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 21, 2014

What Us Canadians Did on Our Holiday to the US of A

So I guess the last thing I posted while in Florida was when Noelle woke up. Well, we got in the car and we followed her to this town that I forget the name of, to go to this place I forget the name of (but it had VALET PARKING, ooh la la) where we sat on picnic tables with umbrellas on the beach and we ate and just talked to Noelle for about an hour. I’m not sure what everyone else had. I had a clubhouse, which I only had 1/4 of because they used some kind of funky processed turkey and Noelle had coconut shrimp. Madison probably had some kind of veggie burger, Wes probably had the clubhouse too and I’m sure Blake had a cheeseburger. The menu was really limited, which seemed to be the case for all of these beach-side kind of shanty restaurants. The bathrooms were sorta cool though, I wonder what the men’s bathroom walls said?

This was only the second time I was meeting Noelle. The first time I think was the spring after Wes was born and I think I stayed in the bedroom making art almost the whole time she was there so her and Blake could catch up. They’ve been really good friends since high school. Anyway, Blake hadn’t seen her or really talked to her more than once a year since then so he wasn’t really sure what to expect (soon after she visited us her life got flip turned upside down) but I think we were both pleasantly surprised. She’s got her shit together bigtime and as Blake said to her while we were having lunch (to her) she’s very good at being her. She’s 40 like Blake (I assume) and she owns her own business and her own home and drives a convertible, I mean she’s super successful, but she’s still fun and energetic and ready to party like a 22 year old. It was actually pretty awesome and makes me wish pre-getting-sick-me could have partied with shit-together-Noelle because I think we’d have had a really good time!

It was sad leaving Noelle, it would have been cool to hang out longer, but we had to get back on the road to get to Blake’s mom’s house by dinner.

This is Noelle.
Noelle is awesome.

This is Bubbles.
She’s been my car mascot since my very first car.
The jewelly thing was made by my mom’s fiance, John.
It’s a suncatcher made out of an antique spoon.

When we stopped at a gas station, I saw this sign and wondered how I could cash in my kids!
Then someone told me it was probably a tax thing and my hopes for selling children were dashed.

Then Blake presented me with this glorious thing!
Pineapple Fanta was on my MUST list & that shit is hard to find!
This was the only bottle I ended up having, but at least I got to try some!
It was as wonderful as I knew it would be, but I don’t think I’d ever want more than a small bottle like, once a month.
Any more than that and I’d end up in a diabetic coma.

We made it to Venice, on the Gulf side of Florida where Blake’s mom lives, about 8pm and soon after we dropped the kids off and got acquainted with the house, we went to Wal*Mart to get groceries because Blake’s mom is gluten-free and paleo, Madison’s a vegetarian and I have food issues that are out of this world, so we figured it would just be easier if we got our own groceries for the week and fed ourselves, with the exception of the roast beef Blake’s mom – whose name is Brooke, by the way, but for some reason I just always call her Blake’s mom, kinda like how I just call Blake “hey you” (no joke) –  was going to be making at some point in the week as my “birthday dinner”.

Well let me tell you. Wal*Mart was an experience. The following may seem like…”normal” to Americans, but this shit is B-A-N-A-N-A-S to Canadians…

Ice cream flavoured Chips Ahoy.
Okay in Canada we have like, I dunno, maybe 4 kinds of Chips Ahoy cookies and they’re all fairly standard chocolate and cookie combos.

But it get’s even fucking crazier…like, insane…

WHAT

THE

FUCK

IS

THIS?

In Canuckistan we have regular Oreos and Golden Oreos. MAYBE double-stuffed if you’re in a big grocery store.
We had the birthday cake ones for a limited time and gingerbread ones at Xmas and those were both disgusting as I’d imagine most of these are.
Katie and Alex think the “spring” ones looks like a maxipad box. I concur.

I also spied these, which I was assured on Twitter were poison as I had suspected.

Some people go on holiday and take pictures of the wildlife or the landscape or the architecture…I take pictures of junk food.

Seriously though? It was so easy for me to eat in the US. For example, in the produce section of Wal*Mart there was a bagged product that had small florets of fresh broccoli and pasta that you microwave and also in the package was a packet of cheese sauce that didn’t look half bad, so I bought it. I never got to have it because we bought more food than we ended up needing for the week, but that’s the kind of thing I could make myself and have for a pretty okay dinner. We have Green Giant frozen broccoli and cheese sauce but I don’t like their cheese sauce and of course we have actual broccoli and packets of cheese sauce that you mix with milk on the stove to make cheese sauce but that takes a while to make. Anyway, there were lots of things in that Wal*Mart that I would/could have eaten compared to the grocery stores and brands here. Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough, but that’s a whole other post…

The next morning, I was the first one to get up, then Wes, then Blake and Blake and I just hung out at the table outside (they have a screened-in room with a pool and hot tub, a patio table and a tiki bar) while Wes swam. Wes has been taking swimming lessons and he swam in that pool every chance he got, no matter how cold it was.

From here the days all kinda blur together so I’m just kinda going by the order I took pictures in. On this day, which I guess would have been the Tuesday, Madison caught a lizard while we were waiting for everyone elser to go to the beach, which would be one of many.

Before we went to the beach, we stopped off at the Venice Chamber of Commerce where Blake’s mom picked up the kids some prehistoric shark’s teeth:

Venice is something like the shark tooth capital of the world.
When we got to the beach, we saw lots of people with mesh shovels looking for them, but I didn’t take any pics of them.

Da beach.
This was Sharky’s on the Pier.

Brooke and Blake, Madison looking for shells.

When we got home, Brooke made us prime rib as my birthday dinner, check this shit out:

Not much else to say about that.

Then we all went to bed early because we had to get up at 6am to go to Shy Wolf Sanctuary, which was over 2 hours away and Wes’ birthday present from Brooke and Charlie because Wes is absolutely obsessed with wolves (and platypi, but there probably aren’t many of those in Florida.)

When we got to Shy Wolf, they had us sit on these benches in front of the main building while everyone for tours gathered and Wes was telling the volunteers everything he knew about wolves and he asked if he’d be able to pet one, and this was his reaction when he was told that he could:

He was very attentive while the volunteers told us all about how wolves are shy and if you meet out in the wild, it would be more afraid of you than you were of it.

Before we met any wolves, we met a fennec fox and one of many prairie dogs (which do NOT make good pets, they could not stress enough):

That’s our guide, Mark. Mark was awesome.

This is an arctic fox and he was my favourite.
He was a long way from home!

Another prairie dog…

NOT GOOD PETS!

The first couple of wolves we couldn’t pet…

But this one we could!

I liked this pic of the next wolf because he looks like he’s gonna eat that kid who was in my way the whole time…

Also the whole wolf sanctuary reminded me of this:

And then this happened faster than I could get the camera on and set and focused, which sucks, but it was still pretty cool:

This is Wes and Dancer, the wolf he ended up sponsoring in the end thanks to grama and grampa:

At Shy Wolf, there are wolves and wolfdogs. Wolfdogs are half wolf, half dog and their temperament can go either way depending on how much wolf if in them and how much dog. I forget the 4 or 5 stages of mammal development but it goes from infant to juvenile, to adolescent, to adult – I think – and dogs only make it to the juvenile stage where they are dependent on humans for their basic survival while wolves make it all the way to the adult stage where they are completely independent. This is a wolfdog:

I got french-kissed by a wolf…

They also had a bunch of tortoises:

And this bobcat that had the biggest yawn of any animal I’ve ever seen, check this out:

PRAIRIE DOGS DO NOT MAKE GOOD PETS!
These ones seem like they’re good pets because they’re handled by lots and lots of people but all of the animals wound up at Shy Wolf because they were all former pets.
Including the cougar that I didn’t take any pictures of.

This was Wes reaction in the car after we were about to leave Shy Wolf:

After that we went to Cracker Barrel! We don’t have these in Canada!

My mom’s fiance, John, told me that I had to try the macaroni and cheese and my friend Jax told me that while I was in the US I had to try Coca-Cola Cake:

I got a chicken salad sandwich, which was pretty unappealing but the macaroni and cheese I got on the side was ah-may-zing.
The Coca-Cola Cake was a texture and sweetness I just could not even deal with and neither could Madison so none of us ate it.

