October 18, 2015

Warts & All: The Whole Story

Madison moved out in May. She’s my daughter. She’s 17. She’s decided that the best way to rebel against us is to become an independent, responsible adult, so she lives at the beach now and checks in every now and then and that’s just the deal with Madison. Her boyfriend is significantly older. He is an adult. It’s creepy and weird but legal and it’s her body and life so, go, live at the beach, be in love, be poor, experience things, be free, have your heart broken and learn. She’s always welcome back. That has basically been my position on the situation since day one.

Madison left behind a room full of garbage and her 9 year old cat that she’s been saying since she was 12 that she’d take with her when she moved out. Realistically, Madison can’t take care of a cat, especially this cat, so we were begrudgingly fine with her leaving her behind. The cat’s name is Pixel, btw. She’s not a long-haired black/brown tabby, but she’s definitely fluffy and could never be accused of being short-haired, and she has a little nubbin of a bunny tail because of her origin story.

In the spring of 2006, my new friends in our new town, Jesse & Jen, called me up and said they found some kittens at Jesse’s house and they were sick and hurt and they didn’t know what to do with them. Jesse lives in the middle of nowhere with farmer’s fields on all sides of him and I guess the kittens had been born and living with their mom underneath the concrete steps on the back of his house, coming in and out through a cat-sized crack on the side. They were about 6-8 weeks old.

So Jesse & Jen trap the kittens and their mother and bring them over to my house in a cat carrier. There were five kittens, a couple of black and white ones, a grey tabby and our cat Pixel. All of the kittens had crusty, bloody, infected stumps where their tails had formerly been and the worst case of worms I’ve ever witnessed with my own eyes in an animal. While holding one of the kittens, I actually watched, in HORROR, as a worm slithered out of one of the kittens’ anuses and into its urethra, smooth as butter, causing the kitten to cry. It happened so fast and I was so unprepared for it, there was nothing I could do but watch this happen. My theory on the missing tails was that something big and predatory and too big to fit through the crack in the concrete steps chased the kittens to eat them and just nipped their tails every time until they didn’t have any more. They could have also been frostbitten, but it was been pretty warm.

The mama cat was black and her tail was intact and she was as feral as cats come, just nothing domesticated about her in the slightest.

At the time, I had a new house, the dog I always wanted and two little kids who thought these kittens were the greatest things that ever lived. The three of us decided I wanted to keep one and I let the kids decide which one they would theoretically want and each kid picked a different one and would not agree. I called Blake, my husband, at work and said, “Hey so there’s these cats here, can we have a cat?” and he said, “I’d really prefer not to have a cat”. So I kept both kittens the kids wanted and we named them Digit (the boy) and Pixel (the girl). Blake calls this “cat logic”. You don’t want ANY cats but you end up with TWO.

Here’s where Madison likes to point out that technically, she chose Digit and Wes chose Pixel. Madison would have been 8 and Wes would have been 3 or 4.

The other kittens and the mom were taken to the OSPCA by Jen after staying at our house overnight and throughout the first year, we watched the kittens grow and play and be delightful. Digit had an issue with spraying at one point but once we got them both fixed, that stopped, but now, since the smell of cat was in the carpet and on various things that are hard to get cat out of, they both started peeing where they shouldn’t have every now & then, but still almost always using the litter box and going outside often.

When the kittens were about a year old, Digit got hit on the road in front of our neighbour’s house and it was gross and sad and that was the end of Digit. That was also the beginning of the end of going outside for Pixel. I know it’s so fucking unlikely that I probably shouldn’t even mention it, but in my narrative for Pixel is that she saw Digit get hit on the road and it scared her so she stopped leaving our yard. Then she only went outside in the summer to massacre mice at night. Then she stopped going out at all.

For the first few years of her not going outside, she used the litter box, but still pee’d in the areas where there had been pee before, despite all the enzyme whatever cleaners we used. The carpet at the time was an old orange shag that came with our house so it was impossible to clean and then even after we replaced it, she’d still go to the same spots. Then we tried putting the litter boxes in those spots and she just picked new spots, so we took her to the vet to see if she had something wrong with her like an infection or kidney problems or something. He tested her urine, felt her abdomen, declared her healthy and that she was just being a shithead feral cat. (Our vet is more of a dog person.)

So for years, me and the kids (but not Blake because he wants no part in animal care) have been cleaning up after this cat who only uses the litter box when the planets are aligned just right and the Earth’s at a specific angle and it’s a full moon because what else are we going to do? There are four litter boxes in my house full of Cat Attract cat litter and she’s only used them three times and we can’t figure out why those three times, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

Something we realized early on is that the cat disliked messes. If a towel was left on the floor, she pee’d on it. If a piece of clothing was on the floor, she’d pee on it. If someone left their bag leaned up against the couch but on the floor, there was a good chance she’d pee on it. The only person in the house who seemed to not understand this or simply didn’t care, was Madison.

As is often the case with teenagers, Madison’s room was never clean, and it wasn’t for lack of trying to keep it that way. Wes is the neat and tidy kid whose room is organized and Madison’s always been a force of nature with a room to match. Unfortunately, Pixel chose Madison as her “person” and Madison’s room as her dog-free, quiet place to hang out. She also chose Madison’s room as her own personal litter box because Madison’s room was always chaos with everything thrown on the floor and garbage in her bed.

Madison’s room has been clean one day per week, just enough to collect allowance, since forever and she didn’t tell us most of the times the cat pee’d in her room or on her things, she’d just leave a layer of clothes detritus on her floor at all times for the cat to pee on and then on Friday Chores Day, throw it all in the washing machine and pretend nothing ever happened. What she either didn’t realize or didn’t care about was that this was actually soaking into her carpet.

During this time, Madison was also entering that phase of the teen years where you close your door 24/7 because you’re either in your room hiding from your parents or you don’t want your parents snooping through your shit when you’re gone, so combine the fact that Madison was not cleaning up after the cat in her own room, where the cat was primarily peeing and she never opened her door, we never really knew the full scope of the damage until Madison moved out in May and the room was mostly empty except for garbage and items the cat had pee’d on and Madison didn’t want to take.

I won’t lie. Madison moving out affected me. I didn’t see it coming because our relationship was fine and I was choosing to trust her to do the things she promised to do and honour the agreements she made, but she didn’t and rather than be an honourable person, she decided to run away from her own compromises. That was disappointing to me, but again, like I said in the beginning, it’s her life and it’s hers to live.

During the stress of Madison leaving, I went in her room a lot and every time I was in there, I was astounded at how bad she had let her floor get with cat pee. It was evident to me that before we do anything with that room, we needed to redo the floor with laminate flooring or something that the cat can’t ruin, especially in case Madison came home. She 17. In my mind that means that we have one more year where we are obligated to provide for her a clean, safe place to sleep and I needed that room to be that for her.

I expressed this to my husband and a fight ensued. He wanted to know why Madison’s room took precedence over the living room, which he claimed was just as bad (not by a long shot), when she didn’t even live here anymore and he and Wes were in there all day, every day? I told him I felt like a bad mom, which to me should have been the end of it. I wanted to rip up the carpet and put laminate flooring in Madison’s room and then deep clean the living room carpet. He disagreed. Said we couldn’t afford it (which I thought was bullshit because we had just been talking about renovating my office weeks prior). I e-mailed my mother to get her advice and she wrote back the next day saying to rip up the carpet and deep clean the living room. I took that to mean “do Madison’s room” and thought that’d be the end of it.

Later that night, after Blake came home from work, I asked if we could go out for sushi. I had completed a colouring page by its deadline by the skin of my teeth and wanted to celebrate. (Apparently I didn’t actually voice that, which may or may not be true.)

While we were sitting in the parking lot, he brought up my mom’s e-mail and we had a heated fight about the issue again. I had been in the mood to celebrate and him picking a fight with me at that moment made me explode with rage, especially since I thought my mom’s reply was pretty clear on the order in which to do things and what the priorities were. Blake actually left me at the restaurant and drove around the block because I got up in his face and threatened to beat the shit out of him when we got home, which was just an anger threat, as if I could even beat him up and as if I’d still be mad by the time we got home.

He came and got me and we drove home in silence. That night I raged because I felt Blake had picked a fight and now I had to be left to deal with my own personal fallout an hour before I needed to be asleep so I could get up for work at 5am the next morning. I called my mom and all she did, as per usual, is make the situation worse by Saint Blaking me to death. She told me if I wanted the floor done that I should get in the car and go to the flooring store with the measurements and have them do it. She said this knowing full well that I’m mentally ill, specifically AGORAPHOBIC, afraid of driving and CAN’T do things like that, so this is the kind of help my mom gives. It’s not even help it’s just further antagonism so I don’t know why I ever bothered and will never make that mistake again.

After she suggested that I was so exasperated because it was just such a shitty, unhelpful thing to say that I slammed the phone against the wall 3 times until I broke the display. Blake thought I was throwing things around and he decided he was going to take Wes and stay at my mom’s that night.

When I woke up the next morning I was still mad. What I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t in my right mind because when you’re crazy, you don’t actually know you’re crazy. Along with agoraphobia, I also have bipolar disorder I and generalized anxiety disorder and I was in what I now know to be a “mixed state”, where you’re depressed and manic at the same time. In me, I guess this manifests as anger.

Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but in looking back, this was a long time coming. I had pretty much been without any mental health support for about a year, after my old shrink (who I really liked) retired and the new shrink the mental health centre assigned me was a pill dispensing automaton. She had advised me to try going off of my 2nd antidepressant, Cipralex, which had side effects I couldn’t deal with, before trying something else, so for the few months leading up to this situation, I was depressed and suicidal and everyone and their brother knew it but very few people seemed to even notice that I was slipping.

That morning I didn’t go to work. I had a shower and put on clean clothes with the conscious thought that “I may end up somewhere by the end of this”. Then I began loading everything Blake owned into garbage bags and dragged them all out to the driveway for his convenience because I wanted to show him how serious I was about this floor thing that shouldn’t have even been a fight yet somehow was.

I had just come in from taking the last load out when Blake messaged me on AIM, trying to talk. By that point I was beyond talking to. I was beyond rational. I was in a mixed state and in need of antipsychotics. And he was still fighting me on this floor thing. I told him not to come home unless it was to pick up his shit and started talking about how the house was mine. I told him if he showed up here I would have to call the police. He said he was on his way, sooooooooo…I called the police, thinking he was in the town 20 minutes away rather than my mom’s town an hour away.

When I called 911 I told them I needed police dispatch because I had some questions. I wanted to know if it would be possible for officers could be present so the fight didn’t escalate. And by escalate and I do mean violence because when I get like this I break shit and throw shit and could hurt you. When the lady on the other end of the phone asked if I felt I was in danger I said no, but I thought Blake might be. She told me, and please remember this because it’s important, that, “yes, officers are often called just to come keep the peace” and she said she’d send someone out.

When the cops got here I asked them to look at Madison’s room and tell Blake that it would be child abuse for her to move back into that room should she decide to come home. They’re the cops, surely they know what’s acceptable living quarters for a kid and what’s not. They weren’t interested in that. They wanted to know what started this whole thing, so I started telling them about the fight the night before and the one cop asked if any threats had been made. I said I didn’t think so. He asked me if I was sure, I was like, “not that I remember”. He asked a third time, and I said, “well I may have threatened to kill him in his sleep or something that I obviously didn’t mean” and that’s when both cops’ eyes lit up and they both said “WHOA WHOA WHOA” and stopped listening to me. The main cop, Officer Black, started lecturing me on how the police aren’t marriage counsellors and when I tried to defend myself and tell him that HIS OWN DISPATCH told me differently and that was the only reason they were there, he shot me down and said, “look, you’re probably gonna have to get a divorce if it’s gotten to the point of death threats” and I started unravelling right then and there. He told me they were going to charge me with uttering a death threat and that they were going to take me to jail. I said, “why? Why? What is that going to prove? That is a CHOICE,” I explained how I was mentally ill and had never been in trouble with the police before (on paper) so what on Earth did he think he would be accomplishing by making me go through all that? How was that helping this situation in any conceivable way? I said, “it sure sounds like you boys are all about bros before hos.” Officer Black didn’t like that.

After they stopped listening to me, my ears stopped hearing them, but I heard “need a divorce” from the lips of Officer Black’s mouth no less than 3 times and “jail” more times than that. Those two words echoed in my head and I became fixated on them. I don’t really know what happened next because for part of it I was definitely not in my right mind, part of it I just don’t remember and the rest I’ve only pieced together from things Blake or my lawyer’s said or I’ve heard in court and everyone’s versions of events are different. All I know is that the cops just up and left and said they’d be back and then Blake texted me 20 mins later that he was at the police station. Then I swallowed a metric fuck tonne of pills, went to sleep and tried to die.

MEANWHILE….Blake’s at the police station trying to explain to these backwoods idiot cops that this is not a domestic dispute, this is a mental health crisis. That when I told dispatch, when asked whose safety I was concerned with, I answered Blake’s, I meant because I was afraid it would escalate like that time I hit him with an axe handle a few days before we found out 3 days later I was pregnant and hormonal crazy on top of what we now know was undiagnosed/medicated mental illness. “Ooooooh,” said Officer Black, as Blake ended that story, “tell us more. *strokes chin*”

So as examples of WHAT I WAS TRYING TO AVOID BY CALLING THE COPS because he knows me and knows exactly what was happening, Blake tells them about the 3 brain chemistry related epic fights we had within the first 3 years of our 13 year marriage, PRIOR to diagnosis and medication, which ended up with me hitting him with something (axe handle, pregnant, which if I remember correctly, started with, “if you come near me I’m gonna fucking hit you with this,” and making good on the threat; then one time I hit him with a plastic juice pitcher after I didn’t get the desired effect from pouring ice water on him from it while he was sleeping and I was still raging over the fight we had a few hours before and I was pissed he COULD sleep) or destroyed property (one time we had a DEFINITE mental illness related fight that resulted in me taking his comics and ripping them all up and then when he said, “whatever! Go ahead!” and started ripping them up right along with me, I got pissed, grabbed his heavy ass guitar, took it outside and smashed it against a snowbank in the backyard until he asked me if I was done).

That’s when the cops say, “oh thanks for telling us all this horrific yet super old shit, we’re gonna charge your wife with assault with weapons and uttering death threats despite the fact that A) you told us she never said what she said she said and B) we were just told she was sent to the hospital after attempting suicide”.

NOPE. NOT A MENTAL HEALTH SITUATION AT ALL, GUYS!

“Oh and there’s gonna be a ‘no contact’ order so you guys can’t see each other until after she goes to jail and then court.”

Instead of neutralizing the situation, Officer Black antagonized me while in an agitated state and escalated the situation because he’s had no mental health training, but I’ll get to that later.

Apparently when I was in the psych ward at the hospital, it was completely illegal for Blake to come see me but I had no idea and neither did the hospital. Apparently because of the ‘no contact’ order, after I was discharged from the hospital, I was supposed be picked up by the police and taken to jail until my court date, but instead, Blake picked me up and I got to spend two days at home recalibrating and hiring a lawyer before surrendering myself to the police on the Friday.

That Friday, I went to the police station and was photographed and fingerprinted. I was in such shell shock that I can’t even tell you a single thing while I was there other than the following:

  • They don’t fingerprint you with ink anymore, they scan your fingers. It’s pretty cool.
  • When I asked why Officer Black escalated the situation rather than diffuse it, he said he didn’t and that his partner would back up anything he said. I asked him if he’d had any mental health training and he said no. When I told him maybe he should get some, he said, “ehn” and sorta shrugged. I’ve since learned that mental health training is available to them all but it’s voluntary. Oh and I did thank Officer Black for failing utterly at his job.

The plan was that I was surrendering myself to the police so I’d be processed first thing in the morning, before their bus thing left for the courthouse, have my day at court, ideally have the charges and the ‘no contact’ order thrown out and if not, have Blake be my assurity (post bail in Canadian) until the lawyer sorted it out and that would be the end of it. Blake hired our own lawyer rather than relying on duty counsel.

I go the courthouse in the back of the police bus by myself, in cuffs and they unload me and other buses of “prisoners” at the back of the building and put us in cells, 5 to a cell, segregated by gender. They cut the strings from my hoodie because they wouldn’t pull out. “Cut ‘em or take it off,” the lady guard said. *snip* I was allowed to keep my shoes because they didn’t have laces but the girls in my cell were wearing government-issued stringless shoes that didn’t fit any of them.

The cell was thick, white-painted brick walls, with a little waist high divider for the toilet and two wooden benches. I sat on the floor and let the other girls fight over the benches. I just kept my eyes in my lap and cried because this is a fucked up situation for anyone but you have to understand that I don’t leave my house or go anywhere or even have a doctor’s appointment by myself and haven’t for a very long time because I have massive phobias and anxiety.

The loudmouth of the girls in my cell said, “you don’t belong here, why are you here”, not as a question but more as a matter of fact. I told her I threatened to kill my husband because up until that point that’s all I knew I was being charged with. “Ya shoulda fuckin’ done it,” she said, and then started yelling out the bars of our cell to her real life boyfriend who was in the cell across from us.

They gave us ham sandwiches and juice boxes. The sandwiches were good. The juice boxes were juice boxes.

They called my name and I put my hands through the slot in the cell door, they handcuffed me and let me to a little room made out of thin drywall where I met my lawyer for the first time. Her name was Angela and we picked her because she had a dog on her website. It’s always good to go with the ones with animals on their sites for shrinks and lawyers, just as a general life rule. She told me about the assault with weapons charges and that Blake couldn’t be my assurity because of the ‘no contact’ order and I’m like, I’m being charged with WHAT? What assault? WHAT? And when she read the cop’s report I was like, “you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me”. She told me not to worry (don’t they always say that?), that Blake was trying to get a hold of my best friend Alex to come and be my assurity so I didn’t have to spend the weekend in jail. Then I’m taken back to the cell and I take my seat on the floor, start crying again. I’d smuggled in two Kleenexes, which were sopping wet. The loudmouth girl said, “how’d it go?” so I told her what I was being charged with and why. She said, “see? I told ya you shoulda killed him.”

