August 6, 2015

Day One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– “Clumsy” by Our Lady Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

November 6, 2014

Yeah, I’d rather be a hippy than a hipster, what!?

Well, I *was* gonna show you a picture of this cool, old, US army truck that’s parked like a sculpture near my house but my gallery program doesn’t seem to want me to upload anything to it for some reason so I guess I’ll have to get Blake to take a look at that later to see why it’s not doing what I need it to do. Whatever, imgur for the time being. Behold, this awesome truck that I love so much I actually pulled over and trespassed on this person’s lawn/field to show you, which, for someone undergoing immersion therapy, is sort of a big deal.

I submitted a painting or, probably more aptly, a mixed media assemblage to Touched By Fire but I don’t think I got in because they originally said we should be notified by November 3rd if we did and I haven’t heard anything. That was before they extended the deadline until October 31st though so who knows? The piece I made was the biggest size they allowed so I knew my chances of getting in were pretty slim, especially when submitting so late in the game. Doesn’t matter though because I like what I made (but think I could have done better, of course) and it lead to two BIGGER ideas that I’m completely in love with and in the process of trying to make happen. The first part is waiting at least 3 weeks for samples because this shit is srs bsns, and within that 3 weeks, coming up with a solid budget which has been a lot harder to pin down than I originally thought it’d be. I’ve never spent this much money on an art project before though so I’m trying to be as accurate and frugal as possible but I’m dealing with wholesale minimum orders that I’ll only be able to meet ONCE so if I’m short on what I need, I’m screwed and I am THE WORST at math. I’ve asked many people to help me with the math and of the 15 or so answers I’ve gotten, including on Reddit, they’ve all been different. Vastly in some instances. I figure Reddit’s answer is probably the best jumping off point because if the ONLY DUDE THAT ANSWERED ME was wrong, he would have been downvoted or some other dude would have come in with a bigger dick to tell him he was wrong. Anyway, it’s been challenging but I’m pretty obsessed with making it happen one way or another, it’s just the “one way or another” I’m still figuring out.

I met my new shrinks on Monday. Yeah, shrinkS. Plural. I’m so lucky, I get two. The main one, we’ll call her Murphy Brown, immediately wanted to switch me from side-effect-free ziprasidone/Zeldox – my main anti-psychotic, the foundation of my mental health pyramid – with Abilify for no reason whatsoever that I can see except maybe she wants me to gain 30 lbs, which is just the tip of the iceberg with that drug. Fuck that and fuck her. It took me MANY YEARS of trial and error and metabolic syndrome, that outweighed any mental benefit of any drug, to find the right meds and right now I’m maintaining so fuck the fuck right off. I don’t have a nickname for the other shrink yet and she’s a doctor but not a full doctor and still in training or something? She looks about my age. I told them that S.A.D. has started kicking in, meaning that “we may need to go up by half a pill on my cipralex” at some point like my prior doctor said we may have to do and it’s not like this shit doesn’t happen EVERY SINGLE YEAR LIKE CLOCKWORK OR ANYTHING. I asked to borrow a lightbox, I’m going to use it – again, please fuck off with your bulldozer parked so close to my crystal castle.

So that’s how that went. I see the shrink-in-training in 3 weeks. I have no idea why or what I said to necessitate that. Hooray. Thrilled, I am, to have the privilege of answering 50 more random, nosey, irrelevant questions. Oh, that’s another thing, Murphy Brown suggested I stop drinking Diet Coke because it’s “SO MUCH CAFFEINE” and she said if I didn’t believe her I could look it up. Well. I did. When I got home. According to the fucking Mayo Clinic, a cup of coffee has 95-200mg of caffeine and a can of Diet Coke has 23-47mg which means that I consume on average the same amount of caffeine in a day as one cup of coffee, so again, I tell you, Murphy Brown please go fuck yourself.

I’ll stop now. Needless to say, the first visit was not a positive one despite the fact that I went in there with nothing but positivity because life’s going pretty good and good things are happening.

Like I said a while back, I’ve been working a lot. I now work 7-9 hours/day as opposed to 3. I’m still training people. Working all these new hours has enabled me to do something I’ve never done before: paid off my Visa. Then as soon as the final payment cleared, I immediately maxed it out by buying myself and Blake plane tickets to go to San Francisco for my birthday. Why San Francisco? Because Steph the Geek is there in her 20 Mission hippie commune. Because Sapphire is there. Because my friends Kat, Sarah, Quelyn and Erica are there. Blake’s sisters and nieces (whom he’s never even met) are close by in Tahoe. And it’s a medical state. With weird food we can’t get here. And it’s my birthday. So that’s why.

The plan is pretty simple: we’re gonna rent a place in the Mission District using airbnb with (ideally) 2 desks or work surfaces and a kitchen, that has a backyard or courtyard and we’re going to order crazy fruit and organic meat from this website Steph uses and basically just hang out with whoever and each other. Blake’s going to work on his book and I’m sure I’ll find a way to entertain myself.  We’re also going to rent a car and go to Tahoe. Not sure if that’s going to be an overnight thing or not at this point though. On the actual day of my birth we’re trying to have some sort of get-together with everyone…somewhere, because we’ll be leaving for home the next day. I don’t care about Alcatraz or the bridge. I would like to see some painted ladies. I wouldn’t mind seeing the other ocean. omg will there be tidepools? I’ve never seen a real starfish. I dunno, I just figured by the end of February I’ll probably be wanting to slit my wrists so somewhere sunny and warm (to me) with some of my closest friends seemed like a good idea since I suddenly realized it was a viable goal. And I realize I’m now in debt again, but it won’t take too long to pay off and I was pretty proud of myself for essentially saving up all of the money to do this. Or at least take the first step and order the plane tickets.

I have to figure out how to carry-on both my laptop and my camera because everything I’ve ever read/heard has said not to pack them in your luggage. Hrm. I dunno about this traveling stuff.

This week the new Anne Rice book came out AND the new Mother Mother album did too, so honestly, it’s been a pretty good week. Cried a little this morning, convinced that it was going to be a bad day, but it wasn’t. I also got the Lena Dunham book to read for myself, with context, what happened with her sister rather than rely on sentence fragments and the one excerpt the media’s been primarily focusing on to come up with my own opinion. My friend Tay also mentioned that Lena Dunham’s also said some racist things in the media about why there are so few minorities on Girls, which I guess I missed. I follow her on Twitter but like, as much as I follow any celebrity, which means I only read like, maybe 1/10 of her tweets. Anyway, I was interested in her book before all this but when I went to get the Anne Rice book, the Dunham book was only $20 and there was one copy left, so I was like, “fuck it” and added it to my pile, which also included Gone Girl, High Times and a magazine called Canadian Art that looked interesting.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANYWAY, it’s time to take my PM meds, find food, watch American Horror Story and go to bed. Peace oot, y’all.

July 22, 2014

Meanwhile, back at the farm…

Hi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 12, 2014

Election Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, peace oot.

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

June 10, 2014

Deep, confusing waters.

So guess what? Right now, right at this very moment I am writing this blog post from Woodland Beach, which is near my house and and a woody area before the beach with boardwalks and picnic tables, some in the shade (like where I am now) and some in the sun. I can hear the beach behind me and why it’s behind me and not in front of me is because I like to be able to see people coming down the road and coming onto the beach from this access point. I don’t like strangers behind me. Also the picnic I’m sitting at has a closer seat to the table on one side and one farther away from the table and I tried that, facing the water, and that distance away from my keyboard was just uncomfortable.

