August 6, 2015

Day One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– “Clumsy” by Our Lady Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

November 24, 2014

I never went to your school, I learned in a monkey tree…

Everything has been super crazy lately and today is my only day “off” between now and next Sunday, with some of those days working multiple times per day to cover people for US Thanksgiving-related stuffs. I had yesterday off technically but I slept all day because my body just needed it, I woke up, ate dinner, watched a show and basically went back to bed for the night. This is partially a byproduct of depression and winter, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as the doctors/Health Canada say. I was supposed to see Shrinklet (the “almost-shrink” who works with my new shrink, who’s technically a doctor but not a full shrink) last Wednesday to get a lightbox to try to alleviate some of the aforementioned symptoms, but she cancelled on me, so I see her this Wednesday instead.

I’m training 2 new people at work now, my last 2 having graduated out of training with me with flying colours. Now we’ve hired 2 MORE and I’m trying to get them into my morning training sessions with the other 3 I train every morning. With all these new employees, I’m pretty excited about our work’s Secret Santa because some of it will be blind guessing and some of it will be pure stalkage. :o) I also signed up for Secret Satan with the Scratching Post kids this year, which I’ve never done before. We met up with them earlier this month for lunch/brunch, as we tend to do a couple of times a year in Toronto, and as always, it was good to hang out. I’d never signed up for Secret Satan before because I’d never had enough money to do it properly and I suck at making things on a deadline. Last year’s work Secret Santa cured me of this when I made the perfect thing for the person I got and they loved it. This year I know my work Secret Santa really well and my Scratching Post Secret Satan barely at all because the last time we spoke, she was probably 16 and now she’s an adult.

The whole near death experience thing taught me a lot of things, but most importantly who my friends are. That and getting older is teaching me that putting energy into friendships is a good use of one’s time on this earth. Further to that, I have a LOT of “stuff”, so if I have to spend my money on something, I’d rather it be on an experience than another “thing”.

Last Sunday we went to the Danforth Music Hall to see Mother Mother and they were fantastic as always, but we were in the balcony and they use a lot of light effects in their show and I was literally switching between my regular glasses and sunglasses for their whole set. Then on Tuesday we were supposed to go see Book of Mormon but there was a blizzard and it took us 2 hours just to get to the movie theatre in the city closest to us where we watched Interstellar and waited out the storm instead. Super bummed about that. Then tomorrow we’re going to see Amanda Palmer, which should be interesting. It’s a “book tour with music” so I’m not really sure what that means. Her book is called “The Gift of Asking” and it’s all about artists finding funding for their projects or something. I dunno, I still say it sounds a little pyramid-y/Tony Robbins-esque but we’ll see. We had a spare ticket so we’re going with a new friend, named Liz. She’s a writer and here site is here.

The week before last, our hot water heater died and getting a new one into our tiny, shitty house was an expensive 10 day ordeal. 10 days without HOT water, I can’t even imagine what it’s like to live in a place with NO water.

I got into Touched By Fire, the remedial art show for people with mood disorders. It’s December 3rd in Toronto if anyone wanted to go, and you can get tickets here. I guess all of the artwork is going to be up in the gallery for the full month of December though, so you don’t have to go to the show itself to see what I made. I honestly didn’t think I was going to get in. I submitted the maximum allowed size and honestly, my piece isn’t perfect. I submitted it anyway figuring, why the hell not? It’s a self portrait and I’m hardly perfect either. Touched By Fire takes 20% commission so I made the price $1250, figuring I need at least $1k to get my next project(s) off  the ground and the intention with those is Touched By Fire next year and maybe…other things? I dunno, it’s totally an “if you build it, they will come” situation.

The latest rage in chez Crittenden is Magic. Liiiiiike, the uber nerdy card game that I was told the other day was invented by a mathematician, which I fully believe. Madison started it, or rather, her friends have been playing for a long time and Madison got interested, particularly when she found out that the comic shop down the street from us has Magic Night on Fridays and they stay open until like, 3am, so people can hang out and play. And people do, I mean, it’s a small town/community and there isn’t a whole lot to do here ANY night of the week. So Madison learned how to play and I asked her if she’d mind if I played too, because this is something she does with her friends and I didn’t want to intrude on a “kid thing”. She said she’d think about it and then I sort of forgot I asked until she told me this week that she thought playing with me would be fun and good for me, if we/I started going to Magic Night.

