August 6, 2015

Day One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– “Clumsy” by Our Lady Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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.

May 6, 2014

Sunny Versus the Volcano

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 So that’s it. Volcano: case closed.

TL;DR Sunny is a cyborg.

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

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

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

April 22, 2014

Forsythia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 16, 2014

Dear Jay & Sapphire,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unfortunately though, I am but one voice of many.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 3, 2014

How fucking weird is this? Is this happening in the US too?

I just got this e-mail from one of the new Canadian licenced cannabis producers:

“TWEED MARIJUANA INC. ANNOUNCES CLOSING OF QUALIFYING TRANSACTION
OTTAWA, ONTARIO: April 3, 2014 – Tweed Marijuana Inc. (TSXV: LWI.H) (“Tweed Marijuana”), formerly LW Capital Pool Inc., today announced that it has closed its qualifying transaction with Tweed Inc. (“Tweed”) pursuant to which Tweed completed a reverse takeover transaction with Tweed Marijuana (the “Transaction”) and has delivered all materials to the TSX Venture Exchange (the “Exchange”) required to satisfy the listing conditions. Trading in the common shares of Tweed Marijuana is expected to resume on the Exchange at open of markets on Friday, April 4, 2014 under the symbol “TWD”.Prior to the Transaction, Tweed Marijuana was a capital pool company as defined in the policies of the Exchange and had not commenced commercial operations and had no assets other than cash. The Transaction constituted Tweed Marijuana’s “Qualifying Transaction”, as defined in Exchange policies.

Tweed is a licensed producer of medical marijuana in Canada. The principal activities of Tweed are the production and sale of marijuana out of its facility in Smiths Falls, Ontario as regulated by the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations.

As part of the Transaction LW Capital Pool Inc. changed its name to Tweed Marijuana Inc. and consolidated its shares on a 5 to 1 basis. Following this change, Tweed amalgamated with 2405882 Ontario Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Tweed Marijuana formed solely for the purpose of facilitating the Transaction. In connection with that amalgamation, Tweed Marijuana Inc. issued a total of 33,618,108 post-consolidation common shares to the holders of shares of Tweed. In addition, 2,980,054 common shares of Tweed Marijuana have been reserved for options and warrants issued to the holders of Tweed options and warrants. Following closing, Tweed Marijuana Inc. has a total of 35,070,108 common shares outstanding. 

A filing statement describing Tweed Marijuana Inc., Tweed and the terms of the Transaction, prepared in accordance with the polices of the Exchange, is available to view at www.sedar.com. The summary of the Transaction included above is qualified in its entirety by reference to the description of the Transaction in the filing statement.

Following closing of the Transaction, the following individuals comprise the Board of Directors of Tweed Marijuana: Bruce Linton, Charles Rifici, Chris Schnarr, Larry Poirier and Andrew Moffat. Mr. Rifici will assume the position of Chief Executive Officer and Mr. Linton will be Chair of Tweed Marijuana Inc.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy oraccuracy of this release.

For further information: 

Bruce Linton
Chair

Tweed Marijuana Inc.
1 Hershey Drive
Smiths Falls, ON, K7A 0A8
1-855-558-93333

I know NOTHING about stocks. I had no idea what was going on in Wolf of Wall St. despite liking it. I just think that trading weed shares on the stock exchange is just…weird.

What’s interesting though is that a couple of weeks ago, some patients in BC won their court case that challenged the new laws and system (that I’m registered under) and that enabled patients registered under the old system to be able to grow their own cannabis past the April 1st deadline to get in line with the new system, which only allows corporate producers like the one above to grow and patients have to buy from them. I think it’s very strange that I think this is the 2nd or 3rd licenced producer to put themselves on the stock exchange in the last little while when only 3 of them (out of ALL the licenced producers) are shipping product. You’d think they’d be a little hesitant with the statuses of the two systems in limbo, right?

But then again, I don’t really know how stocks work so I have no idea. The trial date for the patients under the old system has yet to be set so I have no idea what anyone’s thinking.