So yes. I am writing from the beach. This makes me pretty fucking happy, to be perfectly honest. I have 2 hours of parking and 2 hours of battery life on my laptop so chances are I’ll have to finish this at home, maybe even tomorrow.

I got my phone mount for my car and this has lead to multiple trips to multiple beaches using Waze, each with their own unique benefits. Like this one I can write at, for example. I can sit here and write while the kids swim. That’s awesome. Then when my battery dies, I read my book. It’s all good. Anyway, I’m not a “baby Wazer” anymore, I’ve driven over 100 miles so I’m a sunflower on the map now. OOH LA LA!

The first place I went with Waze, was to Blue Sky, a restaurant in Penetanguishene that I really like. The decision to go there was made because it’s the only place in Penetanguishene (which is farthest away from us in the opposite direction of Barrie) I felt I could theoretically sit down at, order a meal and pay and not completely freak out.

When I came down the street Blue Sky is on, there were only a couple of spaces on the street to park in but they all required parallel parking and I just cannot but even Waze was telling me to go behind the building. So I did and there were 3 spots, 2 occupied. So I parked there, smoked a joint and went around the corner to find that people had left and there were 2 empty spots right in front of the restaurant that I could have just pulled into and I thought about moving the car but I’d just smoked a joint and didn’t think it would be a wise decision, even though I could prooooooobably navigate that after medicating.

I go inside the restaurant and I wait to be seated. Every time we’ve ever gone, we’ve waited to be seated and a waitress would tell us to sit anywhere and we would. So I stood there and waited. I waited while 2 waitresses walked past me several times and completely ignored me. I waited like, 10 fucking minutes and panic started to creep in and I almost left but I found the teeniest bit of courage and the next time a waitress walked past me, I said, “excuse me? where may I sit?” and it was a younger girl and she was kinda snotty and she said, “you can sit wherever you want”.

I picked a table in the area where you’re surrounded by windows on 3 sides, which is always where I like to sit but it’s usually way too busy. I ordered a Diet Coke and peameal and eggs and played with my phone until the food got there. I ate some of it. I really like their peameal, which is why I go there when I want that, and eggs are eggs are eggs, but their homefries are SO lacking and they don’t have Heinz ketchup on the tables, both of which annoy the shit out of me. I didn’t even know ketchup existed that WASN’T Heinz (even fast food places use Heinz for their ketchup packets!) and I’ve never tried the kind they have (I forget what it’s called) but the jar is just a gross shape and the label is completely unappealing and like, if we’re in a situation where I don’t know it’s not Heinz, like when restaurants just have the plastic yellow and red bottles for mustard and ketchup, in my head that shit’s all Heinz.

I finish eating and I go up to the front to pay and the snotty girl rang me in and I asked her where I could find a bank machine because I saw something cool on the side of the road that you needed cash for. She told me there was one across the street at the convenience store that charged a $2.50 service fee or there was a CIBC and TD bank up the street. I asked her if it would be cool if I left my car parked behind the restaurant while I went to the TD and she told me that was fine.

Now.

I’m LEAVING my car at Blue Sky to walk up the street to the TD bank. Google map that shit. That is a long goddamn walk for someone who DOESN’T on a cold day up a hill the whole way but she didn’t tell me that. She knew I was leaving my car and walking to the TD bank. She should have said, “you might want to take your car with you because it’s not really walkable” but she did not. Holy fuck, I was dead by the time I got back to the car, but whatever I had my $20 bill and could get the super special thing I saw on the side of the road on the way home that I’ll post about another time.

See this is the thing, I’m DOING so much that I just don’t really have time to sit down and spend a whole day composing a blog post like I did before.

Anyway, that was my adventure in Penetang.

Friday was a PA Day for Wes and Blake said I could go to Wal*Mart and get a $50 prepaid Visa to use for parking at the beaches, so Wes and I went to Wasaga Beach to do just that because I didn’t want to go by myself and Wes wanted to spend his allowance. First though, he had to find out how much money he had in the bank, which meant stopping at the TD bank in town. There was a spot sort of down the street a bit from the bank where there would be a laneway and a no parking area in front of me and a car behind me, so all I had to do was pull in and back up. I tried, a few times, and couldn’t get myself the appropriate distance away from the curb to save my life. As it turns out, I was the appropriate distance from the curb legally and everyone I know just parks too close. There’s parking around the back of the bank so I just parked there.

At Wal*Mart I saw this awesome lamp that would be perfect for my office that was $25. I put it in my cart. Then I put it back. Then I put it in my cart again but before we went to the checkout I put it back because I just didn’t have $25 to spend at ALL, let alone on something like that. Wes got himself a pair of sunglasses and a chocolate bar and I got Milkbones because they had a giant box on sale and I wanted some for in my car anyway. As it turns out, Wal*Mart doesn’t sell prepaid Visas (weird) but the Foodland across the street did (weirder) so we went there.

Wes and I are cool.

When I got home, people wanted to know if I got the lamp because I Instagrammed it and I told them that no, sadly I did not and a friend of mine basically told me I needed it and sent me the money for it. I think putting the lamp back was like, good personal karma or something for doing what is financially responsible for once in my life and I got rewarded for it.

After Madison got home from school, we went  to the beach for a while and then we went to Wal*Mart to get the lamp. Where it was a LOT busier than it had been that morning and I basically had a panic attack and we had to check out posthaste. Wal*Mart is not a place I feel comfortable in most of the time but I think being there without Blake at a busy time was just too much immersion therapy.

Awesome lamp.

With all this driving and with all the things I plan to do, I simply do not make enough money to maintain this level of curiosity and to keep doing some things that, as it turns out, I really really like doing. I really really like packing a lunch and bringing a book and a joint and spending two hours warm at the beach but parking costs money and gas costs money and I was barely making it paycheque to paycheque BEFORE I had my own car. A couple of friends who have wanted to encourage me and who I guess like this “new” Sunny have sent me unexpected cash gifts/donations and I just wanted to say that that is SO SO SO appreciated and I am beyond grateful. I’m not asking for donations right now, so don’t get me wrong, but if anyone else did feel so inclined, there’s a donate button on the front page of my site or you can send me money through Camwhores (I think you can do that without being a CW member but I’m not sure). That said, I asked my boss if I could have some float hours if I could find places where I might be needed and she said that was totally okay, so I’ve found 2 hours a week that I can work extra and right now I’m trying to determine if I can regularly do that or if it can only be a sometimes thing. [From this point forward, I’m writing this today, Tuesday, June 10th. Couldn’t finish the whole thing at the beach.] Also this pay period, I ended up working 8 extra hours so I’m doing my best to be financially independent. The fact of the matter is, I have the job I have and work the hours I work because that’s what I’m capable of. I tried doing my job for 40 hours a week in the beginning and I just couldn’t do it. A few weeks before I got sick, I told my boss that she either had to give me some time off or I was going to have to quit because I was burning right out. After I came home from the hospital and was well enough to work again, she offered me 20 hours and that’s been perfect. I can commit to 20 hours a week. I can stay sane working 20 hours a week (99% of the time). My schedule is GREAT and even as much as I fucking looooooooathe Saturdays because that’s my marathon “do the same thing for 9 hours straight” day, it’s actually not that terrible as long as I am 100% aware of how the day is going to go, re: family and coworkers, and I usually am.

