September 17, 2014

I was not a cool kid. I was a ghost.

I work a lot. That’s what I’ve been doing. My grama died in July, my shrink retired in August and just as life was normalizing, I asked for extra hours at work now that I have a car (which I got)  but we also hired 3 new people which means working overtime to train them. On top of that, a couple of Sundays ago, when I was in Militiagan for a wedding (more on that later), my boss messaged me on AIM and asked if she could have a word with me, freaking me out completely  at first because I thought I fucked something up and I hadn’t worked since that Friday morning so for it to have cropped up now, I figured it must be something pretty bad that she’d spent time talking to other people about. I wasn’t far off the mark about her talking to other people, but it wasn’t anything bad. She told me that there was one aspect of our job (our job is not just e-mail, it’s many things) that she thought I did a really good job at and she wanted me to sort of be like, the expert/final decision-maker/manager of this one thing. So that was really cool and I felt really good about myself (although part of me is terrified that she only thinks I suck the least at this thing because I also probably do it the least and now that I’m doing it MORE my fuck up rate is going to go up too). She told me that this would take effect immediately and it would mean that my workload would increase but that was okay because she gave me 9 extra hours per week that she wanted dedicated to this task. BUT I’m training and I can’t train people unless another senior person is working with me (or it’s really difficult to) because while training, it takes at least 10 times longer to get the work done than if I was doing it by myself so even with help, I fall behind on my regular tasks and I don’t have time during my regular shift to do my new task the way I think it’s supposed to be done so that means staying an hour-hour & a half past the time I’m done training, which was overtime to begin with. (Why, yes I *am* proud of that run-on sentence…) In a span of about 6 weeks, I went from working 3 hours a day to 7 minimum, which may not seem like a lot to people who work the standard 40 hours a week but for me that’s a lot.

Having said all that, honestly? Mostly I’m having FUN. I’m being CHALLENGED. I imagine this is what it feels like when people who like working out work out. All 3 new hires are personal friends of mine and I thought it was already pretty sweet working with the group I do because we’re all friends outside of work as well. I mean, I’m getting paid to hang out with my friends on Skype all morning in my pajamas and tell them about the job I love WHICH I NEVER GET TO DO WITH ANYONE BUT BLAKE and he only understands like, 75% of what I bother telling him. (Better than the 5% of his job that I understand, however.) Due to the nature of what we do, who we do it for and who we do it with, we’re just supposed to talk about our jobs as little as possible outside of the company which suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks because our jobs are ridiculously interesting (to me), so it’s awesome to finally be able to be like “WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! PORNO PORNO PORNO!!! XXX!!!” while listening to 80s & 90s rap at 9am. (That is the soundtrack of Sunny’s Porn School.)

My work day still starts at 5am though and doesn’t usually “end” (*cough*at all*cough*) now until, well, 2:30pm for me today. And to compensate for having to be “on” and a fully functional cyborg that early, for that long, I’ve been trying to go to sleep around 7:30 or 8pm so right now it feels like all I do is work, talk about work, talk to work friends, hang out at the site I work for and go to sleep tired as fuck, but I guess I’ve done more than that. Not much more, though.

Like I said earlier, we went to a wedding a couple of weeks ago in Militiagan for Blake’s cousin Helena and fiance Bill, which isn’t his real name. His real name is something super Albanian and unpronounceable so I guess they just call him Bill. They’ve known each other since they were 14 and now they’re 30, so that’s sort of cool. The ceremony was crazy religious and almost entirely sung. There was incense involved, which the priest did at Blake’s grama’s funeral too and I thought was cool and I tried to get video of it but the priest is actually like, this HUGE conservative guy who frowns upon anything newer than last century and there were a couple of signs saying “no cell phones” but Blake’s Aunt Pat was inconspicuously taking pics beside me with hers so I got a short clip of the dude on Instagram but not what I wanted. Oh well, so not the point….anyway, during the ceremony they blessed this and that and the President (no shit) three times, in English AND Albanian, all while singing a call and return with the priest and some lady and his incense shaker had bells on it and made clanging sounds and the whole thing seemed to me like he was trying to get God’s attention for a sec and get him to bless the marriage. There was some heavy old school bare foot and pregnant shit in the vows, but what I noticed in the ceremony is that the priest STARTED with, “do you take this man to be your…?” etc and they did their “I do’s” FIRST so everything after that they technically didn’t agree to in any legally binding way (not that a wedding is “legally” binding, but y’know, if this was a deal with the Devil they could get out of it on a technicality by traditional mythological standards).

I’m not going to post what I wore because I think I looked like crap. I also think me and Blake’s step-monster were the only blondes at the whole event.

At the reception, we got sat at the “cousin table” (and not with Blake’s dad and his bitchfaced wife, who got stuck sitting beside the priest all night heh) and I got to meet all of Blake’s Albanian cousins who have all grown up and have since left Albania for greater things, I guess. Blake’s cousin Shirley is a dentist living with a dude named Stiig who’s an engineer for Rolls Royce in Norway. Blake’s cousin Nonda and his wife Eva live in NY and have two little kids. They met in Albania and came over a while ago. Blake’s cousin Livvy is like, an international free spirit party girl type who lives somewhere in Europe too but I forget where. I wanna say Prague? Not sure.

