn’t say “oil?” Is there some kind of media snobbery I’m not aware of?

Anyway, the answer now would be “mixed media”, which is probably more confusing. He should have said like, “what do you paint?” and I guess I’d have an answer for that, I’d say “I paint pretty girls” – except I’m not really doing that anymore so I don’t think I’d really have an answer if someone asked. I don’t think most people know what to say when you tell them you’re an artist because it’s hard to define an artist’s success. Like, if you say you’re a computer engineer for Telus, people know right off the bat that you are employed, that you make a living doing what it is you do even if they don’t understand what you do and they can (more or less) gauge your level of intelligence based on your job title. With an artist, all of that information is open-ended and finding a successful artist, one who makes a living from their art, particularly a GOOD living, is a pretty rare thing. And it’s rude to ask anyone if they’re successful or not so people – I think, anyway – assume you’re not successful. Or that you make a meager living. No one wants to see the dreamers thrive. People want to rip off their wings and stomp them into the mud.

Unless you’re me. I’m very lucky in that I have this whole community of people who seem to want to see me succeed. I only really kinda figured this out today, but for every person who’s a dickweed to me in person, there are 10 people  (maybe more!) online who would love to have me over for tea. I need to remember that I think. I think I need to like, have that knowledge be active in my brain at all times.

I think that’s why Twitter is such a necessity for me leaving the house. If there’s an awkward situation or if I’m freaking out, I’ve got 140 characters to reach out to someone and that friends list is like, 150 people who are all mostly active, so someone will be around. And if not someone on my friends list then maybe one of the other 1200 people who have me on *their* friends list might have something important to say. You never know!  It’s just a good feeling knowing that all these people are out there and that, for the most part, they’re wishing me well. They’re on my side.

This week I’ve kinda been out of it. Just sort of in a daze. I’ve decided to start reading my Live Journal, which I’ve had for 11 years, from the very beginning for a possible project and mostly it’s been bumming me out. I see entries like this and I’m just like…what happened to me? I used to have it all together. I used to have all the answers (and I was right!) I used to be a functioning person. I used to be intelligent.

The psychiatric drugs I’m on make it very difficult to function. They make my memory practically evaporate, I simply can’t remember a damn thing and I feel like since I’ve been on them, my IQ has dropped at least 20 points. I actually feel dumber for having taken them. I need them because without them I’m a manic mess, not taking them isn’t an option, but I wish they didn’t affect my brain the way they do.

Like when I finish a book, I immediately forget everything I just read. I hate that about myself. My memory used to be so good and now it’s just crap and I seriously worry if I’m not looking at early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s that bad.

I don’t want to switch meds. I don’t want to go through all that again because that was hell and the ones I’m on now work.  I can trust them, which is a very big thing. I just wish there was a way to make my memory better. Does that ginko shit really work?

~*I’ll be honest, I actually started this post last night while I was working but work was so crazy that I didn’t have a chance to finish it so I’m picking it up this morning and unfortunately I feel like I’ve lost the flow. I’m sorry.*~

I wonder if this feeling of being dumber than I was 11 years ago has to do with not leaving the house or doing anything all that stimulating very often. I don’t know what would be “stimulating” though, like I don’t think going on a trip to a museum is the answer. I think I need day to day interactions with normal people which is the exact thing I’ve spent the last decade trying to avoid.

Right now I’m reading a book, which is actually a workbook technically, called Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel By Changing the Way You Think. It’s apparently THE workbook they use at the mental health centre I go to when they do group cognitive behavioural therapy classes (which I can’t do because Blake would have to take time off from work to get me there) and it could be the key to making me better. I think if I had some better thinking skills and maybe some better social skills, I’d feel more confident and going out wouldn’t be such a big deal.

Like I think back to when it was just Madison and I in the apartment in Uxbridge. I would leave the house every single day. I would put her in her stroller, we would go into my mom’s store, say “hi”, get her mail keys, walk up to the post office which was just as far away as the post office is here, check the mail, pick up any packages, cross the street with the stroller (which I would never do now for fear the the stroller or my bags breaking in the middle of the road – not that I have a stroller, but you know what I mean), go into Presents Presents Presents which is this AMAZING little gift shop that has the absolute best stuff ever in it (probably my favourite store) WITH THE STROLLER (it’s a very small store and you had to go up a little step to get in the door), look around, I would usually buy something small for Madison, not every day obviously because we were on welfare and I couldn’t afford that, but often, and I’d talk to the shop owner whose name I’m forgetting, then we would leave. Then I would go into the IGA (grocery store) 2 or 3 doors down and I would buy a basket’s worth of groceries because that’s how much I could carry on the back of the stroller, that’s how much I could afford, and I only had a bar fridge at home so it could only hold that many groceries in it at one time, then we would cross the road at the light, cross the other road at the other light and walk home. Then we’d go back up to our apartment, put the groceries away, and then we’d go back downstairs to my mom’s store to give her her mail and I’d hang out down there usually for most of the afternoon. In doing so, I would interact with my mom’s friends and customers the whole time.

This scenario would never in a million years happen today but I think of it often because I think that’s when I’ve been the happiest in my life. That needs to change. NOW needs to be the happiest in my life and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be. I have a bomb assed job with fantastic hours that leaves me lots of time every day to do anything I want to, I’m not rich but I have enough money to leave the house with, my kids are old enough that they can stay home by themselves and really, they’re not going to do anything too crazy in public to make me nervous, there’s no reason for that. They’re nice, polite and courteous kids. While I’m not in the best shape, I know that physically I can walk to the post office. I’m capable of it. I hate exercise and I was a sloth in my former life but I need to get back to how it was when I lived in Uxbridge and walked everywhere: them’s just the breaks, lady. Walking is just how it’s done. I know I’m capable of all this, it’s just that I feel like there’s a big rock in my head preventing me from doing it. Hopefully this book will help me move that rock out of the way so I can live again.

So if I’ve been quiet, that’s what I’ve been up to. I’m reading Mind Over Mood, The Blogess’ memoir which I forget the title of and my own Live Journal from the very beginning. This doesn’t leave much room for art, but that’s okay because I think I need to like, chill for a while when it comes to that. I think I need to “download” as much information and stimuli as possible, let it simmer in my brain for a while like brain stew and then I’m sure I’ll become a creative genius who leaves the house ALL THE TIME.

I am playing with a painting idea that’s of Blake. I see him in my mind with his crazy hair and he’s NAKED and jizzing RAINBOWS. But I haven’t thought of how the rest of the painting is going to be yet. It’s just an image in my mind that I think I need to make reality. I have a Post-It on my desk that says “MAKE BLAKE JIZZ RAINBOWS” which, if anything, I’m probably going to have framed because  I like it.

I want one of those portfolio things with a handle. Like this. I’ve been painting a lot on watercolour paper and I have nowhere to put any of it, so if I had one of those, I could put the paintings in there and slide that between my desk and the couch. I have no money whatsoever to put toward that purchase though because The Sketchbook Project for 3 people and then 2 premium Geocaching.com accounts tapped my ass out.

