June 7, 2013

Smurf off, eh?

Yesterday was hell. Pure and utter hell. I worked in the morning and everything was fine and after work, I went back to bed and got up at like, 10:30am or so. In pancreatic pain. I’d had some discomfort on Sunday or  Monday so Blake picked me up some hydromorph contin and I started a really bland diet. Not quite the liquids-only diet you’re supposed to go on during a pancreatic attack but I barely ate anything between then and today.

Anyway, I woke up in pain and stumbled into my office to sit down, check e-mail etc. and I was just in way too much pain to even do that, so I took a hydromorph, pancreatic enzymes just in case they might help (they don’t usually but they won’t hurt me so there’s no harm in trying), Tylenol 1, ibuprofen and Gravol (anti-nauseant, so I didn’t throw the pills back up). Then I grabbed a bottle of water out of the fridge and stumbled back to bed.

I laid there for about 25 minutes in excruciating pain, hot and cold and sweaty and just feeling like I was dragged through an asshole backwards, when I had to get up to puke. Moving is the worst when I’m having an attack, just turning over in bed makes me want to die, like I can feel my guts touching my pancreas and it fucking hurts just having one organ slide against the other. I have no idea what organs are near what, all I know is that when my guts shift when I turn over in bed during an attack the pain is a million times worse than having a baby.

So I get up to puke and I’m hugging the bowl partially feeling like I have to puke and partially hoping I puke because maybe it’ll make me feel better (it won’t) but at the same time, I’m worried if my pills had enough time to do their thing before I barf them up.

Well, there were no pills in my vomit so that was good, but I puked so hard that I peed my pants. (TMI? TFB.) So I started crying and when I was finally done barfing, I rinsed my mouth and went back to the bedroom to put a new pair of underbums on. I didn’t bother with pants because I knew that next time I puked, it would just be the same scenario unless I was COMPLETELY empty beforehand which just isn’t possible because when you have to puke, you just have to puke. This peeing while puking thing is relatively new, it just started happening after I got home from the hospital last year. It’s just that while having a pancreatic attack, I vomit with such force that I can’t help it.  When I’m sick, like with a stomach flu or whatever, it doesn’t happen. Just during pancreatic attacks. I dunno why.

Without going into more detail than I need to because it’s really just more of the same, I spent all of yesterday in bed, only coming out of my room to throw up. I don’t remember Blake coming home. I remember at some point he got me a glass of ice water and my night time pills (and Gravol so I didn’t throw them up). I think that was around 7pm. Then I laid in bed some more and slept a bit, then I got up I think around 11pm because I finally felt sort of better and so I sat in my office and checked e-mail while Blake got ready for bed.

I woke up this morning still in pain, but nowhere near as bad as yesterday. And really, this attack was not as bad as any of the others so that’s encouraging I guess. The only thing I can point to as far as a cause is that on Tuesday, we had macaroni and cheese for dinner (like, baked macaroni and cheese with real cheese and milk, NOT Kraft Dinner) which I had leftovers from on Wednesday for dinner. This never used to be a trigger food but it’s been a possible factor for the last 2 attacks and this time I was really careful; I took 3 pancreatic enzymes each night. During the 2 attacks prior to yesterday, I did not take enzymes before/after the mac & cheese so this could be why those attacks were worse than this one. The other thing I’m thinking is that traditionally, Blake’s bought medium cheddar to make it and I asked him to start using old cheddar instead because I thought that’s what my mom and gr. grama used. And then mac & cheese becomes a trigger food.

SO, I’m gonna bite the bullet and try macaroni and cheese again maybe next week or the week after using medium cheddar, with enzymes, and see what happens. After an attack, I have to rest my pancreas as much as possible, hence the 2 week window. Macaroni and cheese being a trigger food is NOT COOL AT ALL. It is one of the only food that, up until now, I’m almost always in the mood for. I rarely get sick of it and when i can’t think of anything to eat, that’s my go-to staple. So it’s really going to suck if I can’t eat it anymore. :o/ Not like my fat ass needs it but, y’know…

Speaking of my fat ass, check out this slip that Blake bought me the other night. How gorgeous is that? I ordered the pink one so it would go with this sweater in the winter and I dunno what yet in the summer:

Unfortunately I’m not built like the model on the Free People site so wearing it as is, over top of anything bodycon or skin tight is sort of out of the question. I’m definitely going to have to try and find a white or pink skirt or something to wear underneath it, even with that sweater because the sweater doesn’t cover my bum. Unfortunately everything I own that would work for that purpose is black and that piece is too delicate for black. It needs white. I dunno, I’ll find something. There’s an ivory mini dress that would work on my Free People wishlist if anyone felt so inclined…. I wish I could get the slip in blue too, because this piece is literally my favourite of all their new stuff and blue’s more versatile but I went for the pink first because I suspected that it would sell out of my size first. I ordered a medium so neither colour has run out of my size yet, but the large in pink has sold out already so I suspect the medium’s not far away.

Anyway, I love it. :o)

On Wednesday we went to see my grama with the kids. She looked okay, better since the chemo is out of her system now. More alert, more “up”. I’m not sure how that is compared to her every day but she seemed to have enjoyed the visit and when we said we were going to leave because we had to have dinner and stuff, my grama said she’d pay for dinner and that we could eat there and take the leftovers home, so Stouffville Pizza was called and pizza was had.

At one point, my grama pulled me into her bedroom and handed me a basket of rubber smurfs and I said, “I can have these?” because I had told my mom a while back that if I had my pick of anything of my grama’s to have, it would be those and she said “just one” so this is the one I picked:

Meet painkiller addicted junkie artist smurf.

She also gave me a full-sized plush smurf, which honestly I had no interest in but she wanted me to have it so I took it anyway. I wanted the little rubber ones like the one above because when I was little, she collected them and they were my favourite thing to play with at her house, where I spent a lot of time. Smurfs were also our family’s mascot for the smash-up derby in Minden at Thanksgiving when I was little and we used to enter. There were usually smurfs painted on the car or a stuffed smurf crazy glued to the roof of it. I think I’ve already written about my grama and I going to Minden for Thanksgiving every year when I was tiny until I was about 13, but for those who don’t know, my grama’s next-door-neighbour and friend was Mike Baker, the son of Wes Baker, my son’s namesake. He bought property up north in a town called Minden and started building a house there by hand and every Thanksgiving weekend, on the Saturday, Minden has a smash-up derby. And as long as I can remember until I was maybe 12 or 13, Mike and our family would enter a car in the derby and I’m not sure if we usually won or not but I think we did. All I know is that in October in Minden in 1984 was VERY VERY cold. Now, thanks to global warming, it’s not so bad (and I’m so sure smash-up derbies are great for the environment!)

I remember being like, 3 years old and sitting in the backseat of my grama’s car in a full snowsuit in between heats, freezing my ass off while it lightly snowed. My grama had brought hot chocolate in a thermos and I remember being very very happy. Thanksgiving in Minden used to be the best holiday. My cousin Jeff who was maybe 2 or 3 years older than me I think came up with his mom, Eunice, and often his sister Janet, who would sometimes bring a friend or two as well. I think there were other kids there too but I don’t know who. Janet died the summer I was sick. I don’t know how she died, I just know that while I was in the hospital dying, so was she and obviously I’m here to tell about it and she’s not. Eunice used to babysit me so I was really close with Jeff and Janet when I was little.

During the first few years of going to Minden for Thanksgiving I think Mike only had a basement. I’m not even sure there was running water. Instead of getting turkey, we would have fried chicken, that I want to say was Dixie Lee, but I forget now. Eventually there was a whole house built, including a kitchen, so we’d have chicken on the Saturday, derby day, and my grama would make a turkey on the Sunday and then we’d come home Monday. Jeff and I would play our Gameboys together and all of us would go for walks in the bush. Once we dug up an oak tree and transplanted it to my grama’s house…which is now someone else’s house. :o/

For the derby, we would only enter one car but we’d have multiple drivers for the various heats. Mike drove; I remember my Uncle Bill driving, his son Billy eventually and also my Aunt Sandra’s husband John drove a couple of times. I think there were other people too but no one I really knew. Eunice may have even driven in it at one point, they had a “powder puff” heat just for the ladies (ugh) so she might have. I’m pretty sure my grama never did. I have no idea what my grampa was doing for all of those Thanksgivings because I don’t remember him being there. (He may have gone to my Aunt Judy’s  for T-giving because she did T-giving at her house up until my cousin Kim died.)