April 2, 2014

Writing Instead of Eating

This is probably best explained with screencaps. I’ve been tracking my calories since seeing the dietitian with My Fitness Pal, which is both a website and an app and it was the one she recommended. I’d also used it before. Basically I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with me. Look, this is a typical day:

This was the next day…

This was yesterday…

I am scared. I think Blake is sorta mad at me even though he knows I can’t help it, but more out of concern though than really being mad. He says he’s not mad. I don’t know if I believe that. This morning he made me scrambled eggs about half an hour before I was finished working and I just couldn’t eat them. I took like, 4 bites and I cried basically the whole time they were in my mouth because I didn’t want them there. They made me feel sick and I just did not want that texture in my mouth. I was/am shaking with hunger and so so tired, but everything I think of to eat just sets off my gag reflex and whatever the reflex is in your stomach that makes you feel sick. Wtf, right? And then I felt sick and cried for the rest of my shift because I am fucking terrified. I don’t want to be sick again. I don’t want there to be another thing wrong with me. I do not want to see any doctors other than the ones I see now. I do not want any more tests unless they tell me they think I have cancer or something which they won’t because obviously I don’t but obviously something’s not right and I don’t know if it’s physical, psychological or both. I honestly have no earthly idea.

It went like this:

– Spring-fall 2011. Got sick/feeding tube etc, got down to about 97 lbs.

– Started slowly gaining weight despite barfing up like, everything, thanks to Ensure and Isopure Plus and my doctor saying if all I wanted to eat was McCrap, that was fine by her because my hair was falling out. Got up to about 115 lbs. Felt good at that weight.

– Summer 2012, a year after getting sick, I have my big surgery to close my wound and remove my gall bladder, which was all fucked up and gross and full of stones apparently.

– Felt okay after surgery, this was probably partially due to the fact that my primary painkiller apres-surgery was cannabis.

– In the fall I went to Squam at around 115 lbs and lost 3 lbs despite eating a LOT and every single day because the food was actually really really good. Can’t even tell you what I had there though, shoulda written it down.

– Apres-Squam for some reason I just felt good. I was off most of my “sick” meds, my period came back and I was eating enough that by July 2013, so within about a year, I was 150 lbs.

Then it all went to shit and I don’t really know know why. One day I had a really bad pancreatic attack and then another and then another and I think maybe my pancreas is just maybe damaged enough now that this shit is an issue. And that scares the ever loving shit out of me. You only get one pancreas. I had a really hard fucking time with having a blood transfusion, can you imagine what a nightmare it would be to need a pancreas transplant? I’d be so stressed out by someone else’s body part in me that my body would probably just reject it anyway. I don’t even know how successful that kind of transplant is anyway. Probably not very since the pancreas is so goddamn fragile. Or at least mine apparently is.

Anyway, we have watermelon and suddenly that seems like a good idea and the second I get hungry for something, I do my best to eat it because it’s always a fleeting thing. I promise I’ll make a more positive post soon. It’s (sort of) spring!

March 25, 2014

What’s your damage, soldier?

Woke up this morning at 4:15am like I always do, got up and went to the bathroom without turning the light on and as soon as I start peeing, I start gagging. I grab the garbage can to my right – in the dark – and sat on the toilet barfing into this garbage can on my lap almost until it was time to start work at 5am. Then working from 5am-8am went like this: answer 5 e-mails, run to the bathroom to throw up or just dry heave for 5-15 mins, repeat.

Blake put me to bed at 8am and I woke up about an hour ago (11:30am-ish) with pain in my pancreas so this is the beginning of a pancreatic attack. I’ve taken hydromorph and now that I’m not working I can medicate with cannabis so if I can keep the nausea/vomiting and pain under control, usually things won’t escalate.

What did this? From what I can tell, because I now have to write down every single thing I eat, it was simple cheese sauce from a packet on broccoli last night. I eat frozen Green Giant broccoli and cheese sauce all the time with no issue but lately the texture of their sauce has kinda grossed me out, so I wanted (what I call) “real” cheese sauce on real broccoli. So that’s what Blake made me. And now I kinda wanna die a little.

But hopefully with the hydromorph and cannabis it won’t escalate further.