As I mentioned, Blake paid for me to get a $50 prepaid Visa, figuring that that would actually work out cheaper than a parking pass because that is 12 trips to the beach, if I only stay 2 hours. He doesn’t think I’ll go to the beach that often but I’m pretty sure I will, especially once the kids are out of school and we’ll definitely be spending more than 2 hours there. Blake thinks I’m dumb for paying for parking even though at this point, I’m just sitting in the car. We argued about it and he told me to do whatever I want and to not complain when he can’t afford another Visa right away. He thinks I should just do my thing and not pay and if a parking enforcement person comes by, I can pretend like I just got there and go pay or I can move the car somewhere else. There are 2 inherent problems with that and 1 moral one. First, pretending I just got there and paying would only MAYBE work once because they’ll see me there again, probably in the same spot, and I say “maybe” because when I get there, I push the driver’s seat back, tilt the steering wheel up and set my lunch up on the passenger seat. No one’s going to believe I just got there if I’m reading a book and I have half eaten lunch on the passenger seat. Secondly, when I get there, I pay for parking and then I smoke a joint so I can eat my lunch when I get back to the car. It may not be SAFE for me to just move the car somewhere else (where?) or go to another beach if someone comes around. The best part of being able to legally smoke weed is that if anyone bugs me, I’m RIGHT! And that goes for parking too, I want to be RIGHT when they smell the weed and check my parking ticket which DID happen last week, that exact thing. I am a person who seeks to avoid any and all conflict. And finally, it’s just dishonest!

Then later that day, I opened a spare fortune cookie I had on my desk and stopped worrying about Blake thinking I’m dumb.

So! My new favourite thing is packing a lunch and writing or reading at the beach while listening to music but I can’t think of good portable (and healthy) lunch things. Yesterday’s lunch was a multigrain tortilla with lots of spring mix, “herb and spices” havarti cheese (because I’m trying to live a little!) and roast beef. I also had a small bottle of orange juice and goldfish crackers. So I think that was a good lunch, but that’s only one lunch and I can’t have the same thing too often or I won’t like it anymore. Sooooooooo if anyone has cold lunch ideas, lay ’em on me. I’ll probably think most of them are disgusting  but maybe some will be good!

The garden is in a really ugly stage right now because my spring bulbs are still in the process of dying and I can’t cut their tops off yet, the wildflowers are only maybe an inch tall and you can’t tell them from the weeds EXCEPT the dandelions are growing fabulously. Most mornings I’m working, I’ll go out into the front yard when I’m done, water the sunflowers, Lily of the Valley and foxglove and pull dandelions for 10 or 15 minutes. That, plus Madison’s help, has kept the dandelions mostly at bay. I thought I was going to lose one of my foxgloves (I only have two) because the weather just wasn’t good enough to plant when I got the shipment of live plants and even though I watered them, once the foxgloves got planted, they just did NOT look good and then the one got down to ONE green leaf and I was sure it was a  goner but just watering it every day brought it back to life and now everything in that bed is thriving. Planting the Lily of the Valley with Madison was a moment. That’s like, our family’s maternal lineage flower. The old “Grow Dammit!” sign got warped and moldy so I’ve decided we need  to make a new one. The old one was done on canvas, which does piss-poor outside, just so you know. The wood frame warps and the canvas will grow mold. This time I got a gessoed hardboard that should hold up a little better and while I haven’t asked her yet, I’m going to ask Madison if she wants to help me design and paint it.

On Sunday we took the kids to Cora’s for the first time. Because Cora’s is about 45 minutes away, I usually medicate on the way and that usually does me, but because the kids would be in the car, that wouldn’t be a possibility, so I smoked a bowl before leaving the house and brought a joint with me for afterward. Wes wasn’t a huge fan of Cora’s but Madison was. I finished my food first, which is easy to do when you eat the least and they were almost done, so I went out to the car to smoke my joint while they finished and paid. So I’m sitting in the car with the window down and this car pulls into the spot beside me. I’m thinking, “fuck fuck fuck” because Cora’s is very much a family establishment and I assumed the person beside me would be a mom or dad with kids. I just looked straight ahead and kept smoking, sort of glancing at the car beside me out of the corner of my eye. A guy gets out of the car with a little girl and he happened to have dreads so I relaxed a bit seeing as he was likely one of my people. “Is that a joint?” he asks. “Sure is,” I reply. “Niiiiice,” he says and walks away. Made my stoner week.

Annnnnd finally, Madison got her G1 licence (learner’s permit) yesterday and is now licenced to drive with one of us in the car with her. We took her for her first drive yesterday in a parking lots and I only screamed once.

That’s all the poop that’s fit to scoop! Peace oot!

June 4, 2014

Intergalactic Planetary, Planetary Intergalactic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s all I got! Peace oot!

May 6, 2014

Sunny Versus the Volcano

So as I’ve mentioned before, I hate smoking cannabis and I can’t eat it. That leaves vaporizing. For those who have no idea what that is, vaporizing is where you have a device that heats up finely ground weed, which I *think* makes everything good in the weed (cannabinoids) evaporate (?) and it creates vapor that you inhale the way you would smoke but it’s a million times better for your lungs than smoking and you theoretically use less cannabis with a vaporizer than smoking it and definitely a lot less than eating.

There are all kinds of vaporizers on the market but they basically fall into two categories: personal and tabletop. A personal vaporizer is small, usually discreet and portable for medicating on the go; with these you use the draw of your own breath to inhale the vapor and they are powered by batteries. A tabletop vaporizer is exactly what it sounds like, it plugs into the wall, is usually about the size of a teakettle and some of them have a long hose (called a whip) where you again, use your own breath to draw the vapor out of the machine while others have fans built into them, shooting the vapor upwards and into plastic bags with special ends on them so the vapor doesn’t leak out and with these you “sip” the vapor out of the bag.

In the summer my friend lent me the tabletop kind with the whip and it didn’t do anything for me. Literally. I used it and nothing happened. A person I was with used it and got high as fuck on like, NOTHING, but that person is a lightweight so I figured I just didn’t use it enough or properly and I didn’t, at the time, want to use a gadget to medicate anyway so I gave it back to my friend. (And they told me before they lent it to me that “it’s not a very good one” so I figured it was the machine, not me.)

Then I became legal and since I was legal, I wanted to be able to medicate out in the world and I didn’t know how to roll a joint. That’s pretty much the end and short of it. Plus, better for your lungs, less weed etc. So I ask Blake for a Magic Flight Launch Box for Christmas as my main gift because I figured if it had its own really popular subreddit, it must be good*. He obliges and gives it to me early because I wanted to practice with it before we had to go to Blake’s work Christmas party. As I’ve explained before it didn’t work for me and yes I was using it correctly. I ended up giving it t0 my friend because it was useless to me.

At this point I figure it’s gotta be me so I start googling for reasons why nothing would happen and asking around and suuuuper long story short it IS me AND it’s the device, my tolerance is just too high for a personal vaporizer to be effective to me in any way, it doesn’t produce enough vapor in a short enough amount of time to be beneficial just due to its size.