Anyway, I’m not sure how it got started, I should have asked her, but I think I remember my grampa getting her the small rubber smurfs that I used to play with when I was a kid, like the one above. I don’t know how they came packaged or if they came packaged at all. I’ve never seen any “out in the wild”, so to speak. Since I only got to pick one out of the two dozen she had, I thought that one was the most fitting for me. I played with junkie artist smurf the most when I was little. He was always married to Smurfette. (My grama never had a real Smurfette though. The one she had was a knock-off with green skin.) I didn’t marry a dude with green skin, but he does have a lot of tattoos and I did become an artist when I grew up, so that’s why I picked junkie artist smurf.

And I suppose this is a good segue into the next topic…the stupid Artist Studio Tour this fall.

We have decided to take moving off the table for now and work on getting our house ready to sell next spring. There aren’t any houses we like right now in the area where we’re looking and the idea of having our house on the market freaks me right the fuck out. Everything about moving freaks me right the fuck out. The good news is that the real estate agent who came to look at our house, said we could sell it for like, SIGNIFICANTLY more than we bought it for, especially after we do everything on the list, primarily re-doing the bathroom (re-drywalling one wall, installing a shower insert and fixing the plumbing behind the tub faucets because they leak), painting part of the one of the living room walls where it’s bare wood due to us putting in the new window, painting the trim of the house and potentially taking down the shutters on the front of the living room window and putting up ones that fit better because the shutters that are there now were put there for the floor-to-ceiling window that used to be there, but we replaced it with a waist-high bay window after Lucky broke the big one. The other thing is that we re-did our mortgage a couple of weeks ago and the bank manager lady said we’re eligible for a mortgage 3 times the size of the one we have now. Not that we’d buy a house that expensive but it’s nice to know that we can afford a century home with a bit of borrowing cushioning on top for added peace of mind.

So. That means we’re going to be living here in September. When the tour is. And I got the e-mail this week from Mike saying “hey guys, our meeting’s next week!” and I reeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaalllly don’t want to go. I don’t want to go because we decided during the last meeting that June 30th was the deadline to decide if you’re going to be in the tour or not and I’m sure that’ll be reiterated during the meeting. And the fact is, I don’t think I have $75 between then and now. I’ve been trying to be super good with paying down my credit card, which has me living on abou $50 per paycheque. This paycheque was only $45. And that’s the pits. I mean, the good news is that I don’t really like, NEED anything. The spending money I keep in my bank account after paying my credit card isn’t allotted to anything and it gets primarily spent on food. I suppose it wouldn’t be completely irresponsible to spend $75 on the tour since I’ll have gotten 3 paycheques this month so I guess I have a little more money to work with.

But still that’s $75 I highly doubt I’ll make back. Plus what I’m going to have to spend on business cards.

Speaking of business cards, as an aside, when I went to see my shrink last Thursday, Sue, the receptionist, for the second time, told me that my painting that I gave to my shrink and put in Touched By Fire this year that is on display at the mental health centre gets a lot of compliments and that people inquire about buying it all the time. And she asked me if I had any business cards that she could pass along when people comment on it. And I kinda hated that because I like to keep my shrink life and my internet life COMPLETELY separate. My shrink has next to zero idea of anything I do online. She knows I blog, but like, I don’t even think my shrink is on Facebook. She’s not very tech savvy, so the topic has never really come up in the 7 years I’ve been seeing her.

Well, my business cards are like ATCs (artist trading cards). On the front is a picture of a painted girl – several different styles because I use Moo and you can get as many designs on a pack of Moo cards as you want – and on the back is the URL to my Etsy shop, the URL to my main site and I think my e-mail address. I have both full-sized Moo cards and the mini ones, although I haven’t bought business cards in at least 5 years so I only had one full-sized business card, which I gave Sue, and about 5 or 6 mini cards.