On Wednesday Madison and I went to the comic shop so I could start building my deck. We discussed things ahead of time and decided I wanted to build a blue and white deck for a bunch of different reasons, so I bought the starter pack thingy (the $17 as opposed to the – I think – $35 one) in the appropriate colours and then a ton of booster packs. I don’t think I was super lucky with my booster packs. I got a red foil guy that Madison said she’d trade for me for something I can use (I did the same with the foil that came in the starter pack because it required 3 types of mana and that’s too complicated right now) and I got 2 or 3 cards that I couldn’t use, that the store bought back from me for store credit, which Madison used yesterday I think, to get me better creatures. I have a lot of spells, counterspells and enchantments but a distinct lack of guys who do actual damage. I know one is a Planeswalker of some sort and that that’s a good thing and that I should actually have 4 of them in my deck. The learning curve is steep and I’ve still only played twice with Madison who obviously beat me both times, and I still haven’t gone through and read every single card, which is my plan when I’m finished writing this.  I’m also shockingly bad at math and that played a factor in deciding to play. When I was like, 13 maybe, my step-dad decided he wanted to learn how to spell things better so he bought a Scrabble game and we played LOTS of it and he improved, so I figure I can only improve my math skills by playing this. And of course, it’s something I can do with Madison (and Wes when he gets his start from Madison for Xmas), whom I hardly see anymore, that potentially gets me out of the house and interacting with real, live people. It’d be super cool if I end up being any good at this game and we can play teams, which I’m told is a thing. It’s also entirely possible that I’ll get frustrated with it and give Madison and Wes all my cards. We’ll see.

And finally, last Monday, Hoover Dog had a lump removed from his neck and THANKFULLY it turned out to just be a benign cyst. He’s recovering from surgery just fine, but he does ask for more ear scritch scratches because they gave him a haircut to do the surgery and I think it feels extra good without all that fur.

Okay time to make a “white sandwich” (turkey, mayo, havarti cheese and lettuce on toasted grainy bread) and read these Magic cards. Wish me luck and if you have any online Magic resources you actually use/trust, lay ’em on me! (If my site allows comments this time…which it may not, I think, because Blake keeps forgetting to upgrade WordPress.)

Peace oot!

PS. This song is so stupid but is so totally my current favourite stupid song.

June 18, 2014

We’re Okay!!!

Just thought I’d make a quick post to let everyone know we’re okay from yesterday’s storms. A friend had seen on the news last night that a tornado touched down near us yesterday and wanted to know if we were okay and we are, hence this post. The tornado touched down about 20 mins away and there’s some cool home video of it in this article, as well as disaster porn pics.

I had actually taken the dogs with me to the beach to watch the storms come in over the bay becaaaause…it’s cool? I dunno. There was also no hydro at home because of the weather when I left so I packed a lunch, brought a book and watched the show. Then at about 3:30pm, Madison texted me and said that the school was on lockdown because of a tornado watch. They hadn’t even dispatched the buses because things were so hairy at home. Wes’ school, which is right across the road from Madison’s and also on lockdown, was walking some kids over to the high school through a break in the storm because I guess there wasn’t enough room wherever they had them. Madison texted me and said a tornado had touched down in Midland, according to one of the kids who was on lockdown at the school there and that was about 10 mins from where I was so I figured I had two choices: I could wait it out where I was, which was probably relatively safe, tornados don’t tend to happen on beaches; or I could go home and hope for the best, with the idea that I would go to the grocery store and get stuff we could BBQ for dinner in case there still wasn’t any hydro.

Madison was in constant contact with me via text so I  knew what was going on and I was basically wasting time in the grocery store waiting for her to say that the schools were letting the kids go and I could pick her and Wes up. They ended up keeping the kids on lockdown for about an hour and a half and Madison wanted to stay with her friends until they got on their buses so I came home but looked for Wes on the way and didn’t see him.