After that we got back in the car to go to the Everglades on an airboat tour. An airboat, for those that don’t know, is the kind you see on TV with the big fan on the back.
I thought the airboat was fun even though we really didn’t see anything other than mangroves and a couple of birds.

When it was over, the kids got to hold baby alligators though!

The next day, despite the fact that it was frigid, we went on a boat.

Captain Charlie

We stopped at a place to get food and while we were waiting, I took a picture of this pelican who we watched fish for a while:

It was so cold that at this outdoor restaurant/bar place we went to wheeled in these giant electric heaters to our table that did virtually nothing or maybe I was just in the wrong spot. I noticed them when we went to another town to visit Blake’s Aunt Pat too, which we did the next day, so it must be a thing in Florida. I think if it’s cold outside then you fucking eat inside, but that’s just me.

The next day, as I said, we went to Sarasota to go to the Dali museum and to visit Blake’s Aunt Pat afterward and here’s where things get a little sad for me because I was really excited about the Dali museum. I’d never been to an art museum before in my life, which I think is a pretty pathetic thing for a 35-year-old person who sometimes calls herself an artist, plus they were doing a Warhol exhibit, which is really the only artist I know anything about (and not a whole lot).

Well we got there and paid the $5 for parking and got parked, then we walked up the stairs to get inside and then into the doors and it was MAYHEM. There were people EVERYWHERE. We made it to the line to pay admission and there had to have been 30 people just in line with us, not counting everyone who had already paid who were milling about and all the people who were at the section of the room that served as the gift shop. It was just loud and crazy and overwhelming and I had a panic attack very much like the one I had when I tried to go to the Leafs game, both in severity of the attack and the feeling like shit afterward because it was something I really really wanted to do and I’m just such a constant disappointment to myself.

So that happened, then we went and had dinner with Blake’s Aunt Pat, who is just an amazing person we just don’t get to see enough. That was the Friday.

Also on the Friday we found more crazy American shit:

We can apparently get the dark chocolate ones here now, I’d just never seen them.
I refuse to try the birthday cake ones. Madison said they taste like pressed cake batter powder. Blake says they taste like a regular M&M. I may have to have one to see which one of them is crazier.

On Saturday morning, we hit the road for home…this was my road breakfast, which I think is actually pretty healthy…

We saw these guys in a tourist shop on our way out of Florida:

I tried Nutella!
It was good…at first…and then it wasn’t and I wanted to barf….

We saw these guys in Northern Florida:

Blake bought me a grumpy cat at Cracker Barrel and she became the trip home’s mascot…

THEN WE FINALLY WENT TO SONIC WHICH IS THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH!!!!!!!!

I had a hot dog (which Ruggedo recommended, it was good! But no street meat..) and a cherry limeade which, no joke, is the greatest drink I’ve ever had in my life…
And this was at the bottom of my cup!

We got fried chicken in either North or South Carolina, I’m not sure…

It was so good but I felt too sick to eat more than a few small pieces.

We stopped the night in Virginia at a roach motel…

We met one of my coworkers and her family in West Virginia for lunch!
Her name is Tashia and I’ve been working with her for 2 years but since we all work online, we’d never met!

After that we drove pretty much non-stop back home, arriving at around midnight, I think, maybe a bit later.
And that was pretty much our entire holiday.

It was really awesome of Blake’s mom and Charlie to open their house up to use for the week and show us around and the same goes for Noelle, Aunt Pat and Tashia’s family.
The food was good, but it was the people that made the trip. :o)

February 27, 2014

I’d like to thank The Academy…

I’m probably the only person who’s going to care about the following. Others may care and will be thinking, “Sunny, you n00b idiot!” Whatever. I’m AMAZED.

Tomorrow is the eve of my birth and in celebration, some friends are coming over to play euchre cuz I’m (almost) old now and this is what old people do on Friday nights. This will be party #1 because I have to work all day Saturday, until my actual birthday is almost over. More on party #2 later.

In preparation for tomorrow night’s festivities, I have rolled birthday cake flavoured joints (that were soooooo fun to roll with my little rolling machine thing, it’s like arts & crafts!) more because I could than anything else. The papers exist. I had ’em. Realistically they’ll probably end up in my purse to be smoked on the go at a later date because joints aren’t really my thing. Truthfully there are only two shitty things I’ve found about weed so far: 1. I can’t drive medicated. (Having said that, I shouldn’t have been driving on some of the stuff I was on prior to weed either.) 2. I have to smoke it or it doesn’t work. Eating it doesn’t work. I’ve had zero success vaporizing. Smoking it is. And a joint is probably the 2nd worst way to smoke it, only second to a blunt (I would assume, I just figure cigar wrapper is more junk in your lungs than a super thin rolling paper). Some people enjoy smoking, I do not. So I want to do it the easiest and least harsh way possible, so that’s why I use a glass bong. It’s still unpleasant but at least you don’t want to expel your lungs (necessarily – everyone/strain’s different) during the process. I still cough even with the bong because I suck at smoking weed, but at least the whole thing’s over in 3 rips and you can get on with your day, meanwhile it takes me a thousand years to smoke a joint and I’m hating every single second of it.

By the way, I’m writing this post mostly for people who don’t regularly smoke weed, which I’m assuming is the majority of the people reading this based on my completely scientific research a while back on whether or not people could name strains.

Anyway, we told our guests to be here “sometime after 6pm” tomorrow and I plan on staying up pretty late, so I’m not sure how long they’ll be staying (overnight is always a possibility, we can sleep 7 extra people in our tiny little house), but what that does mean is that I’m going to be medicating, with my bong, in front of people, in a well-lit kitchen for what’ll be a pretty long time. And this brings us to the bane of my existence: resin. Resin is sticky brown shit that is a byproduct of combusting or heating cannabis and it coats the inside of  your bong, is totally gross (but some people re-smoke it, which I think is also gross) and is a total pain in the ass to remove from basically anything. It’s unavoidable.

It wouldn’t be classy to have a dirty bong sitting on the kitchen table while we play cards and I would be a bad hostess if my guests brought their own legal herb to smoke and all I had to offer them was dirty glass.  But the thing is, cleaning resin off glass is a total bitch project to the point where a shocking amount of the stoners I know will buy NEW glass rather than clean their old glass. I only have a small glass pipe and the bong and the pipe’s used so infrequently it’s still preeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetty much clean so all I had to do was the bong. Like I said though, it sucks to do – at least I *thought* it did – and requires the bong to be out of commission at least a day and overnight, sometimes longer, so it hadn’t been done in a long time. It wasn’t super gross by MY standards? Or if I knew I would be the only one smoking and we were playing cards in my office where it’s darker I probably wouldn’t have bothered cleaning it, but since I didn’t know if I’d be “going alone” (ha!) and we’d be playing in my pristine (thanks to my loving children) kitchen, I figured I’d better clean the bong.

When we went to Liquid Chrome on whatever day it was when I bought all those papers, I also picked up this stuff called Purple Power, which is a cleaner I’ve always used for my glass. That’s specifically what it’s meant for. The problem though, is that to clean a bong with it, it’s usually a 48 hour process involving a lot of really annoying agitation of the cleaner every time you walk into the kitchen, and then some, to re-soak and rinse the parts that can’t be directly covered by the cleaner itself, like the shaft and the perc, because you can’t really get at the inside of a bong any other way.

All week I’ve been dreading this project so I put it off until after my first bowl this morning, aka the last possible minute for the Purple Power to work by the time our guests got here tomorrow. As per usual, I put the stem and the bowl in a plastic container, covered them both (mostly) with Purple Power and put the lid on. Then I swirled the cleaner around for about 3 minutes making zero progress and then I remembered something. Blake had found 99% rubbing alcohol to use as an aftershave, which has been long rumoured to be an excellent cleaner of bongs and as I recalled, a few weeks ago he said I could use it as long as I left him some. Honestly the reason I never tried this before was because I truly thought 99% rubbing alcohol was a banned substance in this country since I’d only ever seen 70% before. I assumed there was a reason for that and knew that 70% wouldn’t work because I read my Reddits.