There was an older lady sitting on the bench across from me and she tried distracting me from the horrors of jail by telling me of its highlights, “it’s like summer camp!” she promised. I asked her what they let you have there, meaning like, paper, a pencil, a book, an ipod….”Nothing,” she answered. Oh.

They called my name again. Cuffs again. Taken to the little room again. While I waited for my lawyer to show up on the other side of the glass, I could hear people talking to their lawyers in the little rooms on either side of me. Angela shows up, says she has good news. They couldn’t use Alex for assurity because she happened to be in Militiagan at the time visiting her husband’s family “but don’t worry, Blake called your mom and she’s on her way.” I was equal parts happy and horrified.

Eventually I’m taken in cuffs to the courtroom. They sat me in a little box to the side of the court with bullet-proof glass on half of it and words were said and my mom was there and she was looking at me sometimes but Blake wasn’t (I figured they told him not to make contact with me and I was right). The charges were read out and it was made so that I couldn’t go anywhere without my mom and I had to live at her house until the ‘no contact’ order was lifted. My court date was for 6 weeks later.

Without going into the gory details because if you know me at all or have read things I’ve written before, you know that my mom had me when she was 15 and my childhood was not an easy one. I was legally emancipated from my parents when I was 15, with the help of the government, because they felt it was in my better interest to be left to my own defenses than be “parented” by either people claiming the title. This doesn’t happen when you come from a “nice family” or a “good home”.

My mother and I get along fabulously as long as the topic of my childhood is avoided at all costs because her version of events and my memories are not the same. Naturally, because this was a mental health situation, which is generally linked to my childhood and family history, the subject was gonna come up if I had to stay with her and I was so worried that it was going to ruin all the progress we’d made over the years to finally get along. I don’t care what she says, she was a shitty “kid mom”, she just was, and I blame it completely on the fact that she was a kid too and we were raised in a difficult family by difficult and mentally ill people, but as an “adult mom” and grama to my kids, she and her fiancé have been pretty great.

I was grateful. My mom saved my ass from jail. She can scratch that off her bucket list! Blake left the courthouse to pack stuff for me to stay at my mom’s house for an indefinite amount of time, my mom and I signed paperwork and then we met him at a Tim Hortons where he gave me my stuff and I went to live with my mom. When my mom saw my webcam attached to my 2nd monitor, she turned up her nose and said “just what do you think you’re going to be needing that for?” as if I was a 25 year old camgirl camming from my bedroom in my mom’s house and it was any of her business. “Uh, for Skype training? Work meetings?” because at the time I was at the end of training three people every morning for several months at my actual job, that is a for real thing, that I do from home, with real people, for real dollars and we do have weekly work meetings via webcam. This is the world in which I function. It is very different from my mom’s.

When he got home, my mom’s fiancé was livid. He has a temper and spent the evening outside screaming at her under my window about how I couldn’t stay there which is exactly what I needed two days after getting out of the psych ward and then a cell, when the world was still so fucking bright and noisy and I was still so raw. As they fought, I set my stuff up in her sun room and cried because I was in the 2nd last place I wanted to be, with someone screaming about basically what a burden and inconvenience I am after I just tried to kill myself and those are common themes among mentally ill people when they rationalize suicide. And I better not be using their internet! I better not be using their internet because I will inevitably go over their bandwidth usage! Wanna know how much it costs in data in this country to work from home for a technology company when your sole internet is tethering your phone for 10 days? Cuz I can tell you!

Eventually he came around but it was made pretty clear that if I made so much as a peep or affected his life in any way, he’d shit on our collective heads so I walked on eggshells the whole time and stayed in my room as much as possible. We tried but my mom and I just didn’t get along. It felt like she kept picking fights with me and food policing and gaslighting and it was pretty clear that this was not a healthy environment for me so while grateful for her help and shelter, I was greatly anticipating Alex’s return to Canada so I could go live with her instead.

I don’t want to seem like a shithead who doesn’t appreciate what her mother did for her, I don’t, at the end I was reluctant to leave her because I wasn’t sure if I was ready to adult by myself, but after about 10 days, finally Alex was home and we went to court and “custody” was transferred from my mom to Alex and it was just like fucking “hallelujah”.

Alex’s was better because she lived in the city closest to my house, my house that I could no longer go to because Blake lives there, but also closest to all of the mental health services I was going to need. Alex and her husband, Ronny, and I think her dad too, cleared out a room for me in the basement with a desk, a bed and a shelf. I had a mini fridge that I brought in and kept cheese, milk and Diet Coke in and I lived on that, cereal and peanut butter and banana sandwiches because I could make those in my room and didn’t have to go upstairs to the kitchen and have uncomfortable conversations with Alex’s dad, who I barely knew.  I also ate out with Ronny and Alex a lot, most specifically veggie sushi and tuna subs from Mr. Sub so I could get fresh protein and vegetables. I couldn’t keep a lot in my fridge because the temperature was wonky and it froze almost everything you put on the top shelf. It was the same fridge my grampa gave me when Madison was about a year old and my big fridge died and it was old then. No wonder it died like, 4 days before I ended up going home.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I was worried about staying at Alex’s, especially knowing that I’d be there for so long I mean, at the time it was August and the crown (Canadian District Attorney, works for da Queen) and my lawyer were talking about October. I was going to miss another summer. I was going to spend my summer in a strange basement, which is not the best place for me because one of the known things about my mental health is that my delicate butterfly moods do change, not with the weather as they say, but with the light. The less daylight I get per day, the more depressed I get, the more grey days in a row, the more suicidal the thoughts become. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder pretty terribly and even with a special lightbox, winters are hellacious and it’s because of the light. To combat this, we bought two lamps for the room with 100 watt full spectrum bulbs and I think they helped a lot. I still needed to go outside every few days, but I don’t think I was as affected by being in the basement as much as I was afraid I’d be.

Dealing with my mental health centre was a nightmare, but I did get a new shrink. Blake’s been managing my pills ever since I started taking pills because it’s been so complicated over the years and I am terrified of screwing them up or running out that it’s just safer for everyone if he does it. For 9 years, he has been calling both the mental health centre and the pharmacy to deal with pills, so when they were only dispensing me pills seven days at a time due to my suicide attempt and not communicating with him for reasons we still don’t even understand, it was problematic because I was living at my mom’s, an hour and a half away from my pharmacy and unable to get pills in my mom’s town because it was highly likely my mom would withhold my pills from me so I’d have no choice but to go get them myself, which is like giving me a mensa puzzle when I’m still on jigsaws, it’s timed, and the stakes are life or death. Despite the ‘no contact’ order, Blake was going to get my pills and bring them to my mom to give to me, until I could get transferred to Alex’s, and doing it every seven days – on multiple days – when I was so far away and not a suicide threat was asinine. And then the new shrink wouldn’t prescribe me my 2nd antidepressant, the one the prior shitty shrink told me to try going off of but if I couldn’t hack it to go back on it so two months prior to the suicide attempt, I had started taking 5mg of it daily. The hospital didn’t write it in their paperwork even though I was taking it there so I guess the mental health centre…didn’t believe me? Shitty shrink didn’t write it in my file? I’m not sure but for whatever reason, they wouldn’t believe Blake when he told them I needed it and when I left a message for the new shrink on their medline saying that I needed it, she didn’t prescribe it to me. So does that make ANY sense to you? Let’s deprive the depressed, displaced, suicidal girl going through legal hell of her antidepressant for no reason! *slow clap*

Rather than Blake just talking to the front desk, they tried to get a social nurse (whatever that is) and their director involved until I e-mailed the director and was just like, forget it, I guess I’ll go without my medication, make sure the paperwork for the mental health centre to talk to Blake about meds is there for me to sign when I see my new shrink in September.

Then trying to get the new shrink to write a proper letter for the courts as to my diagnoses and prognosis was like pulling teeth. I had to have my lawyer contact them, like for some reason they didn’t believe that this was real and that I actually had a lawyer and I could go to jail, and then Ronny had to drive me to their office 45 minutes away so I could sign another release form, get a copy of the letter and then come home, scan it and e-mail it to my lawyer within a span of about two hours or we wouldn’t have it in time for court.

The letter gave my history of mental illness and said that I would be seeing the new shrink for pharmacological monitoring but that I needed to seek a therapist or group therapy for more cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which I was already way ahead of because obviously this mental health centre had failed me over the course of the past year with the shrink they stuck me with, after my old one retired, not doing her fucking job leading to this exact predicament, so I knew I needed outside non-government help. I found an art therapist in the area who incorporates CBT into her practice and as of now I’ve already seen her five times. The letter from my shrink recommended four months of CBT every two weeks, which thankfully our insutrance covers 90% of because after paying for my internet while I was at my mom’s and the lawyer, and cutting my hours by 1/3 AND we need a new roof or we lose 1/3 of our house plus the furnace, we’re pretty screwed for a while. Woulda been cheaper to just do the floor.

