These are my thoughts. They are not meant to make sense. They are my echo into the woods. I am the tree that falls, and it is here that I make a sound.
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The history of babble of the modern psychotic blonde

Warps to others, warped and otherwise
Sanity Optional
Friday, December 31, 2004

THIS IS NOT A COMPETITION DAMMIT

This makes me angry.

Why does this have to come down to "we gave more than you did"?

Yes, Engel shouldn't be calling anyone stingy. We all give what we can. But this is not a competition!

If the Americans really want to show Undersecretary Engel an even playing field of how much they give, absolute dollar value isn't workable. We have to consider the size of the economies that are providing the relief. Let's use Gross Domestic Product. Here's a sampling of just a few countries and their donations.

Denmark's government donations so far: 1.82 million
USA: 35 million
Canada: 40 million CAD, or approx 30 million USD
Britain: (last information I had was about 30 million USD - not sure where that site gets $370K pounds)
Austria: $1.36 million
Australia: $26 million

So how does this work out as donations as per a percentage of GDP?

Denmark: 1.17 %
USA: 3.34%
Canada: 3.21%
Britain: 1.96%
Austria: 5.97%
Australia: 4.97%

This show that yes, the Americans are far from stingy. But neither are they "leading the way" as they might believe. Canada, my home and native land, is far from leading the way either.

Can we now just drop the "I'm better than you are" pretensions and just give aid without looking around to see who's watching? If we really want to give from the heart, then we do it with a single focus: to help, not with pomp and circumstance that ensures we get recognition.

These poor people have been through a hell none of us can imagine. They still live it. As I've said before: give if you can, and if you can't or choose not to, thank you lucky stars that you are still here, able to debate such trivial matters as who gave the most money.
Thursday, December 30, 2004

Gratefully unnoticed, it fades

A few weeks ago, I posted that I wasn't having fun and needed help. I went searching for it at an online chat group I know of (the link is at the side there). The following may disturb some, but it also may educate, so I write with the warning that this may not be appropriate for some.

My husband was out. He was at the Christmas skate for one of the women's hockey teams he coaches. I was alone in the house.

I had these thoughts descend from outside of my mind, like a heavy snowfall. They don't feel like my thoughts, but drop in from nowhere. I went into the chat room and requested to speak one on one with someone.

The chatroom is run completely by people with bipolar disorder. Moderators may or not be there and as such support is hit or miss. But I got lucky.

There was a woman there who remembered me from my more frequent visits months back. She and I spoke one on one. I told her that I was having difficulty staying "here". For someone who hasn't gone through this, I don't know if I can explain this properly, but I'll try. Normally, you are focused on the realities of the here and now. Laws of physics. Feelings of others. Realities. But sometimes something pulls me away. I turn away from those realities and instead follow those in my head, which usually are contrary to the laws of physics. To let myself go completely into that train of thought is very dangerous indeed. Because of these thoughts, I decided I would take my Seroquel early. One of the main functions of the Seroquel is to control such thoughts. I was proud of the rational side exerting such control over the non-rational.

I never told the woman at this point about the knife I had. Now don't get me wrong. I wasn't suicidal. Really I wasn't. But what I was doing was following the thoughts that had fallen into my mind from outside. The thoughts are frightening: my rationality becomes a small light slowly being suffocated by the thoughts from outside. It's a fear like you cannot imagine - how do you trust your own mind? What is real? But still they came, cold clinical thoughts about the amount of pressure it would take from the knife point of a steak knife to break the skin. A dull pressure, slowly increasing as the pain threshhold would plateau. But while this sounds disturbing, it also has a positive benefit. The pain helps keep me "here". It keeps me focused on the computer, on the chair, on the room. It stops me from slipping into my own mind, whose walls are slick and impossible to climb.

I waited for the Seroquel to kick in, to hear it push the delusions out of my mind with the force of an army, and to bring with it the attendant fatigue: it has a strong sedative effect.

Nothing doing.

So after some time, I felt bad keeping this poor woman talking to a lunatic like me and told her I was going to go have a hot bath, hoping that would help me sleep. I did, but nothing changed. I went back to the computer about a half hour later, and noticed the knife still there. I went back to my "experiment", fighting with myself.
I also went back on line.

Several other people had joined in during my absence. I remember people talking to me and having difficulty communicating with them. I remember telling them I was losing my focus and my grip and needed help.

