Before I write anything else, I want to share with you a statistic from the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) that I just saw on Facebook: 42% of Canadians are unsure whether they would socialize with a friend who has mental illness.
That just fucking kills me.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and today is Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk Day where they’ll donate 5 cents for every tweet or retweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk (or a photo that they posted on Facebook shared) toward mental health initiatives across Canada. I wasn’t sure if I was going to say anything about it because I feel like ME saying ANYTHING about mental illness is just beating a dead horse at this point but that statistic really bothers me. Maybe I haven’t said enough? Or am I just preaching to the choir?
I also saw a statistic today – from @Stats_Canada, a satirical Twitter account being serious for a moment – that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience some form of mental illness in their life. I’ve also known the American statistic that 1 in 4 people have some form of mental illness for a long time and I don’t think it’s changed so saying it’s the same for Canada, those 42% of Canadians who are unsure if they wanna be fraternizin’ with the crazies PROBABLY ALREADY FUCKING ARE OR THEY THEMSELVES *ARE* THE CRAZY PERSON AND DON’T EVEN KNOW IT YET. And I only even say “probably” because I suck at math, it’s probably certain fact. (I say I suck at math but honestly I could probably figure out what % of unsure Canadians are the 1 in 4 crazy person if I tried REALLY hard…it would take me a really long time, but I bet I could get there eventually. Anyway, who has time for that?)
My friends are probably half and half crazy people/neurotypical and we all get along so that’s really all I care about. I was super lucky that I live in an area with excellent mental health services that are completely free and accessible, that I have a supportive spouse with a job that has a drug plan and that my friends are who they are and definitely not part of that 42% who are unsure, nor the other % (again bein’ lazy at math AND Google, but hey, knock yourself out if it’s important to you) that said they would not socialize with a friend who has mental illness. Without all of the above, without the excellent support network I have in place, I would probably be dead with no word of a lie.
Ain’t that a happy thought?! This wasn’t supposed to be a bummer post, I swear! Well, I guess it sort of is. Depends on your perspective…
On Saturday I started 2 hours early and stopped 2 hours later than usual to help out a coworker who had plans, which meant I didn’t stop working until 2am and I personally think Saturday is the busiest goddamn day. If it isn’t it’s gotta be up there because I don’t stop once I’ve started. I only get up from my chair three times per shift so I can keep ahead of our dear and lovely customers whose e-mails are all equally valuable to us and keep on top of the other things my job includes. I have help for one hour so I can eat dinner with my family but even while I’m eating, I’m doing one-handed things for that hour and still only manage to eat half of whatever it is before it gets cold. This isn’t about how Saturdays suck though. This is about how Saturday really COULD HAVE sucked, but luckily the universe held off on fucking me over until Sunday morning.
Sunday morning I woke up before anyone with writing aspirations as Blake had shown me Microsoft Office 2013 Friday night – in particular OneNote – and Skydrive and I was suddenly crazy-inspired to start organizing and working on a story that I’d gotten 43,000 words into and sort of gave up on. Because as we know, that is what I do. That was all I could think about on Saturday while I worked, how to organize this beast of a thing in OneNote on Sunday and how much easier that could hypothetically make it to actually make progress on and how THAT is actually FUN because even if it amounts to NOTHING it feels productive and productivity is fun!
However the universe had other plans. My laptop screen was black and said “a disk error occurred. Press ctrl alt del to recovery”. For someone who uses the internet a lot, I am NOT a computer savvy person so I decided to wait until Blake woke up in case he knew some magic password that would make my computer happy and do what I needed it to do. In the meantime, I tweeted the error message to which the response from the Twitterverse was “uh oh” and @paladin677 said “best case scenario, just a few files needed to boot are corrupt. Worst case, the hard drive is corrupt and non-recoverable.” This made me very unhappy, but I’ve only seen a few things in my 12 years of knowing him that Blake couldn’t fix so I remained optimistic. Besides, I got through shitty Saturday and had Sunday and potentially Monday to come up with a solution because I didn’t have to work. Also, I do have a desktop on the same desk that has all my work bookmarks for situations like this, so if I had to I could use that, but a laptop for working and writing on – which was all mine was good for anyway – is really important to me so I was really hoping whatever the issue was would be fixable or we could get a new laptop as soon as humanly possible. (My birthday is coming up and stranger things have happened.)