So that basically brings me up to present. On Tuesday, October 13th I pled guilty to one count of mischief for breaking Blake’s guitar. I was given a conditional discharge, the conditions of which are that I do what my shrink said in her letter, report to a probation officer once a month for the next 11 months with a receipt from my art therapist and I have to pay $100 to a victim’s fund of some sort that I am happy to pay because I’ve seen it legit help people with my own eyes. That’s a fantastic use of my money. I have no criminal record and I have never been convicted of a crime. Blake signed a piece of paper at the probation office that broke the contact order so I’m back home now. I have two ombudsmen I can lodge complaints to regarding the lack of mental health training for OPP officers and the lack of mental health care I’ve received over the last year from the mental health centre I’ve been going to for nine years. Normally I’d be okay with getting away with my hide but we live in an area with a high incidence of mental illness because we’re a catchall community for one of the province’s largest psychiatric institutions and just a few years ago, a mentally ill man was shot in my town of 2000 people by an OPP officer. Maybe if that cop would have had mental health training the mentally ill man would have been tased instead and alive today. I mean, it just makes sense when they’re going to potentially be dealing with a higher incidence of mentally ill people that the police have some kind of mandatory training in dealing with them. That’s just the basics for knowing how to serve and protect a community, wouldn’t you think?

While I was gone, Blake tore up Madison’s carpet and underneath was fucking LINOLEUM! Practically impenetrable to cat urine! Then he took a class at Home Depot on how to install wood laminate flooring and with the help of the neighbour’s saw, Madison’s floor is pretty close to being finished and Wes is ready to move into the bigger room and then Blake’s going to put his office in Wes’ current bedroom. Wes wants his room to be orange but Blake “talked him into” a light blue room. I don’t see why it can’t be like, white on two walls and orange on the other two or something. He’s going to be in it for 6 more years, might as well make it his own.

As for Madison, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend and she’s “too busy” to come after not speaking to me since I tried to kill myself. She says she’s “punishing” me for what I “did” to Wes in trying to commit suicide, despite the  fact that everyone has told her that Wes and I are fine and Wes even asked her a long ago not to “punish” me on his behalf. I’ve reached out to her three or four times in the last two and a half months but nothing. She and Blake were the only people I said goodbye to when I decided to swallow the pills, Madison via Facebook messenger. She told Blake she thought I was just being melodramatic.  She’s “liked” three or four different things I’ve said or posted on Facebook so I know that not all is lost and she just needs her space right now.

A lot of you have probably been screaming the whole time, “WHAT ABOUT THE FUCKING CAT? Why didn’t you get rid of the cat?” and I ask you, dear reader, do YOU want her and can YOU promise me you’re going to give her a good life? We can’t take her to the shelter, they’re all kill shelters and the ones that aren’t only take strays. Who is going to adopt a cat at the end of her life who has a peeing problem? (Although we do think that if she lived in a house with no other pets she might actually be okay.) We can’t put her down, she’s mentally ill. *I* am mentally ill and I sure hope no one would euthanize me if I started peeing in undesirable areas. We offer this cat to everyone we meet, we even offer to pay people to take her with the agreement that we’ll take care of her financially for the rest of her life, but she just can’t live here. No takers. We’re willing to pay someone to take the cat AND fly her anywhere in Canada. Nope, not a one will take us up on the offer. We live in Northern-ish Ontario, she looks like she’s got the coat for it, but she can’t just become an outdoor cat. We got our first snow this morning.

I wish I could find her a cat sanctuary like the kind my friend Phaedie works for. Phaedie is this magical cat lady who works for RAPS (Richmond Animal Protection Society). She takes care of hundreds of cats every day, almost none of which are adoptable because they’re mostly strays and ferals. She tells me that sometimes, especially with ferals, some cats are just pissers. It’s just their nature. Not all cats are good cats. Pixel doesn’t even clean herself. What kind of cat doesn’t clean herself? A cat that just doesn’t cat right, that’s what kind and that’s the kind I’ve got and we have to do something about. I tried to kill myself, essentially because of this animal, it’s pretty literally her or me at this point. We’ve tried pheromone sprays, cat attracting cat litter, putting the litter boxes in every conceivable place, keeping every piece of minutiae off the floor and every single thing anyone has suggested we try. The only thing we haven’t tried because I think it’s pretty extreme to do to a 9 year old cat, is crate training. The fact of the matter is, she is never going to use a litter box in this house on any consistent basis. That is just a fact.

So, what do I do with this cat? How do I find her a place where she can live the rest of her life happy and at peace? How do I still honour the contract I entered when I told her as a kitten that I’d take care of her for the rest of her life, for better or for worse and not lose my shit completely? I don’t know, but if anyone else does, I’m all ears.

December 4, 2014

No and I don’t know.

Yesterday was Touched By Fire.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 26, 2014

NOW TAKING INTERESTING COMMISSIONS.

I have had a blank WordPress page open since like, the 18th, with this title. And I haven’t posted anything with this title or written the post that was to go along with this title because I’m not sure commissions are ever a good idea. For me, anyway. Either other people’s ideas don’t inspire me or the deadline aspect gives me diarrhea or (often) I’m not in love with the finished product because I see every imperfection and then I feel guilty taking people’s money. When I’m painting normally, I just paint what’s in my head and if there are imperfections, they’re part of the piece and it’s sold “as is”. Done, chuck it on Etsy. Next! But with a commission, I feel the client is expecting perfection and if they’re not they SHOULD BE because I would, so that’s what I feel I need to deliver no matter how unrealistic that may be.

Right now, though, I ain’t makin’ nothin’ and I only have these vague threads of ideas wafting through my head like the ghostly echoes of the whispers of creativity. The last painting I did was this one, last November. And right now all I do is work. Even when I’m not working, I’m actually still really working and I need to do less of that. A couple of weekends ago, I made an oldschool fan sign for a camgirl I like and I pretty much did it because I had 48 virgin Sharpies, a whole bunch of Bristol board and just wanted to do something – anything – creative while Blake and I finished watching Defiance. Cuz that’s what I do. I make stuff. I watch TV and I make stuff. It is what I’ve always done and probably what I will always do.

I have a ton of creative “shoulds” that are lingering about, things I either started or bought the stuff for. I mean, my god, there has to be at least one million ideas within the 6 x 7.5 foot cubicle I inhabit 17.5 hours out of every day, you would think it would be as simple as picking one and following through, but it’s not and it’s not because all of those ideas to me are old ideas. Stale ideas. No one’s ever seen or heard or been told about them or know they exist, but they’re so complete in my head and the process by which to execute them is so…I don’t want to say “easy” because I don’t want to imply that what I do is easy – it’s not. But definitely unchallenging and I’m probably not going to be surprised by the end result. More than anything I just wanna make shit and the only way I can justify putting in the time or money is if someone else wants it. If there’s a reason for making it.

I’m good at “cut & paste”. When I was in kindergarten or grade 1, there were “stations” in my classroom and one of these stations was “cut & paste” and it was THE BEST station because that was where you could always make the best stuff. I’ve always had a mild interest in various clay mediums and thought the dough station was 2nd best, but as a grown-up I don’t know the science behind making clays do what I want them to do permanently and they’re expensive so I’ve always just stuck to paint, paper, glitter & glue. And like I said, I have these almost tangible wispy ideas as I type this and mentally catalogue all of the “stuff” I have to make other stuff out of, but nothing solid takes shape. And right now I even have money that I could buy all kinds of NEW stuff to make stuff out of but I think that’s a complete waste unless the idea’s really good.

And as if by some cosmic joke, I literally just got the call for entries to Touched By Fire, the art show THEY say you have to be crazy to enter because it’s for artists with mood disorders, but I call it the remedial art show pretty much just because it’s like the Special Olympics of art and I’ve ridden that shortbus all the way to Crazytown a few times so I can make fun of it if I want to. This year it’s being held at the Steamwhistle gallery (which is in a brewery, I think) and the theme is “unspoken” and as I write this, about to make fun of it mercilessly, an idea appears….hmmmm….HMMMMMMMMM I SAY. And the more I think about it, the better it issssssssssssssssss…..oh look at that, 250 empty vegan gel caps and a box of o.b. tampons ordered off the internet. The deadline is in 28 days soooooooo I guess it’s problem solved and game on!

PS. Before I kill myself designing them, would anyone be interested in Xmas ornaments of my girls from Zazzle?  Here are the shapes. I figure I’d price them between $25-$20, depending on which type everyone preferred, if any. Lemme know!

March 5, 2014

So my shrink just told me she’s retiring in August…

I’ve been seeing her since 2006 and she’s the first shrink I ever met that I didn’t hate immediately.
This old shrink to new shrink transfer process could get messy…

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.

September 14, 2013

Word to your moms, I came to drop bombs.

Madison said that me being sick and almost dying didn’t affect her. She says she felt shielded from it, which I understand. She was 13 and whisked away to 3 different places (4 if you count summer camp) with 3 different sets of grandparents in 2 countries which is pretty far removed from what was happening in my hospital bed at St. Mike’s in Toronto. But I would think that her having to call 911 and come with me in the ambulance to the hospital (puking all the way there) and all that would be somewhat significant. She had to be the hero. And she did a good job. She should at least be proud of that.

But I’m not her and I can’t tell her how to feel.

The reason this came about is because she had an assignment to write an essay about the 4 most significant events in her life, like things that affected her.

We even brought up our dead cat, Digit and our dead dog, Zulu and she was like, “yeah, nope!”

She has no soul, I swear to god. She didn’t even cry at the end of The Notebook, for fuck’s sake.

I don’t know what she chose for the assignment.