Again, the same woman took me one on one. Again, I didnt' tell her of the knife. But what I did do was try to listen to her. She told me that such times are part of the disorder and that we just need patience, that we can come out the other side unscathed. I was still struggling so hard to stay "here and now". Eventually I let her go, telling her I felt a little better (I did, but it didn't last long). I then forced myself to go downstairs and put the knife back into the butchers block.

I went upstairs and lay in bed and cried. I waited for my husband, silently urging him to drive faster, to get home quicker, before I lost my resolve and let my iron grip on the bed comforter go and went back to the butchers block.

He came home and even though I was in the dark and he couldn't see me clearly, immediately knew something was wrong. I told him I was so glad he was home, and didn't tell him of the knife. I was afraid of worrying him excessively. But we talked in the dark for some time. He told me that even though I was being good with my medication schedule, sometimes these things happen. I really have been good with the meds. The only thing that had been off schedule at that time was two nights in a row taking the seroquel about an hour later. We had some social commitments that required me to be up and about in the evening and had I taken the Seroquel at the regular time, I would've basically passed out in public. But other than that, all was regular schedule. By now, I was still having trouble getting to sleep, which was unusual: the Seroquel should have knocked me out long ago. I ended up drifting off some time after midnight. I woke up several times during the night. Again, unusual due to the Seroquel.

The next morning I got up and stumbled downstairs for breakfast like usual, but with the headache you get when you cry yourself to sleep. I went to take my morning dose of Epival, the mood stabilizer, and noticed the evening before's dose of Seroquel was still in its compartment

I REMEMBERED TAKING IT THE NIGHT BEFORE. What was happening to my mind. I clearly remembered taking it. But the lack of sleep and inability to fall asleep and the persistence of the delusional thought pointed toward no Seroquel. This upset me a great deal. Obviously I couldn't rely on my own mind. I was as confident that I had taken the medication as I was in my own name, in the image of my own face. Do you know how scary it is not to be able to believe your own thoughts?

Now the abrasions on the inside of my arm are fading, almost gone. Rob's never noticed them and for that I'm grateful. The man has put up with so much, he doesn't need this.

My next doctor's appointment is Jan 5. I have to decide if I'm going to tell him about this bump in the road (bump, no, big bump, yes). I'm afraid of an increase in the medications yet again: the weight gain, the memory loss, the stumbling for words sometimes - I hate it. But on the other side, how can I ensure that another episode like this is less likely to happen.

Perhaps I will print this and let him read it. I'm not sure.

We'll see.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Relief and hope

Think of something you can do. The staggering size of the disaster stemming from the Indian Ocean earthquakes is mind numbing. The speed of these waves was three quarters that the speed of sound. Basically, they heard it and it was on top of them. From one account, it sounded like jet engines approaching.

The most tangible thing these people need right now is money. Money to dig, money to bury, money for medicine, food and shelter. Money to help reunite. Money to help care for the lost. Money to secure hope for a tangible future.

If you cannot share some of your own wealth (and relatively speaking, I would hazard a guess that every single reader of this blog is far richer than 99%, if not 100% of those affected by this disaster), then offer a prayer to whatever deity you call yours. And if you are not of a prayer-offering bent, then hug your child, spouse, dog, neighbour, your Christmas tree or your refrigerator and be thankful for the life you have, the safety you enjoy and the choices you have available to you tomorrow.

I'm positive these people would gladly trade their choices with you.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Dave Barry

I saw this on Shrinkette's site and was happy for the laugh at 7.45 am. This is from Dave Barry's Year in Review:

...On the health front, the big story is a nationwide shortage of flu vaccine, caused by the fact that apparently all the flu vaccine in the world is manufactured by some guy in Wales or someplace with a Bunsen burner. Congress, acting with unusual swiftness, calls on young, healthy Americans to forego getting flu shots this year so that more vaccine will be available for members of Congress. President Bush notes that additional vaccine "could be hidden somewhere in Iraq..."

...Meanwhile, the condition of Yasser Arafat, already worse than anybody believed possible, somehow worsens still more, until it becomes so bad that Arafat no longer responds to a medical procedure known technically as the Hatpin Test, at which point he is declared legally deceased. After a funeral service attended by a large and extremely enthusiastic crowd, he is buried in several locations...