Speaking of geocaching…y’know, honestly, I’m not sure if I’m going to blog about geocaching because really, I don’t think it’s that interesting. It’s fun, it’s good exercise and it’s funny like, at the time, but in retrospect, when I try to write about it, none of it seems all that funny or interesting from an outside perspective.

I mean, last weekend we went after a big cache called “WONDERBALL” in Utopia that I’d found on Geocaching.com because I was curious to see what caches there were in Utopia since I think that’s where I’m going to launch our Canadian USB Travel Bug.

Y’know what? I’m not even going to write about it. I’ll just post the pictures. The video….well, it really sucks and I don’t want to edit it so I’m not going to. Long story short, we were in the FUCKING WOOD y’all, getting eaten alive by bugs and having to cross rivers on logs and shit because Blake sucks at trailblazing.  Also, we ran into two ladies on our way into the conservation area who were on mountain bikes and they asked if we were geoaching, to which Blake said “yes” and they gave us a huge hint into decoding Wonderball. Without that piece of information, we would have gotten there and we wouldn’t have been able to open the cache! Apparently to GET that piece of information, you’re supposed to e-mail a Central Ontario Ceocachers member before you go out and they’ll give it to you. We didn’t know that because apparently researching caches is for amateurs.

Anyway, here are the pics:

Pussy willows!

Me and Madison crossing the river.
(Pic by Alex)

WONDERBALL!!!!
You had to make the letters and numbers match up with a code word & then it would open.
It was a letterbox hybrid cache, not just a puzzle cache, so we all stamped our books the best we could with the Sharpie marker I’d brought (I’m going to start carrying around a stamp pad) and we were on our merry way.

Wes, rumpusing.

This one was called “Don’t Cut the Red Wire” and it was complicated.
I’m not totally sure what they did to get the co-ordinates to the final cache.

After that we were pretty tired out so we called it a day and we went to South St. Burger Co. for dinner and then we came home. As far as I’m aware, it was a good time had by all. (The pics would have been better except that I’d just thrown my camera in my bag without checking to see if the battery was okay. It wasn’t, it was dead. :o()

I think from now on though, we need to research caches better because we would have been completely fucked if we didn’t magically run into those ladies. I also think we need more practice with the GPS unit because Blake had us going through THE FUCKING WOODS, like, the undergrowth was so dense it was ridiculous and I have never been so glad for glasses in my life because we were getting hit in the face with branches and stuff.

Anyway, it was fun.

So yesterday while I was working, I suddenly craved sushi like crazy so I called Blake, who was at the mall in Newmarket getting Madison a strapless bra for her grad dress and shampoo & conditioner for us at Lush, where I knew there was this little sushi hut but he suggested he get it from this place in Barrie that Alex recommended. So that’s what he did. I told him I was okay with pretty much anything as long as it didn’t involve fish or fruit.

He brought me home some sort of cucumber rolls, which were okay and these AMAZING FUCKING YAM TEMPURA ROLLS that I’m absolutely dying for. They have YAMS which I don’t even know what that IS that are deep fried in tempura in the middle with seaweed crap and rice (obviously). They are DELICIOUS.

And the thing is, I realized, that I don’t have to eat a whole order of sushi in one sitting because it’s not like it’ll go bad super fast. And I can’t eat two orders of sushi all by myself anyway. So my plan for today is to eat more of that sushi (because Blake had to go to Barrie to get a part so he can fix the kitchen sink), watch last week’s episode of Mad Men that I feel asleep through, and then read more of my book. Then tonight during Game of Thrones and Mad Men, I think I might start my portrait of Blake. We’ll see what happens.

Okay, time to eat. I hope you’re having a wonderful day!

April 27, 2012

It’s Passport/CDN Immigration Day!

I need a passport to go to Squam so today is the day I’m going to get the pictures done and have the form signed by my guarantor. I haaaaate having my picture taken, especially since I can’t keep a straight face to save my life and you have to be straight-faced for passport photos…and my hair looks super crappy due to it all falling out when I was sick. At least I washed it today haha

Here’s me today, all done up (btw, I *love* this sweater):

Speaking of bad hair, Blake is obviously coming with me to do the passport thing but guess what else we’re doing? He’s applying for Canadian citizenship! When approved, that means he’ll be able to vote in the US *and* Canada! Cool, eh? EH?

Anyway, I just wanted to update with my goofy pics to get it out of my system. As you were.

April 25, 2012

Hot Yoga & New Tattoos

So I’m a really insecure, jealous person. Blake is the most important person in my world, the absolute most important thing and the idea of him not being with me or straying or me not having his full attention GUTS ME. Some Christians describe Hell as the “absence of God”, well I describe Hell as the “absence of Blake”. It’s probably completely unhealthy to be this enamored by, in love and completely obsessed with one person but I am and I make no apologies for it and that’s just the way it is.

And hot yoga has had me become a raging psychopath.

As I’ve mentioned before, Blake’s been depressed. He didn’t come back from our situation this summer a whole person so I told him he needed to go talk to someone about that. A professional. He needed to find the joy in life again. My surgeon suggested Moshka yoga to both of us at one point and then his new shrink suggested he do the same thing. Alone. By himself. Without me.

Moshka yoga is just your basic Hatha and Vinyasa yoga done in a 105 degree F room. It’s apparently a Canadian invention, which is no wonder because it’s so goddamn cold here for half the year, and it’s very hot and sweaty and steamy and you have to have a shower after you do it. And you have to do it without a shirt on if you’re a guy and like, a sports bra if you’re a girl. And this makes me crazy.

The mere idea of a glistening Blake in a hot, steamy room with all these in shape soccer moms and housewives who alllll tend to love his curls and who seem to hit on him all the time makes me fucking insane. The idea of him GETTING NAKED somewhere in public makes me really really uncomfortable.

I just picture the absolute worst case scenario, that he’ll find some hot housewife with an ass of steel and an athletic yoga body and they get all sweaty together at yoga and then they shower off together after she goes down on him in the locker room and this is my imagination gone mental and gone to that dark place I have deep in the middle of my brain.

I know I should trust him and I do, I just don’t trust THEM. And he’s so nice, I don’t know if I trust him to first, KNOW if someone’s being a cougar and secondly to nip in in the bud before it goes anywhere because let’s face it, that shit is flattering! And he’s going to get all in shape and that’s just going to make it that much worse. And he’s going to be all hot and in shape and I’m going to be his fat little ugly sidekick where people wonder what in the hell he’s doing with an ugly troll like me.

