March 15, 2011

derailed, deranged and dejected but not defeated

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:45 am by ben

It has been nearly a year since I last posted.  Sounds like confession.  Fortunately I am not catholic so there are no confessions for me to have forgiven.  I have to learn to forgive others and forgive myself, never mind looking for some divine absolution.

I fully realize I may just be shouting into the breeze here and the truth is it’s ok if I am.  I’ve been a bad blog friend as well as a crappy blogger so I completely understand if I’ve been blogballed.  I just made that up!  It seems also that facebook and twitter have further diminished bloggery and for that I am sad.  I will forever lament the MB days and I will always be grateful for the connections and friendships I found there.  I am missing writing however and I figured what better way than this to reconnect with words?!  Speaking of forgiveness, please go easy on me, it’s been a while and my writing tools and brain are a little dull.

Since I have been away so long I figured an update was necessary, so here it is, my year in review…

Trixie and I fell apart.  The story is long and painful and perhaps at some point I will get into it on here but I have told the story so many times I am sick of hearing it.  Suffice to say that she wounded me deeply, she took from me my job, my family (her family), my happy place (the lake will be awkward and uncomfortable with all of the bitterness and anger between us) and she tore me down to such depths that I thought I might never rebuild.  Her reasons were petty and don’t make sense yet she justifies everything and has turned me into the villain.  I really still don’t understand completely where the animosity and venom came from, I just know I was the target and it hurt.  A lot.

I was so devastated by the loss (it was like a death) that I fell into a pretty dark despair.  I didn’t want to live anymore.  I wasn’t suicidal, I just didn’t care to live.  If it hadn’t been for my husband I might have just stopped breathing.  He urged me to continue what I do and he found me a new office space (that is three times the size of the one we shared and cheaper rent!), he helped me renovate, he built cabinets and a vanity and dealt with the plumber and the landlord and everything else I couldn’t handle.  I was afraid of my own shadow.  I still didn’t know what I did wrong so I was second guessing every move.  I was also incredibly depressed and spiraling deeper every day.  I didn’t recognize myself.

As if the devastation of my personal, familial and work life wasn’t enough to deal with, I had surgery to boot.  I finally got my nose fixed.  No, not a nose job, it is the only part of my body that doesn’t need work!  They did a turbinectomy and septal reconstruction to adjust my septum so that if and when I get bloody noses they will now supposedly be easier to stop.  Of course I won’t know if it worked until I get another gusher.  I do plan to write more about the surgery one day, it was a nightmare, I was awake!  Yes, fully aware of the chisel and felt the tapping and the doc had to tell me to close my eyes!  More on that another time.

In the thick of the ugliness (which didn’t need to get ugly to start with had she just been honest with me) I was taking an ativan (sometimes two) before going in the door in the morning because I was so on edge and so afraid of how bitchy she was going to be that day.  It was one such morning when her perfunctory “good morning” was snarled through gritted teeth that I made my way down the hall and into a counseling center.  I had been wanting to go for some time to see someone, it took her pushing me over the edge to be able to walk through the doors and say aloud, “I need help.”

In some ways I felt like an abused spouse.  I took a lot of shit for a long time and never said or did anything about it because I wanted to keep the peace and I didn’t want to upset the family balance and I didn’t want to hurt the children and husbands.  Wow, it’s so bizarre to look back at it now with some distance and a little more clarity.  My therapist says there are lessons in all of the bad shit that happens to us and we discussed what my lesson in this might be.  I told her I am smart enough, I really don’t need any more lessons!  I thought then that maybe I was meant to learn that I was stronger and could endure more than I thought but it wasn’t until this moment that I wonder if maybe I was meant to grow a backbone.

I am not spineless in general but I learned at a very young age to keep my mouth shut and avoid confrontation at all cost.  I learned that lesson thanks to the sharp tongue and backhand of my mother.  Funny though, I have always been able to stand up for other people, just never for myself.  I guess if you paint “doormat” on your forehead you shouldn’t be surprised when people walk on you.

I am learning how to defend myself without being defensive.  I am learning how to accept what is and let go of what was.  I am also learning who my friends are and who really just wants to play the game.  I am letting go of the people who don’t love me for me and holding tighter to the people who really know me and see my warts (metaphorically speaking) and love me anyway.  I am also trying to cut the negativity out of my life.

That said, financially things have also turned further sour this past year.  We have considered bankruptcy, and although I am loathe to admit it I am doing so because with that admission comes a deeper truth and if there is any place (besides my therapists office) where I can be brutally honest it is here.  Instead of filing chapter 11 (or is it 13?) we have put our house up for sale.  If it sells we will be completely out of debt.  If it doesn’t we will have to reconsider everything.  I always feel the need to justify our debt.  It’s never been easy for us financially but the past few years have been one hit after another.  My husband’s job has been unstable, I had to start over in a new place and although I had help it still wasn’t cheap, we are supporting two households and as much assistance as we can give our kid… which is obviously not much at this point.  He has had to rely on student loans and it’s been a tough (no frills) road for him too.  We are not foolhardy with money, we aren’t frivolous and we don’t have expensive toys.  Our TV is 21 years old ffs!  It’s embarrassing to be in this position but it is what it is and hiding it won’t make it better.

So there it is, in brief (or as brief as I can be) the past year.  In a nutshell I’ve been disposable, broke, chiseled, bruised and in therapy but it’s getting better, I’m working on it (and me) and I hope it’s making me a better person… though I didn’t exactly think I was an asshole before.  My world is not all gloom and doom of course and soon enough I’ll get into that too.  Sometimes apparently you have to endure the dark before you get to see the light.

It feels good to be back.



April 26, 2010

diggin’ it

Posted in shit happening, Uncategorized tagged , , at 9:40 pm by ben

This is the second time I have been on my computer in almost three weeks.  I didn’t think it was possible for me to go this long but apparently it is and I didn’t spontaneously combust or go into DT’s.  My iphone is to blame.  I can check emails and such instantly on there so actually having to deal with dial-up again has become work.  3G has ruined me for all other forms of internet.  The only thing I can’t do (easily) on my phone is blog.  I could do it but I’d lose my mind typing a real post on such a tiny keyboard and my sanity (such as it is) is worth more than that… slightly more.  It’s not like I really have a lot to say anyway, as soon you too will note.

I’ve been gardening and yardworking like a fiend.  I am over the moon that I actually have something to work with this year.  We got a load of manure from a neighbor and I spent two days sifting it through a screen to break up the lumps and remove the rocks and sticks.  Sticks and stones won’t break my bones but wholly fuck is it backbreaking and wrist-cramping to filter them out of shit.  My dad helped me build an 8’x16’ raised bed for veggies and it’s awesome but the tough part about building any garden in this area is finding dirt to fill it.  We live in the Rocky mountains and they are indeed rocky.  There is no topsoil here, just a layer of dust that blows across the rocks.  A little birdie told me that she knew of a fellow who had some peat moss for sale and it turns out this guy is friends with my parents so I had them put in a call for some goods.  For 100$ we got a dump truck load of the most beautiful peat delivered to my back yard!  Sweet!!  I doubt anyone gets as excited about shit and dirt as I do.

So the giant new garden is full, turned and ready but I have to wait another couple weeks until we stop dipping into the negatives overnight to plant or all of my seedlings will freeze.  The seedlings that I planted in February!!  Most of them are full-on plants at this point.  My living room has become a greenhouse with over 200 plants that are eager to hit the outdoors so that they may go forth and be fruitful… or veggie-ful.  I have three different kinds of tomatoes which is funny because I am not particularly crazy about tomatoes.  There are peppers, pumpkins, three varieties of squash, gourds (I am a gourdener!) and a bunch of flowers.  I don’t usually grow flowers from seed but I swore I would not be buying annuals this year which means I had to start them myself.

I have this thing about annuals.  For those not in the gardening know, annuals are the flowers that have to be planted every year (annually!),  as opposed to perennials which return year after year making them a far wiser investment.  Annuals are lovely and showy and smell good but they remind me of strippers.  I’m like the guy who goes into the strip joint (garden center) to just have a look at all of the pretty things.  I swear I won’t spend any money on something that will only give me a small window of pleasure but once I am there I find myself shelling out for lapdance after lapdance and shoving 20’s into g-strings.  I can’t help myself, it’s a sickness!  By the time I leave I’m broke and feeling the pang of regret that I didn’t invest in a girlfriend (perennial) that would give me years of happiness instead of that sexy bitch with the big blossoms.

Wow, can I stretch a metaphor!?

The asparagus that I planted last year is popping up and it is so sweet and tender straight from the garden that it will never make it to the table.  It makes a lovely snack right out of the dirt!  My strawberries however did not fare so well over the winter.  Most of the plants are dead so I am looking to replace them.  The jury is still out on the blueberries, they don’t seem to be dead but they aren’t doing anything either… comatose maybe?  And I did some research to find out what went wrong with my raspberries last year and I think that they didn’t produce because I didn’t water them enough.  I am rectifying that this year… now I’ll probably drown the suckers.

Three weeks away from the computer and this is the best I have.  Sad for you.  ‘Specially the non-gardeners who are subjected to these filthy ramblings of a dirty girl.

We did build a fire pit in the back yard, that is exciting!  We’ve had the bricks for six years so it was well past time to put them together.  It looks a little like a well.  Actually it looks a lot like a well, maybe I will make a “Timmy” to put at the bottom of it.  We went to the lake (which is little more than mud at the moment) last weekend and kicked off camping season a month early.  It was a bit chilly but I got to rest my body and spend some time in “the library” by the fire, reading.  I am half way through Stephen King’s Under The Dome.  I am having a hard time putting it down so it must be good.  He rarely disappoints me.  Anyway before we came home from camping we stopped at a slate pile and picked up some of the flatter rocks to put around the “well” as a kind of rock patio.  It is going to take some hard work to get it all leveled and set in sand but it will hopefully look less like something baby Jessica could get stuck in by the time we’re done.

In other news, we may be the last people in the damn country to do so but we are finally getting our passports.  No plan (or money) to go anywhere yet but hopefully someday and when the finances become available we want to be ready.  It’s not all that complicated but it’s certainly a pain in the ass, I didn’t know what to put for hair color, I don’t even know what my natural hair color is anymore!

I think that’s it.  I hope nobody has cardiac arrested from all of the excitement.

One little story before I go.

Nana is still kicking and just when we think she’s checking out, she springs back.  They play a weekly Bingo game in the home where she lives and usually she is too out of it to play but last week she sat in on the game.  She stamped her card as the numbers were drawn and excitedly she shouted “Bingo!”

The lady across from her said, “No dear, you stamped a number that wasn’t called, you don’t have a Bingo.”

To which my Nana replied, “Fuck you!”

She might be losing her shit (literally) but bless the woman for being able to hold her expletives.

January 11, 2010

nano bites

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:47 am by ben

My kid is home.

You might be wondering why I didn’t write “MY KID IS HOME!!” in a more excited fashion.

Well, here’s the scoop.

My son has sixteen months before he graduates (an eight month work term followed by his final eight months of school) with a degree in nanotechnology engineering… and speaking of nano, he says the stuff in G.I. Joe was ridiculous. I say if someone can dream it someone surely can build it.  Nanomites will exist someday, mark my words. Some crazy motherfucker with a inferiority complex, a small penis and a boatload of money will hire some poor schmuck scientist (ie. my kid) to build some creepy little metal munching mites so he can take over the world!  What I really want to know about all of this science crap is why aren’t there any rich lunatics who want to hire a scientist to make a calorie-burning chocolate cake?!!

What I don’t get is why anyone would WANT to take over the world.   Global warming, wars all over the place, H1N1, AIDS, poverty, starvation, energy crises, Mariah Carey, who would want to deal with all of that ugly mess??!   Being any kind of ruler at this point would be seriously overrated, overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated and probably wouldn’t have near as many perks as it would have even ten years ago (right Bill Clinton?).  Personally I’m happy to be as far from the top and all of that responsibility as I can get, I sure as hell wouldn’t be spending kajillions of dollars to assume command.  If anyone is going to take over the WHOLE world it should be the dude from Dateline who catches the perverts. Nobody would fuck with him.   People would see him coming and run the other way in fear of hidden cameras and a public shaming.  Why can’t I think of his name?  Stone Phillips keeps popping into my head but it’s not him.   I could look it up but I know it and it pisses me off when I can’t access the information.  It’ll come, be patient.

Anyway, G.I. Joe was a shitty movie but that was a total digression.

The Boy (who turned 21 in October and is technically now a man) decided that for his final work term he wanted to do something more businessy and less researchy.   Yep he gets hims smarts from hims ma.  Had he applied for research positions he could have had his pick of the postings since he has such valuable and relevant experience.   He chose instead to ignore the sure thing and wait for a job he really wanted.

We are nearly two weeks into January and he still hasn’t gotten that job.   I do appreciate that he’s trying, he has applied all over the world at investment capital firms and other business development thingamajigs for all sorts of jobs that I don’t even pretend to understand.   What I gather from the scraps that my pea brain has been able to piece together is that he is looking for a company that invests in engineering that would like to hire him to be a sort of consultant… like an expert witness.   He would look at a proposed project and help the investors decide whether it is feasible, financially viable, if it’s been done, if it’s impossible etc.

Two of the companies he’s contacted outside of the university co-op job program have expressed an interest in him once he graduates but so far he’s had no bites for this eight month term. There is a glimmer of hope that he will still be able to graduate in 2011 if he completes a four month work term, but if he doesn’t get anything by May he’s fucked.   He’ll also be screwed for tuition as we won’t be able to afford it next term.  Holy shit kids are a lot of work… and expensive!

He’s been home since Dec. 19th and while I love having my buddy home (there is always someone willing to play video games with me) it’s time for the kid to go to work!   I turn all indulgent mommy when he’s here, I cook and bake more which means I eat more and I hang out in the basement in front of the TV more which means I drink more and I exercise less and yes I am blaming my son because I have no self control. Damn (adult) kid!

He applied to three new postings this weekend. One is in Calgary which would be so convenient, one is at Microsoft Canada and the other is at the Canadian Mint. Hopefully one of them pans out so he can start making some greenery and I can go back to eating greenery.  I talk a pretty tough game right now but wait until I’m putting him on yet another plane.  (CHRIS HANSON!  I knew it would come to me.)

I guess if all else fails we can work on that cake, now there’s a science project I could *ahem* sink my teeth into.  *slaps knee*

For my money a fat fighting chocolate cake would be the real investment opportunity, a frickin’ gold mine!  Forget about taking over the world, I want to make it pay huge to be thin.  That my friends is pure genius and everybody wins, the kid gets a job, I get thin and rich while eating chocolate cake, win, win, win.


(that was my evil genius laugh)

January 4, 2010

this post goes nowhere man

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:49 pm by ben

I am trying to decide if it’s weird or comforting that the majority of people who know me as ben now too know me as Brenda. I feel a little like The Wizard when Toto pulls back the curtain, no more mystique, no more magic, just plain old me. I am ben, she is me, we are one and the same though we are rarely seen together. Now I’ll have The Beatles in my head all day, “I am she and she is me and we are rarely seen together. Goo goo g’joob.”

Yes, it is “goo goo g’joob” and not “koo koo k’choo” as I always assumed. How do I know this? We’ve been playing Beatles Rock Band.

It is interesting to note the musical progression of the four lads from their early days of simple love songs through the hallucinogenic induced lyrics of their druggy days and on to the politically motivated songs they wrote before Yoko ground her heel into the thorax of the band and unceremoniously squashed the life and heart out of it.

I was never a Beatles fan, certainly I was too young to be the screaming kind of panty wetting fan of the 70’s. If I was wetting my panties in the 70’s it was referred to as an “accident”. I did however like a few of their songs and I used to sing All My Lovin to my son as a lullaby when he was little.

Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you
Tomorrow I’ll miss you
Remember I’ll always be true
And then while I’m away
I’ll write home every day
And I’ll send all my lovin’ to you.

In retrospect it’s not really an appropriate mother/son song but it was more about the closing the eyes part than the rest and frankly I’d have sung Helter Skelter if I thought it’d make him go to sleep. I was disappointed All My Lovin’ and so many others (Help, Yesterday, Hey Jude & Ob-la -di Ob-la-Da) were not included in the game. Instead they filled it with the likes of And Your Bird Can Sing, Dig A Pony, Hey Bulldog and several others of comparable uninspired insipid dreck. The nice thing about this version of Rock Band is that all of the songs are fairly easy to play and sing. I am even able to play the drums for a good many of them although I am much more Paul and John than Ringo. We have taken to calling the Boy “Ringo” since he is the most proficient drummer in the family. My husband generally catterwalls and yowls worse than Yoko but he made a real effort of Something that I must admit, dampened my drawers a bit… in the non-accidental kind of way. I’ve always been a little weak-kneed for boys who could sing.

I don’t think this was the intended direction of this post but it appears that it took a course of its own.  Music makes me happy and I find great joy in playing the Rock Band/Guitar Hero games (not to mention Super Mario Wii and all of the word and puzzle games I’ve put on miphone) and although am not great at it I like to sing (I sound best when I am alone and nobody else can hear me) and play guitar and I have been known to tuck a microphone into my cleavage and do both simultaneously.  This is however much more difficult than walking and chewing gum at the same time especially when I don’t know all of the words and have all of the coordination of an octopus on LSD.

Yes, I am a dork.

We both are.

Goo goo g’joob.

December 31, 2009

back in the new year groove

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:20 pm by ben

Is there anybody out there?  Nod if you can hear me.

I’ve tried several times in the last five months to put pen to paper… electronically speaking… and post something on here but every time my words fell flat and I found myself playing some stupid word game or another.  I am the queen of procrastination and distraction.  All hail me.  Shit, I’m not even sure that anybody will read this let alone praise me, and you know what?  I’m really ok with that.  I have missed writing, I’ve missed having that voice and shouting into oblivion not knowing if or by whom I will be heard but finding sanity and some kind of bizarre peace in speaking my mind.  I want that back.  I need that back.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I hate to make promises that I know can’t keep, especially to myself.  On this the afternoon of the eve of of the new decade however, I find myself in front of my keyboard with an urge to blog that is more overpowering than the call of wine and snacks from the kitchen.  That has to mean something.  It’s time to sweep up the cobwebs, squish the spiders and blow the dust off of this place and find my blog mojo again.

I’m excited about blogging for the first time in a long time.  I was even more thrilled to discover that WordPress has an app for the iPhone.  Oh yeah, did I mention I got an iPhone for Christmas?  If I didn’t I am sure I will mention it soon… and often.  SQUEEEEEEEEE!!  Best. Toy. Ever.  Especially for someone on dial-up!  I can check emails instantly now instead of the usual fifteen minute ordeal.

We’re staying in tonight, our boy is still here (and he’d rather spend the evening with us over his friends… I am not sure if that says more about us or about his friends) and we’ve got some friends and family coming out for games and drinks and enough frickin’ food to feed a small planet.  They better eat it all too, the diet restarts tomorrow right after the obligatory post-drinking chocolate milk.

If there is anybody left out there… and I wouldn’t blame deserters since I’ve certainly been one myself.  I’ll do better next year, I’d even bet there is an app for that!  I hope you have a fabulous time tonight and I wish you and yours all of the best for the new year/decade.

Cheers and New Year’s kisses all around.


Ahhh it’s good to be home.  🙂

September 10, 2008

miss diagnosis

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 11:09 pm by ben

We put our lives and the lives of those we love in the hands of medical professionals.  We give them our histories and access to our most private (literally) areas and not only allow them but also invite them to poke and prod us at will and without question.  We believe in the hippocratic oath and we trust that they have our best interests at heart but do they?  

We have a pretty decent medical system here in Canada, although after seeing Michael Moore’s “Sicko” I realize we are fairly backwoods compared to the likes of France and Cuba and so many other countries.  Still, for the most part we get the attention we need when we need it, or at least we used to.  Recently I heard a story about a lady here in BC who has a monster kidney stone that is impassable.  She has been given the usual treatments for her ailment yet nothing is breaking the rock down to peehole size.  There is apparently some sort of water treatment that is successful in such cases but there are only two machines in the entire province that do it and the soonest she can be booked in for the procedure is in 18 months.  This poor woman is in extreme agony and on any number of narcotics so she is completely unable to function yet she has to wait a year and a half for what amounts to a simple day surgery!?  This is bloody inconceivable (Wally Shawn).  I can see if it was twenty years ago and the technology was not developed but there is absolutely zero reason that anyone should have to suffer when relief is available.  How can they justify making a person who is in such dire need wait for so long?!  Are there really 18 months worth of people in line for that particular remedy?  

I’ve heard of people dying of burst appendixes (appendices?) in hospital waiting rooms, and I knew two people who were sent home from the emergency room (one was sent home twice in the same night) and told “It’s just the flu.” only to die later because it sure as fuck was not just the flu!  In some places people wait for up to twelve hours in the emergency room…seriously it’s a wonder that more don’t die.  I understand the concept of triage but if I am going to go to the ER because whatever pain I am in or injury I have sustained is bad enough that I can’t stand it long enough to wait to see my GP then I am certainly not going to be well enough to sit in a crowded waiting room and suffer unattended for however many hours until I am finally treated.

I would imagine it all comes down to money (because sadly doesn’t everything?) but we are ‘supposed’ to be a developed country.  It’s not like we’re having our babies in the cornfields anymore or stitching each other up with the same needle and thread we use to patch our pants (not me personally as I sure as fuck can’t sew…people or clothing), hell we don’t even have to go to back alley butchers to have abortions anymore.  We pay for our medical, do we need to pay overtime so they can clear up their schedules a little faster?  Or does our government have to pony up and squeeze some sheckles out of the beaver’s ass (our nickel has a beaver on it) so this sort of medical negligence doesn’t happen anymore.  We’ve come too far to backslide over a few measly dollars.  Some things are just too important to not fund properly…like people.

Our local hospital has closed beds and cut back lab services.  The simplest of blood tests are now sent away and can sometimes take days for results.  They do ultrasounds and x-rays locally but anything beyond the basics has to be read by someone with more letters behind their name than whatever we have here.  My cousin’s water broke last week but since she was six weeks premature they put her in an ambulance to drive her three hours to the nearest OB/GYN.  Rather than risking delivering a (slightly) preemie here they drove her 300 km on a crappy secondary highway where she could easily have lost the baby all together (or given birth in transit) but at least these doctors asses were covered.  They just handed the problem off to someone else.  

Where are our priorities?  What could possibly be more important or fiscally urgent than quality healthcare?  In my mind, not a damn thing. 

The physicians are not completely to blame, they have to answer to health authorities…imagine Nazi’s with stethoscopes and calculators…and they have to justify all of their testing and such.  My issue with the doctors themselves is more about honesty.  

My husband (as I mentioned) was very sick last week.  He was in severe pain, short of breath and fevered.  I am no diagnostician (without google) but I am pretty sure that the three symptoms combined are not a good sign.  My problem with how his case was handled (and I’ve witnessed this time and again) is that they treated the symptoms before finding out what was causing them.  Let’s say for instance that Heiny’s spleen was going renegade in some spastic calamity of infection.  The anti-inflamatories that he was given were pretty heavy duty so if there were any flaming organs in his person I’m sure that the drugs would have extinguished them…or at least eased the pain.  Likewise if his stomach was the culprit, the Zantac would have masked the symptoms and further if his heart was broken the aspirin and nitro glycerine would have patched it.  Now I am not saying that they should let a person suffer untreated completely until a positive diagnosis is found but christ on a cracker if you throw enough dope at a person something is liable to stick.  Now we won’t know what caused it OR what helped.  Yes, of course I am glad he is feeling (a little) better but if they only treated the symptoms then surely there is still a cause to contend with.  How will we know what the origin was, how serious (or not) the whole ordeal was…or if it will continue to pain him…if they stop looking once the symptoms subside?

It’s all very frustrating to me and I wish I had been here when it all went down, oh yes I would have been THAT wife.  I would have asked the right questions and kept asking until I got answers.  I (unlike my dear stoned hubby) would also have remembered all of the information and I would have kept after them until they got to the source of his anguish…and fixed it!

Apparently the ultrasound showed no gallstones but until the doctor gets back from holidays in two weeks we won’t know what (if anything) the test did show.  They are scheduling him to see a cardiologist which leads me to believe they have no fucking idea what the problem is so they are just passing him off to another health professional.  He is feeling better and he (thankfully) is at least breathing without difficulty again and for that I am also grateful but what if there is something serious going on?  What if they are missing something that had they caught it early enough might save his life?  He’s completely stressed about it which does nothing for his physical state.  His work is a mess (again…or still) and there is enough for him to deal with without his health causing him more pain as well.  I should have gone to med school.

I want to have faith in our medical system.  I want to believe we matter.  I also want to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny but so far it’s not looking very promising.  Maybe like all other things even natural selection has become synthetic and this is just how they thin the herd.

May 7, 2008


Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 3:56 am by ben

One day is running into another at the moment.  I’m getting confused as to where I am in the week and my appointment calendar is saving me from thinking every day is Sunday.  How lovely would it be if every day was Sunday…not so much for the churchgoers though, you’d REALLY have to like church.  I’m not sure why my internal calendar is all fucked up…it just is.  I’m feeling off, not sick really, just off.  I’m kinda crabby, my knees are achy and I haven’t been sleeping.  Hmm, maybe it’s PMS.  I really need to start tracking these bad days to see if there is a pattern.  It might have something to do with our current (constant?) state of limbo.  We haven’t heard anything about the job yet, I’m guessing he didn’t get it.  Now we have to decide whether or not we want to keep trying to find something in the city or if we should stick it out here.  Speaking of sticking out, I have a sore thumb, it’s swollen and feels bruised at the knuckle.  Not sure what I did to it but it hurts like a motherfucker and of course it would have to be my right thumb…the important one…the wrestling/hitchhiking digit.  I may need a splint…and crutches…and drugs.

About the time I think things are seriously sucking for me something worse happens to someone else.  Last Saturday at 8pm Cousin Trixie’s husband Harry got a phone call.  His eldest sister Caren had gone in to emergency twice only to be told she simply had the flu and be sent home, untested and untreated both times.  When she started seizing they finally took her seriously.  After a lot of tests they discovered that she has spinal meningitis.  Scary shit.  Apparently she had a cold sore, a herpe, that instead of bursting outward ruptured inward making its way to her spinal column and settling in her brain.  By the time she was admitted they feared it was already too late.  Her headache had become excruciating, the pressure in her brain increasing to the point that it drove her eyeballs nearly out of her head.  At one point they found her trying to push her eyes back into their sockets, screaming that the pain was unbearable and she wanted to die.  They suggested calling the family.  

Harry left home at 3am to catch a flight at 7am, his mom left at roughly the same time from Nova Scotia and the two of them met in Toronto.  They rented a car and drove up to where the two sisters live, hoping and praying that Caren would still be alive when they arrived.  As they donned the sterile gowns Peggy warned them that Caren was not looking herself and that they should brace themselves.  Peg said that despite the warning the shocked expressions on their faces were right out of a horror movie.  Harry held tightly to his mother as she nearly collapsed at the sight of her eldest daughter.  As if the nine tubes running in and out of her were not enough her face was nearly unrecognizably swollen and misshapen.  Her left eye and the left side of her mouth were drooping as though she had had a stroke and her normally peachy complexion was now grey.  

“Hey sis, your little bun is here.” Harry tried to coax her awake at the urging of the nurse.

“Harry.” she mumbled, her eyes fluttering.

He thought she was in pain as her hands flailed toward her face.  As she fell back asleep he realized that she had been trying to wipe away her tears.  It was the first time she had been awake in two days.  

Caren is only 49 years old.  Her husband, children, siblings and mother have been taking round the clock shifts sitting with her.  Hoping.  They say that it will be another three or four days before they know if she’ll live.  Even if she does survive she is looking at at least three more weeks in the hospital and depending on the damage to her brain she may never recover fully.

My shit feels pretty small right now.

I’m not one for prayer but as long as there is anything positive in me I will be sending that energy her way.  

April 8, 2008

reefer madness

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:04 pm by ben

My son is renting a room from one of my mom’s cousins (my second cousin) in Vancouver.  I have referred to her as Puff the Magic Cousin as she has a weakness for the wacky weed.  None of us have any problem with her bogarting the buzz, it’s her life and they are her brain cells to blow…er…suck?!  I always get a giggle over people who insist that smoking the herb does not make them dumber.  They swear on a stack of rolling papers that they are just as aware and intelligent as ever and often claim the grass actually makes them more astute.  I am sure there are some occasional users who manage to function just fine and even retain a good portion of BC’s (brain cells) and I know one particularly high strung woman who could not function (or sleep) without it.  She partakes of pot so she can slow down.  She is more than a litte ADHD and apparently the mary jane works better for her than ritalin.  Still I know a dope smoker laugh from a mile away “uh huh huhu huh” and the chronics I have encountered have to share their BC’s because unlike their j’s there aren’t enough to go around.

Puff is a high powered realtor.  She likes to doobie it up in the evening to help her relax.  To her it is no different than a glass of wine might be for someone else.  Again, I have no problem with her usage but she swears it doesn’t effect her mind.  I beg to differ.

Whenever Puff does or says something funny my boy can’t wait to get on MSN and share the tale with me.  One day he told me that she always smokes cigarettes outside but she prefers to bogart her joints in the house.  I asked my son if she offers to share or if he takes big breaths as he walks through the room.  He rolls his eyes at me and says “No, if that’s what pot does to people, I’ll pass.”  Good boy.  He also tells me that she often gets words mixed up, for instance my kid has heard her use the word ‘infostructure’ many times.  I guess that would be the information regarding the structure?  I am not saying that I am certain that it is the spliffs that makes her loopy, Puff is not blonde, she is in the top ten percent of lower mainland realtors, she makes millions of dollars each year she can’t be doing that well and be entirely dim…can she?

Several weeks ago Puff’s boyfriend went on a motorcycle trip down to California and one of the fellows who was fairly new to motor sports went along was having continuous problems.  Puff was telling my son the story and she said, “You really need to be experienced to do the Baja, that is not the kind of trip you should take if you’re a novelist.”

The Boy did a double take…did she really say novelist?

She did.

He could not wait to get online to tell me, adding that “next time you go biking, make sure you leave your grammar at the door… no novelists allowed.”

April 5, 2008

puppy love

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 4:07 pm by ben

Some couples like to play ‘Doctor’, today my husband and I played ‘Vet’.  No, that is not some bestial type game and it doesn’t have anything to do with a certain puppy prone sex position.

We have an almost eight year old Border Collie/Lab cross.  Her name is Mika and she is by far the happiest, sweetest canine ever…her stench notwithstanding of course…and she does like to stand at the side of the bed to watch us have sex, which gives me the giggles and totally ruins the mood so my husband has to put her outside or he knows he’s not going to get anywhere.  She is my early warning system when someone enters the yard, she is my (mostly) fearless protector (unless of course I am being attacked by a cat as she has been hissed and swiped at enough times that she knows to maintain a safe distance from felines), she is my bedwarmer when Heiny is working, she is my constant companion and there is nobody else I would rather walk with.  Don’t tell my husband I said that.  I simply prefer to walk with the bitch because she always keeps my pace and she lets me listen to mipod and doesn’t make idle chatter.  I also appreciate the fact that if we do meet up with anything menacing…in this area that means bears, cougars, coyotes or squirrels…she will not only let me know they are near but she will also at least attempt to chase them away.  My husband would surely push me to the ground so that he could get a head start in the opposite direction.  I am sure he’d make me his escape sacrifice.  It would be easy enough to explain to the authorities that I tried to run but I tripped and fell and by the time he realized I was no longer with him it was too late to save me, I was already critter vittles.  Apparently I have my entire demise figured out.  If I do happen to become bear chow I hope that someone checks into whether or not my husband purchased a new life insurance policy on me recently.  

Mika knows how to tell time.  She used to wait at the end of the driveway every day at 4:30 every day when my boy was in school because she knew that was when the bus would be rounding the corner.  When I worked at the music store she would ask to be let out at 6:20 because she knew I’d be coming home soon.  On days when I was late or my son didn’t get off the bus she would hang her head and mope.  It’s kind of nice to be loved like that.  My husband never wags his tail or jumps around excitedly when I get home at the end of the day.  By the same token he also doesn’t lick his privates and try to kiss me either…though I am pretty sure if he had that option he’d take it.

I have been walking almost every day for a few months now…and can finally do so without the parka!…but I have this thing about walking, I hate to walk back.   That was why I loved my treadmill, when I was had had enough I could just get off it.  I will happily stroll in one direction forever but I detest having to turn around and go back the way I have already been.  Maybe it has something to do with seeing the same dull scenery again, maybe the return route feels longer, maybe I’m just lazy.  My solution to this is to walk as far as I can in one direction and get a ride home.  Now I know that sounds like a waste of fuel and a pain in the ass for my limo driver but I have found a way to do it without being either.  When my husband is on day shift he finished work at 4:30 and it takes him about 30 minutes to get home.  If I head to meet him just as he finishes it gives me a solid half hour jaunt before he meets me and picks me up.  Quite often when I have extra time and energy I leave early and get an extra 10 or 20 minutes.  Usually by the time we meet up I have walked enough and am ready for the lift back.

Mika has figured out that 4:30 is walk time.  As soon as the phone rings she goes apeshit bouncing around like a 60 lb spider monkey on Red Bull and crack.  If for any reason my husband is late in calling she finds me and starts nudging me, dancing around, telling me it’s time to go.  Yesterday was no exception but when she jumped up on me in excitement, nearly knocking me on my ass, she left a spot of blood on my hoody.  My stomach turned, not out of squeamishness but out of fear that there was something seriously wrong with her.

I told her to sit and shake and she handed me the paw, it was all bloody and the dew claw was obviously missing.  Gross.  She was too excited to sit still, she was more interested in walking than being checked out so I figured it likely wouldn’t get worse in half an hour so away we went.

By the time we got home I could tell it was bothering her but she wasn’t limping or whining…she just wanted to lick it.  Great, now my dog has a taste for blood.

I Googled “torn dew claw” to see if it was the kind of thing that needed veterinary assistance but according to the great and powerful Wiki, it just needed to be cleaned and wrapped so it won’t get infected.

I set up an ‘operating table’ on the bathroom counter and gathered all of the necessary supplies…peroxide, gauze, polysporin and band-aids.  When everything was in place I called her.  She just ignored me which is dog speak for ‘Fuck off, I do not want a bath.”  I walked over to her and said “Come on!”  She looked away pretending not to hear me.  Finally I put her collar on her, and she came more than a little unwillingly into the bathroom.  I lifted her (no wonder my back hurts today) up onto the counter and had her lay down.  We cleaned her paw and thankfully the peroxide did not turn her blonde (I was concerned), put some antibiotic ointment on the gauze and wrapped her leg using the bandaids to secure it.  It looked much like the wrapping of racehorse legs…or a mini legwarmer.

Mika sniffed at the bandage a few times and I hissed at her when she started licking at it and she finally left it alone.  She spent the rest of the evening reclined on our bed between us as we watched TV raising her wounded wing into the air every time we paid her any attention and rolling onto her back to let us know that a belly rub would make her feel better.  We obliged.  Hell, there is nothing I love more than a good tummy scratch when I hurt myself too.

This morning we removed her bandages and she seems just fine, we may have missed our calling as vets but that still doesn’t mean we’ll let her watch us play ‘doctor’.

April 2, 2008

homeland insecurity

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 9:39 pm by ben

There are a few reasons why I have decided to leave the other site and move here, the main one being that it has really never felt like home to me and even though I know this means I will lose touch with a lot of people from there I just feel it’s time to move on and those who really give a shit will find me here and those who don’t…well, it’s one way of finding out who your friends are I guess.  Wow, run-on sentence much?!  I also really like the features here, there are alerts for posts and comments and it’s faster, easier and far more stable.  It might take me a bit to get the hang of it all but even if I don’t it is still completely operable for the computerly challenged.   

Another reason for leaving is that I feel like my blogging has gotten stale and I need a fresh start to shake off the stagnation and find my voice again.  Life has been handing us some pretty shitty blows lately and I haven’t been able to clear the mess from my head long enough or effectively enough to do anything constructive.  I want to write but every time I set out to do so I find myself frustrated and feeling like it’s all been said before and rather than coming off as redundant I pull up Facebook and have a few games of Scramble to distract myself instead….oooh shiny words!  While my vocabulary has improved it has not kept the demons out of my cranium.  I need to purge, to spit them out, I have to get rid of them, or at least put them on paper (screen?!) because turning on the lights and exposing the little bastards usually makes the monsters a little less intimidating. 

We are apt to be making some big changes in our lives very soon and I am not at all happy with them.  My husband’s job is all fucked up and they are now saying that there will be no work for them for two weeks a month.  We were barely making ends meet with full paychecks, there is no way we can survive on half that.  Decisions have to be made, likely a move is in our future which means selling the house (and home) that we built ourselves and starting over somewhere else.  

I was born and grew up in this town and despite the fact that I couldn’t wait to get the fuck out when I turned 18 I also couldn’t wait to get back here after living in the city for a year.  It was here that I met my husband and had my son.  We moved when our boy was two but by the time he started school and the stress of living (and worrying) in the city got to me I begged to move back here so that he could have the kind of formative years that I had (minus the insane mother of course).  I always felt good about and still stand by that decision, I think kids in small towns are able to (usually) stay kids a little longer and there are more eyes on them despite the smaller population.  If my kid ever got into shit he knew that I’d know about it before he even got home.  By the same token I was secure in the knowledge that this was a safer place for him too but if he ever got into trouble there were plenty of people here he could turn to for help.  Three times I have left here and three times I have moved back.  It is home for me and as Dorothy so wisely put it “There is no place like home.”

I love it here, the weather is not bad by Canadian standards, it gets cold but not usually the bitter frostbiting cold, it gets hot in the summer but never so hot you can’t breathe, we don’t get any wind in this part of the mountains and it’s peaceful and private.  I love my work and I am finally building a reputation and a clientele that would take me years to acquire elsewhere.  We love our house and I have worked my ass off in the yard and gardens and while they are not quite lush and lovely yet I would like to see them become at least pretty and productive…even that is a far cry from the rock and clay I started with.  I fully expected to live in this house for the rest of my life, I even imagined my grandchildren (eventually I hope!) coming to spend time with us here.  It devastates me that we might have to let it go and we will never get out of it all that we have put into it financially or emotionally.  The worst part of leaving for me however is the prospect of losing my real happy place, the lake.  We will always be able to keep our spot but we will never get as much time there no matter where we move to and what kind of time off we get together.  From home it is a forty minute drive, from anywhere else we’re looking at a minimum of four hours.  From here it is feasible to go out for the day or a short overnight but those trips will be gone if we live anywhere else.  I have spent the entire winter in anticipation of getting out there and starting on our cabin (so that we can camp year-round) and now it’s all fucked up and not only will we not be able to afford the cabin but we also may not get out there much at all.  It’s beyond depressing for me.  

My husband has to make some decisions.  I will not force his hand even though I loathe the prospect of moving…not to mention packing all of our shit!  He is forty years old and it’s hard for him to start over too and I know that but since he makes the bigger money ultimately it is up to him where and how he does so.  I could gently (or not) nudge him in one direction or another but I would never make him go somewhere or do something that would make him unhappy even if it means sucking up my own sadness to do so.  I understand why he holds onto hope that things will turn around at the mill, he knows that job so well, he makes good money (when he’s working), he gets four weeks of vacation in the summer and the benefits are fantastic.  I realize that it’s hard to walk away from that if there is a chance it will pick up again but we can’t live on hope.  It’s time to shit or get off the pot and the sooner he tells me where we’re going the sooner I can figure out how to deal with it.  I just keep telling myself that no matter which route we take at least I will finally have high speed internet.  It’s small consolation but consolation nonetheless.

I hate to be a whiner and I know our situation is not life or death and I realize that there are plenty of people who have it much worse than I do and I have perspective on that but at the same time this is my life, my world and these are my fears and frustrations.  I get that things could be much worse and yes, at least we have our health but it’s hard to be grateful when it feels like the life I love is crumbling in and I am about to suffocate in the rubble and anxiety of it all.  

Maybe changing blog sites will be good for me in that it’s a move of its own sort as well.  Maybe starting over online will prepare me for starting over offline.  Maybe not.  That was me trying to be optimistic and failing with flying colours.  

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