... the pro-baseball world is stunned by the unbelievably shocking and astounding and totally unexpected news that some players may have taken steroids. "Gosh," exclaims baseball commissioner Bud "Bud" Selig, "this could explain why so many players suddenly develop 200 additional pounds of pure muscle and, in some cases, a tail." Seeking to restore fan confidence in the sport, the players' union and the team owners, in a rare display of cooperation, agree that it will be necessary to raise ticket prices.

Hehehe. It's good that some Americans can still laugh at themselves :) Keep it up! Laughter is good for the constitution.
Sunday, December 26, 2004

Sunday Funnies

Germans have always had a reputation for being open with their bodies. I mean, German porn is wild (I read that in a book somewhere...yeah....).

I think this is funny, and I give them full credit for trying. They've got more cojones that I do (should that be Baelle...I have to keep up with that book to teach myself German that I bought when I was in the hospital).

I think this is funny too, but not for what you might think. Read the article and get the name of the company that did this. That's just too goofy.

this seems to be a candidate from TLC's What not to Wear that just got the rules so mixed up (aside: god I hate that Stacey Lunden chick, or whatever her name is. She's so smug I wanna knock her one. But I digress.) I guess when your mom told you to always have clean underwear on she didn't mean for them to be exposed like that.

This guy must be bipolar. I mean, with a name like that, who needs a personalised licence plate.

And last but not least: I find this funny not because of the article itself but the picture to the left. Just because they're talking about Canadians, a picture comes up about beer. It has jack to do with the article, but hey, they're talking 'bout Canadians, eh so we best t'ro somet'ing about da beer in der. (Newfie accent for the uninitiated).

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christian Charity

This makes me incredibly sad.

I've nothing else to say about it.

Merry Christmas

The weather's been horrible across most of North America, with even Victoria, Texas getting the first white Christmas it has seen in 86 years.

I know I'm not one of those thousands who are stranded or put out by the weather, but I want to just offer this:

The snow is beautiful, white and clean (until the salt trucks pass, but we're not talking about that). See the beauty of it. See the blank slate that has fallen from the sky upon which you can impress a new path. The snow is an insulator both of temperature and sound - hear how quiet things can be. It's fun: why do you think both kids and dogs - who can let go and be free far easier than us stuffy adults- go mad for the snow.

Enjoy it, once you're safe and sound.

I hope all of you have a safe, secure and happy holiday. Enjoy your friends and family, and remember that for some, friends are more family than they will ever need. Remember that I am thinking about you and wishing you well: no one is alone. Remember that you've risen to another day of adventure, of new opportunities.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas all.
Thursday, December 23, 2004

Template Change

Synergy was having trouble reading the posts. Apparently my template was going wonky. Well if anyone was going to have periodic bouts of the wonks, it would be me.

Hopefully this is better.

Thought the nature theme was cool. Was going to say uplifting, but no, that's a bra.

Charity Begins at Home

Adam just realized he hadn't got his father anything for Christmas. My cold is settling in quickly so I said we're going now. Within walking distance of our house is a Future Shop, which is the Canadian equivalent of Best Buy (never mind the fact that Best Buy bought them about 2 yrs ago). So we went there and Adam bought "Johnny English" for his father on DVD.

Then we drove down the street to a friend of his where he dropped of a tin of cookies and brownies I made. They are a nice family who always invites Adam over while I'm at work so the two 13 yr olds can "play" together (I think at 13 they're not really playing anymore, but I don't know what else to call it). Then we drove to the local firestation to drop off some toys that we had for the Children's Christmas drive.

Adam felt pretty good - everything we'd done was for someone else.

Hmmm, perhaps a lesson was learned?

Oh, the weather outside....whatever

I do like winter.

Today we've got a good dose of Canada dumped on us. My boss decided to let us go home at noon because the word was that the temperatures were going to drop during the day, and that, combined with the freezing rain that was going to fall, meant potentially very dangerous driving conditions.

I called my son and reminded him that his filial duty was to shovel. He looked outside and tried some weak protest, but it wasn't going to work. I half expected to find him still planted in front of his computer when I got home. Little did he know of the wrath that would descend on his teenaged head if such were true.

My car was covered in about 2 inches of ice all over so I chiseled my way in and spent 15 minutes clearing the windows and windshield wipers. Then off I went, never leaving second gear.

If you've never driven in bad winter weather, especially icy conditions, you've missed a treat. You kind of have to take liberties with stop signs, for one. Because if you come to a full stop, good luck getting going again.

And I get stuck at a traffic light.

