March 31, 2014

Monster Hospital

So I missed the Walking Dead finale last night because I was in the hospital. Don’t worry though, I watched it as soon as I woke up because hello, I have my priorities straight.

A few days after we got back from Florida, I noticed a weird red splotch on my left calf, just about maybe 3cm long and 2cm wide, and when I pushed on it, there was a hard lump underneath about the size of a ping pong ball (that’s a bit smaller than a golf ball right?) that sorta ached but the area around it was completely numb. I thought that was weird but figured it would go away on its own but yesterday when I was putting my shoes and socks on to go somewhere and had my pant leg up, I noticed it was still there and showed Blake. Then I started thinking, that’s weird right? That 11 days later it’s still there? What if it’s a blood clot?

Cue Dr. Google…okay so it may be a blood clot, I e-mailed Blake to call the doctor in the morning to make an appointment and then I posted on Facebook asking my friends if they’ve ever known anyone that has had one. I think I even said, “I’m trying not to freak out about it,” which was met with GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM THIS GIRL I KNOW HAD ONE AND DIED by 20 people, which was really only probably 8 but they were so persistent that it felt like 20. So I agreed that we’d call Telehealth Ontario, which is this hotline here that you call when you have medical questions and they tell you what to do. The phones are answered by registered nurses. I tell them my story, they say to get to an emergency room within 3-4 hours. So I was thinking, “great! We can watch the Walking Dead finale and go!” But Blake was like, nope, now. So he took Madison’s boyfriend home while I got ready and we went to the hospital.

The ER was dead and we were only there about an hour, but long story short, they sent me home with a requisition form for an ultrasound on my leg today. The doctor thinks I hurt myself, which I know I didn’t, so we’ll see what the ultrasound says.

I’m also really weak these days, which can be a symptom of a blood clot, but it could also be the fact that I’ve been subsisting on maximum 700-800 calories per day most days when the dietitian wants me eating 1450. Anyway, going to go have a nap and wait for the hospital to call.

Posted at 10:11 am in: Blake , Canada , Diet , Friends , Health , Hospital , Life , Spring , Sunnyland , TV , Walking Dead
March 25, 2014

What’s your damage, soldier?

Woke up this morning at 4:15am like I always do, got up and went to the bathroom without turning the light on and as soon as I start peeing, I start gagging. I grab the garbage can to my right – in the dark – and sat on the toilet barfing into this garbage can on my lap almost until it was time to start work at 5am. Then working from 5am-8am went like this: answer 5 e-mails, run to the bathroom to throw up or just dry heave for 5-15 mins, repeat.

Blake put me to bed at 8am and I woke up about an hour ago (11:30am-ish) with pain in my pancreas so this is the beginning of a pancreatic attack. I’ve taken hydromorph and now that I’m not working I can medicate with cannabis so if I can keep the nausea/vomiting and pain under control, usually things won’t escalate.

What did this? From what I can tell, because I now have to write down every single thing I eat, it was simple cheese sauce from a packet on broccoli last night. I eat frozen Green Giant broccoli and cheese sauce all the time with no issue but lately the texture of their sauce has kinda grossed me out, so I wanted (what I call) “real” cheese sauce on real broccoli. So that’s what Blake made me. And now I kinda wanna die a little.

But hopefully with the hydromorph and cannabis it won’t escalate further.

I was screwing around with polymer clay on the weekend because I have an idea for a big clay project and I wanted to make sure polymer clay was the way to go. I hadn’t used it since I was a kid and man, this stuff has gotten so much nicer in the last 25 years! I remember the old Fimo was SO HARD and you had to work it in for like a million hours until your hands cramped up to be able to work with it, then they introduced soft Fimo but it was more expensive and too rich for my 10 year old blood. Then I lost interest in it until Sunday when we went to Michael’s and I spent the gift card my mom got me on the colours of polymer clay I needed to make a couple of little guys, which we burnt because we screwed up the math and our oven runs hot :o/…

…that mouse was supposed to be elephant grey and baby pink. Anyway, making them was fun and I definitely want to proceed with the bigger project once I work out some of the logistics and play with the remaining clay to figure out how best to bake it in our wonky oven. I’m also going to invest in an oven thermometer at the suggestion of a bunch of my friends on Facebook, just to see how far off our oven is and how it cycles. My friend Mark – the one from the UK with the neat fish tanks, not the one who bought a forest in Nova Scotia – found this really good series of blog posts about baking polymer clay, so once I get my shit together and really get into this project, I’m definitely going to re-read those and maybe seek out more resources. The more info the better.

