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:

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.

January 12, 2014

…And Then Ya Die.

So yesterday was Blake’s 40th birthday and I’m now officially married to a dirty old man. I’m going to be 35 on March 1st and I don’t know how I feel about that. I also like to think I’m going to be okay with 40 because I see 40 as this totally positive thing (for women, anyway: you’re almost done parenting children, you’re almost done having periods, you have more money and every year you give less fucks!) but the reality is I’ll probably be an absolute wreck. I dunno, 40 year old ladies, tell me about when you turned 40. I don’t even know what’s “supposed” to happen. I didn’t really see my mom turn 40. It snuck up on me and I wasn’t there for the actual birthday. She took 50 pretty well and I think after that you’re just fine with birthdays and wanna party and celebrate yourself every decade/5 years cuz you’re not dead! Or at least that’s how I figure it *should* be.

My mom e-mailed me on Thursday with a grama update. She’s doing another round of chemo, but this is a different kind than before in that it doesn’t have any side effects. Her main doctor says that with this treatment she’ll see spring and since my cousin informed me that my grama has a graveside service planned, I would like to thank all the gods and the new. Everyone I can think of who I’ve known that has died, has done so in the winter (with two exceptions) and they all had the decency to plan indoor funeral services without the actual burial part. (I’m being sarcastic, before my family crucifies me…sort of…) Funerals are miserable enough, but who wants to be standing in the cold and snow (and maybe even worse), sniffing and snorting and crying? Um, not me thanks. And it’s not to say she won’t die tomorrow and we’ll all have to suffer through a winter burial service anyway, I’m just throwin’ a few “Hail Satan”s that science and medicine have/will give my grama more time with her friends and family and to die in a better season, not just selfishly but in winter you’re never REALLY warm no matter how warm you are (okay maybe if you were in a sauna) and maybe this is just my preference, but I would rather die warm and cozy in my own bed with a window open and a breeze and birdies than this:

Okay that doesn’t look that bad maybe, but that was early in the morning before the real storm started…all I’m saying is that if my grama had have died this week, we probably wouldn’t have been able to go to her last hurrah. Like, how do you postpone a funeral due to weather? How do you postpone grieving?

Spring’s better.

And who knows, maybe there’s a contingency plan for if she dies in the winter and it’s a totally different plan. They did say last year that she’d only see spring and summer of 2013 so that’s probably what she was planning for and since they’re now saying spring 2014 because of this new radiation, there’s probably no reason to change the plan.

I do think winter is ideal for mourners as far as people dying though, because then the spring comes, grief lifts (at least a little bit) and it’s like life starts again. I’m only saying it sucks for the person dying and the mourners if there’s a graveside service, which are all temporary things anyway. Grief is a little different. It’s like an animal that lives in the pit of your stomach. But that’s a whole other post.

Anyway, that’s enough morbidity out of me today.

My brother messaged me around 11 o’clock last night to say that he was just getting home from the Raptors game we got him tickets for for Xmas, that he had a good time and we won and to thank us again. I asked him who he took and he said his dad, to which I said good, glad he got a night out. Which is true. I may not speak to the guy and haven’t done so in almost a decade and I may have a major grudge still, but I think I’ll always love him. He was the first dad I knew. The only dad I knew for most of my childhood and really? Honestly? The only dad that ever really mattered. And now I just don’t have a dad and I’m okay with that. Anyway, even when he was my dad, he would rarely do anything for himself like go to a Raptors game and the guy’s perpetually burnt out and sickly and old and a sad sack who hasn’t had sex in like, at least 11 years my brother and I figure, so like I told my brother in his Xmas card, if he wanted to give his dad a night out even though the man would rather spit on me than say “hello”, that was okay by me. (Not that he needed my permission, the tix were a gift, I just wanted him to know that he didn’t have to hide it from me and it wouldn’t be a point of contention since I figured that’s who he’d take anyway.)

Blake and Wes just got home from Wes’ first swimming lesson and apparently they spun out on the road and hit a snowbank on their way there. Apparently damage to the bumper but I haven’t gone out and looked. Glad they’re okay obviously. That shit freaks me out.

Okay I think I’m gonna go do my December webcam round-up post and then see what Blake’s plans for the day are.

February 19, 2013

She said “yes”. Kids too.

Just not yet. She’s still really overwhelmed. And according to my cousin Haylie, getting LOTS of visitors which I’m sure is a mixed blessing.

February 18, 2013

“Golden Girls” is finally finished!

More pics can be found over at Etsy and greeting cards, postcards, postage, stickers, buttons etc will be available at Zazzle in about 24 hours!

The ONLY thing I don’t like about this painting is that the paper I used for the middle part of their dresses contained real metal I think and it oxidized when I varnished the piece, which is why there’s a green hue to parts of them. I still think it looks okay though, it’s like a patina. This painting is definitely in my top 5 favourites that I’ve done and it all started with a trip to Michael’s, as the best paintings often do. The flowers are by Martha Stewart and I’d actually had my eye on them for a while but didn’t know what to do with them until I saw those two new papers in the scrapbooking aisle.