Everyone I tell about this flat out does not believe me and tells me I have to try a Volcano. The Volcano, as my friend Steph put it, is the Cadillac of all vaporizers. It’s a tabletop unit that uses the bags and it’s $700 USD + shipping + customs & duty fees. It’s a pricey device. It’s not like I can just buy one and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, oh well, like with the Magic Flight, which was pretty inexpensive as far as vaporizers go.

One day I was on Reddit, looking at r/trees as I often do and someone mentioned this place in Toronto called Vapor Central which was “a good place to warm up” according to the poster. So I google and go to the site and it’s a “vapor lounge” (and yes I know the entirety of this post may be a repeat for some people, this is gonna be the last time I go through all the backstory) and at this vapor lounge, you pay a $5 day fee and with that fee you are allowed to use their Volcanoes and bongs and they also sell candy and pop. I tell Blake about it and all winter it ends up being one of those “meant to do” things that never happened.

Then my friend Steph comes to town and by “town” I mean Toronto (this time, “town” can literally mean the town I live in or it could mean Barrie, which is biggest city close to us or it can mean Toronto) and we hadn’t seen each other in a really long time so we wanted to get together. I don’t know Toronto AT ALL and wouldn’t have even known where to begin, but I floated Vapor Central as an idea, which she was down for and I blogged about that experience HERE.

I thought Vapor Central was pretty cool but didn’t feel I got to really try out the Volcano fairly because I was sharing with Steph so it was hard to gauge how much I was actually inhaling and because we were being social and sharing and stuff it was harder to tell if I was still medicated from before leaving the house or just in a good mood and how much I was actually getting. I did feel like pizza afterward so it did work to some degree but I was not the “high as fuck” I was promised by pretty much everyone.

Blake said that we should go back for an afternoon so I could use the Volcano to medicate and stay medicated as I would at home with my bong and out in the world with joints and if the Volcano was a viable option, he’d get me one, figuring it would pay for itself over time in how much we’d be saving on weed.

So Sunday we packed up our shit with the intention of going there and staying there as long as basically I could stand being there, and using the Volcano as I think I would use it at home. I brought my laptop, which only has a battery life of about 2 hours and it’s not worth it to get a new battery because the laptop will die long before any new battery would anyway, so I was a little concerned with what I was going to do to keep myself entertained while we were down there. I also had my phone, which we were going to use as a hotspot; the iPad and two notebooks, my working notebook and a new “all subject” one for more longform writing. At the last minute I decided to bring my laptop’s power cord even though I was sure there was no free outlet at the table I was hoping to get.

The drive down there was pretty uneventful and we parked at the same P parking lot as we did last time, just down the street from the lounge, but once we were parked and I had my bag in my lap ready to get out of the car, I started having a panic attack. It basically boiled down to feeling judged and not good enough to be at the vapor lounge because we’re not from there and we’re not regulars and we’re literally using them so we never have to go there again. Whatever, I took half of an olanzapine and two Ativan and after a while I felt okay and we walked to Vapor Central.

We get there and it’s on the 2nd floor of a storefront so we go up the stairs and immediately at the top of the stairs is a counter with a turnstile where you pay your day fee and go in. Blake went in first because I make him go in first everywhere (which makes him feel like people think he’s the rudest man on Earth but it’s either that or literally never go anywhere) and he pointed out that not only was the table I wanted free, but it had an open outlet that no one would probably notice if I plugged my laptop into. We pay our fees, claim our table and Blake goes to the back to get me a Volcano bag (you have to leave your driver’s licence with them so you’ll bring it back) and a Diet Coke. He returns with both AND Oreos, which have been my main sustenance lately. He shows me again how to use the Volcano (once the temperature is set, which it already was, it’s 2 buttons) and then he leaves to get a coffee next door at Starbucks.

We ended up being there for about 4 & a half hours and during that time I inhaled 8-10 Volcano bags and I got medicated enough to think trying both chicken shawarma and chicken souvlaki on a pita was a good idea (only liked the souvlaki but once it got messy I handed it off to Blake), so YAY TRYING NEW THINGS! ESPECIALLY FOOD! (That’s due to the strain though.) The problem is, it took me quite a while to get there. I’m a terrible scientist but I vaped to the same point I would have gotten with one bowl of my bong only it took me a long time to get there (hours) and the bong would have taken 4 minutes (I’ve timed it). That got me to the point of appetite stimulation, so that’s when I ate and then if I were at home, I would have smoked shortly after eating, if not immediately after, because if I don’t I’ll get sick (if I’m not already), so that’s what I did with the Volcano only the Volcano was ineffective for after meal use because it just takes too damn long. I was starting to feel sick from eating and the Volcano wasn’t really making me feel better fast enough that I got so annoyed with it that I figured I could sit at Vapor Central and hit the Volcano for 2 more hours and hope it worked or we could drive 2 hours home where I could use my bong and feel immediately better guaranteed. So we packed up and left.

I often feel sick first thing in the morning, which is why I get up so early before work, so I can medicate to be able to work but be clear-headed by the time it’s time for cognitive function. The Volcano would never work for that. I can’t get up THAT early for work to do nothing but sit there and suck a bag. I already suspected the first time we went to Vapor Central that medicating and staying medicated with the Volcano would be a full-time job and I’m only more convinced of that now. And yeah, I was using it correctly. Kinda hard to fuck it up. If anything, I was dumping out vaped bud that was still useable and overdoing it because I wanted every bag I inhaled to have visible vapor in it to be SURE I was doing it right.

I don’t think this is just tolerance though, I think maybe there’s something to vaping itself that just doesn’t jive with my system the way eating it doesn’t. Like maybe not all of the cannabinoids are released through vaping and it just so happens to be one of the ones that doesn’t that helps me. Who knows? Unfortunately there’s not a ton of actual science out there about this stuff, or at least not that I’ve ever been able to find. Just anecdotal evidence that some people can’t eat it and people online saying that personal vaporizers don’t work on them, but admitting that it could be a tolerance thing. Oh well.

 So that’s it. Volcano: case closed.

TL;DR Sunny is a cyborg.

(*this is dozy logic. Do not use this logic for anything.)

PS. In case you missed it other places, here’s me on Sunday trying desperately to get stoned at Vapor Central:

And here’s me on my very first legal 4/20:

April 22, 2014

Forsythia

I’m having a really hard time with this whole poetry deal. I find it incredibly frustrating. Right now I’m reading Collected Poems 1947-1997 by Allen Ginsberg more or less one poem every time I go to the bathroom (I’m not JUST reading it on the can) and I’m frustrated because I don’t understand why it isn’t more literal and why lines are broken up the way they are. It makes no sense. No one talks like that.  And even Allen has some pretty foofy rhymey crap, but I’m forcing myself to even read those ones because I think the only way I’ll understand why people write poems instead of prose (just say what you mean! fuck! dammit! Jesus!) is if I read it and if I don’t read it, I won’t be able to do it.

I figure it’s like comic books. I never used to understand comic books. They just didn’t make sense to me because the pacing of them pissed me off. The only comics I read as a kid were some of the comic strips in the Saturday paper, my mom’s For Better or For Worse books, which I now know are trades, and Archie Double Digests. I bought some comics when I was a kid because I thought they’d be collector’s items, and as such, I never read them (and they ultimately ended up being thrown out), but as you can see, when it came to comics I was used to reading a lot more in one sitting than your standard little flimsy paper comic. Plus all the comics I ever saw were superheroes and I have zero interest in superheroes then or now, so I just wrote comics off completely until I met Blake. (With the exception of Princess Ai but that’s Courtney Love and I didn’t like it.)