What I haven’t figured out yet is how to fund the bigger project. Polymer clay is pretty expensive and not really in my budget and I’m going to need a lot. I only bought this stuff to screw around with because my mom gave me a gift card for my birthday and there was nothing else at Michael’s that looked interesting. I didn’t know it would lead to IDEAS. If I’d have known that, I would have stuck to scrapbook paper! I still need to figure out if I’m capable of executing it with the oven we have anyway and I have so much on my plate at the moment that I just don’t even have the desk space right now to work on it so it’s a far ways off.

The gift card though, oy! We get to the cash register and she rings up our stuff, scans my coupon on my phone and swipes the gift card and it wouldn’t work. Long story short: The customer service lady worked for 20 mins to get the gift card to work in the machine and it wouldn’t, 1-800-MICHAELS is not open on Sundays for them to check the balance and when the lady peeled the sticker off the back to reveal the PIN # the paper came along with it, ruining the legibility of the numbers. Finally the lady just GUESSED the PIN # and it went through! The lady had never seen a cardboard gift card before and said she’d tell corporate that they suck. I was so so so fucking thankful that Blake was with me and handling the transaction because I was kinda freaking out. I knew worst case scenario was that I’d have to pay for my purchase, which I had enough money to do, and my mom and I could work it out. I figured she kept the receipt for the gift card because…that’s my mom…and I only spent as much as the gift card was for so somehow it would work out, but the fact that people kept trying to get in line behind us (we were at the customer service desk) and the lady kept having to tell them to go to another register was freaking me out and I wanted to melt into the floor. When she guessed the fucking PIN though and it went through, for a fraction of a second there I think I might have believed in God. At the very least either her karma was good or mine was or something. But nah, it was just a flukey “win”. And she was GREAT for persevering. That’s good customer service, that’s the kind of customer service we provide our customers at my work (which I happen to think is excellent on its own, but especially when compared to most other companies’ customer service). Michael’s had kinda been on my shit list after they sold me old varnish that fucked up a painting and the cover of a sketchbook (which the varnish manufacturer made good on, because DecoArt ALSO has excellent customer service) but I think we’re square for the time being.

Last week I bought myself flowers because they were just so beautiful they had to come home with me, and they’re still going strong. They’re Gerbera daisies, which are actually more related to sunflowers than daisies, according to Wikipedia:

Aren’t they crazy beautiful?
Isn’t my desk crazy messy?
I should just put all that paint away…I may just do that.

In discussing the first day of spring the other day, my friend Rugg reminded me that prior to me getting sick, he had helped me, for my birthday, turn my front yard into a wildflower garden and my back yard into a vegetable garden. This year he asked me if I wanted to plant and it had been something I’d been thinking about now that we’ve decided this is our forever home, but not very seriously because I just don’t have any money and Blake doesn’t care so it’s not like he’s going to give me any. We have decided that we’re not going to have a vegetable garden again because it’s too much work when the grocery store is down the street and sells fresh Ontario produce that’s pretty affordable, but Rugg bought me these hanging planters for tomatoes to grow upside-down, you’ve probably seen them on TV, the spring I got sick so we never really got to use them. I planted them and everything, but then I got sick and no one looked after them so they shrivelled up and died. They’re pretty neat though and you don’t have to weed them, so we figure we might as well. Fresh tomatoes warm from the sun on a PLT is one of life’s greatest joys, so I figure we should probably give it another shot, if only for that possibility. Other than that, all I know for sure is that I’ll be planting the usual cosmos and bachelor’s buttons out front – wait, back up…

…this spring, when the daffodils and hyacinths come up, I’m relocating all of them to the garden that’s in front of our front porch (where only hyacinths grow now, I think) and if there are too many to do that, then I’m just going to plant them randomly throughout the front yard because that’s where all of my little spring flower bulbs are. The reason I’m relocating them is because I want the garden beneath my living room window to be cleared out for peonies because after the daffodils and hyacinths die down in like, the end of April/beginning of May, I can’t get anything other than dandelions to grow there because it’s too shady, it’s right under a big maple tree. I haven’t actually researched whether or not peonies would work there, I just think they will because I’ve seen peonies growing in shade before so some varieties must be able to. If not, suggestions for something LIKE peonies would be welcome if anyone knows anything about gardening! (Keep in mind where I live though…)