What kills me about Blake’s Albanian family is like HOW into family they are. It’s so weird to me because my family isn’t like that at all. It’s hard to explain, but like, Blake just met these people for the first time since he went to Albania when I think he was 18 and they were weirdly close considering I’d never heard of these people before that day and I’m pretty sure this was only Blake’s second time meeting them in person. I’m pretty sure you could ask a favour from practically anyone in the room and they would oblige just because you were related and vice versa. There was a lot of hugging and picture taking like, with people who barely knew each other but they were related so HEY LET’S TAKE A PICTURE! NOW LET’S TAKE THE EXACT SAME PICTURE WITH 5 MORE CAMERAS FROM 5 MORE STRANGERS! It was weeeeeeeeeeeeeeird, man. Weird. It was the biggest display of pronoia in action I think I’ve ever seen. Just a whole lotta people conspiring toward good things for a whole lotta other people simply because they’re related somehow.

My family is more…strategic, political, hostile, a little phony and now, extremely small. Almost non-existent. And I don’t foresee that changing any time soon. God, honestly I’m not even sure I have the energy to have it any other way, so whatever. I haven’t talked to my brother since my grama’s funeral because I don’t know what to say to him. I’ve exchanged 2 e-mails with my mom, pretty much the same thing.

At the end of the wedding, there was a coney bar set up because when Blake’s grampa came to America, he opened a coney dog restaurant called George’s Famous Coney Island and this restaurant was the foundation for just about everything in that ballroom. I thought that was pretty neat even though we left before it got set up.

Other than that, the only thing I have to report is that I broke down and bought Sims 4 even though I had initially decided not to get it because I’d heard nothing but bad things about what WASN’T going to be included, but I was bored and I’m a sucker so I downloaded it and while I’ve only had a chance to play it three times, I think I like it. It’s VERY bare bones, a lot like OG Sims, and I kinda like that because the complexity of Sims 3 got so ridiculous with all the expansions that I lost interest in it a long time ago. The emotions system combines with the Sims’ needs, so for example, if my Sim is angry or tense (emotion) AND has to go to the bathroom (need), the interaction “take an angry poop” appears. “Wants” contribute to emotions. Anyway, I’m having fun with it so far and I have high hopes for future expansions.

Annnnnd I’m tired and have to go to bed soooooo peace oot. *yawn*

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.

July 14, 2014

People are strange, when you’re a stranger…

Thursday was my grama’s funeral. Wait, lemme back up.

Last Friday my mom called Blake and told him that my grama was going to pass either that evening or in the morning and that she didn’t need me there. Somewhere in the communication, I was told it was okay to go though, and I decided I did want to and I wanted my brother to come with me because whether or not my mom needed him, I was pretty sure I did. My Aunt Sandra and her husband John (who is my uncle obviously, but I’ve never called him “Uncle John”, so he’s always just been “John”) were there, along with my Aunt Betty. I hadn’t seen my Aunt Sandra or John in a really long time so I had no idea how that would go and my brain was pinging like crazy with like, PTSD type shit about my grama being on her deathbed in a hospital the same week I’d already been pinging because there is still some traumatic residue from being on my own deathbed 3 years prior. And obviously there’s just the scariness of death and the fact that this would be THE absolute last time I saw my grama ever in my life and she would not be the same lady I hung out with a couple of months ago on her last birthday.

I forget why but my mom texted me from HER finance John’s phone (yep, I’m gonna confuse you with 2 Johns; let’s call them M’John and S’John for “mom’s John” and “Sandra’s John” unless you can think of anything better) as she doesn’t have a phone of her own and she told me that I shouldn’t come to the hospital but lady, I just got out of the shower soooooo too late! If I had a WHOLE SHOWER, it’s serious business. I told her that I had a lot of things in my head from when I was sick that I would rather replace with something more like love and she said that she wanted my last memories of my grama to be spending the day with her on her birthday and I told her I’ll remember what I wanted to remember. And I didn’t say this to HER at the time because it wasn’t the time, but I didn’t want the first death I face as an adult head on to be HERS and my grama’s situation seemed pretty unscary by all accounts. (I was told she was sleeping.) So my mom said okay and I told her that Chad was coming with me and she said okay and by that time Blake had gotten home from work so we left to pick my brother up in Toronto.

To give my family privacy, I won’t describe the scene at the hospital despite really really wanting to. What I will say was that my grama really was just sleeping and she seemed peaceful (but not dreaming) and as things came to me about my own stay in the hospital, I asked my mom questions. For example, my grama was wearing an oxygen mask and I wondered if it was the same kind as I had when I was at St. Mike’s and as it turned out, I had multiple masks, breathing tubes and the trache which just lead to more questions but I didn’t want to bombard my mom completely. My Aunt Sandra and S’John and Aunt Betty left the room and my mom asked Blake, my brother and me if we wanted to say goodbye to my grama. I declined. My brother held her hand and said he thought his goodbye to her. Blake held her shoulder and told her not to worry because he’d always take care of me and the kids. She did not respond to either of them. I declined specifically because I didn’t want her to hear my voice and stay longer than she needed to because it was familiar and because our last conversation in May went like this:

{hugging}
Grama, raspy, breathless voice, crying and like, legit concerned:
Don’t even forget about me, Sarah.
Me, sort of stunned that she thought I *could*, whisper in her ear:
I could neeeeever. I love you. Thank you for everything.
Grama, crying harder:
You’re welcome, you’re welcome.