So Touched By Fire’s call for entries is happening right now. The e-mail came in a few days ago. They lost one of their big sponsors and as a result they’re charging a submission fee of $20 to enter, I’m assuming non-refundable if you don’t get in. Since I didn’t paint anything angsty or bipolar-y it’s doubtful that I’d get in so I just filed the e-mail. They don’t even have a venue yet and they’re also not printing a catalogue.

This is the art show for people with mood disorders that I do almost every year (the year I didn’t get in I submitted happy, glittery mermaids and angels), which is held by the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, which I think is funded by the government.

They made me mad last year by asking us to fundraise for them and in return the person with the highest amount of donations would have their work featured at, and you would get to go to, a black tie gala that the MDAO holds for important people with chequebooks because that’s like buying publicity and I found that sort of insulting. Especially since, aside from this art show, the MDAO hasn’t helped me in any way with my mental health or any of the other things they do in other areas. And we have a high rate of mental health problems in this area. One of the big psychiatric hospitals is only 35 minutes away from me! I’ve seen their logo once, like on a flyer for one activity at the mental health clinic, but that has been it. (And I keep an eye out because it always astounds me how little of a presence they have here.)

Anyway, I don’t see the point in submitting, especially when I have to pay for it. You’re allowed to submit 5 pieces but I only have 1 to show. This one:

And it’s proooobably not moody enough for this stupid show (I don’t think all the artwork should be moody and illustrate mental illness and last I checked, happiness was a mood).

Anyway I have to work in an hour and 15 minutes so I’d better find something to eat.

August 18, 2013

Listen to the girl, as she takes on half the world…

omg. Blake just showed me this video of Yo Gabba Gabba, which I’d never seen before and I am in sheer awe:

I wish this show was around when my kids were little. We had Dora and Blue’s Clues and speaking of the latter, did you know that Blue fucking TALKS now? I didn’t know this until our friend Charissa, whose kids are still little, told us that. I was floored. First they get rid of Steve for Joe and now Blue talks and I don’t even think Joe is on the show anymore? Like, wtf.

Mysteries.

Right now the Happy Meal toys at McDonald’s are Smurfs. I kinda hate McDonald’s and don’t normally eat from there if I can avoid it, but I want the toys so I’ve now purchased 3 Happy Meals so far and so far I got 3 different Smurfs out of 16. That’s a lot of Happy Meals. I hope the promotion runs for a long time because I can’t eat that many Happy Meals in a few weeks while the new Smurfs movie is in theatres and being actively promoted. I want these because my grama collected Smurfs and this is an easy-ish way to get them. The only other place I know of that sells rubber Smurfs is Mastermind Toys but they’re $6.99 there. Each. A Happy Meal is $3.99 and you get something resembling food too. So, value. Especially since that would probably be my only meal for the day.

Anyway, Smurfs. Know what is sorta like Smurfs and equally cool? Snorks. Do you remember the Snorks? Well, I was telling Blake about this bong I saw at a head shop in Kingston that was the head of a Snork and his snorkel thing was where you sucked in the smoke and it was awesome, and then we got on the topic of Snorks and Blake was like, “just search YouTube for Snorks and I’m sure something will come up”. I was doubtful because it’s a pretty old show that wasn’t super popular so it would surprise me if anything on YouTube would be any good. But okay, I’ll search, so I did and I found this playlist of 87 Snorks videos that all look like fairly good quality. Score! That is DEFINITELY what I want to spend an afternoon doing.

The kids right now are obsessed with My Little Pony, which I haven’t watched yet either. Truth be told, I kinda hate kid shows. I also hate young adult fiction. When I was a kid I liked kid shows, when I was a young adult I liked young adult books, now I just have next to zero interest in either one. There are so many books in the world that I want to read (or that I am reading, ha!) that I kinda see kid/YA stuff as a waste of time, especially since I just don’t enjoy it. It’s not challenging. The last YA novel I tried to read, which I bought by accident, was called Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and I haaaated the beginning so I didn’t bother reading the rest of it. Madison liked it, but then again, she’s the target audience.

I read several books at a time so right now I’m reading, And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, On the Road by Jack Kerouac (challenging because it’s the original scroll version, so basically unedited), Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, which I’m not sure I’m going to finish because I’m just not feeling it, and the collected Wizard of Oz stories. I really want to read World War Z because we have it and I loved the movie but I can’t add it to the pile right now. Besides, Blake’s reading it.

Wow, I’m rambling haha

Last night Blake made his own version of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines song. You can listen to it here.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever really written about it but I am a very auditory person. I can’t listen to books on tape because I would literally have to sit there and listen because I would be distracted by the talking that I just wouldn’t be able to function. So no podcasts, no talk radio, nothing like that. Music I have a deep personal relationship with. What I let into my bubble is carefully curated by myself, the criteria by which things are let in is unexplainable. I love covers IF they’re good covers. I love rap, especially when I recognize the sampling where appropriate. I love songs from the 40s to present. I am offended when people think I’ll like something when I didn’t ask them for a suggestion. I dunno why this is. Maybe it’s just too presumptuous? I dunno but it annoys the shit out of me. I almost always have music on if I’m awake. The only time I don’t listen to music during the day is if I’m walking into town. I need to be hyper aware of my surroundings when I’m outside and that means my ears need to be listening for cars, dogs, kids, bikes, rapists, murderers etc. I recognize celebrity voiceovers usually pretty instantly if I know the name of the person, a little longer if I don’t. As long as I’ve heard them speak on a TV show or movie, I can usually figure it out before the end of the commercial. I’d probably be good at listening to birds and picking out the different kinds if I took the time to learn. I’m really affected by noise. Noisy restaurants freak me out so I have to sit with my back to the crowd (so to speak) the best I can wherever we’re seated. Part of me shuts down if we’re stuck in the middle, which is why I hate the Mandarin. Like I don’t function well. I can’t carry on a conversation about anything other than the fact that I’m completely freaking out by being surrounded by people and noise. Bad cover songs offend me. I go into every cover with a very open mind and if I hate it, I just hate it.  Oh and the volume has to be on an even number or a multiple of 5.

And I have synesthesia, of some variety, where words and letters have colours and anything in my peripheral vision I “hear” as noise. So a parking lot is a bad place for me, especially somewhere like Wal*Mart. Hell, Wal*Mart is a hard place to be in most of the time because it’s so noisy and there are so many zombified people that the place just freaks me right the fuck out. I go in, I get what we need, give it to Blake, and then go out t o the car to wait for him. Most of the time. I’m getting better.

When I “went crazy”, 95% of it was auditory hallucinations. So until recently, there was a large part of me who didn’t even trust sounds and noises and words and songs that came through my ears because of that one time my brain was an asshole and made me doubt my own reality in a lot of respects.  I needed Blake to reassure me that everything I’m seeing, experiencing and reacting to was really there, that it was really happening.

I mean, I know I’m bipolar and I’m medicated so “there’s a floor and ceiling” to my moods but this stuff isn’t mood related. This is “on the spectrum” kinda stuff. I’ve gotten pretty good at hiding it all and being mostly functional (by letting Blake do the talking whenever possible) but I’ve still got all these tics that aren’t explained by anything I’ve read about bipolar disorder. I mean, bipolar disorder I is pretty straight forward:

– unstable moods; depression, suicidal ideation followed by “high” manic period.
– More highs than lows, but the lows are really low for a short period and the highs are really high for a longer period.
– First course of treatment, find the right anti-psychotic to even out moods. Check. Ziprasidone.
– Tweak with antidepressants. Check. Gabapentin and Wellbutrin.
– You have to stabilize the moods before adding the antidepressant(s) because if you don’t, the antidepressant can cause mania.

Once medicated, you’ll still have highs and lows, but they won’t go overboard and flood into psychosis or anything.

Then there’s generalized anxiety disorder, which the clonazepam and Ativan are for (and loxapine to sleep) and now a very small dose of olanzapine, which is an anti-psychotic, and this one is exactly as it sounds. I have generalized anxiety. *shrug* The drugs help, but they can only do so much.

And then agoraphobia, which is getting better.

Blah.

Listening to this. Blake’s talking to his sister on the phone right now.

omg look at this!

Anyway, I think I’ve babbled enough. I’m going to see if Madison’s up yet and if she wants to watch Six Feet Under. Peace oot.

July 24, 2013

Forget the haters, cuz somebody loves ya-AH…

Greetings, Earthlings.

I am feeling SO MUCH better than I was on Monday. A normal schedule again, medication-wise and work-wise, and lots of sleep has helped immensely and I’m mostly back to my old self. I won’t say “normal” since I doubt I’ll ever be that, but back to my old self…

I did not go see my grama and my brother on well, today, because both Blake and my mom thought it would have been a bad idea in my former state, which I agree with, but I’m okay now so I’m kind of regretting that decision. I really want to see my brother. I don’t know why, I just do. Is it weird to say that I miss him? Because I do. Immensely. I love the shit out of that big stupid asshole. And my grama, well, I have something for her.

On last Thursday or Friday, I forget which, there was “customer appreciation day” in Elmvale and Madison was doing face painting at Jack’s On Queen, which is the local comic shop.