I poured the alcohol into the base and perc of the bong, stuffed this piece of sponge I use into the hole the stem goes into, put my hand over the top and shook with the other for about 30 seconds. Then I set it down and watched as the resin melted and slid down the glass. IT WAS ALMOST INSTANT AND SO SATISFYING. Then I poured coarse salt into both parts and shook it up for about 8-10 minutes (intermittently because my arms kept getting tired) and then it was SPARKLY CLEAN! The salt doesn’t dissolve in the alcohol, which I thought was interesting. I poured the Purple Power that the stem and bowl had been in back into its bottle (the stuff’s reusable) and while I had to soak them for about half an hour, but they came completely clean with alcohol, agitation and salt too! I will never buy Purple Power again! That shit is like, $9-11/bottle. Rubbing alcohol is like, $2. I’d be shocked if I used 5 cents worth of salt total. Sure, the alcohol’s not reusable (or maybe it is, I have no idea) but you can’t get 5 uses out of a bottle of Purple Power anyway and f0r less than an hour’s work, who the fuck cares?

See? I told you no one would care about this. But just keep it tucked in the back of your brain if you ever seriously take up pot smoking.

On Saturday, my actual birthday, like I said I have to work all day until 11pm so we’re not really doing anything. Blake’s making Mississippi Mud Pie though, which we’ll have on Sunday during party #2 with the kids and Ronny and Alex who are coming over for that reason and for possibly watching the Oscars with me, which The Academy is so graciously hosting in honour of my turning 35. I meant to watch Her today but got sidetracked and I still haven’t seen Labor Day, but other than those two I’ve seen all of the Best Picture nominations and I don’t think ANY of them are worth an Oscar. I guess the one I enjoyed the most was Dallas Buyer’s Club but that wasn’t because it was a good movie, it was because it had good actors and hopefully they’ll win their respective categories. So many people I know absolutely went crazy over Her, but I fell asleep about 10 minutes in and Blake said it wasn’t that great. Hence why I meant to watch it today.

As I’ve been typing this, crazy things have been happening. Here’s what it’s looked like here all day:

I messed up the days forgetting that there were only 28 this month. My birthday is in 1.5 days!

This morning I accidentally woke Blake up at 5am, so he went into the office early since he was working in Toronto and because he did this, he missed the *96* car pile-up that occurred directly on his route at about the time he’d normally be going through. So that happened. As I’ve been writing this, he’s been on his way home from Toronto, where he left the office at around 3:30pm. Right now it’s almost 7:30pm and he’s not home yet. Last time I checked in, he said he was 20 minutes away but in this weather that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

About half an hour ago, Madison’s boyfriend’s mother – whom I’ve never spoke to – called me and asked me if he could spend the night at our house because he lives in the beach and all roads to the beach have been closed since this afternoon so he’s stuck at the school all of his busmates with no way to get home and it’s not safe for anyone to come pick him up. Obviously, without question, I said it was fine that he stay here. I got off the phone with his mom and sent Madison to the school to pick him up not knowing when Blake would be home, called Blake just to double check he was fine with it, which he was and when I got off the phone with Blake, Ronin’s mom’s calling again saying  that apparently they’re not releasing any of the kids without an adult. I asked if it could be any adult and she said it could so I told her I’d call Blake to pick Ronin up at the school on his way home and as I did all this, I told Wes to run after Madison so she didn’t have to walk all the way to the school for no reason. He didn’t catch up with her so I told Ronin’s mom that when she called the school to tell them it’s okay for Blake to pick Ronin up, to tell them to tell Madison to stay there and wait for him too. OH CALAMITY!

And now you’re up to speed and I’ve gotta go prepare/take my pills, choke down an egg and I guess…wait….maybe I’ll see if I have enough time for Her before bed…

February 25, 2014

What’s my age again?

I totally forgot to post about this yesterday!

Last Monday, Pie was having $4 pizzas to celebrate their 4th anniversary so Wes, Blake and I went there for dinner.

After waiting about 15 minutes for a table, we were finally seated and our waitress, whose name I think was Bianca (who looked and acted like a total Carrie Bradshaw, except more adorable and less annoying), asked us if we would like some drinks to start. Blake and I ordered Diet Cokes and Wes ordered an orange pop.

A few minutes later, Bianca returned with our drinks, setting mine and Wes’ down first (we were in a booth and Wes was on my side) and then Blake’s, we ordered our pizzas and off she went. That’s when Blake and I noticed that Wes and I have the same sized cup while Blake had a bigger one…in other words, she gave me a child’s cup. I was like, whatever, doesn’t matter, just means she’s gonna have to get me refills more often, no big deal, because I assumed she did it by accident but Blake had a different theory.

It was insanely busy at Pie because of the $4 pizza thing and I had finished my drink before our food got there. Just then, Bianca walked past our table to go to the kitchen and on her way, she told us it would be a few more minutes and that she was sorry and that’s when Blake said to her, “Can I ask you a question?” and she stopped and said sure, and Blake said, “Did you give my wife a smaller cup because you thought she was a child?” Bianca looks at him and then at me and she’s kinda horrified and Blake’s killing himself laughing and saying, “it’s okay! It’s okay! It happens all the time!” and finally she’s laughing (she even had the Sarah Jessica Parker laugh) and totally freaking out. I could tell she wanted to ask me how old I was so I told her “I’m going to be 35 on March 1st” and she was all “NO WAY!!!!!!!!!! You must get carded for everything!!!” and freaking more and eventually Blake asked her for another refill for me and when she brought it, it was a grown up GLASS from the bar, not the regular plastic cups they usually use for the pop.

Later on, when the restaurant was less busy and she had to bus the tables next to us, she talked to us as she worked and was STILL spazzing out saying, “does it REALLY happen all the time or are you just saying that?” so we told her about the time at the hospital when they thought Blake was my dad and my mom was my sister to reassure her and then she says, “yeah I’m 22 and people tell me I look young all the time.” I figure if a reasonably intelligent 22 year old thinks I look like, forget a child, I’ll even take YOUNGER THAN SHE IS, I’m doing something right! Thanks, Bianca!

January 28, 2014

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Before I write anything else, I want to share with you a statistic from the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) that I just saw on Facebook: 42% of Canadians are unsure whether they would socialize with a friend who has mental illness.

That just fucking kills me.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and today is Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk Day where they’ll donate 5 cents for every tweet or retweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk (or a photo that they posted on Facebook shared) toward mental health initiatives across Canada. I wasn’t sure if I was going to say anything about it because I feel like ME saying ANYTHING about mental illness is just beating a dead horse at this point but that statistic really bothers me. Maybe I haven’t said enough? Or am I just preaching to the choir?

I also saw a statistic today – from @Stats_Canada, a satirical Twitter account being serious for a moment – that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience some form of mental illness in their life. I’ve also known the American statistic that 1 in 4 people have some form of mental illness for a long time and I don’t think it’s changed so saying it’s the same for Canada, those 42% of Canadians who are unsure if they wanna be fraternizin’ with the crazies PROBABLY ALREADY FUCKING ARE OR THEY THEMSELVES *ARE* THE CRAZY PERSON AND DON’T EVEN KNOW IT YET. And I only even say “probably” because I suck at math, it’s probably certain fact.  (I say I suck at math but honestly I could probably figure out what % of unsure Canadians are the 1 in 4 crazy person if I tried REALLY hard…it would take me a really long time, but I bet I could get there eventually. Anyway, who has time for that?)

My friends are probably half and half crazy people/neurotypical and we all get along so that’s really all I care about. I was super lucky that I live in an area with excellent mental health services that are completely free and accessible, that I have a supportive spouse with a job that has a drug plan and that my friends are who they are and definitely not part of that 42% who are unsure, nor the other % (again bein’ lazy at math AND Google, but hey, knock yourself out if it’s important to you) that said they would not socialize with a friend who has mental illness.  Without all of the above, without the excellent support network I have in place, I would probably be dead with no word of a lie.