:o(

So all day Monday I was having a coronary over this pretty much and we decided that yesterday I would come with him to hot yoga to see what it was like because I was picturing this sleazy, sweaty meat market vibe but as it turns out, it’s not like that at all and I probably want to do it as soon as I’m able to. They let me peek in the window a couple of times so I could see what everyone was doing and since the lights are dimmed, I couldn’t see everything but I recognized all of the poses they were doing so I’m confident that I could do it. (If I could lay on my stomach.)

So I think I’m okay with it now and that as soon as I’m able to, I want to do it too. Blake would have to do it twice a week though because the one day is supposed to just be about him, it’s supposed to be a solo activity, the second class would be with me. And I don’t care how sweaty I get, there’s not a chance in hell I’m showering in a locker room.

Part of why I’m okay with him going to hot yoga is because yesterday he had his wedding ring tattooed to his finger. You can wear a ring during hot yoga (or any yoga really) so this fixes that scenario.

Here’s Blake getting his tattoo:

That’s it. Just a black band.

Since he was getting his tattoo, I decided to get a tattoo too but what I wanted was so small it almost wasn’t worth their minimum fee so I asked them if I could get TWO small ones for that price and they said no, but they would only charge me 1/2 price for the 2nd tattoo. That sounded good to me since I wouldn’t have the courage (or the money since I’d just gotten paid) to do this any time soon and the two tattoos I got, I’ve wanted for a really long time.

Here’s me getting both of them:

It’s a weird angle, but the one on the left is a black star.

The one on the left is how I sign my name and I wanted it done in “my” colours. I gave him my business card to colour match. I’ve wanted it on my writing hand ever since my 30th birthday but I never had the money or courage to get it done. I actually wanted it in the crook between my thumb and forefinger so it would be where I rest a pen, but I guess it would wear off really easily there so I decided to get it more in the center of my hand but still near where I originally wanted it.

The black star is to remind me of my roots. Black Star was the name of the very first chat room I ever went into (on Compuserve in Dec. 1997 when I got my first computer) and where I met my first internet friends who taught me how to basically use the internet and how to interact online. If it weren’t for Black Star, this site wouldn’t exist and I would probably be living a very different, very unhappy life. It was the people in that chat room who made being pregnant at 19 and scared out of my mind because I was in an abusive relationship with no one to talk to okay by throwing me a virtual baby shower with cake and balloons and presents. A friend I met in that room came to my apartment and brought me dinner from 5 hours away after Madison was born. She also helped me financially when I threw Rob out and we changed the locks on my apartment because I had no way to feed my kid without him. That room helped me pick up the pieces after that.

Eventually Compuserve dissolved Black Star so we all moved to the 18+ area, to a room called “Married & Flirting” which didn’t describe most of us so I’m not sure why we hijacked that room but we did and that’s how I met Chris, who was one of the best things to ever happen in my life and we remain friends to this day.

Anyway, Black Star is very special to me and I’ve wanted this tattoo for about 14 years so I went and finally got it.

I figure, I’m not going to have a bellybutton to pierce anymore, so I might as well acquire a few new tattoos.

And that was my yesterday. I’ll post about our geocaching adventure on Sunday another time. It was…an adventure.

April 22, 2012

Everyone’s Fucked And They Don’t Even Know.

That title is from a Mother Mother song called “The Stand”.

Anyway, I love “shuffle”, because that song was followed by Bob Marley and that was awesome because it’s Sunday and I love Bob Marley on sunny Sunday mornings. I realize that by the time you’re reading this it’s not going to be morning but for me, it’s only 12:40-ish as I’m writing this right now and that’s like morning for me because I pretty much got out of bed, made sure Madison was busy and didn’t need anything, realized Blake was at hot yoga and would be for like, another hour I think, the coast was clear to sneak a bowl before we go geocaching in the afternoon with Alex.

Ronny hurt his back a few days ago :o(. So he’s probably not coming but Alex said she would and that is awesome because trampsing through the bush with Alex today with the sun shining and the kids being excited to find “WONDERBALL” the awesomest cache I think near us that we’re going to have found so far  today is exactly what I want to do when I’m coming down from the giant bowl of whatever the fuck I smoked this morning was.  Does that make sense? I hope so because whatever the hell this is, it’s good stuff. You only need a tiny bit to get completely fucked up and the high lasts a long time. I have no idea how it was grown or created or whatever. I don’t watch Weeds anymore so I’m unclear as to where my pot came from, I’m not a weed nerd who knows like, every type of sativa silvanus whateverus was ever hydroponically created vs the natural shit coming out of places like Mexico where they grow it in fucking fields or something right?

Anyway, it was 4/20 2 days ago, we got some, it’s awesome. It’s awesome because you only have to smoke a tiny bit and everything is just great. I’m in a fantastic mood, I’m listening to good music, I’m warm in only a t-shirt, I’m sitting cross legged in my chair listening to Mother Mother again (“Ghosting” this time, excellent song). The furnace is on but it’s not annoying like I find it most of the time. The dogs are passed out somewhere, not needing attention. I have zero responsibility right now except to feed myself, but I will and when I do it’s going to be two Eggo waffles with a LOT of margarine and about a half a cup of real Maple Fucking Syrup.

Know why? Blake and the kids went to the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival on Saturday and  got us TWO giant bottles of Real Fucking Maple Syrup (which would be an awesome brand of maple syrup if a maple syrup farmer had the balls to print the labels LOL). One is considered “dark” maple syrup and one is considered “light” maple syrup and I think the difference is how long they “cook” it for because all maple syrup is, is boiled down tree sap right? At least that’s, I’m pretty positive, how my Aunt Betty and Uncle Bill always made it, I don’t remember them ever adding anything else to it, they’d just pour the sap into this big huge VAT type metal container that had a flame under it, like a fire, and that boiled the sap. I remember my Aunt Betty once boiling sap on the stove for like, “instant” maple syrup and I think that’s how Blake’s friend Charissa does it, I mean, tapping trees is easy if you have a lot of them.

I remember growing up in Stouffville, which was a pretty big town, like its down town core, when you’re like, I dunno, in grade 3. I think to Wes, Elmvale feels like a big place because it takes “so long” to walk anywhere and he hates having to walk home from school. I understand where he’s coming from because I used to think the same thing when I was in grade 3 and lived in Stouffville when it was small. Anyway I’m straying from my point; when I used to walk home from school when I lived in Stouffville in grade 3, there were people who were tapping trees in their front yards all throughout the neighbourhood we walked home from school through. We didn’t live in that neigbourhood, that’s just where I got babysat, but you would never see tapped maple trees in a front yard in most subdivisions anymore. I don’t even know what kind of trees they plant in the front yards of subdivisions anymore but it’s always just 1. And is it a maple tree? Probably not the right kind to make good maple syrup, if it is. Back when they were planning the neighbourhoods that were in Stouffville when I grew up, they planned the houses AROUND the trees so everyone would have nice big, mature maple trees, the good kind that our country up here had just EVERYWHERE naturally, I think anyway. And I think that’s awesome. It’s too bad subdivisions now, unless they’re really expensive, are clear cut and then replanted so people can’t enjoy them in their lifetimes. Again, unless you’re like, Oprah rich and can have full grown trees shipped in. (If you live in an area they can live in.)