Why people would want their face painted on a 42 degree day is beyond me…

Brian was also there assembling his new mini comic called “Faces” which I forgot to buy one of so I’m not sure what it’s about but I’m sure you can purchase one yourself on his site! He’s really good!

So Wes and I went down there for moral and emotional support and also to buy Madison lunch at Alma’s which, if you follow me on Foursquare, you would know that we eat there a lot. Their hot roast beef is the fucking bomb. Look at this!

Anyway, that was Friday I think and while we were at Alma’s there was a HUGE storm where tornados touched down in various places near us so we called Blake to come home from work to come get us (he was working in Barrie that day) and then on Saturday before I had to go to work, we went to the beach because we live right near day beach. BOOOOOI! Lotta mercy. (Points if you get that reference. I can’t stop saying it…)

The beach is AWESOME after a big storm because there are big waves that are fun to jump. So we stayed for about 40 minutes because I had to work and then I worked for 3 hours but a friend of ours had a bit of an emergency so my co-workers, who are AWESOME, scrambled to cover my shift and Blake and I went to spend time with her. She had just run the Warrior Dash, which is this crazy-assed race thing that you can read about here. In fact, apparently someone died at it here this year but I haven’t read anything about that yet. They apparently had a pre-existing condition and just…died. I mean, the race itself is brutal, you have to climb rope walls and crawl through mud under barbed wire and the mud has gravel underneath it so your knees get scraped up and you have to jump through fire. It’s pretty nuts. Blake ran it last year and plans to run it again next year. I think they’re both mental but whatever floats their boats.

So we had a good night with our friend and then Sunday…I forget what we did on Sunday. So probably nothing. I had to work at 1am, which fucking sucked, but I did it and then I had Monday off but I slept through most of it and that brings us to yesterday when Blake did his Canadian citizenship test where he got 19/20 questions right and was finished first. He’d been practicing for weeks so I wasn’t really worried about it and nothing bad happens if you fail anyway, it’s not like they deport you or anything. I am crazy proud of him. What happens next is he’ll get a letter to come down to that building again to do his oath where he’ll swear to like, be awesome & respect the Queen & shit which I will get videos and pictures of, don’t you worry! The first song we listened to upon getting into the car after he passed his test was this one, by A Tribe Called Red, which is a Canadian band that does like, aboriginal dubstep that’s super wicked:

They’re up for the Polaris Prize and I think they should win.

I didn’t wear socks with my Chucks yesterday so I have a blister that’s basically my entire heel and it really fucking hurts. I wore my Chucks because my sandals gave me another blister on Friday when we walked into town to see Madison and Brian. I can’t win! But that one’s healed enough that I can wear my sandals again.

And I guess that brings me to today! I worked this morning, which sucked (I am so sick of my job at the moment…I’m thankful I have it and I realize it’s a pretty cushy job compared to a lot but man, I am so fucking sick and tired of working), then I woke up around 11:30am and decided to make this canvas I’ve been working on my bitch. If you go to my Facebook page you can see Vine vids of the process of splatter painting which I think is super uninteresting but other people seem to like so that’s why I did it.

This is how you can tell someone’s an artist (or one of the ways):

I can’t remember if I posted about what I’m working on at the moment but it’s Dorothy! The background is all rainbow so far and as soon as I’m finished this post I’m going to start working on Dot herself. I made a preliminary sketch of her last weekend but I think I’m going to tweak her a bit when I actually paint her.

That’s obviously just pencil crayon with no shading and her nose isn’t right.
I can’t figure out how to paint braids but Dorothy in the 1939 movie only had french braids to just behind her ears and the rest was a pony tail so that’s what I was going for.

Anyway, that’s what I’m working on.

Peace oot, homies.

July 22, 2013

Sunshine in a Bag

I’m not having a very good day so far.

I can NEVER AGAIN cover for someone at work the way I have been. I’m basically off my meds right now as a result and I’m kinda losing my shit. I took my PM meds last yesterday at like 6pm, slept until 12:30am, took my “morning” meds and then when I was done work at 5am, I took 2 extra loxapines so I’d be able to fall asleep and I slept until about 9am and when I woke up, I wasn’t sure what I should do because I shouldn’t take morning meds *again* right? But now I think it’s probably a good idea…I’m gonna call Blake and see what he says…

———————————————————————————————

Blake’s coming home and we’re going to call my shrink because I AM LOSING MY SHIT.

I’ll finish this later.

———————————————————————————————

I can’t even articulate what’s wrong, just SOMETHING is wrong. I can’t stop crying and I just feel WRONG. I don’t feel healthy, I’m fidgety, I’m uncomfortable. I thought a shower would help with the latter but it didn’t. I just can’t cope with the tiniest things. I watched last night’s True Blood and cried all the way through it. I don’t know if it was me? Or was last night’s True Blood extremely emotional? LIke am I seriously losing my fucking mind? I’m afraid to watch The Newsroom.

I don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t play Sims. I can’t watch TV. I can’t paint. I can’t read. I just can’t concentrate. And I don’t really do anything else so I can’t even think of anything else I would do.

Last night was my last night working crazy hours so I should be relieved right? YAY I made it through! Except I didn’t. Obviously. I’m FUCKED UP.

I’m also on day 1 of my period so I’m sure that’s helping.

I e-mailed my mom at 3am and told her that I didn’t think I could come see my grama on Wednesday because between working all these crazy hours (which would be normal hours for a normal person, probably, but I’m not a neurotypical person) and my brother AND my grama, I didn’t think I’d be able to deal. But then when I woke up, I felt more or less okay so I e-mailed her back and said that I’d changed my mind. But she hasn;t written me back and may not because I don’t know where she is or if she has internet.

Anyway, yesterday we were at this mega-toystore called Mastermind Toys buying a gift for one of Wes’ friends, which is one of my favourite places on Earth. And I got these:

I also got this little guy whose name is “Wishful”, for my bag:

It’s hard to tell in the pic but she’s a unicorn.

And yesterday I also drove and that made me extremely emotional too, which I think was a warning sign for today. Like I should have seen this coming.

What else?

Oh, I’ve been driving Blake crazy with Snoop “Lion”‘s new reggae album, which, to be honest, I only really like 4 songs on. “Here Comes the King”, “Lighters Up”, “No Guns Allowed” and I think “La La La” is the best song on the album, which is pretty crazy considering it’s a b-side that was never meant for the album and  you can only get it in the deluxe version of the album from iTunes. (Which no, I did not pay for. Please.) I also downloaded Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” which is stupidly catchy and Avril Lavigne’s “Here’s To Never Growing Up” which I *did* pay for because no one on SoulSeek had the explicit version.

—————————————————————————————————

So Blake came home and talked me down from the proverbial ledge and I took 2.5mg of Olanzapine (Zyprexa) to calm the fuck down and he said that at 3 or 4pm I should take my psych meds but not my sleeping ones and take my sleeping ones at 7pm like I normally do. He thinks the issue is that I took my meds too close together, not too far apart but that if I wait until normal med time to take everything I’ll be pinging because it *will* be too far apart.

So yeah.

I have a work meeting in an hour so I have to get my shit together. Blake has his immigration test tomorrow. Wish us both luck.

June 7, 2013

Smurf off, eh?

Yesterday was hell. Pure and utter hell. I worked in the morning and everything was fine and after work, I went back to bed and got up at like, 10:30am or so. In pancreatic pain. I’d had some discomfort on Sunday or  Monday so Blake picked me up some hydromorph contin and I started a really bland diet. Not quite the liquids-only diet you’re supposed to go on during a pancreatic attack but I barely ate anything between then and today.

Anyway, I woke up in pain and stumbled into my office to sit down, check e-mail etc. and I was just in way too much pain to even do that, so I took a hydromorph, pancreatic enzymes just in case they might help (they don’t usually but they won’t hurt me so there’s no harm in trying), Tylenol 1, ibuprofen and Gravol (anti-nauseant, so I didn’t throw the pills back up). Then I grabbed a bottle of water out of the fridge and stumbled back to bed.

I laid there for about 25 minutes in excruciating pain, hot and cold and sweaty and just feeling like I was dragged through an asshole backwards, when I had to get up to puke. Moving is the worst when I’m having an attack, just turning over in bed makes me want to die, like I can feel my guts touching my pancreas and it fucking hurts just having one organ slide against the other. I have no idea what organs are near what, all I know is that when my guts shift when I turn over in bed during an attack the pain is a million times worse than having a baby.

So I get up to puke and I’m hugging the bowl partially feeling like I have to puke and partially hoping I puke because maybe it’ll make me feel better (it won’t) but at the same time, I’m worried if my pills had enough time to do their thing before I barf them up.

Well, there were no pills in my vomit so that was good, but I puked so hard that I peed my pants. (TMI? TFB.) So I started crying and when I was finally done barfing, I rinsed my mouth and went back to the bedroom to put a new pair of underbums on. I didn’t bother with pants because I knew that next time I puked, it would just be the same scenario unless I was COMPLETELY empty beforehand which just isn’t possible because when you have to puke, you just have to puke. This peeing while puking thing is relatively new, it just started happening after I got home from the hospital last year. It’s just that while having a pancreatic attack, I vomit with such force that I can’t help it.  When I’m sick, like with a stomach flu or whatever, it doesn’t happen. Just during pancreatic attacks. I dunno why.