Another idea I’ve been thinking about is turning the former vegetable garden in the back into another wildflower garden with more of an emphasis on butterflies and the possibility of a bird feeder in the middle. I want to get one like this, on a pole, but I’d need my mom and John’s help with the pole because I don’t even know where you would get one of those or how you would put it in the ground. All winter I’ve been buying suet balls and we’ve been tying them to the branches of the tree out front. We’ve had little chickadee guys, a woodpecker-looking guy who may or may not be an actual woodpecker because we’ve never actually seen him peck wood and a bunch of different types of black birds. The kids, and even Blake, have all liked watching the birds and I like watching them too if I’m in the kitchen or sitting on the rocking chair in the living room while I talk to Blake at his desk. I’m not sure we’d feed the birds in the summer, they eat the wildflower seeds anyway, but we’d like to feed them in the fall/winter/spring and you can really only give them suet balls in the winter because suet is animal fat so when it’s too warm, they fall apart. Just another idea.

Something else I know as a definite because Rugg and I have already discussed it is sunflowers. Lots and lots of sunflowers. And of course morning glories and moonflowers to grow up the stalks, among other places! Yeah, I have plans and ideas…I just have to get them all in one place and organized because some things will need to be ordered immediately, like peonies, and planted early inside, like tomatoes. Sooooooooo I’m gonna stop babbling and go do that. I also have to make sketches for the polymer clay project. Things they are-a-happenin’.

PS. Madison dyed her hair red yesterday after school…at school in the girl’s bathroom because she’s banned from using hair dye in our house since she bleaches or dyes everything in the bathroom and we just had it redone and we’re in the process of painting the whole room white. So she bought hair dye at lunch and started dying it in the bathroom at school and when she got to the rinsing part, she had her head under the sink, which she said was barely dripping water on her because they’re all water-saving faucets (haha), when a lady janitor came in and said, “oh you’ll never get it done that way” and lead Madison to a janitor’s closet down the hall where she could use a hose and wash the dye down a drain hole where it matters not if she gets dye anywhere. She’s overjoyed that she can now dye her hair again and I’m happy for her, but I REALLY wish she’d use gloves when she does. Right now she looks like she murdered someone…maybe she has…hmmm….

March 23, 2014

Greek Yogurt

…is surprisingly not as disgusting as regular yogurt, its texture is better AND the brand I bought happened to be the fruit-at-the-bottom kind, which is awesome, so I’m on board with this whole Greek yogurt thing…sort of. A serving of protein via Greek yogurt is 175g (3/4 cup) and the single-serve containers I bought are only 100g and there’s not a chance in hell I could eat two of them. I’m “on board” with Greek yogurt in that I now know I won’t die if I eat that specific type of it, but one of those little containers every couple of days is all I could handle of that (if that!) and next time I’m dumping out some of the yogurt and mixing the rest with the fruit-at-the-bottom because their ratio is a bit off.

Yep. Greek yogurt.

Posted at 10:46 am in: Diet , Food , gallbladder , Health , Life , Misc. , pancreatitis , Spring
March 21, 2014

Starbucks is Hell on Earth and I Would Literally Rather Be Anywhere Else

I’m sitting at a Starbucks because Blake assured me it “won’t be busy” and we haven’t found an alternative to Froth, in Penetang, which closes at 6pm and wouldn’t have given us enough time to work on anything between Blake getting off work, driving 40 minutes to get there and getting set up with drinks etc. So he suggested we come to this fresh Hell. I don’t drink coffee. Their frappuccinos make me sick. They don’t even have diet Coke OR Pepsi so I’m stuck drinking a Jones Soda root beer that I don’t even like. To my left are long lost friends of some sort, women, blah blah blah, to my right is a girl and a guy who are probably doing some sort of university work but we’re sharing a long table with them and they’ve made it very clear that they’d really rather we didn’t. I can’t even look in their direction, which means that I have no idea what’s happening in the other 2/3 of the building except that the staff sure do like to talk – and so they should, I’m not saying they shouldn’t. The soundtrack to Hell is muzak jazz, just so you know.

I’ve already had to pop olanzapine/zyprexa and two Ativan, the latter of which I’m going to have to take two four more to just be able to breathe and even still, if I don’t calm the fuck down and NOT cry, we are going to have to leave pretty much immediately and the sooner the better.