Anyway, it would have probably have been beneficial for me to go to the Maple Syrup Festival with Blake and the kids but I had to work yesterday and I like to have some time to myself before starting my 9 hour shift. I know 9 hours is only 1 hour more than a “normal” workday but right now a “normal” workday, doing what I do, is really really hard (especially when you’re on the kind of drugs I’m on for my health issues). You are stuck in a chair all day, the e-mails come in faster than you can conceive of doing anything artistic so all you can do is maybe follow Twitter since it’s slow on a Saturday night most of the time, maybe follow a conversation on AIM on a Saturday night but the only two people I talk to on the weekends on AIM are work people and they have lives so they don’t always have the time to talk to me. Anyway, my job is like, high attention because certain things are big deals on weekends and I can’t slip up because a big slip up could cost our company a lot of money down the line and believe it or not, I take my job pretty damn seriously because I know what it feels like to not HAVE a job and being able to work from home and be with my family and stay ahead financially is a huge thing in this life, not just this economy where a lot of people don’t even have jobs, and being able to work on a schedule that’s really really good for me – that’s a blessing. So I take my job really seriously. Plus, I actually really like my bosses and I actually really care about the people I work with. It’s all good. :o)

Now Jay-Z is on. Now Beck. “Loser”, how appropriate for my current state of mind. Have you ever really listened to the words of this song? What was HE on when HE made this song or is this just a byproduct of $cientology?

It’s 1:19pm. “My time is a piece of wax, falling on a termite, who’s choking on the splinters”. Genius or insane? “Get crazy with the Cheez-Whiz”? I love it, I don’t know why I love it but I do. That’s the anthem of a generation, not “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

And while I’m harshing on the 90s, we watched SNL last night with Daniel Radcliffe and while I think he did a good job, for the most part SNL seems to be like…cool mostly for telling square 20-somethings what’s cool. Lana Del Rey? Um what was that obnoxious band I saw again on Ellen, oh yeah “Karmin”. omg what? They were terrible! I can’t even remember right now what other stuff I’ve seen on SNL recently because it’s mostly just mediocre (except for last night’s) with bits of Kristin Whig and Bill Hader thrown in. I don’t even know the names of anyone else on the show right now except for those two and Keenan Thompson who’s been on the show too long.  I realize all the sketches can’t be gems since they write these sketches, I think, in a very short period of time and ideas, solid ones, don’t just happen because they need to happen, that’s not how ideas work.

There was this cache I found on geocaching.com sort of near us, at least on the way to Barrie. It’s apparently a “book cache”, which isn’t an official category of cache as defined by the site, but I think it’s a good idea and I found a couple of books, including the How To Get Ideas book I was reading last week, that would be good for a kind of cache like that but the cache itself is apparently in bad condition if it’s even there at all at this point because now that everyone knows it’s ruined just by reading the comments, no one’s going to go out and look for it. Well, the way I see it is, it probably got ruined because of moisture because the comments say that the contents are moldy. Well, books + moisture = mold. So it could have been the container or it could have been that someone didn’t CLOSE the container properly. So I wonder what the container was and if it’s something that IS watertight, like an ammo box or something, and someone just didn’t close it properly, then I say we go out there and get a free ammo box so we can replace the cache and keep it as a book cache because Blake and I think that’s a good idea. The guy who placed it has placed a few caches in the area but hasn’t seemed to have maintained them, or an internet presence, in over a year. So who knows, maybe he got sick? Or maybe he died?

I LOVE METALLICA.

I think we’ll wait and talk to some of the pros at this big event in Midland in June to do anything about it to see what the actual protocol of doing something like that is (the cache is apparently exposed now due to logging in the area too, so the cache location may have to be moved). I don’t know the official channels on geocaching.com you have to go through to do something like this. It’s just a thought we had.

Wow, so this post was a little all over the place haha. To wrap up, because Wes is home and I still have to eat my waffles and it’s like, 1:40-ish and Blake should be home soon; weed is controversial, music is awesome, maple syrup is awesome and I know an awful lot about it so I hope by Blake and the kids going to the Maple Syrup Festival, they learned a little bit about maple syrup too. Alex is awesome. I am awesome. You are awesome. Have a fantastic Sunday. :o)

April 21, 2012

Yellow Submarine

I love the Beatles. I’m not totally familiar with every song they’ve ever done but I really really love the ones I know. I love how, if everything is totally fucked and you just don’t know what to do with your life, your day, your minute, you can turn on the Beatles and just be like, “well whatever, fuck it” and everything will just be absolutely okay.

Is that just me? The Beatles are like, the safest music choice in the world because everyone loves them and the ones who don’t love them are just fucking crazy anyway so fuck those people because you believe with all your heart that “all you need is love”.

And kids love the Beatles too so it’s like, totally a nice, safe, family friendly band but not in a lame way because John Lennon was and will forever be one of the World’s Most Awesome People. Just look at this quote my cousin Haylie posted on Facebook last night or this morning or whenever the hell I checked FB this morning was:

For those who can’t see my images at work because my site’s blocked due to ~*PORNO ADVERTISEMENT*~, this is the quote:

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

Feel free to pin that on your Pinterest inspiration boards!

Speaking of Pinterest, I read an article in Forbes this week that said Pinterest is worth $7.7 BILLION. That is fucking crazy. It’s such a simple idea and they have no REVENUE yet so how are they worth that much? Same with Twitter and Instagram. Why are these companies worth so much when they have no revenue? What is their value to investors? What are their investors paying for? I feel like I should know the answer to this, but I don’t. This is like, beyond my knowledge base.

Anyway, I’d link the Forbes article but I tweeted it a few days ago and now I can’t find the link. Google it, it was interesting!

After seeing how much Pinterest was worth and that how “the little guy” means nothing in comparison and therefore my copyright claims are a gnat on the ass of an Elephant I think it’s time to not give a fuck about copyright on the internet. This may seem like a big “no duh” thing for a lot of you reading this but it’s an epiphany I’m just having so ride it out with me.

By someone pinning my art on their Pinterest inspiration board or even their DIY board, all that’s giving me is traffic and, since I think my girls are recognizable, a bit of a name. I don’t think my work is easily FORGED which is different than “copied”. Sure someone could copy my concept and if they’re satisfied with their work in the end then what do I care? That person wasn’t going to buy one of my paintings anyway.Them doing that doesn’t take away my right to make my girls or my rights to my girls’ images or any of those things. And if that person ends up making paintings like my girls for a living, who cares? Do you know how many people there are in the world to buy paintings? Like, a lot. She’s still not infringing on any of my rights. Etc etc etc. See copying is okay. I don’t see any issue with that, all artists do it and anyone who creates anything is an artist. The “truly original” person is a fucking MYTH.

