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.

June 7, 2013

Smurf off, eh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, I love it. :o)

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

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

Meet painkiller addicted junkie artist smurf.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, lemme know your thoughts.

May 7, 2013

$10 Worth of Flowers

I went to see my grama and we brought her pizza. Unfortunately Stouffville Pizza, the best pizza on Earth, didn’t open until 4pm so we had to get Pizzaville, which was okay. I’m waiting for the last 2 pieces to heat up in the toaster oven as I type this. We also brought a cake but no one was interested in it so we brought it home. I didn’t notice until we’d already bought it that it was strawberry BANANA so I’m not touching that thing. The kids will eat it.

My grama got a quilt from this organization called Victoria’s Quilts which gives quilts to cancer patients because they get cold easily. There’s a card that came with it that I’ll show you. This is the quilt. There are 2 pictures of it because I think the face Blake’s making at my mother in the 1st one is pretty funny:

This is the card:

I’m always so jealous of people with nice penmanship. Mine fucking sucks.

After lunch, my grama wasn’t feeling well so she went to lay down and me and my mom and Blake sat around discussing “matters” when suddenly my grama called for my mom. My mom leapt up and ran to my grama’s bedroom and came back crying. She handed me a $10 bill and said my grama wanted me to buy myself $10 worth of flowers to fit in the vase I brought her flowers in the last time I came. I think the reason for this is because I brought her prints of 2 of the pictures I took of myself with carnations a couple of weeks ago. And also because she loves me.

The flower shop I like was closed when we rolled into Barrie (by 6 minutes!) so we went to the grocery store instead where they have a flower section and I got myself a $10 bouquet of pink sweetheart roses. I took pics of them because that’s just what I do but they’re not fantastic pictures or anything because the flowers are bright pink and I took the pics in full sun.

I am not a very good flower arranger.

My grama can’t be left alone anymore so my mom, Aunt Betty, Aunt Sandra and Sandra’s husband John have all been taking turns staying the night with her. Last night was my mom’s turn.

While my grama was laying down, we slipped out and came home and that’s really all I have to say about it, I guess. The palliative care doctor said she’s going to see spring and summer so my mom’s trying to get my grama to come to the cottage for a weekend just for a change of scenery. My grama wants to see my kids but Wes doesn’t remember her at all (he was 2 when we moved here) and Madison barely remembers her so to sit at her apartment for any length of time would be really boring and uncomfortable for them. I told my mom that if we could get my grama to the cottage, the kids could jump in the lake if they got annoying and my grama might enjoy seeing them having fun. Anyway, it was just as idea.

And last but not least, on Sunday I took this picture in my front yard. Weird how baby maple leaves look like pot leaves…

April 18, 2013

We Are Now Accepting Callers For These Pendant Keychains

This week has been mostly a disaster but I don’t want to talk about it so I guess I’ll tell you about Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, I got up at 4:30am like I normally do, worked my 3 hours and started getting everything ready to spend the day with my grama. The plan was to give her the best possible day, so we were at the flower shop I like right at 9am when they opened and we got her these flowers:

They actually look a lot nicer in person. That pic was taken with my phone, which, for an $800 phone, doesn’t have the best camera.

Then we drove a little over an hour & a half to Haugen’s and we got there before they turned on their “open” sign so I took some pictures. Here they are:

Greetings from sunny Manchester!

My mom said my grama was only “eating to please” these days and that they’d share a chicken and rib combo and my mom said my Aunt Betty would probably be there too so we got her a chicken dinner, then Blake also got a combo and I got a full rack of ribs, baby.  AND a whole strawberry pie! If I were dying ALL I would eat would be Haugen’s ribs and strawberry pie from sun up to sun down. Anyway, that’s what we got and then we drove about 40 minutes to my Stouffville, got whipped cream for the pie on the way (and Diet Cokes) and then we went to grama’s apartment and in we went.

My mom told me to be prepared for the worst because my grama was having more bad days than good days lately but she looked fantastic! I mean, considering the circumstances. She cried when she saw me so I hugged her and I said, “what can I do to make you laugh? do you want me to fart cuz I totally can!” because apparently she finds farts funny these days and so she started laughing and I gave her her flowers, which she loved, and Blake and my mom and Aunt Betty set out plates and started dishing out the food.

Then we all sat at the table and ate and we just had a nice visit. I can’t even tell you the things we talked about, honestly, it was just a good visit. She was the grama I remember from when I was a kid, nice and cute and sweet and all of the wonderful ways I know she’s capable of being.