Blake’s writing a book so I’m trying to be a good sport about this with him. I guess I’m technically writing a book too, but in the way that I’m ALWAYS writing a book and it’s not even worth talking about. Blake will actually probably finish his. And actually he sabotaged me in Florida anyway by telling his Aunt Pat that I was working on one and then she asked me what it was about and if I wanted to talk about it I’d be talking about it and obviously I haven’t been – WITH ANYONE ON PURPOSE WHICH I’VE SAID IN THIS BLOG AT LEAST TWICE – so thanks a lot, FUCKER.

Whatever. Just whatever. He’s doing his writing thing and I’m trying to be supportive FOR RIGHT NOW but this little experiment was an epic failure an hour ago and there will not be a repeat.

Wednesday I went to see Stephanie, the dietitian. I told her about how I’ve lost 30 lbs in the last few months and just kind of explained to her my eating habits, the fact that I don’t usually eat every day or sometimes every two days and when I do it’s not usually very much. I told her that I’m primarily concerned with protein because I’ve been feeling weak and I’m scared my hair’s going to start falling out like it did before.

She said some surprising things. Like, she wanted me to switch from Diet Coke to regular Coke because I need the calories. That was not something I was willing to do and I still think that’s really shitty advice. She made me agree that Diet Coke would be the only diet product I consume. I think we use 1/2 the fat mayonnaise and I’m not going to stop using it and buy regular mayonnaise instead though because Wes uses it too and he definitely needs 1/2 the fat. She also said that my Diet Coke consumption was within the “safe” range for my age, height and weight. In fact, we guess that I drink between 6-10 cans of Diet Coke per day (it varies because every day is different and I open a lot that I don’t finish) and the “safe” limit for me is 17.

Then she got out a good ol’ Canada’s Food Guide and started telling me about protein and what counts as a serving of protein. Examples of one serving of protein are: 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt, 50g/1.5oz of cheese, 2.5 oz of meat, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1/4 cup of nuts. I’d never had Greek yogurt before but we got some on the way home. Strawberry. They said it had a different texture than regular yogurt and still recommended it knowing full well that I don’t even like regular yogurt to begin with. I got a pack of 4 single-serve portions of the stuff just in case I don’t like it, which I’m well prepared for. Ditsy says it’s palatable with chopped up fruit in it, sprinkled with brown sugar and I happen to have strawberries so that’s probably what I’ll do.

Anyway, the goal for right now is to eat 2 servings of protein per day. I made it yesterday because I got shepherd’s pie from Flynn’s and had two cheese strings before that but today has been less successful with only one egg and 21g of cheese. Maybe after we’re done in this terrible, awful place that more and more people keep coming to, we can go to the big grocery store in this plaza to see if I can find products like the ones I was finding in the US and maybe then on the way home we can get burgers from South St. Burger Co.

And friends just bumped into the girl to my right. I really hope they’re not staying.

The only thing I guess I really have left to say is that the dietitian calculated that I should be striving to eat 1450 calories per day to maintain my weight. I’d say right now, 500 is a good day.

And now we need to leave.

What Us Canadians Did on Our Holiday to the US of A

So I guess the last thing I posted while in Florida was when Noelle woke up. Well, we got in the car and we followed her to this town that I forget the name of, to go to this place I forget the name of (but it had VALET PARKING, ooh la la) where we sat on picnic tables with umbrellas on the beach and we ate and just talked to Noelle for about an hour. I’m not sure what everyone else had. I had a clubhouse, which I only had 1/4 of because they used some kind of funky processed turkey and Noelle had coconut shrimp. Madison probably had some kind of veggie burger, Wes probably had the clubhouse too and I’m sure Blake had a cheeseburger. The menu was really limited, which seemed to be the case for all of these beach-side kind of shanty restaurants. The bathrooms were sorta cool though, I wonder what the men’s bathroom walls said?

This was only the second time I was meeting Noelle. The first time I think was the spring after Wes was born and I think I stayed in the bedroom making art almost the whole time she was there so her and Blake could catch up. They’ve been really good friends since high school. Anyway, Blake hadn’t seen her or really talked to her more than once a year since then so he wasn’t really sure what to expect (soon after she visited us her life got flip turned upside down) but I think we were both pleasantly surprised. She’s got her shit together bigtime and as Blake said to her while we were having lunch (to her) she’s very good at being her. She’s 40 like Blake (I assume) and she owns her own business and her own home and drives a convertible, I mean she’s super successful, but she’s still fun and energetic and ready to party like a 22 year old. It was actually pretty awesome and makes me wish pre-getting-sick-me could have partied with shit-together-Noelle because I think we’d have had a really good time!

