August 6, 2015

Day One

“Throw away the radio, suitcase keeps you awake
Hide the telephone, the telephone
Telephone, in case you realize
That some days, you’re just not okay
You’ll level off, you’ll level off, you’ll level off

And it’s not alright now
You need to understand
There’s nothing strange about this
You need to know your friends
You need to know that

I’ll be wavin’ my hand
Watching you drown
Watching you scream
Quiet or loud

And maybe you should sleep
And maybe you just need, a friend
As clumsy as you’ve been
There’s no one laughing
You will be safe in here
You will be safe in here

Throw away this very old shoelace
It tripped you again
Try and shrug it off, shrug it off, shrug it off

It’s only skin, now
Now you need to understand
There’s nothing fake about this
You need to let me in
Watching you and

I’ll be waving my hand
Watching you drown
Watching you scream
No one’s around

And maybe you should sleep
And maybe you just need, a friend
As clumsy as you’ve been
There’s no one laughing
You will be safe in here
You will be safe in

I will be waving my hand
Watching you drown
Watching you scream
Quiet or loud

And maybe you should sleep
And maybe you just need, a friend
As clumsy as you’ve been
There’s no one laughing
You will be safe in here
You will be safe in here

Well, you will be safe in here
In here, in here
In here, in here
In here, in here”

– “Clumsy” by Our Lady Peace

On July 29th, I tried to kill myself and no, I am not okay. But there is a plan in place and there’s a faint glimmer of hope in the distance that I will be.

It was not a cry for help. When I tried to kill myself twice before as a teenager, those were cries for help, from a kid. What happened last week was an adult making a conscious decision to cease existing and let the consequences of that decision be whatever they may be because if all went as planned, I would be worm food and unable to feel, see, hear etc. any of the aftermath and ultimately I knew my people well enough that they would be perfectly okay without me, perhaps even better off. If not? I would be nothing, there would be no such thing as Me, I would never know the difference.

Obviously, I failed. And trust me, it was not for lack of trying (but definitely due to lack of planning). If I wasn’t actively avoiding the internet right now, I’d be googling “how the fuck am I alive right now?” because I took what seemed to me to be a hell of a lotta cyclobenzaprine, clonazapam and trazodone. I didn’t overdose on any of my serious psych meds because I was afraid they’d leave me retarded if I failed. I thought I’d fall asleep and just never wake up. Instead, cops broke down my back door (which I had locked, and I had locked and put a chair up against my office/front door) and told me I could get out of my bed and come to the ambulance quietly or they could cuff me. I went mediumishly…voluntarily, swaying and stumbling, yet still saying “fuck the police” (which apparently they hear so often, they just refer to it as “ftp”) at an audible level about 25 times between my bed and the ambulance. I owe one of the cops an apology and a “thank you” and it’s something really bugging the crap outta me, actually.

At the hospital they did not pump my stomach or give me charcoal, they just put me in the ICU hooked up to an ECG machine, the little finger thingy that measures your oxygen levels and an IV that they never hooked anything up to and just took out after letting me sleep for about 48 hours. Then they transferred me to Royal Victoria Hospital’s (RVH) psychiatric ward which was where I was also sent in 2006 when I had my psychotic episode which lead to my diagnosis of bipolar disorder I, generalized anxiety disorder and agoraphobia, and also the same hospital I spent 6 weeks in after coming seriously close to dying in 2011 from pancreatitis.

So now you wanna know why, right? Cuuuuuuz that’s the next logical question and the most difficult one for me to answer. It’s actually kinda funny, if you know me well enough or have been reading my blog for a really long time, you know that I have a billion different, ever-evolving reasons for why I didn’t get into advertising, choosing to drop out of school at the last minute instead, and I always say like, “Reason #3875736254 I dropped out of advertising…”. This is kind of the same thing. As a person who is depressed with suicidal ideations a lot, it’s a complex thing with a million tentacles. It occurred to me when I was 5 years old that killing myself was a legitimate option. Most people never see suicide as a legitimate option because most people don’t try to or successfully kill themselves, according to my retired extra special needs teacher friend, Carole R. who told me that about 14 years ago when I went to work with her for a day and met young children who had already taken measures to end their own lives or seriously hurt themselves for whatever reason it is we all have in common on these things.

I don’t know where it came from or how it started or why I peg it at 5, which was right when my mom married my stepdad, but that’s when it started as a tiny seed of an idea and then grew, like I said, into this thing with a million tentacles, as if there’s some chunk of my grey matter dedicated to just this one specific area, like building my own killswitch I guess, and for whatever reason “I”, “Me”, “Myself”, liked being in there and focusing on there. Not always, but…a lot.

This could be chemical or this could be “something else”. What that “something else” is, I have no idea because I’ve never really spoken to anyone about any of this with any real detail or seriousness. Everyone I know (plus a lotta strangers) knows I want to kill myself regularly. That’s, “just Sunny” at this point. Even this time, my own daughter thought my last words to her were just me being “melodramatic” when she read them after not being here or talking to me for several weeks. (Which I don’t fault her for, especially because she’s 17. Again, I’m avoiding the internet right now – all I have open on my computer is Word and Spotify because I just spent a week in a world without electronics of any kind and everything is so noisy in this one – so I don’t remember what I said to her or if she replied. I’ve seen her since I’ve been out, though, and we’re okay so it doesn’t even matter for the time being or even at all maybe.)

For the first 2 days at Georgian Bay General hospital where I was in the ICU from July 29th-31st the only communication I had with anyone not involved in my care, including AND (at the time), especially my husband Blake, was sending a short e-mail to my boss (cc’d to my coworker/friend it would impact the most/immediately as far as work was concerned) saying long story short: I tried to kill myself, they’re sending me somewhere 45 mins away to see a shrink* and I was sorry. That was the last time I saw my phone until yesterday when I was released from Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH). I think they said Blake called the hospital to talk to me but I refused his calls and I guess Amy also called when I was in there too but at that point I just told them to refuse all calls so I didn’t hear about anyone else.

On the 31st, around sunset, I was told that I would be taking a taxi cab from Georgian Bay General in Midland, to RVH in Barrie where they were more equipped to deal with me, which would be about a 45 minute drive and I would be accompanied by this nice lady security guard, who would get me signed in and then take the same cab back to Midland. I don’t know how much that cost because the taxi driver lady put a cover over the meter. I do know from listening to the conversations around me that the lady had $158 on her Visa and that wasn’t enough so they had to get one with a bigger limit, but despite that it made sense to me for them to do this than waste an ambulance on me. I was happy at the healthcare system’s ability/willingness to adapt so successfully to non-government community services.

I can’t remember if I had any conversations with the security lady. Mostly the security lady and the cab lady talked while I enjoyed the ride (car rides actually calm me). I don’t think this was their first time making this trip, though. When we got to the hospital, the taxi lady told the security lady that she was going to Tim Hortons to get them both coffees, what does she prefer etc. and then the security lady and I started navigating the outside of the hospital because it’s all new and ever-changing, up the elevator to the 3rd floor, and through the psychiatric unit’s front doors. I was processed by the security lady and hospital staff (at this point I had everything but those people tuned out completely) and taken to a dorm-like room with 2 empty beds with nice blankets, 2 floor-length cubbies and a nice, clean bathroom. The security lady wished me good luck and left. I have no memory of anything else that night, I just got in the bed facing the wall and window and went to sleep. I don’t think I cried, I was just kinda unable to process anything happening to me so everything shut down.