Without going into more detail than I need to because it’s really just more of the same, I spent all of yesterday in bed, only coming out of my room to throw up. I don’t remember Blake coming home. I remember at some point he got me a glass of ice water and my night time pills (and Gravol so I didn’t throw them up). I think that was around 7pm. Then I laid in bed some more and slept a bit, then I got up I think around 11pm because I finally felt sort of better and so I sat in my office and checked e-mail while Blake got ready for bed.

I woke up this morning still in pain, but nowhere near as bad as yesterday. And really, this attack was not as bad as any of the others so that’s encouraging I guess. The only thing I can point to as far as a cause is that on Tuesday, we had macaroni and cheese for dinner (like, baked macaroni and cheese with real cheese and milk, NOT Kraft Dinner) which I had leftovers from on Wednesday for dinner. This never used to be a trigger food but it’s been a possible factor for the last 2 attacks and this time I was really careful; I took 3 pancreatic enzymes each night. During the 2 attacks prior to yesterday, I did not take enzymes before/after the mac & cheese so this could be why those attacks were worse than this one. The other thing I’m thinking is that traditionally, Blake’s bought medium cheddar to make it and I asked him to start using old cheddar instead because I thought that’s what my mom and gr. grama used. And then mac & cheese becomes a trigger food.

SO, I’m gonna bite the bullet and try macaroni and cheese again maybe next week or the week after using medium cheddar, with enzymes, and see what happens. After an attack, I have to rest my pancreas as much as possible, hence the 2 week window. Macaroni and cheese being a trigger food is NOT COOL AT ALL. It is one of the only food that, up until now, I’m almost always in the mood for. I rarely get sick of it and when i can’t think of anything to eat, that’s my go-to staple. So it’s really going to suck if I can’t eat it anymore. :o/ Not like my fat ass needs it but, y’know…

Speaking of my fat ass, check out this slip that Blake bought me the other night. How gorgeous is that? I ordered the pink one so it would go with this sweater in the winter and I dunno what yet in the summer:

Unfortunately I’m not built like the model on the Free People site so wearing it as is, over top of anything bodycon or skin tight is sort of out of the question. I’m definitely going to have to try and find a white or pink skirt or something to wear underneath it, even with that sweater because the sweater doesn’t cover my bum. Unfortunately everything I own that would work for that purpose is black and that piece is too delicate for black. It needs white. I dunno, I’ll find something. There’s an ivory mini dress that would work on my Free People wishlist if anyone felt so inclined…. I wish I could get the slip in blue too, because this piece is literally my favourite of all their new stuff and blue’s more versatile but I went for the pink first because I suspected that it would sell out of my size first. I ordered a medium so neither colour has run out of my size yet, but the large in pink has sold out already so I suspect the medium’s not far away.

Anyway, I love it. :o)

On Wednesday we went to see my grama with the kids. She looked okay, better since the chemo is out of her system now. More alert, more “up”. I’m not sure how that is compared to her every day but she seemed to have enjoyed the visit and when we said we were going to leave because we had to have dinner and stuff, my grama said she’d pay for dinner and that we could eat there and take the leftovers home, so Stouffville Pizza was called and pizza was had.

At one point, my grama pulled me into her bedroom and handed me a basket of rubber smurfs and I said, “I can have these?” because I had told my mom a while back that if I had my pick of anything of my grama’s to have, it would be those and she said “just one” so this is the one I picked:

Meet painkiller addicted junkie artist smurf.

She also gave me a full-sized plush smurf, which honestly I had no interest in but she wanted me to have it so I took it anyway. I wanted the little rubber ones like the one above because when I was little, she collected them and they were my favourite thing to play with at her house, where I spent a lot of time. Smurfs were also our family’s mascot for the smash-up derby in Minden at Thanksgiving when I was little and we used to enter. There were usually smurfs painted on the car or a stuffed smurf crazy glued to the roof of it. I think I’ve already written about my grama and I going to Minden for Thanksgiving every year when I was tiny until I was about 13, but for those who don’t know, my grama’s next-door-neighbour and friend was Mike Baker, the son of Wes Baker, my son’s namesake. He bought property up north in a town called Minden and started building a house there by hand and every Thanksgiving weekend, on the Saturday, Minden has a smash-up derby. And as long as I can remember until I was maybe 12 or 13, Mike and our family would enter a car in the derby and I’m not sure if we usually won or not but I think we did. All I know is that in October in Minden in 1984 was VERY VERY cold. Now, thanks to global warming, it’s not so bad (and I’m so sure smash-up derbies are great for the environment!)

I remember being like, 3 years old and sitting in the backseat of my grama’s car in a full snowsuit in between heats, freezing my ass off while it lightly snowed. My grama had brought hot chocolate in a thermos and I remember being very very happy. Thanksgiving in Minden used to be the best holiday. My cousin Jeff who was maybe 2 or 3 years older than me I think came up with his mom, Eunice, and often his sister Janet, who would sometimes bring a friend or two as well. I think there were other kids there too but I don’t know who. Janet died the summer I was sick. I don’t know how she died, I just know that while I was in the hospital dying, so was she and obviously I’m here to tell about it and she’s not. Eunice used to babysit me so I was really close with Jeff and Janet when I was little.

During the first few years of going to Minden for Thanksgiving I think Mike only had a basement. I’m not even sure there was running water. Instead of getting turkey, we would have fried chicken, that I want to say was Dixie Lee, but I forget now. Eventually there was a whole house built, including a kitchen, so we’d have chicken on the Saturday, derby day, and my grama would make a turkey on the Sunday and then we’d come home Monday. Jeff and I would play our Gameboys together and all of us would go for walks in the bush. Once we dug up an oak tree and transplanted it to my grama’s house…which is now someone else’s house. :o/

For the derby, we would only enter one car but we’d have multiple drivers for the various heats. Mike drove; I remember my Uncle Bill driving, his son Billy eventually and also my Aunt Sandra’s husband John drove a couple of times. I think there were other people too but no one I really knew. Eunice may have even driven in it at one point, they had a “powder puff” heat just for the ladies (ugh) so she might have. I’m pretty sure my grama never did. I have no idea what my grampa was doing for all of those Thanksgivings because I don’t remember him being there. (He may have gone to my Aunt Judy’s  for T-giving because she did T-giving at her house up until my cousin Kim died.)

Anyway, I’m not sure how it got started, I should have asked her, but I think I remember my grampa getting her the small rubber smurfs that I used to play with when I was a kid, like the one above. I don’t know how they came packaged or if they came packaged at all. I’ve never seen any “out in the wild”, so to speak. Since I only got to pick one out of the two dozen she had, I thought that one was the most fitting for me. I played with junkie artist smurf the most when I was little. He was always married to Smurfette. (My grama never had a real Smurfette though. The one she had was a knock-off with green skin.) I didn’t marry a dude with green skin, but he does have a lot of tattoos and I did become an artist when I grew up, so that’s why I picked junkie artist smurf.

And I suppose this is a good segue into the next topic…the stupid Artist Studio Tour this fall.

We have decided to take moving off the table for now and work on getting our house ready to sell next spring. There aren’t any houses we like right now in the area where we’re looking and the idea of having our house on the market freaks me right the fuck out. Everything about moving freaks me right the fuck out. The good news is that the real estate agent who came to look at our house, said we could sell it for like, SIGNIFICANTLY more than we bought it for, especially after we do everything on the list, primarily re-doing the bathroom (re-drywalling one wall, installing a shower insert and fixing the plumbing behind the tub faucets because they leak), painting part of the one of the living room walls where it’s bare wood due to us putting in the new window, painting the trim of the house and potentially taking down the shutters on the front of the living room window and putting up ones that fit better because the shutters that are there now were put there for the floor-to-ceiling window that used to be there, but we replaced it with a waist-high bay window after Lucky broke the big one. The other thing is that we re-did our mortgage a couple of weeks ago and the bank manager lady said we’re eligible for a mortgage 3 times the size of the one we have now. Not that we’d buy a house that expensive but it’s nice to know that we can afford a century home with a bit of borrowing cushioning on top for added peace of mind.

So. That means we’re going to be living here in September. When the tour is. And I got the e-mail this week from Mike saying “hey guys, our meeting’s next week!” and I reeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaalllly don’t want to go. I don’t want to go because we decided during the last meeting that June 30th was the deadline to decide if you’re going to be in the tour or not and I’m sure that’ll be reiterated during the meeting. And the fact is, I don’t think I have $75 between then and now. I’ve been trying to be super good with paying down my credit card, which has me living on abou $50 per paycheque. This paycheque was only $45. And that’s the pits. I mean, the good news is that I don’t really like, NEED anything. The spending money I keep in my bank account after paying my credit card isn’t allotted to anything and it gets primarily spent on food. I suppose it wouldn’t be completely irresponsible to spend $75 on the tour since I’ll have gotten 3 paycheques this month so I guess I have a little more money to work with.

But still that’s $75 I highly doubt I’ll make back. Plus what I’m going to have to spend on business cards.