I drive a little Hyundai accent, standard. I'm trying to rock back and forth to get some traction and I'm going about as far as a thief with Rosie O'Donnell's Doc Martens - nowhere. I put on my sad blonde puppy dog eyes and will other drivers passing me to look my way. Look, damn you!

Nothing.

So I get out and flag someone down. He and his wife get out and push me out of my rut and off I go. I got home okay, until I had to turn into my street. It had yet to be plowed, so again, I'm stuck - the snow was about a foot deep and I think it lifted my little car right off the ground. Sort of. Well, maybe not but I wasn't getting anywhere.

Out of the blue came my knights in shining armour - the Chinese man from across the street who speaks no English, the two teenage kids from next door, and my son, who was shovelling the driveway (what a GOOD boy you are Adam!). They rushed over and pushed and we rocked back and forth till I was safe and sound in the driveway. Because they were so kind, Adam and I helped the two teenagers finish their driveway, which adjoins ours.

Then I got out and helped Adam finishing shovelling. Cutting through the two inches of ice layered on top of the 10 inches of snow. There's different kinds of snow, and the worst is wet snow. So this was heavy ice, covering wet snow. By this time, the wind's picked up and is probably 40-50 km/hr in gusts.

Check out the little weather person on the right. It'll say the current conditions. To help those non-metric among you - a rough conversion for C to F temperature: take the C figure, add 18, and multiply by 1.8. So, 2 C would be about 36 F. Roughly. And -10 C would be about 22 F. But the temperature only tells part of the story. On days like today, we get what's called the wind chill factor. They add in the speed, direction, and humidity in the wind and convert it to a figure that tells you what it *feels* like outside, rather than what the mercury says. Some days the mercury can read -15, but the windchill makes it feel like -25. And at those levels, Celsius and Farenheit are pretty much the same.

We were fine doing the front of the house - then we turned the corner to do the 120 foot sidewalk down the side of the house and BAM. The wind. We were, all in all, almost 2 hours shovelling.

Work is all done now. And I'm sitting, relaxing with a cup of hot chocolate. I'm fighting a bit of a cold, but I actually feel a bit rejuvenated doing all that physical labour.

And I would imagine that no matter what, this year will be a White Christmas.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Reader Beware

Tis the season for religion, for spirits and spirituality. I like this time of year for the most part, but it's not because of the commercialism (I'm not that daft), nor the religious significance. I like the fact that, regardless of motivation, people are genuinely trying harder to be kinder, sunnier, connected to each other.

However...

You know there's always a "but"...

This is where I am warning people of delicate sensibilities that this will be a blunt and rough post. If you cannot deal with the ugliness that life can sometimes offer, please, for you own sake, DO NOT READ THIS. I mean it.

All these blogs I've been reading about their faith and their sense of belief in this holiday remind me of my own faith. That is: none.

Banjk's recent post was eloquent and reminded me a bit of myself, but in no tangible way. I've not had the same experiences - couldn't imagine having my child undergo what his did - but something rang true. But while he still has his faith in God, I don't.

I haven't had a belief in a higher power since I was very young.

I was baptised Anglican. Trinity Anglican Church somewhere in North York (the north end of Toronto). But my parents never went to church. I did have a bible. I actually read a good portion of it as a teenager, viewing it as a historical document, curious as to what drew these other people. Took courses in university too, for similar reasons. Intellectual fascination with the machinery of faith.

I remember going to a church by bus because my friend was going. I bugged my parents for days till they relented. I also thought the Sunday school teacher was soooo pretty. Her name was Katie Brereton. I still remember. I was about 7. The church, I believe, was Pentecostal. I only went a few times. I do remember Katie telling me that something was a sin, which was so foreign to me. If I was a good girl, and behaved myself, which I always did, how could God be angry with me? I felt then that something didn't make sense. I stopped going.

Then I went to another Sunday School, for similar reasons (a friend was going). Again, it was a bus ride to this BIG church with a neon cross on top. I had never been in a church so big and modern. We sang songs ("He's got the WHOOOOLLLE world, IN his HANDS") and we listened and here again I learned that things were sins. I stopped going there too. I don't remember why.

When I was nine, I had a crush on my teacher. He was so handsome, and always had this intriguing scent. (Years later I realized that it was a combination of Old Spice aftershave and excess coffee). I was an excellent student and always finished my work early. I would spend my extra time up at his desk, offering to help him with this or that.