It started with the tv show LOST. Blake said, “hey, since you like LOST, maybe you’ll like this Brian K. Vaughn comic about all the men on Earth dying but one and his pet monkey”. Next thing I knew, I was nose deep in Y: The Last Man and I ended up getting all the trades of that between Xmas/birthday/Mother’s Day and I loved it. It wasn’t about a goddamn superhero, there were obviously a lot of female characters, it was an interesting story and the art was decent. I didn’t know comics could be like that. I didn’t realize that after a while some comics become trades*. I forget the order of things after that but I read the Scott Pilgrim comics because they’re Canadian and so was the movie and I started reading the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics but didn’t really like Scott Pilgrim even though they’re thick like trades (I don’t think they were ever flimsy paper comics) and couldn’t get into the Buffy ones. I still plan to revisit the Buffy ones because I didn’t read all of the ones I have, but it’s one of those “when I get around to it” kinda things. Disappointed in Buffy and Scott Pilgrim, I gave up on comics for a few years.

Then The Walking Dead TV show happened. I knew it was a comic because Blake had been reading it when it first came out, but it wasn’t until I found out that there were fucking COMPENDIUMS, (PLURAL!), I obtained those and devoured them. And it was good timing because the second compendium came out at a time where you could pick up with flimsy comics where the compendium left off, so that’s what we did. Except again, the timing of issues and the fact that each one only tells one snippet of story, it just pissed me off so we buy them and Blake reads them and they pile up on my shelf and what ended up happening was we downloaded all of them onto the iPad and I read a year’s worth of Walking Dead comics in like, 45 minutes or less, in the car, in the dark, on the way to Florida. And I think that’s how comics should be read. This one issue thing is bullshit.

After Walking Dead I tried out Pretty Deadly, at my friend Diego’s suggestion and it was just beautiful. I didn’t know comics could be like THAT! Again, I hated the pacing and since it was only 5 issues, I ended up reading them all again in one sitting after the last one came out so I could read the story as a complete thing. Because I liked that so much, I gave Itty Bitty Hellboy a try because I like the Hellboy movies and it was cute. I still have not read them, however because every time I think about reading them, I think “comics blah” because while I’m learning, due to being exposed to different things, that comics can be good and not annoying, I’m still biased against them for some reason.  Having said that, now that I understand how they work a little better, they just make more sense and my brain can comprehend them. I’m not there with poetry yet. All I’ve read so far is Allen Ginsberg, a TEENY bit of Sylvia Plath (just peeked inside the book, said, “oh dear” and closed it), I gave Walt Whitman a shot (just no), Percy Shelley (Blake’s favourite, I don’t get it) and I’ve just been paying attention to the poetry all around me, which there is actually a surprising amount.

I have a lot of doubt as to whether I’m capable of writing a poem at all, let alone one that isn’t complete garbage. I’m so petrified of not being able to do it that I haven’t actually tried. I have pages and pages of poetic snippets of things from my days but I have no idea what to do with them or how to assemble any of them into a poem. I’ve started a running list of things I could write poems about and the list is sitting at 42 items right now. All I fucking have to do is pick one and try but I stare at the cursor blinking in Word and my mind goes as blank as the page. I told Blake that I wasn’t sure, at this point, if A) I were capable of writing anything other than worthless blog posts or if B) I was capable of writing outside of WordPress, like maybe I need the clutter of WordPress to not be intimidated by the page. For the longest time I wasn’t capable of writing anything outside of the Live Journal client Semagic. I would write blog posts in Semagic and paste them into WordPress. So dumb.

In case it’s never been completely fucking evident: change freaks me out. I’m (almost) always the last person in the pool. I still use SquirrelMail because I have e-mails saved in there from like, 2003 and I’m not sure how to preserve them if I switched to gmail. I also don’t know how to make all my domain e-mails work with gmail AND SquirrelMail colour-codes all of my e-mail by e-mail address (different domains) and I don’t think gmail can do that. Eventually I’m going to have to switch to something because SquirrelMail isn’t even really supported anymore but I will go clawing and scratching.

I have one REALLY simple idea for a “poem” but it’s very difficult to execute and I’m not sure if I’m up to the task since it’s something, as far as my googlings tell me, has not yet been done.  If it were easy, it would have been done by now, I figure. I also figure I have my whole life or until someone else thinks of it for that one though. I spent most of yesterday thinking about it as hard as I could and now it’s time to forget about it and think about other things because usually that’s how the ideas come. So I guess technically I did try a “poem” but if you knew what it was so far you’d think “not really” too because it’s not yet…

Soooo begrudgingly I have Instagram. I know I ranted and raved about Instagram “photographers” being annoying with filters a while back (and I still pretty much think that) but a couple of weeks ago maybe, my friend Leora, who lives in Vienna, asked on Facebook who all had Instagram because she just made an account to document her time there. And then I watched as so many of my friends one by one said “I do!” so I decided to follow my friends and give Instagram another chance, this time looking at it more as a social networking site than just a site to share photos with shitty filters. So far it’s been okay. I like that I can post to multiple places all in one shot (if it would do Live Journal, that would be great but I don’t foresee that ever happening), the editing tools are simple and easy to use and I think square photos look nicer than the rectangular ones my phone automatically takes.

Tomorrow I see Stephanie the dietitian. According to Wii Fit I’ve lost another 5 lbs since I saw her last, which isn’t great, but right now I’m eating okay because of this cannabis strain I have, as I’ve posted about before. I’m not eating a lot but what I eat I try to make “count”. Last night I actually ate an entire hamburger with ketchup, mustard, relish and onions. Normally I would eat 1/3 of that same burger with just ketchup. Furthermore, my comment after it was gone was that it would have been better with cheese, which is what I asked Blake for originally but he didn’t see cheese in the list of toppings (I wrote “I want a cheeseburger from South St…” and since I would never ordinarily order that, he saw “hamburger”) so there was no cheese to be had. But still, I ate it and I normally would not have. So that’s good. I can’t remember if I posted this at the time, but when I saw my shrink a little over a week ago, she went over my bloodwork and my anaemia is out of control which could be contributing to my depression and the fact that I’m tired all the time. She also wants me to have them draw blood again to check my B12 levels because apparently that can have an effect too. I told her if my B12 was too low then that was too damn bad because the treatment for it is never ever going to happen in this lifetime or the next, which I told her in those exact terms. She wants the bloodwork done anyway.  Godammit.

And that’s all I can think of posting at this very moment and I think I need macaroni and cheese, so I’m gonna go get started on that. Blake’s not going to be home until like, 8pm tonight so this will be lunch and I think for dinner I’m going to either have a hot dog or a P.L.T. because I need meat and those are my options. (Newly formed food rule because the idea makes me feel like barfing: I don’t think I can eat eggs and macaroni and cheese on the same day.) Peace oot.

(*My friend Diego says ALL comics become trades. Is that true?)

April 16, 2014

Dear Jay & Sapphire,

Yesterday was a snow day. April 15th. A snow day. Despite the fact we were having a blizzard, Wes chose to go to school. Madison chose to stay home.