My two replacement jars of Triple Thick varnish came via UPS last week so I pitched the bad one I had left and used the new stuff on this piece. The difference in texture between the old product Michael’s sold me and the fresh product straight from the factory that DecoArt sent me was pretty crazy. The bad stuff was thick and sticky like crystallized honey and the new stuff was more the consistency of liquid honey. Anyway, they were still super nice to send it to me and I’m grateful because the stuff’s $10 a jar and replacing two jars for me would have been a burden.

My grama has a room at the hospital now and I guess my Aunt Sandra’s husband, John, and their son Tyler are going to visit her today. My cousin Haylie didn’t get up to see her on Sunday as planned because the roads were apparently bad. I think my mom’s been there every day since she was admitted and probably my Aunt Sandra too, so at least she’s not alone. As far as I know, no one’s asked her if she wants to see me yet but if she does, I’m going to try and go on a day when no one else is scheduled to visit her. I know firsthand how shitty the days are when no one can visit or they can’t come at visiting time or they can’t stay until visiting hours are over. I was pretty lucky in that I don’t think there was a day I was in the hospital where no one visited but there were definitely days where people couldn’t come until later or they couldn’t stay until visiting hours were over. My grama has a pretty big social circle so I expect that she’ll have a lot of visitors, but at the same time, she’s pretty proud and may not want people to know she’s there. I can see it going either way. Now that she has a room, I’m thinking about sending flowers. She always says roses are a waste of money when carnations are just as nice and last a lot longer so I’ll probably send those, if I send any at all. The hospital in Midland doesn’t allow flowers in their ER (there’s a sign that says so) so it’s possible that hospitals don’t want you sending flowers anymore. I dunno. I just feel like I should be doing something, I just dunno what. I’m not sure what she has there to keep herself busy when people aren’t visiting but someone should make sure she has crossword and word search books and magazines because hospitals are fucking boring. At least I had the iPad to keep myself busy but she wouldn’t know what to do with an iPad even if we got her one. I dunno. One day at a time. I think my mom said tomorrow morning she’s having the bronchoscopy to see what kind of cancer is in her lungs. I think that sounds terrible.

Blake ordered my new phone on Friday and I’m pretty fucking stoked for it to get here. I went with the Samsung Galaxy Note II over waiting for the new BlackBerry with keyboard because I wanted more screen space and the BB keyboard would take up 1/3 of the device. Also on Thursday I think, we went to the TELUS store and I played with the Note and loved the stylus. I’m going to whip people ate Draw Something, I tell you whut.

On Saturday I downloaded the new Tamagotchi app and on the first day I managed to kill my Tamagotchi so I started over and let me just tell you, this app is fucking obnoxious and eats your battery life worse than GPS because it’s constantly running in the background so you know when your Tamagotchi needs something. I’m going to half-assedly play with it until I kill this Tamagotchi and then delete it.

Anyway, I don’t really have a lot to say today so I think I’m gonna go paint and watch stuff on Netflix.

February 16, 2013

Tomorrow Never Knows

This is a difficult post to write and I kinda resent having to explain myself. Blake says it’s fair, but I disagree. I shouldn’t have to explain myself. But here I am, doing it anyway.

In Live Journal, in the comments on my last post, GirlRedfined said this:

I’m curious as to why you want to go see your grandma? I have been reading your journal since before Wes was even a possibility and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you guys get along or like each other. You’ve had her out of your life for many years already and it seems strange to want to backtrack now just because she’s ill. As for the idea of ‘leaving it up to grandma’, what grandma in the world is going to tell their grandkid they don’t want to see them? Even if she doesn’t, I don’t think she’d ever tell you that. I don’t know.. just wondering about the motivation, I guess.

So you’ve been reading for the last X amount of years and you’ve observed that my grama and I don’t get along. I get that. But were you there for the 22+ years before that? I mean, there’s a whole lifetime of stuff that none of you have any idea about and neither do a lot of the people in my family.

And she’s not just ill, she’s DYING. She is NOT going to live through this. The oncologist has said, based on what they know so far, that she has 3 months to 2 years and that any treatments she has will be to improve her quality of life, not to save it. There is no saving it. She is going to die. This is fact. Do you understand that? This is permanent. The end.

And ‘what grandma in the world is going to tell their grandkid they don’t want to see them?‘ MINE. Hello. Do you not remember? When we moved out of the apartment and into our house, she refused to say goodbye. She said no. She went out  somewhere, on purpose, and wouldn’t say goodbye. Then for the next few years she sent the kids birthday cards, which I never gave them because if you don’t have a relationship with me, you don’t get to have a relationship with my kids – especially when half of our fight was about her undermining my authority with Madison and teaching her to lie to us. She knew that. It was put out there. She had every opportunity to send ME a card or letter or phone me, but she didn’t. I think we both assumed we had a lot more time to resolve this. We’re both very headstrong women and to put it bluntly, we’ve been having a “stubborn fight”. Neither of us wanted to be the one to break down and approach the other.