I would stay after class to help him. I lived quite close to the school and I'm one of four children. I'm sure my mother wasn't worried about me, in retrospect. I don't blame her, but I'm sure that having one less child underfoot for a few hours was a blessing at the time. I just LOVED to be near him, his blue eyes cutting through me, his wonderful smell. He would walk round the school yard during recess and we would (because others liked him too) rush to be first to hold his hand. Then during class we could hold our hands up to our faces and smell his aftershave all day.

One day, he asked me to stay after school.

He asked me a question. To the day I die I will never ever forget it:

"If you stay after school and do me a favour, I will make sure that you pass school with flying colours".

Please scroll above to where I said I was an excellent student. But I was so happy that he was paying attention to me. A chubby, awkward 9 year old, blossoming a little early for her age. So even though I thought it strange, I said yes. I have to admit that I was curious: what favour would he single ME out for?

Some of you, perhaps most of you, think you can see what's coming. And you'd likely be right. I'm not going to go into graphic detail here, but I remember lying on the floor of the classroom with my own underwear in my mouth, tears rolling backward into my ears and all I could think of were these churches. Where was God? What had I done? What sin had I committed?

Because of my own example of what are well-documented psychological coping mechanisms, my mind decided to change the events of what occurred: he asked the question, and I declined. End of story.

About a year later, a friend of mine and I were studying multiplication tables, chanting them out in her backyard as we played hopscotch. Each hop was a number: "Twelve TIMES twelve IS one HUNdred FORty Four". And somehow I told her the story. Of course not the truth, because I hadn't any memory of it. I told her the sanitised version. And even then she was upset and demanded I tell my mother. I said I would but had no intention of it. I remember at the time feeling like the earth had fallen away and I had to keep this from my mom.

My friend called that night and asked "Did you tell your mom?" Like a trained monkey, I replied "Did I tell my mom what?" My mother was sitting right there and pestered me over and over. Tell me what tell me what tell me what. So I got increasingly upset and eventually she got the story. The sanitised one, of course. Like a repeat performance with my friend, my mother went nuts. She phoned the school. We had meetings and I remember being called out of class to go down to the principal's office to tell my story. NO one got called down to Mr. Fivey's office unless they'd been quite bad indeed. So I downplayed my story as much as possible. Nothing happened to the man. Nothing.

The story isn't as bleak as it might seem. I will try to keep this as concise as possible.

Fast forward to me @ 16 years old. I began to have screaming nightmares where a masked man would come into my house and shoot my entire family, except me, then pick me up, carry me through the side door of the house which magically led to my grade 4 class room where he ripped off the mask and the assault continued in all its Dolby Digital Detail.

I didn't sleep. I went into a major depression. On my own I sought counselling. I believe this is when I had my first bipolar episode, but not diagnosed at the time. I began cutting at that time, with the scars on my arms to prove it. And over a period of 5 years - yes FIVE YEARS - I finally pieced things together. Things the bear trap in my mind allowed to float to the surface, mangled and bloodied, but still recognizable. My innocence here. My trust there.

At this time I was married to my first husband. I decided, with his help, I was going to press charges. There is no statute of limitations for such things here and I wanted to have the world know what he had done. You see, he was still teaching. I felt that even if I didn't see him convicted, I would at least have planted doubt in the minds of some and he wouldn't be trusted the same ever again.

It took two years to get to trial. By this time I was separated and seeing the man who is now my husband.

There was a bailiff who was there everyday. She was a woman in her 50s, and in the last day of trial she brought me a gift. I still have it. It was a lapel pin of an angel. She said to me that no matter what, I was being an angel to the girls who would come after me.

I was so touched by her thoughtfulness. I took the angel to be a metaphor, non-believer that I am. And I still believe that to be true: if I was anything, I was helping by standing up to be counted. That had little to do with God or Heavenly Hosts of Hallelujah.

Then came the verdict.

Just as I will remember forever the wording of his question to me, I will never ever forget the wording of the judge.

Just because Mrs. X believesthese things to have occurred, and I have no doubt that she does believe it, this does not mean that they did in fact occur.

I heard no more. I got up and ran down the hall of the courthouse, followed by the crown attorney and chief detective. They took me into the crown's office and talked to me. I wasn't listening much. I was planning my own death. I figured it out in the 90 seconds it took to get from the court to the office. I knew exactly what I was going to do. But they kept talking.

The crown attorney kept asking me where Rob was (my boyfriend, now my husband). I told her he was working and she insisted on driving me to the subway station, making me call him from her office to ensure he met me there.