It was sad leaving Noelle, it would have been cool to hang out longer, but we had to get back on the road to get to Blake’s mom’s house by dinner.

This is Noelle.
Noelle is awesome.

This is Bubbles.
She’s been my car mascot since my very first car.
The jewelly thing was made by my mom’s fiance, John.
It’s a suncatcher made out of an antique spoon.

When we stopped at a gas station, I saw this sign and wondered how I could cash in my kids!
Then someone told me it was probably a tax thing and my hopes for selling children were dashed.

Then Blake presented me with this glorious thing!
Pineapple Fanta was on my MUST list & that shit is hard to find!
This was the only bottle I ended up having, but at least I got to try some!
It was as wonderful as I knew it would be, but I don’t think I’d ever want more than a small bottle like, once a month.
Any more than that and I’d end up in a diabetic coma.

We made it to Venice, on the Gulf side of Florida where Blake’s mom lives, about 8pm and soon after we dropped the kids off and got acquainted with the house, we went to Wal*Mart to get groceries because Blake’s mom is gluten-free and paleo, Madison’s a vegetarian and I have food issues that are out of this world, so we figured it would just be easier if we got our own groceries for the week and fed ourselves, with the exception of the roast beef Blake’s mom – whose name is Brooke, by the way, but for some reason I just always call her Blake’s mom, kinda like how I just call Blake “hey you” (no joke) –  was going to be making at some point in the week as my “birthday dinner”.

Well let me tell you. Wal*Mart was an experience. The following may seem like…”normal” to Americans, but this shit is B-A-N-A-N-A-S to Canadians…

Ice cream flavoured Chips Ahoy.
Okay in Canada we have like, I dunno, maybe 4 kinds of Chips Ahoy cookies and they’re all fairly standard chocolate and cookie combos.

But it get’s even fucking crazier…like, insane…






In Canuckistan we have regular Oreos and Golden Oreos. MAYBE double-stuffed if you’re in a big grocery store.
We had the birthday cake ones for a limited time and gingerbread ones at Xmas and those were both disgusting as I’d imagine most of these are.
Katie and Alex think the “spring” ones looks like a maxipad box. I concur.

I also spied these, which I was assured on Twitter were poison as I had suspected.

Some people go on holiday and take pictures of the wildlife or the landscape or the architecture…I take pictures of junk food.

Seriously though? It was so easy for me to eat in the US. For example, in the produce section of Wal*Mart there was a bagged product that had small florets of fresh broccoli and pasta that you microwave and also in the package was a packet of cheese sauce that didn’t look half bad, so I bought it. I never got to have it because we bought more food than we ended up needing for the week, but that’s the kind of thing I could make myself and have for a pretty okay dinner. We have Green Giant frozen broccoli and cheese sauce but I don’t like their cheese sauce and of course we have actual broccoli and packets of cheese sauce that you mix with milk on the stove to make cheese sauce but that takes a while to make. Anyway, there were lots of things in that Wal*Mart that I would/could have eaten compared to the grocery stores and brands here. Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough, but that’s a whole other post…

The next morning, I was the first one to get up, then Wes, then Blake and Blake and I just hung out at the table outside (they have a screened-in room with a pool and hot tub, a patio table and a tiki bar) while Wes swam. Wes has been taking swimming lessons and he swam in that pool every chance he got, no matter how cold it was.

From here the days all kinda blur together so I’m just kinda going by the order I took pictures in. On this day, which I guess would have been the Tuesday, Madison caught a lizard while we were waiting for everyone elser to go to the beach, which would be one of many.

Before we went to the beach, we stopped off at the Venice Chamber of Commerce where Blake’s mom picked up the kids some prehistoric shark’s teeth:

Venice is something like the shark tooth capital of the world.
When we got to the beach, we saw lots of people with mesh shovels looking for them, but I didn’t take any pics of them.

Da beach.
This was Sharky’s on the Pier.

Brooke and Blake, Madison looking for shells.

When we got home, Brooke made us prime rib as my birthday dinner, check this shit out:

Not much else to say about that.