The next morning I woke up and a nurse told me where I was and asked me questions about how I got there but I couldn’t really communicate with anyone yet. All the drugs I overdosed on (plus the ones I was supposed to be taking for my mental illnesses that they never gave me the 2 days I was in Midland) were coming out of me and I was just confused and scared. I’m agoraphobic so I don’t leave my house and when I do, it’s with Blake, so I was TERRIFIED to leave my room. I’d been in the psych ward twice before this and I knew the kind of people/experiences can happen in them and I just couldn’t deal. I only got up to go to the bathroom and get cups of tap water that were never cold enough to quench my thirst.

On August 1st, a Saturday of a long weekend, I made contact with Blake because, like I said, I was fucking terrified, and that day was the first time he visited. He brought me clothes and some toiletries, my pencil case, the brand new pad of Bristol paper I’d bought 2 weeks prior for doing colouring pages, some food I could keep in my room and a 6-pack of bottled Diet Coke because we weren’t allowed to have cans and bottles just made more sense since they had lids and stuff. (I’m addicted to Diet Coke, this is just part of me being me. You will probably never see me without a drink in my hand of some sort.) All I had with me when I came in was my bag full of like, basic “purse stuff” because the cops wouldn’t let me pack anything to bring with me except my phone and wallet pretty much and the clothes on my back. I had a greyish-black, t-shirt weight cotton hoodie, my grey “RAP MUSIC MAKES ME FEEL INVINCIBLE” t-shirt, medium-weight cotton yoga pants and my crazy-assed Period Panties. (This is actually my standard uniform.) They let me keep my shoes, which didn’t have laces. My bag was taken from me and everything important from it was put in a bin at one of the nurses’ stations.

No electronics were allowed whatsoever. Not even an iPod to listen to music and there was no music in any of the rooms on the floor except for this shower radio that barely got one pop country station none of us wanted to listen to. The TV in the TV room was stuck on the sports channel because no one could find the remote and then when they *did* find the remote, they changed it to a “48 Hours” marathon on A&E, a “reality” show where there’s been a murder and the first 48 hours are the most crucial to solve the case, which in the 3 episodes I sat through, they did. (And all the victims were women.)

When I’m at home on “normal” Saturdays, I get off work at 11pm and usually draw or otherwise make art until 3-5am or however long I can stay up and then I sleep in the next day to compensate because it’s my first day off so I can and then on the Sunday night I do the same because Mondays are my other day off.

After Blake had left me because visiting hours were over, I left my sobbing roommate (who came in the morning after trying to kill herself the night before) and went down the hall to this patient activity room that had a bunch of big tables in the middle with about 15 or 20 chairs that I’d noticed never had more than a couple of people in it. The second I stepped inside I felt better because there were pencil crayons and markers (not very many and really shitty ones, but pencil crayons and markers nonetheless) on one wall in bins and there were colouring pages and Sudoku puzzles in clear plastic bins on the other and I identified it as an “art room”, a place where I could be comfortable, and decided to just draw. When I was little and upset, my mom would tell me to either suck my thumb or to draw (or both), so I just started drawing a webcam model I watch sometimes.

As I sat in there with my pencil, eraser and Diet Coke, drawing, I could see people walking up and down the hallway and glancing in at me from time to time but no one came in until about 9pm and that person was Rich. Rich is 25 and basically a pussy magnet and he knows it. He said his mother had him put in the hospital on his birthday. He’d been there for almost a month and was going to be there for another month, minimum. He’s schizophrenic with ADHD and at the time he was either coming OFF of some drug or reacting to a new one and he was pacing and antsy and like, just spun out and squirrelly. I think I was the one who spoke first, asking him if he was okay and that’s when he told me his situation. I asked him if he was hearing voices right that minute and he said he wasn’t and we just started talking to each other. He sat in a backwards chair tapping his feet, or pacing the room or doing semi-push-ups from the edge of the table, but able to carry on a conversation. I just drew while he mostly talked about his thoughts on weed, evolution and god and what is good and what his purpose is on this Earth and I have no idea what I told him about myself. I think I told him about my job. He told me I was a good artist and I told him he was a good kid and we decided we were friends. We just hung out in the art room talking while I drew until he calmed down enough to go to sleep around 11pm. The head nurse on duty told me that because it was a long weekend, she’d let the art room stay open until midnight, so I stayed in there and drew until then and then went to sleep myself.

Sunday morning I woke up, changed out of my “RAP MUSIC MAKES ME FEEL INVINCIBLE” t-shirt and put on my grey “SORRY I’M AWESOME” t-shirt and didn’t eat anything. I didn’t eat anything the whole time I was there except a handful of pistachios, a few crackers and about 6 Babybel cheeses. Because of the aforementioned pancreatitis, which is now chronic, I am a medical marijuana patient so I need cannabis before I eat so I *will* eat and then I need it again afterward to keep it down. If I don’t do this, it starts this godawful vomit cycle that often ends with me in the hospital in the worst pain imaginable. Also every time that happens, my pancreas is being damaged which makes me unable to actually absorb the food I eat. Medical marijuana is a weird thing in Canada where it’s accepted but the deal in the hospital was that I could only have it if it was prescribed by a doctor from that hospital and there was no chance in hell any of the psych staff would sign off on that so I didn’t even push it and just dealt the best I could with the few foods I know are okay for me. I also begged and begged for Zofran (anti-emetic) and pancreatic enzymes, even had Blake bring in my own, but they wouldn’t let me have them.

Sunday morning was also when my roommate and I acknowledged each other. We had been in similar states when we arrived and hadn’t started acclimating until then. Her name was Kimmie and she was small, blonde, frail and almost curled into herself. Mother of 2 older teenage boys. I had heard her wearily having a conversation with her husband of 20 years the previous day in our room when I was still too scared leave it, where I heard her ask him for a divorce several times, to sign the divorce papers when he got them and him telling her she was crazy and didn’t mean it. He’d brought her flowers.

Sunday morning I went to the bathroom to pee and of course my uterus had to start spotting; my period was going to be coming any second now. I’m thinking, “of-fucking-course” but it wasn’t enough to worry about yet so I just came out of the bathroom, saw Kimmie was sitting on the edge of the bed, and slightly joked to her that of all the times to have to have my lady rain, it had to be now.  She didn’t laugh because she was so down, but she did offer me a few maxi pads to use from her own supply, which I was grateful for. We briefly shared situations, and basically she had been this man’s possession for the last 20 years and finally he had stepped so far out of line that there was no coming back from it so she, like me, did a swan dive with pills and alcohol and that’s how she got where we were. Her telling me about her husband made me really appreciate mine, so that’s actually what prompted me to call Blake and ask him to come visit. Before that though, I told Kimmie we were in this together and from that point forward I tried to take care of her the best I could. They were giving her pretty heavy anti-psychotics that were making her sleep all day and pace the halls all night and she was just SO sad and confused, like a frail little bird. She didn’t want to come out of her room that day except to bathe twice because she didn’t know what else to do. And the clothes her husband brought her were ridiculous, like a fluorescent pink bikini top and an obviously too small sports bra instead of something useable, period panties not in the fun sense, and stuff that he just would have to have picked out of the very back of her closet or drawers to come up with. I asked her if she thought he did that to be a dick or if he was just a clueless guy and she said it was definitely him being a dick. I reminded her she was safe where we were and I even told her if she needed anything, like a bra, I would get Blake to pick her one up from WalMart in a heartbeat, just tell me her size, but the only thing she ever took us up on was a double double from Tim Hortons.