I was screwing around with polymer clay on the weekend because I have an idea for a big clay project and I wanted to make sure polymer clay was the way to go. I hadn’t used it since I was a kid and man, this stuff has gotten so much nicer in the last 25 years! I remember the old Fimo was SO HARD and you had to work it in for like a million hours until your hands cramped up to be able to work with it, then they introduced soft Fimo but it was more expensive and too rich for my 10 year old blood. Then I lost interest in it until Sunday when we went to Michael’s and I spent the gift card my mom got me on the colours of polymer clay I needed to make a couple of little guys, which we burnt because we screwed up the math and our oven runs hot :o/…

…that mouse was supposed to be elephant grey and baby pink. Anyway, making them was fun and I definitely want to proceed with the bigger project once I work out some of the logistics and play with the remaining clay to figure out how best to bake it in our wonky oven. I’m also going to invest in an oven thermometer at the suggestion of a bunch of my friends on Facebook, just to see how far off our oven is and how it cycles. My friend Mark – the one from the UK with the neat fish tanks, not the one who bought a forest in Nova Scotia – found this really good series of blog posts about baking polymer clay, so once I get my shit together and really get into this project, I’m definitely going to re-read those and maybe seek out more resources. The more info the better.

What I haven’t figured out yet is how to fund the bigger project. Polymer clay is pretty expensive and not really in my budget and I’m going to need a lot. I only bought this stuff to screw around with because my mom gave me a gift card for my birthday and there was nothing else at Michael’s that looked interesting. I didn’t know it would lead to IDEAS. If I’d have known that, I would have stuck to scrapbook paper! I still need to figure out if I’m capable of executing it with the oven we have anyway and I have so much on my plate at the moment that I just don’t even have the desk space right now to work on it so it’s a far ways off.

The gift card though, oy! We get to the cash register and she rings up our stuff, scans my coupon on my phone and swipes the gift card and it wouldn’t work. Long story short: The customer service lady worked for 20 mins to get the gift card to work in the machine and it wouldn’t, 1-800-MICHAELS is not open on Sundays for them to check the balance and when the lady peeled the sticker off the back to reveal the PIN # the paper came along with it, ruining the legibility of the numbers. Finally the lady just GUESSED the PIN # and it went through! The lady had never seen a cardboard gift card before and said she’d tell corporate that they suck. I was so so so fucking thankful that Blake was with me and handling the transaction because I was kinda freaking out. I knew worst case scenario was that I’d have to pay for my purchase, which I had enough money to do, and my mom and I could work it out. I figured she kept the receipt for the gift card because…that’s my mom…and I only spent as much as the gift card was for so somehow it would work out, but the fact that people kept trying to get in line behind us (we were at the customer service desk) and the lady kept having to tell them to go to another register was freaking me out and I wanted to melt into the floor. When she guessed the fucking PIN though and it went through, for a fraction of a second there I think I might have believed in God. At the very least either her karma was good or mine was or something. But nah, it was just a flukey “win”. And she was GREAT for persevering. That’s good customer service, that’s the kind of customer service we provide our customers at my work (which I happen to think is excellent on its own, but especially when compared to most other companies’ customer service). Michael’s had kinda been on my shit list after they sold me old varnish that fucked up a painting and the cover of a sketchbook (which the varnish manufacturer made good on, because DecoArt ALSO has excellent customer service) but I think we’re square for the time being.

Last week I bought myself flowers because they were just so beautiful they had to come home with me, and they’re still going strong. They’re Gerbera daisies, which are actually more related to sunflowers than daisies, according to Wikipedia:

Aren’t they crazy beautiful?
Isn’t my desk crazy messy?
I should just put all that paint away…I may just do that.

In discussing the first day of spring the other day, my friend Rugg reminded me that prior to me getting sick, he had helped me, for my birthday, turn my front yard into a wildflower garden and my back yard into a vegetable garden. This year he asked me if I wanted to plant and it had been something I’d been thinking about now that we’ve decided this is our forever home, but not very seriously because I just don’t have any money and Blake doesn’t care so it’s not like he’s going to give me any. We have decided that we’re not going to have a vegetable garden again because it’s too much work when the grocery store is down the street and sells fresh Ontario produce that’s pretty affordable, but Rugg bought me these hanging planters for tomatoes to grow upside-down, you’ve probably seen them on TV, the spring I got sick so we never really got to use them. I planted them and everything, but then I got sick and no one looked after them so they shrivelled up and died. They’re pretty neat though and you don’t have to weed them, so we figure we might as well. Fresh tomatoes warm from the sun on a PLT is one of life’s greatest joys, so I figure we should probably give it another shot, if only for that possibility. Other than that, all I know for sure is that I’ll be planting the usual cosmos and bachelor’s buttons out front – wait, back up…