Then we all went to bed early because we had to get up at 6am to go to Shy Wolf Sanctuary, which was over 2 hours away and Wes’ birthday present from Brooke and Charlie because Wes is absolutely obsessed with wolves (and platypi, but there probably aren’t many of those in Florida.)

When we got to Shy Wolf, they had us sit on these benches in front of the main building while everyone for tours gathered and Wes was telling the volunteers everything he knew about wolves and he asked if he’d be able to pet one, and this was his reaction when he was told that he could:

He was very attentive while the volunteers told us all about how wolves are shy and if you meet out in the wild, it would be more afraid of you than you were of it.

Before we met any wolves, we met a fennec fox and one of many prairie dogs (which do NOT make good pets, they could not stress enough):

That’s our guide, Mark. Mark was awesome.

This is an arctic fox and he was my favourite.
He was a long way from home!

Another prairie dog…


The first couple of wolves we couldn’t pet…

But this one we could!

I liked this pic of the next wolf because he looks like he’s gonna eat that kid who was in my way the whole time…

Also the whole wolf sanctuary reminded me of this:

And then this happened faster than I could get the camera on and set and focused, which sucks, but it was still pretty cool:

This is Wes and Dancer, the wolf he ended up sponsoring in the end thanks to grama and grampa:

At Shy Wolf, there are wolves and wolfdogs. Wolfdogs are half wolf, half dog and their temperament can go either way depending on how much wolf if in them and how much dog. I forget the 4 or 5 stages of mammal development but it goes from infant to juvenile, to adolescent, to adult – I think – and dogs only make it to the juvenile stage where they are dependent on humans for their basic survival while wolves make it all the way to the adult stage where they are completely independent. This is a wolfdog:

I got french-kissed by a wolf…

They also had a bunch of tortoises:

And this bobcat that had the biggest yawn of any animal I’ve ever seen, check this out:

These ones seem like they’re good pets because they’re handled by lots and lots of people but all of the animals wound up at Shy Wolf because they were all former pets.
Including the cougar that I didn’t take any pictures of.

This was Wes reaction in the car after we were about to leave Shy Wolf:

After that we went to Cracker Barrel! We don’t have these in Canada!

My mom’s fiance, John, told me that I had to try the macaroni and cheese and my friend Jax told me that while I was in the US I had to try Coca-Cola Cake:

I got a chicken salad sandwich, which was pretty unappealing but the macaroni and cheese I got on the side was ah-may-zing.
The Coca-Cola Cake was a texture and sweetness I just could not even deal with and neither could Madison so none of us ate it.

After that we got back in the car to go to the Everglades on an airboat tour. An airboat, for those that don’t know, is the kind you see on TV with the big fan on the back.
I thought the airboat was fun even though we really didn’t see anything other than mangroves and a couple of birds.

When it was over, the kids got to hold baby alligators though!

The next day, despite the fact that it was frigid, we went on a boat.

Captain Charlie

We stopped at a place to get food and while we were waiting, I took a picture of this pelican who we watched fish for a while:

It was so cold that at this outdoor restaurant/bar place we went to wheeled in these giant electric heaters to our table that did virtually nothing or maybe I was just in the wrong spot. I noticed them when we went to another town to visit Blake’s Aunt Pat too, which we did the next day, so it must be a thing in Florida. I think if it’s cold outside then you fucking eat inside, but that’s just me.

The next day, as I said, we went to Sarasota to go to the Dali museum and to visit Blake’s Aunt Pat afterward and here’s where things get a little sad for me because I was really excited about the Dali museum. I’d never been to an art museum before in my life, which I think is a pretty pathetic thing for a 35-year-old person who sometimes calls herself an artist, plus they were doing a Warhol exhibit, which is really the only artist I know anything about (and not a whole lot).

Well we got there and paid the $5 for parking and got parked, then we walked up the stairs to get inside and then into the doors and it was MAYHEM. There were people EVERYWHERE. We made it to the line to pay admission and there had to have been 30 people just in line with us, not counting everyone who had already paid who were milling about and all the people who were at the section of the room that served as the gift shop. It was just loud and crazy and overwhelming and I had a panic attack very much like the one I had when I tried to go to the Leafs game, both in severity of the attack and the feeling like shit afterward because it was something I really really wanted to do and I’m just such a constant disappointment to myself.