All Kimmie wanted to do on Sunday was sleep in the room, which I understood, so I took my pencil and eraser and Bristol pad and of course, a Diet Coke and went down the hall to see if the art room was open. It was and was empty, so I took a seat in the corner of the room and kept working on the colouring page I’d started the previous day.

The art room was used during the week for group therapy sessions and since this was a long weekend, one of the social workers, Clayton, a huge guy with ginger hair, used his own day off and his own money to run a game of bingo with giftcard prizes for Tim Hortons or the deli in the food court and a mani/pedi “group session” for those who wanted their toes done. Blake happened to be visiting during this part of the afternoon and I painted his toenails lovely shades of metallic turquoise and magenta, which all the girls got a big kick out of. Every single person who came into the art room that day looked at what I was drawing and told me how much they loved what I was doing and what a talented artist I was. I just said “thank you” and was friendly and open toward everyone because these were my people. These were people who knew what I was going through because they were there too.  Plus for the afternoon, Blake was there to help break the ice with all these strangers. He’s kind of a social butterfly.

It was during the bingo and mani/pedi sessions that I made friends with Amy, whose name was easy to remember because she had the same name as my close friend who had the same name. She has schizophrenia and was hearing voices when I talked to her but she couldn’t articulate what they were saying. Her case was special because the medications that kept her schizophrenia under control affected her heart condition, so it was a delicate balance she had to maintain to pretty much stay alone. She was a super sweet girl who asked me Monday morning if she could bring me back anything from the food court downstairs because she had privileges to go down there. I wanted to barf my guts up so I gave her money and asked her to get me a ginger ale, which she did and I was so grateful for because it made me feel slightly better. She was just a super nice, sweet person who liked to be useful. In fact, she was helping Clayton the social worker orchestrate these extra special group activities on the long weekend. There were other people at the bingo game but I’m not all that into bingo, so I mostly tuned it out and kept drawing.

Also during the mani/pedi group, I met Hurricane Sonya who was manic pretty much the entire time I was there and somehow talked me into braiding her thick blonde hair into a fishtail, which I hadn’t done on anyone since I was like, 11 years old, and Jason who came in later, a paranoid schizophrenic who was interesting to talk to but who stayed away from me after he asked me and Blake if we thought there were any correlation between vaccinations and mental illness and we both pointed out examples of mental illnesses existing way before vaccines.

All day Sunday, I sat in the art room drawing and socializing and was told 100 more times by 20 people what a great artist I was, which felt good and validating admittedly, but inside I was still so shell-shocked by the fact that this time I actually swallowed the pills instead of just thinking about it, which is something I really, honestly didn’t think I was even capable of doing again because when I did it the 2nd time when I was 15 and landed in Whitby Psychiatric Hospital for a few weeks, I hated being there so much (but loved being away from all the chaos that was my home life) that I vowed never to end up in a place like that ever again by my own hand and for 21 years, I had stuck to it. (2006 didn’t count because that was out of my control, but this time I did it to myself.)

Sunday evening after Blake left, some new patients came in and that’s when I met Malachi and Sharon.

I heard Malachi before I saw him. After drawing all day, I went back to my room to lay down for a little while around dinner time and when I was half awake, I could hear this voice in the hallway outside my room that reminded me of the trans character “Nomi” from the Netflix show “Sense 8”, so I thought, oh, maybe we have a transwoman now, but when I went into the art room for the evening and tall, slight, red-haired, bespectacled Malachi introduced himself and started telling me about the troubles he’d been having with his new wife’s family and the police, which was how he got where we were. From what I could gather, he’d had some kind of mental meltdown of some sort in the apartment he shared with his wife and he broke some of their dishes in the process. During that, not knowing what else to do, his mother-in-law called the police on him and the police charged him – for breaking his own dishes, in his own apartment – with something like “domestic mischief” I think he said, and because the police put it down as a domestic dispute when it was a mental health call, Malachi is not allowed to have any contact with his own wife or live in his own home until after his court date. Due to this, he and his wife wouldn’t be celebrating their 1st wedding anniversary together and he was pretty upset. I didn’t ask how old this kid was but there was no way he was older than 23 and he worked at WalMart.

It was also Sunday night that I met Sharon. I don’t know what her diagnosis was but both she and Malachi came from another psychiatric facility somewhere. Blake told me he noticed tons of scars on her wrists so that’s all I know. She reminded me in looks like Peppermint Patty. She had medium-length reddish brown hair and spoke so quiet and low, it was almost a mumble, but with effort you could understand her. She watched me draw for 2 days and told me multiple times that I had to figure out a way to make some money from my drawings. Most of the people there, except for Rich and Malachi, weren’t “internet people” so to speak. I tried to explain Patreon to them after Sharon suggested that and a bunch of folks agreed with her but I don’t think they really understood what I was talking about. No one had ever heard of “crowdfunding”, let alone its pitfalls.

Sharon and Sonya had been in the same psychiatric facility 4 times but this was the first time they were ever spending any time together and the two of them were like the dynamic duo, with Sonya being loud and manic and flagrant and Sharon following her around trying to keep her calm and quiet.

Sonya was loud and probably the ward’s biggest personality. She was honest and had even less filters than I do. She’d been to jail. She used to be addicted to crack. She was depressed before she came there. She had kids, lost kids, had her tubes clipped and unclipped and had another baby who was now 13 years old and Sonya really wanted me to draw something for her daughter’s birthday, which I said I’d do but really meant I’d get Blake to bring in copies of the more kid-friendly colouring pages I’d done, which we did on Monday.

Monday was much like Sunday except that the art room wasn’t open until 9am and I woke up at 7. Breakfast was at 7:30. I felt confident enough in having new buddies that I’d have somewhere to sit in the dining room so I went down during breakfast and sat with Amy and her roommate whose name I *think* was Deborah, and who was literally the most beautiful older lady I’ve ever seen in my whole entire life. When I sat down, they were discussing the fact that the night before, Amy, in a dead sleep, got 3 tea biscuits from one of her drawers and ate them all sitting on the side of her bed and then just fell back into bed and slept for the rest of the night. She was really freaked out, as I think I would be too. Deborah noticed that I have “Sunny” engraved in the arms of my glasses like a giant nerd and asked me about it, so I explained to her that in my day to day life, the only people who called me by my real name was my mother and doctors. She told me she liked my glasses and I told her I got them for like, $6 on the internet which sort of left her speechless.

After breakfast I went back to my room because the art room still wasn’t open and I talked with Kimmie about coming into the art room and colouring mandalas while I drew, which she ended up doing for maybe an hour but just after lunch she had a meltdown and needed some time to herself so I just stayed in the art room and, you guessed it, kept drawing, and talking to people and hearing what a great artist I was. I met a new girl there who had OCD and couldn’t stop coming into the art room, getting agitated by its messiness, cleaning it for 10 minutes, going away and coming back to do the same thing. She didn’t want to talk about how long she’d been there but what I gathered from Rich was that they were both in the acute part of the ward when they first arrived, meaning that at one point they were both pretty messed up, and she helped him navigate his way out of there and onto the main floor. The only other thing she volunteered about herself was that she was planning to move to Sweden or Switzerland, whichever one is closer to Italy, when she got out of there.