Ain’t that a happy thought?! This wasn’t supposed to be a bummer post, I swear! Well, I guess it sort of is. Depends on your perspective…

On Saturday I started 2 hours early and stopped 2 hours later than usual to help out a coworker who had plans, which meant I didn’t stop working until 2am and I personally think Saturday is the busiest goddamn day. If it isn’t it’s gotta be up there because I don’t stop once I’ve started. I only get up from my chair three times per shift so I can keep ahead of our dear and lovely customers whose e-mails are all equally valuable to us and keep on top of the other things my job includes. I have help for one hour so I can eat dinner with my family but even while I’m eating, I’m doing one-handed things for that hour and still only manage to eat half of whatever it is before it gets cold. This isn’t about how Saturdays suck though. This is about how Saturday really COULD HAVE sucked, but luckily the universe held off on fucking me over until Sunday morning.

Sunday morning I woke up before anyone with writing aspirations as Blake had shown me Microsoft Office 2013 Friday night – in particular OneNote – and Skydrive and I was suddenly crazy-inspired to start organizing and working on a story that I’d gotten 43,000 words into and sort of gave up on. Because as we know, that is what I do. That was all I could think about on Saturday while I worked, how to organize this beast of a thing in OneNote on Sunday and how much easier that could hypothetically make it to actually make progress on and how THAT is actually FUN because even if it amounts to NOTHING it feels productive and productivity is fun!

However the universe had other plans. My laptop screen was black and said “a disk error occurred. Press ctrl alt del to recovery”. For someone who uses the internet a lot, I am NOT a computer savvy person so I decided to wait until Blake woke up in case he knew some magic password that would make my computer happy and do what I needed it to do. In the meantime, I tweeted the error message to which the response from the Twitterverse was “uh oh” and @paladin677 said “best case scenario, just a few files needed to boot are corrupt. Worst case, the hard drive is corrupt and non-recoverable.” This made me very unhappy, but I’ve only seen a few things in my 12 years of knowing him that Blake couldn’t fix so I remained optimistic. Besides, I got through shitty Saturday and had Sunday and potentially Monday to come up with a solution because I didn’t have to work. Also, I do have a desktop on the same desk that has all my work bookmarks for situations like this, so if I had to I could use that, but a laptop for working and writing on – which was all mine was good for anyway – is really important to me so I was really hoping whatever the issue was would be fixable or we could get a new laptop as soon as humanly possible. (My birthday is coming up and stranger things have happened.)

Blake woke up and bravely pressed ctrl alt del and we watched the black screen as white letters scrolled past as it did…things…I don’t know/remember/care what things I think it was going through boot files? And then it got stuck and it stayed there and then it said it failed. Blake rubbed my back, gave me a hug and said, “is it okay if I take this in the other room?” which may SEEM like a total over exaggeration but he did and it was a fair question as I have a tendency to need to maintain order and ritual and can be particularly attached to certain things, especially things that I deem essential, so the fact that I wasn’t freaking out , despite the fact that I hadn’t backed up that machine in QUITE some time, was probably freaking him out a little.

Honestly though, that machine was ridiculously slow at performing even the most basic tasks so we had literally been talking about wiping it Sunday anyway and reinstalling Windows – except we were going to back shit up first. The only thing I could think of that I’d lose of any “value” that I didn’t already have backed up was my large collection of carefully curated animated gifs. I figured I’d live.

So he takes it in the other room and does more things and says he hopes it’s just the hard drive because he couldn’t read the one in my laptop or recover any of its data with his wizardry. We were going to go have coffee with Ronny and Alex in Barrie anyway so we just waited until it was time to do that and since we had gotten there a little early, we just stopped into Staples where Blake bought a new hard drive.

When we got back, he put the new drive in and the computer worked again. HOORAY! THE DAY IS SAVED! He installed Windows and we also installed every program I use for work and writing and we started transferring my “My Music” folder to the newly formatted laptop over the network which was going to take a really long time so in the meantime I started taking stock of what I’d really lost…and then I started freaking out because the Word document I use for work with all of my approved language that I’ve built up over the last 2 years that is essential to my job had NOT been backed up anywhere. I had e-mailed it to myself last January (because that’s backing things up, right?) but we’d had a million meetings since then and I’d added a ton of stuff. For some reason I’d thought I’d backed it up more recently than that…somewhere…but it could not be found so I had to e-mail my coworkers for help rebuilding mine, based on the one I’d e-mailed last year. That was the only super bad thing and again, I caught it Sunday night so I had all night Sunday and all day Monday to rebuild a new one to the best of my ability before needing it to start work this morning.

The good thing that happened is that I’ve rediscovered this writing project that I’d so given up on, I’d literally given Madison the raw material – because I know it from beginning to end and have it all written down – and told her to go nuts and write the rest. She never did and gave it all back and it’s sat on a bookshelf in my office – the hard copy, all my notes and drawings – ever since. The latest copy we found (because I hadn’t backed that up either) was 43,000 words and missing two chapters that the hard copy had so I’m going to have to retype those by hand but that’s still not a big deal because I’ve spent long enough time away from the story that I’m going to have to start reading it and fine tuning it from the very beginning with fresh eyes, which will be so much easier and fun with OneNote. And Blake set me up with Skydrive, which is a cloud type thing Microsoft offers so my Word documents will never NOT be backed up again and that’s pretty cool. Oh and the laptop runs a LOT faster now, so, bonus.

And that’s my serendipitous laptop story! Geez, last week I was using Excel, which I find confusing as fuck and this week I’m all OneNote and Skydrive. All these crazy technologies! (That have apparently existed for a long time…)

In other news, my depression seems to have lifted somewhat since I thought I was a danger to myself a couple of weeks ago. I see my shrink tomorrow to talk about it and I think I’m okay for right now but if she thinks I should up my anti-depressants then obviously I’ll do that. Honestly, and this is going to sound so so stupid and I cannot even believe I’m admitting to this “out loud”, one of the biggest things that’s been keeping me going is Doug Benson’s YouTube show Getting Doug With High. It started in October and it’s a 45 minute talk show that starts at 7:15pm EST (4:15pm PST) Wednesday nights and it stars Doug Benson, of Super High Me fame, who has on comedian guests and at 4:20pm PST, and for the next 45 mins, they all smoke weed and Doug asks them questions, like their “High History” where they talk about their experience with marijuana. I dunno, it’s just funny…mostly stupid, but also funny. Like, Sarah Silverman’s been on the show and Aubrey Plaza, for example. Most of them are people I’ve never heard of honestly, because I don’t really follow stand up comedy, but it’s just this dumb funny little internet show that I discovered by accident at the height of my depression and basically I watched a couple of episodes every day until I didn’t want to kill myself anymore! YAY! Now it’s the height of my week, as sad as that statement may be, but I watch the recorded show on Thursdays because I can’t get live YouTube on my TV and at that time usually Blake and I would be watching something together on the TV. So Thursdays are good because I only have to work 2 hours and there’s a new episode of Getting Doug. :o)

Speaking of weed, I just read this interesting article about the language of pot and how it’s going to change with the legalization and mainstreaming of it. The article says, “Domestic strains, at first top-end luxury items, gradually took over more of the national market, so that a kid buying on the street in New York would be just as likely to order by strain name as a medical client in Mendocino County, according to Travis Wendel, an ethnographer at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.” which I highlight because Blake says “most people smoke pot”, in that most people do not know the name of marijuana by strain, they just buy “pot”. I begged to differ said that the times have changed and that by now the average person, especially the average person BUYING pot, can name at least one strain of it because I can guarantee the guy they’re buying it off of didn’t just tell them it was “pot”, he gave them some crazy name whether it’s real or made up. That’s marketing. The average person may not have the connections to actually GET the strain(s) of pot they know of, but they know at least one. So tell me in the comments, whether you’re a pot smoker or not, can you name a strain without googling? How about two strains? Or maybe you don’t know any at all. Lemme know either way because I’m curious.