She saved my life. And when I met Rob, he saved it again.

A few days later, I was fired from my job.

Story seems pretty bleak, doesn't it.

There's a silver lining.

Days later, I was awash in a horrible depression. I had thought I could deal with a negative verdict, but that was an intellectual exercise. The real thing was far beyond my ability to cope with at that time. The chief detective phoned me at home and said that there was a woman who had read the write up of the trial in the Toronto paper. My name wasn't mentioned (rape shield law), but his was. And this woman wanted to talk to me.

It turns out that 10 YEARS BEFORE anything had happened to me, this man had lived in the same apartment building as this woman, who lived in the BUILDING NEXT TO MY PARENTS (who had moved out of their about a year after that). Damn. Coincidences are too strange sometimes. But this man had inappropriately touched her daughter as a toddler. Her daughter had no memory of it, and this woman wasn't going to force anything on her daughter. But this woman wanted me to know that regardless of what the judge said (details of his verdict were published), she believed me and thought I had done the right thing. She wanted me to know what she knew what he was and would always believe me.

How does all this gory detail tie into my belief, or lack thereof?

I have come through this life of fire and ice, scarred, bloodied and bruised, but intact. I have learned of myself in a way that I would never have otherwise. I draw off that strength sometimes in very dark hours. Sometimes I fall short, but I rely then on those who love me. I AM strong, stronger than the dirt that had clouded my mind for the five years till I was sixteen. I stood and faced my Lucifer, felt his gaze ground my insides to glass, and didn't fall. I looked once again into those ice cold blue eyes and survived. I know that some of you will say that it is God that gave me that strength, and I am happy you believe that. I believe that I earned that strength on my own.

I have read the Footprints in the Sand. Many times. Some of you will say that during those times that I was at my worst and ready to die, that God was carrying me. I cannot believe that. That little girl all those years ago won't allow it.

But what she WILL allow is a belief in myself.

Don't be sad for me. Rejoice that I still stand, ready to hold out my hand to those else in need. Regardless of what I call it, I still live by the words "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Call it faith if you want. I call it simply living well.

And someone told me long ago, living well is the best revenge.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Tonight

A much better night. A bit manic, but at least not like last night. I've received a strange email...a few actually...from a couple of different sources. I will say more once I get them straightened out.

Night.

My Blogger Idol Week 2 Top 5

In no particular order:

She's Leaving
Ian's Messy Desk
Phisch
Darren
Pearl's and Dreams
Sunday, December 19, 2004

No good

All of a sudden I am NOT having a very good night. I'm going to go to the online chat refuge I've used in the past and try to get through this. I've taken my medication early hoping it will kick in and knock me out so I can stop thinking this way, but I can't seem to sleep yet.

Wish me luck.

Blogger Idol Week 2 - First Date

My first date. I guess I can't include in this those times when I was a desperate 12 year old, dreaming of boys who paid her no attention, kissing her pillow in the dark of her room, pretending someone thought she was beautiful. And I won't include those offers for what I'll politely call "quickies" from men in passing cars as I walked to school.

My first official real honest-to-goodness date was when I asked a guy. For real.

I was sixteen and worked in the cafeteria restaurant of a major Canadian department store (the chain, near a century old, recently folded). It was the type of place where all the help wore these itchy brown-with-orange-trim polyester dresses. The dishwashers (all guys) wore white pants and white shirts (whoever chose their uniforms obviously did no laundry in their lives).

There was a guy that worked there, as a dishwasher, who I thought was an Adonis. His name was Pete. He was an entire three years older than me (I've always had a thing for older men - my current husband is almost exactly 10 years my senior). I would do almost anything to catch a glimpse of Pete, but also tried really hard not to be one of those annoying puppy-dog kind of girls, nipping at his heels.

My best friend worked with me. She knew that I had that hots for Pete big time. But she also knew that there wasn't a hope of me doing anything about it. She told the other dishwasher on staff, who went to school with us, that I was over the moon about Pete. So, this other dishwasher, D'arcy was his name, told me to ask Pete out. I was horrified.

But somehow, I did. To this day I don't know where I got that courage. And Pete said yes, he would go to the movies with me. Part of me, I think, fainted, but just forgot to fall over.