I know she’s scared of dying though. That’s where the tears are coming from. And most of her hair is gone, all that’s left is white fluff, like a newborn chick, but her skin was back to normal from the radiation and despite the fact that she was looking a little thin and the hair, you wouldn’t even know she was sick.

It was a good day though, my mom explained. She has chemo on Thursdays so by Tuesday the “poison” is out of her system enough that it’s just a good day. Or a better day than the previous ones.

After we finished visiting for a little while, Blake and my mom dished out the pie and I put the whipped cream on and everyone really enjoyed it and that made me feel really good, to be able to give her this fantastic day full of some of her favourite things. She needs more days like that, she deserves them. She worked so hard her whole life…

…she worked so hard her whole life, starting to work in her father’s furniture store when she was in high school and then running the store after he died. She instilled this fucking complex I have where I can’t do anything “just for fun” unless I do a bunch of things that are productive first and even then, I can’t just watch a movie, I have to be doing something WHILE I watch the movie and this sickness in me, it’s just so wrong. My grama worked so hard her whole life, waiting for that magic 65 number so she could retire and finally have had worked enough to be able to “earn” some fun and then this happens. Blake said to me the other day, “do you really think she’s sitting there at night thinking, ‘gee, I really wish I had worked more’?” The lesson in all of this is to enjoy life as it’s happening and you would think, having been on my deathbed and knowing what it feels like to die, I would know this but it wasn’t until Blake phrased it that way that I finally got it. And I think I can get over this complex of mine now. Or begin to.

I am successful in life. I do productive things. I put in my time at my job and with my family (not that the latter is really “putting in time” but sometimes it feels that way) and I have earned the right to spend 6 hours playing the Sims if I so feel like it. I don’t owe this fucked up debt of productivity that I think I do.

The week before last at CBT, they asked if anyone wanted to share any of their thought records and no one was volunteering for like, 5 minutes so finally I said they could use one of mine. So I chose this one:

(Click to enlarge)

And they were all like, “why do you think this way? this is crazy!” and I was like, “I know!” But I explained to them that in my family, everyone owns their own businesses and when you own your own business and you don’t have very many – if any – employees, you’re in your store like, 9 hours a day minimum. Every day but Sunday. So the kids are all raised IN the store – my mom and Aunt Sandra were when they were little – and after school when you get bigger, you work in the store. You spend your Saturdays working in the store. That’s the only way you get to see your family! And because all of these people worked incredibly hard, they set the productivity bar pretty fucking high and this is something that for YEARS my grama would point out to me, making me feel lesser, making me feel lazy. Fuck, TELLING me I was lazy, even though I’d done 60 hours worth of school work that week but I didn’t manage to get my laundry done so it wasn’t good enough.

And so I developed this full-fledged complex about productivity. And I need to snap out of it.

And you have to understand that my mom was SO young when she had me and that for all intents and purposes my mom and my grama co-raised me so my grama’s opinions make up a lot of the dialogue in my head and that is a really unhealthy thing. That’s why I took CBT, to change that dialogue. I’ve been wondering why I did CBT and there it is, it’s to change the voices in my head that sound eerily like the heinous grama of years ago.

So yeah…Tuesday was a good day for both of us. The rest of the week hasn’t been so great for me. I’m on the rag like, bigtime, for starters. But I’ve also spent so much of the last 2 days crying and I don’t even know why. I’m just crying over everything.

On Saturday it’s Maple Syrup Festival and I’m showing my work at The Conservatory but I don’t know which pieces yet and I don’t have any business cards to hand out because it didn’t occur to me to have any made. There wouldn’t have been time anyway. I have to work at 2pm until 11pm on Saturday so I can’t be there but I’m going to try and be there for the morning at least but I’m crazy nervous. Like, needing medication just to write this paragraph kinda nervous. Brian will be there and I know Rob so at least it won’t be super stressful…I hope…Someone at something similar to this asked me what inspired me to make my girls and the only answer I had to give was “Toddlers & Tiaras” which is such a durrrrrrrrrrrr answer so help me think of something better in case someone asks again.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac arrived this week (thank you Jessica!) and I started it the other night. It actually reminds me a bit of my own earlier writing, just completely stream of conscious. I like it.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say right now. I think I’m gonna go play Sims until my work meeting this afternoon but I’ll leave you with this awesome picture of Wes I took this morning, of him doing yoga in his sleep…I think he’s attempting tree pose, what do you think?