If someone was forging my paintings, that would actually be pretty cool because that would mean I’m successful enough that people would actually care to do that. And that level of infamy is rare. I mean, I’m a normal person. I don’t have a degree in art. Here are the “contemporary” artists that I know of off the top of my head:

– Damien Hirst
– Andy Warhol
– Jackson Pollock (because of the movie)
– Jean Michel Basquiat (because of the movie)
– Frida Khalo (because of the movie)
– Pablo Picasso (because he’s fucking Picasso)

I only know that these are “contemporary” artists because I read that on Wikipedia in the last 6 months. The only one of MY lifetime (so to speak) is Damien Hirst and he only became popular when I was in grade 9 but I’d never even heard of him before 2 months ago.

So that is my “art knowledge”  as a regular, every day person with only a grade 9 education and the ability to use the internet. I think that’s pretty typical, the only real difference is that most people wouldn’t know that any of these people were popular within the last 100 years. Most people have no idea that Michelangelo and Picasso were of totally different eras (and I’m not talking about you guys, I’m talking about the average person in my town who also doesn’t know what a “blog” is).

That’s SIX PEOPLE in the last HUNDRED YEARS who I KNOW OF who have made any kind of money making art for a living in their lifetimes. Again, do you know how many people there are in the WORLD? Like over 6 billion. Do you know how many of them make art? Like, tons. Yet in a hundred fucking years, I can only name 6 who didn’t starve as a result. Does that make me ignorant? Absolutely. But can you also see why people are so afraid to try and be an artist and live their passions? This is why there are all these workshops by Willowing and Suzi Blu and all the people in the book I’m reading that really boil down to the same mantra: you are an artist. Have no shame in that.

Blake calls me utilitarian. And I am. But he also gets upset with me because I can’t relax and just BE. I have to be doing something productive or I feel completely unsuccessful and then that makes me feel like shit. Selling a painting is the BEST feeling in the world for me. Selling a painting means that what I do with my time isn’t completely worthless. And that makes me feel good because I’m utilitarian.

Pre-going crazy, I had no trouble whatsoever calling myself an artist and using my imagination. Post-going nuts I became afraid of my imagination and also of what people thought of me and I had a hard time calling myself an artist because “artist” was a fancy way of saying “unemployed”. That’s where Suzi Blu came in. I saw her videos on YouTube, encouraging me to be silly and funny and weird and quirky and an ARTIST and that was exactly the encouragement I needed. I could trust my medication so that I didn’t need to be afraid of my imagination anymore and this confident woman with the less-than-perfect-teeth-but-still-beautiful was practically shrieking at me and thousands of others on YouTube that it was a-okay to call yourself an artist and yes, you can make a living from doing this. Suzi Blu practically invented the art of the online art workshop via Ning that so many other artists have copied in the last few years. If you want to make a living by being an artist, is the message from Suzi and the mixed media artists online like her, then be a teacher. because “slinging paintings” as Suzi called it one night in chat, is not the way to go about it. That route is HARD. You have to have gallery representation and you have to kiss a lot of ass.

Or do you…?

How has the internet changed that dynamic or how is it changing that dynamic? I have galleries on my site, right here, where you can see my entire oeuvre and I can guarantee that more people are looking at those than I would get at any gallery in Toronto so why would I bother with a gallery in Toronto, especially when they would take 50% of my money for that privilege? I mean, in the age of the internet, who’s really doing all the work here, the artist or the gallery? The artist, if they want to stay authentic (that means writing your own tweets and updating your own Facebook fan page – there’s no reason a gallery should be doing that).

#Hashtag Gallery, the brand new gallery I’ve been watching for the past couple of weeks, tweeted the other day something to the effect of, “which local artists would you like to see at #Hashtag Gallery?” and I said something like, “why would you want local artists when your gallery is named after a component of the internet? you have the whole internet!” To which they replied “good point” and rephrased the question. They’re super green, but they’re learning. I really wish they’d get a goddamn website up though; you’re named after a major component of internet life and you don’t even have a website? Come on, shit or get off the pot. I still maintain that if your gallery is getting more foot traffic than your website, you’re doing something wrong.

The Square Foot Show signups started yesterday. It’s $20 to enter and you can submit up to 3 pieces, each 12 inches by 12 inches, and they’ll put your work up at AWOL Gallery in Toronto along with 600 other artists. You have to get your signup in SOON because space is limited and this year is their 10th anniversary.

I don’t know whether or not I should do this because it’s $20 and I’m slowly but surely learning the value of a dollar. You have to proce your work for $255, which would be totally fine by me because that’s what I charge for a 12 x 12 inch painting anyway (with shipping), but the gallery takes 50% of your money if you sell anything so I can’t figure out what the point is to doing this. To get “exposure”? Again, I don’t need “exposure”. I have a website. 3,000 people per month come look at it. The Square Foot Show isn’t going to compete with that. It’s not like they show your name with your painting or anything, people buy it purely on whether they like how it looks or what it says. I kinda like that aspect of it, I just don’t like parting with 50% of my money when it’s going to cost me so much to be in it. ($20 to enter, $15 to park at the event, $10 in gas, a day to prepare to go, a night to actually go to the gala, $25 to have dinner out if just Blake and I go.)

So I dunno. My mom thinks I should do it. She thinks she might want to do it. I’ll do it if she does it, I guess, then we can all go to the gala together and that would be worth it for me, but I don’t think I’ll do it any other way. Another benefit of doing it is to put it on my resume because the more gallery showings you have on your resume, the better your chances of getting a grant are.

I got turned down, again, for the OAC grant this year, which is no surprise and I’m actually glad I didn’t get it because I’m not doing my girls anymore and that was my entire artist statement. And if you don’t do what is in your artist statement within a year of receiving the grant, you have to give the grant back. I would hate to have to do girls when I wouldn’t want to just to get some money. I mean, I would have done it because $5,000 is a lot of money, but I wouldn’t be very happy about it at all.

That’s why I don’t think I’ll be applying next year. We’ll see how things go when the time comes around to do it and where I am artistically, but I think I’m still trying to figure out who I am right now and what to paint as a result and I don’t think I’ll have that figured out until after Squam and after Squam is too late to make enough pieces to enter for grant purposes. But we’ll see how it goes.

Getting sick and almost dying really messed with my world views and I feel like I’m on really shaky ground right now because I don’t know for sure how I feel about certain things. When you realize just how short life really is (and how long and condensed at the same time), I think it’s natural to need a while to figure things out.

The last thing I have to talk about, because I have to start work in like, 42 minutes, is the fact that the kids and I signed up for The Sketchbook Project 2013 and I think that’s pretty awesome. I’ve decided to (really this time) not treat my art supplies as being “precious” and I’m going to give them access to everything I have for their sketchbooks just to see what they’ll come up with. I know Wes has big platypi plans for the cover of his sketchbook and he’s been practicing in his *other* sketchbook in the time between signing up until the books actually arrive, but Madison has been quiet about her plans. If she has any. *I* certainly do not have a plan for mine.

