April 21, 2015

Creatively speaking…

Hi.

I’m sort of in the process of rebuilding my life and I’m at a point where I feel I can share my plans with you.

I have a bit of an internet presence…

  1. website
  2. livejournal
  3. twitter x 2
  4. tumblr x 2
  5. friends only facebook that I’ve recently been posting more publicly with
  6. facebook fan page x 2
  7. instagram
  8. youtube
  9.  does snapchat count?

…plus a million other things I’ve signed up for and never used again. The tumblrs and fan pages hardly ever get updated, so let’s pretend they don’t exist for now. YouTube is only used to embed videos in other places, so it’s more of a utility to me than any kind of community that I have to participate in, so take that off the list too. Everything else I use and most of them have some kind of community linked to them that I am part of.

Well, I want to build a new community around myself where my site or LiveJournal is not necessarily the center of it because I don’t think either has been the center in quite a while. I want this community to be built around Patreon, and my creative life, with everything else mostly pertaining to that. But I’ll get to how I plan on using each component after I explain Patreon. 

Patreon is a website that allows me to receive monthly payments from generous patrons who wish to support my work. In return, patrons receive perks, like Kickstarter, and they get to share in the experience of creating some pretty cool stuff, which, if I don’t suck, should give them a little bit of pride of being a patron of the arts and having a hand in whatever crazy thing it it is coming into being! And yes I *am* proud of that run-on sentence!

My first project is a zine that I’m (oh so originally) titling “Textibitionism”. I haven’t really posted anything about it over on Patreon yet (that’s my next  task), but what I envision is 20 individual pieces of paper-based art which tells stories from my life and the things I care about. The original idea was to use traditional scrapbooking materials/embellishments and instead of making typically pretty layouts with smiling children or whatever those happy scrappers do, I would be, well, me. The original idea was also that I would only use materials that I already had, but I already blew that idea out of the water, bigtime. Now what I envision is a mix of altered scrapbook materials, subverted and perverted by my very being, original writings and hand-drawn illustrations. If this sounds good to you, then you should know that almost all pics of works-in-progress, process videos and discussion about this project will be on Patreon, mostly via the patron-only activity feed, which is like a blog with comments and likes. This will be the centre of my creative universe, if the Patreon model of getting money to make art actually works. (We’ll see. I’m not totally convinced. Steph the Geek seems to be doing okay so far, though. Ana Voog and Blake are also using it.) Unlisted YouTube videos, Snapchat (which is where you get videos and pics exclusive to that app on your phone) and private Twitter will be used for daily life stuff for sure, but those media will mostly be where spur of the moment creative thoughts, ideas and work-in-progress photos, things that are pains in my ass etc., will be posted for patrons.

I’ll still be using my main Twitter account and I will (hopefully) only ever have one Instagram account because switching back & forth all the time sounds like a nightmare. LiveJournal is going to continue to be used for the emotional, real life stuff while my site’s updates are basically going to be State of the Union of Sunnyland addresses, linking to everything else once in a while.

I realized when I was in San Francisco that aside from my job, there was very little structure in my life and if my job is any indication, I think I’m less productive as a result. It’s not that I don’t have ideas, I have tons of them, but for a while, whenever I tried to put an idea to paper, I’d start but ultimately lost interest for whatever reason and nothing ever got finished. “Textibitionism”, and the other creative milestones I’ve set for myself on Patreon, is the first time I’ve felt excited and energized about a creative project in a really long time so I really hope that if I make it, I’m not the only one who’s going to see it.

The big picture is that if the zine is well-received, eventually I would maybe like to build Textibitionism.com/.ca/.org where it would be for sale both digitally and hard copy after everyone on Patreon who is supposed to get a copy, does, and the site will have links to all the girls I can find still making and selling zines on Etsy and elsewhere.

The big, BIG picture I’m still working out in my head but there is one. Not giving it too much thought yet though, since so far Blake is my only patron haha

As far as adding structure to my life, today for example, I got off work at noon so I knew I was going to medicate at noon and then write this post directly afterward. I’m falling behind schedule already because I meant to have this done by 3pm but that’s okay. I bought a day planner to help me keep appointments and structure my days to be the most productive I can make them because I’m a freak and I’m happiest, the most emotionally stable and the most satisfied with life when I’m busy creating something, whether it’s writing this post or painting a mermaid. In the past, my creative endeavours have made other people happy too so I’m hoping for this whole thing to be mutually beneficial.

Now I think it’s time to forage for food. Peace oot, homies!

PS. It is a VERY GOOD IDEA to insure your camera equipment, as I found out this week when I realized my camera’s messed up after taking it treetop trekking. I got it insured a few hours before we went! *whew*

December 5, 2014

Murderous Meat

July 28th, 2044

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Esther Hughes, seer, committed suicide.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 2, 2014

Blake ate the misshapen fortune cookie.

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

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

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

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

Grandma. July 2 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John & Chris are good.

That is all my people.

Everyone else can find their own canoe.

May 3, 2014

“You are capable of tremendous creativity.”

Blake fucking ditched me today for a hot tub!

He worked in the city all week this week which meant he didn’t get home before 8pm ALL week and I go to bed at 8:30 or 9pm.

Then last night? Bachelor party for a guy at work.

Now this morning he tells me “oh by the way, today is Bare Oaks‘ day of helping [or whatever the fuck it’s called], I totally forgot…” and what that is, is you go to Bare Oaks, which is a naturalist park, to help them prepare for the season. Last year we went there and painted deck chairs. Nekkid. But it was like, 20 degrees C and Blake got sunburnt. Today it’s 10 degrees and rainy out so everyone’s going to be clothed and it’s going to suck but Blake’s like “it’s part of the community…” and I get that, I do, so I was like, FINE, whatever.

So then he gets his shit ready and he stands in the doorway of my office and then he just couldn’t contain his excitement over Bare Oaks’ hot tub any longer and voiced it and I’m like, “NOW IT ALL COMES OUT! YOU’RE DITCHING ME FOR A FUCKING HOT TUB!!!” He’s like, “yes, yes I am…”

Since Bare Oaks is near Stouffville and next weekend is Mother’s Day and we would have been going there anyway to get Stouffville Pizza because it’s the best pizza on Earth, I asked Blake if he would pick me up a pie both to save us a trip and because fucker’s ditching me on my hardest day of the week where I need like, hours of mental preparation to be able to psychologically handle my job for 9 hours straight so he can buy me dinner.

Speaking of dinner…

Do you believe in fortune cookies? Because I totally do. I believe that they are little prophecies or messages from the universe that you’re meant to get and I save every single one I get. They’re all over my journals and notebooks because a fortune is a little smaller width-wise than a piece of tape so they’re easy to preserve and I know it’s kooky but they’re just like…sacred to me. Fortune cookies as a taste, are actually my favourite cookies too, so bonus.

I got that one last week and it was exactly what I needed to hear. When I opened it I actually cried and I like it so much that I’m considering it as a candidate for my next tattoo.

That said, I’m actively giving up on poetry. I wrote one really shitty stupid poem and realized that I am just way too long-winded and literal for poetry. So much poetry like, actively angers me because…okay so Blake explained to me about this superhero whose name might have been Silver Surfer? Anyway, this character goes super fast, like the Flash, only apparently much cooler because I think it’s Marvel and not DC or whatnot. Blake said that this character was a dick all the time, he was just constantly angry, and in one comic he explained it like…y’know when someone’s going super slow at the ATM, like painfully slow and you get mad and you’re just like “jesus christ, what are you trying to do, renew your mortgage?” Well for that character, the whole world is that slow and after a lifetime of that, you’re going to be an asshole. That’s me and poetry. Poetry is painfully slow to me. You can’t just read it and immediately know what the fuck the poet is talking about. You have to analyze it and consider every word and that is slow. I don’t have the patience for that shit! Also when I’ve asked people to explain certain things to me, they haven’t had an answer so I kinda think poetry might be a little bit of bullshit where you just make up the rules as you go along and if you do it in a way no one else has ever done it before then you’re a genius. Which is fine (and can be applied to most things I suppose), but not my thing. I don’t need to be a genius. BUT! Do keep in mind that I said I am ACTIVELY giving up on poetry, if one passively slips out by accident, then hooray for humanity, I guess.

What I have been doing though is writing the world’s most terrible short story and guess what, though? I FUCKING *FINISHED* IT! I, Sarah Danielle Crittenden, on Thursday, May 1st, 2014 finished something for the first time in my entire 35 years so far on this planet. It’s weird, I never really considered the short story as anything that I’d ever be interested in. I’ve never heard of any writers famous for short stories – I’m sure some exist – and “The Yellow Wallpaper” is probably literally the only short story I’ve ever read. A long time ago I asked Blake how long a short story had to be and he said something like, “I dunno, shorter than a novella…? There are no set rules.” (Answers like this annoy the shit out of me. I like specifics, which is part of the issue with poetry, but whatever.) The answer was so sort of…not “dismissive”, but I guess sort of off the cuff maybe, that in my head I just kinda moved onto the next topic and put the idea away as something not for me.

But then three things happened.

1. I subscribe to a t-shirt website’s newsletter and every day they send out an e-mail about a t-shirt on special or a t-shirt battle and 98% of the time I don’t even open these e-mails, I just read the bit of subject line my e-mail allows for, select and delete. Well, a few weeks ago they sent out an e-mail where the t-shirt was called one thing but in my head when I read it, it sounded like another thing and that sparked a TERRIBLE creative idea (I cannot stress enough what an absolute stinker this is) that I didn’t know what to do with.

2. I started reading more about Kerouac and how people thought it was a big deal that he’d written a million words by X amount of time or whatever, so I was like, “hmmmmm, I wonder how many words I’ve written just in blog posts alone?” just out of curiosity. So I counted. I’ve posted 5,779 blog posts on Live Journal and my average blog post is 2000 words. That’s 11,558,000 words.  I feel like all of those words were wasted and that number really bothers/ed me.

3. I realized that a lot of my blog posts are between 3,000-6,000 words and that’s gotta be short story territory.

I decided to put #1 + #3 together to alleviate #2 and the next thing I knew, I had a complete 6,086 word story sitting in front of me. And now I have no idea what to do with it. I mean, I am fucking RELIEVED to know that I am capable of finishing something. I know one short story is not a big deal to most people but considering the winter I’ve had and hell, the lifetime I’ve had, this is like a single, bright green sprout on a scorched landscape and with the 46 *other* writing ideas I’ve come up with in the last few weeks, that sprout could grow to be a mighty beanstalk and the giants are waking up.

My stinker story needs some tweaking and polishing. My narrator is supposed to be 14 years old but Blake says she doesn’t sound 14. He’s literally the only person who’s read it though so I don’t know if that’s just his opinion or if it’s true and I need to tweak it that deeply. I’m terrified to show anyone else but at the same time, as soon as I was done, my first instinct was to turn it into a free PDF for EVERYONE to read, for free, but for fuck’s sake I gotta quit doing that man. At this point in my life, there is zero benefit to me doing shit like that. If this turns out to not be as terrible as I think it is, maybe I’ll try and get it published. Where, I have no fucking clue and I’m probably just talking out of my ass and I’ll just post it here for free in the end anyway, but right now I feel like this thing is so fragile that I only feel like I can trust a few people with it and unfortunately, those people are busy and probably don’t have time to read 9 pages of anything so I don’t want to bother them. I sent it to someone who is IN the story as herself for her approval and even she hasn’t read the whole thing yet and that’s driving me crazy because I don’t want to release it outside of this house to anyone without her permission. I will because I can’t sit on this for much longer but I don’t want to.

Anyway, I have to start work in 2 hours so I’m going to medicate and make myself a bagel sandwich. Cya on Instagram and Twitter! @SunnyCrittenden!

April 22, 2014

Forsythia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 14, 2014

Too old to die young.

Friday I saw my shrink. My shrink who is retiring in August. She thinks I’m depressed and that this is probably not a life phase and maybe my B12 is deficient (which she only thought of because I’m a moron and mentioned it without thinking and now I have to have another blood test) and I should be taking iron (nothnx) or eating more meat (just can’t). She prescribed an anti-depressant called cipralex which I started last night. I’m in a pretty good mood today but I don’t think the drug would work that fast, especially not at such a low dose (it’s so low they don’t even make pills that small, I have to cut them in half). It’s probably because it’s spring and I’ve had/am having a good weekend and [REDACTED] [REDACTEDED] on Game of Thrones last night and also Mad Men started but I haven’t watched that yet because I wanted to get my weekend down “on paper” before my fuzzy goldfish brain forgot crucial details. Oh and the strain of cannabis I have right now is working EXTREMELY well. Like, I’ve been eating every single day since having it. I just ordered 90 more grams of the stuff because I’m afraid they’ll run out (they do that….it sucks….it’s a new system and a new company, it’ll get better….)

Writing at Froth on Friday after my shrink appointment was a bust. We got there around 4:20pm and there was a sign on the door that said they were closing at 5pm for a private function. This put Blake and me in a crapola mood but we went to Fran’s in Barrie (45+ minutes away from where we were) which is a chain diner that’s open 24 hours (except ours isn’t, it’s just open late) anyway because we’d scouted it out as a potential writing place the Friday before and had planned on trying to write there at some point.

Fran’s was yes & no. I had issues with Fran’s food this time around. I ordered the chicken club, which I’ve ordered before, and there was a bucket of mayo on it on all sides of the inside of the sandwich, which is three pieces of bread if you’ve never had a club. As I’ve explained before, I like mayo and I did ask for mayo, but lots of mayo makes me feel sick just looking at it. I ate 1/4 of the sandwich and just couldn’t do it and the fries were stupidly salty and the gravy no good. This put me in a crappier mood because honestly, I was hungry and this shouldn’t have been difficult. I cried a little (luckily we were in a booth). Blake told me I could order something else but we are so fucking broke right now that this was going to be our last excursion until next paycheque and that just made me feel guilty so I just ordered the soup of the day, which was mushroom, because it was only $3.99 and when the waiter inquired as to why this was happening, Blake just told him the sandwich was not good. This was like sending something back, which I’ve never done before in my life and I was not comfortable with in the slightest and the unfortunate thing was that the soup was pretty terrible too. I ate about half of it just to be polite to the chef since I felt bad for “sending back” the sandwich which was truly difficult for me to do but that was how awful I felt about the sandwich.

After the waiter took away the soup, we got refills on our drinks and set up our writing devices (my laptop/his Surface tablet). Fran’s doesn’t have wifi so we used my phone as a hotspot because we had to access our Sky/One Drives and I’m not sure how long we stayed before the waiter told us “no hurry” but presented us with the bill and didn’t offer to give us any more refills. We decided t0 leave and they didn’t charge us for the sandwich. I’m not sure how good it was for Blake as far as productivity but after the food fiasco was over with, I didn’t write anything but I did read about Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, Neal Cassady and William S. Burroughs on Wikipedia (not done with the latter) and I was in full on sponge mode which I find difficult to do when Blake’s home for some reason. I just don’t like being online when Blake’s hanging out in my office but I don’t want him to not hang out in my office either so Fran’s worked well. If there is a next time (up to Blake, I can work there), I’m going to stick to breakfast foods. It’s pretty rare that a restaurant will fuck up peameal and eggs, in my experience.

After Fran’s we came home and watched the movie Immortal Beloved, which was recommended by Anne Rice and it was an okay movie but I didn’t find it anywhere near as inspiring as she said it was to her, so I think I ended up just going to bed afterward.

Saturday morning I woke up and Blake and I tried to watch Amadeus, also recommended by Anne Rice and I think I made it about half an hour in before I knew there was no way I could commit to 3 hours of that.

Stupidly I relied on those two movies to carry me through inspirationally until my books got here from Amazon (hopefully today) and with that plan falling through completely I felt totally dejected. Not good on a Saturday when I have to work my marathon shift and I spent the last hour of freedom before work crying because work is the last thing I wanted to do. This is definitely a depression thing, mixed with a constantly feeling weak or sick thing, with a little bit of just being plain ol’ burnt out because I haven’t really felt like I’ve had a chance to recharge my mental batteries in a long time. My last good creative idea, based on inspiration, was in November and it was only a little one.

Also on Saturday, making things worse, Blake and Madison were going to see Courage My Love in Barrie and Nicole would be there (because she manages the band), who I’ve only seen once since moving here.

When I logged into work at 2pm, my coworker and buddy whose shift overlaps mine by an hour, asked how I was and I was honest with her. And because she is probably the most positive, sunshiniest outlook person I know she was like, “I can cover you if you want to go see your friend” and I was thankful but she could only cover me for 2 hours and that wouldn’t work with everyone else’s plans. That’s when I remembered that one of my other coworkers technically owed me 2 hours because I covered for her last week so I texted her and asked if she could help me out and she said yes despite the fact that it was super short notice, which meant that I had the last 4 hours of my shift covered and that was the perfect amount of time to throw on a pair of jeans and some lipstick and go to the rock & roll show with Blake and Madison (and Madison’s friend) and Nicole.

This is Courage My Love:

They’re supernaturally talented 20 year old twins and a dude named Brandon and they put on a really good performance with their “bring the guitar” boxes to jump around on, as Blake calls them. They’re playing Warped Tour this summer so if you’re going , check them out!

It was a rock show so it was hard to really talk to Nicole but it was still good to see her and at the end of the night when it was time to leave, I cried. I miss her. And afterward I was thinking about how, before Blake and I were together and I was in a long distance relationship with Chris, Nicole and I used to spend hours on the phone together shooting the shit and writing song lyrics and song lyrics are a lot like poems so if I’m capable of that – or was at one point – then poetry shouldn’t be this giant mystery to me.

Truthfully, I think the biggest creative obstacle I have right now is that I don’t feel like I have anything to say. Or I do but I either don’t know how to best express it (if at all) or I can’t express it at all due to outside factors. At least not publicly. Blake would say to just get it out, but things are still percolating and I can’t. The other thing, and I said this to my shrink, is that I need to get out and experience more and get out of my comfort zone, which is also partially why I decided to go to the Courage My Love show. It’s also why Sunday happened.

So Sunday morning Blake and Wes went to swimming and when they came back, Wes paid me the money he owes me, which meant I had enough money to take Blake and myself out for breakfast at Cora’s. Cora’s is good because it’s not super expensive (under $30 with tip)  and I like their bacon because it’s the least fatty bacon that isn’t peameal that I’ve ever had. They don’t fuck up my eggs. I like their french bread type toast. And they also serve everything with fresh fruit art that I find that very appealing because apparently my hunger brain is 5 years old. Their chicken salad sandwich is pretty good too. I still think crepes are kinda gross.

After Cora’s we just came home and we started watching the movie Howl, which is about the obscenity trial surrounding Allen Ginsberg’s book of the same title. I thought it was great except for James Franco, who played Ginsberg. His overacting was terrible and they gave him too modern of a haircut for the role. I didn’t care about finishing it but Blake wanted to. While we watched the rest of the movie, I started making plans with our friend Steph (the Geek), who was in Toronto from California (but she’s Canadian – we’re all so very complicated) because of a Bitcoin conference, but things ended earlier than she expected on Sunday so there was time to meet up and hang out, something we hadn’t done since like…uh…Vegas, August of 2005. (Her wedding doesn’t count, I only got to talk to her for maybe 10 minutes total.)  We decided to go to Vapor Central, which is, if you hadn’t guessed, a vapor lounge in downtown Toronto that I’ve been wanting to go to for a long time and this was a good opportunity to do so because Blake doesn’t smoke weed and would be driving anyway (and I would feel weird vaping alone) and the city freaks me out. I figured a Sunday would probably be a mellow day to go, especially since we couldn’t get there until 6pm, and Steph said she was available then so it all just kinda fell into place. Also, I haven’t smoked weed with another human being since our anniversary party almost 2 years ago and never with Steph, who I figured would be a good Sunday stoner buddy (I was correct in that assumption).

So we get down to the city and we find a cheap municipal parking lot just down the street a few blocks from Vapor Central – score! And on our way down the street to Vapor Central, we passed what looked like a pretty decent pizza place that I took mental note of because – and I only realized this recently – I’m constantly in search of the world’s best slice of pizza. So far the pizza place (that I don’t know the name of) that we ordered from all the time in NY beats everything by a mile no contest, even Stouffville Pizza (that’s 2nd best) but I don’t live in NY so that’s not exactly an option for me. I’m straying from the story…

…we get to the vapor lounge and you go up these stairs because it’s on the 2nd floor of a building and we’re greeted by a wall of haze and the familiar smell of vapor which kinda smells like toasted nuts or maybe popcorn a little bit or maybe a little bit woody. It tastes exactly the way it smells (which is better than smoke). I know this because Blake bought me a personal vaporizer (Magic Flight Launch Box) for Xmas and it just didn’t do anything for me so I gave it to my friend after 3 or 4 days of correct usage with little to no result. Pretty much the entire reason we wanted to go to the vapor lounge was because they have Volcano vaporizers which are, as Steph said, “the Cadillac of vaporizers”. They’re $700 tabletop vaporizers that work by filling up a big plastic bag with cannabis vapor that you “sip” out of a special mouthpiece that allows the vapor to remain in the bag until you inhale it. The benefit to vaping is that you use WAY less weed and it’s a lot healthier because you’re not breathing smoke into your lungs. Since the personal vaporizer didn’t do anything for me, I always wondered if it was the vaporizer or me, like maybe I was immune to vaping. That’s why I wanted to try a Volcano because if a Volcano didn’t work for me, then no vaporizer would and I should just give up on the idea.

Vapor Central charges you a $5 membership day fee to get in and that gives you access to the lounge, which is full of couches and tables with a Volcano for each seating arrangement, and I think they’re supposed to charge us for the Volcano bags/mouthpiece/reservoir but they didn’t. They just made Blake give them his licence until he returned it all.

The girl who was at the desk when we first walked in was incapable of dealing with new customers because she was so completely adorably blitzed out of her mind so she sent someone else over to help us. She explained everything I said above (but also explained that there were bongs in the back that we were allowed to use, which surprised me and then I looked around and noticed that some people were smoking so I guess that’s okay there) and took our membership fees and then we went through a turnstile into the lounge. Everyone was mostly at the front of the space, where the couches are, watching a movie on the TVs that are around the room. In the back of the lounge, there are cafe-style tables so we grabbed one of those with 4 seats and waited for Steph.

Steph got there and the first order of business was to figure out how to use the Volcano on the table. Steph had only used one once so she didn’t know either, so Blake found a guy to show us how it’s done and it’s really very simple and off we went on the first bag.

It was good catching up with Steph. She’s gone through a lot of crazy shit in the last little while and I was relieved to find out that things are starting to look up. Also despite all the crap that’s been hurled at her by life in general she’s still the same Steph she’s always been and that was reassuring. Since I hadn’t seen her in so long I was worried that we wouldn’t have anything to talk about, which is so dumb because Steph is one of the most interesting people I know and she’s also one of the most extroverted introverts I know so catching up with her was like nothing, like no time had passed. Just easy conversation.

Over the course of an hour, Steph and I shared 5 or 6 Volcano bags worth of vapor, with me inhaling 3/4 of it and with pausing in between to talk and stuff and I would say that I got as medicated as I would have been with one of my bong’s bowls worth of weed except I used a little more than a thimble’s worth. I didn’t get stoned, that wasn’t the goal, but I got to a good place where I wasn’t freaked out to be in the city in a room full of strangers, I didn’t feel sick and I actually got hungry (thanks to this strain I’ve been using). So vaping obviously works on me and the Magic Flight Launch Box not working on me is simply that my tolerance is way too high for it. Even with the Volcano, I felt like staying medicated with it would be a full-time job. At the same time, I’m a person with a lot of free time and nowhere to be so if I vaped most of the time and only smoked joints or brought my bong with me places, I would use so much less weed so who cares?

At about 8pm, we walked down the street to that pizza place where I got a slice of (pretty decent but not the greatest but better than a chain – actually it could have been a city-wide chain, I have no idea)  pepperoni and a Diet Coke and that’s where we left Steph and headed toward the parking garage.

On the way home Blake and I were talking about the experience and now our interest is two-fold because he thinks it would be a good idea for us to hang out there for a day and use the Volcano as if I were at home using it, just to see how much a day’s worth of weed would be with one (I smoke 2.5g/day at the moment and I’d guess vaping would be 1/4 of that or less) and I want to hang out there again because I think I can write there. And Blake said maybe he could write there too. AND even with parking and gas and refreshments (a cold can of Diet Coke is $1), it cost us less than going to Fran’s or Froth and personally I liked the experience and atmosphere better. Plus I think you get in and out privileges with your daily $5 membership fee and there are a billion food places around the lounge that are better and cheaper  than here. There’s a falafel place pretty much right across the road. I’m not totally sure what a  falafel is but maybe I’d like one and maybe it’ll be my new favourite thing. WHO KNOWS? We’ll be in Toronto, the gastro-adventure and writing possibilities are limitless! And even if I don’t like falafel, maybe falafel is awful, at least there’s decent pizza down the street, which is more than I can say for our town, the next town over AND the town next to that.  This Sunday is 4/20 so it would be dumb to go then, but maybe the Sunday after that.

After we came home, I watched the first half of Game of Thrones but I accidentally took my sleeping pills when I took my meds after we left Steph so I couldn’t watch the 2nd half. Blake paused it to tuck me in (because yes he does that, every single night and every single morning if I go to sleep after work and he’s home) and I said something like, “yeah I doubt anything interesting’s going to happen in the 2nd half of the 2nd episode of the season…” and Blake, who has read the books, was like, “ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm” so I made him tell me what was going to happen to whom and how and I almost forced myself to get back up and watch the rest because HELLO, but I was too tired and figured it’d still be on the DVR in the morning. It was and it was so spectacularly gruesome that I was practically applauding by myself at 9am.

And then basically I sat down to write this post but the hydro went out in our whole town so not only did I not finish this post before Blake got home (it is currently 6:20pm), I didn’t get to see the premiere of Mad Men, but Blake’s making me macaroni and cheese for dinner and my plan is to watch while I eat. In other news, I got both books and pornstar money in the mail today so I guess you could say that the last 2 & a half days half been pretty great. Hopefully the rest of the week will be as well.

April 10, 2014

Vocation Advice from Anne Rice

Posted at 3:27 pm in: Art , artists , Books , Creativity , Misc. , Poetry , Spring , videos , Writing , youtube
April 6, 2014

Rhymes With Orange

Can you believe that 20 years ago yesterday, Kurt Cobain killed himself? It won’t be until 2 days from now that the police would have found his body. I was 15. I’m listening to Nevermind very loudly this morning, the neighbours be damned, because Blake and the kids are at swimming so there’s nobody in the house to care. In Utero is actually my favourite Nirvana album but I’ve already been listening to the Nirvana tribute Milkin’ It (google! it’s amazing!) in the last little while, which is all of In Utero plus a few other b-sides so I’m a little In Utero‘d out.

So yesterday was potentially lifechanging. My whole life I thought I hated like, 99% of poetry. Basically if it wasn’t a haiku, I wasn’t interested and even those got tiresome eventually because they all blur together after a while. Until yesterday, with the exception of one poem I never even read, I just heard about, every poem I can think of ever hearing would fall under the “foofy” category. Or it was a greeting card. Or it was someone I know’s poetry and I had to be supportive but it was secretly really not any good. Or at least I didn’t think so.

See, something most people don’t seem to understand about me is that I basically have a grade 8 education. My grade 9 year – 20 years ago – was so messed up due to suicide attempts, crazy family drama that is more or less ancient history and 3 different schools, that I only (barely) earned 4 grade 9 credits (science, math, history, english). I got that math credit with a 51%. I think they passed me because they felt sorry for me. Then I got kicked out by November of grade 10 so any classes I had been taking, I never completed. I tried going back in grade 11 but I got kicked out again. In between, I did correspondence education through the government (I wonder if they still do that?) and I remember completing grade 9 art, grade 10 basic math and parenting. Correspondence was the slowest way ever to gain a credit, my god. I went to college as a “mature student”. All I really had to do was write an essay about how awesome at advertising I’d be and send a small portfolio of specs and then *boom* I was in ad school. But ad school’s not like “college” like…by the American definition.  Ad school was not University. Ad school was a 3 year program with only room for 1 or 2 electives per semester and I didn’t finish that either. The only electives I remember taking were a stress management class (holy bird class!) and a class on myths, but I know there had to be 1 or 2 others.

My point, and I have one I swear, is that poetry is not something I’ve ever really been exposed to. I was never taught poetry. To this day I’ve never read a poem by Shakespeare because reading Romeo and Juliet in grade 9 was torture enough. Anything not in plain english, I just get annoyed with. I have no time for foofy and “all poems are foofy”, said I, therefore I have actively avoided poetry like the plague for most of my life.

Until yesterday. Yesterday my brain split wide open and from within the seed of a spectacular flower begins to grow…yesterday I met Allen Ginsberg.

I have been so fucking wrecked since just before Christmas. Everything’s been grey, lumpy mush and I’m honestly a little surprised I made it out of this winter alive. I’m not sure it was totally the winter though, I think that was just the catalyst. Anyway, as I’ve been writing about, nothing had any meaning for me and the things I previously enjoyed doing, I just stopped enjoying and every day was (is?) just a series of wasted hours and minutes, staring at the internet, counting down the time between getting off of work in the morning and going to bed at night.

Blake keeps saying I’ve changed or that I’m changing and he’s suggested that I try changing willingly because it’ll be easier that way, and we’ve both decided that staying open to everything right now is probably the best way to go about things.

Enter Kill Your Darlings. We watched this Friday night and it’s the story of Lucien Carr murdering his ex-lover and the time surrounding that, meaning that the movie was basically about Ginsberg with a little William S. Burroughs. Harry Potter plays Ginsberg and I thought he did a really good job. I liked the Ginsberg in On the Road better, but that’s being nit-picky. At the end of the movie there’s an epilogue and it said that Allen Ginsberg published his first book, Howl and Other Poems, with a dedication to Lucien who in turn requested his name be taken out of future editions. I thought that was interesting. I thought the movie was just kinda “meh”, but it did get my brainmeats jiggling and by yesterday morning I was convinced that Allen Ginsberg was my salvation and I think I may be right.

First we went to the library to get a copy of Howl because I am poor as fuck and if I don’t have to buy something I’m not sure I’ll like, I’d prefer not to. The library did not have a copy. THE LIBRARY. DID NOT. HAVE A COPY. This shocked me, but it’s Elmvale so I’m not sure why. Next the plan was hatched to drive to Chapters in Barrie and buy a copy because I checked online and there was a pocket edition that was only $10. So that’s what we did. I also picked up a Charles Bukowski poetry book that I’d tell you the name of if it wasn’t all the way across the room and completely unimportant at this very moment. I didn’t even know he was a poet and I know absolutely nothing about him. I just know that I see a lot of quotes by him, often quoted by famous people I like, and I usually like them so I figured I’d give him a shot too. It took us at least 20 minutes to even find the “arts and letters” section of the store which comprised their entire poetry catalogue and was only one small, waist-high shelf unit. That shocked me too. They had a million copies of Dante’s Inferno and Carroll’s Jabberwocky. I’ve never read either but probably wouldn’t because long boring poems are long.

After Chapters, we went to a breakfast place called Cora’s that was actually pretty awesome and I wish we could go back today but like I said, I’m broke, and during breakfast, Blake told me stuff about poetry. He has an English degree but specialized or whatever in 18th century sumpin sumpin so while he’s read a lot of poetry, he hasn’t read a lot of contemporary poetry which is all I’m interested in because old timey poetry is foofy and boring unless someone proves otherwise with zero cost to myself.

When we got home from breakfast, we talked about poetry some more and I read the title poem in Howl, which was the first one. I cried when I realized that poetry is like art art, that it’s as wide open as that, both because I was inspired and because I was scared by the idea of infinity. The lens by which I view the world cracked and went from slighty fuzzy big picture to macro kaleidoscopic, like a switch had been flipped and the lights came on behind my eyes and it’s GOOD but I am so so scared that it’ll just be a fleeting thing so I’m going to spend my Amazon gift certificate on more Ginsberg and ask you guys, if you know anything about non-foofy contemporary poetry, what else I should add to my wishlist or find at the library. I think my only real criteria is no eroticaZzzzzzzZZZzzzzzZZzzzz. Or just tell me what you know about poetry! Thanks!

Blake is home so I’m going to go participate in the day.

April 3, 2014

Reasons To Be Beautiful

I don’t know how I feel today.

I’m ridiculously, stupidly, unbelievably happy about this Hole reunion things that I almost can’t even think straight or even move. Like, I don’t even know what to do. I feel like I should call someone to tell them but A) I don’t think my mom would care and she’s the only person I would ever call for anything and B) I’ve already posted the Rolling Stone link everywhere I can think of.  Speaking of Rolling Stone, this is my current cam image:

This is Rolling Stone dated August 24th, 1995 and it’s very special to me for a few reasons. Mostly, Alex gave this to me and it is one of the best things anyone’s ever given me in my whole life and that is because Lollapalooza ’95 was my very first concert and my first time seeing Hole  and one of the best, weirdest days/nights of my life  and this issue is mostly about that. According to the cover anyway, because I’ve never actually opened it or read it  because I’m scared I’ll damage it. I did just acknowledge on Facebook that this was probably stupid and I should just read it because it’ll probably never be worth anything to anyone but me, but even after I posted that I still debated and decided to just put it back in its safe spot with the Juxtapoz magazine with the Mark Ryden cover that I’ve also never opened (I plan to frame both of these at some point if we ever overhaul my office…)

Hole getting back together might possibly be the best non-important news I’ve ever heard in my whole entire life and I mean that pretty literally in that I cannot think of anything I’ve ever heard that was any better and I can also say that the day they announced they were breaking up was one of the worst non-important things that has ever happened to me and I mean that pretty literally too because at this very moment, I cannot think of anything worse. And when I say “non-important” I mean, in my whole grand scheme of things. On a life level, they are seriously bipolar moments. It may seem silly but they get notable tickmarks on my life line, despite the fact I never remember the dates of anything so I don’t actually know when they broke up. I just know it sucked to be Blake that day.

It’s also a sunshiney day today, I had peanut butter and toast for breakfast even though it made me feel sick afterward (but was okay after cannabis) and I’m listening to my “Like a Hole in the Head” playlist which is all Hole, so it’s pretty much impossible for me to be in a bummer mood, but this is going to be sort of a bummer post maybe because yesterday was a good/bad day.

By good/bad I mean that it was a good food day:

There were a lot of tears before most of that food happened but it happened.
Wouldn’t have if Blake hadn’t have worked from home yesterday and drove me to Clover for a bag of chips and Flynn’s for a sandwich, of which I ate half, but it did.

The unfortunate thing though, is that a food day like yesterday cannot be duplicated for a while because the chips are bad for my pancreas, despite taking enzymes, and are just bad in general and I rarely eat them and their kind of Havarti cheese is sliced sort of thick and it’s spiced so I can’t really have that very often either because it tends to make me feel sick, as does the mayo (I like mayo a lot but if there’s too much on something I can’t eat it; often wiping some of it off isn’t good enough either, it’s either made right the first time or I don’t want it which sounds bitchy but the problem is that if it DOES gross me out too much to eat because there’s half a jar of mayo on something, there goes ALL my eating for that day because any time I think about food, until I fall asleep and forget it, all I can think about is the thing that grossed me out). I drank the ginger ale with my sandwich to help me keep it down and I figured the extra calories would make the dietitian happy even though they’re shitty calories. Ginger ale is pretty much okay any time, but I don’t drink pop with sugar and I think diet ginger ale is disgusting so it’s basically only used as a medicine to me. There’s probably not even enough ginger in it to be beneficial, it’s probably just the carbonation that makes me feel better (as diet Coke also makes me feel better but sometimes not as well as ginger ale) but sometimes it works so I just go with it.

So yesterday was a good food day AND a mostly sunshiney day but it was also mostly a bummer day because, to put it simply, there is no joy in my life. Even until today I hadn’t listened to music since Florida because I am so sick of everything that I’d prefer silence. And that makes me sad because that is a first in my life, my life has never been without soundtrack. Normally, as long as I’m awake and as long as we’re not watching TV, there is music playing because silence traditionally drives me insane because it’s never really silent and I can hear every little goddamn thing. The neighbours are having their roof done starting today and all morning I didn’t even have music on to drown them out (they’re on a 2nd story roof, but only feet from my office) because until the Hole thing I just didn’t give a single fuck about anything auditory.

I have no art and that makes me sad. My whole life every teacher and my mom and just about every adult I encountered have all remarked on my so-called creative “talent” and I have been conditioned since I was wee to feel like that’s all I’ve got. That’s the only thing that makes me worth a damn. And it’s gone.

Sick of paint.

Sick of paper.

No interest in canvas – front OR back.

Even glitter has lost its lustre.

Polymer clay didn’t really work out although I haven’t given up on it completely. Actually I have a $48 gift certificate for Amazon.com and all I can order from there is books so if anyone has any recomendations on a couple of good books on polymer clay, I’d definitely be open to them. Right now I have this one and this one in my cart but I’m scared to waste the gift certificate on something I won’t like or use so if anyone has any opinions on those books specifically, I’d like to hear those as well. Amazon reviews are terrible and I don’t count on them for much. I chose those two books because they looked the most comprehensive and had the nicest covers out of the others I found when I searched. The others were very specific like, “how to make X with polymer clay”, which I don’t really want either I don’t think so that’s why I passed over those. I’m just scared that polymer clay will just be another dead end and I’ll have wasted the gift certificate on something I’ll end up donating to the library in the end anyway.

I have no interest in photography. Part of the reason photography was fun was because the people I was taking pictures of liked to see themselves through my lens. But then Madison started getting self-conscious I think and didn’t want me to take pictures of her anymore and I love Wes to the end of the Earth and back but he is the WORST model. He likes the idea of taking pictures and he likes seeing them afterward, but he is such a massive pain in the ass that unless we’re doing something specific, forget it. I took a couple of classes and got okay at taking pictures of my family. And now I think I’m done. This is not my thing. If I need to document my life, I have my phone and my iPod and both will upload to the internet immediately which is usually what I’m going to do with them anyway. Like, I see pictures EVERYWHERE – EVERYWHERE! – but I feel too self-conscious carrying the big camera around with me and most of the stuff I want to take pictures of you either probably aren’t supposed to and/or you’d have to ask permission and I’m not down with either of those potentials. I want to be the girl who carries a camera and a Swiss army knife but I just don’t think that’s me. I don’t know how to be that person.

And like, throughout all of this, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking, “did I ever really give it a fair try?” and the answer, I feel, is “no”. So there’s that bit of fucking guilt laying in the pit of my stomach now. A couple thousand dollars worth of camera equipment and no…whatever ingredient it is I need to be that person.

My girls. My beautiful girls. I decided that what’s on sale on Etsy is what’s for sale and once they’re gone, they’re gone and there will be no more for sale. I will only make boys and girls as gifts and this was pretty much decided when one of our friends the other night told Blake that he was expecting his first child and I realized…holy shit man, so many of our friends either have babies right now or are having babies right now or are soon to have babies right now that I’m pretty sure I’m only going to paint them for girls and boys I know from now on and not until the bun’s out of the oven, hopefully starting with our friend’s son Apollo. The only worry I have with that is I’ll feel pressured to make them for everyone, like maybe people who think they’re better friends with me than they really are, or that someone might feel offended that I didn’t make one for their kid. Realistically that already happens though, so I guess I shouldn’t worry about it too much. I haven’t decided on commissions yet. We all know how I feel about them and we all know that if I’m low-balled I’m going to be seriously pissed off, so it’s probably just best if I didn’t. Zazzle shop is staying. Truthfully, I find the Zazzle stuff more interesting than the originals and so far I’m my own biggest customer. I don’t understand why more people don’t utilize that when I’ve been hearing for years and years that people wished they had a more inexpensive way to procure my work. Originals are work, man. I can’t afford to buy the world a Coke. I’m still interested in the colouring book idea although I’m sure that by the time it’s actually finished, you won’t be.

All I have right now, creatively, what I’m clinging to, are these two writing projects I’m sort of not working on at the moment simultaneously. I loved writing at Froth but Froth has shitty hours (only open until 6pm/4pm on Sundays and it takes half an hour for us to get there; even with Blake working from home, the earliest we can get there is like, 5 and by the time we get set up with food and drink and are ready to work, they’ll be almost ready to close) and Froth is really expensive. We’ve scouted out Wasaga Beach and a few other places for nice, independently-run coffee shops that don’t care if you’re there all day/night and have wifi. And aren’t full of annoying kids. All. The. Time. And actually now that I think about it, we didn’t try the Starbuck’s that’s inside the Chapters bookstore in Barrie which is tiny tiny but most people get their shit and go browse the store so if they have tables at the back that I haven’t seen because I haven’t been back there, I’m betting that might be a more adult place to write that’s open relatively late and isn’t super expensive. Sucks that it’s Starbuck’s* and the music (among other things) is terrible but Blake swears to me that he thinks that’s the best we can do. I’d love to just write at Tim Hortons but they don’t have Coke products and I don’t drink coffee. I’d love to write at the Coffee Time down the street that’s SUPPOSED to be open 24 hours but really closes between 8pm-9pm, depending on how busy it is, but I don’t think Blake ended up liking it there. Can’t remember why. That place would be good because I could maybe go there during the day if I got comfortable enough there with Blake and write without him and they have Coke products BUT! I asked Blake if he would buy me a patio table with an umbrella for our front porch this spring BECAUSE, and I DECREE:

If I am going to plant the fuck out of my front yard this summer and put in all that effort, I am NOT going to hide in my house like a little fucking mouse like I have every other year, only scuttling out at 7am when no one’s around to take pictures. NO! I will sit at my patio table on my front porch and I will drink my own Coke products and eat my own free food (or not, as the case may be) and I will write there! Whenever I fucking feel like it! Have laptop, have wifi, have diet Coke, have bong – the only potential problem here is me. And rain.

This is what I’ve got going for me right now: flowers, two stories to work on and a patio table. And I have to wait for half those things at the moment so basically until then it’s Bummersville, population: me. Apologies in advance.

I am getting more and more excited about the garden the more sunshiney days we have, though. I can’t plant anything until next month but I’ve already sent Rugg my Keep Off The Lawn 2014 flower wishlist and we’ll see what happens I guess. I’m hoping for a lot of things on it, but mostly the lily of the valley “pips” which I think are like bulbs except they’re not dormant when you plant them like the ones you plant in the fall are? Anyway, these you plant in the spring and I specifically wanted them because they are the flower of May, which is the birth month of both my grama and her mother, my great grama, the latter of whom used to lay in bed with me at night and we’d list all the flowers we could think of. Then we’d list all the birds and she’d do all of their calls (poorly). Then I’d fall asleep. She had lily of the valley in her garden and because it was both her and my grama’s birth flower, it was just around a lot growing up and it’s an important plant to my family. I don’t have any and they also happen to grow well in shade, which is exactly where I need them because so far I can’t find anything else I like that will. If I recall correctly, lily of the valley likes to spread itself around if it’s happy, I feel like my gramas were constantly giving some away, so instead of digging up the daffodils and hyacinths in the front bed in front of our living room window and relocating them for something a lot bigger like peonies (which won’t grow in shade), I want to plant the lily of the valley all around them so they’ll fill in the whole bed and it’ll look full the whole growing season, unlike now when the daffodils and hyacinths peter out by May and then the bed lays empty or full of weeds for the rest of the season because nothing else will grow there. (Speaking of daffodils and hyacinths, I just checked and they’re both up and out of the ground about an inch and a half so far, so that’s pretty cool.)

Actually, that’s only partially true. Originally these ugly things were in that bed and the first summer I was here and we did the front garden I ripped them out of the bed because I didn’t like them and planted wildflower seed instead (which didn’t grow) but then I felt really bad at this pile of still-alive flowers I had dug up and didn’t know what to do with them AT ALL so I basically ended up just transplanting them a few feet forward. So dumb. Now they’re there and I still hate them every year and wish they’d die on their own but the fuckers thrive instead and I have no idea what to do with them. Suggestions welcome. I don’t even think I could drive them somewhere, throw ’em in a ditch and wish ’em the best. I’d feel like such a terrible person, I would not be able to live with myself. But every year they grow and every year I think about it…maybe I should let them grow, cut them down and decorate random graves with them…hmmm…

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got in me for  today. Well, there’s one more thing but it’s its own post and isn’t about me at all or even important.

(*I like Starbuck’s. TO GO!)

April 2, 2014

Writing Instead of Eating

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

This was the next day…

This was yesterday…

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

It went like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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