So that happened, then we went and had dinner with Blake’s Aunt Pat, who is just an amazing person we just don’t get to see enough. That was the Friday.

Also on the Friday we found more crazy American shit:

We can apparently get the dark chocolate ones here now, I’d just never seen them.
I refuse to try the birthday cake ones. Madison said they taste like pressed cake batter powder. Blake says they taste like a regular M&M. I may have to have one to see which one of them is crazier.

On Saturday morning, we hit the road for home…this was my road breakfast, which I think is actually pretty healthy…

We saw these guys in a tourist shop on our way out of Florida:

I tried Nutella!
It was good…at first…and then it wasn’t and I wanted to barf….

We saw these guys in Northern Florida:

Blake bought me a grumpy cat at Cracker Barrel and she became the trip home’s mascot…


I had a hot dog (which Ruggedo recommended, it was good! But no street meat..) and a cherry limeade which, no joke, is the greatest drink I’ve ever had in my life…
And this was at the bottom of my cup!

We got fried chicken in either North or South Carolina, I’m not sure…

It was so good but I felt too sick to eat more than a few small pieces.

We stopped the night in Virginia at a roach motel…

We met one of my coworkers and her family in West Virginia for lunch!
Her name is Tashia and I’ve been working with her for 2 years but since we all work online, we’d never met!

After that we drove pretty much non-stop back home, arriving at around midnight, I think, maybe a bit later.
And that was pretty much our entire holiday.

It was really awesome of Blake’s mom and Charlie to open their house up to use for the week and show us around and the same goes for Noelle, Aunt Pat and Tashia’s family.
The food was good, but it was the people that made the trip. :o)

March 20, 2014

Happy First Day of Spring!

Posted at 10:12 am in: Internet , Spring , videos , youtube
March 18, 2014

So busy.

I’m back from Florida and back to work as of today. We were so busy doing stuff that I didn’t have time to blog anything obviously, but there are pictures and words and things that’ll come out eventually, once I find time. I did transfer all the RAW files from the trip from my laptop to my desktop for easier editing today (nicer screen), which I was really proud of myself for figuring out how to do over the network. Usually I need Blake’s help, but I guess I’m learning. Yay!

Tomorrow I see Stephanie, the dietician at the mental health clinic I go to. I am positively terrified because honestly I don’t even know what I want/need from her because I’m not even entirely sure what a dietician does. All I know is that food is problematic and I’ve now lost 30 lbs without trying in the last few months and basically I’m scared my hair’s going to start falling out from malnutrition because it’s happened before. I don’t want to gain any weight and I would love to lose even more but this is not the way to do it, this is not healthy and I need to know like…what CAN I eat? What SHOULD I eat? Is it okay to eat cheese every single day? How much protein am I supposed to have in a day and how do you do that? Is it okay to eat beef liver even though it’s super high in cholesterol? (My triglycerides are high, I’m on 2 cholesterol medications and the pancreas helps break down cholesterol and mine’s obviously damaged, but I know basically nothing about it.) That kinda stuff.

Anyway, I only had like, 2 minutes to post something. Now I’m going to go make dinner. Peace oot.

March 10, 2014

United States of Whatever – Day 2.5

So, we’re in Florida now at Blake’s friend’s house where we spent the night.

We left our house at about 8:30pm Saturday night and got here to Noelle’s about…10 or 10:30pm last night, I think. We stayed up until maybe 12:30am or 1am talking on Noelle’s patio and then I took Xanax for the very first time, just 1/3 of a pill and I was like…this isn’t doing anything, and then…that shit gives you a 2 minute warning before you are going to pass your ass out! Holy Hannah! And I have a drug tolerance that would put Keith Richards to shame too, wtf!? And people take this recreationally? Why? How is passing out “recreation”? Was I supposed to get high off of it and just didn’t? Hmmm. Maybe I should have taken the whole pill…

…maybe then I wouldn’t haave been woken up at 7am by this ferocious beast of Florida:

His name is Greg and I would guess he’s about 7 or 8 months old. He’s teething and he woke me up by jumping in front of me (I was laying on my side) and claiming my right thumb as his own personal teething ring. He chews and sucks, it’s so weird.

This is his sister, Mary Anne:

When I got up, I came out to the patio because everyone’s still sleeping but me and Wes, so the whole house is quiet and dark and I thought my typing would wake people up. Plus, if I’m out here I can quietly listen to music. It’s so weird to be sitting OUTSIDE in just a t-shirt and hoodie in MARCH. My brain is having a hard time processing this, like I keep forgetting that it’s March because it feels like June.

