December 5, 2014

Murderous Meat

July 28th, 2044

 

It didn’t all start at once and by the time I was aware of it and my mom let me watch 24-hour news instead of my usual lessons, the world was already in crisis. This is what happened.

A few years ago, there was this 60-something year old lady in Texas named Esther Hughes who started waking up with really bad headaches. She took lots of medication and saw many doctors and they performed many tests but they couldn’t find anything wrong with her. They gave her prescriptions for strong opioids she had to inject herself, which didn’t help, and frustrated and in pain, she closed all her curtains and shut the world out.

Eventually, the holidays rolled around and Esther’s kids became concerned for their mother when she told them she not only wouldn’t be hosting the traditional five day feast but that she wouldn’t be seeing them over the holidays at all. She said the pain was too unbearable.

Troubled by the turn of events and the tone in their mother’s voice, Esther’s children, thinking they were doing a very good thing, decided to bring their families and the holiday feast to Esther.

Fortunately for Esther, it was her youngest daughter who arrived first. She told reporters later that it was the blacked out windows on her childhood home that told her something was really wrong. She lightly knocked on the front door and called to her mother, but there was no answer. She said she knocked for another few minutes with no answer before she went to the spot the spare key to the back door had been hidden her whole life. It was there and she made her way around the back of the house and unlocked the door to the sun room. She said the whole house was dark, but having grown up in it, she knew it like the back of her hand so she quickly searched the first floor for her mother with no results. She went upstairs, straight to her mother’s room, where she saw a lump in the bed. She called for her mother and turned on the light and according to their first interview with Oprah 2.0, Esther pulled the blankets over her head and screamed for her daughter to turn the light off, which her daughter, who was scared, immediately did.

In the dark, Esther’s daughter felt around for the bed and sat down on the edge of it. Holding her mother’s hand, she asked, “what’s wrong mama?” and Esther began to weep. Esther then held her daughter’s hand and brought it up to her face, allowing her daughter to first feel her mother’s lips, then her mother’s nose, then her soggy eyes which Esther fluttered so her daughter could feel her eyelashes and then she raised her daughter’s fingers to the middle of her forehead where…her daughter pulled her hand back and gasped. She said she felt the spot again with both hands this time and she was certain about what she was feeling in the dark: right in the middle of Esther’s forehead, where nothing should have been, there was a closed eye. And it had been crying too.

After recounting to her daughter how the process had happened and that bright light can often trigger headaches, Esther allowed her daughter to bring her downstairs, into the living room, where Esther said it was okay to turn on certain lamps, which she had dimmed by putting scarves over their shades.

Eventually the rest of Esther’s family arrived at Esther’s house and they all heard her tale, while not quite knowing what to do next. Esther didn’t want to see any more doctors or anyone for that matter, or rather she didn’t want anyone to see her.

Finally her family persuaded Esther to let a priest come to the house, who told her that this third eye was a gift from God and that there had long been stories and theories in many religions of a third eye giving the person the gift of prophecy. He told her that she should let as many people see her as possible, that she could help people in need make tough decisions, that this was her gift to share.

Pretty soon Esther became a worldwide media sensation, appearing on all the talk shows and news shows with her daughter, wearing sunglasses over her original eyes and a headscarf over her third eye to prevent headaches. People were calling on her to bless them and to try to heal their wounds or to tell them their futures.

At the same time people began pilgrimages to Esther’s home from all over the world, other people with new mutations that all happened in a short amount of time were starting to crop up in the media, which started a frenzy on the 24-hour news channels – so I’m told – about why this was happening. Some experts claimed it was because of pollution. Some claimed it was because of a surplus of vitamins. Some claimed it was because this government or that was testing or using weapons of mass destruction. Some claimed it was a virus or a bacteria. Some went so far as to say that these mutations were the next step in human evolution. No one was co-operating with anyone else and in the end, they would all be wrong as a result.

But as the media goes, after the initial hysteria died down and governments reassured their people that they were doing everything possible to determine the cause of this new “disease”, you didn’t hear about mutations as often. Soon people stopped worrying and went on with their lives, for the most part, with the most paranoid among them wearing medical masks in elevators and cities setting up sanitizing stations in malls, subways and large office parks.

And then Cookie Kaye happened. Cookie Kaye, of New Zealand, was the host of her own popular live internet cooking show, “What’s Cookin’ Cookie?” where she would prepare dishes from her global fans’ childhoods; such staples as macaroni and cheese with prosciutto on top, butter chicken, jerk pork or meatloaf with gravy.

One particular day, Cookie, dressed in a white, sleeveless blouse with yellow flowers, began by explaining that it was her 100th show and in that honour, she thought she’d surprise her fans with a dish from her own childhood: pan-fried lamb chops with rosemary and garlic. Cookie chatted about growing up in New Zealand and how lamb was a very common meat there, as she combined minced garlic with fresh, chopped rosemary and a little crushed red pepper to give it a bit of pizzaz! Since the next step in the recipe was to rub the mixture onto the chops and refrigerate for 4 hours, she pulled out two already prepared and chilled chops from the fridge and started heating olive oil in a large skillet. As the oil reached the proper temperature, Cookie discussed with her virtual audience the many other ways one can enjoy lamb and how you can obtain lamb in places where it may not be readily available. Once the oil was properly heated, Cookie explained that all you had to do next was to fry each lamb chop for 3 minutes on each side to attain medium-rareness and as she said this, she picked up a piece of the maroon, herbed meat in each hand and laid them into the skillet.