Little known fact that I just found out: when I was sick, my grama wanted to donate to the fund my step-mom started to help support Blake but my Aunt Sandra talked her out of it.

(My Aunt Sandra is my mom’s sister and my cousin Haylie’s (mintof7 on Live Journal) mother.)

I believe my Aunt Sandra’s motivation was to protect her mother from me – as unnecessary as that may have been – as opposed to just trying to be hurtful. And I think what my Aunt Sandra’s trying to do now is the same thing. She doesn’t want me coming in, causing drama and making everyone upset, ultimately making the end of my grama’s life more difficult.

There are certainly times in life where you have to disassociate yourself from people for your own mental health, especially when you happen to be – at the time – dealing with an undiagnosed mental illness. This is something I’ve had to do several times throughout my life in order to protect myself from getting hurt. However, there is an organic process that goes along with that. For example, right now I’m not speaking to my step-mom and my father by proxy because my step-mom is pissed about some of the things I’ve written about her on my blog. When I told our mutual friend about this, I said to him, “I’ve learned that life is long and this will all play itself out eventually”, which he agreed with. Because it’s true. When you love someone and when you have a family bond with them, nothing is ever permanent. Both parties may say it’s permanent and it may feel permanent as it’s happening but I’ve learned over time that these things rarely ever are. Once both parties are healed enough, they come back together and can move forward productively from there.

If everything stayed the same, if she didn’t get sick, this organic process would eventually play itself out and we would re-establish our relationship at some point in a more healthy way. But now we don’t have that time. While it may not be the healthiest way, the easiest way, the best way, we have to do this now or we don’t do it at all. And I think both of us would be hurt if we didn’t do it. People are trying to help her by keeping us apart but did they ever consider the idea that us remaining apart could hurt her? Resolving this could potentially bring her more joy and peace than leaving this fight open-ended. And while resolving it would certainly give me closure, I’d certainly accept it if she wasn’t at a place where she could see me yet. But it should be HER making that decision for herself because she’s a fucking grownup capable of making her own decisions.

The actual source of the fight we’ve been in has to do with control. She was trying to control my life while I was also trying to control my life and her goal was to prevent me from making what she saw as mistakes that could potentially ruin my life. She was trying to get me into a productive life and make me her version of a productive member of society but while doing that she was making the direction I wanted to go in life more difficult and she failed to understand that I too am a grownup capable of making my own decisions. And those decisions – 7+ years later – have all been pretty sound. What she didn’t understand was that it was a conversation. For her it was her way or the highway. And with two headstrong people, everyone gets hurt in those situations.

She hurt me by trying to control my life, I hurt her by trying to circumvent her control and it was a vicious cycle. I had to remove myself from that cycle in order to heal and I hope she’s had that opportunity as well. Now, there are no control issues. My life is completely separate from hers. And I’ve done okay. I’m in a healthy family, I have a loving husband, who loves me almost as much as I love him, I have two amazing children who (I believe ) are amazing in part due to breaking said vicious cycle, we’re homeowners, I have a well paying job that I’m actually good at and don’t totally hate and we have a plan for the future where everything just gets better.

I want to go to the hospital and show her “this is my house”, “this is my family”, “this is what Wes looks like now”, “Madison has blue hair”, “these are the kinds of paintings I make now”, “these are my dogs”, etc etc etc. I want to show her that despite all the bad stuff she’s no doubt heard through the grapevine, that we’ve still done pretty well for ourselves and that she doesn’t have to go into the next life worrying about me as she’s worried about me my whole entire life. I want her to know that I can take care of myself. And I want to share the parts of my life she’s missed, I want to show her all the things we’ve created for ourselves.  I want her to know that we’ll be okay.

I’ve been alive for 34 years, as of 2 weeks from now, and certainly my grama and I have had ups and downs, but to totally dismiss all of the “ups” and only see the “downs” is to disregard the majority of our time together. In my opinion the healthiest thing would be to let her know that I value those “ups” and don’t just remember the “downs” and that I appreciated all of the happiness I got from the “ups” and all of the growing I did due to the “downs”. Because our lives are a collection of experiences, all of which are relevant and important in us becoming the people we are. My grama was extremely influential in the person I’ve become, for better or for worse. I want to remind her of the “ups” and maybe add a few more, while there’s still time, to help influence the person I’ve still yet to become.

February 15, 2013

A Rose By Any Other Name…

Yesterday was CBT. Only 10 people were there this time. Last time there were 12.

I really hate taking the cab. Like REALLY hate it and I think I’m going to stop taking it. Every time I’m in it I just want to cry and there’s no way I’m going to be doing this by myself. It’s just simply not going to happen so I think this whole cab thing is pointless and we should just stop. I see Rick next week before CBT and that’s what I’m going to tell him.