…this spring, when the daffodils and hyacinths come up, I’m relocating all of them to the garden that’s in front of our front porch (where only hyacinths grow now, I think) and if there are too many to do that, then I’m just going to plant them randomly throughout the front yard because that’s where all of my little spring flower bulbs are. The reason I’m relocating them is because I want the garden beneath my living room window to be cleared out for peonies because after the daffodils and hyacinths die down in like, the end of April/beginning of May, I can’t get anything other than dandelions to grow there because it’s too shady, it’s right under a big maple tree. I haven’t actually researched whether or not peonies would work there, I just think they will because I’ve seen peonies growing in shade before so some varieties must be able to. If not, suggestions for something LIKE peonies would be welcome if anyone knows anything about gardening! (Keep in mind where I live though…)

Another idea I’ve been thinking about is turning the former vegetable garden in the back into another wildflower garden with more of an emphasis on butterflies and the possibility of a bird feeder in the middle. I want to get one like this, on a pole, but I’d need my mom and John’s help with the pole because I don’t even know where you would get one of those or how you would put it in the ground. All winter I’ve been buying suet balls and we’ve been tying them to the branches of the tree out front. We’ve had little chickadee guys, a woodpecker-looking guy who may or may not be an actual woodpecker because we’ve never actually seen him peck wood and a bunch of different types of black birds. The kids, and even Blake, have all liked watching the birds and I like watching them too if I’m in the kitchen or sitting on the rocking chair in the living room while I talk to Blake at his desk. I’m not sure we’d feed the birds in the summer, they eat the wildflower seeds anyway, but we’d like to feed them in the fall/winter/spring and you can really only give them suet balls in the winter because suet is animal fat so when it’s too warm, they fall apart. Just another idea.

Something else I know as a definite because Rugg and I have already discussed it is sunflowers. Lots and lots of sunflowers. And of course morning glories and moonflowers to grow up the stalks, among other places! Yeah, I have plans and ideas…I just have to get them all in one place and organized because some things will need to be ordered immediately, like peonies, and planted early inside, like tomatoes. Sooooooooo I’m gonna stop babbling and go do that. I also have to make sketches for the polymer clay project. Things they are-a-happenin’.

PS. Madison dyed her hair red yesterday after school…at school in the girl’s bathroom because she’s banned from using hair dye in our house since she bleaches or dyes everything in the bathroom and we just had it redone and we’re in the process of painting the whole room white. So she bought hair dye at lunch and started dying it in the bathroom at school and when she got to the rinsing part, she had her head under the sink, which she said was barely dripping water on her because they’re all water-saving faucets (haha), when a lady janitor came in and said, “oh you’ll never get it done that way” and lead Madison to a janitor’s closet down the hall where she could use a hose and wash the dye down a drain hole where it matters not if she gets dye anywhere. She’s overjoyed that she can now dye her hair again and I’m happy for her, but I REALLY wish she’d use gloves when she does. Right now she looks like she murdered someone…maybe she has…hmmm….

March 23, 2014

Greek Yogurt

…is surprisingly not as disgusting as regular yogurt, its texture is better AND the brand I bought happened to be the fruit-at-the-bottom kind, which is awesome, so I’m on board with this whole Greek yogurt thing…sort of. A serving of protein via Greek yogurt is 175g (3/4 cup) and the single-serve containers I bought are only 100g and there’s not a chance in hell I could eat two of them. I’m “on board” with Greek yogurt in that I now know I won’t die if I eat that specific type of it, but one of those little containers every couple of days is all I could handle of that (if that!) and next time I’m dumping out some of the yogurt and mixing the rest with the fruit-at-the-bottom because their ratio is a bit off.

Yep. Greek yogurt.