I sent in my Sketchbook Limited Edition sketchbook a couple of weeks ago. I think I did a fucking great job on it, considering what I’m going through artistically right now. I think you guys are gonna really like it when it’s digitized. :oD

Tomorrow we’re going geocaching I think, after Blake goes to hot yoga for the first time. He’s got all next week off of work and he plans on going to hot yoga every day since the membership was like “$X for unlimited classes for the 1st month”. He’s gonna get even hotter and sexier when he starts doing hot yoga and then I’m gonna look like a fat, old goat herder beside him. :o( He just gets sexier by the moment though, even preparing for his venture into hot yoga. I mean, check this out:

That is Blake at the grocery store with his stylish new headband for hot yoga for all the soccer moms to drool over. In the background is Shaun/Sean/Shawn, our favourite Foodland employee.

Anyway, I have a million personal e-mails to go through so I’d better get on that before I have to start working on work e-mails. I hope you all had a fantastic April 20th yesterday and an even better 21st!

PS. I wrote this in an e-mail to Charlie yesterday, what do you guys think?

Y’know. I kind of envy your career. Not like, what you actually *do* for a living but the pace, the responsibility, the ability to manage underlings, the travel…if I wasn’t married with kids, I would probably have a job like that. Advertising was a lot like that but with less travel and I really enjoyed that. I want “projects”, dammit. That’s kinda why I think I want to start doing small commissions.

I think I want to paint in as many styles as I’m capable of to see how I really make art because I’m honestly not sure how I make art. I don’t think I have a signature style or themes or anything. I guess I “sort of” did with my girls, but that was more a marketing thing than an art thing, I think. I’m not saying that they weren’t or aren’t art, I just mean that they’re more decoration than “art” art.

I just think maybe doing commissions would open me up a little bit. Blake says they’re a bad idea because I’m terrible at deadlines and I end up hating what I do in the end (not the product but the process) but I think I’ve kind of evolved a little bit since the last time I took on a commission type project and I see art differently than I used to. I don’t really see it as a “commission” but as a collaboration. Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol had students and assistants doing the grunt work *for them* and they both also took/take commissions. I bet there’s a ton more examples of famous painters taking commissions.

I also think it’s a good way to practice techniques without it being “work”. (Like Suzi Blu had us make a grid on a piece of paper and draw eyes in each square. I did this for 10 pages. That was WORK and very very boring. Totally effective in the end, but still work.)

So what do you think? Would YOU commission me?

April 20, 2012

Good Clean Fun

So I’m pretty sure I mentioned the whole geocaching thing, right? I’m gonna recap in case I didn’t:

Madison is a resource hog. She occupies 90% of our family time and prefers to think of herself as an only child most of the time. She is definitely her mother’s daughter in that she is an absolute attention whore. As a result, Wes doesn’t get as much of our time as we would like for him to have, Blake in particular.

Wes’ “thing” is video games. None of us are really hardcore gamers and I don’t play at all so we can’t really spend time with him doing that. His other “thing” is Pokemon, which none of us can really relate to and even that he’s slowly growing out of (thank god).

The other thing is that over the summer, while the kids were playing “grandparent bingo” and I was in the hospital, the kids got spoiled with food a lot we think and Wes’ weight shot up like a rocket. He was, as they say, a porker. He’s been doing Wii Fit and watching what he eats and he’s lost most of the weight he gained over the summer and since we wanted to encourage more of that and being active, Blake and he started going on “adventures” down the many trails near our house and in Barrie.

After a day of going down these trails and taking pictures and stuff, they came home and Blake said something like, “I wish these adventures could be more interactive” because Wes wasn’t as engaged as Blake would have liked. That’s when I said, “Um, why don’t you try geocaching?” and then Blake called me a genius, which I am, and that’s how they got started.

Blake just downloaded a GPS app for his phone and they’ve been using that on Saturdays while I’m working my long (9 hour) shift.

While it’s Blake and Wes’ “thing” to do together, Madison, at Wes’ request, has been invited to come along – at least to the local caches they’ve been doing. The original plan was that if Blake and Wes were going to be driving out of town to cache, Madison would stay home but now that we’ve made it a family thing, she and I are welcome to come and we’re going to do it on Sundays because that’s one of my days off.

Wait, before I go any further, I guess I should explain what geocaching IS for those who don’t know: Geocaching is when someone hides a “cache”, usually a camouflaged container of some sort, in public, usually in the woods or in nature, and you find it by using the GPS coordinates of the item. Inside the cache is always a logbook to sign your name (like a guestbook), sometimes a pencil to do so and the bigger caches (which are harder to hide) have items in them like dollar store toys, flashlights, coins, semi-precious gems (like amethyst or quartz) and stuff like that. When you find a cache that has stuff in it, you can swap items out that are equal or greater than the value of the item you are taking.

Some caches are really simple, like a small container hooked to the backside of a tree that only contains a logbook (although finding one of those micro caches in a pine tree can be pretty tricky, I’m told), some have really elaborate puzzles to get to them with codes and stuff and some of the caches themselves, like the containers, are really elaborate which I’ll show you next week because on Sunday we’re going after one called “Wonderball” that is just fucking amazingly well done.

More info can be found here.

Wes is having the time of his life with geocaching. He’s pretty much stopped talking about Pokemon and now all he talks about is geocaching (but we had some issues in the beginning with that, with him having to keep the locations of all the caches secret from his friends). Because he’s having so much fun with it and Madison and Blake are too, when I sold my painting “Sunny Rays” over the weekend, I used the funds to buy them a GPS unit and I took them out for dinner (just to McDonald’s, nothing fancy) after we were caching on Sunday. The reason I bought a stand-alone GPS unit is because using GPS on your phone drains the batteries like crazy (like, we’re talking in 2 hours kinda crazy and you don’t want to be stuck in the woods without a phone – none of us know how to make smoke signals!) and phone GPS isn’t precise enough to place caches, which is what *I* really want to do.

But before we place caches, we have to find a lot more to see how they’re done. I think Blake and the kids have found 23 caches and I’ve only found 3 because I just started on Sunday.

The other thing with geocaching you can do is TRACKABLES. These are items that have codes on them that you input into the Geocaching.com website and you can see how far they’ve traveled. These items are called Travel Bugs, Geocoins, or Geopatches. The geocaching bug has hit me HARD so I bought 4 trackables: a Travel Bug decal for our car, a Canadian Travel Bug that I haven’t activated yet, a trackable patch for my bag and one for Blake and the kids’ geocaching bag.

This is what the Travel Bug on our car looks like and this is what the Canadian one looks like (it’s like a dog tag, in fact you CAN get trackable dog tags!).