This week we learned about cognitive distortions. Here are the ones applicable to me:

1. All or nothing thinking: You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of being perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.

2. Overgeneralization: You see a single negative event as a never ending pattern of defeat.

3. Mental filter: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink the colours the jar of water.

4. Disqualifying the positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way, you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your every day experiences.

5. Jumping to conclusions: You make a negative interpretation even though t here are no definite facts that support that conclusion.

a. Mind reading: You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you and you don’t bother to check this out.
b. The fortune teller error: You anticipate that things will turn out badly and you feel convinced that your prediction is an established fact.

6. Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimizing: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your mistake or someone else’s achievement) or you inappropriately shrink thinks until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other person’s imperfections). This is called the “binocular trick”.

7. Emotional reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are. “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”

8. Personalization: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for. (Child brings home a bad report card and you assume you are a bad parent.)

So yeah that’s great & all but they haven’t told us what to DO about any of this stuff.

And anyway I can’t concentrate on any of it because I am an absolute wreck due to the situation with my grama. My cousin Haylie told me that she has 3 tumours in her brain and my mom says those are actually the secondary cancer, primary cancer is lung. This doesn’t make much sense to me because my grama was never really a smoker that I remember. When I was really little, she used to smoke cigarettes in green boxes that I think were called Export A but she quit smoking also when I was little. My grampa was a chainsmoker who smoked Camels but they split up when I was in maybe grade 3 or 4 so I would have been like, 8 maybe. She had definitely quit smoking herself by then, but if someone else was smoking, she would always either ask them for a drag or ask them for one. But only one. Is that all it takes to get lung cancer?

My mom says that there is no cure. There are treatments that will affect her quality of life, but she is going to die. The oncologist taking care of her says – at this stage of the game, with what they know – she’ll live 3 months-2 years with treatments but they’ll know more once they run more tests. Radiation on her brain could start as early as next week. They don’t really know what’s happening. As it is, my grama doesn’t even have a room at the hospital yet, she’s in a corner of emerg, and they’re not sure where she’s going to go from there. The radiation on her brain would happen at another hospital so she’d stay there while that was happening but my mom says they’re not sure about after that because my grama’s house doesn’t have a ground floor bathroom. I’m not sure what the alternative is.

I am SO scared for her. She’s a tough lady but she has to be out of her mind terrified right now. My mom says she’s “teary” and that bothers me immensely. I am going to visit, I think (it’s up to her), it’s just a matter of when and I’m not sure if I’ll bring the kids.  She’d probably like to see them but I’m not sure I want the kids there complicating things and honestly, they wouldn’t understand the gravity of the situation and would probably be bored. I can bring that whole stack of 5×7 pictures I had printed at Xmas to show/give her. I dunno. I just dunno. I’m angry and confused and sad and I just want to make everything better. And I’m really scared of making things worse. Like maybe she doesn’t want to see me. Or maybe seeing me will upset her. My mom said she’d ask my grama today if she wanted me to come. With my schedule, I can come pretty much any time and Blake’s work knows what’s going on so vacation days can be used.

All I know is that when Blake gets home, I’m having a fucking margarita and Caesar salad at Boston Pizza. Not my favourite place to have either one, but it’s close enough.

Here are some pics of my Valentine’s roses that I made Blake buy me from the grocery store for $12.99. They came from Kenya and I used my macro lens.

February 13, 2013

Happy Birthday Wes!

Wes turned 10 today. :o) Or at least he will be 10 at 12:52pm.

So my mom called this morning to wish Wes a happy birthday and she talked to him for a little while as he got ready for school and then she asked to talk to Blake. And then she told Blake that my grama, the one I haven’t spoken to or seen since 2005 for various reasons, the last grandparent I have, fell and hurt herself pretty bad and is in the hospital. She’s 69. And then I guess they did some tests on her because she had some weird symptoms for someone who just fell and it turns out she has cancer. Dunno what kind, where it is or how serious it is yet. This is literally all I know.

My mom told Blake to tell me because she couldn’t do it herself, likely because she was afraid of how I would react since, like I said, my grandmother and I haven’t spoken in 7 and a half years.

So yeah…that’s happening…

Posted at 10:41 am in: Blake , Family , Haylie , Kids , Mom , the antichrist , Wes , winter
October 9, 2012


I’m sitting here crying, literally, because I’m also literally sitting here, watching the clock, waiting for 4pm when the kids come home so I have someone to talk to. Because I’m lonely. I mean, I have friends & all, but I don’t have any friends here. And now that Ronny works nights and Alex doesn’t drive, we never see them anymore. The rest of our friends live in Toronto.

And moving is not the solution. If we moved I would be further away from Alex and not much closer to our Toronto friends if you consider the fact that I get off work at 8am and have absolutely nothing in my life to do until I got to bed at 9:30pm.