Posted at 10:46 am in: Diet , Food , gallbladder , Health , Life , Misc. , pancreatitis , Spring
March 21, 2014

Starbucks is Hell on Earth and I Would Literally Rather Be Anywhere Else

I’m sitting at a Starbucks because Blake assured me it “won’t be busy” and we haven’t found an alternative to Froth, in Penetang, which closes at 6pm and wouldn’t have given us enough time to work on anything between Blake getting off work, driving 40 minutes to get there and getting set up with drinks etc. So he suggested we come to this fresh Hell. I don’t drink coffee. Their frappuccinos make me sick. They don’t even have diet Coke OR Pepsi so I’m stuck drinking a Jones Soda root beer that I don’t even like. To my left are long lost friends of some sort, women, blah blah blah, to my right is a girl and a guy who are probably doing some sort of university work but we’re sharing a long table with them and they’ve made it very clear that they’d really rather we didn’t. I can’t even look in their direction, which means that I have no idea what’s happening in the other 2/3 of the building except that the staff sure do like to talk – and so they should, I’m not saying they shouldn’t. The soundtrack to Hell is muzak jazz, just so you know.

I’ve already had to pop olanzapine/zyprexa and two Ativan, the latter of which I’m going to have to take two four more to just be able to breathe and even still, if I don’t calm the fuck down and NOT cry, we are going to have to leave pretty much immediately and the sooner the better.

Blake’s writing a book so I’m trying to be a good sport about this with him. I guess I’m technically writing a book too, but in the way that I’m ALWAYS writing a book and it’s not even worth talking about. Blake will actually probably finish his. And actually he sabotaged me in Florida anyway by telling his Aunt Pat that I was working on one and then she asked me what it was about and if I wanted to talk about it I’d be talking about it and obviously I haven’t been – WITH ANYONE ON PURPOSE WHICH I’VE SAID IN THIS BLOG AT LEAST TWICE – so thanks a lot, FUCKER.

Whatever. Just whatever. He’s doing his writing thing and I’m trying to be supportive FOR RIGHT NOW but this little experiment was an epic failure an hour ago and there will not be a repeat.

Wednesday I went to see Stephanie, the dietitian. I told her about how I’ve lost 30 lbs in the last few months and just kind of explained to her my eating habits, the fact that I don’t usually eat every day or sometimes every two days and when I do it’s not usually very much. I told her that I’m primarily concerned with protein because I’ve been feeling weak and I’m scared my hair’s going to start falling out like it did before.

She said some surprising things. Like, she wanted me to switch from Diet Coke to regular Coke because I need the calories. That was not something I was willing to do and I still think that’s really shitty advice. She made me agree that Diet Coke would be the only diet product I consume. I think we use 1/2 the fat mayonnaise and I’m not going to stop using it and buy regular mayonnaise instead though because Wes uses it too and he definitely needs 1/2 the fat. She also said that my Diet Coke consumption was within the “safe” range for my age, height and weight. In fact, we guess that I drink between 6-10 cans of Diet Coke per day (it varies because every day is different and I open a lot that I don’t finish) and the “safe” limit for me is 17.

Then she got out a good ol’ Canada’s Food Guide and started telling me about protein and what counts as a serving of protein. Examples of one serving of protein are: 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt, 50g/1.5oz of cheese, 2.5 oz of meat, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1/4 cup of nuts. I’d never had Greek yogurt before but we got some on the way home. Strawberry. They said it had a different texture than regular yogurt and still recommended it knowing full well that I don’t even like regular yogurt to begin with. I got a pack of 4 single-serve portions of the stuff just in case I don’t like it, which I’m well prepared for. Ditsy says it’s palatable with chopped up fruit in it, sprinkled with brown sugar and I happen to have strawberries so that’s probably what I’ll do.

Anyway, the goal for right now is to eat 2 servings of protein per day. I made it yesterday because I got shepherd’s pie from Flynn’s and had two cheese strings before that but today has been less successful with only one egg and 21g of cheese. Maybe after we’re done in this terrible, awful place that more and more people keep coming to, we can go to the big grocery store in this plaza to see if I can find products like the ones I was finding in the US and maybe then on the way home we can get burgers from South St. Burger Co.

And friends just bumped into the girl to my right. I really hope they’re not staying.

The only thing I guess I really have left to say is that the dietitian calculated that I should be striving to eat 1450 calories per day to maintain my weight. I’d say right now, 500 is a good day.

And now we need to leave.

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