…and nothing at a hospital could replace that goodbye, for me, we said it. That was it. And this is what she looked like, wearing the birthday tiara I brought for her that day:

That day I brought her a trillium from the forest that I’d dug up the day before because it was kind of a thing between us:

Anyway, she died Saturday, around noon and like, everything between that moment and Thursday is basically one big giant blur of unadulterated panic because I would be seeing certain people for the first time in about a decade and I wasn’t sure who exactly or how they would be to me, but I did know my molester would be there. The one I’d said I’d forgiven but I guess that was just a lie I told myself to try and make it through the funeral because if it were true, I wouldn’t have been freaking out so fucking hard about just looking at him and being triggered. Blake promised me he wouldn’t be an issue. I decided to believe him because I didn’t see that I had any other choice.

Molester sat in the pew behind me, right behind my brother who knows nothing of this whole thing because we’d be in danger of having to bury two people that day if he knew. I just saw his oh-so-familiar profile out of the corner of my eye, pointed him out to Blake and then the funeral started. (Which was super traditional for our family and at a funeral home, not the “simple” graveside service I was expecting.)

When the priest lady or whatever she was, was done her funeral stuff and we were to exit into the salon rooms for food, they went from the front row back and I was in the second row. Blake switched spots with me and I didn’t really understand why, but he told me afterward that with the way it looked like the rows were exiting, molester would have been right behind me if Blake didn’t switch with me. So. Close call. Also I guess when I stopped before entering the salon rooms, Blake said it looked like molester was going to approach me so Blake stood between me and his line of sight.

I have never felt so out of body in my whole life than at this funeral. I was so completely unaware of my surroundings and who was around me. I just trusted Blake. I mostly spent the time eating sandwiches or looking at my shoes in the rectory area rather than deal with people in the salon rooms.

My Aunt Judy, her husband Uncle Clare and her brother, my Uncle Don were there, which I thought was sort of weird. My Aunt Judy lives pretty far away and they’re both from my grampa’s side of the family. My grama and grampa were long divorced before he died 11 years ago. I dunno, I guess it’s not weird, but I just wasn’t expecting them. I hadn’t seen either of them since my great grama Crittenden’s funeral and it was good to see them because I really like them both. I saw my cousin Terri was there (also my grampa’s side of the family) but I didn’t talk to her.

Near the end, we were about to leave and my molester’s brother started talking to Blake. I looked at my shoes because up until that moment, I thought my grama had told him what his brother had done to me and that’s why he was mean to me the last time we spoke. Then I heard, “Elmvale, eh? Near Wasaga Beach? Well maybe I’ll drop by sometime,” and I think my eyes probably got as big as saucers because the way he was talking sounded like my grama – despite all her threats and lies to the contrary – took my “secret” to her grave. Which is a very good thing.

After I got home from the funeral, I looked at Facebook and my cousin Cory (also grampa’s side, my Uncle Don’s son, around my age) reached out to me and sent his sympathies about my grama. I thanked him and said it was good to see his dad because I’ve always liked him and we both agreed that we should have some family time under better circumstances.

Then I was still confused about some things, so after I got my funeral clothes off and we’d been home for a little while, we got in the car and started heading in the direction of my mom’s, where we stayed and chatted for a  few hours and certain things about our family were…illuminated, and now I find myself wondering who my family is right now. Like, after this it feels like it might be bigger than I previously thought. For example, my Aunt Judy totally confessed to Facebook stalking me on a regular basis like a total creeper even though she “doesn’t use Facebook” haha That is SO my Aunt Judy, who I love to death, and who I would absolutely love to spend more time with.

I thought that when my grama died the family would fall apart, but from where I’m sitting now, it looks like my bubble at least, might be getting a little bigger.

July 2, 2014

Blake ate the misshapen fortune cookie.

Not sure I’m capable of a full post. Like. With paragraphs. I may just delete this line entirely.

I thought I was okay and then I saw this (which is awesome and I will read later, but you should read NOW…this post is a bummer and can totally wait) and it was like someone sucked all the air out of the room and I couldn’t breathe.

At least she waited until she probably knew I was done working or maybe she just waited as long as she  could, but this morning I got the first dated e-mail.

You can tell how serious or important something is by whether or not my mother’s dating the e-mails in the subject line.

Grandma. July 2 2014

Not unlike the e-mails people got 3 years ago this summer, “Sarah. July 2 2011”, events to which I had already been thinking about very recently, and as I figure I will for probably the rest of my life:

big sudden decline
grama (except she spells it right)’s been on oxygen since Thursday
increasingly more oxygen
now triple

{sarah reads: GRAMA CAN’T BREATHE, SHE MUST BE SCARED.}

palliative care asap
ps. no internet at grama’s. you may not hear from me until tomorrow.