TV holds zero interest for me. We’ve been watching Dowton Abbey and that’s okay, I guess, but it’s a “Blake & Sunny show” because I don’t want to watch it alone. I have a REALLY hard time watching TV because it seems like such a waste of time unless it’s something that I’m super into and I feel like it enriches my life like Community or Doctor Who or even Walking Dead (which starts in 6 days btw – no idea if Ronny & Alex can come watch it with us as is our tradition of 2 seasons). Actually come to think of it,, those are the only 3 shows that even matter. SNL is a staple since I get off work at 11pm on Saturdays but if someone lame is hosting (and I stopped caring about the musical guests years ago when all these fucking stupid hipster bands with beards started popping up and sounding the same and the host always announces them like they’re some revered classical pianist worthy of worship – give me a fucking break)…anyway if someone lame is hosting, I’ll just go to bed. We record it but it’s Saturday Night Live. It seems to be missing the entire point if you watch it Sunday morning and all the best skits will be on YouTube the next day and if they’re any good they’ll make it to Facebook and I’ll see it then. We only record it in case we have to start watching late for some reason, like if we have Doctor Who to watch since Blake and Madison wait for me to get off work so we can all watch that together.

Anyway, my DVR right now is literally *all* Oprah’s Next Chapter (honestly, I’m just so sick of Oprah, especially because she asks the dumbest questions; she used to be such a good interviewer, now she’s just boring), the last two episodes of Doctor Who that I want to rewatch but again, I don’t like watching them alone, and about 30 episodes of Toddler’s & Tiaras which I usually save to watch with Madison but since I stopped painting pretty girls, because I was sick and tired of painting pretty girls, I stopped having the desire to watch pretty little girls on TV. Plus, honestly, I think the show’s gone downhill. It’s just way too over the top and I think the psycho moms are acting extra psychotic just to get their kids on the show or to win pageants or to be the next Honey Boo Boo (which was a terrible show; Madison & I watched the first episode and were like, “wtf is this shit?” and then I deleted them all from the DVR and made it stop recording them).

So TV’s out. So are movies for the most part because I can’t JUST watch a movie. It’s so very fucking difficult for me to just watch a movie at home. I can watch a movie at the theatre, that’s a life enriching experience. Plus you get popcorn. But movies at home are hard, especially if I’ve seen them before because I don’t paint pretty girls anymore and I don’t have anything to DO while watching. Except to sit there and watch which seems like a pure and utter waste of valuable time.

Not that sitting here crying and being codependent on your kids is productive either but I can’t help that. I’ve been saying it a lot because people seem to have forgotten but I am a sick person. I am not well. My body may be healed/healing (I say “healing” because I still haven’t had a period in 15 months so until that happens everything is NOT kosher inside me) but my mind is getting sicker by the day the greyer the sky gets and the more leaves fall from the trees in front of the house. Fall is the absolute worst season. Everything is dying. Not to be dramatic or emo or whatnot but I just feel it. I know for a fact that it’s the change in the light and I should really ask my shrink if I can borrow an S.A.D. light from the mental health centre, which I will probably do when I see her on the 26th, but that’s a therapy that happens over time and I’m pretty fucking dead inside these days. I stopped using the flower essence sprays because I’ve had a headache for the past 2 weeks that won’t go away and the only 2 things that are different is that I’ve been weaning off the hydromorph (yesterday was my last one) and I’ve been using the sprays. I’ve been 3 days off the sprays and 1 day off the hydromorph and my head is still killing me. I take 3 extra strength Ibuprofen a day and about 12 Tylenol 1s but nothing helps. Crying certainly doesn’t help, when I was little and I would cry, my mom would ask if the crying was really helping and the answer was always “no”, but I have little control over that. If I could change one thing about myself instantly, it would be to not cry at every. little. fucking. thing. I think cognitive behavioural therapy is supposed to help with that but I’m not there yet.

Want to know something super sad? So I bought this camera backpack and it cost me $125. It was becoming stupid to carry around both the camera bag and my purse so I wanted the backpack so I could combine the two, especially since Charlie had bought me two new lenses and it had compartments for them (plus a compartment up top for all my “purse junk”). Yesterday Blake helped me put all the camera stuff in it in its various compartments and then I emptied my purse of all its junk and organized it all and it’s been sitting on my desk ever since, right side up because it has a flat bottom, with my geocaching patch and my 1 inch buttons and Hello Kitty zipper pull and my customized Flip camera in the mesh side pouch, along with my flower essence serums and it’s all packed up and ready to go but…go where? I *can’t* go anywhere!