Immediately the lamb chops began to sizzle in the oil and before poor Cookie could say anything else, they were both flailing violently in the pan, writhing as if in pain like slugs that have had salt poured on them, splashing hot meat juices and oil across Cookie’s hands and bare arms. She gasped as she drew back and in the next breath she was pointing at the pan and yelling at her camera man, angrily asking if this was a sick joke. At that same moment, one of the chops launched itself out of the pan and over her right shoulder. In the clip I saw, Cookie screams as the second piece of lamb propelled itself similarly to its mate, only this time it flew straight at Cookie, hitting her in the face before Cookie throws it to the floor. Cookie screams “can you fucking help me here please, Steve?!” and now the camera man, still carrying the camera, rushes around the corner of the cooking island and drops the camera as he goes to aid Cookie who is shrieking and crying that she has hot oil and blood and pepper in her eyes. In front of the camera, now on the floor, is the second lamb chop, still sizzling and twitching in a most disturbing fashion as steam rises from it and in the background, you can clearly see Cookie’s high-heeled shoes and those of the camera man’s and then you hear the running and splashing of water as Cookie flushes her eyes at the sink. The camera man is heard talking on the phone with emergency services and the next thing you see in the clip is Cookie’s shoes turn around to face the still slightly squirming meat, which she then violently and without ceremony stomps into a million pieces, kicking the camera in the process, ending the clip.

As soon as this clip went viral throughout the world, stories of other incidents of butchered lamb parts behaving strangely when heated started slowly coming out in the papers. Those I was allowed to read. Then beef and pork seemed affected in quickly soon after, until finally there was a grotesque incident involving a turducken, captured on video and uploaded to YouTube.

In that clip, you see a green oven and through the window in the door, there is a black roasting pan that jumps around every couple of seconds, sometimes hard enough to knock the pan’s lid askew. You can hear two or more people in the clip quietly freaking out completely and swearing and a caption appears on the video saying that they were attempting to cook a turducken for Thanksgiving and that this was happening approximately an hour and 15 minutes into cooking it. Then one of the people, a man, gets brave and you see him open the oven door with one hand and then with an oven-mittened hand he pulls out the rack that the roasting pan is on and then backs up and out of the way while the roasting pan bounces around some more, seemingly agitated by the movement caused by pulling out the rack. The people in the background all go “OOOOH!” as the same man quickly reaches for the lid of the roasting pan and pulls it off, jumping back once again. Steam rises and the person recording the video gets closer and higher to better see what was inside the pan. What should have looked like a normal turkey on the outside looked more like a squirming mass of white flesh and bone, pulsating and spasming while the duck and chicken inside it presumably did the same. A girl in the background screams, “FUCKING GROSS!!! SOMEONE KILL IT!!!” to which someone replies “HOW?!” and the next thing you know, the oven-mittened man shoves the turducken back in the oven, without the lid, and slams the door shut. “That’s how,” he says and from there the video is a time-lapse view of the turducken from the window in the oven and you can see it squirming violently until finally it simply from within the oven there is a loud thump and an explosion of flesh against the glass. The video slows back down to normal and the oven-mittened man carefully opens the oven and backs up so the videographer can get a better look at the carnage inside the oven: bits of white flesh and skin and bones covered every surface of the oven and inside the roasting pan, where the chicken’s back and parts of the duck were still “raw” but cooking, it was twitching and flexing and reacting as if in pain just as the lamb chop had when Cookie Kaye tried to fry it. Someone suggested putting the remnants of the turducken back in the oven to “kill” the rest of it and the video stops there and starts again with a view of the inside of the oven with the rack and roasting pan pulled out slightly. All of the meat looks cooked, most of it overcooked and some of it burnt. Then the camera turns to the face of the oven-mittened man who mugs for the camera and says, “And that’s how it’s done, boys!” The video ends.

After that video also went viral, the governments of the world finally started working together.  When the World Health Organization issued a statement telling people to cut down on their consumption of un-processed meat until more was known about what was going on,  all that did was cause pandemonium and most people stopped eating meat completely, sticking to vegetables and fruits and processed foods. Most stores stopped selling it because they couldn’t guarantee that each piece or package of their meat wouldn’t react violently when the customer attempted to cook it.

My grandma Lisa said she saw this all coming. She said that a long time ago, when they were just starting the programs to replace heirloom livestock with cloned livestock that didn’t get sick as often, grew faster, tasted better and as an added benefit, the meat made people look more youthful, there were campaigns by people like her who thought that this was the wrong way to go. That this would muck up the food chain. And they protested. There needed to be more testing. But the governments of the world saw a quick way to “end” world hunger between these cloned animals and fruits and vegetables that had been genetically modified to not only grow just about anywhere, but to be resistant to pesticides and herbicides, and didn’t listen.

Now the 24-hour news channels were reporting that it was this strange meat that was causing the mutations.  I felt relieved because I don’t eat meat and neither does anyone in my family. Soon scientists figured out that it was the genetically modified corn that the world feeds to its livestock in some capacity or another, which was causing changes to the cloned animals’ DNA and when people ate the animals, it changed their DNA as well, causing mutations, cancers and death. The crisis, of course, was that the only “heritage” animals left on the Earth were wild game and immediately breeding programs for elk, deer and moose were established.