The other thing that’s kept me relatively sane the last couple of weeks is the recent discovery of Flynn’s Traditional Irish Pub in Penetanguishene. This place is special because there are SIX WHOLE THINGS on the menu that I would not only eat, but actually probably really like. What their website’s menu doesn’t have is their little sandwich things that I think they call “flying toasties” or something like that that are just a panini, really, but everything in the sandwich has flavour unlike practically every other sub place, deli or other restaurant I’ve ever been to. Their rye bread isn’t just the usual white rye bread, it’s marbled and herbed. Their havarti cheese isn’t just havarti cheese, there are flecks of things in it, which normally I’d be completely against but I was halfway through eating one before I noticed so whatever! The lettuce isn’t iceberg or even romaine, they use spring mix, which is exactly what I’d use at home. The mayo’s pretty standard and really so is the turkey, but the way it’s all put together is currently my favourite thing ever. Blake said the reuben was pretty good but he really really liked their french onion soup. We both want to try their prime rib but it’s $22 and we don’t have the cash right now. I’ve never actually had prime rib before but I really like roast beef and I really like steak and everyone tells me prime rib is somewhere between the two so I can’t see what I wouldn’t like about it. I’d rather go two times and have shepherd’s pie one time and potato and leek soup another time than go once and have something I’m not sure I’ll like, though, so prime rib will have to wait until there’s more money. Also that place is super busy on Friday nights. The first night we went there was a Friday night and they asked us if we had a reservation, which we didn’t because it’s a pub…in Penetang…never dreamed we’d need one…but then again, it’s a pub…in Penetang. It’s probably the fanciest place in town or at least the fanciest we’ve seen there so far.

The whole reason we even stumbled into Flynn’s was because the restaurant we discovered in Penetang in December (on the hunt for new food places), the Blue Sky Restaurant & Tavern, was closed until the 26th. My guess is that the owners went to Florida, but who knows? They don’t have a website but there is a google+ page where people have left good comments. No menu though, which is a shame because that’s the greatest part about Blue Sky. I have no idea of the history of Blue Sky, but here’s the history I’ve created in my mind: upper management dude in big corporation decides he’s unhappy with life so he’s going to pursue his two passions: cooking and nature, so he moves up North and opens a restaurant where he cooks whatever the fuck he wants to because he’s the boss and the portions are gonna be BIG, none of this bullshit, sissy crap you see at other restaurants; THERE WILL BE TO-GO CONTAINERS FOR ALL. Their menu is like one weird stream of conscious list of eclectically put together foods, none of which I can think of right now. Despite having this huge, crazy menu, there are really only three things on it that I’ve found that I like so far (with the possibility of a few more) and they do all three really well. The first is peameal and eggs. The mark of a good restaurant to me (well, that kind of restaurant) is how good their breakfast is. If their breakfast is good, the rest of their food probably is too. If it’s just so-so, as will be their food. If it sucks, well, why would you go back? This isn’t a concrete rule, it’s just something I’ve noticed over the years and Blue Sky’s breakfast is awesome. Blake loved it because they had actual corned-beef hash (which you don’t find around here a lot) and not only was it good but it was plentiful and I thought their peameal was excellent. Also I have a weird thing with eggs, some I like and some I don’t. They can all be prepared perfectly but depending on what the chicken was fed, the taste of the egg is going to change. Most restaurants use large, white, factory-farmed eggs, whereas at home I buy the omega-3 (also factory farmed – but fed better!) eggs and there is a definite taste and texture difference. That’s the egg spectrum for me. I don’t know where Blue Sky sources its eggs but they were pretty close to the omega-3 ones. If they got them from an actual farm in Penetang, it would not surprise me in the slightest. Their homefries were disappointing. They were basically boiled potatoes on a plate and not even ketchup could save them. Two outta three things o the plate ain’t bad though. The second thing I really like there but can only have very rarely sometimes because as far as my pancreas is concerned, I’m playing with fire, is their perogies. They’re like 7 or 8 potato and cheese perogies that I think they boil first, then they arrange them in a circle with one in the middle on a plate, pour shredded marble cheese on top of them, throw onions sauteed with chunks of bacon on top of THAT, then put it all under a broiler to melt the cheese and serve. How fucking evil is that? You definitely get an order of those to share with someone because they are deadly. And of course the third thing Blue Sky has, that they do better than any restaurant I’ve ever been in, is their clubhouse sandwich. I can eat in any restaurant that serves a traditional clubhouse sandwich. I don’t want any fancy chicken breast or garlic and lemon aioli (especially both on the same sandwich, gross), just the usual. If I know the people at the restaurant really well, I may ask them to substitute peameal for bacon because I think that’s better and when I was a teenager I used to hang out at this restaurant called the Fickle Pickle that had a chicken salad clubhouse that was pretty fucking awesome. Then the chef quit and they stopped serving it. ANYWAY, Blue Sky’s clubhouse is good because they give you all white turkey meat without even asking (it’s happened twice now so I don’t think it’s a coincidence) and it’s meat from an actual turkey as opposed to deli meat, they’re not afraid of mayo, it’s on every inner surface of bread and they’re not stingy with the tomatoes. In this case they use romaine lettuce which is actually what I would ideally want on a clubhouse (as opposed to the spring mix at Fynn’s I was raving about), but it’d be good even if it was iceberg.

So basically Penetanguishene, Ontario is magical because I can eat there! And actually LIKE what I’m eating and paying for and who I’m paying it to! Next on the list of magical Penetang restaurants to try is Phil’s Casual Dining because I’d really like to see just how casual it really is. With a name like that, there’s gotta be something pretty amazing on the menu. (That said, Double Happiness in next-door Midland, Ontario is the worst Chinese food I’ve ever had. More like Double Crappiness. The name sold me and I was completely deceived! Blake said he knew something was up when there were no actual Asians in the restaurant working or eating.)

Anyway, I’ve just spent way too long vomiting 3500 words at the screen instead of working on or organizing any real writing so I think I’d better go medicate so I can eat dinner when Blake gets home. Madison said she was going to make herself a grilled cheese and Wes said he was going to make himself soup. I’m going to show them both up completely by making the same for me and Blake using WHOLE GRAIN BREAD (the horror!), real havarti and marble cheeses (as opposed to Black Diamond processed cheese slices!) and I’m actually going to use a POT and nice bowls for our tomato soup (as opposed to dumping soup in a Tupperware container, adding water, vaguely stirring, microwave until lukewarm – this is how Wes makes soup). Now you may be thinking, “if she were a good mom, she’d make that for the whole family rather than letting her kids make their own crappy dinners,” and I would argue that I asked them what they wanted an hour ago and that is what they told me because they were too lazy to help me think of anything else for Blake to pick up on his way home for dinner that wasn’t take-out. When Madison (who is 15 and can make a hell of a lot better meals than this) said she’d make a grilled cheese, I even asked her if she’d show Wes how to make one for himself while she did it so he could make one right after her but he didn’t want to learn/didn’t want that and said he’d rather make himself soup. They both basically told me they’d make their own dinners so they wouldn’t have to stop what they were doing and think for ten minutes. They’re old enough to only be asked once and to make their own dinners sometimes, as garbage-esque as they may be.

THE END.

December 30, 2013

Oh, Carolina what you been fed?

Above is “Raspberry” by Grouplove, as recommended by Alex and Ronny during our friend post-Xmas/pre-2014 party yesterday. Ronny said he was reading something about them or about the album (Spreading Rumours, downloading now…) where the writer said they made the best Pixies song of the last 20 years. I couldn’t agree more. The Pixies are currently touring without Kim and have new material created without Kim and I’m sorry but no Kim, no deal. Pun intended! I listened to the first song they released without her but I thought it was garbage so I never bothered with the rest of it.

In other Pixies news, I Kickstarted a big Pixies coffee table book for Blake for Xmas like, almost a year ago now? And they said they’d deliver by Xmas but like, 3 or 4 days before Xmas, they sent out an e-mail saying “sorry, not until February…” and I was like, “GEE, THANKS FOR TELLING ME THAT A FEW DAYS BEFORE XMAS” because I only got Blake 2 things and that was one of them and it’s not easy for me to get out and get something else, also I don’t exactly have money to buy more things so that was a bummer.