For the car one, if you see it “in the wild” you would either take a picture of it or write down the tracking number and when you got home, you would go to Geocaching.com and log that you saw it. Then your entry would be added to the Travel Bug’s log and it would be counted toward its mileage.  Same with the patches on our bags.

With dog tag Travel Bugs and Geocoins, they usually have a goal. Like, say the goal for the Travel Bug was to reach all 50 states. I would put it in my cache here in Ontario and with it, there would be a note that says what its goal is and probably a checkbox with all 50 states on it so when it reaches that state, the person can tick it off so there won’t be any duplicate trips. I’m honestly not too sure what happens when it reaches its final destination, like if it somehow finds its way back to the original cache or keeps traveling or what. I *think* it just keeps traveling.

Oh and usually a Travel Bug dog tag is attached to something else, like a stuffed animal or a keychain or something like that.

This is where you guys come in though: I’ve decided that I want my Canadian Travel Bug to start its journey in Utopia, Ontario (which is where I wish we could live) and have it travel to as many oddly named places as possible, such as Zephyr, Ontario; Snowball Corners, Ontario; Egypt, Ontario; Ragged Ass Road (I forget where that is but it’s in Canada somewhere, it’s also an album title but I forget which band); Moose Factory, Ontario; Kalamazoo, Militiagan; Hell, Militiagan etc etc etc. But the thing is, I don’t know the names of all the weird towns and places in North America, let alone the world and while I don’t need the names of ALL of them, I’d like to include a bunch of examples in my Travel Bug’s info sheet that goes with it. So! If any of you guys know of any strangely named places, PLEASE leave me a comment so I can include it!

And this is what we’re going to attach our Canadian Travel Bug to: A USB thingy! The idea was Blake’s and what people would do is that when they found the Travel Bug, they would upload their photo to the Travel Bug’s log on Geocaching.com but also to the USB thingy so the next person who finds it would see the photos on the USB thingy and  do the same.  Also we would put the instructions/info sheet ON the USB thingy as a .txt file (or maybe a PDF so they can’t edit it?) and that way the two parts would never get lost.

I think that is definitely going to be in the very first cache we hide, which we can now do since I bought the GPS device.

I have no idea how to actually do the geocaching though, like how to get the files to my phone and then how to open them and run them. So far Blake’s done all that. Adding to the confusion is how to work the GPS unit. We just got it yesterday and so far only Blake’s played with it so I’m not sure how it works. We also had to register it to a premium Geocaching.com account so we registered it to Blake’s since his is for him and Wes and this is really their activity. Madison has her own account and so do I, but only Blake and I have premium accounts.

Last Saturday there was a geocachers meeting at Steeler’s which is a restaurant in our town. Blake said there were a lot of people there, like maybe 40, and obviously he and the kids went. Then in June there’s another meeting for adults only in Barrie that Blake and I are going to (at another restaurant) and also in June, there’s a Spring Fling in Midland, about 20 mins North of us, and they’re expecting like, 700 people. We all plan to attend that one.

There are 2 caches that I know of within 5 minutes of our house. One is in Heritage Park (and I know approximately where it is) and one is in the park across the street from us but I have no idea where it is, I just know what it looks like because Blake told me.  My goal is to be able to find those 2 caches on my own, which will be a very layered experience:

– Wash hair.
– Get dressed.
– Locate socks.
– Figure out how to download the geocaching file to my phone.
– Put all my junk in my bag.
– Go outside.
Walk to the park.
– Figure out how to work the GPS.
Walk around like a lunatic following the arrow to the cache. 
– Find cache.
– Log cache.
Come home.

OH! And some caches are called “letterbox caches”  and they’re a whole other thing. In a letterbox cache, there’s a rubber stamp, usually hand-carved, and a marker, like a Crayola marker. You rub the marker onto the stamp and then you stamp your letterbox book. Think of it like an autograph book except for stamps from caches! How cool is THAT?

I found an old journal that I’d never use for actual journaling to use as my letterbox book for stamps. I may swap it out for a different one though because I don’t like that it has lines on it and I haven’t used it yet so there’s no issue in not using it and getting a different one.

I’m pretty sure that our first cache is going to be legendary! I want us to have a crazy container of some sort. I want us to have clues leading up to it, like a puzzle (Blake and Wes will be good at that part). I want it to be a letterbox hybrid and I’ll carve the stamp myself since I have stamp carving tools, I just have to get a lino block because I don’t think I have any kicking around anymore. The cache will be chock full of SWAG and finally, it will contain our Canadian USB Travel Bug.

I AM STOKED.

When I ordered the Travel Bugs and the patches, I also ordered a little capsule-like container to use to hide a small cache somewhere but I wanted a green one and since they only had black ones, the lady sent me a free mini capsule in the green so now we have TWO containers to use as mini and micro caches!  I have some teeny tiny little gemstones that I can use for the bigger of the two.

So that’s what us Crittendens have been up to.

Yesterday I walked to Heritage Park by myself and I stayed there for about 5 minutes. It was cold and I wore my Shape Ups shoes which was a terrible idea because my legs hurt by the time I got home but I survived and Blake got me an apple danish at the bakery for my efforts. It was delicious. Know why? Mennonites.

Oh wait, I lied. Blake starts “hot yoga” on Sunday and I signed me and the kids up for The Sketchbook Project 2013.

And that’s all I have to say.

April 18, 2012

Hole Reunites After 15 Years

This made me so happy, you have no idea.
Now if only we could get them to reunite FOR REAL.
As an aside, I would really like to see Patty’s documentary.

Posted at 9:19 pm in: documentaries , Movies , Music , the 90's , videos , youtube
April 17, 2012

Let’s Be Honest.

I don’t really know what to write except I feel like writing about agoraphobia because right now I’m doing anything to avoid completing my “agoraphobia sticks“. I have my Post-Its with my “”missions” on my desk, ready to go. Blake found me a jar and washed it out. On Sunday we walked to Charlie’s Bargains and bought more tongue depressors because I had more missions than sticks. I have everything I need. That is except for…courage.

I keep putting off doing the sticks because once I do the sticks, I’ll have to do them. And now that I’ve involved all of you (thanks for the addresses, keep ’em coming!), if I don’t do them, there will be disappointment. If I don’t get better there will be disappointment. I always get the sense that people think I should get over it already. “Why isn’t Sunny better? Why can’t she just go for a walk?” I wish I had an answer to those questions but all I really have is a long list of excuses.

Like today, I can’t go out today (despite having nothing better to do) because I already left the house today and I can’t do too many things in one day or I get really tired and unhappy. Plus it’s cold outside. I can’t go outside when it’s cold.

When we first moved here, on the first day of school, I took Wes and Hoover, who we’d just gotten the day before, and we met Madison after school because there was no bus that went past our house. And I had the worst panic attack I’ve ever had in my life. It was so bad that I called my mom because I thought I was having a stroke. Half my body went numb, including my tongue, I went blind in one eye and my chest was pounding out of my heart. I called Blake to come home and when he did, we went top the hospital where they ran all kinds of tests on me and deduced that I wasn’t having a stroke but that I’d had a really sever panic attack. That was the last time I tried picking Madison up from school and as a result, we had to find an alternative way for Madison to get to and from school because again, there was no bus.