By this point, my mom said it was okay to watch the 24-hour news channels as much as I wanted to instead of my usual lessons because this was an important world event that would have lasting repercussions well into my grandchildren’s generation, so watch I did. I watched in horror with tears streaming down my face as animals were lead into big pits in the ground with a layer of charcoal at the bottom, doused in something flammable and lit on fire. Alive. To die. Screaming and writhing in pain. Because cooking or burning the meat was the only way to kill it, they thought in the beginning, so that’s how governments started disposing of the world’s meat supply. This upset a great many people, particularly Hindus who objected to the mass slaughter of cows that for all intents and purposes could live out their lives in peace but most people were so angry at the meat itself for being bad because by now just about everyone on Earth had been negatively affected by the meat in some way, that they blamed the animals and wanted to see them suffer. The United Nations eventually concluded, at the persuasion of several kinder countries, that the animals should all be poisoned or euthanized and then their bodies disposed of by cremation and most countries followed suit, while the poorer nations opted to slitting throats before the burn. Even on our little farm in Michigan where we weren’t burning anything, you could smell the rest of the world’s char.

On one morning show I watched, there was a scientist, Dr. Ryan Brownstein, discussing these worms called planarians that had an almost infinite ability to regenerate themselves into whole organisms, making them “effectively immortal”. He said that you could cut a planarian into 279 pieces and each piece would grow into a new planarian. This was significant, he told the toothy, blonde host, because when scientists were perfecting the livestock to clone, planarian DNA was most definitely part of the final sequence, which was what had been giving meat the property of giving the consumer a more youthful appearance and sometimes a slightly longer lifespan. The planarian DNA in the meat allowed for humans to regenerate their lost cells faster, allowing for new, glowing skin for all meat eaters just about all the time. He said that the problem now, however, was that this planarian DNA had run amok and now you can cut a cow into an unknown amount of pieces and after a short period of dormancy which is slowed down by refrigeration, each piece would grow into a whole new cow. That’s why these animals had to be destroyed, because if they were left to their own devices, we would be overrun with them. Not to mention what may happen to animals who ate parts of these animals – we couldn’t even grind up these genetically modified livestock into dog food – it could seriously damage the ecosystem.

“That’s what I’ve been saying!” cried grandma Lisa.

People really are so dumb though. Even the Amish got hoodwinked into replacing their heirloom livestock with cloned animals from the Sandy Mount company who just so happened to also sell the corn to feed them, which was cheaper and easier than the Amish growing their own corn to feed their own animals as they’d been doing forever.  Worse though, is that so many people signed on to ranch these animals due to government subsidies that no one thought to even try to preserve heirloom species. There was no Noah’s Ark, the so-called “frozen zoo” had a malfunction and everything thawed in 2019. The cow as my grandma knew it is extinct. As is the pig and the chicken and anything else you’d find on a farm 30 years ago. The cloning system was working so well and the whole world was fed so they thought “this must be a good thing”. With a lack of labelling of genetically modified produce, people just got used to that too and stopped protesting. Even vegans eventually got on board because it meant they could have any type of fresh fruit or vegetable any time they wanted no matter where they were in the world or what season it was.

And of course, there was the Svalbard disaster of 2032. Unknown armed terrorists wearing balaclavas and no distinguishing clothing, just all in black, descended on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault by small stolen planes on June 22nd and they killed the small staff that was in the building but left all of the security cameras undisturbed because they wanted someone to see what they were about to do.

The security cameras, the feeds of which were also stored at an offsite location, showed the terrorists, 18 in all, placing homemade ANFO bombs all throughout the seed rooms. I’m not even sure how many there were total, but enough that when they blew, it destroyed the entire stock of the seed bank, devastating the world’s original food supply. The terrorists were shot down trying to fly back to Norway but when officials got to the wreckage, they found that all 8 people were dead, apparently of cyanide poisoning: they had all killed themselves. This was a kamikaze mission.

The terrorists were eventually identified as being from all over the world but connected via the internet and while it was never proven – no motive ever was – many people I know thought the terrorists were hired goons for someone higher up because as soon as the news hit that Svalbard had been decimated, the stocks for Sandy Mount and companies like it shot up like squirrels with their tails on fire. Everything was investigated forward and backward but there was never any proven link between the terrorists and any of those companies or those companies’ shareholders. My gran said it was “some next level illuminati shit” because whoever did it doomed the whole world – except us – to be dependent on genetically modified produce, that these companies owned the patents for, for time immemorial.

Once people realized that the genetically modified – or GMO for short – corn had made the cloned animals act like planarians, they started questioning the genetically modified tomatoes and lettuce in their salads. The corn on the cob they had at their barbeques. The beans and textured vegetable protein in their vegan chili. If the meat had changed their DNA, would the genetically modified produce make them behave like planarians too? If someone lost a finger, would it grow into a whole new clone of that person?

Governments around the world obviously reassured their people that the produce was safe and that it had been tested for a long time with no ill effects, meanwhile behind closed doors presidents and prime ministers were ordering their top scientists to drop everything and make damn sure that what they were saying was true.

It was around this time that mom and gran started getting antsy and the guns were brought up from the cellar. Our farm is already protected by 12 foot fences topped by razor wire, disguised by rows of sunflowers but I had never seen the guns come out before and it frightened me. Being 14 years old, my mom said I was old enough to learn how to shoot so mom and grandma Lisa took me out to the behind the greenhouse and had me shoot old paint cans. They said I was a natural and that made me proud, but I was still scared because I didn’t understand why I might have to use the shotgun I held in my hands. They took me back into the house and sat me down at the kitchen table where gran gave me a dish of applesauce with raisins.