Blake woke up and bravely pressed ctrl alt del and we watched the black screen as white letters scrolled past as it did…things…I don’t know/remember/care what things I think it was going through boot files? And then it got stuck and it stayed there and then it said it failed. Blake rubbed my back, gave me a hug and said, “is it okay if I take this in the other room?” which may SEEM like a total over exaggeration but he did and it was a fair question as I have a tendency to need to maintain order and ritual and can be particularly attached to certain things, especially things that I deem essential, so the fact that I wasn’t freaking out , despite the fact that I hadn’t backed up that machine in QUITE some time, was probably freaking him out a little.
Honestly though, that machine was ridiculously slow at performing even the most basic tasks so we had literally been talking about wiping it Sunday anyway and reinstalling Windows – except we were going to back shit up first. The only thing I could think of that I’d lose of any “value” that I didn’t already have backed up was my large collection of carefully curated animated gifs. I figured I’d live.
So he takes it in the other room and does more things and says he hopes it’s just the hard drive because he couldn’t read the one in my laptop or recover any of its data with his wizardry. We were going to go have coffee with Ronny and Alex in Barrie anyway so we just waited until it was time to do that and since we had gotten there a little early, we just stopped into Staples where Blake bought a new hard drive.
When we got back, he put the new drive in and the computer worked again. HOORAY! THE DAY IS SAVED! He installed Windows and we also installed every program I use for work and writing and we started transferring my “My Music” folder to the newly formatted laptop over the network which was going to take a really long time so in the meantime I started taking stock of what I’d really lost…and then I started freaking out because the Word document I use for work with all of my approved language that I’ve built up over the last 2 years that is essential to my job had NOT been backed up anywhere. I had e-mailed it to myself last January (because that’s backing things up, right?) but we’d had a million meetings since then and I’d added a ton of stuff. For some reason I’d thought I’d backed it up more recently than that…somewhere…but it could not be found so I had to e-mail my coworkers for help rebuilding mine, based on the one I’d e-mailed last year. That was the only super bad thing and again, I caught it Sunday night so I had all night Sunday and all day Monday to rebuild a new one to the best of my ability before needing it to start work this morning.
The good thing that happened is that I’ve rediscovered this writing project that I’d so given up on, I’d literally given Madison the raw material – because I know it from beginning to end and have it all written down – and told her to go nuts and write the rest. She never did and gave it all back and it’s sat on a bookshelf in my office – the hard copy, all my notes and drawings – ever since. The latest copy we found (because I hadn’t backed that up either) was 43,000 words and missing two chapters that the hard copy had so I’m going to have to retype those by hand but that’s still not a big deal because I’ve spent long enough time away from the story that I’m going to have to start reading it and fine tuning it from the very beginning with fresh eyes, which will be so much easier and fun with OneNote. And Blake set me up with Skydrive, which is a cloud type thing Microsoft offers so my Word documents will never NOT be backed up again and that’s pretty cool. Oh and the laptop runs a LOT faster now, so, bonus.