Down the street lived (she may still live there, I have no idea) this woman named Lisa who had 2 kids who went to the same school, Justin and Alicia, and she was going to have Justin walk Madison home from school while Blake would drive her to school in the morning. This arrangement was fine, except that Lisa, more often than not, would pick the kids up from school and just drive them home. That was okay, but it was hard to explain to this extroverted woman why I didn’t leave the house. She didn’t understand but was nice enough to work with me anyway and in explaining to other people why I never left the house, she said to me that she told them that I “get cold” and changed the topic. I thought that was very interesting and very nice of her. She only lived about 6 houses up from us but she offered many times to drive me to and from my house to have coffee or for her to do my hair (she was a hair dresser and had a salon in her basement). I declined because we had nothing in common but I’ve found that her attitude toward me is the same as just about everyone I’ve met in this town. They don’t understand why I don’t leave the house, they just know that I don’t and they’ll work with me.

Another example is when Blake and the kids went to Militiagan for Uncle John’s funeral. The grocery store knows I don’t leave the house by myself and they said that if I needed anything to call them up and they would deliver it. They don’t deliver. This is not a service they offer. But Blake is so friendly to everyone and talks to everyone and we’re very good customers so they offered.

Another example is that the one time when I did leave the house, I decided the pharmacy would be my goal because if I freaked out, they would understand because they obviously fill my prescriptions so they probably have a really good idea as to what my deal is.

When I got there, the old many behind the counter made such a huge deal that I had come there and that I’d done it by myself that I’ve only been back a few times since, with Blake. He just freaked me out, like he told everyone in the store I was there and they all practically cheered. I know they were just being nice but that’s not what I need. That’s detrimental to the process.

I think I’m in a better place right now to deal with something like that and I don’t think it’ll happen again, but those are just examples of how supportive the community I live in is. These are just the kinds of people you encounter here, so what am I so afraid of?

I don’t know. My shrink asked me to try and put it into words a couple of years ago and I just couldn’t. I made a list of the things I was afraid of but she didn’t seem very impressed by it.

When I’m out in the world by myself, my mind races. It’s like it goes into overdrive and everything gets hyper-analyzed. When I’m out in the world with Blake, I kind of trust him to do that for me. Something I noticed on Sunday when we walked to Charlie’s Bargains is that when we crossed the street, I just walked right through the street without stopping because Blake didn’t stop. I didn’t even look to see if any cars were coming because I trusted Blake to check and stop if there were any cars coming but because he didn’t stop, I automatically assumed there were no cars and I just walked across the intersection without even thinking until after the fact. When we’re in public together, I’m barely even cognizant of the things around us, I have tunnel vision on Blake and I trust him to keep me out of danger and as long as I focus on him, I don’t hyper-analyze the things around me. This also means I miss a lot though, I think.

About a month ago we were in Michael’s and they have an aisle there that’s all cake baking and decorating stuff that I’d never been down. Since it was an artist date and the whole point was to expose myself to new parts of the store, I went down this aisle and I marveled at all the crazy things there are now to decorate cakes. Mid-aisle, I saw something very interesting and shouted loud enough for other people in the store to hear me, “HOLY FUCK, EDIBLE GLITTER!” Blake thought this was really funny buy I was actually kind of mortified and wanted to cry. When I’m out in public with him, I’m just absolutely oblivious to just about everything around me so without him, it’s like I’m a walking raw nerve. I have to be hyper aware in order to protect myself.

But protect myself from what? I live in the friendliest town in the world, what is there to be afraid of? What danger is there, really?

Well, the fact that I have virtually no social skills could be a bit of a problem. Like, I just don’t know how to interact with people. If someone was rude to me, I’d probably cry because I wouldn’t know what else to do. There’s a lady at the post office who’s really bitchy and unfriendly and I’m scared I’m going to run into her if I go there. She works there, it’s not like she’s just some lady. What if my stick says to buy stamps? The post office is hard because it’s a layered experience. First I have to walk there and that’s hard because A) I don’t walk anywhere and I’m pretty out of shape. The post office is about 1.5km from our house. B) I might encounter people on the way there. C) The mean mail lady might be working. D) I may encounter people at the post office. (Plus there’s the prepwork beforehand, such as getting dressed, washing my hair and generally looking presentable.) The way BACK from the post office isn’t so scary because A) I already achieved the goal of getting TO the post office so I won. B) If I can get TO the post office, I can get back. C) Pending nothing bad happened, I’ll be in a good mood and I’ll feel confident that I’d be able to deal with anyone I might encounter on the way home.

Actually, now that I think about it, all of the things on my “medium” list and above are layered that way.

So that’s the biggest thing I think: dealing with people or potentially dealing with people. I’m not afraid of places, I’m afraid of people. I don’t know why I’m afraid of people or what started it, but I am. I don’t know how to make things any easier. I firmly believe that the world would rather hug you than hurt you and I live in the kind of place I do so what is my problem? My do I let this irrational fear of people basically ruin my life?

I used to be so confident. I used to be so unafraid of anything, fierce even, a lioness. Now I’m a house mouse.

I don’t know how to fix this.

Quickly.

I just got back from Dr. Hanrahan’s office. My kidneys are doing better. My creatine (sp?) levels were 10 points lower than last time, so my low sodium, high water diet is working.

She squished my guts all around and she thinks the pseudocysts are shrinking on their own because my stomach is getting smaller and she’s better able to squish my guts into where they’re supposed to be.

She explained how they’re going to close me up but I didn’t really understand. She said something about a salad bowl and Saran Wrap and I was totally lost. I think she said like…y’know, I’m not even going to guess because I didn’t understand a word of what she said. All I know is that they’ll be using a “mesh” for “extra support”. I have no idea what that means.

Oprah yesterday was okay. I’m going to have to watch it on TV to really absorb it all. Oprah is exactly the same in person as she is on TV. Deepak Chopra is a terrible speaker and boring as hell. I didn’t listen to Iylana or the Bishop guy because I was literally falling asleep but Tony Robbins was okay. I’ll have to go through my notes and give a more detailed account some other time.

Oh, our seats were pretty lame. There were 8,500 people there and we were at the verrrrrry back. I was in an aisle seat so I could lean over and see the stage, but the people on it were like, half an inch tall. And the venue was flat, not a gradient, so we couldn’t see anything “live”, we watched it all on big screens.

It was definitely worth going though. We had a good time.

Now I think I’m going to go have a nap and when I wake up, I’ll work on my immersion therapy sticks.

Posted at 1:48 pm in: hernia , Kidneys , Oprah , pancreatitis , Spring

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