Our farm, they said, is veganic. This I already knew, it has been veganic for generations. We didn’t even fertilize with manure, we exclusively used compost. “All of the plants and seeds on our property are heirloom and right now that is a very valuable thing”, gran said with a hard edge to her normally soft as kittens voice.

Suddenly everything came into focus. All the rest of the world had was genetically modified seeds that may be making them sick and we were sitting on a farm with produce that had never been tampered with and we had an abundance of seeds because we harvested our own. The reason my mom and gran were certain that we wouldn’t start mutating was because we were raw vegans living on an organic heirloom farm. We ate very little that we didn’t grow ourselves.

My gran used to be famous, sort of. A long time ago she wrote a blog and book about eating a raw diet which we still follow, called “Raw on $10 a Day (or less!)”, which became a national bestseller at the time, as different diets were all the rage and people were eager to try anything that would give them the kind of glow my gran naturally had then, as she still has now. Because of this, she said, it was feasible that certain people may come looking for her now because in her book she suggested that people be wary of genetically modified organisms and that they should grow their own since the government refused to label them. Some people would naturally assume that she was doing this now.

She said that since we had a surplus of seeds, we could send some of them to someone but who would that someone be? And would the farm, our food, be safe from looters, our own neighbours, in the meantime?

These questions would have to remain unanswered for now. For now the gate to our driveway is chained shut and padlocked and my mom has been on the internet non-stop, trying to find the right person to offer our seeds to, someone who wouldn’t take advantage of us and leave us without food for ourselves. We’ve never trusted the government but it looked like on some level we were going to have to. While mom did that, gran was on the phone with family members who all also had farms like ours in Michigan and between all of us, gran said, we could show the government just what “Militiagan” meant.

As they did that, I immersed myself in 24-hour news for days.

In India they refused to kill the cows but made a preserve for them, agreeing to the United Nations’ stipulations that they keep the sexes separate so they would not mate and die out naturally and that if the bovine population began expanding rather than declining, then a complete liquidation would be necessary.

There were a lot of talking heads saying that the changes in people’s DNA were permanent and that we could be seeing birth defects for generations from this. Already babies were being born with deformities akin to the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, like having two faces or babies that looked like their features were trying to slide off their faces altogether. Fortunately for these babies, most of them did not survive outside of the womb for longer than a few weeks. Because of these babies, women were getting abortions and tubal ligations in record numbers.

Doctors all over the world had a hard time keeping up with the effects of the meat between birth abnormalities, abortions, cancers and adolescent or adult mutations. Doctors and scientists found that no matter the mutation, if they operated on it, the same mutation would just grow back. The cancers were completely untreatable tumours inside people in various places from brains to bowels and the cancer was in every cell in between; it was in their DNA. Removing any of these tumours was fruitless because they would just grow back and by then the cancer would have already spread to somewhere really bad, like the kidneys or the liver or the brain, if it hadn’t been there previously anyway.

A new symptom started afflicting people where they would get a crazed look on their face, make a high pitched squeal, bite their own tongues off and eat them. Patient zero appeared to have been a woman in Japan on a crowded train and many cases have now been reported on every continent. The patients afflicted by this new behaviour then collapse into a catatonic state and stay that way indefinitely, unaware of anything happening around them, unable to feel pain or cold, unable to eat or evacuate waste on their own. The cause of this new, “cat got your tongue” syndrome is unknown but it is presumed to be related to what the media is now calling “murderous meat”.

Esther Hughes, seer, committed suicide.

With so much going on, every person on Earth basically started diets of rice and beans. Because no one knew what was safe to eat, people stuck to produce in cans, thinking they were better somehow, and all vegetables had to be nukrowaved for at least 5 minutes before consumption, because people were thinking that would “kill off” whatever DNA was active in the vegetable that could potentially harm them.

The vitamin and supplement industry was booming as people struggled to keep from being malnourished. People trusted synthetic nourishment in pills over fresh oranges and bananas and bread, a phenomenon turning a thousand science fiction books and movies into prophecies.

Some governments had to put in place bans on the exportation of meat because poaching had become a problem as people hunted the wildest of game to try and feed their families, such as cheetahs, zebras, seals and puffins. The breeding programs for deer had been successful so far but on nowhere near the scale they needed to feed any kind of large population. The elk and moose were less successful at breeding on their own so scientists resorted to the outdated practice of in vitro fertilization and things seemed hopeful.

I thought it was pointless though. People wanted no part of meat at all or even soy products that were made to resemble meat. People were sick and scared. The future of the human race was in question and we still didn’t know what was going to happen to us or our farm.

Then one morning at dawn there was the honk of a vehicle at our front gate. We looked out the window and there was a procession of shiny black cars parked on the side of the dirt road we lived on. My gran told us to stay in the house and to stay armed and she went out the side door to the truck. We have a very long driveway and my gran, while incredibly healthy and vibrant, is still elderly, so she drove the truck – unarmed – to the front gate to greet the people on the other side.

My mother and I watched with teeth on edge at the front windows. My mother was texting someone, I asked who, she said “everyone, this is happening” and I grew more afraid.

Much to our great surprise, gran unchained the gate and one of the men in suits pushed it aside. Gran got back in the truck and backed her way back up the driveway, parking at the side of the house as the truck had been before. As she did this, those 6 shiny black cars followed her up the driveway, with the last one closing and chaining the gate behind them all.

My mother told me to stay in the house and with shotgun in hand, she went through the kitchen and out the side door my gran had gone out previously to greet gran and these unidentified people. I ran behind her to watch what was about to happen through the window in the kitchen door. My mother said loudly, “mother, what the hell?” and as she said that men came out of the black cars, guns also in hand, screaming for my mother to “drop it” and get on the ground.