And that’s my serendipitous laptop story! Geez, last week I was using Excel, which I find confusing as fuck and this week I’m all OneNote and Skydrive. All these crazy technologies! (That have apparently existed for a long time…)
In other news, my depression seems to have lifted somewhat since I thought I was a danger to myself a couple of weeks ago. I see my shrink tomorrow to talk about it and I think I’m okay for right now but if she thinks I should up my anti-depressants then obviously I’ll do that. Honestly, and this is going to sound so so stupid and I cannot even believe I’m admitting to this “out loud”, one of the biggest things that’s been keeping me going is Doug Benson’s YouTube show Getting Doug With High. It started in October and it’s a 45 minute talk show that starts at 7:15pm EST (4:15pm PST) Wednesday nights and it stars Doug Benson, of Super High Me fame, who has on comedian guests and at 4:20pm PST, and for the next 45 mins, they all smoke weed and Doug asks them questions, like their “High History” where they talk about their experience with marijuana. I dunno, it’s just funny…mostly stupid, but also funny. Like, Sarah Silverman’s been on the show and Aubrey Plaza, for example. Most of them are people I’ve never heard of honestly, because I don’t really follow stand up comedy, but it’s just this dumb funny little internet show that I discovered by accident at the height of my depression and basically I watched a couple of episodes every day until I didn’t want to kill myself anymore! YAY! Now it’s the height of my week, as sad as that statement may be, but I watch the recorded show on Thursdays because I can’t get live YouTube on my TV and at that time usually Blake and I would be watching something together on the TV. So Thursdays are good because I only have to work 2 hours and there’s a new episode of Getting Doug. :o)
Speaking of weed, I just read this interesting article about the language of pot and how it’s going to change with the legalization and mainstreaming of it. The article says, “Domestic strains, at first top-end luxury items, gradually took over more of the national market, so that a kid buying on the street in New York would be just as likely to order by strain name as a medical client in Mendocino County, according to Travis Wendel, an ethnographer at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.” which I highlight because Blake says “most people smoke pot”, in that most people do not know the name of marijuana by strain, they just buy “pot”. I begged to differ said that the times have changed and that by now the average person, especially the average person BUYING pot, can name at least one strain of it because I can guarantee the guy they’re buying it off of didn’t just tell them it was “pot”, he gave them some crazy name whether it’s real or made up. That’s marketing. The average person may not have the connections to actually GET the strain(s) of pot they know of, but they know at least one. So tell me in the comments, whether you’re a pot smoker or not, can you name a strain without googling? How about two strains? Or maybe you don’t know any at all. Lemme know either way because I’m curious.
The other thing that’s kept me relatively sane the last couple of weeks is the recent discovery of Flynn’s Traditional Irish Pub in Penetanguishene. This place is special because there are SIX WHOLE THINGS on the menu that I would not only eat, but actually probably really like. What their website’s menu doesn’t have is their little sandwich things that I think they call “flying toasties” or something like that that are just a panini, really, but everything in the sandwich has flavour unlike practically every other sub place, deli or other restaurant I’ve ever been to. Their rye bread isn’t just the usual white rye bread, it’s marbled and herbed. Their havarti cheese isn’t just havarti cheese, there are flecks of things in it, which normally I’d be completely against but I was halfway through eating one before I noticed so whatever! The lettuce isn’t iceberg or even romaine, they use spring mix, which is exactly what I’d use at home. The mayo’s pretty standard and really so is the turkey, but the way it’s all put together is currently my favourite thing ever. Blake said the reuben was pretty good but he really really liked their french onion soup. We both want to try their prime rib but it’s $22 and we don’t have the cash right now. I’ve never actually had prime rib before but I really like roast beef and I really like steak and everyone tells me prime rib is somewhere between the two so I can’t see what I wouldn’t like about it. I’d rather go two times and have shepherd’s pie one time and potato and leek soup another time than go once and have something I’m not sure I’ll like, though, so prime rib will have to wait until there’s more money. Also that place is super busy on Friday nights. The first night we went there was a Friday night and they asked us if we had a reservation, which we didn’t because it’s a pub…in Penetang…never dreamed we’d need one…but then again, it’s a pub…in Penetang. It’s probably the fanciest place in town or at least the fanciest we’ve seen there so far.