Monday afternoon when Blake came to visit me, he brought with him ginger ale, sushi, a beef teriyaki bento and spring rolls from my favourite restaurant in case I felt like eating anything that wouldn’t hurt me too much and my big black portfolio, which I asked him to bring because I knew I had one copy of each colouring page I’d done so far for patrons inside it, but I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to tell the copies from the originals and I wanted to give the copies to Sonya for her daughter myself. Also inside my portfolio were two large drawings of my girls that were originally going to be paintings, but I never finished them and I gave those to Sonya too because she seemed to be the most enthusiastic about them and I knew I’d never finish them. I encouraged her to do so, though. This was after I decided I didn’t want the Japanese food and started offering it to anyone who came in the art room. The OCD girl had a few pieces of vegetable tempura but wouldn’t take the rest, so I put notes on it all that said what it was and “plz eat me!” and I carried it all to the hallway where I encountered Sonya who asked what I was doing and when I offered her the food, she was like, “fuck yeah”. She ate most of it and shared a lot of it with other patients and told us when she sat in the art room to finish the bento that she had never had Japanese food before and that that was probably the healthiest meal she’d ever had in her entire life and I’d completely believed it.

After Blake left on Monday evening, I went to my room to check on Kimmie and she had just come from having a shower and was in her pajamas. I had told her previously that her ticket to getting out of there was to be out of her room as much as she was comfortable with and to participate in scheduled activities as much as she was able, which was unfortunately difficult because it was the long weekend and nothing was scheduled. She asked me if I would go to dinner with her and then go to the TV room to watch a movie with her because apparently they had found the remotes and we could do that now. The hospital had a bunch of VHS movies and she wanted to find a comedy and just forget about her life for a little while. So I told her we could do this. The TV room had a table and chairs that I could use to draw at while we watched a movie.

Well, when we got to the TV room, there were two guys watching that “48 Hours” show so we sat there and watched too, figuring when it was over, we’d ask them if they minded if we switched to a movie and then do that. Well, when the show was over, another episode started and it was apparent neither man was interested in changing the channel, so Kimmie and I sat through another episode of the show. After that one, both men left and it was about 5 minutes to 9pm, so I told Kimmie that she should pick a movie quick before they came back because if we started a movie right then, we’d have enough time to watch the whole thing before they closed down the room for the night. She chose “Patch Adams” and then she asked me if I knew how to put a movie on. I confessed I did not, but suggested we just try putting the tape in the VHS machine and seeing if it played automatically and if it didn’t, one of us would get a nurse to help us.

Before we even had a chance to try that, the 2 men from before came back in while Kimmie was in the middle of the room holding a VHS tape and looking at me and they sat down to watch the next episode of the “48 Hours” marathon. Kimmie looked at me like, “you ask them” and I looked at her the same way and we were both too chicken shit to assert ourselves with these men to get what we wanted so she laid on the couch and we both just watched another episode instead. And then another. And then it was time to go to bed.

I dreamt of war, which is typical. I always dream about war.

Tuesday morning Kimmie and I woke up around the same time, about 7am and we both got up and got dressed; her in a pink tank top and grey track pants and me in my lightweight, blackish hoodie and t-shirt of the same colour that said, “LESS CRAP MORE RAP” and my requisite yoga pants. See, me and Rich were having an unspoken “t-shirts that say stuff” war so that’s why I wore the 3 specific shirts I mention in this post. One of his shirts said “IT’S ALL ABOUT ME” and another had a list of negative things he was, like, “irresponsible”, and it ended with “…but a lot of fun.”. Not sure who won the war but I kinda think it was me because he ended up asking me where I got mine from in the end since all 3 shirts were made by the same Etsy shop.

Breakfast was late so everyone was milling about in the hallways or hovering around their doorways. Kimmie and I just sat on our beds and chatted about stuff and then all of a sudden from the hallway came this perfect female voice singing one of the songs from “Phantom of the Opera” at full volume and then a few seconds later a 2nd one joins her in perfect harmony. Kimmie and I rushed to the door to peek into the hallway to see who it was and it was this young girl who attempted suicide and who only left her room a few times that I was there and who also wore the same white lace dress every single time she did, and another lady who had grey hair. In the hour that breakfast was delayed, these two women entertained the entire ward with more songs from “Phantom” and I just kinda sat there thinking how surreal this all was. I was sitting in a hospital being serenaded before breakfast by mental patients! Who would believe this?

When breakfast finally arrived, Kimmie and I sat with Deborah, the beautiful lady with the pink cast, and the older lady who had been singing. Deborah asked me if I would write down the name of the company I got my glasses from, so I pulled out one of these little cards I just keep on me for writing little things down that has like, sunflowers and designs on it, just a little 3 x 4 inch card, and Deborah remarked about how cute they were and showed the other lady and explained what the company was, that they could get prescription glasses for less than $10 that looked no different from the ones you spend $200 on from the optometrist, so I wrote out a card for that lady too.

After breakfast I went to my room where I saw my doctor who had just gotten out of a staff meeting with the weekend staff and he asked me if I was suicidal. I said “no”. He then asked me if I wanted to go home, to which I said “yes” and he said, “okay I’ll go write the order, what prescriptions do you need?” So I told him and off he went. When I was admitted to Georgian Bay General, I was admitted on a 48 hour “form”, which was extended by 3 more days when I got to RVH and on Sunday they told me that if I stayed as a voluntary patient for a few more days, I could go home as soon as Wednesday or Thursday, so getting out on Tuesday was amazing to me and I was excited. (In hindsight, I’m not entirely sure I was ready to leave…)

Since the weekend was over, there were group sessions planned for the day on the big whiteboard in the hallway. The first one of the day was about “The Importance of Leisure”, which sounded pretty irrelevant to me but I went anyway because that’s how you get yourself out of somewhere like that and it seemed like what I should be doing so that’s what Kimmie and I did. Partway through the session, my nurse called me out of it and said that I should call my husband to come pick me up because at about 1:15pm, he would be done processing my release and I would be free to go. So that’s what I did. (Did you know it’s now 50 friggin’ cents to make a local call from a payphone and that if you give it a loonie ($1 coin), it won’t give you change? What kinda fuckery is that!?) Then I went back to the group room, finished that, then started telling people I was leaving and getting my stuff packed up.

I was sitting in my room with Kimmie looking at Mark Ryden’s giant “Pinxit” book that I got myself for my birthday this year but never had a chance to look at until I was faced with a whole lotta spare time to fill up, and we were just chatting when this blonde lady in a floral dress came in, introduced herself as Sandra and that she was a social worker. She asked Kimmie if she’d leave the room so she did and then Sandra started talking about what was going to happen after I was released. The Simcoe Children’s Aid was going to be involved because it was a domestic dispute about the cat and a shitty cop that led to this whole thing and that was just what happened automatically in situations where there’s been trauma in a family. When she asked me who my shrink was on the outside, I told her that I didn’t technically have one at the time because the mental health centre I go to in Midland was giving us the run around as far as getting me a new shrink after having serious issues with the one I had previously (who was new and came in after the shrink I’d been seeing for 8 years retired), passing us off from person to person. She said that was unacceptable and to come to her office, so I did, and there she got on the phone with the mental health centre and got me an appointment with a new shrink in September within about 15 minutes. One that even has a therapy dog in her office, which is already an excellent start. Then she got the social worker assigned to our family from the Children’s Aid on speaker phone and a home visit to talk to us all was arranged for the next day. Then she gave me the brochure and contact info for Catholic Family Services where I can apparently get free therapy, which we’re going to set up tomorrow because obviously I need it since I have no idea why or how things got to this point.