“There’s no need for that,” my grandmother said. “Honey put the gun down, it’s okay.” And my mother warily obeyed, placing the gun on the stair in front of her and putting her hands in the air. She slowly lowered them as a small figure emerged from one of the black cars. A thin woman with dark hair cut in a chin-length bob, wearing large sunglasses and a Pratt skirt, blouse and blazer stepped out of the car and into the sunlight. Behind her, a large man wearing the kind of suit every man wears only wearing it slightly better than the average man stepped out of the vehicle and held her hand as she picked her way through the mud toward gran, my mother and me.

She didn’t need to introduce herself but she did anyway and shook my grandmother’s hand. She was none other than the President of the United States, Belinda-Anne Briggs and her companion was the First Gentleman Charles Johnson.

Gran invited them into the house and lead them up the steps of the porch, where my mother had retrieved and put away the shotgun before scurrying into the house ahead of them. I didn’t know what to do so I went into the living room and slouched in the doorway between that room and the kitchen to watch what was about to unfold.

Gran, the President and the First Gentleman sat down at the kitchen table and my mother leaned against the kitchen counter. My grandma told my mother to get everyone some apple cider, which she explained we grow the apples, press them and bottle the cider ourselves so it was guaranteed to be GMO-free. Our guests gladly accepted and my mother served everyone a large glass. She offered me one but I just shook my head no, wanting to be as invisible as possible in the shadow of someone so huge.

President Briggs began by telling my grandmother how much she enjoyed reading her book and how she thought it was a shame that it was out of print and that that is something that should be remedies as soon as possible because a raw, vegan diet of fresh food is exactly what the American people, or even the world, needed right now. The second thing she wanted to discuss was our farm. She wanted to know everything about it, about how we keep our orchard pest-free, about what we grow in the greenhouse and how we harvest seeds. It was the letter she seemed the most interested in.

My grandmother flat out told her that we had a surplus of GMO-free heirloom seeds and that we had been trying to figure out what we could do with them to best help the world, if anything and the President cried real tears of joy, holding my grandmother’s hands across the table with both of hers and squeezing affectionately.

Something North America still had that a lot of the world did not was open spaces for planting fields, especially since the cattle and poultry industries were no more, said the President. She wanted to start by a few select organic farmers like ourselves planting “victory gardens”, a concept from the last century, harvesting enough food for ourselves and our neighbours and collecting enough seeds to plant for the next year, as well as to share with the government who would distribute the seeds to applying farmers. All of these activities would be heavily monitored by the military to ensure that the organic food supply remained GMO-free and to protect the gardens and fields from theft. The infrastructure was easy enough to implement, explained President Briggs, it was the seed stock that was the problem. Even farmers who had been planting perfectly normal organic corn in the earlier 2000s sometimes had genetically modified corn blow into their fields and when Sandy Mount found that these farmers were inadvertently selling their patented product, they sued the farmer into bankruptcy. The President said that she was in the process of creating a set of laws for the companies that produce genetically modified organisms that would eventually phase them out, make them illegal in this country and have them pay for the long-term implementation of the victory gardens. Apparently Canada was on board as well and due to our long-standing alliance with them, we would be co-operating with people on both sides of the border through the internet and mail system.

Gran said that even sending one person three tomato seeds to plant on a windowsill with instructions on how to eat most of the fruit and save a lot of the seeds at the same time, to be shared with someone else could make a difference. With time and the right selection process, community gardens and rooftop buildings with all tenants taking care of their own food supplies would be possible.

“YES!” exclaimed the President. “Exactly! This is exactly what I envision as well!”

“This,” grandma Lisa said stiffly, “is what I was trying to say in 2014.”

“And we should have listened,” President Briggs quietly admitted, meaning every word as she patted my grandmother’s hands.

After that, gran took the President, the First Gentleman and some of their staff down the muddy path to see the orchard, greenhouse and Southeast field while my mother got to work preparing gran’s famous cucumber dressing which we paired with a summer salad topped with edible pansies; it was gran’s showcase meal, if she ever had one. As she did that, I started peeling the apples for gran’s “Awesome Rawsome Applesauce” for dessert enjoying the sunshine streaming through the partially open kitchen window, a breeze slightly flicking the lace curtains. I smiled. Today was a new day.

December 4, 2014

No and I don’t know.

Yesterday was Touched By Fire.

I finished work at noon and had between then and 3:30pm to roll enough joints for the night, figure out where to eat, co-ordinate all this with my mom and get myself ready, which not only often involves multiple wardrobe changes, but more importantly, well-timed pharmaceuticals, and I was freaking at twelve-oh-one because I didn’t know where to start. I started by rolling joints and listening to bad hip hop because medication of all kinds is the most important thing to not leave the house with and I’ve been known to take a VERY long time to do this, even with a rolling machine, so yeah, started there. As I got to about my 2nd (of a planned 5) joint, Blake got home with lunch from Fresh-A-Fare, which I had really really wanted when I asked him to bring it home half an hour prior, but since I hadn’t had a ton of time to actually medicate between then and when he got home, my stomach just wasn’t ready for it so we ended up leaving it in the fridge for Wes for dinner if he wanted it, which he would because it was a ham and cheese sandwich and turkey with wild rice soup and he eats like me, so he’d be all about it.