I wanted to go somewhere all day. I wanted to go on the trail by my house and take pictures with my new lens but there are scary construction workers in front of my house for one and for two there’s probably rapists on the trail at noon on a Tuesday or maybe just a person walking there dog which – not to minimize rape because I’ve been raped, repeatedly and I know how that feels – is pretty on par in my hierarchy of terrible things at the moment BECAUSE if I ran into either one type of person and they interacted with me in the way that those kinds of people would interact, it would freak me right the fuck out and it would probably be months until I left my house alone again. Can you understand that? In my imagination someone forcibly holding me down and putting their dick in my vagina (or worse) would be just as terrible as if someone walking their dog stopped to chat with me on the trail. I probably wouldn’t react the same way at the time (can you imagine?) but both instances would equally make me not want to go there ever again. It’s not right, it’s not rational and again, I can’t help it because I AM SICK. That’s why I want to bring the dogs with me bu they won’t listen to me off leash (they’ll listen to Blake) unless I have Milkbones maybe but we don’t have any and I can’t walk both of them at the same time and I can’t walk Hoover at all because he pulls. (I realize it’s my job to train them how I want them to be but I’m only one person in this house of 4,  I’m definitely the weakest link and I just don’t know how. Plus I’m kind of lazy and training a dog is also training yourself and that’s work. That would mean going on the trail every single day and risking them taking off, which would be my worst nightmare. And I can’t take pictures of things and hold a leash at the same time and i just can’t go on the trail to be on the trail, I have to be doing something, which is why I bought the camera in the first place.)

And I also literally think that the trail – even in a town of just 2000 people in the middle of the day – is probably full of rapists and thugs. At the VERY least, the construction workers would be staring at me, if only because they now know everyone on our street but they don’t know me and maybe one of them would talk to me and I wouldn’t know what to say back so they would think I’m an asshole and I would think about them thinking I was an asshole the whole way down the trail and I would start to cry and then I’d be scared to go home because I wouldn’t be able to STOP crying and I wouldn’t want the construction workers staring at some weird lady crying up and down the street.

But back to the backpack for a second. It’s big. It’s really big. And I’m really not big and I’m scared and self conscious that I’ll look weird or people will think I’m weird for carrying around this gigantic backpack around with me all the time. But I can’t have it both ways. I can’t move all my purse junk back to my purse all the time if I just want to carry my purse and the smaller camera bag with just the camera and whatever lens happens to be on it. Why do I have to carry around all 3 lenses all the time? So I just can’t win with this backpack but we already took the tags off it so I can’t take it back. And I did that on purpose actually, because it IS what I need, even if I don’t necessarily want what’s good for me.

So I have this backpack all packed up and I had from 8am-present to go on the trail and take pictures, which is what I wanted to do all day, but instead I pretty much literally sat and stared at the wall. Refreshed Facebook about a million times. Tried to find that supersonic bungee jumping thing on TV (not successful) but settled on an episode of The Office I hadn’t seen before and that half hour was about all I could stand for TV. I could barely sit through it it felt like such a waste of life, being a rerun. And now it’s 4pm, I can hear Wes in the driveway talking to a friend and making plans to hang out with the neighbour kid and Madison’s going to be home any minute. I’m mad at Madison so I don’t want to hang out with her until after she’s read the post I made this morning about her selfishness, which she’ll do as soon as she gets home because as selfish as she can sometimes be, she does read my site pretty religiously, if only to see what I’m saying about her but also because she’s an extra pair of eyes in my constant sanity checks. (I have to have Blake read everything I post because I just don’t trust myself to be healthy minded when I write things ever since I was literally psychotic on the internet and thought I was communicating with god.) Anyway, she’ll read the post and will do one of two things: she’ll either be mad at me back and not talk to me (which is fine) or she’ll feel bad and come talk to me (which is also fine) but either way I’m going to lose the light to be able to take pictures on the trail at a time when I could, theoretically, have one or both of the kids come with me.

And Blake’s not even going to get out of work, in the city, until 6pm so we’re fending for ourselves for dinner tonight. Then he’s going to Lush to get Wes Lemony Flutter for his cracked feet and me Veganese because I’m out. Then he’s stopping at a pharmacy to get Tylenol 1s because I’m down to my emergency purse supply of them and that’s bad news when you’ve had a constant headache for 2 weeks and you’re coming off major narcotics. Then, possibly, he may stop at a grocery store to buy Milkbones but I told him that’s not super important when IT’S SUPPOSED TO RAIN THE WHOLE REST OF THE WEEK so if I wanted to take pictures in the trail, today’s the only day for a very long time.