After that, Sandra walked me back to the hallway where my room was, wished me good luck and I thanked her for accomplishing in ½ an hour what’s been taking us months to get nowhere. When I started down the hall to go back to my room, I was like, “wtf?” because all my crazy hospital friends were sitting on the floor outside my room along the walls talking with Blake. They looked just as confused to see me because they thought I was in the room with the social worker with the door closed the whole time! I’d asked Blake to bring me about 30 of my plastic business cards that have photos of about a dozen of my different paintings on them like little artist trading cards with all my info on the back and I pointed out the e-mail address to every single one of them and said “please use that”. I got my hugs and said my goodbyes and be goods and then Blake and I walked out of the building, stopping to get a cold Diet Coke before leaving the building.

When we got to the car I loaded my vaporizer with cannabis and began to medicate while Blake and I talked and drove around until eating seemed like a good idea. I got a turkey sandwich from QuizYES but my stomach was shrunken so I only ate about ¼ of it.

When I got home the first thing I did was go to Wes, my 12 year old son, who was sitting at the computer playing Minecraft and I hugged him from behind for a long time and we just cried and I told him that I was sorry for doing that to him and I promised that I would never do that again as long as he lived.

Then I went into my office and got on the ground to say hi to each of my dogs who you could tell had really missed me and they weren’t sure how to be with me. Hoover just hung his head down and let me cry on his shoulder and Lucky licked the tears from my face before having enough of that nonsense and rolled over for a belly rub.

Wes came into my office and we talked a little bit about where I’d been. I asked him if he wanted to know everything that happened and he said he was good with knowing just what he knew but he confessed he had a pretty good idea of what I did.

I was so forlorn and fragile and scared and overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do so I asked Wes if he wanted to go play with the Polaroid camera with me so we went outside and wasted a pack of film. Then he decided to go back to playing Minecraft with his friends just as Blake was getting off of work (he works from home a lot). When he was done, I asked if we could go for a drive because I was just so fucked up trying to process everything that had happened and even though I’d only been out of the hospital for maybe 4 hours, I already wanted to go back and was missing my hospital friends and wondering what they were doing. I needed to calm down and like I said earlier, going for a drive usually calms me.

It’s now the end of day one of being out of the hospital. We navigated the Children’s Aid visit today successfully and the social worker dude is a really nice, understanding guy who is more than welcome to be all up in my business. I gave him my consent to talk to my family doctor and my psychiatrist after I talk to her in September and he told me that he’d actually heard really good things about her so that was reassuring. He also advocated for Catholic Family Services counseling.

So that’s the story up until now. Thursday (tomorrow) I get one day to breathe and then on Friday I have to deal with the police and the court and the charge(s?) being brought against me.

Y’know when you get so mad at your husband you want to kill him and you tell him so but you’d obviously never really do it? Yeah, don’t casually admit to that in front of a certain type of cop because guess what! Admitting out loud that you’d like to murder anyone is a crime in Canada and not just a phrase and Friday I have to go to the police station to turn myself in to be formally charged with whatever they end up charging me with and then they’ll escort me to the courthouse where there’s a special court for mentally ill people and I’ll meet my lawyer who we chose because she had her dogs on her “About Me” page on her website and she’s theoretically going to do all the talking for me. Blake’s going post bail if there is any. The judge could throw the charges out completely or they could stick and I’ll have a criminal record. I’ve never been in trouble with the police before and was clearly not in my right mind so the odds of anything serious happening to me like jail time or even anything other than the counseling and stuff that’s already in place is pretty slim, but being separated from Blake and going through the booking and mugshot process and being detained and in court all by myself is going to be traumatic for me considering I can’t even walk to the end of my driveway to get the newspaper or go to the grocery store or even talk to my own shrink by myself, and the bad cop from the day I tried to kill myself, the person who was the very tipping point for me to say “fuck it, let’s do this” and swallow 100 pills by his escalating the situation and being a power trippy bear instead of a compassionate human being responding to a mentally Ill person under duress, is probably going to be there to purposely work against me.

So that’s what happened and where I am. It is now 12:14am Thursday morning and I’m about to open an internet browser to engage in my own form of ASMR while still ignoring the 396 e-mails in my inbox and the 227 Facebook notifications I have according to my phone because I just can’t deal with that right now but hopefully I can start the cleanup process when I wake up. I’m not sure when I’m going to be ready to communicate 1-on-1 with people because I’m scared people are judging me and looking down on me and secretly (or hell, openly) wishing the pills had been successful. I’m scared that by telling the world that the Children’s Aid is involved with my family that people will assume I’m white trash and this is just yet another dramatic saga of my pathetic, trainwreck life. I’m scared because I know that no matter how much my friends are going to want to be there for me, I really don’t think any of them have ever been in a situation this fucked up. I mean, everyone has their stuff, but in all my years of talking openly about my depression and persistent suicidal thoughts on the internet and social media, not one person I know has been able to really say, “yeah, I know how you feel” so expecting anyone to be like that now is just dumb. And even the ones who try…they’ve all known me for over 15 years and in that time, they’ve seen me have two major mental health issues requiring hospitalization as an adult. I can’t say the same for almost any of them and trying to commit suicide for real, as an adult making a completely rational decision, is a whole other animal entirely.

The Children’s Aid social worker, named Anthony, when I told him some of my fears about being a bad mom on so many levels and being judged by everyone, just said, “you would be shocked if you knew how many and what kind of families we are involved with” so I’m taking him at his word, that sometimes shit just gets fucked up and you need outside help to clean up the mess and do better. And that’s where I am right now: at the mercy of kind people and in the process of starting from scratch and building my mental strength back up – again – just like I had to do in 2006. Even though I said I wasn’t suicidal yesterday and promised Wes I would never go that far again, there’s still a large part of me that wishes the pills would have just worked because what’s ahead seems so impossible for me to overcome or even get through. Blake says the goal now is to feel grateful that the pills didn’t work and most of me is already there but the framework’s pretty shaky.

So far I’ve only been able to message my two best friends to tell them that I’m home and that I love them and that I’m sorry. (And that I can’t deal with the internet or deal with time periods longer than 24 hours.) Blake’s been keeping my boss mostly in the loop but mental illness is pretty outside of her scope just culturally, I think. My well-being seems to be her first priority though and she said she had my shifts covered for 2 weeks last week so there is no real pressure to come back right away. (I work from home doing customer service for a large website.) I was aiming for Saturday because that’s usually the most fun work day of my week, but also the longest so I think I’ve pretty much decided against it, especially considering I may be traumatized from the day prior. Sunday and Monday are my normal days off so I think I’m going to aim to get back to work on Tuesday when my work week would typically start at 5am my time. I decided in the hospital that I was going to talk to my boss about maybe starting an hour or two later than I usually do and just work 2 less hours per day than I did before all of this happened. Work was 100% not even remotely a factor in any of this. I love my job. I get validation at my job because I’m good at my job and my life typically revolves around my job, medication and proper sleep just to maintain sanity. I’m scared my boss is going to see me as unreliable or as the weakest link and somehow inferior to who I was before all this happened. That I wasn’t really deserving of the extra praise and responsibilities she gave me a few months ago or that she’d think that very thing caused me too much stress and that’s why I did what I did. I dunno. I have to e-mail her but I don’t want to until I can give her a firm, committed date for when I’m coming back.

And now I think I have to be done writing this, send it into the world, and let it be whatever it may be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(*originally they were going to send me to Penetanguishene Psychiatric Hospital which is just NO NO NO. I was lucky as fuck not to go there.)

 

June 29, 2015

#LikeAGirl

This won a Titanium Lion at Cannes this year (Canadian agency, yay!). If you haven’t seen it, take a look, the whole thing’s a fucking masterpiece. A billion times better than having a happy period, too.