I started cipralex Sunday night and I don’t know if it’s working or if things are just improving because it’s not really “winter” anymore even though yesterday was a snow day or if this is even just a flukey few days, but Monday was a good day and yesterday was a good day and so far today’s been pretty great as well.

Yesterday I actually had an IDEA. It was a terrible idea, truly dreadful, but despite it being a dumb idea that would never go anywhere, I spent the day nurturing it (with Madison thinking there was something very wrong with my imagination) and came up with several pages of notes and some scenes. It’s like…World War Z meets Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, the latter of which I’ve never actually seen but I understand the concept completely. If I came up with one idea this bizarre per week no matter how terrible and unusable it may be, I would be a happier person. I do have a question though, well two: does something have to be sentient to feel pain? does something that feels pain have to be sentient? Like, by definition? Sentience is partially defined as being “characterized by sensation” and pain’s a sensation…? I’ve confused myself.

Just kidding! This is actually many weeks worth of cannabis, although it IS the most I’ve ever had at one time. See, I normally order 2 weeks worth at a time because Peace Naturals, my licenced producer, often only has 2 strains of whole bud available, usually one that might be useful to me or that gets the job done and one that won’t be, and these 2 “blends” that they pre-mill that I have no interest in because I like to know exactly what I’m smoking and if necessary I can make my own blends, more commonly called a salad, based on what I’ve had before. The reason for such a limited selection is simply that they have more demand than supply, they only have so much room and plants take oh so long to grow. Because you don’t usually get much of a choice in what you’re ordering, Blake said that if I found a strain that was good, we would order as much of it as we could while they had it because once it’s sold out, it could be months before it’s available again. So that’s what we did with this strain, called Marcela.

Two weeks ago when I ordered from Peace Naturals, all they had was Bekay, which I’d been smoking for two weeks already with poor results but better than nothing; an indica I had no interest in because that is the last thing I need; the blends and Marcela. I didn’t want Marcela because when I first became a Peace Naturals client, I ordered some of that and not only did it have seeds in it (like I said, there have been growing pains), it was lower on the THC spectrum and I didn’t find it effective, but this batch was significantly higher in THC than the last one and higher than anything else they had to offer so I ordered a week’s worth of Bekay since I knew it would “get the job done”, if only minimally, and reluctantly a week’s worth of Marcela, worried that if I went too long with Bekay, I’d have tolerance issues.

When it came, I started with the Marcela intending to give myself a break from Bekay for a week, and almost immediately I felt better and not only did I not feel nauseous, I wanted food and it didn’t matter what. The first two days were actually so food ridiculous that I freaked out and mixed both strains together, figuring feeling half as good for twice as long was better than pigging out one week and starving the next. As a result, I’ve eaten every single day since and some days twice. I went from eating around 500 calories/day to 800-1000 and there have been way less food tears because some mental barriers appear to break down with this strain. I’m actually a little scared that since I’ve gone from barely eating to almost actually eating, my body will be like “HOLY SHIT FOOD! WE BETTER STORE ALL THIS FAT!” But I guess that’s not a bad problem to have all things considered. I weighed myself a week ago and I’d lost another 4lbs but I’m not sure how fast it takes these things to catch up with you.

So that’s the “rah rah! Peace Naturals!” portion of this post because for my issues, this really is the best strain I’ve had since I started medicating in August and the strain is proprietary to the company. I actually have a million nice things to say about Peace Naturals, actually, like the fact that their customer service department is almost as good as the one I work for and when I have a question, concern or give feedback, I’m met with nothing but helpfulness, politeness and graciousness.

Unfortunately though, I am but one voice of many.

When I started with Peace Naturals, they sold their product in 5g vacuum-sealed bags and two of those bags, still sealed, would fit in a pill bottle, but only one would – so 5g – when it was unfurled, so to speak. That meant that half of a pill bottle for me was one day’s worth of doses and it was pretty easy to eyeball that, no scale necessary. That’s how I’d been managing my medication and several times I mentioned this to customer service reps as something I liked about the company and that I hoped would not change. And I didn’t think it would because supposedly the average Canadian’s prescription is for 3g/day, according to Peace Naturals themselves (that’s how much they suggest you ask your doctor for – or at least it did last time I looked, they’ve changed some things in the last little while).

Then one order came with taller pill bottles with one loose but sealed 15g bag. I e-mailed the customer service rep I speak with the most and said, “hey, that’s not cool, please don’t do this” because if I hadn’t have saved previous bottles of normal size, rationing out days 2.5g/15g at a time would be more difficult. I ditched the big bottles and used old bottles and told them that I’m glad I’m a packrat.

Then the NEXT order came 15g loose in the white plastic abominations above and I was like, “COME ON! This is WORSE! I can’t even see through this!” I also pointed out that that’s my prescription on the front of these bottles and that if I want to go out into the world and carry cannabis on me legally, I have to have one of these bottles in my possession. I joked, “I shouldn’t have to buy a bigger purse!” and pointed out that men shouldn’t have to invest in one. I was told that was a good point and it would be passed along to the packaging department.

Next order, same white bottles. E-mailed again because this time not only was it loose in these shitty white bottles, the bag the bottles came in wasn’t vacuum-sealed and you could smell product through it. From what I understand, Health Canada says packaging needs to be child-proof and tamper-evident, as well as smell-proof. I was told that my concerns had been passed on last time and that the shipping department had already started switching over to the new bottles but that she’d forward these comments as well.

By the next order, I gave up. What more could I say? I don’t want to carry my full prescription of marijuana around with me everywhere? And of course THIS order, they’ve somehow got 10 extra grams squashed into the same size bottle. Still having to use old pill bottles both to ration and to carry cannabis with me into the world (a pill bottle holds a joint surprisingly well).

Well, I get a mass e-mail as a “Valued Client” last night and the same one again just now, where I guess some people must have been complaining about the new bottles too but their complaint was that the child-proof bottles were difficult to open. And they are, but I didn’t complain about that because it never occurred to me. Fortunately, I don’t have dexterity issues which y’know, lots of people medicate for, not to mention how many patients must be over 65. Anyway, in this e-mail Peace Naturals basically said:

1. The bottles aren’t difficult to open because their torque rating says so.
2. Instructions on how to open and close them which would be the instructions for any other child-proof bottle.
3. Oh and they switched to a wider-mouthed bottle to make it “much easier for our clients to pick out their flowers of choice.”

So pretty much those complaining about them are both wrong AND stupid and how the buds look is more important than client comfort. I’m sure they weighed the risks of this e-mail. They had to have. Especially because they sent it twice. I just don’t understand people caring all that much about “choice” flowers, yeah it’s nice, but you’re still going to smoke all of them, are you not? Meanwhile someone shouldn’t have a hard time accessing their medication AT ALL, forget doing it in a “choice” fashion.

Anyway, I have to go to an appointment so that’s all the time I have. Ultimately I’m really happy with Peace Naturals and I’m glad I chose them, it’s just hard to have patience while they work out all the kinks. Also if my pharmacy switched to shittier bottles, I’d likewise pitch a fit. Medication is basically the cornerstone of my life.

April 14, 2014

Too old to die young.