Sarah pulls up her grama panties, e-mails back something pithy and decides priority 1 is that I e-mail work, tell them, again, that this time, for real this time, it’s gonna happen. I will need time off. I will e-mail with more info as I have it, here’s my schedule, thanks in advance. Luckily I am friends with everyone I work with, on some level anyway, and I’m not too terribly worried about work because I don’t think people have funerals on Saturdays and what are the odds she’ll die on my worst day? (Pretty good, actually, if the history of our relationship is any indication but it was work and I included our boss so I didn’t wanna get slap happy and umb out of shock or whatever, as I may be doing right now.) Time off no questions asked only happens for death and Xmas. I know my bosses would work my shifts if necessary. Both of them.

I am totally completely babbling but see? I’m wearing my grama panties. Work. The responsibility. The money. Priority 1. God I could throw up. I may throw up. The day is young and I am severely undermedicated. I’m betting my mom e-mailed her work/money/responsiblitiesthatarenotmygrama people before she e-mailed me, Blake and my brother. (Or she was wise enough not to take anything on in the first place.) We all have it, whatever it is. It’s AWFUL! No, scratch that, this is one form of crazy my brother was spared. My brother probably e-mailed her with “whatever you need, just tell me, I’ll be there” and like, wanting to be in the trenches and I guess I said that too, sort of, but my response may have included a colon, lowercase o and right parenthesis in succession. I also know for a fact that I am mentally incapable of going to palliative care and I don’t think anyone in the world would hold that against me. Or anyone who remotely mattered, anyway.

I got that far in my thoughts this morning before I had to stop. I thought about taking all my shit outside and working on my garden painting, y’know, IN my ditchweed butterfly wildflower keep off the fucking lawn garden as planned, or as I had planned all morning until I got that e-mail, but suddenly the rain expected at 1pm just had me making idle chatter with a friend who wanted to talk about weed (obviously) while I watched this awesomely shitty Lifetime series that is now on Netflix called Witches of East End and I had just finished the series 1 finale, knowing full well that season 2 was not on Netflix, and may not even exist so I had to come online to know, did it get cancelled? Because it was just SO awesomely shitty that I couldn’t imagine/really hoped there would be a season 2. I got as far as “set to premiere on July 6, 2014” on the Wikipedia page, stopped reading because I literally want to know nothing, and flipped to Facebook because okay, TV is over, now what?

oh. hi there “Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire“.

welcome, sheer fucking panic because I didn’t even think of clothes.

And then I came here because I couldn’t even get past the first paragraph of the article before having my worst panic attack in recent history.

I am good for one day of public viewing, unless it’s okay to wear the same thing multiple days in a row or it’s okay to wear white/off-white. (Is it?)
Madison will need clothes. As long as it doesn’t rain, we can work around her Docs.
Wes will need clothes from the ground up.
Blake would prefer no clothes, but has a few suits to choose mix/match/dowhateverboysdo from.
He will need shoes, an expense he’s needed for a while that I keep telling him to get that now he can’t put off. Although my grama might, if overhearing my inner debate as to whether or not he can get away with his orthopedic sandals, say, “oh! I don’t need it, I don’t need it”, because that is absolutely the very thing , when last I saw her, she would say. Ball’s in his court on that one. I’m wearing Docs.

Just texted my brother to make sure he has a suit. He’s a grown man, I probably don’t have to ask him this. Too late. Can’t take it back.

John & Chris are good.

That is all my people.

Everyone else can find their own canoe.

April 6, 2014

Rhymes With Orange

Can you believe that 20 years ago yesterday, Kurt Cobain killed himself? It won’t be until 2 days from now that the police would have found his body. I was 15. I’m listening to Nevermind very loudly this morning, the neighbours be damned, because Blake and the kids are at swimming so there’s nobody in the house to care. In Utero is actually my favourite Nirvana album but I’ve already been listening to the Nirvana tribute Milkin’ It (google! it’s amazing!) in the last little while, which is all of In Utero plus a few other b-sides so I’m a little In Utero‘d out.

So yesterday was potentially lifechanging. My whole life I thought I hated like, 99% of poetry. Basically if it wasn’t a haiku, I wasn’t interested and even those got tiresome eventually because they all blur together after a while. Until yesterday, with the exception of one poem I never even read, I just heard about, every poem I can think of ever hearing would fall under the “foofy” category. Or it was a greeting card. Or it was someone I know’s poetry and I had to be supportive but it was secretly really not any good. Or at least I didn’t think so.

See, something most people don’t seem to understand about me is that I basically have a grade 8 education. My grade 9 year – 20 years ago – was so messed up due to suicide attempts, crazy family drama that is more or less ancient history and 3 different schools, that I only (barely) earned 4 grade 9 credits (science, math, history, english). I got that math credit with a 51%. I think they passed me because they felt sorry for me. Then I got kicked out by November of grade 10 so any classes I had been taking, I never completed. I tried going back in grade 11 but I got kicked out again. In between, I did correspondence education through the government (I wonder if they still do that?) and I remember completing grade 9 art, grade 10 basic math and parenting. Correspondence was the slowest way ever to gain a credit, my god. I went to college as a “mature student”. All I really had to do was write an essay about how awesome at advertising I’d be and send a small portfolio of specs and then *boom* I was in ad school. But ad school’s not like “college” like…by the American definition.  Ad school was not University. Ad school was a 3 year program with only room for 1 or 2 electives per semester and I didn’t finish that either. The only electives I remember taking were a stress management class (holy bird class!) and a class on myths, but I know there had to be 1 or 2 others.