March 20, 2015

Happy First Day of Spring!

Posted at 9:30 am in: Canada , Misc. , Music , Spring , the 90's , videos
March 19, 2015

WordPress Ate My San Francisco Post…

…long story short, I put as much faith in WordPress to save when I tell it to, as I do LiveJournal, and that was a big mistake.

So San Francisco.

The reasons I went to San Francisco are the following:

1. I wanted to try every form of weed I could get my hands on.
2. I wanted to spend time with my friend Steph who’s healing just like me, but in a whole new life in a whole new place with whole new people.
3. I wanted to take advantage of SF’s connectivity and CA’s produce in general and eat good, healthy foods I can’t get at home – delivered.
4. I wanted to spend time with my friend Kat and if you know Kat at all, which some of you do, there’s no “because” necessary. She’s Kat-fucking-neko and she’s one of my oldest cyberpals. The very inspiration for me becoming a camgirl.
5. I wanted to be in a place with sunshine and no snow during what is the worst time of winter for me at home, which happened to have also coincided with my birthday (based on flights/weekends).

Everything else beyond that was icing on my birthday cake. And oh what a cake it was…this was the brainchild of a little bit of Blake, a dash of Belinda and a whole lotta Kat…

Most of it is a reference to my favourite MFC model, who refers to her fans as “cyberpals”.

The green purse was a raffle prize of said model.

These are raffle tickets for said model’s raffle and the number 28 because each raffle ticket was 28 tokens because that’s the model’s favourite number. Kat bought me lots of raffle tickets but I didn’t win. (Long story.)

This MFC model calls herself an “internet sensation”, cuz she is.
I’m humbled my cyberpals would bestow upon me the same honour.

Kat threw me my first birthday party since grade 5 and my old school camgirl friends Sapphire and Artfag and Steph and their significant others all came. It was so surreal with all these old school camgirls in the same place. Like, I could barely speak. All I could do was listen. Especially with Camwhores closing and all that comes with that, I was just sorta there taking it all in. We talked and ate lots of delicious food prepared by Kat and Blake and then we streamed cake-eating at Camwhores. Steph got mushy in her card and lamented about how we’ve seen each other change and grow into like, “adult girls”, and it was super apparent looking around Kat’s living room at how much all of our lives had changed from 10-15 years ago, that the same really went for all of us. It is so fucked up saying that. That we did or do something that long. I remember Madison on my lap when I was on Portal 9.

I’m sort of spacey today. Camwhores is closing on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and I feel like I have to like, be there as much as possible, get in as much time there as possible, before it’s gone forever. I’d never be able to write a farewell post or eulogy to Camwhores, so I’m not gonna try, but Kat did remind me that once upon a time I had been writing a book on cam culture and I realized that some of it might be relevant now. I found a hard copy (cuz I print & never throw away anything, but lose digital files constantly), which Blake read yesterday and he says that the chapter on Jennicam is probably worth sharing as it has some relevance to what’s happening now, and the Camwhores chapter naturally. I’m not sure if I finished the CW chapter. Anyway, I was going to type up the Jennicam chapter and share it here when I got around to it and then either on my last show (Wednesday morning @ 1am-2am EST) or an impromptu time before, I would go on streaming cam and read the Camwhores chapter. I dunno.

San Francisco was good for me and Blake. It was good for us to be around people who are geeky in similar ways to us and creative in similar ways to us and who make and build and create things the way we do. There is good stuff on the horizon as a direct result of this trip, as I was pretty damn sure there would be. When I imagined the words “San Francisco” in my head, I imagined the letters made out of glass containing live blue lightning with a plug on one end for me to plug myself in and recharge. And that’s what I did.

Like literally, pretty much every day I woke up, smoked or vaped some form of weed and worked on some stuff online (but I took the week off of my job, so it wasn’t like, paid work) while watching US Netflix and waiting for people to come over to our airbnb, which you can see here. And I just hung out with my friends as if we lived there and this were any other day and it was great.

Edibles Day was pretty fun. Steph got us TWO brownies from a dispensary that had 500mg of THC in each of them (Black Mamba) and she predicted that for her tolerance, she would need to eat 1/4 to 1/2 of a brownie. We weren’t sure what MY tolerance was gonna be like because edibles had never worked on me before and the whole point of Edibles Day was to try and figure out if I truly was immune to them or not. I’d tried them a good 7 or 8 times and they’ve never had an effect. Doesn’t matter what kind of food it is sweet, savory, greasy, creamy, gummy – it’s never worked on me.

Here’s the brownie:

Here’s me and Steph trying to get the damn thing down:

It took about 600mg of THC (a brownie and 1/4) for me to be “stoned” – but I never got that “body high” people talk about – for about 20 minutes. I think the brownies were about $35 each so obviously this would not be a cost effective or realistic way for me to medicate. Do note that they legalized medical marijuana in New York recently, but ONLY edibles on the logic that smoking is bad for you. I’m living proof of how idiotic that is. Patients need choice, variety and freedom.

This is a vape pen with 500mg of cannabis oil.
This one was “Blue Dream” and was my first taste of California.
It is super duper stupid that these are not legal/we can’t get these in Canada.

This is wax, wax, glorious wax.
Just another form of cannabis concentrate.
You vape or smoke it.
Forget which has more THC in it though.
I think wax has more THC than oil which has more THC than smoking or vaping dried weed.

Weed & wax.

This is called shatter.
Another weed concentrate that is the consistency of taffy and I think has the highest percentage of THC overall.
This stuff you vape with a “rig” by doing “dabs”.

I got to meet cyberpal Erica, of former-Camwhores fame (the cute one from Florida with really big boobs, she’s a boxer now and careful talking about her boobs cuz she could fuck your shit up physically and virtually!), and she gave me a really nice refillable vape pen and some hash to put in it, the strain of which I remembered 5 seconds ago, FUCK! I didn’t end up putting the hash or anything else in it though because I didn’t want them to confiscate the pen at the border and Blake said the hash smelled a little weedy to him even with the container closed (I dunno how much drug dogs can smell). I can get hash at home, that’s actually the one concentrate I have access to, but the pen was a gift so it was more important. I smoked some of the hash in the bong I was using though and it was very hashy. In the container it was pre-ground, which I found interesting because it comes in circular chunks here.

Part of the reason I wanted to go balls to the wall and basically have a weed vacation was to test limits and tolerance and how you would medicate with the various types of things. I also wanted to see what California dispensary system quality was like compared to Canada’s pharmaceutical Licenced Producer system since Doug Benson and I got in a Twitter fight over it a while back. On his YouTube show this fall, he told his guests they were smoking a Sativa and that it was called “Blueberry”. At that same moment, I was smoking an Indica called “Blueberry”, THE Indica named “Blueberry” because “Blueberry” IS an Indica, not a Sativa. I verified this on Leafly. He DMs me, saying how there are no standards and Leafly can be wrong smileyface. (Note: Leafly is a former sponsor of his show.) He wasn’t following me so I couldn’t DM him back, but I tweeted @ him that that sucks and I’m sorry that’s how it is where he lives because it’s not like that here. Keep in mind, I am part of a legal, pharmaceutical program where specific, standardized testing is mandatory and there are product recalls & shit when they fuck up. It had never occurred to me that it would not be the same rules in California, like part of the state law or whatever, since medical had been legal there for so long. He throws a shit fit at me – again, in DM so no one else can see this – about how he’s been more places than me, that names and labels of strains are just slapped on and there’s no consistency from club to club, state to state. Then he blocked me “so we won’t argue anymore”. I was trying to have a conversation, who knew he was such a baby?