I also Kickstarted the game “Stonehearth” because I thought Wes would like it and their delivery date for beta was supposed to be December 1st but they e-mailed and said they weren’t ready and that instead they were going to release “alpha 1” version of the game that is super bare bones and glitchy and you can’t save your game I think on Xmas Day. I haven’t bothered to download it yet because…

…for Xmas I got the 2 newest Sims expansions so now I have ultimate power!!!!!! (For someone who refuses to play with mods or custom content created outside the Sims Exchange.) I’ve spent the last 5 days creating my family and building my house. I’m about halfway finished the latter.

Xmas was good, everyone liked their presents and we had turkey and stuffing. Actually, Xmas Day, ALL I had was stuffing for dinner, then later on I had a turkey sandwich. The next day, Boxing Day, we went to my mom’s with my brother and there was a super creepy moment there where John and I said the same random thing at the exact same time, “this ham has the texture of cat food” and it was like we were one. My mother just about had kittens, it was so funny.

I talked to my brother a lot about his girlfriend. They’ve been together for 9 months, met on a dating site, she’s THIRTY (he’s 28 ooooooooooooh la la), she’s Croatian and then at the end of the night when we dropped my brother off, I got to meet her. She’s a giant! But then again so is my brother so that’s probably good. Anyway, she seemed alright in the 20 seconds I said “hi” and “bye”. In that 20 seconds I could tell she was leagues more mature than my brother, also good.

I am SO grateful that my coworker could fill in for my mornings on Boxing Day and Friday because Boxing Day was an early morning with having to pick my brother up (and we were running about 2 hours early because Blake and I had a miscommunication) and a late night for the same reason, so I would have been useless at 5am Friday morning for work.

Not doing anything for New Year’s Eve because I never do and I have to work in the morning BUT the Winter Classic game is in the afternoon so that’s definitely in the cards. Speaking of cards, Wes is like, a Cards Against Humanity savant. This was one of his contributions last night. He’s TEN.

I made my mom a painting for Xmas but it wasn’t finished until late Xmas night so I didn’t have an opportunity to take pics of it. Well, good pics anyway. I wasn’t happy with how it turned out but she liked it and that’s all that matters. In the new year I’m going to post what I made my Secret Satan but I think she’s going to be in high demand so I’m not going to post her until I have prints etc. set up in my Zazzle shop, pending the pics I took before I shipped her off to the US are good enough.

So yeah. Happy New Year if I don’t post before then!

December 24, 2013

Sounds of laughter, shades of life…

I guess I’ll start in order of things happening, although honestly I’m a little foggy on when I was told what, specifically, but that’s neither here nor there I guess.

Saturday night was Blake’s work Xmas party and I had taken the day off work to get my shit together, get there, stay there and come home in one piece. Well, I was successful. The theme of the party was “black & white” so I wore what I wore to Blake’s grama’s funeral and probably what I’ll wear to my grama’s funeral (in a weird coincidence…), which was a black tulle skirt with a black tulle flowy Free People-y dress/top thing, fishnets, Docs. Oh and I wore a floor length hoodie over top because it’s winter and I don’t care how well heated a building may be, I’m probably going to be cold.

Right before we left, Blake said something like, “your grama fell last night and she’s in the hospital, but she’s okay” and well, she has brain tumours so it’s obvious why she fell but what does that mean? But since it didn’t seem immediate, I just kept getting ready and figured my mom would tell me the next day that my grama broke her hip or something “not serious”.

The party was okay. We hung out with our friends Charissa and Gary, which was cool. A bunch of people came up to Blake and he introduced me to them but I couldn’t tell you what a single one’s name was or even what they looked like. I just smiled and nodded and played with my phone (which, Blake’s work being a telecomm, was perfectly okay). The food was not my thing. They started us with squash soup (barf) and salad that both looked and smelled weird so I didn’t eat that either. The main course was a small steak with fake grill marks (which I ate) and a piece of chicken that Blake says comes from some frozen food company (did not eat). And roast potatoes (did eat) and green beans (didn’t eat). Dessert was a chocolate mousse and/or cheesecake thing that I tried to like but it was just texturally weird so I left most of it on my plate. There were prizes. Charissa won a phone (all I know is that it’s Android, whereas she’s a Blackberry holdout)  and Blake won a stuffed panda to add to my collection. His work has animal mascots that swap out every now and then and right now it’s pandas, probably trying to capitalize on the fact that The Toronto Zoo has two brand new ones. Anyway, I have most, if not all of the mascot plushies, from the last 8 years. So that was cool. There were also light-up fake ice cubes at each of our place settings with the name of the party on them. After dessert, they announced dancing was going to start and as if on cue fucking Blurred Lines came on, which was funny because I told Blake earlier that week that I bet I’d hear it at LEAST once while we were there and it was the first thing the DJ played. Hilarious. That was our cue to exit so we left and came home.

On Sunday I think John texted Blake or there was some sort of silent communication that it was okay to tell me that my grama had fallen because one of the tumours in her brain had started bleeding and that she was at St. Mike’s, the big scary Toronto hospital, the ICU of which I spent a month in, having undergone brain surgery to fix the bleed. The finer details I found out yesterday from my mom in an e-mail. I guess my grama fell and pressed her Life Alert button to get help, so it’s a g0od thing she had that or who knows what might have happened.

After surgery she was in the ICU but could remember her name and the answers to all the questions they asked her so she was a-okay. Still has terminal brain and lung cancer, but isn’t going to die of a slow brain bleed at this stage of the game. So that’s good. And my mom just e-mailed me to say that my grama’s being moved to the less scary hospital closer to home so while she won’t be out for Christmas, she’ll be more easily accessible by everyone she’d normally spend Christmas with.

Last week or the week before when Blake, my mom and I were hashing out plans to get together for “Christmas” (which is happening on Boxing Day, just as it has been for most of my life), I asked my mom if she had invited my brother and his girlfriend and she casually mentioned that my brother had not been replying to her e-mails but that they were both invited if I wanted to ask them.

MINEFIELD!

So I hummed and hawed and dragged my feet and had started a conversation with my brother about random things last week but I was sort of dancing around the whole Christmas conversation because if he’s not answering my mom’s e-mails (and based on some things he said to me a few weeks ago), then I don’t want to get in the middle of whatever it is he’s mad at her for this time. Things are going good between me and my brother so I didn’t exactly want to rock what can often be an extremely volatile boat! But yesterday my mom e-mailed my brother about my grama with the subject line “important” and cc’d me on it, so I texted him to check his e-mail. He went into action mode and asked what he could do.

I don’t know what my mom answered (she doesn’t “reply all”, which is super annoying but you get used to it) but that’s when I asked him via text if he and his girlfriend wanted to come to mom’s on Boxing Day if we picked him up and brought him home. He waited a while before he replied and he wanted to make sure it was not an inconvenience. LOL We live 2 hours away from both him AND our mom and our car can only sit 5 people including the driver and we’re 4, so no, not an inconvenience AT ALL, Chad…but no, I promised him it wasn’t a problem and that Blake had made the offer ages ago (which is true and my brother and I had talked about in like, Sept.) and it was all good. So he said that he would be coming but that his girlfriend had to work. I felt like I’d won a marathon. I was totally expecting him to go off on me about our mother about whatever was eating him to not reply to her e-mails but he didn’t and he was gonna set aside his shit so we could all support my mom while her mom’s in the hospital having her last Christmas, so that was awesome.

The only thing I was worried about was the fact that I have to work tomorrow, Boxing Day and the next day, which would have been fine if it was just us, but with picking my brother up and dropping him off, we’re adding 4 extra hours onto the day. BUT! Since I worked Black Friday and will be working tomorrow morning for her, a coworker has agreed to do my mornings Boxing Day and Friday so we can start earlier and end later. Hooray! Total life saver!

Then on Sunday we’re having “friend Xmas” with Ronny, Alex, Deanna, her boyfriend Bradley and Madison’s girlfriend Ramona whom I don’t know at all. Much Cards Against Humanity will be played. Pizza will probably be eaten (unless Madison and I can find anything worth making on the Pinterests before then). Drinks will probably be had by those in the room who brought them.

And THEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN on New Year’s Day it’s the Winter Classic game between Toronto (yay!) and Detroit (also yay! but also booooo!) and I got myself a fancy Winter Classic jersey with part of my Xmas bonus just for the occasion. After I’m finished writing this post, I intend to write Ronny and Alex an e-mail inviting them over to watch the game. Ronny’s from Militiagan, he’s got a horse in this race. Blake’s from Militiagan too but loving the Leafs was just part of our vows and that is whose jersey he shall be sporting on the day of the big event. Truthfully though, I really like Detroit and always have so while I obviously want our team to win, honestly it’s just cool to be playing each other on New Year’s Day in an outdoor venue. I am fucking stoked.

And I think that’s probably all I got in me for the time being. I hope everyone who celebrates has a Merry Christmas tomorrow and to everyone else, enjoy your movie and Chinese food!

December 12, 2013

Song Lyrics Go Here

It’s so weird. Normally I start my posts with a title and normally they’re song lyrics because I’m completely unoriginal. I’ve been sitting here this morning listening to music with the WordPress window open, waiting for the perfect song to come on but none did, not even something super cliche like Cypress Hill (who I genuinely like and not just because they write songs about weed).

So Friday I got my prescription for medical cannabis and between then and Sunday afternoon, I started looking at the three growers listed on the Health Canada website. See what you have to do, which I now know because of Jackie Walters at Peace Naturals Inc. (one of the growing companies), who answered all my questions, is send them your original prescription copy, along with the grower’s paperwork which is just asking about your mailing address and your doctor’s info and just clerical stuff really, then they ask you about your ailments and symptoms and your experience with marijuana and then you fill out and sign a medical disclosure form that just states that they’re allowed to speak with your doctor about your condition. It’s actually a lot of paperwork but easy enough to fill out and Blake witnessed and signed the parts that needed it and yesterday before my shrink appointment we sent everything to Peace Naturals registered mail (because that prescription is valuable) and now we wait for them to approve me which they said would normally take 2 days or so after they received my package.

As it turns out, their PO box is like, 45 mins from our house which makes me wonder if their grow is too. It’d be cool to get a tour of the facility. I’ve never seen a weed farm before. I bet they’d say no but I’m going to be a client with them for the next year (pending the paperwork all goes through; I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t), can’t hurt to ask. Especially since Jackie seemed pretty eager for me to jump on board as a client, which isn’t surprising as they’re the latest addition to Health Canada’s 3 grower operation (not exactly the $3bil one we were promised, but it’s still soon).

On Friday we went and saw my grama and we had a good visit. When we get there she’s weepy, then while we’re there and having conversation she’s good, but when we leave she’s weepy again. She seems to be hanging in there okay. She’s pretty fucking skinny though and I really wish I could convince her to get a weed rx too because she’s not eating and she feels sick when she does. Man, if I were at the end of my life, I’d wanna go out eating. But that’s just me. And I don’t even like food all that much.

Speaking of food, I’m not much of a cook. This is common knowledge. In theory I *should* be a good cook because growing up I did so much of it with my gramas and stuff (“Cooking is an art, baking is a science.”) but after Wes was born and I’d taught Blake all the recipes I knew, I let him do the cooking. The reason for this is that ever since I became pregnant with Madison, cooking smells really bother me. You think I’m a picky eater? I’m an even pickier smeller. If I smell something cooking too long, I no longer want to eat it. I feel sick. That has only gotten worse since pancreatitis. However, I’ve  found that since I began medicating with cannabis and have had a better appetite, I have a better tolerance for cooking smells and so I’ve been trying to do a little bit of the cooking, which Blake is grateful for and my shrink is impressed by.

I started out small with just simple cheese omelets with sauteed garlic and onion, which I made for the whole family for a while. Then I started making Sunny McMuffins, a slight variation on the cheese omelet only this time with peameal bacon and on an English Muffin. Then one night I saw that we had pork chops in the freezer and Shake & Bake in the cupboard, along with two boxes of cheesy potatoes which are terrible for you but good sometimes, and Blake was going to be home late. So I made dinner and it was more or less ready as soon as her got home (by total fluke). I mean, that’s obviously a very simple meal that anyone could make but our oven’s tricky and getting the timing right so the potatoes would be done at the same time as the pork chops is hard and we also had peas, but those take 5 minutes in the microwave.

Yesterday I tried making these chocolate and peanut butter squares and I followed the recipe to the letter but they turned out so hard that they’re almost impossible to eat. Pinterest did me wrong!

Pinterest did me right last night when we made mini chicken pot pies with cream of chicken soup and Pillsbury biscuit dough in muffin tins. Madison’s vegetarian so I invented a version for her with tomato soup, cheddar cheese, corn, peppers, onions, garlic, basil and oregano and she was a big fan. I asked for other veggie ideas for this on Twitter and my friend Quelyn suggested a potato soup base and Deanna suggested broccoli soup, which would also work pending Madison likes broccoli soup (I don’t know that she’s ever had it). Anyway, everyone was a fan of those and everyone helped me make them. Wes grated cheese while I chopped veggies, Blake chopped up the chicken breast for ours because I really really dislike touching raw chicken. It seriously skeeves me out. I’ll do it, but I will bitch and moan the entire time. So he did it, then he went back to work. Then Madison put the dough in the tins and we each filled one (there were 10 biscuits per can and we used 2 cans for 2 kinds), then she sat in the kitchen and talked to me while we waited for the pies to bake.

Just now I finished putting in the ingredients for crock pot chicken teriyaki which will take about 5 hours to cook. Then I also have to make rice, which I’ve never done before so Madison will have to show me how to use the rice cooker. Then I also have to stir-fry the cabbage mix and bean sprouts we got for the occasion. I guess you would just stir-fry them in a bit of oil until they’re tender-crisp? That’s what it looks like they do at the mall. I told Madison I would make her extra stir-fry so she can make something similar using tofu and this jar of honey garlic sauce we have in the fridge.

I’m not becoming some domestic goddess housewife person or anything like that, I’m not about  to do anything crazy like clean something or vacuum or put away laundry. But for now making meals sometimes is working out okay so I’ll go with it. Truthfully I don’t even know if I’m going to eat any of this teriyaki because I don’t really like chicken but we’ll see.

Anyway, that’s all I really have to say.

You can still get free shipping in my shop for the next 4 days!

November 18, 2013

There’s a Hippo in My Tub

My shrink appointment for today got cancelled so I here I am. I got to sleep in and I now have the whole day to do whatever, which I hadn’t really planned on. I didn’t know what to talk to her about anyway. I mean I should probably tell her the stuff I’m about to write here, or at least some of it but I always forget or it doesn’t seem like a big deal when I get there and it probably isn’t now that I’m thinking more about it. Basically, it boils down to this: my inner child? Pretty manic and emotional lately. But I think they’re normal responses to what stimulated them.

Last week, as you all know, I posted those pictures of our family to Facebook and my brother said he had them too, along with many more, especially ones from “the cottage”. My mom replied, “what cottage?” because in her world “the cottage” is John’s cottage where we all go in the summer and hang out now, but in mine and Chad’s childhoods, “the cottage” meant something entirely different. We meant our step/dad’s family’s cottage which I believe was in Madoc, Ontario. Or at least that’s where we stopped at the IGA and the sporting goods store to stock up on water and supplies before going to the cottage. Madoc was “going into town”, anyway.

The cottage itself was a mouse infested, two-room, no running water, plywood shack half on land and half on stilts, right on the shore of the Black River near the Hastings Rapids. It had the world’s scariest outhouse but the roof didn’t leak and it had electricity and a woodstove in the room facing the river. In the room facing the woods, there were cots on one side of the room and various fishing rods, tackle, nets, floatation devices, life jackets etc. on the other. In the room with the woodstove, there was also a couple of “easy chair” type chairs, a table and chairs that were actually pretty cool because the chairs were aluminum benches on either side of the aluminum table. They were blue and chrome. I could have totally made that up but as I visualize the room, that’s what I remember and I know that memory can be a tricky thing. All of those things were facing the river, which you could see out two very big windows, or at least big to a kid, and to the right there was a counter with kitchen stuff on it and a stove, but the oven didn’t work. For toast, there was this super old metal toaster that had a fabric cord and two sides that opened with heating coils in the middle/on one side of each side of the appliance. So you would put your two slices of bread in, and then you would have to wait and keep checking by opening it to see if the one side was toasted well/burnt/whatnot, then when that side was done, you would flip the bread and toast the other side in the same fashion. It was REALLY annoying, but we REALLY like breakfast so it got used a lot.