My point, and I have one I swear, is that poetry is not something I’ve ever really been exposed to. I was never taught poetry. To this day I’ve never read a poem by Shakespeare because reading Romeo and Juliet in grade 9 was torture enough. Anything not in plain english, I just get annoyed with. I have no time for foofy and “all poems are foofy”, said I, therefore I have actively avoided poetry like the plague for most of my life.

Until yesterday. Yesterday my brain split wide open and from within the seed of a spectacular flower begins to grow…yesterday I met Allen Ginsberg.

I have been so fucking wrecked since just before Christmas. Everything’s been grey, lumpy mush and I’m honestly a little surprised I made it out of this winter alive. I’m not sure it was totally the winter though, I think that was just the catalyst. Anyway, as I’ve been writing about, nothing had any meaning for me and the things I previously enjoyed doing, I just stopped enjoying and every day was (is?) just a series of wasted hours and minutes, staring at the internet, counting down the time between getting off of work in the morning and going to bed at night.

Blake keeps saying I’ve changed or that I’m changing and he’s suggested that I try changing willingly because it’ll be easier that way, and we’ve both decided that staying open to everything right now is probably the best way to go about things.

Enter Kill Your Darlings. We watched this Friday night and it’s the story of Lucien Carr murdering his ex-lover and the time surrounding that, meaning that the movie was basically about Ginsberg with a little William S. Burroughs. Harry Potter plays Ginsberg and I thought he did a really good job. I liked the Ginsberg in On the Road better, but that’s being nit-picky. At the end of the movie there’s an epilogue and it said that Allen Ginsberg published his first book, Howl and Other Poems, with a dedication to Lucien who in turn requested his name be taken out of future editions. I thought that was interesting. I thought the movie was just kinda “meh”, but it did get my brainmeats jiggling and by yesterday morning I was convinced that Allen Ginsberg was my salvation and I think I may be right.

First we went to the library to get a copy of Howl because I am poor as fuck and if I don’t have to buy something I’m not sure I’ll like, I’d prefer not to. The library did not have a copy. THE LIBRARY. DID NOT. HAVE A COPY. This shocked me, but it’s Elmvale so I’m not sure why. Next the plan was hatched to drive to Chapters in Barrie and buy a copy because I checked online and there was a pocket edition that was only $10. So that’s what we did. I also picked up a Charles Bukowski poetry book that I’d tell you the name of if it wasn’t all the way across the room and completely unimportant at this very moment. I didn’t even know he was a poet and I know absolutely nothing about him. I just know that I see a lot of quotes by him, often quoted by famous people I like, and I usually like them so I figured I’d give him a shot too. It took us at least 20 minutes to even find the “arts and letters” section of the store which comprised their entire poetry catalogue and was only one small, waist-high shelf unit. That shocked me too. They had a million copies of Dante’s Inferno and Carroll’s Jabberwocky. I’ve never read either but probably wouldn’t because long boring poems are long.

After Chapters, we went to a breakfast place called Cora’s that was actually pretty awesome and I wish we could go back today but like I said, I’m broke, and during breakfast, Blake told me stuff about poetry. He has an English degree but specialized or whatever in 18th century sumpin sumpin so while he’s read a lot of poetry, he hasn’t read a lot of contemporary poetry which is all I’m interested in because old timey poetry is foofy and boring unless someone proves otherwise with zero cost to myself.

When we got home from breakfast, we talked about poetry some more and I read the title poem in Howl, which was the first one. I cried when I realized that poetry is like art art, that it’s as wide open as that, both because I was inspired and because I was scared by the idea of infinity. The lens by which I view the world cracked and went from slighty fuzzy big picture to macro kaleidoscopic, like a switch had been flipped and the lights came on behind my eyes and it’s GOOD but I am so so scared that it’ll just be a fleeting thing so I’m going to spend my Amazon gift certificate on more Ginsberg and ask you guys, if you know anything about non-foofy contemporary poetry, what else I should add to my wishlist or find at the library. I think my only real criteria is no eroticaZzzzzzzZZZzzzzzZZzzzz. Or just tell me what you know about poetry! Thanks!

Blake is home so I’m going to go participate in the day.

April 3, 2014

Reasons To Be Beautiful

I don’t know how I feel today.