Anyway, he’s basically right, as far as California’s testing and labeling. Some stuff had been tested or had claimed to have been tested and those had THC percentages but it wasn’t consistent and because it’s not consistent and not legislated I’m not totally sure I’d take those numbers at face value. A guideline sure, but that’s all. I think packaged edibles are probably consistent because baking is a science and those companies are bigger than farmers and can afford to test. It’s in their best interest to do so. Also as I mentioned in the beginning, I smoke Sativas and the first oil cartridge I had for the vape pen was a Sativa as verified via Leafly, but the second one, called “Green Dragon”, comes up on Leafly as Indica even though it was definitely packaged as Sativa.

Anyway, it’s taken me forever to get this much written up and I started writing this before Camwhores closed and right now that’s all I can think about so I’m just gonna post this and hope it’s entertaining enough for y’all.

July 22, 2014

Meanwhile, back at the farm…

Hi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 22, 2014

#YesAllWomen #NotAllMen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’re Okay!!!

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

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

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

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

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

June 12, 2014

Election Day!

A pic I took the other day of how ridiculous the signage is.
There were easily 14 or 15 signs.
It’s like they’re having a sign war.

This morning I drove the kids to school because they were late and would have to run and Madison was wearing a dress. Since I drive right through the parking lot of the voting location on my way home, I figured I’d just pull in and get it done before things got crazy. I also really wanted a sticker that said “I voted!” because I’ve never gotten one and I always assumed it was because I always voted in the evening. Well. I did not get a sticker, but I did do my civic duty. All by myself. For the first time ever in all my 17 years of voting. So be crazy proud!

So that’s the good news…here’s what happened yesterday that almost made me title this post #YesAllWomen but I was afraid that if I used a “feminist” title, some people would be less likely to read this. Yesterday I grabbed Chinese food and went to Woodland Beach, which is near my house. At Woodland Beach, the parking is parallel to the beach, so it’s on your left when you park and ahead of you is a sparse evergreen forest with wooden walkways that lead to picnic tables or the beach itself. There was no one else there. I parked in the very last spot, right next to the water, rolled down my windows and smoked a joint while I paid for parking. I parked far away enough from the ticket machine that I smoked an entire joint getting there, paying, and getting back to the car.

I spent a bit of time getting myself situated; pushing the steering wheel all the way up, putting the seat all the way back, getting my book out and propped in such a way that would enable me to eat and read at the same time, getting my food set up on the passenger’s seat etc. Finally settled, I grabbed the box containing 3 egg rolls and started eating and reading. (I only eat the outsides of egg rolls. Sprouts really gross me out.)

Not 3 minutes later, a navy blue car that looked like an SUV but was smaller than one, pulled up about 5 spots away from me and 2 guys get out and start talking to each other across the hood but I couldn’t really hear what they were saying. But whatever they were saying, they both glanced at me several times. I would have pegged them at around 22 years old, give or take. I didn’t think much of it at first because I was stoned and there was food in front of me, so priorities, but as they disappeared and I lost track of where they were, the hairs on the back of my neck started sticking straight up. There I was: a small, unarmed girl in a secluded area, all alone. If those guys decided they wanted to rape me, they would have little trouble. I rolled the windows up almost all the way and locked the doors. I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought but there was no reason for them to park so close to me when it was so far from the ticket machine and there were 20 other empty spots to choose from that were closer to the machine.

This really really freaked me out and was very triggering because I felt vulnerable in a way that was identical to when I was raped. It also made me incredibly sad because I was doing so well with immersion therapy partly because I “decided” that I was going to feel safe without the help of anyone else because usually when I don’t feel safe it’s unfounded and part of mental illness. That’s not what this was. I mean, keep in mind that up until mere weeks ago, I never ever went anywhere without Blake to protect me from all the world’s dangers whether it be snotty salespeople or rapey guys. This place that I really really liked where I’d felt completely safe for weeks didn’t feel safe anymore and I wanted to go home and cry but I had just smoked a joint, so before returning to my book, I took multiple pictures of their vehicle, figuring that if they raped and killed me here, Madison, who would inherit my phone, would maybe put 2 + 2 together when she’s browsing my photos and those are the last ones.

I took anti-anxiety meds and ate my egg rolls but by the time the panic subsided, the rest of my food (Special Dinner For One, #2!), was inedible because it sat in a styrofoam container for too long and everything got soggy. :o( So there was $10 down the drain that I totally could not afford. Wes ate it when I got home.

I’ve decided that even though I don’t have dog seatbelts yet, one or both of them are going to come with me when I go to Rapey Beach. I’m not sure what either of them would do if I were actually being hurt. Hoover gets pretty fucking scary just when we’re playing or he’s grumpy,  and Lucky’s meek and a big scaredy cat but when someone’s at the door, he’s usually the first one there to check the person out and if he gets past you and it’s a kid he doesn’t know, he may snap at them, but that’s the only aggression I’ve ever seen in him. The dog has separation anxiety for god’s sake. That’s the reason why I may have to take both of them with me or just Lucky. Lucky’s fine at home without people as long as Hoover’s with him, but I’m not sure how he’d do without Hoover.

Anyway, that’s what happened yesterday that has me feeling a little gunshy about this whole driving places by myself business, but I’m not going to let it beat me because I’ve been down in the muck long enough. In fact, right now I am going to pack up my shit, pack up the dogs, grab a pizza to share with them in Penetang and bring it to Balm Beach with my book.

Btw, I was serious when I asked for ideas of things I can put in my lunch bag to bring with me to the beach. Yesterday I brought goldfish crackers for something salty and mandarin oranges for something sweet. I ate the oranges but I’m going to let the kids have the rest of them. I just don’t like fruit in plastic, it’s different, like the texture of the oranges is different. Mandarin oranges in single serve pull-top cans don’t exist anymore, it’s all plastic. Normally I buy store brand mandarin oranges in a can for 99 cents and those are good but it’s too much (for me) for one serving and I don’t want to have to bring a can opener with me.

Okay, peace oot.

PS. I’m reading “Girls At the Front” (finally, it was gifted to me a long time ago), which is about Riot Grrrl so I was actually reading that and listening to Bikini Kill while being scared strange men were going to rape me.  Which seems…counter-intuitive?

June 4, 2014

Intergalactic Planetary, Planetary Intergalactic

Yesterday, I executed my plan. I drove from my house, to Balm Beach and back. On the way there I got passed while doing the speed limit by an SUV and then later a motorcycle and then when I got to the beach, the guy on the motorcycle was there and I just thought…”you really had to get here 10 minutes before me?” That’s just dumb. Especially because weirdly, he left right as I was coming down the lane that leads to the parking area, which is where he was. There are also bathrooms there (that I’m sure are disgusting) so maybe he had to take a shit or something. Yeah I’ll go with that. He had diarrhea. In fact I think from now on, every time someone passes me I’m just going to assume that they’re rockin’ the ‘rhea. Other than those two things, which really aren’t even “things” at all because I don’t even give a shit, I was right so whatevah, the drive was pretty okay. I was super nervous the whole way there but not so much on the way home because it was around the time the school buses are out so I figured people would be going the speed limit anyway. I had a bit of a panicked moment at one point on the way home though. There’s this curve on county rd. 6 (the one that had the giant snow drifts I told you about this winter) just past the “murder house” (forget the story now but people were murdered there a few years ago, forget who did it, if I ever knew) that leads into a right-hand turning lane that merges onto county rd. 27 which takes you into my town. That curve snuck up on me so I was doing 80 km/h with this dude on my ass so I signaled as soon as I realized we were coming up to that turning lane and sloooooowed down probably too early but I don’t care because I knew that turning lane’s speed limit is 40 km/h. As I’m doing this I’m hoping the guy behind me knows what I’m doing and is turning left, while panicking about merging because I haven’t done it without Blake before. I aced it, of course and panicked for no reason so maybe I won’t panic next time at all.