As Blake ate and I rolled, we watched Once Upon a Story in Wonderland because it’s free on this trial Netflix type deal we have right now, and when the episode was over, Blake went to the bathroom to start getting read and I so, so stupidly checked e-mail and Facebook. And that is how I learned that my friend, Jeff Depew, the drummer from Scratching Post, had passed away. As some of you know, I was sort of the band’s first unofficial mascot/panty girl/merch bitch who did a lot of touring with them and became very good friends with everyone involved. I was/am shocked and saddened by the news of Jeff’s passing and however it happened, it is my hope that it was peaceful. I found out at around 2:30pm and had to be out the door at 3:30pm. At first I almost didn’t go. Just didn’t feel like partying or having a good time or being social. Then I almost went in overalls, which in hindsight I probably should have, it’s what I’d originally wanted to wear, but I settled on the same thing I wore on our attempt to see Book of Mormon, which had been thwarted by a blizzard so the outfit had never been seen before.

It took me half an hour to do my makeup because makeup won’t stick to tears, no matter how much primer you try to use. I’m a very simple lipstick-top-lid-eyeliner-one colour of shadow-mascara kinda gal. Makeup usually takes 10 mins, tops.

Anyway, traffic was hellacious and it was becoming apparent that we’d be late, so I texted my mom who said they were running late too, which I figured because that’s how my mother rolls. We get to the parking lot and it’s 100 km away from the restaurant we were meeting at and it’s blowing snow and I’m in a skirt. That walk made me so unhappy, especially since at the time my mother kept texting me from the restaurant about stuff as I’m trying not to get hit by cars or drop my phone or get it wet. Finally I literally told her to “stfu lol” and eventually we got to the restaurant.

We went to this St. Louis Grill place that I don’t think I’d ever bother with again unless I had to. Typical chain, with tiny across-from-Skydome Toronto portions and prices. I did eat a piece of macaroni and cheese wrapped in bacon and deep-fried that was pretty wonderful but I forgot to bring enzymes with me and really really should not be eating something like that anyway.

After eating, we went to the show. I went there. I saw that my painting was in the very back corner in the dark where it belonged. I looked at everyone else’s stuff, some good, some not so good but overall WAY better selections than previous years, then I parked my ass at the bar where I could see people looking at my painting (but turned my back to it because I couldn’t look) and see when they did the speeches. Speeches were uneventful except that this year there were prizes and our old friend from town here, Brian, won an honourable mention in his category and his girlfriend won best of show for her category.

After the speeches and awards and stuff, the place cleared out pretty fast. It wasn’t like previous years at all. See, something happened. I don’t know what but last fall there was some drama surrounding the show and suddenly touchedbyfire.CA was NOT the place to go, but touchedbyfire.CO and there was a mad scramble to get sponsors and find a space. It seemed like too much drama for me so I didn’t enter. This year it was run with the same group as last year and I noticed a lot of familiar artist faces missing, which seemed odd to me. I mean, this show has its regulars and I didn’t see two of its most prominent ones represented there last night. The bust for Rebecca Burkhardt, the person in whose remembrance this event takes place, was also missing, or at least I didn’t see it anywhere. Her dad was there though.

Before we left the show, Blake and John went around the room to see if anything had sold and only 2 things had, one being the most inexpensive piece in the show.

While the quality of work this year was definitely better, the experience wasn’t. There was no printed catalogue, which is really the only reason I go, just printed postcards with instructions for people to use their phones to take pictures of the QR codes beneath them or whatever they’re called, to pull up basically this page. That makes sense for the paintings being up in the gallery for a month but the show should have had a printed catalogue, especially since if I sell my piece, I’m giving them 20% and I want certain things, like show catalogues, for them to deserve that 20%. There were also no name tags for artists which was a mixed blessing. Every other year I turn mine around as not to be identified but this year I was trying to get up the courage to actually speak to people, to sell that damn thing, and them approaching me first would have been better.

The show’s been running 8 years, my first time was the 2nd year and I think I’ve been in it a total of 5 times. Last night marked only the 2nd time I’d submitted anything that was actually for sale and I really really need to sell this piece or make money from it somehow, in order to complete my next project before I get frustrated by money and logistics that I give up.

Anyway, here’s my painting and what I wore and how far away I was away from my painting at all times. THE END.

PS. I also invited my brother and his girlfriend to dinner and the show but he never even replied. I have no idea why, I haven’t done anything to him and we haven’t had a fight, so wtf? This hurts me a lot more than it should and was on my mind all night.

PPS. If you want to buy my painting, help me make BETTER art and see my awesome artist statement, click here.

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.

July 2, 2014

Blake ate the misshapen fortune cookie.

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

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

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

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

Grandma. July 2 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John & Chris are good.

That is all my people.

Everyone else can find their own canoe.

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!

June 3, 2014

Leave Only Loveliness

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 28, 2014

Life Ain’t a Track Meet, It’s a Marathon

Holy fuck, where do I even begin? I guess I’ll begin by saying that if you don’t follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you’re probably missing a lot and will continue to miss a lot because honestly I’m too busy doing stuff right now to e-mail myself the pics from my phone that I’ve posted on Instagram just to upload and repost them on my blog to tell a story. I may post like, highlights, but I’m not going to cross-post that stuff here unless Instagram gives me a button that allows me to do so, like it does for Facebook (but not my fan page and no offence, I don’t want randoms on my personal Facebook), Twitter and tumblr, to which I cross-post lots of stuff, but still not everything. Life is 3-dimensional and social media is a reflection of that I think. Anyway, I’m using it to document life as it happens and since I’m doing that in real time, I often don’t feel the need to have to write about it in order to process the experience, which is why I started blogging in the first place. I’m not saying I’m not going to blog anymore…I’m just saying if you want a more complete picture or you’re wondering what I’m doing in between blog posts, those are the places to check. No pressure, I’m just sayin’. Because a lot of you aren’t reading this on my site where those links are like, *right there —>*

That said, there are going to be some pics in this post.