I’m ridiculously, stupidly, unbelievably happy about this Hole reunion things that I almost can’t even think straight or even move. Like, I don’t even know what to do. I feel like I should call someone to tell them but A) I don’t think my mom would care and she’s the only person I would ever call for anything and B) I’ve already posted the Rolling Stone link everywhere I can think of.  Speaking of Rolling Stone, this is my current cam image:

This is Rolling Stone dated August 24th, 1995 and it’s very special to me for a few reasons. Mostly, Alex gave this to me and it is one of the best things anyone’s ever given me in my whole life and that is because Lollapalooza ’95 was my very first concert and my first time seeing Hole  and one of the best, weirdest days/nights of my life  and this issue is mostly about that. According to the cover anyway, because I’ve never actually opened it or read it  because I’m scared I’ll damage it. I did just acknowledge on Facebook that this was probably stupid and I should just read it because it’ll probably never be worth anything to anyone but me, but even after I posted that I still debated and decided to just put it back in its safe spot with the Juxtapoz magazine with the Mark Ryden cover that I’ve also never opened (I plan to frame both of these at some point if we ever overhaul my office…)

Hole getting back together might possibly be the best non-important news I’ve ever heard in my whole entire life and I mean that pretty literally in that I cannot think of anything I’ve ever heard that was any better and I can also say that the day they announced they were breaking up was one of the worst non-important things that has ever happened to me and I mean that pretty literally too because at this very moment, I cannot think of anything worse. And when I say “non-important” I mean, in my whole grand scheme of things. On a life level, they are seriously bipolar moments. It may seem silly but they get notable tickmarks on my life line, despite the fact I never remember the dates of anything so I don’t actually know when they broke up. I just know it sucked to be Blake that day.

It’s also a sunshiney day today, I had peanut butter and toast for breakfast even though it made me feel sick afterward (but was okay after cannabis) and I’m listening to my “Like a Hole in the Head” playlist which is all Hole, so it’s pretty much impossible for me to be in a bummer mood, but this is going to be sort of a bummer post maybe because yesterday was a good/bad day.

By good/bad I mean that it was a good food day:

There were a lot of tears before most of that food happened but it happened.
Wouldn’t have if Blake hadn’t have worked from home yesterday and drove me to Clover for a bag of chips and Flynn’s for a sandwich, of which I ate half, but it did.

The unfortunate thing though, is that a food day like yesterday cannot be duplicated for a while because the chips are bad for my pancreas, despite taking enzymes, and are just bad in general and I rarely eat them and their kind of Havarti cheese is sliced sort of thick and it’s spiced so I can’t really have that very often either because it tends to make me feel sick, as does the mayo (I like mayo a lot but if there’s too much on something I can’t eat it; often wiping some of it off isn’t good enough either, it’s either made right the first time or I don’t want it which sounds bitchy but the problem is that if it DOES gross me out too much to eat because there’s half a jar of mayo on something, there goes ALL my eating for that day because any time I think about food, until I fall asleep and forget it, all I can think about is the thing that grossed me out). I drank the ginger ale with my sandwich to help me keep it down and I figured the extra calories would make the dietitian happy even though they’re shitty calories. Ginger ale is pretty much okay any time, but I don’t drink pop with sugar and I think diet ginger ale is disgusting so it’s basically only used as a medicine to me. There’s probably not even enough ginger in it to be beneficial, it’s probably just the carbonation that makes me feel better (as diet Coke also makes me feel better but sometimes not as well as ginger ale) but sometimes it works so I just go with it.

So yesterday was a good food day AND a mostly sunshiney day but it was also mostly a bummer day because, to put it simply, there is no joy in my life. Even until today I hadn’t listened to music since Florida because I am so sick of everything that I’d prefer silence. And that makes me sad because that is a first in my life, my life has never been without soundtrack. Normally, as long as I’m awake and as long as we’re not watching TV, there is music playing because silence traditionally drives me insane because it’s never really silent and I can hear every little goddamn thing. The neighbours are having their roof done starting today and all morning I didn’t even have music on to drown them out (they’re on a 2nd story roof, but only feet from my office) because until the Hole thing I just didn’t give a single fuck about anything auditory.

I have no art and that makes me sad. My whole life every teacher and my mom and just about every adult I encountered have all remarked on my so-called creative “talent” and I have been conditioned since I was wee to feel like that’s all I’ve got. That’s the only thing that makes me worth a damn. And it’s gone.

Sick of paint.

Sick of paper.

No interest in canvas – front OR back.

Even glitter has lost its lustre.

Polymer clay didn’t really work out although I haven’t given up on it completely. Actually I have a $48 gift certificate for Amazon.com and all I can order from there is books so if anyone has any recomendations on a couple of good books on polymer clay, I’d definitely be open to them. Right now I have this one and this one in my cart but I’m scared to waste the gift certificate on something I won’t like or use so if anyone has any opinions on those books specifically, I’d like to hear those as well. Amazon reviews are terrible and I don’t count on them for much. I chose those two books because they looked the most comprehensive and had the nicest covers out of the others I found when I searched. The others were very specific like, “how to make X with polymer clay”, which I don’t really want either I don’t think so that’s why I passed over those. I’m just scared that polymer clay will just be another dead end and I’ll have wasted the gift certificate on something I’ll end up donating to the library in the end anyway.

I have no interest in photography. Part of the reason photography was fun was because the people I was taking pictures of liked to see themselves through my lens. But then Madison started getting self-conscious I think and didn’t want me to take pictures of her anymore and I love Wes to the end of the Earth and back but he is the WORST model. He likes the idea of taking pictures and he likes seeing them afterward, but he is such a massive pain in the ass that unless we’re doing something specific, forget it. I took a couple of classes and got okay at taking pictures of my family. And now I think I’m done. This is not my thing. If I need to document my life, I have my phone and my iPod and both will upload to the internet immediately which is usually what I’m going to do with them anyway. Like, I see pictures EVERYWHERE – EVERYWHERE! – but I feel too self-conscious carrying the big camera around with me and most of the stuff I want to take pictures of you either probably aren’t supposed to and/or you’d have to ask permission and I’m not down with either of those potentials. I want to be the girl who carries a camera and a Swiss army knife but I just don’t think that’s me. I don’t know how to be that person.