Friday I saw my shrink. My shrink who is retiring in August. She thinks I’m depressed and that this is probably not a life phase and maybe my B12 is deficient (which she only thought of because I’m a moron and mentioned it without thinking and now I have to have another blood test) and I should be taking iron (nothnx) or eating more meat (just can’t). She prescribed an anti-depressant called cipralex which I started last night. I’m in a pretty good mood today but I don’t think the drug would work that fast, especially not at such a low dose (it’s so low they don’t even make pills that small, I have to cut them in half). It’s probably because it’s spring and I’ve had/am having a good weekend and [REDACTED] [REDACTEDED] on Game of Thrones last night and also Mad Men started but I haven’t watched that yet because I wanted to get my weekend down “on paper” before my fuzzy goldfish brain forgot crucial details. Oh and the strain of cannabis I have right now is working EXTREMELY well. Like, I’ve been eating every single day since having it. I just ordered 90 more grams of the stuff because I’m afraid they’ll run out (they do that….it sucks….it’s a new system and a new company, it’ll get better….)

Writing at Froth on Friday after my shrink appointment was a bust. We got there around 4:20pm and there was a sign on the door that said they were closing at 5pm for a private function. This put Blake and me in a crapola mood but we went to Fran’s in Barrie (45+ minutes away from where we were) which is a chain diner that’s open 24 hours (except ours isn’t, it’s just open late) anyway because we’d scouted it out as a potential writing place the Friday before and had planned on trying to write there at some point.

Fran’s was yes & no. I had issues with Fran’s food this time around. I ordered the chicken club, which I’ve ordered before, and there was a bucket of mayo on it on all sides of the inside of the sandwich, which is three pieces of bread if you’ve never had a club. As I’ve explained before, I like mayo and I did ask for mayo, but lots of mayo makes me feel sick just looking at it. I ate 1/4 of the sandwich and just couldn’t do it and the fries were stupidly salty and the gravy no good. This put me in a crappier mood because honestly, I was hungry and this shouldn’t have been difficult. I cried a little (luckily we were in a booth). Blake told me I could order something else but we are so fucking broke right now that this was going to be our last excursion until next paycheque and that just made me feel guilty so I just ordered the soup of the day, which was mushroom, because it was only $3.99 and when the waiter inquired as to why this was happening, Blake just told him the sandwich was not good. This was like sending something back, which I’ve never done before in my life and I was not comfortable with in the slightest and the unfortunate thing was that the soup was pretty terrible too. I ate about half of it just to be polite to the chef since I felt bad for “sending back” the sandwich which was truly difficult for me to do but that was how awful I felt about the sandwich.

After the waiter took away the soup, we got refills on our drinks and set up our writing devices (my laptop/his Surface tablet). Fran’s doesn’t have wifi so we used my phone as a hotspot because we had to access our Sky/One Drives and I’m not sure how long we stayed before the waiter told us “no hurry” but presented us with the bill and didn’t offer to give us any more refills. We decided t0 leave and they didn’t charge us for the sandwich. I’m not sure how good it was for Blake as far as productivity but after the food fiasco was over with, I didn’t write anything but I did read about Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, Neal Cassady and William S. Burroughs on Wikipedia (not done with the latter) and I was in full on sponge mode which I find difficult to do when Blake’s home for some reason. I just don’t like being online when Blake’s hanging out in my office but I don’t want him to not hang out in my office either so Fran’s worked well. If there is a next time (up to Blake, I can work there), I’m going to stick to breakfast foods. It’s pretty rare that a restaurant will fuck up peameal and eggs, in my experience.

After Fran’s we came home and watched the movie Immortal Beloved, which was recommended by Anne Rice and it was an okay movie but I didn’t find it anywhere near as inspiring as she said it was to her, so I think I ended up just going to bed afterward.

Saturday morning I woke up and Blake and I tried to watch Amadeus, also recommended by Anne Rice and I think I made it about half an hour in before I knew there was no way I could commit to 3 hours of that.

Stupidly I relied on those two movies to carry me through inspirationally until my books got here from Amazon (hopefully today) and with that plan falling through completely I felt totally dejected. Not good on a Saturday when I have to work my marathon shift and I spent the last hour of freedom before work crying because work is the last thing I wanted to do. This is definitely a depression thing, mixed with a constantly feeling weak or sick thing, with a little bit of just being plain ol’ burnt out because I haven’t really felt like I’ve had a chance to recharge my mental batteries in a long time. My last good creative idea, based on inspiration, was in November and it was only a little one.

Also on Saturday, making things worse, Blake and Madison were going to see Courage My Love in Barrie and Nicole would be there (because she manages the band), who I’ve only seen once since moving here.

When I logged into work at 2pm, my coworker and buddy whose shift overlaps mine by an hour, asked how I was and I was honest with her. And because she is probably the most positive, sunshiniest outlook person I know she was like, “I can cover you if you want to go see your friend” and I was thankful but she could only cover me for 2 hours and that wouldn’t work with everyone else’s plans. That’s when I remembered that one of my other coworkers technically owed me 2 hours because I covered for her last week so I texted her and asked if she could help me out and she said yes despite the fact that it was super short notice, which meant that I had the last 4 hours of my shift covered and that was the perfect amount of time to throw on a pair of jeans and some lipstick and go to the rock & roll show with Blake and Madison (and Madison’s friend) and Nicole.

This is Courage My Love:

They’re supernaturally talented 20 year old twins and a dude named Brandon and they put on a really good performance with their “bring the guitar” boxes to jump around on, as Blake calls them. They’re playing Warped Tour this summer so if you’re going , check them out!

It was a rock show so it was hard to really talk to Nicole but it was still good to see her and at the end of the night when it was time to leave, I cried. I miss her. And afterward I was thinking about how, before Blake and I were together and I was in a long distance relationship with Chris, Nicole and I used to spend hours on the phone together shooting the shit and writing song lyrics and song lyrics are a lot like poems so if I’m capable of that – or was at one point – then poetry shouldn’t be this giant mystery to me.

Truthfully, I think the biggest creative obstacle I have right now is that I don’t feel like I have anything to say. Or I do but I either don’t know how to best express it (if at all) or I can’t express it at all due to outside factors. At least not publicly. Blake would say to just get it out, but things are still percolating and I can’t. The other thing, and I said this to my shrink, is that I need to get out and experience more and get out of my comfort zone, which is also partially why I decided to go to the Courage My Love show. It’s also why Sunday happened.

So Sunday morning Blake and Wes went to swimming and when they came back, Wes paid me the money he owes me, which meant I had enough money to take Blake and myself out for breakfast at Cora’s. Cora’s is good because it’s not super expensive (under $30 with tip)  and I like their bacon because it’s the least fatty bacon that isn’t peameal that I’ve ever had. They don’t fuck up my eggs. I like their french bread type toast. And they also serve everything with fresh fruit art that I find that very appealing because apparently my hunger brain is 5 years old. Their chicken salad sandwich is pretty good too. I still think crepes are kinda gross.