I came home and grabbed my purse/camera/lunch bags and let the dogs out of the back seat and we came in the house. Next thing I know, Wes comes screaming out of the living room and into my office (our “front” door is in my office so you have to come through it to get to the rest of the house) and just about knocks me over and makes me puke, he hugged me so hard. He was SOBBING. I was like, “whoa whoa whoa, what’s happening?” thinking a kid kicked his ass or his girlfriend broke up with him or something but he starts telling me about the lockdown at his school and how at one point they were all in the gym and the power went out (there are backup lights, I’m sure, but I can imagine it was scary) and how when they finally let them go home, he ran all the way. He said it wouldn’t have been as scary to come home to an empty house if the dogs had been there but he thought with me AND the dogs gone, that I had to go somewhere safe. (We don’t have a basement.) I asked him if he had my cell phone number and he said he tried calling me but it said I was “unavailable”, which made him freak out more. Truthfully, I *did* get a call when I was at the grocery store but I was so concerned with making the noise of it stop that I didn’t even look at the number to see that it was my own house. I just saw “incoming call”, which ALWAYS means a wrong number because no one who actually knows me would ever use that number to like, verbally speak with me. I don’t answer the phone, especially that phone. That number is text only unless I specifically tell you to call it, which I can’t see myself ever actually doing. This is because I have “issues” with talking on the phone that maybe one day I’ll get int0, but today is not that day. Obviously, being 11, Wes can’t text me, so I now have the home phone in my phone’s contacts with a picture of Wes so I’ll know next time.

Also next time, I will leave a note as to where I am and approximately when I’ll be home. It’s things like this that I just haven’t thought about in 10 years that I need to start thinking about. Another thing, though, is that I’ve been home for Wes after school pretty much every single day of his life and now I’m not, necessarily, so this is change for him too that he’s gonna have to get used to. I think I’m going to have a talk with him about either starting to come with me (and Madison), if I wait until after school, or starting to become more independent like I am. We both need to change. I hope he chooses to start coming with me because I’m really getting annoyed with the fact that he spends every waking moment watching other people play Minecraft on YouTube. But that’s yet another post for another time.

June 12, 2014

Election Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, peace oot.

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

June 4, 2014

Intergalactic Planetary, Planetary Intergalactic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s all I got! Peace oot!

June 3, 2014

Leave Only Loveliness

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 28, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a shaker of pure MSG.

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

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

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

Next up was the Elmvale Beer Challenge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 14, 2014

Love is old/Love is new

One month until Valentine’s Day! I love Valentine’s Day! It’s probably my 2nd favourite holiday after 4/20! I love the colours! The hearts! The lace! The ribbon! The flowers! The food! Everything! And that is why I made this painting in 2011:

“Valentine” lives with a little girl named Claire, who I think is 5 years old now and continues to be some of my best work, I think. Putting her up for sale was easy, but leaving her there until she sold, wasn’t because I really don’t like selling my originals, especially ones I really like. That said, it went to the best possible home and that makes me happy. Since a lot of people inquired about it last year but it was too late for shipping, I’m pimping out my Zazzle shop yet again because I have poster prints, greeting cards, postcards and more of this painting there. AND! I just finished making my shop a spiffy banner, so you should go look at it.

Basically I’m just trying to stay busy. Yesterday journaling just made me miserable so I’m not gonna try doing that again. I have The Wolf of Wall Street and 12 Years a Slave to watch so I’ll probably do that at some point today. I also think I’m going to make egg salad. We bought cheap eggs (as opposed to the pricier omega-3 ones that I think taste better and have a better texture that we use for eating) to use for meringue cookies but I never ended up making the cookies and as it turns out, you only need 3 eggs for that anyway sooooooooooooo egg salad.

I guess since it’s pretty much a “for sure” thing now I can talk about the Florida trip we’re planning in March with the 4 of us. We’re going to board the dogs at this awesome kennel where they get fed twice a day, get treats 3 times a day and they can be in the same pen together so Lucky’s separation anxiety shouldn’t be an issue. The cat should be okay here on her own while we’re gone, we just have to leave out a huge bowl of water, a big bowl of food and a clean litterbox and she’ll think she’s on vacation too. Blake’s mom and husband Charlie have a house there with a hot tub and a pool and they spend their winters down there. I forget how long Blake said it was going to take to get there but it’s something like a 22 hour drive from our house straight down and we plan to do it over two days. I guess we’re just gonna drive drive drive and then when Blake gets tired, find somewhere to sleep and continue the next morning.

Personally I’m looking forward to the plethora of American junk food and cuisine we’re going to encounter on our journey. I really really like pie and Jack Kerouac wrote a small sentence in “On the Road” about the portions of pie and ice cream getting bigger the farther south you go, which is a bit of wisdom I fully intend to test.

One of my coworkers lives right on the way so even if it’s just for a gas station hug, we’re gonna finally meet face to face after 2 years of working together. So that’s cool. Oh and we’re going to see Blake’s friend Noelle and Blake’s Aunt Pat while we’re down there and maybe some more people I don’t know about yet.

So that’s happening.

Anyway, I’m freezing and hungry and have to pee so I’m gonna go fix myself and watch movies.