And yeah, I’m supposed to be doing immersion therapy and yeah, forcing myself to go on the trail today would have been immersion therapy but it’s too big of a step and there are no small steps in between my house and there, especially not with construction workers in front of my house all the way to the park ( where the trail starts) all the fucking time. My caseworker scares the ever-loving fuck out of me and I have a card in my purse with his name and phone number on it but I can’t bring myself to call because I just don’t like him and I don’t think there’s anyone else. And truthfully, he’s probably the best option BECAUSE he scares the shit out of me and I don’t think I can bowl him over with irrational, possibly bullshit excuses as I’m prone to do and I did to my other caseworker until she finally gave up on me. Like I said, I see my shrink on the 26th and I don’t know what to ask her about this. Like if I should ask for a new worker and run the risk of them being a push-over or if I should stick with the one I have even though he scares me. And why does he scare me? Because he asks you a question and then you answer and then he keeps on staring at you for like, 15 seconds more like he’s expecting you to say something else, but not really because he’s just boring a fucking hole through your forehead for no reason. Maybe he’s thinking, I dunno, but staring is one of my major “things” so this man is barely tolerable. (And yes, I’ve only met him once. His only two redeeming qualities are that he’ll probably legitimately get mad at me if I don’t do what he says to do and also that he’s willing to work with me via e-mail in some capacity. So I should probably stick with him. But then the problem is actually physically calling him, which I can’t do because I don’t know what to say so I’ll probably ask Blake to do it but he won’t know what to say either. Maybe my shrink can do it. But maybe not because that would be enabling. I dunno. I dunno. I dunno.)

And now Madison’s home and she’s being snobby to me so I’m assuming she either read my post at school or someone told her about it (it happens; there’s this annoying kid named Daniel who apparently announces to the class every morning what I blogged about the day before – hi Daniel, you’re an asshole!) or maybe she’s just being snobby because that’s how she is. If she didn’t read my post today at school then she’s surely reading it now.

My cousin about an hour ago asked me on Twitter, “whatever happened to that colouring book you were making?” and that’s a very good question. I told her I lost interest, which is true, but I lost interest because of rejection. I knew I would work super hard on it and if I ever actually completed it (which, let’s face it, would be a first) no one would actually buy it. In my experience, people say they’ll buy things but then they never do. “Oh if you paint X, I’d for sure buy it!”” so I paint “X” and it rots in my Etsy shop for a year. A $20 colouring book that I’d sell maybe 20 copies of, tops, just isn’t worth my time for all the work I’d put into it. The paper dolls idea was another one that I liked but it would be the same. Plus I’m just honestly sick to death of pretty girls. I’m sick of making them, I’m sick of seeing them. Pretty soon I’m going to take everything off my walls and down from my Etsy shop and make a bonfire in the backyard I’m so sick of them.

Although that thought makes me cry so maybe that’s not true. :o(

I just don’t know what to do. I’ve said that a lot in my life and yeah, I’ve got first world problems coming out my ass here but I live in the first world so these are my problems dammit. I thought that after I got better life would be different, that everything would start over and I would have a brand new life because “life’s too short to…” sit there and cry, not leave the house, not try new things. But it’s just turning out to be more of the same from before I got sick, the only thing that’s changed is that I work less hours (partially because I have to work less hours to save my sanity, partially because that’s all the hours available; I don’t think working more is the answer to my problems, I’m pretty sure that would just make things worse unless I had to work more hours to keep my job) so I have more time on my hands to do nothing.

And yeah, I worked in Lightroom for most of the morning. I re-edited all of Madison’s grad pics for printing and my friend Sondra challenged me to correct a photo of her that she just took this morning. Challenge accepted. Here’s her before pic:

Here’s her after:

I think I made her look artificially young, to be perfectly honest, but I also think I’m getting better at retouching.
It also takes a good friend to volunteer to let you Photoshop them silly.

So I guess I was semi-productive today and I listened to really loud music all morning and was generally having a good time. I even Blipped a time or two. But then I ran out of pictures to play with and the light inside our house sucks so taking pictures in here is pretty much impossible and I’ve already taken pictures of the dogs in the backyard and the kitchen and the kids weren’t home, and neither was Blake and I couldn’t leave the house and I don’t know how to use the remote for the camera plus I look like a bag of shit today so self-portraits were out of the question…I literally did nothing but cry and reload Facebook from about 1pm-present. I read half a chapter of the newest Sookie Stackhouse but even that felt like a waste of time, especially because Charlaine Harris is actually becoming a WORSE writer as the series goes on and she starts getting more colloquial  but in a totally overdone Louisiana hick way so all the characters sound stupid and then she “borrows” characters from the show or pieces of them and renames them and they’re all really obvious and it should be the other way around, with the show borrowing from HER, so if I can’t get through this book, which has been a real chore and I’m only on chapter 3, then I won’t be buying any more of them. I thought about having a bath but even that seemed like a waste of time. I knew that if I ran the bath water, I’d just sit in there and cry so I might as well cry and be clothed at the same time. Crying in the bath tub is just super pathetic and I couldn’t bring myself to risk it. I usually read in the bath and I have a million things to read but no interest in anything. I just have a serious case of ennui, I think. So very little holds my interest. The only thing I care about right now is photography and it’s the absolute worst season for it. Have I mentioned how much I loathe fall? The only good thing about it is Thanksgiving but I gave that up this year to go to Militiagan because I thought a change of scenery and people would be good for me. Not that I don’t love all the people we saw, but the only really good part of the trip for me was seeing Blake’s Aunt Pat, who I absolutely adore. And I was so fucking mad at myself because I forgot the camera bag when we went to visit her. Blake’s mom even called out to us before we left while we were getting in the car that we’d left behind a backpack but because she called it a backpack I thought she meant my actual backpack which just contained my hoodie and the connection that she meant the camera bag which I DID mean to bring didn’t connect. I really would have liked to have gotten some pictures of Wes and Pat so I could have printed one and sent it to her for Xmas. That was my only goal for the trip besides successfully working somewhere other than home and I totally and utterly failed. This is another reason why the camera backpack is a good idea for me. It has Ativan in it which I won’t leave the house without.