Since there was no running water, dishes were done in a big plastic tub on the floor.

When we would go up there, we would have to stop in at our step/grampa’s farm in Marmora to get the motor for the boat and I got to see all of the animals (well, most of the time) and the animals our step/Uncle Joe had stuffed recently because he was a taxidermist by trade and pretty good at it. I know it’s trendy to like taxidermy right now, especially chimera taxidermy, but it’s something I’ve been able to appreciate since I was really little because when I was little, our other step/Uncle Rusty, who was some sort of biologist, would show us the stuffed animals and the preserved skeletons and tell us all about the animal. It was almost like going to the zoo.

On our step/grampa’s farm, there were two houses and Uncle Joe lived in the smaller one of them with his wife. Rusty had a room in the big house but would soon flee the country (more like f lee the family) and not be really heard from again until a few years ago. But that’s a whole other thing.

Once we had the motor for the boat, which was at the cottage itself, and threw it in the trunk, we would be out of civilization usually for a week or for however long our step/dad could listen to my brother and I fighting and pack us up and drive us home without uttering a single word (that really happened once). We would go in the boat to this special bend in the river where there was a “shore” of solid but smooth rock on a slope down to the river and grass and the woods behind/above that. Within the area of all this rock, there was a shallow area of the river where you would actually do your swimming and then there was the rapids, which, when we got older, we would go down for fun, either just on our own (banging and scraping our bodies on rocks all the way) or with floaties or on a raft. And also within the area of this rock, we would fish and catch frogs for bait. (I’ll spare you the details on how you use a live frog as bait…it’s actually kind of horrible and I don’t know if I could do it today. Maybe I could. I literally haven’t been fishing since I was 18.)

Long story short, it was pretty awesome and something I had completely forgotten about and last week, my brother sent me 20 photos via text message (pics of pics taken with his phone so I’m just gonna post the one I cleaned up) and as they came in, one by one, I would look at it because they were all of me, and I would remember and I bawled for like, an hour, because my childhood is something I’ve mostly buried. I purposely, mostly, have killed the so-called “inner child” because my childhood was pretty horrible as most of you know. Suddenly being faced with pictures, proof, that “happy” was a part of my childhood sometimes or at some point, was something I wasn’t prepared for. The fact that Ken had saved these pictures and had allowed them to remain in his house when we didn’t part on good terms about 10 years ago was something I wasn’t prepared for either. The fact that my brother and Ken, who have been all but homeless and have been moving around the last few years, found these pictures, of ME!, to be of value, to be important enough to lug around from place to place was something I was not prepared for.

Here’s one of the pics, dunno how old I was, maybe 6 or 7:

So that was last week and then within the last 24 hours, this has happened:

Yesterday we went to London (Ontario) to have lunch with Blake’s mom and Charlie and on the way there, I saw this neat milk truck so I posted it on facebook:

Then friends started talking about how it’s good milk etc. and I mentioned this time I went to Charity J’s house for her birthday party in like, grade 5 or 6, and they had dairy cows. During dinner, they served milk pretty much straight from the cow (and by “pretty much”, I mean it had been refrigerated) and it was the best tasting milk I’ve ever had in my whole entire life. Well, when I posted that, I tagged Charity so she posted about that memory and I just thought of how cool it was that I’m still friends with people with whom I share *good* childhood memories.

So that was yesterday/last night and then this morning I woke up to a message on Facebook from Tina L., who I became really good friends with in grade 9 but then I moved so we lost touch. I went to her house that year for her birthday too and her mom had made Mississippi Mud. Oh lawd. Again, probably one of the best things I’ve ever tasted and that whole afternoon/evening is a really good childhood memory for me. A long time ago, when Tina and I became friends on Facebook, I told her of this memory, which she of course shared as well, and asked her for her mom’s Mississippi Mud recipe because her mom had given it to me at the time but I never made it and it got lost over the last couple of decades. Of course, Tina’s message this morning was her mom and her mom’s mom’s recipe for Mississippi Mud and it is as precious to me as the Hope Diamond, which I basically told her.

And then I cried some more and now I’m writing this.

Oh and I gave Blake the recipe and told him that we’re making it for my birthday (if I can last that long…).

So I guess that’s all I really have to say. It’s just weird that these things all happened so close together. My Aunt Heather always said “things come in threes” so there ya have it. Maybe my supposed inner child is waking up.

Now I think I’m gonna go work on my Secret Satan present because I’m falling behind. Chop chop!

October 31, 2013

Born Slippy

I dunno why this just came to me but it did so I thought I’d post it because at least Madison will find it interesting.

When I was pregnant with Madison, I lived in an apartment in my grampa’s building, above my mom’s wallpaper/paint/decor store in Uxbridge. The apartment was at the very back of the building, near the fire escape and the layout that’s important to the rest of the story is as follows: two bedrooms facing North, one right beside the other and the kitchen was a strip of space between those two bedrooms and the living room/rest of the apartment. The kitchen had a window that faced East and that’s where my kitchen table was. I never used it for eating on though, it was basically just the computer desk. so that was the Eastern side of the room. On the Western side of the room, you had fridge, sink, cupboards, microwave and then this goddamn ancient stove.

And that is where this story begins. With that goddamn ancient stove.

See, I’ve never been a very good cook, it’s just never been my thing, so most of the time when I was pregnant with Madison, I ate raw healthy foods like cheese and fruit and veggies and milk and nuts but I also ate a lot of take-out. Big surprise. I know.

But there’s some things you *have* to cook on the stove. Like Kraft Dinner. Which is what I was craving one day when I was like, just pregnant enough with Madison to be able to feel butterfly-like movements and I had just started putting an elastic through the button-hole of my pants and hooking it over the button to give me a couple of extra inches.

Well this stove we had was from the ’50s, maybe earlier. It was very round and had like, REAL knobs, the likes of which I don’t think they make anymore.

And only the oven and 1 out of 4 elements worked and to make matters worse, the 1 that worked really ONLY boiled water (so within the 8/10+ range on the dial) and would stay ON even after you turned the knob to “off”. You could turn the knob to anything and the result would pretty much be the same. To get the element to turn OFF, as that’s obviously a safety hazard right? You had to tilt the top part (where the knobs were) forward a bit because it was on hinges for this purpose and BLINDLY reach back there and unscrew, then pull out the right fuse. When I was done cooking, I would put the top part back into its normal position and set the fuse on top.

One day I go to make Kraft Dinner so the first thing I did was pick up the fuse, tilt the top part forward and reached back to put the fuse into the, uh, fuse-hole. In one full movement I both DROPPED the fuse AND stuck my finger in the fuse hole.

I wake up on the other side of the room on the floor by the kitchen table. My heart is racing like crazy and I’m just like hoooooly shit. I check myself out and I’m not hurt anywhere and I can see okay and the only thing that really seemed “wrong” was the fact that, obviously I had blacked out and fell/threw myself and had a fuck tonne of electricity go through my body but I felt like a hummingbird, like my heart was just going so fast but there was so much adrenalin (I’m guessing) going through me at that point that I felt light.

I truly don’t remember what happened after that but in the end I called a friend who took me to the hospital where I felt Madison move and they listened to her heartbeat, which was normal and by that time so was mine, so they sent me home. We joked that I would give birth to Powder.

I still used the stove after that, I had to it was the only one I had, I was just very very careful putting the fuse in.

And that’s my story.

Posted at 3:16 pm in: Fall , Family , Food , Gratitude , Hospital , Kids , Life , Madison , Misc. , Movies , Technology , the 90's

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