I also felt compelled to tell Sue that the paintings take me about 2 or 3 weeks to make and because they’re so labour intensive, they’re kind of expensive. A lot of the people who go  to the mental health centre I do are on disability or Canada pension – fixed incomes – and I kinda wanted to give Sue a heads up because I don’t think the average clientele there can afford my paintings. If I wasn’t making them, I couldn’t afford them either. Hell, hardly any of the people who come to my site can seem to afford them either. I don’t think my prices are unreasonable, not for original paintings, as opposed to prints, because y’know, I’d love to make more than $2 an hour, but they are how much they are because my time, my ideas, my efforts are marketable commodities. I just suck at actually marketing them. (Truthfully I put zero effort into it though outside of my own site so that’s partially my own fault.)

So. Guild meeting on Wednesday and I pretty much have to make my decision to be in the tour or not by then. As far as anyone but Brian knows I’m in and I’ve said all along, I’m in, and now that we’re not moving I have less of an excuse to not do it.

I’m scared of being paired up with someone. I don’t have a public studio so I’ll be paired with someone who does. I’m really REALLY hoping I can display at the library because it’s only 2 minutes from our house and the kids can come in and out and Blake can come in and out and I can come in and out, but if I’m paired with someone out in the middle of nowhere, the kids can’t help and Blake will HAVE to stay with me the whole time. And I won’t be able to leave. If I get paired up with someone, they’re going to want to chat all day and chances are I’m not going to want to but I’ll feel obligated to because this person is opening their home to me to help me sell my work. And I don’t want to be rude, but that would cause me great anxiety. I hate the role of “guest”.

I’m scared of dealing with “the public”. I hate talking about 3 things: myself (go figure), sex (also go figure) and I hate talking about my work. People ask me questions all the time about my paintings and I have absolutely no idea what to tell them. Like, after Touched By Fire the lady who runs the organization behind it called me and asked if I had more work because there were a lot of people interested in it who were disappointed that the piece I put in the show this year wasn’t for sale. (Which was pretty stupid because all of my work is ON THEIR FUCKING SITE, supposedly “for sale” yet I’ve never been able to figure out how you actually buy anything on there and I’ve definitely never sold anything there.) So anyway, she calls me and asks me this and I give her the URL for my Etsy shop and then out of nowhere she asks, “what is your inspiration for these?” and I was completely dumbfounded because no one had ever asked me that before. My genius answer was “Toddlers & Tiaras“. Which is partially true. In the beginning, they just came out of my imagination, but then I started watching Toddlers & Tiaras and that show inspired me in 3 ways: 1. it made me come up with several dress styles, 2. it made me come up with several different hairstyles, hair colours and eye colours/eyeshadow colours and 3. the girls on that show is exactly whose bedroom walls I want to see my work on. Sadly, the show’s become pretty extreme in its views so I’ve stopped watching (and I watched half of an episode of Honey Boo Boo, which is also garbage) and my girls just come out of my imagination now, not really inspired by anything explainable. At least saying I was inspired by Toddlers & Tiaras has an quasi-interesting story behind it but telling someone that the scrapbooking aisles of Michael’s makes me damn near wet my pants is NOT what they want to hear. It’s the truth though! But it’s not one many can relate to so it’s a terrible answer for that question. I can’t even think of other potential things people might ask me because I’ve blocked past conversations out of my brain and thinking about it is practically panic-inducing. But I need to think about it, I need to be ready.  I need to have answers ready for questions like the inspiration one and other things they might ask. What would YOU ask an artist at a studio tour? Has there ever been anything you’ve ever wanted to ask me about my work but just never bothered? The more relevant questions you guys throw at me, the better prepared I think I’ll be. No rush though, the tour’s not until September.

I’m probably going to have to take the Saturday off of work. I work 9 hours on Saturdays. That’s a pretty huge chunk of change out of my paycheque that will not be replaced no matter how many paintings I sell (which I don’t anticipate to be many). If they do put me in the library though, I could be there from opening until I start work at 2pm and then Blake could stay there until it’s over at (I’m assuming because last year’s brochure doesn’t say when it starts or finishes) 6pm. Then I would be present all of Sunday.