Anyway, I think that’s all the pathetic juice I’ve got in me. Madison wants to take pictures on the trail (actually taking pics was her idea, the trail was mine) and she’s choosing not to read the post I made about her this morning after I told her what it was about (or maybe she’ll read it later because I really want her to, I really need her to see, in writing, how selfish she’s been lately so she’ll understand) and she said she’d make her and Wes frozen fries and corn for dinner and me spaghetti so we’re good. And now I’m going to go take a crap, gather the kids (Wes is next door) and hit the trail before the light dies completely.

Sorry for making you read this.

PS. i still haven’t even started my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project. I don’t even know where it is. :o/ Another thing I could do but I have zero interest in. It’s not just ennui, I’m pretty sure it’s also depression.

PPS. Madison has decided that we’ve lost the light and she’d rather talk about the post I made about her this morning. Fair enough, but this is just going to turn into the exact same scenario tomorrow when I don’t even have pictures to edit to keep myself occupied.

September 26, 2012

Photo Ideas

While my files convert to DNG files, I’ve been writing down ideas for pics I would like to see or try to take, eventually…some ideas are harder to do than others both because they’re just plain harder and I don’t have the stuff to do it or I just plain old don’t have the lady balls to get it done. Here’s what I have so far, if anyone has any other ideas, lemme know (and yes, I realize some of these are pretty obvious):

~ Me & the dogs with the remote (where? kitchen? best light. living room couch? best background. office futon? best dog colours.) Not candids, frameable portraits!

~ Madison on a warm, sunny day maybe in Feb/March in the snow, in a fur-lined sweater. Blue sky, rosy cheeks.

~Sunny day, family, beach in *winter*.

~ Stormy day, beach in *fall*, family.

~ Geocaching in the woods in fall when the leaves have turned. Mostly Wes. Candids.

~ Spring/summer, the kids on the trail to Bishop Park. Candids.

~ Beach day in the summer. Family. Me too but I dunno how we’d do that without the camera getting stolen and us looking like assholes in front of everyone. :o/ Tiny Beaches may be better for this. Maybe Balm Beach. Candids and portraits.

~ DOGS w/Blake on the beach, running. Dunno what this one would look like or how it would be possible since dogs aren’t allowed on the beach. Also need an empty beach.

~ Madison in flowy, white Free People slip in the field (or *A* field) in the summer w/jeans & sandals. For god’s sake child, don’t cut your hair!

~ Pics of the outside and inside of Dino’s in Midland.

~ OF COURSE, one day, if I ever get brave enough, pics of women’s underwear and shoes beneath the doors in public bathrooms. I am obsessed with this idea and one day it will happen.

~ Alex & Ronny @ the waterfront in Barrie.

~ Alex & Ronny in the woods in fall, when the leaves have changed.

~ Group photo session of our family, Alex & Ronny, Deanna & Charlie aka “the gang”. Dunno where yet but this needs to happen.

~ Kids @ Bishop Park having a picnic. Madison in a dress, possibly the white one I wore to our anniversary if I can get her to stfu and wear the fucking thing and Wes in …I dunno yet. Will need to buy or borrow a picnic basket. May need mom’s help with food/plate styling.

~ Kids in the BACK field on a grey day in the fall. Super desolate. Dunno what to make them wear yet. Probably dressy clothes. Maybe Blake too. Downside to this is wind. But maybe that could be good?

~ My cousin Haylie and her horse Sierra in her new horsey home next year that backs onto 3 conservation areas. The issue here would be getting me there because I think it’s about 2 & a half hours away. BUT their new house has a pool for the kids and a hot tub for my Blake (Haylie’s boyfriend is also named Blake and is the same age as my Blake, so this could get confusing) so he’d definitely drive us all there for the shoot. Honestly now that Haylie and I have talked about it, I think I’m the most excited for this one. I really hope to have one of the lenses on my wishlist by then though.

And that’s all I have so far. What would YOU like to see?

PS. Does anyone know of a blog I linked a REALLY REALLY long time ago, like probably over 5 or 6 years ago, of a girl who had just started taking pictures herself, but who took pictures of horses and flowing water (long exposure) in Iceland? I’ve been googling all afternoon and can’t find who I’m thinking of. She also had a little boy and took really nice portraits of him. He’d probably be a little older than Wes by now.