The whole reason we even stumbled into Flynn’s was because the restaurant we discovered in Penetang in December (on the hunt for new food places), the Blue Sky Restaurant & Tavern, was closed until the 26th. My guess is that the owners went to Florida, but who knows? They don’t have a website but there is a google+ page where people have left good comments. No menu though, which is a shame because that’s the greatest part about Blue Sky. I have no idea of the history of Blue Sky, but here’s the history I’ve created in my mind: upper management dude in big corporation decides he’s unhappy with life so he’s going to pursue his two passions: cooking and nature, so he moves up North and opens a restaurant where he cooks whatever the fuck he wants to because he’s the boss and the portions are gonna be BIG, none of this bullshit, sissy crap you see at other restaurants; THERE WILL BE TO-GO CONTAINERS FOR ALL. Their menu is like one weird stream of conscious list of eclectically put together foods, none of which I can think of right now. Despite having this huge, crazy menu, there are really only three things on it that I’ve found that I like so far (with the possibility of a few more) and they do all three really well. The first is peameal and eggs. The mark of a good restaurant to me (well, that kind of restaurant) is how good their breakfast is. If their breakfast is good, the rest of their food probably is too. If it’s just so-so, as will be their food. If it sucks, well, why would you go back? This isn’t a concrete rule, it’s just something I’ve noticed over the years and Blue Sky’s breakfast is awesome. Blake loved it because they had actual corned-beef hash (which you don’t find around here a lot) and not only was it good but it was plentiful and I thought their peameal was excellent. Also I have a weird thing with eggs, some I like and some I don’t. They can all be prepared perfectly but depending on what the chicken was fed, the taste of the egg is going to change. Most restaurants use large, white, factory-farmed eggs, whereas at home I buy the omega-3 (also factory farmed – but fed better!) eggs and there is a definite taste and texture difference. That’s the egg spectrum for me. I don’t know where Blue Sky sources its eggs but they were pretty close to the omega-3 ones. If they got them from an actual farm in Penetang, it would not surprise me in the slightest. Their homefries were disappointing. They were basically boiled potatoes on a plate and not even ketchup could save them. Two outta three things o the plate ain’t bad though. The second thing I really like there but can only have very rarely sometimes because as far as my pancreas is concerned, I’m playing with fire, is their perogies. They’re like 7 or 8 potato and cheese perogies that I think they boil first, then they arrange them in a circle with one in the middle on a plate, pour shredded marble cheese on top of them, throw onions sauteed with chunks of bacon on top of THAT, then put it all under a broiler to melt the cheese and serve. How fucking evil is that? You definitely get an order of those to share with someone because they are deadly. And of course the third thing Blue Sky has, that they do better than any restaurant I’ve ever been in, is their clubhouse sandwich. I can eat in any restaurant that serves a traditional clubhouse sandwich. I don’t want any fancy chicken breast or garlic and lemon aioli (especially both on the same sandwich, gross), just the usual. If I know the people at the restaurant really well, I may ask them to substitute peameal for bacon because I think that’s better and when I was a teenager I used to hang out at this restaurant called the Fickle Pickle that had a chicken salad clubhouse that was pretty fucking awesome. Then the chef quit and they stopped serving it. ANYWAY, Blue Sky’s clubhouse is good because they give you all white turkey meat without even asking (it’s happened twice now so I don’t think it’s a coincidence) and it’s meat from an actual turkey as opposed to deli meat, they’re not afraid of mayo, it’s on every inner surface of bread and they’re not stingy with the tomatoes. In this case they use romaine lettuce which is actually what I would ideally want on a clubhouse (as opposed to the spring mix at Fynn’s I was raving about), but it’d be good even if it was iceberg.
So basically Penetanguishene, Ontario is magical because I can eat there! And actually LIKE what I’m eating and paying for and who I’m paying it to! Next on the list of magical Penetang restaurants to try is Phil’s Casual Dining because I’d really like to see just how casual it really is. With a name like that, there’s gotta be something pretty amazing on the menu. (That said, Double Happiness in next-door Midland, Ontario is the worst Chinese food I’ve ever had. More like Double Crappiness. The name sold me and I was completely deceived! Blake said he knew something was up when there were no actual Asians in the restaurant working or eating.)
Anyway, I’ve just spent way too long vomiting 3500 words at the screen instead of working on or organizing any real writing so I think I’d better go medicate so I can eat dinner when Blake gets home. Madison said she was going to make herself a grilled cheese and Wes said he was going to make himself soup. I’m going to show them both up completely by making the same for me and Blake using WHOLE GRAIN BREAD (the horror!), real havarti and marble cheeses (as opposed to Black Diamond processed cheese slices!) and I’m actually going to use a POT and nice bowls for our tomato soup (as opposed to dumping soup in a Tupperware container, adding water, vaguely stirring, microwave until lukewarm – this is how Wes makes soup). Now you may be thinking, “if she were a good mom, she’d make that for the whole family rather than letting her kids make their own crappy dinners,” and I would argue that I asked them what they wanted an hour ago and that is what they told me because they were too lazy to help me think of anything else for Blake to pick up on his way home for dinner that wasn’t take-out. When Madison (who is 15 and can make a hell of a lot better meals than this) said she’d make a grilled cheese, I even asked her if she’d show Wes how to make one for himself while she did it so he could make one right after her but he didn’t want to learn/didn’t want that and said he’d rather make himself soup. They both basically told me they’d make their own dinners so they wouldn’t have to stop what they were doing and think for ten minutes. They’re old enough to only be asked once and to make their own dinners sometimes, as garbage-esque as they may be.