The drive was interesting…not really. I thought it was interesting that you’d see a billboard for a titty bar one minute and another asking who Jesus is the next. Blake said, “welcome to the bible belt”.

I think driving through West Virginia was the best part of the drive. I’d never seen mountains before, neither had the kids. The Appalachians aren’t all that impressive by mountain standards, at least not where we were, but they’re the biggest we’ve ever seen and all the trees on the mountains were bare and I think that was prettier than if the trees had had leaves on them because then you could see where the mountain stopped and the trees started. There was a shocking lack of snow though, for mountains. Or at least I figured there would be more. There were like, little rivets of ice coming from the giant wall of rock along the sides of the road, that I know as “Canadian Shield”because we have it up North, but I’m sure it’s called something else down here.

I wasn’t sold on the idea of leaving our house at night but I think that was the best way to do it because, as my mom had pointed out, we’d be in the dark or sleeping through the boring stuff (NY/PA) that I’ve either already seen or looks just the same as home. I didn’t really sleep on the way here though. I dozed off for about 2 hours in the middle of the night but mostly I just listened to Blake’s podcasts and got caught up on the Walking Dead comics because Blake put them on the iPad for me so I could read them in the dark. SMART THINKIN’, EH? On the way back we’re spreading the drive over 2 days and staying at a hotel in between somewhere so we’re not driving in the dark so I don’t think I’ll try putting a book on the iPad would be necessary.

Speaking of books, I brought with me: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, The Wasp Factor by Iain Banks and The Wolves of Midwinter by Anne Rice. I’ve read The Wasp Factory before but I forget what it’s about exactly. All I remember was that I really liked it (I read it a long time ago when a friend from the Stile Project Forum sent me a copy) and for some reason I think it might be something Madison might be interested in. The Neil Gaiman book is young adult fiction which normally I have negative interest in but so many people I know loved this book and it’s short, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve never read anything else by Neil Gaiman, but he’s a very nice man on Twitter. I tried really hard to read the first Sandman trade and couldn’t get into it, which I KNOW is like blasphemy to some people, but hey, it’s the truth.


Blake and Madison woke up while I was typing this  and as it turned out, Blake had forgotten the power cord for his CPAP machine and slept like shit last night so he started googling for a company here that sells them to see if we could buy another cord. He found a place 30 minutes away so we were like, “yay!” but they didn’t have any cords. They could order us one but that wouldn’t help us out any for now. The guy on the phone said that he could find a cord with the right end at Radio Shack and there happened to be one of those in the town we’re in too, which was right beside a grocery store.

We went to the Radio Shack and Blake got his cord and then we went to the grocery store to find breakfast food. Something about the US that’s always bugged me is that in the US, there are TONS and TONS of junky cereals, whereas in Canada, there are probably more healthy cereals than junky ones. I mean we have the usual suspects, Corn Pops, Fruit Loops, Cap’n Crunch, Lucky Charms, Trix and a couple of others but mostly it’s various incarnations of Cheerios, various incarnations of Shreddies, Honeycomb and Alphabits which is the junkiest cereal I was allowed to eat when I was a kid…anyway, Wes got Cookie Crisp and I got Crunch Berries. Oh and Madison got Fruity Pebbles, all of which we cannot get at home. We also got milk and bagels. I looked in the pop aisle for pineapple Fanta and they had some but it was 2L bottles and we’re only going to be here for another few hours so I’ll try and find some when we get to Blake’s mom’s house on the other side of the state.

Noelle just woke up and said that we are going to go to some lake somewhere where there’s a little town to buy stuff and then we’re going to apparently show the kids the ocean. Then at about 4pm, we’re going to start making our way West to the other coast where Blake’s mom lives. Blake says we should be there by dinner, I remain skeptical.

Anyway, I better shut this down and participate in the day.

Posted at 12:27 pm in: Animals , Blake , Books , Brooke , Charlie , Driving , Family , Food , Friends , Kids , Life , Madison , USA , Wes , winter
March 5, 2014

So my shrink just told me she’s retiring in August…

I’ve been seeing her since 2006 and she’s the first shrink I ever met that I didn’t hate immediately.
This old shrink to new shrink transfer process could get messy…