Speaking of business cards, as an aside, when I went to see my shrink last Thursday, Sue, the receptionist, for the second time, told me that my painting that I gave to my shrink and put in Touched By Fire this year that is on display at the mental health centre gets a lot of compliments and that people inquire about buying it all the time. And she asked me if I had any business cards that she could pass along when people comment on it. And I kinda hated that because I like to keep my shrink life and my internet life COMPLETELY separate. My shrink has next to zero idea of anything I do online. She knows I blog, but like, I don’t even think my shrink is on Facebook. She’s not very tech savvy, so the topic has never really come up in the 7 years I’ve been seeing her.

Well, my business cards are like ATCs (artist trading cards). On the front is a picture of a painted girl – several different styles because I use Moo and you can get as many designs on a pack of Moo cards as you want – and on the back is the URL to my Etsy shop, the URL to my main site and I think my e-mail address. I have both full-sized Moo cards and the mini ones, although I haven’t bought business cards in at least 5 years so I only had one full-sized business card, which I gave Sue, and about 5 or 6 mini cards.

I also felt compelled to tell Sue that the paintings take me about 2 or 3 weeks to make and because they’re so labour intensive, they’re kind of expensive. A lot of the people who go  to the mental health centre I do are on disability or Canada pension – fixed incomes – and I kinda wanted to give Sue a heads up because I don’t think the average clientele there can afford my paintings. If I wasn’t making them, I couldn’t afford them either. Hell, hardly any of the people who come to my site can seem to afford them either. I don’t think my prices are unreasonable, not for original paintings, as opposed to prints, because y’know, I’d love to make more than $2 an hour, but they are how much they are because my time, my ideas, my efforts are marketable commodities. I just suck at actually marketing them. (Truthfully I put zero effort into it though outside of my own site so that’s partially my own fault.)

So. Guild meeting on Wednesday and I pretty much have to make my decision to be in the tour or not by then. As far as anyone but Brian knows I’m in and I’ve said all along, I’m in, and now that we’re not moving I have less of an excuse to not do it.

I’m scared of being paired up with someone. I don’t have a public studio so I’ll be paired with someone who does. I’m really REALLY hoping I can display at the library because it’s only 2 minutes from our house and the kids can come in and out and Blake can come in and out and I can come in and out, but if I’m paired with someone out in the middle of nowhere, the kids can’t help and Blake will HAVE to stay with me the whole time. And I won’t be able to leave. If I get paired up with someone, they’re going to want to chat all day and chances are I’m not going to want to but I’ll feel obligated to because this person is opening their home to me to help me sell my work. And I don’t want to be rude, but that would cause me great anxiety. I hate the role of “guest”.

I’m scared of dealing with “the public”. I hate talking about 3 things: myself (go figure), sex (also go figure) and I hate talking about my work. People ask me questions all the time about my paintings and I have absolutely no idea what to tell them. Like, after Touched By Fire the lady who runs the organization behind it called me and asked if I had more work because there were a lot of people interested in it who were disappointed that the piece I put in the show this year wasn’t for sale. (Which was pretty stupid because all of my work is ON THEIR FUCKING SITE, supposedly “for sale” yet I’ve never been able to figure out how you actually buy anything on there and I’ve definitely never sold anything there.) So anyway, she calls me and asks me this and I give her the URL for my Etsy shop and then out of nowhere she asks, “what is your inspiration for these?” and I was completely dumbfounded because no one had ever asked me that before. My genius answer was “Toddlers & Tiaras“. Which is partially true. In the beginning, they just came out of my imagination, but then I started watching Toddlers & Tiaras and that show inspired me in 3 ways: 1. it made me come up with several dress styles, 2. it made me come up with several different hairstyles, hair colours and eye colours/eyeshadow colours and 3. the girls on that show is exactly whose bedroom walls I want to see my work on. Sadly, the show’s become pretty extreme in its views so I’ve stopped watching (and I watched half of an episode of Honey Boo Boo, which is also garbage) and my girls just come out of my imagination now, not really inspired by anything explainable. At least saying I was inspired by Toddlers & Tiaras has an quasi-interesting story behind it but telling someone that the scrapbooking aisles of Michael’s makes me damn near wet my pants is NOT what they want to hear. It’s the truth though! But it’s not one many can relate to so it’s a terrible answer for that question. I can’t even think of other potential things people might ask me because I’ve blocked past conversations out of my brain and thinking about it is practically panic-inducing. But I need to think about it, I need to be ready.  I need to have answers ready for questions like the inspiration one and other things they might ask. What would YOU ask an artist at a studio tour? Has there ever been anything you’ve ever wanted to ask me about my work but just never bothered? The more relevant questions you guys throw at me, the better prepared I think I’ll be. No rush though, the tour’s not until September.

I’m probably going to have to take the Saturday off of work. I work 9 hours on Saturdays. That’s a pretty huge chunk of change out of my paycheque that will not be replaced no matter how many paintings I sell (which I don’t anticipate to be many). If they do put me in the library though, I could be there from opening until I start work at 2pm and then Blake could stay there until it’s over at (I’m assuming because last year’s brochure doesn’t say when it starts or finishes) 6pm. Then I would be present all of Sunday.

Another bonus of being at the library is that I would be able to take credit cards there. I can have my laptop hooked up with my Etsy shop open and if people liked a piece but only had a credit card, they could purchase it on Etsy, minus the postage, and I could just give it to them. Anywhere else, I would have to be cash only. Cheques bounce and people are hard to find after something like this so those are completely out of the question. (How do I tell people I won’t accept a cheque?? Cuz, that’s like saying you don’t trust them, which is true, I don’t, but you don’t want them to think that…)

A snag with the library is that I may not be able to hang anything on the walls. Which would be problematic since everything I make is to be hung on a wall.

I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO THIS. *panic*

The other thing is being involved. I don’t like going to the guild meetings because it’s almost painful how it’s one step forward, two steps back. At the same time, not only do I have nothing to contribute but I’m glad I don’t have anything to contribute because then you’re on the hook for something and that is crazy panic-inducing.

My work is going to be on display at the township office for all of August and I’m going to have tour guides in my display. That’s what I’ve committed to and that’s all my mental health can allow me to commit to. Hopefully that’s enough.

In about half an hour, Blake and Madison (and Blake’s friend Charissa) will be starting the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. It starts at 7pm and ends at 7am and neither of them had a nap today. I told Blake that if he woke me up in the morning that I’d cut him, so he’s going to come home and sleep on the couch until I get up. I really wanted to go with them tonight to take pictures but I still feel like shit because of the whole pancreas deal, I’m on a crapload of hydromorph contin so I’m chemically dozy at the moment and probably couldn’t pull an all-nighter if I wanted to. Plus I work tomorrow and I figured I could sleep from 8am, when they would be getting home, until 2pm when I started work and would probably be okay until the end of my shift at 11pm but with this much morphine in my system and only 3 people on the team (the less people you have, the more time you have on the track and the less able I am to get home if necessary), I didn’t want to gamble on it. Also, it’s currently raining and is supposed to rain off & on all night. So yeah, I stayed home. However! If you would like to sponsor their poor soggy asses, you can click here to do so! I just reloaded the page and they have DOUBLED their donation goal since the other day when it was looking like they wouldn’t even meet it! Thanks, family and friends! Your donations mean a lot to us right now, especially since my grama’s really happy that we’re doing this (I say “we” like I’ve actually done anything other than trying to use social media to get donations. HINT HINT.)

Now I think I’m going to finally watch this TED Talk I’ve had open in another tab since 6am but never got a chance to watch until now. Then since all I’ve eaten and kept down in 3 days is a lone, single spring roll, I’m going to make a bagel sandwich for dinner, watch Magic Mike since Blake’s not here to make fun of me for watching it a second time (the 1st was in the theatre so it’s extra stupid), eat chips, read my book and go to bed.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Peace oot, homies!

PS. Mike, the guy who runs the artists’ guild, is a photographer who also does commercial fine art printing. I don’t have prices yet but he can take pics of my paintings that actually do them justice (in theory) and he can print giclees of them. Any size I want. So these are the questions:

– Most of my paintings are approx. 12 inches x 12 inches. How big should I offer the giclees?
– Open edition or limited edition?
– How much would you be willing to pay for a signed giclee print? Or would you be willing to buy one at all? If not, why not? (I ask because there are posters in my Zazzle shop that so far no one’s touched but a poster is a far cry from a signed, limited edition giclee.)
– Since each print would be too big to mail flat, I would have to use mailing tubes and those cost money. I haven’t priced them yet so I’m just guessing $4-$5 as a ballpark with double that for actual shipping costs. These costs are unavoidable so they obviously factor into the final price.
– Which current pieces of mine would you be interested in buying a print/prints from?

I just kinda want to get a feel for what people might want now that this is a possibility. I dunno if it’d even be worth it since I have no idea what he charges for taking pictures and like I said, no one’s bought the inexpensive posters from my Zazzle shop so I don’t even know if anyone would want these. I can tell you right now that a print would probably have to be about $40-$50 because I have to pay Mike to take proper pictures of them, whereas the posters, which are lesser quality obviously, are only around $20. The posters are nice though, I wouldn’t sell them if they were crappy, but a giclee is signed on archival fine art paper using archival dyes and is something you’d want to get framed, whereas with a $20 poster, it’s okay to just stick thumbtacks in the corners.

Anyway, lemme know your thoughts.

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