PS. Blake’s been trying to get me in to see my shrink before my appointment in March but no one’s picking up the phone at her office. :o(

November 8, 2013

Flotter plus, bouvillon moins?

This blog post is 2 years old and I’m pretty sure I’ve posted it on my site before, but I know for a  fact I posted it other places so some of you may have already read it. If not, read it, then come back here.

But my first wish is that you’d wake up and start steering your life toward where you want to be.” – Joe Peacock

But what if you have absolutely zero idea as to where you want to be? I have literally ZERO life goals right now for probably the first time in my life. I can’t think of a single one. Not even one. Oh, “don’t die”. That’s about it.

My job is my job, I don’t love it or hate it (but I do think I’m good at it and I’m grateful to have it) but there’s no room for advancement so there’s no life goals to be had there.

I make paintings “whenever I feel like it” or whenever I’m inspired. You can’t make a business plan around that. Furthermore, I haven’t sold a single solitary painting since November 19th of LAST YEAR. (Thanks, Robin.)

I’ve pretty much decided I’ll never be a full-time nor long distance driver ever again. I’ll drive to the grocery store and the post office by myself and maybe even to the Wal*Mart or dollar store in Wasaga Beach if Madison’s with me, but that’s IT. I know I have the ability of driving longer distances, on busier roads, at faster speeds but even with Blake right beside me, telling me what to do and after taking all the Klonopin and Ativan available to me, I still spend the entire time in the driver’s seat crying, gripping the steering wheel so hard with both hands* that my nails go right around it and dig into the fleshy part of my hand and all I can think of is “when is this going to be over? When do I get to be done? How long do I have to do this to be able to say that I tried and then have no one bug me about it for a while? Or hopefully ever?” Maybe I’d feel differently if we had 2 cars, but we don’t and if I crash the one we have, we’re pretty fucked. Also? Over the last 2 & a half years, I have been through MEDICAL HELL and the last thing – the very very very last thing – I want to go through is another medical trauma as a result of my own shitty driving or my delayed reaction time when it comes to someone else’s.

I. Hate. Driving. I cannot handle the stress and responsibility and truthfully, I don’t remember 75% of the rules of the road. I got my licence when I was 20, after taking Young Drivers (Canadian driver’s ed that gives you a discount on your insurance) and drove to Toronto for school almost every single day for 2 years. But 2 years driving experience is NOTHING!  It’s not even a “blip!” in the grand scheme of my life. Might as well forget that ever happened. I’ll keep renewing my licence in case I ever change my mind but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and I just think I’m done. It is literally the most stressful realistic situation I can think of. The whole time I’m just in sheer panic and all I want to do is close my eyes and pretend to be somewhere else…but that would get me killed.

I’ve hit a brick wall with photography. I no longer want to have a photography business. I just don’t like my pictures. I didn’t take a single picture with my DSLR in all of September, only once in October and those were just snapshots and then Madison wanted me to take pictures of her after school today but just looking at the previews on the camera, I don’t think any of them are worth posting, let alone printing. The whole reason I liked photography was because I could document things but we never do anything worth documenting and the kids were my inspiration, Madison in particular, but she’s got some body issues happening and she just doesn’t want me taking her picture these days (yet she’ll sit at my desk where the light’s better and take “selfies” with her iPod for hours) so I’ve stopped asking. I’ve just put the camera away on a hook behind a door with no real plans to pick it up again any time soon.

I have not and will not be applying for an Ontario Arts Council grant this year. I thought I was going to, I’d planned on it, but when I looked at my body of photography work so far, I was too embarrassed to send any of the pictures in and I was going to be applying as an “emerging artist” for money to go toward a photography project I’d really like to do. The bulk of the money was going to be spent paying a part-time female assistant with a car. (For this project, it needs to be a woman.) The rest was going to be used to purchase lights and pay for gas. I am 95% confident that I could execute this project successfully if given the funds to do it but I don’t think I can convince the OAC of that by my shitty sample pictures that are basically only of my kids, my husband and my pets. I’m completely uninspired by my surroundings. I thought about shooting some pics to specifically use as my sample pics but there’s just not a whole lot that’s interesting to me around here. I’m sort of at the point where I dread taking out the camera because I’m either ultimately not going to end up doing anything with it except to put it back and I’m not going to like the pictures I take so it’s just going to frustrate me and make me sad.

The application deadline is December 1st so I have a bit of time, but I still don’t think I’m going to bother applying. They’ve already rejected me 4 years in a row as a painter, I think largely due to the fact that I have like, no exhibition record. I’ve been in Touched By Fire 3 times and I suppose I could add the studio tour to the list since I EXHIBITED lots yet sold nothing, but still, that’s painting. My photography idea will never happen. :o/ Anyone got $5k laying around that they don’t need? I’ve thought about maybe doing a Kickstarter type of thing but I can’t think of incentives, aside from prints, and what is the final goal? If I say my final goal is to show these pictures in a gallery, people aren’t going to give me money because photographs in a gallery do most people no good. There’s no benefit. A book? But how many pictures would I need to fill a whole book? Because the pictures I want to take are super tricky, semi-illegal (trespassing), and it’s gonna take a slick-talking assistant to get “models” (who are actually just random, normal women) to do what I need them to do and where.

Cryptic, I know, but this idea is my baby and I would be absolutely devastated if someone stole it. I’m so protective of this idea that I can’t even ask any photographers for advice because when it comes to ideas, I don’t trust anyone. Especially photographers.

So yeah, I just don’t know up from down these days. Every day is grey. All my plans for this year and next have disintegrated.

As I posted about previously, I didn’t submit anything to Touched By Fire because the whole thing was a clusterfuck from the beginning. First there were $20 submission fees, which counted me out. Secondly, they’ve switched domains inexplicably from touchedbyfire.CA to touchedbyfire.CO. This is suspect to me. THEN they got a sponsor (Deserres) who agreed to cover the submission fees which is fine but at that point they didn’t even have a venue. So long story short, I did not submit. I didn’t feel I had anything to submit to an art show that prides itself on showcasing how fucked up all us mental patients are. My glitter girls are happy. They don’t want happy, they want tortured, mentally ill people and they want their work to reflect that. So fuck it. Who needs a remedial art show anyway? OH! That was the other thing I wanted to mention. Tickets to get into the event? $20 per person. Isn’t that fucking ridiculous? Every other year it’s either been free or $10, so wtf.

I’m lost. I have no direction. Every grey day is the same. I do nothing. I have nothing. I am nothing.

PS. Feel free to head on down to Sunnyland Studio to see what I’ve got in the shop. Unfortunately the Xmas season is upon us…

(*I have never EVER and would not EVER drive with less then two hands on the wheel. 10 and 2, people. The only time my hand MAY leave the steering wheel for 10 seconds is if I’m getting a drink from a BOTTLE because with cans, you have to take your eyes off the road to look at the can and make sure you turn it around so you can actually drink out of it. This is too complicated and for me, too dangerous, so bottles all the way.)

October 21, 2013

All in a day, all for me…

On Friday all of us went to my grama’s to see my brother, my mom and John and to eat pizza.

My grama was her usual self, honestly, the only thing I noticed was that she called my brother by her other grandson’s name, but that’s not an abnormal thing though I don’t think. She’s been getting names mixed up for years, it’s almost a family trait once you reach a certain age. Physically she does look older and thinner and generally smaller but her hair’s growing back. When I hugged her (both times) I was scared I’d hurt her or break her or I’d knock her down. But she was in a good mood and I think she really enjoys seeing my kids, even if they don’t say very much.

Seeing my brother was awesome, I wish we could spend more time together. We decided to keep in touch via text message since his only internet is his phone and he got an apartment. He moves in Nov. 1st but is leaving my mom’s on Sunday to gather his shit from wherever and get ready to move. He suggested we get together at my mom’s on Friday but A) I don’t know how my mom feels about that and B) I don’t know how Blake feels about that so I dunno how feasible that is. We’ll see, but I kinda don’t think so, which I told him.

He totally remembers me scaring the shit out of him the first time he watched Carrie and we decided he was 9 when that happened and I would have been 15. There are many joyous moments in my life and that is definitely one of them. I drink the dewy tears of children for breakfast. Mmmmmm delicious.

So that was Friday.

Then Saturday morning Blake took the dogs to the SPCA to get microchipped because they were doing a clinic (that our friend Mark told us about because of this post; total fluke thing that it was happening now) so that’s one less thing to worry about, especially if we move and they ever got loose in a new place. Saturday night Madison, Blake and I tried to watch Much Ado About Nothing, the Joss Whedon version, but I could not follow it AT ALL and have no idea what it was about or how it ended. I’m sure it was genius…

Sunday all we did was watch Sam and Dean because Madison had a friend over and today I have a work meeting, which sucks. And now you’re up to speed!

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