Another bonus of being at the library is that I would be able to take credit cards there. I can have my laptop hooked up with my Etsy shop open and if people liked a piece but only had a credit card, they could purchase it on Etsy, minus the postage, and I could just give it to them. Anywhere else, I would have to be cash only. Cheques bounce and people are hard to find after something like this so those are completely out of the question. (How do I tell people I won’t accept a cheque?? Cuz, that’s like saying you don’t trust them, which is true, I don’t, but you don’t want them to think that…)

A snag with the library is that I may not be able to hang anything on the walls. Which would be problematic since everything I make is to be hung on a wall.

I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO THIS. *panic*

The other thing is being involved. I don’t like going to the guild meetings because it’s almost painful how it’s one step forward, two steps back. At the same time, not only do I have nothing to contribute but I’m glad I don’t have anything to contribute because then you’re on the hook for something and that is crazy panic-inducing.

My work is going to be on display at the township office for all of August and I’m going to have tour guides in my display. That’s what I’ve committed to and that’s all my mental health can allow me to commit to. Hopefully that’s enough.

In about half an hour, Blake and Madison (and Blake’s friend Charissa) will be starting the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. It starts at 7pm and ends at 7am and neither of them had a nap today. I told Blake that if he woke me up in the morning that I’d cut him, so he’s going to come home and sleep on the couch until I get up. I really wanted to go with them tonight to take pictures but I still feel like shit because of the whole pancreas deal, I’m on a crapload of hydromorph contin so I’m chemically dozy at the moment and probably couldn’t pull an all-nighter if I wanted to. Plus I work tomorrow and I figured I could sleep from 8am, when they would be getting home, until 2pm when I started work and would probably be okay until the end of my shift at 11pm but with this much morphine in my system and only 3 people on the team (the less people you have, the more time you have on the track and the less able I am to get home if necessary), I didn’t want to gamble on it. Also, it’s currently raining and is supposed to rain off & on all night. So yeah, I stayed home. However! If you would like to sponsor their poor soggy asses, you can click here to do so! I just reloaded the page and they have DOUBLED their donation goal since the other day when it was looking like they wouldn’t even meet it! Thanks, family and friends! Your donations mean a lot to us right now, especially since my grama’s really happy that we’re doing this (I say “we” like I’ve actually done anything other than trying to use social media to get donations. HINT HINT.)

Now I think I’m going to finally watch this TED Talk I’ve had open in another tab since 6am but never got a chance to watch until now. Then since all I’ve eaten and kept down in 3 days is a lone, single spring roll, I’m going to make a bagel sandwich for dinner, watch Magic Mike since Blake’s not here to make fun of me for watching it a second time (the 1st was in the theatre so it’s extra stupid), eat chips, read my book and go to bed.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Peace oot, homies!

PS. Mike, the guy who runs the artists’ guild, is a photographer who also does commercial fine art printing. I don’t have prices yet but he can take pics of my paintings that actually do them justice (in theory) and he can print giclees of them. Any size I want. So these are the questions:

- Most of my paintings are approx. 12 inches x 12 inches. How big should I offer the giclees?
- Open edition or limited edition?
- How much would you be willing to pay for a signed giclee print? Or would you be willing to buy one at all? If not, why not? (I ask because there are posters in my Zazzle shop that so far no one’s touched but a poster is a far cry from a signed, limited edition giclee.)
- Since each print would be too big to mail flat, I would have to use mailing tubes and those cost money. I haven’t priced them yet so I’m just guessing $4-$5 as a ballpark with double that for actual shipping costs. These costs are unavoidable so they obviously factor into the final price.
- Which current pieces of mine would you be interested in buying a print/prints from?

I just kinda want to get a feel for what people might want now that this is a possibility. I dunno if it’d even be worth it since I have no idea what he charges for taking pictures and like I said, no one’s bought the inexpensive posters from my Zazzle shop so I don’t even know if anyone would want these. I can tell you right now that a print would probably have to be about $40-$50 because I have to pay Mike to take proper pictures of them, whereas the posters, which are lesser quality obviously, are only around $20. The posters are nice though, I wouldn’t sell them if they were crappy, but a giclee is signed on archival fine art paper using archival dyes and is something you’d want to get framed, whereas with a $20 poster, it’s okay to just stick thumbtacks in the corners.

Anyway, lemme know your thoughts.

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