And like, throughout all of this, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking, “did I ever really give it a fair try?” and the answer, I feel, is “no”. So there’s that bit of fucking guilt laying in the pit of my stomach now. A couple thousand dollars worth of camera equipment and no…whatever ingredient it is I need to be that person.

My girls. My beautiful girls. I decided that what’s on sale on Etsy is what’s for sale and once they’re gone, they’re gone and there will be no more for sale. I will only make boys and girls as gifts and this was pretty much decided when one of our friends the other night told Blake that he was expecting his first child and I realized…holy shit man, so many of our friends either have babies right now or are having babies right now or are soon to have babies right now that I’m pretty sure I’m only going to paint them for girls and boys I know from now on and not until the bun’s out of the oven, hopefully starting with our friend’s son Apollo. The only worry I have with that is I’ll feel pressured to make them for everyone, like maybe people who think they’re better friends with me than they really are, or that someone might feel offended that I didn’t make one for their kid. Realistically that already happens though, so I guess I shouldn’t worry about it too much. I haven’t decided on commissions yet. We all know how I feel about them and we all know that if I’m low-balled I’m going to be seriously pissed off, so it’s probably just best if I didn’t. Zazzle shop is staying. Truthfully, I find the Zazzle stuff more interesting than the originals and so far I’m my own biggest customer. I don’t understand why more people don’t utilize that when I’ve been hearing for years and years that people wished they had a more inexpensive way to procure my work. Originals are work, man. I can’t afford to buy the world a Coke. I’m still interested in the colouring book idea although I’m sure that by the time it’s actually finished, you won’t be.

All I have right now, creatively, what I’m clinging to, are these two writing projects I’m sort of not working on at the moment simultaneously. I loved writing at Froth but Froth has shitty hours (only open until 6pm/4pm on Sundays and it takes half an hour for us to get there; even with Blake working from home, the earliest we can get there is like, 5 and by the time we get set up with food and drink and are ready to work, they’ll be almost ready to close) and Froth is really expensive. We’ve scouted out Wasaga Beach and a few other places for nice, independently-run coffee shops that don’t care if you’re there all day/night and have wifi. And aren’t full of annoying kids. All. The. Time. And actually now that I think about it, we didn’t try the Starbuck’s that’s inside the Chapters bookstore in Barrie which is tiny tiny but most people get their shit and go browse the store so if they have tables at the back that I haven’t seen because I haven’t been back there, I’m betting that might be a more adult place to write that’s open relatively late and isn’t super expensive. Sucks that it’s Starbuck’s* and the music (among other things) is terrible but Blake swears to me that he thinks that’s the best we can do. I’d love to just write at Tim Hortons but they don’t have Coke products and I don’t drink coffee. I’d love to write at the Coffee Time down the street that’s SUPPOSED to be open 24 hours but really closes between 8pm-9pm, depending on how busy it is, but I don’t think Blake ended up liking it there. Can’t remember why. That place would be good because I could maybe go there during the day if I got comfortable enough there with Blake and write without him and they have Coke products BUT! I asked Blake if he would buy me a patio table with an umbrella for our front porch this spring BECAUSE, and I DECREE:

If I am going to plant the fuck out of my front yard this summer and put in all that effort, I am NOT going to hide in my house like a little fucking mouse like I have every other year, only scuttling out at 7am when no one’s around to take pictures. NO! I will sit at my patio table on my front porch and I will drink my own Coke products and eat my own free food (or not, as the case may be) and I will write there! Whenever I fucking feel like it! Have laptop, have wifi, have diet Coke, have bong – the only potential problem here is me. And rain.

This is what I’ve got going for me right now: flowers, two stories to work on and a patio table. And I have to wait for half those things at the moment so basically until then it’s Bummersville, population: me. Apologies in advance.

I am getting more and more excited about the garden the more sunshiney days we have, though. I can’t plant anything until next month but I’ve already sent Rugg my Keep Off The Lawn 2014 flower wishlist and we’ll see what happens I guess. I’m hoping for a lot of things on it, but mostly the lily of the valley “pips” which I think are like bulbs except they’re not dormant when you plant them like the ones you plant in the fall are? Anyway, these you plant in the spring and I specifically wanted them because they are the flower of May, which is the birth month of both my grama and her mother, my great grama, the latter of whom used to lay in bed with me at night and we’d list all the flowers we could think of. Then we’d list all the birds and she’d do all of their calls (poorly). Then I’d fall asleep. She had lily of the valley in her garden and because it was both her and my grama’s birth flower, it was just around a lot growing up and it’s an important plant to my family. I don’t have any and they also happen to grow well in shade, which is exactly where I need them because so far I can’t find anything else I like that will. If I recall correctly, lily of the valley likes to spread itself around if it’s happy, I feel like my gramas were constantly giving some away, so instead of digging up the daffodils and hyacinths in the front bed in front of our living room window and relocating them for something a lot bigger like peonies (which won’t grow in shade), I want to plant the lily of the valley all around them so they’ll fill in the whole bed and it’ll look full the whole growing season, unlike now when the daffodils and hyacinths peter out by May and then the bed lays empty or full of weeds for the rest of the season because nothing else will grow there. (Speaking of daffodils and hyacinths, I just checked and they’re both up and out of the ground about an inch and a half so far, so that’s pretty cool.)