As it turns out, parking IS only $2/hour at Balm Beach, however there is a $4 minimum. Ugh. Still $1.50 cheaper than Wasaga Beach, the one 10 minutes away from me, but how much am I paying for gas? I think ultimately it really doesn’t matter which beach I go to because between gas and parking it probably evens out. Blake’s looking into parking passes for both beaches though. Balm Beach issues 150 non-resident parking passes per season, so those could all be sold out for all we know.

Anyway, yesterday I got to the beach and scored the most cherriest of parking spots because no one else was really around. There was a couple on the actual beach with their little dog that would run into the waves and then run back out and yap at the water as if it were giving it shit. The beach is actually a horseshoe shape. I was on the tip of one side of it and there were some people hanging out on the other side of it, but other than that, there really wasn’t anyone around, so I got out of the car and walked over to the parking ticket thingy, placed my first ladybug and paid for parking.

I was worried about the ladybug because I guess I used too much glue because while I was paying for parking, it slid down a bit and I had to push it back up to where I wanted it and we were also under a severe thunderstorm warning and it was spitting, so I was hoping that it wouldn’t start storming and wash away my glue. Then I came back to the car and smoked a joint. For the record, while novel and cute, these papers are actually terrible to smoke.

…which lead to lunch (I ate a little less than half)…

I stayed in the car the whole time because at first I was afraid I’d get everything all set up on the beach and then the storm would happen (it never happened), there were seagulls EVERYWHERE and I just felt safer in the car. It didn’t matter though because I had water on two sides of me and the windows down and the sun came out and I just sat there and took my time eating my lunch because I paid for 2 hours worth of parking and had nowhere else to be. While I ate, I looked at Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on my phone while also watching the people around me.

There was a lady who had to be about 70 slowly walking a dog that also looked about 70, who didn’t appear to approve of my joint. Oh well. Then there was a guy in a truck who pulled up sorta behind me and to my left who seemed humoured by my joint (I’m pretty used to the smell so I forget that to other people it has a pretty distinct odor and he saw me trying to take the pic of the joint above, of which there are a million outtakes.) Then there was a couple who disappeared beyond the rocks in front of me and they stayed there for a good 20 minutes before heading back onto the beach and then I stopped keeping track of them. Having seen no signs that dogs aren’t allowed and seeing two dogs while I was there, I think it’s safe to assume Hoover or Lucky can come with me if I want them to. They’ve never really been in/near water outside of baths before so I’m not sure how they’d react.

After I finished my lunch (or rather, what I planned on eating of it), I checked on my ladybug and the glue was dry so I packed my shit up and split.

Today Blake is working from home and I only have $46.67 to my name from now until next Thursday so I don’t plan on going anywhere by myself. Today when he’s done working, we have to take my car to the gas station so I can fill the tank because I’m almost at the halfway mark and my grama always told me that you should never let it go below half and as long as I have ever owned a car, I never have. Blake has to come with me because the gas station in town is pretty crazy. Although theoretically I could go to the gas station up the road closer to Wasaga Beach. Anyway, he showed me how to pump gas but I have to see something and do something like, 3 times before it fully registers so for now he has to come with me. After we get gas I want to go back to Balm Beach because apparently there are 3 more beaches around there with parking that we’ve never seen that may have less people. This matters when you’re deciding between two beaches to get a parking pass for.

And that’s all I got! Peace oot!

June 3, 2014

Leave Only Loveliness

So a couple of weeks ago, I read this article about this lady in BC who had made almost 10,000 painted, clay ladybugs and her aim was for them to be a guerilla art project in that, if you sent her your address, she would send you 10 ladybugs and a small tube of glue and you were to stick them in public places. Mine came on Friday and you can find more info/sign up here. She said that as long as people were interested, she would keep making them. The project is called Leave Only Loveliness because a group of ladybugs is called a loveliness, like a group of crows is a murder.

Because the glue she sent was just white glue in a little plastic baggie with instructions to snip the corner of the bag and I don’t plan to stick all my lovelies at one time, Blake and I went to Michael’s on Sunday where I bought a 2 oz bottle of good glue for 97 cents with a 40% off coupon. Score! I already have two places I want to put ladybugs so my plan is to do that this week if it doesn’t rain. I hope it DOES rain all week, my garden could seriously use it, though.

Also yesterday, Blake bought me this fancy Thermos lunch bag and matching anti-stress air freshener for the car:

I told him I wanted a little cooler or lunch bag for the car because I thought that once my cell phone holder gets here from China and I have Waze, it could be interesting/good/maybe even fun to throw a few Diet Cokes in there, a sandwich and maybe a couple of cookies, take the car and get lost for a little while. If I have Waze, I’ll always know how to get home, so that shouldn’t be super scary. I haven’t used it before though so it’s totally possible that I get completely lost for real, but I’ve seen Blake use it 1000 times so I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay. I figure when I get my phone holder thingy, I’ll practice letting it tell me where to go when I go places I know how to get home from. Two things I’ve learned since venturing out of the house on my own are that A) I’m not as dumb as I sometimes think I am and B) people are generally nice to you when you’re giving them money.

After having the lunch bag for a few days and thinking about it, I think today I’m going to go to Balm Beach with is liiiiiiike North…I dunno if East or West because the road to get there is windy. I think West. Anyway, y’know how I constantly say I live “10 minutes away from the world’s longest freshwater beach”? Well, I do, which is awesome because it’s one of my favourite places to be, but the bummer is that I only ever want to stay for about an hour and you have to pay $5.50 for 2 hours of parking there which is pretty steep, especially when I’d be wasting half the time and it’s unclear as of yet if the provincial park annual day passes include parking or not (if they did, it’d only be $2.50 for ANY length of time if I went 3 times a week between now and the end of September, which isn’t unheard of, especially if I’ve prepaid for cheaper parking). WELL. Since I live on Georgian Bay there is also Balm Beach which is about 20-25 minutes away and we cased it yesterday after Blake was finished work; there is parking by the HOUR at only $2 and it’s just a more interesting beach. I suspect it’s also a busy-as-hell-once-school-is-out beach though, so I’m hoping the provincial park pass thing for Wasaga works out, but for now I think my driving goal for today is going to be Balm Beach and placing a ladybug. I’ve driven there once and to Penetanguishene a couple of times (you take the same road) with Blake, plus I’ve made him drive and show me the route to both those two places and Midland a few times now and honestly I’m a little overwhelmed so I think Balm Beach is good for now so keep an eye on Instagram and Twitter. :o)

I’m going to roll a joint for when I get there, pack up a lunch, pack up my lovely ladybugs and go! I really wish I had a dog seatbelt so I could bring Lucky with me safely because there are no signs at Balm Beach saying “no dogs” like there are at Wasaga and he would probably like to chill on the shore with me and eat a sandwich. Then I wouldn’t feel so alone. Anyway, sandwiches and joints don’t magically appear in the air (but that would be awesome!) so I’m gonna go get onto my project.

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