My shrink doubled my cipralex (anti-depressant), which had me taking a whole pill and then I wasn’t feeling better so she had me up it by half a pill and I was supposed to call her on Monday but I’m having serious phone phobia and honestly I don’t even know how I feel so I don’t know what to tell her. I think I’m mostly good?

 I mean, I’m not suicidal anymore so obviously the meds are working but I still kinda feel flat when I think I’m supposed to feel happy or excited or proud of achievements or whatnot so I think I’m going to ask her to up it by another half pill so I’m taking 2 pills and leave me there for a while, maybe over the summer, to see how things shake out. She’s retiring in August so I kinda wanna get this shit worked out before then.

I’m over the new car. I kinda like air conditioning. The moon roof is handy for when you’re smoking a joint in the car. The stereo is better than in the old car, which I guess I’ll start referring to as either “my car” or the “Sunnymobile”, and it came with a subscription to XM radio which I actually really like and wish I had that in my car. And his stereo is super smart and if I plug my iPod into it, you can control the iPod on the car’s nerdscreen. So that’s sorta cool. And when I call him while he’s driving I can actually hear him so that’s a bonus. What else? I dunno, whatever, it’s a stereo you (well, he) can drive.

Madison turned 16 on the 16th and she had a party with some of her friends where lots of sushi and ice cream cake was consumed. In a rare act of bravery on the 15th, I called my favourite flower shop – on the phone- which is in Barrie, and asked them if it would be possible to have 16 roses sent to Madison’s school on her birthday the next day for under $60. The lady on the phone was super nice and worked it out so that she could do a mixture of short-stemmed roses for about $50 and delivering to a school was no problem. So she asked what school and when I told her she said, “oh dear, that’s out of our delivery area” and I felt SO defeated because it took so much courage to even make this call and they really are my favourite flower shop and I told her so and I asked her if she could refer me to a shop that could deliver to Madison’s school. So she starts google-fuing within her flower system and she’s like, “geez, you don’t really have a lot of options…” and she gave me the name of a shop in Wasaga Beach that MIGHT deliver to our town but she said she couldn’t speak to their quality etc. Then she said, “what if we did it today instead?” and I was like, “wha’?” and she said, “my driver just got back and my boss isn’t in today, let me ask him if he’ll do it”, so she put me on hold and when she came back, she was excited and said he’d do it and I got excited and damn near cried and when she told me the total, I asked her if she could please add an extra $5 for the driver because that was super nice of him/them and after 20 minutes on the phone, Madison was getting roses at school that afternoon. I was pretty proud of myself for doing that when literally I don’t think I’d used the phone to call anyone outside of my immediate family in a good year or more. I just don’t use the phone, it freaks me out. Anyway, Madison liked her flowers. Her ex sent her crappier flowers the next day at school from an inferior flower shop and Madison handed them out to people.

So Madison turned 16, then the Sunday and Monday after that Blake and I got to know the new car. Then on the Tuesday, the first day I was left alone with the keys to my own car, the craziest damn thing happened: Madison and I went to the mall. In Barrie. I have never driven to Barrie, half an hour-40 mins away before and have purposely avoided it because there is lots of traffic and you have to go over 80 km/h, which to everyone else means 90 or 100 and then the road splits into 2 lanes in a couple of places and it’s just generally a more difficult drive than say, the beach, which is two turns and 10 minutes away. The mission was pretty simple: get to the mall, smoke a joint, have mall teriyaki because it’s the best teriyaki, go to Spencer’s Gifts to find accessories for our (Madison & mine’s) new car, drive home before dark.

This is my pretty perfect mall joint.
(I cheat and use a rolling machine. :oP)

For the record, I don’t drive while medicated and I don’t think anyone else should either.

I know some people say they’re better drivers while stoned and I’ve witnessed this phenomenon myself, but everyone’s different and I would never in a million years get behind the wheel if I didn’t feel it was safe to do so.

Keep in mind that I am a terrified, by the book, go the speed limit kinda driver who does everything in her power to avoid any and all conflict so it’s just not in my nature to fuck around.
I have literally never even had a single drink and driven. Like…it’s just, no.

Anyway…

That is me, in the driver’s seat, parked perfectly between two yellow lines, in the parking lot of the Georgian Mall in Barrie (that tall sign is the mall sign).

We got there and I smoked my joint and we went in.
Oh yeah, I didn’t take ANY anxiety meds during this trip.

Mall teriyaki was gotten.
I ordered and paid all by myself.
Mine was beef, Madison got tofu.