Actually, that’s only partially true. Originally these ugly things were in that bed and the first summer I was here and we did the front garden I ripped them out of the bed because I didn’t like them and planted wildflower seed instead (which didn’t grow) but then I felt really bad at this pile of still-alive flowers I had dug up and didn’t know what to do with them AT ALL so I basically ended up just transplanting them a few feet forward. So dumb. Now they’re there and I still hate them every year and wish they’d die on their own but the fuckers thrive instead and I have no idea what to do with them. Suggestions welcome. I don’t even think I could drive them somewhere, throw ’em in a ditch and wish ’em the best. I’d feel like such a terrible person, I would not be able to live with myself. But every year they grow and every year I think about it…maybe I should let them grow, cut them down and decorate random graves with them…hmmm…

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got in me for  today. Well, there’s one more thing but it’s its own post and isn’t about me at all or even important.

(*I like Starbuck’s. TO GO!)

February 13, 2014

Swallowed By The Room

This morning I woke up and worked and then I looked at Twitter and there was a message from my friend Jade asking me if I knew what had happened to our friend Marylin. I wrote back that I didn’t know what she meant so she explained that she kept seeing “rest in peace” comments about her on her timeline on Facebook yesterday. So I went to Marylin’s Facebook page to see if there was any info there and there were lots of people writing tributes to her and yeah, “rest in peace” messages.

By this point I’m already crying because I’m pretty sure my friend is dead and I’m also scared because – and Marylin wouldn’t mind me telling you this – she had mental health issue and I was afraid her death was related to that. The idea of my friend being in that kind of state and dying just killed me and so I was crying, I click on her boyfriend’s profile and his most recent status update is about Marylin and it’s now apparent that she really is dead but the reasons were all very cryptic, probably not on purpose but because he’s in fucking mourning, but it sounded very traumatic to him whatever it was, which only reinforced my awful thought that it was mental health related.

Throughout all of this, I had left a message of love on Marylin’s wall and a condolence message on her boyfriend’s status update (whom I’ve never met but also messaged to introduce myself) and on the one on Marylin’s wall, a few people “liked” it, so I left a comment on my own status so those people would see it and I said, like, I wish I knew how this happened. My imagination is vivid and my emotions are passionate and by this point I had spent the morning crying, sleeping, in hysterics, crying and now writing.

A few minutes later, one of Marylin’s childhood friends messaged me asking me if I had any info. I pasted her the status update of Marylin’s boyfriend in case she couldn’t see it due to friends settings or whatnot and explained how I knew her. Well, as it turned out, her friend was actually looking for funerary information and knew what had happened. Marylin had been in a craft store when she had an allergic reaction to something, which put her into cardiac arrest, which put her into a coma that she would not be coming out of. Maryjlin’s boyfriend had said in his status update that she’d “soon no longer be with us”, which both her childhoold friend and myself take to mean that they were taking her off life support.  Her friend said that Marylin had had a lot of allergies to foods and fabrics and things, which would give her hives all over her body. I remember Marylin telling me about food allergies because she stayed with us over a long weekend a few years ago and we wanted to make sure everything we’d planned on eating was okay with her, but she had never gone into specifics.

I’m not going to write a tribute to Marylin or anything, because I think dead or alive, it’s best said by the woman herself:

My Angel
by Marylin Houle

You were sent to me
By an angel, love
To be my angel
In this life

I drowned you
In my need for you
But I’ve no regrets
In this life

Hold my hands in yours
Look into my eyes
Let me feel you
At my death

Whisper “see you soon”
Keep me in your heart
Kiss me softly
At my death

 

Garden of Eve
by Marylin Houle

Use my hands
To paint a picture of me
In an annual flower
In the garden of Eve

Sign your name with my blood
Then savor the rest
Lie your face on my tombstone
Your hand on my chest

Kiss my eyes shut for good
And look up at the stars
I will visit your dreams
I will never go far

I’ll lie with you at night
My head on your shoulder
ANd wait for the day
When I cross over

I’ll find you again
In the garden of Eve
In the annual flower
With my face on its leaf

 

I’ll See You Soon
by Marylin Houle

It’s not goodbye
I’ll see you soon

It’s just a sigh
It’s not goodbye

It will not die
This endless tune

It’s not goodbye
I’ll see you soon

 

These poems were from the book she self-published in 2004 called “Swallowed By The Room”, in which she autographed mine, “Fuck you! – Marylin Houle <3“, which I think pretty much says it all. I’m sure gonna miss that bitch. :o(

Posted at 4:15 pm in: Art , artists , Death/Deaths , Friends , Marylin , Sunnyland , winter