After Cora’s we just came home and we started watching the movie Howl, which is about the obscenity trial surrounding Allen Ginsberg’s book of the same title. I thought it was great except for James Franco, who played Ginsberg. His overacting was terrible and they gave him too modern of a haircut for the role. I didn’t care about finishing it but Blake wanted to. While we watched the rest of the movie, I started making plans with our friend Steph (the Geek), who was in Toronto from California (but she’s Canadian – we’re all so very complicated) because of a Bitcoin conference, but things ended earlier than she expected on Sunday so there was time to meet up and hang out, something we hadn’t done since like…uh…Vegas, August of 2005. (Her wedding doesn’t count, I only got to talk to her for maybe 10 minutes total.)  We decided to go to Vapor Central, which is, if you hadn’t guessed, a vapor lounge in downtown Toronto that I’ve been wanting to go to for a long time and this was a good opportunity to do so because Blake doesn’t smoke weed and would be driving anyway (and I would feel weird vaping alone) and the city freaks me out. I figured a Sunday would probably be a mellow day to go, especially since we couldn’t get there until 6pm, and Steph said she was available then so it all just kinda fell into place. Also, I haven’t smoked weed with another human being since our anniversary party almost 2 years ago and never with Steph, who I figured would be a good Sunday stoner buddy (I was correct in that assumption).

So we get down to the city and we find a cheap municipal parking lot just down the street a few blocks from Vapor Central – score! And on our way down the street to Vapor Central, we passed what looked like a pretty decent pizza place that I took mental note of because – and I only realized this recently – I’m constantly in search of the world’s best slice of pizza. So far the pizza place (that I don’t know the name of) that we ordered from all the time in NY beats everything by a mile no contest, even Stouffville Pizza (that’s 2nd best) but I don’t live in NY so that’s not exactly an option for me. I’m straying from the story…

…we get to the vapor lounge and you go up these stairs because it’s on the 2nd floor of a building and we’re greeted by a wall of haze and the familiar smell of vapor which kinda smells like toasted nuts or maybe popcorn a little bit or maybe a little bit woody. It tastes exactly the way it smells (which is better than smoke). I know this because Blake bought me a personal vaporizer (Magic Flight Launch Box) for Xmas and it just didn’t do anything for me so I gave it to my friend after 3 or 4 days of correct usage with little to no result. Pretty much the entire reason we wanted to go to the vapor lounge was because they have Volcano vaporizers which are, as Steph said, “the Cadillac of vaporizers”. They’re $700 tabletop vaporizers that work by filling up a big plastic bag with cannabis vapor that you “sip” out of a special mouthpiece that allows the vapor to remain in the bag until you inhale it. The benefit to vaping is that you use WAY less weed and it’s a lot healthier because you’re not breathing smoke into your lungs. Since the personal vaporizer didn’t do anything for me, I always wondered if it was the vaporizer or me, like maybe I was immune to vaping. That’s why I wanted to try a Volcano because if a Volcano didn’t work for me, then no vaporizer would and I should just give up on the idea.

Vapor Central charges you a $5 membership day fee to get in and that gives you access to the lounge, which is full of couches and tables with a Volcano for each seating arrangement, and I think they’re supposed to charge us for the Volcano bags/mouthpiece/reservoir but they didn’t. They just made Blake give them his licence until he returned it all.

The girl who was at the desk when we first walked in was incapable of dealing with new customers because she was so completely adorably blitzed out of her mind so she sent someone else over to help us. She explained everything I said above (but also explained that there were bongs in the back that we were allowed to use, which surprised me and then I looked around and noticed that some people were smoking so I guess that’s okay there) and took our membership fees and then we went through a turnstile into the lounge. Everyone was mostly at the front of the space, where the couches are, watching a movie on the TVs that are around the room. In the back of the lounge, there are cafe-style tables so we grabbed one of those with 4 seats and waited for Steph.

Steph got there and the first order of business was to figure out how to use the Volcano on the table. Steph had only used one once so she didn’t know either, so Blake found a guy to show us how it’s done and it’s really very simple and off we went on the first bag.

It was good catching up with Steph. She’s gone through a lot of crazy shit in the last little while and I was relieved to find out that things are starting to look up. Also despite all the crap that’s been hurled at her by life in general she’s still the same Steph she’s always been and that was reassuring. Since I hadn’t seen her in so long I was worried that we wouldn’t have anything to talk about, which is so dumb because Steph is one of the most interesting people I know and she’s also one of the most extroverted introverts I know so catching up with her was like nothing, like no time had passed. Just easy conversation.

Over the course of an hour, Steph and I shared 5 or 6 Volcano bags worth of vapor, with me inhaling 3/4 of it and with pausing in between to talk and stuff and I would say that I got as medicated as I would have been with one of my bong’s bowls worth of weed except I used a little more than a thimble’s worth. I didn’t get stoned, that wasn’t the goal, but I got to a good place where I wasn’t freaked out to be in the city in a room full of strangers, I didn’t feel sick and I actually got hungry (thanks to this strain I’ve been using). So vaping obviously works on me and the Magic Flight Launch Box not working on me is simply that my tolerance is way too high for it. Even with the Volcano, I felt like staying medicated with it would be a full-time job. At the same time, I’m a person with a lot of free time and nowhere to be so if I vaped most of the time and only smoked joints or brought my bong with me places, I would use so much less weed so who cares?

At about 8pm, we walked down the street to that pizza place where I got a slice of (pretty decent but not the greatest but better than a chain – actually it could have been a city-wide chain, I have no idea)  pepperoni and a Diet Coke and that’s where we left Steph and headed toward the parking garage.

On the way home Blake and I were talking about the experience and now our interest is two-fold because he thinks it would be a good idea for us to hang out there for a day and use the Volcano as if I were at home using it, just to see how much a day’s worth of weed would be with one (I smoke 2.5g/day at the moment and I’d guess vaping would be 1/4 of that or less) and I want to hang out there again because I think I can write there. And Blake said maybe he could write there too. AND even with parking and gas and refreshments (a cold can of Diet Coke is $1), it cost us less than going to Fran’s or Froth and personally I liked the experience and atmosphere better. Plus I think you get in and out privileges with your daily $5 membership fee and there are a billion food places around the lounge that are better and cheaper  than here. There’s a falafel place pretty much right across the road. I’m not totally sure what a  falafel is but maybe I’d like one and maybe it’ll be my new favourite thing. WHO KNOWS? We’ll be in Toronto, the gastro-adventure and writing possibilities are limitless! And even if I don’t like falafel, maybe falafel is awful, at least there’s decent pizza down the street, which is more than I can say for our town, the next town over AND the town next to that.  This Sunday is 4/20 so it would be dumb to go then, but maybe the Sunday after that.

After we came home, I watched the first half of Game of Thrones but I accidentally took my sleeping pills when I took my meds after we left Steph so I couldn’t watch the 2nd half. Blake paused it to tuck me in (because yes he does that, every single night and every single morning if I go to sleep after work and he’s home) and I said something like, “yeah I doubt anything interesting’s going to happen in the 2nd half of the 2nd episode of the season…” and Blake, who has read the books, was like, “ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm” so I made him tell me what was going to happen to whom and how and I almost forced myself to get back up and watch the rest because HELLO, but I was too tired and figured it’d still be on the DVR in the morning. It was and it was so spectacularly gruesome that I was practically applauding by myself at 9am.

And then basically I sat down to write this post but the hydro went out in our whole town so not only did I not finish this post before Blake got home (it is currently 6:20pm), I didn’t get to see the premiere of Mad Men, but Blake’s making me macaroni and cheese for dinner and my plan is to watch while I eat. In other news, I got both books and pornstar money in the mail today so I guess you could say that the last 2 & a half days half been pretty great. Hopefully the rest of the week will be as well.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »