Monday, December 30, 2013

This my half-assed 2013 wrap up

Thanks to Aunt Becky, I've got a handy-dandy survey-style template with which to outline some of the highlights and lowlights of my year, which is good, since a full run down of this year would probably be a novel.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? 
I did an 8 kilometre hike through the Bruce Trail with full-pack (16km if you count the return trip) and children in tow.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I actually made any, except to make it through another year if it kills me.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 
One of my bestest pals and his lovely partner had an adorable baby girl.

4. Did anyone close to you die? 
Another of my very close friends lost her mother to cancer, which was quite the loss. Nancy had always been beyond kind to me and she is missed quite a bit.

5. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? 
Flood coverage. A fully functioning sump pump. A well insulated roof and properly sealed duct work. Oh, hell. A complete freaking home makeover.

6. What countries did you visit? 
I stayed within Canadian borders this year.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
September 30th. 2013. The day I got my cancer diagnosis. Worst day ever.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 
Maintaining my sanity, and keeping my plants alive. Some are even thriving.

9. What was your biggest failure? 
Trying to make fucking gravy tonight. I swear, once upon a time I successfully made gravy, but I've completely lost that skill somewhere.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 
To quote one Ms. Steph Gas "hahahahahahahaha. yes."

11. What was the best thing you bought? 
My TV, after the old one caught fire. Also, my hiking boots. Going for a hike after months of wearing cheap-ass Zellers running shoes was an absolute revelation.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? 
All the people, including but not limited to the Well-Travelled One, the kiddies, the parentals, and numerous friends who have been insanely supportive through all the bullshit that went on this last quarter. I may need to mention the Well-Travelled One twice, just for the sheer fact that he hasn't run screaming. You'd almost think he liked me or something.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? 
Almost every person I've had to deal with on a professional level lately, with a very special fuck-you-very-much to insurance companies and Service Canada.

14. Where did most of your money go? 
Plumbers and restoration companies. Also, Mountain Equipment Co-op got a good chunk of change out of me.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? 
I got pretty teary-excited upon finding out my cancer was stage one, and wouldn't require chemotherapy. However I still think I may have been more excited getting pointed out by Hugh Dillon at the Headstones concert in July.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013? 
I don't think I have a specific song for this year. I know I listened to a lot of the Mountain Goats and Murder By Death. Although I could say that "Titanium" has been my theme this year (along with tMG's "This Year")

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Maybe not sadder, but way more stressed out.
ii. thinner or fatter? Sameish? Down about 7 or more pounds worth of colon
iii. richer or poorer? poorer. Oh, poorer. Definitely poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? 
I wish I'd done more of the home improvements that I meant to do in the summer when I still had the strength, ability and finances to do them.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? 
Putting stuff off.

20. How will you be did you spending Christmas?
I spent a good portion of Christmas morning on the phone and the Facebook trying to locate someone who could come and jump my car, seeing as the battery had picked an inopportune time to die. After getting it started, I ended up forgoing plans with family since my sisters house was host to some sort of plague that me and my broken digestive system felt that we should avoid like.. well... the plague. So I spent a lot of the day being bummed out. Then we had pizza.

21. There was no #21. I don’t know why there was no 21.

22. Did you fall in love in 2013? 
Only more so.

23. How many one-night stands? 
Um, well... I got two new night stands. Does that count?

24. What was your favourite TV program? 
Got obsessed with Revolution and fell in love with New Girl.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Kind of hating the woman at Service Canada who gave me attitude and then proceeded to lose my Record of Employment

26. What was the best book you read?
1985 by Jian Ghomeshi. I'm a sucker for pop culture, nostalgia and randomly placed top five lists.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? 
I've been loving the hell out of Murder By Death.. Whom I guess I actually discovered at CMW in 2012, but they've been getting really heavy rotation this year.

28. What did you want and get? 
I don't really want for much, or covet anything, really so nothing is jumping out at me. I wanted a camera. I got one for Christmas from work.

29.  Wait.. is there no 29 either?

30. What was your favourite film of this year? 
I've only seen a small handful of movies from this year and most of them were pretty underwhelming. I've spent more time filling in the list of movies I should have watched ages ago. I think the one I had the most feelings over was Leon the Professional.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 
I turned 33, and drove to Tobermory to camp with the kids and the Well Travelled One.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
An almost complete do-over.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? 
I don't have much of a fashion concept. I got a lot more practical and tried to work on getting some good quality basics that will last for some time, while supplementing with the occasional fun thrift store find.

34. What kept you sane?
Dark, inappropriate humour.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? 
I, like most of the Internet, have a huge love for Jenny Lawson.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I've been following the fast food and retail strikes with a lot of interest. They deserve more, especially since we are talking about more than just high-schoolers needing extra cash.. These are people trying to raise families and survive.

37. Who did you miss? 
A lot of people. I haven't been terribly social this year.

38. Who was the best new person you met? 
I don't feel like I've met too many new people this year.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:
Always buy the flood insurance. ALWAYS BUY THE FLOOD INSURANCE.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year (because this Meme is apparently written for tweens): 
"Someone say a Hail Mary for this house. Bless the corners and burn the devil out."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The year we had pizza for Christmas dinner.

Ho ho ho, y'all.

Not gonna lie.  Christmas was kind of (not entirely, just kind of) a bust this year.  And I am bummed out.  Plans to spend the day with my family at my sisters place were thwarted first when my car battery, which has been on its way out, decided to die on me, leaving The Well-Travelled One and I stranded in the driveway, without a way to pick up my children from their dad's house or go and let our friend's dog out while they were away visiting their family.

After calling around, feeling horribly about interrupting people on their Christmas Day to see out a booster pack or something with which to jump my car, rescue came in the form of my friend Nic who assisted in pushing my car out of the driveway so we could hook his truck up and jump the car.

We were again thwarted when I found out that a majority percentage of my sisters family were down with a stomach flu of some sort.  After some hemming and hawing I decided not to go, as Gord only knows what kind of havoc a stomach flu would have on my incomplete, still healing digestive tract.  So I made the difficult decision to sit out Christmas dinner this year.

Which sucks.  

Despite all my Scroogey griping in the months leading up to it, I really do enjoy Christmas, at least I enjoy the part that involves getting together with my family and the fun togetherness.  It makes the stress of all the crap leading up to it (shopping, financial worries, the endless Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays debates) worth it.  So it really, really bummed me out that I ended up missing out on the part I like the most.  

It wasn't all bad.  I did get to have time with my own kids, and got to watch them open gifts that for the first time, I got to take complete credit for.  I got at least two really excited reactions to stuff that I had picked out (Angry Birds bed sheets for Reagan, and a Black Butler t-shirt that brought tears to Tierney's eyes) and got a blender for myself from the girls which is one kitchen appliance I have been missing for quite some time.  I also got to try out the camera I got from work this year (but have yet to upload any pictures from).

And we had pizza for dinner.  Which I don't know whether to call that a loss or a win.  Because pizza.  I dunno.  Pizza is usually awesome.  I guess I'm just feeling meh because this year, Christmas didn't feel different from any other day and I'm still bitter that I missed my other favourite holiday, Halloween.  So it feels kind of unfair that they both were kind of crap, and for roughly the same reason.  Any other year I would have braved the risk of illness in order to spend time with my family, but this year I had to weigh that risk because what if I got sick and threw up to the point that I ruptured something? Or got some other kind of infection.

I know I will see most of my family later in the week when everybody is feeling better, and we'll have a good time then (plus I get to meet my recently discovered cousin, which is exciting) but right now I feel like I've been ripped off.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

On Phil Robertson, hate speech and Christian persecution

I'll be honest.  I've only ever watched Duck Dynasty once.  I thought the episode I saw was fairly amusing. I have some friends and family who adore it.  I'm not here to offer my criticism of the show itself, but I do have a few things to say about Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson, and his recent GQ interview where he likened homosexuality to bestiality and also implied that black people were happier under Jim Crow.

More accurately, I'm going to reiterate a few points that come up every time someone gets shit for saying something bigoted in the media and everyone and their grandma starts yelling about "FREEZE PEACH!" 

Let's make one thing clear.  No ones constitutional rights are being trampled here.  The government has not stepped in prevent Phil Robertson from expressing his views, through threat of punishment or sanction.  Free speech does not mean that he is free from consequence or criticism.

The ability to criticize is also a part of free speech.  In fact, there was a whole lot of free speech going on here:  

- Phil was fully within his rights to express his views to GQ, knowing that GQ would be publishing his words.
- People who disagreed and found his words hurtful and/or oppressive were within their rights to contact A&E and tell them that they would no longer support A&E should A&E continue to either implicitly or explicity support Phil Robertson
- A&E is within their rights to verbally distance themselves from Robertson (even if hypocritically so, since they've apparently been aware of his views for years, and only now seem to have a problem when it could potentially bite them in the ass) and they are within their rights to refuse to give him a platform
- Supporters of Robertson are also within their rights to tell A&E that they will no support A&E if they DON'T reinstate Robertson.  They are also free to, rather disingenuously, claim that they don't agree with his views but care more about their comfort zone and viewing habits than the people that Phil has figuratively shat on, so they will hereby be boycotting A&E until Phil is reinstated so they can return happily to their comfort zone of apathy.
- edited to add: people were also within their rights to continue to watch or not watch the show without comment, because freedom of speech also includes the freedom to withhold an opinion.

See? Free speech abounds.

As far as the claim is being persecuted for his Christian beliefs.. Well, no.  He's being called out on his shitty beliefs.  It is my understanding that the family on Duck Dynasty make no bones about being faithful Christians, right down to ending every meal with a prayer.   As far as I know, I don't recall too many people complaining about their Christian beliefs before this interview came out.  I've not read about people up in arms about the Robertson's dinner prayers or references to God and The Bible.  People got complainy when those beliefs started to shit on marginalized people.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Survivors Guilt, or Something Like It

I've been reading through the colon cancer tag on Tumblr, after being followed by another young woman who is also dealing with with this disease, and I really can't believe how easy I've gotten off with the whole colon cancer thing.  Aside from the diagnosis itself, which obviously is not awesome, I've really been getting a lot of best case scenarios along the way, and a lot of it has been pretty flukey, starting catching it early enough (stage 1) that chemo and radiation were not necessary, by virtue of what was a routine scope.  

The worst of my colitis was concentrated in the ascending colon (where the tumour was located) which meant that my rectum could be left in place even while removing the rest of the colon, making it possible to do a resection that let me avoid things like iliostomies (pooh-bags), when originally I was looking at pooh-bag for life. I had very little post-surgical problems aside from a minor ish infection in my join.  I didn't pop any staples or sutures, haven't had any subsequent surgeries.  I had a six-week follow up appointment with my surgeon and he's pleased with my progress.  I can return to a normal diet, and should be able to return to most normal activities in another month or so.  I'm going back to work half-days next week.  Did I mention, work has been fantastic and crazy-supportive about this? I know not many people get that luxury when facing major illness.

Even my bathroom trips have been best case scenario.  Where I was told I'd probably have to crap 3-4 times a day, it's been mostly once a day, like clockwork almost.  

The weird thing about all the best-case scenario business is that I almost feel like I have no right to complain.  Long ago I started dealing with shitty things by thinking of all the ways situations could be worse.  Problem with that is that I start feeling like I should ALWAYS be looking on the bright side and unless I am dealing with the absolute worst-case then I'm just being a whiner because somebody always has it worse than me.  It's the kind of thing that results in me telling doctors in the ER "Oh, I'm okay..." before the Well-Travelled One nudges me and whispers "uh.. No, you're NOT. That's why we're here."  It's the kind of thing that makes me apologize to people for getting upset, because I am scared because I had FUCKING COLON CANCER AND HAD MY ENTIRE COLON REMOVED, but it's okay I'm fine.  It's also the kind of thing that leads me to sometimes overdo it because I don't always ask for help when I should.

That's messed up, right? I forget that I have every right to get freaked out from time to time, which I still do, not gonna lie.  I downplay how tired I get sometimes, because my muscles are shot, post surgery that my body is not used to holding itself up.  I feel weird blogging about all this because I kind of feel like, okay, surgery is done, no more cancer, you can stop talking about it now.  

Meh, I guess it could always be worse.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

By a thread. (Note: Here there be swears)

I start writing blog posts that get too involved and, in my opinion, boring so I end up abandoning them.  So I'm going to keep this short, like bullet points short.  In the last week or so since I last posted:

- I saw an oncologist about my pathology report.  Stage one tumour, no chemotherapy recommended.  Not sure if this qualifies me as a cancer survivor or not.  I am told that they don't actual consider you "cured" until you have something like six months or a year cancer-free.  This is good. Excellent, in fact. Hold onto that, as it's the high point of this post. It's all downhill from here, folks.

- Right around that time contracted a minor infection in my join.  The one set of antibiotics I am on smells like cat-piss.  The other one can't be taken with alcohol, coffee or dairy.  I missed the dairy part so I have spent the last half a week feeling like absolute dogshit.  I'm off dairy as of today after talking to a pharmacy-tech friend who clued me into that particular contraindication.  

-  One of the odd side effects also seems to be an incredibly heightened sense of smell.  I'm wondering when I get the adamantium claws and mutant healing factor.  In the meantime, I've been spending the the majority of the day hiding in my bedroom from the smell of industrial disinfectant.

- industrial disinfectant, you ask? Why yes. I woke up this morning and was greeted by the eldest, who informed me that she stepped out of bed and into a foot full of wet carpet, courtesy of a failed sump pump.  About 1-2 cm of water greeted us in the basement.  For reasons unknown, the pump, the secondary pump, and the pump alarm all failed during the night. Why? Because fuck my life, that's why.

-  Did I mention this is all just a couple weeks after a broken pipe caused the sewer to back up into my basement and render my second bathroom unusable.  Which is terrific in a house who just had major colon surgery and whose daily movements are still unpredictable, at best.

I was looking over old Facebook posts and I came across one post about what a great year 2012 was and how I was looking forward to seeing what 2013 had in store.  I don't mind saying that 2013 Q4 can eat a giant dick.  I can't wait for this shit-eating year to be over.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My intentions were good.

I had a plan, when I recieved my diagnosis, that I was going to blog my journey, create an account of everything I was going through.  It's kind of fallen by the wayside, clearly.

Maybe it started with stress cold I came down with a week before the surgery.  All my energy that remained was focused on getting better so that I wouldn't have to reschedule the surgery, because frankly, waiting a month was long enough.

I brought the iPad to the hospital with me, with every intent of documenting the days following, only to discover that the Wi-Fi signal up there on the 14th floor where I recovered was pretty pathetic.  Great hospital otherwise, but man... That was some frustrating.

Since being home I've been in a mind fog from the morphine I'm still having to take to manage the pain of having not only a huge ass incision cut through most of my abdominal muscles, but my internal organs shuffled around as well.  Also, I've not. Been. Doing. Anything.  There was a lot of stuff before the hospital (like, hey! My sewer main backed into my house) and in the hospital but I have the attention span of a fruit fly.

Today I have promised to make a concerted effort to get outside, for the sake of my own sanity, which puts me in the position of having to go out of my comfort zone and ask people to assist me in getting out of my house, since clearly being Morphine McBrainFog means no driving for me.

Hopefully over the couple weeks I will have more energy, motivation and mental stamina to fill in the blanks on everything else that's been happening as of late.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sleeping through the apocalypse

Feeling like ass, I came home from work last night, fell into bed and proceeded to sleep through the next twelve or so hours.  Given the circumstances of receiving a cancer diagnosis and facing major surgery, I feel like should be exempt from having to deal with stupid piddling shit like periods and the common cold, but alas here I am, couch-ridden, coughing up gross stuff and generally feeling like my limbs are going to fall off.

I had dreams last night of the end of the world. I don't recall much, just that at one point the temperature dropped and snow fell in globs the size of cookie dough dropped on a freshly pre-greased baking sheet.  And then someone screamed something about the apocalypse so that's when I figured the world must be ending.

Upon partly waking an odd thought occurred to me.  Could it be possible to sleep through the end of the world?  

Think about it.  Going to sleep, snug in your duvet, and waking up to complete and absolute destruction.  Or nothing.  Floating in space, like the ivory tower in the Neverending Story. I think I might be inclined to roll over and go back to sleep.

I might actually do that now.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I saw my own rectum. They call this "progress."

As of Friday I had my shit figured out.

So, naturally, everything had to change, because reasons.

I got a call from my surgeon Saturday morning, informing me as i sat, dazed from just waking up and not yet having had coffee, that she had contacted another surgeon friend of hers in Toronto, who is, and I quote, both a "guru" and a "godfather" of colorectal surgery and is willing to find a spot for me ASAP in order to perform a restorative proctocolectomy and ileo anal pouch. In laymen's terms, he can take my colon out and make me an internal pooh-pouch in one fell swoop, which means a longer downtime (4-6 weeks at least) for this surgery but less surgeries overall. 

It also means changing the date of my surgery, my surgeon, the hospital it will be at AND my plan of action in regards to work, so I'm going to be dealing with EI and insurance companies and all that fun stuff.  But apparently this guy is a colorectal rockstar who has been doing these reconstructive surgeries since they could do these reconstructive surgeries, who will be doing the surgery in one of Toronto's biggest, swaggiest, gastro-specializing hospitals (Mount Sinai) so I'm thinking all the chaos of the past couple days and the on-coming weeks may be worth it.

It also meant, however, that I had to go in for a flexible sigmoidoscopy today to make sure that my rectum, upon having this pouch built, isn't about to erupt in little colitis-babies.  

Unlike its more invasive cousin, the colonoscopy, a sigmoidoscopy involves a camera about as long as that thing they use to suck the saliva out of your mouth at the dentist, with no anesthetic and no prep involved.  I was freaking out a bit at the no-anaesthetic bit, but it was only vaguely uncomfortable.  It was more comfortable than when the receptionist, working with 10-year-old contact info, mistook the Well Travelled One for the Ex-Hub.  Yay outdated records.

Did I mention a camera? And a monitor. I've officially seen the inside of my own ass.  Cross that one off the bucket-list.

My now-former surgeon, having been informed, my myself, of my history with random blood clots is also quite adamant that, Doppler or not, I should be put back on anti-coagulants, not just because I'll be laid up in hospital, but because did you know what else ups your chances of blood clots?  Give yourself a hand if you said Cancer.

Before that, I had to have a blood-work up this morning that I am pretty sure consisted of every possible test for things that could result in a predisposition to clotting.  After 20 minutes of waiting while the attending nurse entered the requisition, she came out with a strip of vial labels as long as my bloody arm and more vials than she could hold in one hand.

And I didn't even get a cookie.

So I'm being put back on anti-coags of the injectable sort for the next several months (at least) which means I'm going to look like a smack addict or a victim of domestic violence but at least I won't need weekly blood tests like when I am on Coumadin.  Also, Coumadin is essentially rat poison, so there's that.

So I'm enjoying my last couple of drinks before I go pick up my script tomorrow and wait to hear when my new pre-op appointment is.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

These poop jokes keep writing themselves.

I went to consult with the surgeon who will be performing my colectomy yesterday and she told me I was booked for October 29th.  So I'll be missing Halloween, which blows since it is my very favourite time of year.  I made the decision then and there that I would NOT cancel my pending Halloween party, which has kind of morphed into a Halloween slash "Farewell to my colon" party.  I toyed with setting a theme of "medical malpractice horror stories" but I thought that might just be in a wee bit of poor taste.  Besides, I barely have time to plan the party let alone think up a new costume, especially when I had mine all planned out before this shit hit the fan.

A weird side effect of my upcoming surgery is the tendency to snicker at any reference to shit or butts in my day to day language.  In fact, just now, when I typed "any" I SWEAR TO GOD that my iPad tried to autocorrect it to "anus".

The well-travelled one made a joke tonight about telling people at work that I was having my "Give-a-Shit" removed and I nearly freaking lost it.

It's funny cause it's true!

I'm glad I can take some of this lightly (stage six: inappropriate humour) at least some of the times.  Don't fall under the impression that it's been all good.  Some of the bad days, the waking up terrified and angry and full of despair, have fucking sucked.  This past Tuesday I wanted to curl up under my duvet and sleep until I woke up and this whole bloody nightmare was over.  I could barely function. I sobbed as I attempted to have my morning coffee and when I got to work I stayed in my office and tried to interact with people as little as possible, especially since I am one who cannot remotely hide when I am upset.  Generally, if i have been crying it couldn't be more obvious if someone wrote "Holy Fuck Am I Ever Sad!" on my face in black sharpie marker.

Demi Moore with her single tear I am definitely NOT.  I cry the ugly cry.

At any rate, Tuesday night, at my nephews 5th birthday dinner, I was able to surround myself with family who respected my wish not to talk about everything beyond a simple update on where we were at, schedule and doctor wise.  By the time I got home my mood had lifted somewhat. Since then I've been feeling more optimistic, or at least too busy to dwell.

I'm kind of stoked that my surgeon is a woman, after dealing with a lot of older, male doctors.  Don't get me wrong, they've all been doing well by me and are quite competent, but my rah-rah feminist side did a little fist pump when I found out I had a lady surgeon.  I was a bit nervous by how young she looked (yes, Google is handy) but I believe that sometimes in medicine, what one lacks in experience can be offset by up-to-date training.  Also, you don't generally get to call your self a surgeon if you're just getting off the bus.

My consult yesterday assuaged my fears as she seems like a competent, confident but not cocky, doctor who was very good about answering all my questions while being patient about my inability to answer quite all of hers.  Like I can actually keep track of the times I've been hospitalized!  Chronology is not my strong suit.

Now I have a party to plan, preparations for the kids while I am in hospital, getting my stuff sorted out at work, and I am hosting karaoke next Friday.  So yeah, some time off will be nice.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mama's got a brand new bag.

I hope you'll forgive me the cheesy and obvious joke in the title of this post.  It's been one helluva week, with more doctors appointments, good news, bad news, ambivalent news and just kind of up and down, emotionally.  There's been a lot of tears, and a lot of anger.  Also a lot of people being supportive and awesome.

The good news! I got my CT scan results back, and there's no signs of metastasis (oh, Gord, I hope I'm using the right word there) so pretty stoked about that, but at the same time it's made me extra impatient to have the tumour removed.  Get it out while the getting is good.  Everyone involved has been doing well at getting the ball rolling but at the same time, it can't be fast enough.  

But at the same time I want to hurry up and get this surgery done, I'm dreading it. Herein lies the bad news.  After discussions between my internal medicine specialist, my family physician, and about 25 surgeons at a conference in Barrie (I'm a fucking medical anomaly, yo) the general consensus is that the whole damn thing is going to have to come out - my colon, that is - leaving me with iliostomy bag (..and there's the punchline. *rimshot*) until some restorative surgery can be done down the line.

I'm told it's my "choice" but in that way where, yes I have "options" but that my options are not really options.  Shit in a bag or have reoccurring tumours and a greatly shorted lifespan.

Cake or death?  I'll have the cake.  Thank you for flying Church of England.

This is where I start to wonder why can't i get breast cancer like normal women my age?  Not that breast cancer is not a horrible terrible thing to have to deal with in and of itself, I am sure it sucks on all levels and far be it from me to imply that breast cancer patients have it easy and honestly i'd rather not have to deal with any of this, but at this point in time, if i had to make a choice, i could pretty easily live without my boobs.  They're pretty much ornamental.  My colon, other the other hand, is pretty fucking useful, even if it has been quite literally, a HUGE PAIN IN MY ASS over the years.

All this shizz here got to go.
Which brings me to the more kind of ambivalent news.. This surgery, will, effectively cure me of my colitis.  Since you can't actually have colitis without a colon. Durr.  I won't ever have appendicitis either, since in removing the colon, you pretty much have to remove the appendix as well, otherwise it'd just be bouncing around in your abdominal cavity, attached to nothing.

Also, I will apparently no longer fart.  Which pretty much blew my mind.  Like,that's weird, right? the Kids thought that was hilarious and replied with some exaggerated replies of "Thank GOD!"

So, at this point, just waiting for the surgery date.  They're telling me at the end of the month.  They're able to do this laparoscopically now, which is good, I guess.  Means a lot less downtime than open surgery, but the scars won't be as badass.

I'm hanging in, for the time being.

Monday, October 7, 2013

There's no business like...

Today I am on the set of Big News From Grand Rock, an independent movie being filmed locally about a newspaper reporter from a small town who, in an effort to save the floundering local publication starts making stuff up in an attempt to make the local news a little less coma-inducing and get people buying papers.  Hilarity ensues.

On a whim, I went out for the local casting call, figuring hell, why not? I was rather nervous, but it was really cool seeing and hearing about all the other locals who came out to participate.  

No speaking roles were available, but I was invited to come and be an extra in one of the restaurant scenes.  So I counted my remaining vacation days, booked the day off and said "I'll do it!"

It's been pretty exciting for our little community, with all the local business and people taking part.  The restaurant where my scene is being shot is the same one I worked at for a year, pre-babies.  The same owners are here so I have had a few minutes to catch up with them while waiting for my turn on set.  The wardrobe woman was here, checking what I was wearing and taking pictures.  Being scrutinized so closely and having a stranger adjusting my collar is a bit disconcerting, but I suppose it's a part of the process.

There's a lot of waiting involved.  I've really only done a bit of light theatre in my time, and filming is an entirely different beast. Unfortunately, I lack the foresight to bring a book, but the restaurant has Wi-Fi hence the decision to blog a bit about my experience.  It's a bit lighter than yesterday's downer post (although many thanks for all the support). 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I'm blaming Bruce McCulloch for this one.

So, this week has been the downer to end all downers.  September 30th, 2013 has officially gone down as the worst day of my life

"The worse day of your life so far." - thanks, Homer Simpson.

Worse than September 25th(ish), 1998 when I was rushed to the hospital with a leg the size of a deli salami and a colon that had been bleeding my life away for months. Worse than January 13, 2003 when a very pregnant me saw her marriage shatter (a blessing in disguise if you ask me).  Worse than April 19th, 2005, the day I watched my home go up in flames.  Worse than that random day that summer when I was fifteen where everyone was fighting and we were broke and everything sucked and I hated life (I don't remember the exact date, but it was pretty craptacular.)

Nope, this was worse than all of them.

As you may recall, I had a colonoscopy a few weeks ago, to follow up on one that the doctors couldn't quite figure out.  Turns out "there's something here and we don't know what isn't is"  IS kind of, tangentially, similar to "holy shit, look at all this cancer," since that's what they found, this go-round.  A malignant tumour in my colon that will need to be operated on as soon as my internal medicine guy talks with surgeons and finds out which hospital is comfortable with taking my case.  You see, it is apparently rare to find colon cancer in one as young as myself.  *flutters eyelashes becomingly*

Go me.  You know, I've never wanted to be a record breaker.

So, this week has been a regular whirlwind of blood tests, CT scans, emotional breakdowns, and inappropriate dark humour.  Actually, I'm pretty sure the five stages of grief need to be adjusted to include inappropriate dark humour as one of the stages.  When I split with the ex, there was a Kids in the Hall sketch that helped me get through it.  Whenever I was down, my friend and I would recite the Hotel LaRut sketch and dissolve into giggles.

Now, once again, during times of trouble, Dave, Mark, Kevin, Scott and Bruce give me solace.  Mainly meaning that I can't get this damn sketch out of my head.

So, thanks a lot Bruce.  You always were my least favourite.

Ahh, but yeah, aside from the awesome healing powers of Canadian sketch comedy, I'm also quite grateful for the ridiculous amount of support I have been recieving, from The Well-Travelled one, who has been marvellous in listening to me freak out and letting me break down, to my family who have offered help in any way possible.  Not to mention friends and the management at work.

I'm not gonna lie.  I'm pretty terrified about all this.  But so far i am functioning on a day to day basis while I wait for more answers.  At least I feel okay.  Which is kind of messed up.  I don't feel sick, like, AT ALL.  I'm gassy and bloated and have occasional stomach cramps.. All that is pretty much par for the course for me.  It's rather surreal but at the same time, I'm glad at least right now I'm not feeling like crap, physically.

I have a rough go ahead of me.  But I will fight.  In the words of Aunt Becky, I'm going to go EYE OF THE MOTHERFUCKING TIGER on this thing. I will win.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wherein I lose a shed, my neighbors regain seven feet of property and my kids hopefully gain a work ethic.

Upon gaining possession of what I like to call The Fun House, I stepped out onto the deck to gaze out over my postage-stamp sized queendom.  The northwest end of the teeny tiny yard contained what could generously be called a shed, although for all appearances, it had a greater resemblance to some bombed out pile of wood rot.

I had to reef on the plywood doors to open them.  Cautiously I had stepped inside and upon gazing at the ceiling (or lack thereof) and then at the floor (or lack thereof) I immediately marched back inside and informed the children that they were not, under any circumstance, to step foot inside the 'shed' or they would die.

No, this was not a threat.  It was a simple fact.  The thing was clearly a death-trap.

Oh, there was also the matter that this structure, if you will, encroached a good seven feet onto one neighbour's property, and two feet onto another.  Far be it from me to guess at whether or not the shed, which the Well-Travelled One and I have guess to be roughly 60-odd years in age, pre-dated arbitrarily drawn property lines or the shed was unceremoniously dropped onto what was 'roughly' the corner of the yard.

Anyway, this encroachment kept us from doing anything about it for a number of months as we pondered what the etiquette is in demolishing a frighteningly unsafe structure that straddles two properties.

Last spring, I had chance to meet the neighbour who has the misfortune of sharing this monstrosity and with some hesitation she asked what we planned to do with it.  When I mentioned that I hoped to tear the blasted thing down, I have never seen someone's eyes light up so brightly..

Apparently the former owners of my little abode were unreasonably attached to the shed in question and had, on numerous occasions, refused to have the thing torn down, even after the neighbour offered to have her son and potential son-in-law come tear it down for FREE.

Not long after, The Well-Travelled One embarked on a mission over the summer months to single handedly dismantle this portal to hell, at risk of personal injury and respiratory infection from gord-only-knows what airborne toxins were kept in with all the animal bedding and so on and so forth.

This weekend we borrowed my parents pick-up truck and approached the back-yard neighbor about accessing the shed from their yard.  Never have i seen someone so excited about the prospect of someone driving a Dodge Ram across their lawn.  We proceeded to make upwards of five trips to the local dump, filling the box (not the cab.. See, I got it right this time!) to the brim with all manner of rotted wood, torn vinyl siding, I don't-even-want-to-know what kind of pathogens and enough nails that I could have built a replica model of the Eiffel Tower, to scale.

Okay, so I might have exaggerated slightly there.

We even got the kids in on the project with the promise of a decent hourly rate for helping out.  The little one was unfortunately limited in what she could do, given her size and tendency towards unwieldiness. However, she was able to put her destructive streak to good use by helping break down window frames and chunks of wall with a claw hammer, and otherwise helping to fetch tools and such.  

Surprising was how well the oldest took to the work.  I've been struggling lately with how to deal with my 12-year-old's sense of entitlement and adversity to hard work when it comes to earning money.  I've been tearing my hair out in frustration as she complains about not having money, wanting expensive things and yet not being willing to work towards them, unless absolutely convenient, and then completing task seemingly with the least amount of effort possible.

Thing is, when she puts her mind to it, she can work hard and work well.  When we went back-country camping, she was the most vocal about her inhibitions where the 8km hike was concerned, but she made it through with little complaint.  Yesterday was a prime example.  She was hesitant at first with helping me load and unload, gingerly picking up small pieces of wood and carefully placing them on the truck.  Rather than slowing down as they day wore on, by our third and fourth dump trip, she was tossing and and heaving beams onto the woodpile like a champ and leaping in and out of the truck box with the agility of a gymnast.

Both the girls worked exceptionally hard, as did my love, and by the end of the day, the former death trap had been reduced to a manageable pile of rubble, a scant 2-3 more loads and the cursed thing should be gone.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Checking in

I'm still alive.  Just busy.

Last week I had a second colonoscopy, since the first one contained some abnormal cells, I guess?  The internal medicine guy I see, who is a vaguely intimidating, yet oddly comforting older Irish-maybe-Scottish dude informed me that after 10 years of being diagnosed with colitis, your chances of getting colon cancer goes up somewhat and as such I should be getting scoped every two years.  

Basically, something showed up that the lab and the good doctor were unsure of, so they sent the results down to a specialist in Toronto (this was back in June I believe).  The specialist, as well, was stumped.  So I got scheduled in for another scope, this time to be biopsied every 10cm of my colon.  Hot, right?

On one hand, I'm not gonna lie.  I'm a little concerned.  Because some thing is not nothing.  On the other hand, saying "something showed up on your test and we're not sure what it is" is far from "Holy Shit, look at all that CANCER."  So I figured I'd just be a sport and go for the second scope, and take whatever comes with it, and hope it turns out like that Pap test that came back abnormal.  I just kept going back until I got a few normal tests and they tell me I don't have to come back in for another year. Easy Peasy, lemon squeezy.

I kind of screwed up and caused myself some extra discomfort during the pre-scope cleanse.  I couldn't remember whether or not coffee was allowed, so I erred on the side of not having any.  Boy, did I pay for THAT.  In the immortal words of Dave Foley "I'm not sure what's in caffeine but I'm pretty sure that without it, your head caves in."

So I did a caffeine free cleanse, so I could have a camera inserted where no camera should ever go and then topped that off with a dental cleaning because I am, ladies and gentlemen, a special class of masochist it would seem.  Speaking of masochism, I have agreed to go camping.  In October. In a tent.  Because that is a good idea?

I jest, I'm sure it will be enjoyable.  I'm looking forward to some fall colors in Muskoka with The Well Travelled One.  

In other news, I have an opportunity to be an extra in a movie that is being filmed locally.  I just need to see about getting a day off.. I'm not entirely sure I have any personal days left.  But if I can swing it, I'd like to do it as there are a number of locals also taking part and it sounds like it could be a lot of fun.

Well, that's my brief update.  Hopefully with winter approaching I'll at least have a bit more to talk about.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

FYI (If you're a nosy asshole)

This post. I mean, this friggin post.  

Had the *ahem* pleasure of reading Mrs. Hall's lengthy missive to the teenaged girls who have Facebook friended her precious wee boys regarding the seemingly scandalous selfies young girls seem to like to take of themselves.  Mrs. Hall is quite concerned that her boys may be exposed to these wanton adolescent hussies, posing in their pajamas in sultry poses.  Some of these girls are even (gasp!) not wearing bras!

Mrs. Hall is trying to raise young men with a strong moral compass, who don't "linger over pictures of scantily clad ladies."  Which is apparently quite impossible to do when there are pictures of teenaged girls posing for selfies on the Internet.  Any female friend of the Hall boys who thinks of posting a vaguely sexy picture of herself online should consider themselves as good as blocked because Mrs. Hall only wants her boys thinking of girls respectfully and Gord knows, being a sexual being and being a human being worthy of respect are two mutually exclusive things.  Well, if you're a girl.. Isn't that right Mrs. Hall?

Mrs. Hall, I noticed that your boys are posted all over your blog in beachwear, which some would argue is much more revealing than pajamas or even a towel.  I guess girls (or non-hetero boys) can easily un-see that, though can they? And still think of your kids as people worthy of respect?  But you said yourself, once a boy sees a girl naked (or in towel, or in pajamas or without a bra) he can't unsee that.  You seem to have a high level of confidence in your boys' ability to behave like gentleman and not like rutting animals.  Or maybe not.  Because if you did, the spectre of some silly, pouty pictures wouldn't loom such a threat.

There are a dozen good reasons to be careful of what you post online.  Surveillance, online weirdos and pedophiles, and the fact that stuff you post does NOT GO AWAY are all things we should be concerned about and I agree that we should be encouraging kids (and adults, of any gender) to be extra self-critical of what they post.  These safety and privacy issues don't seem to be on your radar, however.  You seem more concerned about not letting these girls sully your preciouses virginal little minds.

I find the attitude that in order for men to respect and cherish women they must not think of them sexually is a harmful one.  The implication you've made here is that a girl or woman cannot be sexual while still being worthy of respect.  That is what we call, in feminist circles, slut shaming.  And it is harmful.  Girls are continually sexualized and objectified by our culture, while simultaneously being shamed if they dare to be sexual on their own terms.  A girl's history or perceived history can be used against her in sexual assault cases.  

Mrs. Hall, if you want your sons to be men of integrity who eventually meet and possibly marry women of character, teach them that a woman's worth is about more than her sexuality.  Teach them that being sexual and being a person worthy of respect.  Teach them their respect for someone should not be predicated on their sexual history or whether or not they're wearing a bra in their profile picture.  If you can't teach them that, I think my soon-to-be teenaged girls would be better off blocked.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

20 Odd Years

Today I said good-bye to the house that has been my family's home for the last 20-odd years.  Hearing that the place had sold was excellent news, it had become a crushing financial burden and my parents were itching to get moved into their little retirement home (formerly known as 'The Dollhouse' when I resided there).

Odd, the number of memories a house can store up in the course of two decades.  I've left and returned a number of times... strange to think that I will likely never see the inside of it again.

I didn't want to move here.  Not at first.  My parents had first made noises about leaving Aurora when I was in the fifth grade and I was devastated.  Less than a year later, when they made their purchase, I had changed my tune.  I was all "Fuck yeah, let's blow this yuppie hellhole."

That spring, at eleven years old, my parents drove me out to a vacant lot in the middle of a newish subdivision in a town of not much more than 1000 people and said this would be our new home (the house that was to be built.. not the vacant lot).

20 years is a lot of memories.  After work I drove out to the house, let myself in and walked the empty rooms, thinking of the times I'd had there.

Age 12: My sister gives me a hard time about the posters on my wall.  I'd harboured a huge crush on the kid from Terminator 2, but I'm starting to get over it.  I begrudgingly let her tear down the biggest of the Eddie Furlong posters.

Age 14: My parents are out and I have friends over.  Sitting around the kitchen, smoking and gossiping, we start burning bits of paper and birthday candle in a huge glass ashtray.  Just as Jenn goes to comment about our mini-campfire the ashtray explodes, spraying coloured glass and bits of flame.  I catch hell a day later when Mom notices the varnish is missing off one of the kitchen chairs.

Age 14:  Mom works in the city, so Dad and I are home by ourselves a lot.  Some nights, he goes to the Legion for a beer, leaving me to my own devices.  This particular night, I was out on the back deck, having a cigarette, when I see him heading down the hill towards home.  Hurriedly, I ditch my smoke... and proceed to run smack into the screen door.

Age 15:  Home sick one day in March, my sister gets a call from the hospital that her Cesarean has been re-scheduled... for THAT DAY.  We freak the fuck out, take her to the hospital and by end of day, my sister is a mother and I am an aunt.

Age 16:  The house is full of noise and people.  Nicky has moved home and my best friend lives with us also.  The basement is being finished, so we're all confined to the upper floor.   Melissa does a fantastic impression of the Carlton Dance. We get the baby, Randy, to make his 'Uggie Face' and everyone laughs.  We paint a huge mural on Melissa's wall, featuring all the pop culture references of our time.  Friends sign the wall when they visit.

Age 17:  After a few frustrated attempts, I lose my virginity, on the couch while my parents are out. My mother finds condom wrappers in my room a few weeks later.  During the days following, my dad has a hard time making eye contact with me.

Age 20:  The day before my wedding, it's 30 degrees and the future ex-hub and I are trying desperately to ice a cake that is melting fast than the Wicked Witch of the West in a monsoon.  The next day, my aunt picks up a slab cake from Foodland and the three-tiered cake my sister painstakingly baked is forgotten.  I'm informed that one of the groomsmen still doesn't have a suit.  My mother and I are both freaking out nervous and my grandmother is insisting that someone get us a drink, a joint.. anything... to calm the hell down.

Age 21:  The future ex-hub and I return, tails between our legs and expecting, leave behind most of our belongings and debt-ridden return to the house on George Street.   We live in the basement for the next year.  It is Mid-spring when I wake him up in the middle of the night to tell him I'm having contractions.

Age 23:  I return once again, with one less husband and one more child, to live with my sister and her boys.  The house is full of the noise and the fun and the stress of two (and later three) women and their four children.  The day I return from the hospital, Tierney drops her week-old sister on her head.  In tears, I rush to the hospital.  While I am gone, the CAS visits, scaring my sister out of her wits, as we are still just unpacking and there are kids and boxes everywhere.

Age 25:  Sitting in the yard with my sister and one of my best friends, discussing the future and dinner plans.  It's time to part ways, while the going is good.  Living with people is hard and we are all happy to still be speaking to one another.  Later that day we stand in the street, tears in our eyes as fire trucks arrive and neighbours leave their houses to gawk at the flames that are leaping from the windows.

Age 26:  Months later, fully restored, this is once again our parents home.

Birthdays, Christmases, laughter, fights, nights watching TV, parties... So much time passed, so much of a lifetime spent.  So many people come and gone through the front door, struggling to pass each other on the narrow landing.

If I had some liquor, I suppose I'd pour a little out about now.  So long, House.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Strawman Cometh

First off, my apologies for what is probably a ridiculously unoriginal post title.  I'm not so arrogant as to assume that I simply MUST be the first one to come up with such a clever play on The Iceman Cometh.  But anyway, that is neither here nor there.

Back to this particular man o straw.  For this playing along at home, here's a little 101 level info for you:

Strawman (def): a weak or imaginary opposition (as an argument or adversary) set up only to be easily confuted.  - Merriam Webster

A few folks have posted a link to this article from Natural News claiming that an MSNBC anchor basically endorsed infanticide by stating that parents decide when their children are in fact children and go on to make this out to be part of some kind of death cult that believes it is okay to murder children up to three months in age.  They're claiming that this is part of a radical-left desire for 'Post-Birth' abortion (Hi, not actually a thing).

The quote from the article from anchor Melissa Harris-Perry reads as follows: 
When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling -- but not science.
I clicked through to some of the sources and found a longer clip that gives some context to Harris-Perry's statement, which incidentally, seems to deal only with pregnancy and not with the question of infanticide.

The argument she's presenting here is one that I have come across in abortion debates - when does the fetus become a baby?  I've taken parts in debates where one side refers to zygotes and fetuses and clusters of cells and the other to babies and children and innocent life.  The latter may respond that they NEVER thought of their babies as just clusters of cells.

And that's totally valid.

There have been people who have described a sense of relief post-abortion, as though a burden had been lifted.

Also valid.

No one is obligated to feel sad about terminating a pregnancy.  Nor are people obligated to be nonchalant in the face of losing a wanted pregnancy, whether by miscarriage or through having to make a heart-breaking decision due to health or financial constraints.

However, Natural News turns this into a straw man argument by equating pre-term abortion with infanticide and coming to the conclusion that if you agree with one, you must agree with the latter, when they are two separate entities, and some studies have shown that in areas where abortion services are more widely available, infanticide rates drop as unwanted pregnancies are terminated well before birth.

As far as the "poll" asking people whether they'd support 'Fourth Trimester' abortion, I'm inclined to think that this is less about people approving of infanticide and more about people not having the slightest clue about pregnancy and how it works.  You can people to agree to fucked up stuff if you word it in vague and confusing ways.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Such Great Heights

Early June.

A half hour into the bush, slapping black flies and wiping away the occasional bead of sweat from my forehead.  The canopy of trees overhead does a half-decent job of filtering most of the sun's heat, keeping the forest floor relatively cool.

My calves are only just beginning to ache as I struggle to keep up.  I've never been what you would call "built for speed," and I keep my eyes mostly to the ground, watching for stumps and rocks that threaten to trip me up.  

A faint rumble in the distance becomes stronger as we make our way down the trail.  Through a break in the trees I catch glimpses of rushing water.  Stopping, I am given the option of waiting while he makes his way down the steep embankment leading to the river's edge.

I am new to this and eager to prove myself, so I start a careful descent.  The trail is narrow, barely wider than my foot, and I must walk a tight-rope down a slope blanketed in wet leaves and pine needles.

I have stood on balconies, ten stories up and laughed.  I have danced on the glass floor of the CN tower and not even blinked, even engaging in a mock jig hundreds of feet above the city sidewalk, secure in the engineering that had prevented thousands before me from plummeting to their death.

But here on this rock face I do not trust my legs.  i do not trust my feet.  The ground is slippery, the nearby branches too thin and pliable to support my weight and suddenly I am paralyzed.  My feet plant themselves to the ground and I can feel panic rising in my chest.  Tears spring to my eyes and I begin to whimper.  Every attempt to unstick my foot results in a shaking of the knees and the feeling that the ground is melting beneath me. I feel myself tipping and in my minds eye I can see my body, bleeding and broken, on the rocky outcroppings below.  I begin to shake with fear.

From below, soothing words of encouragement begin to break through my cloud of tears.  Hands reach up to steady me.  Clumsily, I lower myself to the muddy ground, feeling moisture seep through the seat of my pants as I manage to skootch my way down the remaining few feet of the rocky ledge by way of my butt, sniffling and making strained, squeaking noises, until I find myself once again on solid, flat ground, wrapped in arms that stroke my hair and whisper reassurances until the panic subsides.

"It's okay.  You're good. You've done well."


This post is in response to Studio30plus weekly writing prompt. This week's prompt is "Falling"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Arglebargle ranty rant rant rant.

My phone has converted itself somehow to T9 typing, which is both irritating and useless.  By the time the T9 function offers up the word I am already finished typing it.  And it won't let me swear.

I love swearing. Especially when I have a shit-tastic day like today.  I also like to make up words.  But technology these days is determined to thwart my every attempt to fashion myself the love child of George Carlin and Dr. Seuss, linguistically speaking.

I decided to complain to the Well Travelled One.

"Duck this T9 bulldog."


Took my car in for work this morning.  The aforementioned man-friend and I decided to drop the car off and make the walk to the next town for work.  About a 90 minute walk, which wasn't terrible, aside from being humid as hell.  Oh, and the bugs on the trail deciding once again that I made a tasty feast. 

After getting my quote from my mechanic, and a minor coronary, I figured some creative banking would be in order, since my GST cheque had come in yesterday.  However, as I was leaving, I realized that my bank card was still in my shorts after buying gas.  So, great, I'll have to drive home to get it.

Only I don't have my bloody car.

So that's that.  Okay.  Not that it mattered, since I didn't end up paying for the repairs today ANYWAY, but I'll get to that.  My co-worker gave my a ride back to the shop, but thanks to people who think it's totally cool to call a company at five minutes to closing and ask inane, open ended questions with no answers, I was late getting out of work and didn't make it to the shop in time.  It was locked up tight, having closed at 5 and it was, at that point, about 5:10.

So S. offered me a ride to the house, which I accepted.  We were almost there when I remembered where my house key was.. 

That's right.  On my key chain.  With my car keys.  Which were locked up at the mechanic's with my car.  


So I asked if I could get a ride back to town so I could get the man-friend, who had the other key.

Needless to say, any plans we had to go out of town tonight have been shot all to hell, and I've decided not to cook dinner since I have no desire to see what myriad ways I can fuck up dinner.  Last thing I need is to burn down another house, or give both the man friend and I acute food poisoning.  The kids are away at camp, so they get to escape my reign of terror.

Lucky kids.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rock 'n roll and comic books and bubble gum..

So last night me and my friend Amber got all gussied up and headed to Barrie to catch a show from the Headstones who, much to the delight of many a 90s Can-Rock fan, starting touring again a year or so ago.  Helluva a show, y'all.  Helluva show.

Before leaving the house, of course I had to make at least one trip back inside to actually retrieve the tickets, because it's me and it's probably nothing short of a miracle that I didn't leave them at work.  So I freaked out a bit when we got down to Barrie and I couldn't bloody find them!  Fack! We searched the car up and down and finally located them in the visor where I never put anything ever.

Getting inside we pretty much got a drink and then moved as close to the stage as we could get without my claustrophobia kicking in.  We arrived a few songs before the end of the opening act, a band by the name of Riding Shotgun, who didn't impress me greatly at first but earned a number of cool points by pulling out a pretty nifty cover of Nazareth's "This Flight Tonight" which is, I might add, my favourite Nazareth tune.

Within minutes of finding out place we were approached by a couple of vaguely older dudes, early 40s I'd guess.  Poor Amber.  As my oldest and dearest friend, I can say that she has the unfortunate trouble of being Douchebait for idiot guys with no concept of boundaries.  I have to say that in my old age and since hooking up with The Well Travelled One, I've never been so appreciative that drunken assholes tend to leave me alone out in public.

Some of us are not so lucky, which is how I found myself trying to defend my friend from Grabby McGropeyHands, to no avail.  This guy was with his brother, who was decent and fairly respectful, but not quite cool enough to tell his brother to keeps his hands off this obviously uncomfortable girl who is opening cringing each time he tries to put his arm around her.  

So I offered my services to play angry c*ckblocking friend, but this guy was oblivious enough that even telling him to fuck right off didn't get the message across.  So, the best choice seemed to be to abandon our post at stage right and head for one of The Ranch's Go-Go cages.  At previous shows, I've found them handy for getting a good view of the stage while catering to my claustrophobic tendencies.  It's also a good place to inadvertently injure yourself or flash hundreds of people at a time,but those are stories for another day.

We made our way over and started climbing and THAT'S WHEN THE COOLEST THING HAPPENED, YOU GUYS!

As I was struggling to get through the floor of the cage without strangling myself with my purse, which did not want to fit through the trapdoor with me, I hear Hugh Dillon himself, from the stage say "What's this fucking chick doing?? She's going to fall and break her fucking ass!!"

You guys, that was me! I was going to fall and break my ass!  I didn't, but holy hell was I ever stoked!  I got called out in the middle of the show.  And we escaped the category five clinger, to boot!  A song or two later Hugh pointed back up to our cage and said something to the effect of "You two look good up there!"  At least that's what Amber told me.. I couldn't quite make it out, my ears were ringing and I was too busy grinning ear-to-ear.

Near the end of the show, we decided to climb back down and try to get right up in front for the encore but sure enough as so as we hit the ground running, Grabby McGrabass was back and at it again.  Amber and I rolled our eyes at each other and tried to get deep enough into the crowd that he couldn't follow us but this was one determined and like I said, oblivious dude.  At one point I made like I was all dancing wildly and pushed him off balance, "accidentally".  It made no impression on the guy and I gave amber a "I'm trying, friend, I really am" and she kind of shrugged helplessly at me.  Meanwhile a guy behind who had seen what happened, tapped me on the shoulder and high-fived me.

The band played a good mixed of new and old stuff and it was, overall, a highly energetic and entertaining show.  We left during the third encore, a rendition of Three Angels because I had to work this morning and it's a bit of a drive.  

Did I mention they covered ABBA? I shit you not.  ABBA.  be still my 70's cheese-loving heart.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Just some stuff.

My grandmother fell and broke her hip, or more accurately, my grandmother's hip broke and she had a fall as a result. She is having surgery for it tomorrow. I'm more than a little worried and upset. I've been lucky enough to have both my grandmothers around for a good long while.. I mean, not everyone is lucky enough to get to their 30's and still have grandparents around. Hell, I know people not much older than me who have already had to deal with losing both parents. So I'm lucky, I know that much.

Because I realize this, it's all the more upsetting to face the fact that they are both of them not as young as they used to be.

god. Isn't that the most ridiculous saying? Not as young as you used to be. Well no shit. I'm not as young as I used to be either. in fact, i'm a whole day older than i was yesterday. Seriously, what an idiotic saying. I feel like punching myself. It's as bad as saying "It's always in the last place you look!" Again, no shit.

I digress.

So I'm clearly worried, and I don't really know what to do. Damnit.


So, my hearing sucks. It's terrible. I'm pretty sure years of headphone abuse combined with a history of chronic ear infections (the over prescribing of antibiotics for said infections eventually, I believe, leading to my ulcerative colitis, but that's a story for another day) have done irreversible damage. I don't hear a lot of ambient noise, and I can have trouble making out what people say, especially if they talk low, fast and don't enunciate well.

I know it can be frustrating for those around me, having to repeat things to me, and me not always understanding things the first time around. It's not like it's not frustrating for me. I hate having to ask people to repeat things, or not to whisper to me. I hate having to fill in the blanks sometimes when people talk to me. I hate that I have to watch movies with the closed captioning on half the time, otherwise I have to have the TV blaring. I've had tests done, and looked into hearing aids, but for the actual amount of difference an aid would make is negligible, as apparently the loss "is only minor."

I'm told that I don't have any fluid build-up but... Well, I love to swim. Love it. A few years ago I went cliff jumping at Grundy lake and when I hit the water, it rushed into my ear and I couldn't hear properly for weeks afterward. Now I find that when I swim, if I stick my head too far under, my ears and head feel like they are going to explode with pressure.

I don't know if I should go back for another second opinion or not.

Hell. Not great mood overall. I kind of wish I had my covered porch again so I could watch the storm.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Come to think of it, I'd probably forgo shaving, too. #Revolution

Since its inception, The Well-Travelled One and I have been pretty regular viewers of Revolution, the dystopian-future drama set 15 years after a human-made disaster wipes out almost all electricity (and for some reason, combustion engines, because why not?) and the world, especially North America, goes to shit.

Like, I said, Dystopian.

Without giving away too many spoilers, last night after many many episodes worth of almost non-stop gratuituous violence, we FINALLY got to see a little sex.  Not a lot, because I'm pretty sure this is a network show and not HBO.  I make this assumption due to the fact that for a future where people are getting slaughtered left, right and center, there's surprisingly little cussing.  Graphic violence in multitudes is cool, but please, no cussing or hint of side-boob, right NBC?

So a couple of characters who will remain unnamed ended the episode by engaging in some implied naked fun time.

This morning I got to thinking.. if I were living in a dystopian future would there be any purpose to wearing a bra?  I'm thinking no.  At least not for me.  I know there are women who HAVE to wear bras, otherwise face massive discomfort, so I'm not about to begrudge more endowed ladies their undergarments, even when the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

As my friend Nic pointed out, all that running from zombies, robots, authorities etc. could very well make some kind of support a necessity, in which case I'd probably settle for binding myself instead of oh.. I don't know.. MATCHING BRA AND PANTY SETS?  Somehow I think if my life was constantly under threat, I'd not care much what my underpants looked like, and would be more worried about not constantly shitting them every time someone was trying to kill me.

Like how Aaron looks 90% of the time he's on screen.
Where in a dystopian future with no electricity where our heroes are consistently on the run from forces that would see them dead, does {redacted for spoilers} get a fucking matching Victoria Secret bra and panty set?

Did she sew them herself?

In the immortal words of Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that."

Are they shipped by steamships from sweatshops that have gotten even sweatier since the lights (and thus the air conditioning.. because sweatshops totally have THAT) went off?  How the hell would they get to her?  The main protagonists are ALWAYS ON THE MOVE.  CONSTANTLY.

And NOBODY is going to convince me that these are they same underoos she's had for the last fifteen years.  The show is set in 2027, so she'd have to have bought them last year, in 2012 at the latest.  I'm a buyer of underpants and a purchaser of brassieres, and the shit that gets manufactured and sold in stores in present-day North America is NOT made to withstand 15 years of fighting, killing, running, plotting and the occasionally beating against a rock to launder them.  She would have stabbed herself with the underwire a thousand times over by now.

I guess in an electricity-void, dystopian future where hair always looks conditioned, EXIT signs in building still glow red and people inexplicably drink whiskey from late 19th-century antique glass bottles in spite of the fact that their 15-year-old empty Canadian Club 26ers would probably work just as well, a little bit of realism when it comes to the characters gotchies is probably too much to ask.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dream journaling: Those who work in glass office buildings...

I woke up oddly disoriented after this one. It's been a while since I've been able to recount the details of a dream vividly.

I'm in a kitchen talking to one of my best friends about a party she's throwing for her daughters. She's freaking out a bit because in this reality, it's custom to purchase gifts for party guests, not the other way around. I'm not on the phone but I'm not really sure I'm speaking to her in person either. While we talk, I'm trying to get at a small CD player on the counter because I am determined to make my ex-husband listen to "Lovecraft in Brooklyn" for nor reason other than it's a pretty awesome song that I think everyone should listen to.

Having given up, I drive into work. Downtown is jam packed busy, so by the time I get there, it's after dark. My friend is there with her daughters. She is meeting me since I decided to give her some money to buy my kids present, since I don't really get why she's buying them anything when it's her kids birthday.

Getting out of the car, I notice that a huge crowd has gathered outside made up of my co-workers, Tim horton's employees (in this reality, Tim's hasn't moved down the street yet) and other various people who also work in the building. There is the sound of commotion and crackling electricity. Lights in the windows are flickering off and on and I vaguely recall that the building is scheduled for demolition. It seems odd to me that we all showed up for work anyway, and distressing that we're all standing in the parking lot instead of getting the hell out of there.

There an eerie silence as suddenly all the lights in the windows flicker and go black. I start to turn and run, but not before each individual glass pane starts shattering and blowing out wards. Shards and bits of glass rain down on the crowd and I run, admits the screaming, eyes closed against the bits of glass that have blown into my face and hair. Blind but aware of my friend and her girls near by I run across the street, oblivious to oncoming traffic, until I reach the opposite parking lot.

Once across the street, I carefully brush the glass off myself and pick it out of my hair and turn to survey the damage and wait for the eventually collapse, expecting something like what you see in those stock-footage reels of collapsing buildings.

I look over and a group of people have picked up my car and have managed to fold it like one of those collapsible laundry hampers. No, no no, I tell them but they carry it across the lot, unfold it and lovingly dust off the debris.

Later I am at an outdoor cafe, run by the guy who hosts our open mike. I can't get to my guitar, the place is too crowded. My Nanny is there and I'm trying to have a conversation with her, but my phone rings. A voice on the other end speaks in a muffled voice in a language I can't understand. The voice sounds apologetic, so assuming they have a wrong number I try to disengage, but each time I do, the voice on the other end gets belligerent and threatening. Finally I tell the voice that I am not paying to listen to this and hang up, but I worry after that the voice will call back to berate me some more.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday quickie: shopping day with the kiddies

A few quick thoughts after spending the day shopping with my girls (a rare treat indeed).

- nothing emphasizes how badly our local mall sucks than going to an out of town mall. Really, our mall sucks.

- I hope that my girls remain as enthusiastic about bathing suit shopping as they are right now. I hope it never becomes an experience they dread, fraught with self-loathing and shame, like it does for so many women.

- What's a surefire way to dissuade me from spending money in an awesomely huge candy store the likes of which I've never seen? Tell me 10% of proceeds go towards sending missionaries to India. Colonialism makes the sweetest candy taste bitter.

- Pro-tip for customer service people. It's cool to tell someone their discount card is no longer valid, has expired or whatever. What's not cool is disbelieving it ever was valid and implying that the customer is either stupid or a liar. "I don't believe that ever happened," makes just such an implication. It's too bad, because I liked those pants and would have liked to buy them, except I don't spend money in places that insult me to my face, okay Addition-Elle?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Gah. It begins.

My eldest spawn will be 12 in a month. She operates under the delusion that the digits are reversed and she's actually 21. For her age, she is a pretty confident with her self-image and has a pretty experimental sense of style.

This sounds awesome, but as the parent who has to step in and remind her that she is still only 11, it can be fraught.

The teen years are approaching and I fear its arrival the way others have feared Y2K or the end of the Mayan calendar. And like the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, various signs rear their head, signalling impending doom.

I took her and her stepsister (only a few months younger) shopping today. With their own money. When it's my money I usually have more control over clothing choices, usually by harness the power of being really, really cheap.

My kid has a predilection towards clothes that are not always age-appropriate. See aforementioned "12-going-on-21" thing. The challenge I find is explaining why something is inappropriate without resorting to shaming or telling her she's going to look like Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver.

In the period of less than an hour I found myself having to talk my not-yet-twelve year old out of:

- Neon pink short-shorts. This was easy enough to argue, since closer inspection revealed we were in the size 4-6x section. She's a 12. Easy Peasy

- 3-inch spike heels. Vetoed on the basis that heels are really, really bad for you. I have no doubt they fuck up the spine and legs of any grown woman. I don't even want to think of what those kind of heels would do to someone who is still growing.

- A yellow string bikini. Oof. I sputtered and stammered at that one and suggested trying some other styles. The other styles were all more expensive (probably due to the greater amount of fabric) and thus out of her limited price range. Finally, I appealed to her sense of broke-assedness and reminded her that I had already planned to take her and her sister bathing suit shopping next weekend. What kid wants to spend their own money on something mom was going to buy them anyway? She reluctantly put the suit back. Near miss on that one.

This is what I'm dealing with already and we haven't even hit high school yet. Gord help us all.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

An open letter to the guy who insulted me as I went for breakfast.

Dear Asshole,

Today I got up and went for breakfast. The man friend was not up for it, so I decided to take a book for company instead. Seeing as it was a lovely, sunny, brisk morning I decided to walk to the restaurant. It seemed like it could shape up to be a decent day.

Thanks and a hearty "Fuck You" for ruining it.

As I was entering the front door of our local dining establishment, you and your probably equally douchey friend were coming out. I guess my appearance caught you eye because you felt compelled to exclaim "Wow! Holy fucking teeth!" at me.

For those who may not have seen pictures, I have prominent front teeth and a bit of an overbite. I know this, because assholes and dentists have insisted on pointing this out to me pretty much since my adult teeth came in. I'm 32 years old. It's nothing I haven't heard before. Doesn't mean it doesn't feel just as shitty now as it did when I was a kid.

So, thanks a lot for reducing me to feeling a goddamned awkward twelve-year-old and making me feel ugly and insecure once what you had said registered.

And then.. And THEN, you had the audacity to look outraged when, realizing that I had just been insulted to my fucking FACE, I turned around and told you to fuck off. Like I was the asshole here.

My apologies to any diners who were within earshot of that, by the way.

Believe me, that was the least you deserved for not keeping your bloody comments to yourself. A full-on public shaming would have been fitting so you could have felt as humiliated as I did at that moment, but unfortunately I'm not verbally eloquent when I'm upset. Hence why I blog.

So fuck you for making me feel like shit about myself when I was just minding my own business, enjoying my Saturday. Fuck you for the fact that I was just a little scared about walking home after breakfast, in case you and your friend decided I needed to be put in my place for speaking up. And fuck you for the good possibility that had the man friend been with me, you probably wouldn't have said shit because I'm pretty sure that's precisely the kind of cowardly piece of excrement you are.

I hope a large piece of frozen airplane toilet water crushes you from a great height.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

And with that, my TV decided to channel Kurt Cobain.

I'm feeling rather grateful. It's been a stressed out week and a bit, but as the dust (and smoke and burning plastic smell - but more on that later) settles, I'm feeling immense gratitude.

I'm grateful that a week and a half after my sciatic episode, I'm pretty much pain-free. I've known people with sciatic injuries who have suffered for months and years on end. To be about 99% recuperated before I even had my first physio appointment, is pretty A-okay if you ask me.

I'm grateful that when my car started needing work, I had friends who were willing to step in and help with advice and work. I'm also grateful that when the need became especially urgent and said friends were unavailable due to circumstances beyond their control, financially I still had the option  of going to a shop and get the work done, armed with the advice given me.

I'm especially grateful that my pain-in-my-broken-ass kept The Well Travelled One and I home last Thursday night when my 6 year old Electrohome CRT television decided to literally go out in a blaze of glory. Let's be clear, when I say it was 6-years-old I refer only to the timeline in which I bought it. I wouldn't be surprised if they stopped manufacturing them much sooner. Its time was due. So as I sat there watching season 4 of Newsradio, Phil Hartman's head got really skinny, then kind of fat, then a little of both. I wondered if it was the connector and the WTO, who had a side view of the set from the vantage point of the computer desk calmly stated "actually, no, it's a small fire" before jumping over to quickly unplug it from the wall and disconnect all the peripherals.

So I am grateful that we had turned down the chance to go to karaoke, otherwise the girls would have been home, probably watching My Little Pony, wondering why Rainbow Dash's face was distorting when the set went up in flames. Thank Gord for oddly timed coincidences. Putting aside the most obvious, horrific possible outcome of that scenario.. Well, one traumatic house-fire is enough for any kid. But since my broken ass kept us home, the fire remained contained to the back of the casing, the only evidence a lingering smell of scorched plastic.

Better to burn out than fade away indeed. Tell that to all my other electronics that simply stopped working and didn't feel the need to get all showboat-y about it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My body betrays me, once again.

Illness is an asshole.

There was a time when slowly, over a period of months, my life oozed away and my body, in it's attempts to keep that life in place became a ticking time bomb.

I rose, I recuperated, I fell once again. The threat still existed but had grown weak. There came a long, long period of good health, where my body felt strong, felt functional.

This time, when the signs began to show themselves, I was prepared, and I swore I'd be pro-active and take control before this thing took hold of me. I got the meds, I got the supplements and I embarked on a self-care plan.

Sunday, the pain in my legs began and I panicked. I had a full on panic attack, terrified that once again, I had that bomb, that cluster of cells, deep inside that was ready to break free and lodge itself in my lungs, in my brain. I feared Death. I feared everything I had worked for slipping away from me.

I'm not going to die. Not yet, anyway. Not statistically sooner than anyone else.

A swirling deluge of relief, annoyance and shame washed over me when the doctor reported there was no sign of clotting.

Relief, for obvious reasons. Not dying! Yay!

Shame for the worry and fear that had manifested in myself and affected those I love.

Annoyance because my diagnosis, an injured sciatic nerve, was just another fucking issue to deal with. And annoyance because the pain, which mimics the pain that nearly killed me, is triggering as hell. Annoyance because I don't have the luxury of assuming a pulled muscle.. The leg pain could mean a few days discomfort, or it could mean a lifetime of anti-coagulants (Three Strike Rule, y'all) and higher risk of stroke, heart disease or pulmonary embolism. I don't have the luxury of saying "Meh, I'll walk it off."

I'm optimistic, though. Today, the pain is tolerable. I've faced worse than this, and so have countless others. I have hope that this is a short term injury (the most plausible cause being a slight misjudgement of a step at a friend's house that brought my foot down a little too hard) if the improvement between today and yesterday is any indication.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

@UltimateGuitar Doesn't Think Straight Girls Play.

Oh, I am just about fucking done with you.

It was bad enough that I downloaded your stupid, supposedly free iPad app, which was NOT FREE because after download the app it wants you to get a paid subscription to actually access any of the fucking tabs and now every time I use your site I get prompted to download the bloody app again... NO I DON'T WANT TO DOWNLOAD YOUR STUPID FREE-NOT-FREE APP!

*deeep breath*

Where was I?

Oh yeah. If that wasn't enough, I see you're pandering to the horny frat boy set.

Stereotypically slim, large breasted model with epic cleavage and glasses poses as a music teacher. Caption reads "Learn Songs with The Teacher of your Dreams"

That's not the teacher of MY dreams.

And here I thought I was going to get to learn with Slash, or Andy McKee, or Leona Boyd.  I'm guessing they mean the teacher of your wet dreams.. In which case, I'm still clearly not their target demographic, even though I use their site frequently and have been playing guitar for pretty near 20 years now.  But I guess girls don't play guitar, or if they do, maybe UG assumes we're all Tegan & Sara or the Indigo Girls. (I'd be okay with being either, but sadly, I'm not).

In case you're wondering, I clicked and guess where it goes? Yup.  To their "free app."

Which, by the way, still isn't free.


Makes me miss the OLGA.