After we ate, I did take 2 Ativan because the mall apparently freaks me out more than actually driving there, and then we went to look for Spencer’s Gifts. We found it and it was sadly devoid of anything I’d ever put on my vehicle. Madison pointed out a couple of weed-related car things but that’s just asking to get pulled over and harassed and Madison and I would rather avoid the hassle. I did put a Liquid Chrome sticker on the back window though, which is the smoke shop in Barrie. That’s a little more subtle than a giant rasta-coloured weed leaf or something. And we have the Flying Spaghetti Monster “Jesus fish” on the back of the car with Bubbles from the Powerpuff Girls hanging with one of John’s suncatchers from the rearview. Those are our car decorations so far. Madison has been told to keep an eye out for others. I don’t even know where you would buy a plastic/vinyl bumper sticker as opposed to a  regular sticker that’s just glossy and bumper sticker-shaped. Those are no good. I’m thinking the dollar store but I don’t think the dollar store is gonna have the kinda stuff I want to put on my car. I don’t even KNOW what kinda stuff I wanna put on my car! All I know, is that it’s really really boring, and it’s too new/I’m too poor/uninspired to sand it down and paint like my mom did with her old van. The thought had definitely crossed my mind but I just don’t have that kind of dedication and even she would probably agree it would be ill-advised. Although the idea of this car eventually being a derby car sorta made my heart skip a beat, but that would be a looooong ways off. Did buy $10 worth of crap NO ONE needs and figured I’d spent about $2.50 in gas which made me sort of freak out once I got home because with that and food that was an expensive experiment and it just completely overshadowed any “good” that would have come from it. (My mom didn’t want me to worry about it so she paid for the outing though. <3)

The next day, I decided to google a decent-looking recipe for Steak and Guinness Stew because I really like the kind at the pub but it’s like, $11 all told and you don’t really get very much. I figured it can’t be very expensive to make, so I got a recipe, made a list and went to go to the grocery store because it’s in town, so it only takes gas fumes to get there and I can park in the parking lot away from everyone else and spend Blake’s money instead of mine. He said  if I made it there, like when we were driving around in the new car breaking it in over the weekend, I told him I was scared of buying like, $300 worth of groceries if left to my own devices because I’m bad at math and I do a lot of “just in case” purchasing. So he made it pretty simple: if we needed it because it’s something we’re out of, get it and as for anything else, only get it if I think we’re going to use it in the next 24 hours. This is why I went in with the ingredients for a recipe I intended to make once I got home. And because driving alone and navigating the grocery store and paying alone weren’t difficult enough, I decided to raise the difficulty level by adding BEER. I have been in The Beer Store only once, with Madison, that one time she and I decided Blake needed beer when he got home and we carried it home as a surprise. It was 11am, I knew it wouldn’t be busy, but it is Elmvale, so that was really just a theory. Who knows what time farmers start drinking? Really though, the challenge with getting beer at The Beer Store here is that potentially the only way to obtain it is if I parallel parked, which I will flat out tell you, I do not know how to do. And I do not care that I do not know how to do it. BUT! Like I said, I’d be getting there shortly after they open on a Wednesday, chances are no one will be parked out front.

Got to the grocery store and parked a million miles away from all other cars because the less shit around me that I could potentially hit or back into, the better. Here are some pics from my trip:

I bought like, 30 cents worth of these with the intention of Madison making them for the kids to try (she’s vegetarian and likes t o try new things) but I threw them out today because forest food is super perishable and I just completely forgot to tell Madison they were there or what to do with them. Oops.

This is a shaker of pure MSG.

Blake says some of the guys at work  have this stuff at their desk to put on takeout food and I’d never seen it before in the wild AND my friend Paul had just linked to an article about this stuff and a guy who spent 30 days putting it on everything he ate and it didn’t seem to really affect him in any way, if I recall, so I threw this in the cart. More because Blake would find it funny than to actually consume because I grew up that MSG was what caused migraines and that it was super bad for you so I can’t bring myself to actually put it on anything but Blake’s been using it.

I also got these awesome corn trays for our family because Blake wasn’t there to tell me they’re dumb.
I, for one, will greatly enjoy using these because plates are for the birds when it comes to even butter distribution, which is essential.

Checking out went pretty smoothly except that I forgot to bring bags (though truthfully I bet they were in my  trunk) so I had to buy some, but other than the fact that I took 10 times longer in the grocery store to get 10 times less stuff than if I were with Blake because I kept taking pictures of things and uploading them to Instagram…

Next up was the Elmvale Beer Challenge.

I took the back street home and turned right at the library where I had to wait and could scope out the front of the beer store pretty well. Much to the delight of my lucky ass, NO ONE was in front so I just parked on the street and went in. The Beer Store is extra challenging also in that you have to ask for what you want. I thought ahead though and printed out my recipe with a picture of the exact kind of Guinness it called for, so all I did was show the guy the picture and tell him “I want as little of this as possible”. Turns out it came in 4-packs so I got that and came home, TRIUMPHANT!

The stew turned out pretty well, I thought, but Blake wasn’t a huge fan and it didn’t taste as good as the pub’s so the quest for the ultimate Steak and Guinness Stew recipe is still on.

Another day, Madison and I went to get Chinese food. This was my fortune cookie:

Twice now, Blake has shown me how to get to Penetanguishene and Balm Beach and Midland and even though I can pretty much recite the directions, I don’t feel confident enough on those windy backroads where people go way too fast. I’m working on it though. I’d really like to be able to go to Froth by myself eventually. I ordered a windshield mount for my phone and I’ve signed up for Waze and as of tomorrow or sometime very soon, I’ll have the equivalent of AAA and once all that is in place, I think I’ll be more prone to venture farther away from home because with Waze I pretty much can’t get lost. Anyway, there’s a church on the way to and from Penetang that I like sometimes so I took a picture of it last week:

Anyway, it’s taken me all damn day to get this written up between doing other things (like driving to Wasaga Beach by myself for the first time to get myself lunch which I ordered over the phone and paid for by myself), I’ve gotta take my meds, figure out what everyone’s doing for dinner and watch Bates Motel. Peace oot.

PS. If anyone knows anything about seatbelts for dogs, lay it on me.

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