The day of the date came. I had suggested we go see Pale Rider, with Clint Eastwood (no chick flick for my first date). He picked me up (he had a car, I don't even think I had my licence then) in a huge boat of a convertible. I was standing across the street at the moment he drove up, nervously chatting to a neighbour who was so excited for me. The neighbour was in her mid 20s and like an older sister. When she saw Pete, she gave me a high 5! Way to go! she said. What a hunk! (You notice: women don't really use that expression anymore - they're not really hunks, they're hotties...anyway, I digress).

We drove to the theatre. In silence. I was too scared to say anything that would make me seem like the doofus I thought I was. He drove confidently with one hand on the wheel, the wind whipping through his jet black hair.

We got to the theatre and I paid. We sat, in silence, listening to ELO on the muzak they played before the movie. To this day, everytime I hear the lyrics: "Don't bring me dooowwwwn, Brrrruce!" I think of Pete and this movie.

We watched the movie in silence. Good thing it was a good movie. At one point I realized that I wasn't getting anywhere in this date, and I resigned myself to chalk this up to experience. A little grain of hope remained for the "drop off", however.

He drove me back home, and put the car in reverse the minute it came to a stop. That was a pretty clear signal that I wasn't getting any kiss, handshake, nothing. I was a little sad, and honestly, a little embarassed. I got out of the car, said thanks to him for coming with me. He drove off into the night.

Working back at the restaurant seemed a bit strange after that. I wondered: did he agree to go with me out of curiosity? Politeness? Genuine interest that faded when I wouldn't really say "boo" out of nerves?

I will always have sympathy and compassion for guys who struggle and have the nerve to ask a woman out. I know how hard it is to put your ego on the line like that. My son's at the age now (13) where he likes girls and he's got his first "can't we just be friends" speech.

Adam, my friend, I feel your pain. But not only are there other fish in the sea, there are those who are eager to swim with you. Give it time, bud.




Saturday, December 18, 2004

I SOLD ONE!

I had someone contact me via my Yahoo mail, which is attached to my ID on Yahoo. They missed the auction of my first piece there and is still interested in buying it!

YAHOOOOOOOO!

Now, I'm not going to be competing with any Sotheby auction sale records, but the fact that someone liked it and it was someone I didn't know, is very cool!

So I've added a few more to the site, hoping that maybe I might get another bite.

On a totally separate topic, Rob, Adam and I went and saw Bill Cosby in concert last night. The man is 67 years old and as sharp as ever. He had all new material and I spent a good time watching Adam laugh. It gave me a great deal of pleasure. Funnily enough, Rob told me he did the same thing watching me. :-)

Then, when all the new material was done and he'd been on the stage for almost two hours (would've been close to 11 pm then), he did his famous dentist routine. Well, I thought Adam was going to have a stroke on the spot! I had my glasses on (which I rarely wear) to see as much as I could (they're very weak and are for distance, and we were about 20 rows back, centre stage, decent enough seats). I had to take them off to wipe my eyes all the time because I was laughing so hard I was crying.

What a wonderful break and end to a hectic week!

Talk to ya later gators.
Thursday, December 16, 2004

Christmas Cheer

Today was a VERY long day. I, Queen of all Non-Morning People, had to get up at 5.30 am, leave the house at 6 (still freakin' pitch dark out), drive for 2 hrs due west of here to meet my boss, and then we drove in his cars another 2 hrs due west to a place called Amherstburg, Ontario. It's quite close to Detroit Michigan. We were to meet a customer that we were taking out for Christmas lunch. But this customer, who's never met me in person, has taken a shining to me, so they arranged for a special plant tour just for me. The plant makes HF - hydrofluoric acid - one of the most deadly chemicals on the planet. The plant is all outdoors and it was about -2 C, but about -10 with the wind.

Then we went to lunch, which was fun, in a little restaurant along the Detroit river.

After lunch, we then went to another plant where they make canola oil to help them with some steam problems they were having. Left there at 4.30 pm, drove the 2 hrs back to my boss's neck of the woods, where it was now in the midst of a good Canadian snow storm. So I'm driving back home on the highway in a snow storm for two hours straight, and I'm beat. If you've never driven in a snow storm in the dark, you've missed a real treat. I had to several times consciously lower my shoulders and loosen my grip on the steering wheel. *sigh* A long, long day.

Goodness only knows what my desk'll be like tomorrow, but I'll deal with it.

Back home now, fed and showered (hadn't eaten since lunch at 1 pm) and now I'm off to bed.

More tomorrow.

g'night
Sunday, December 12, 2004

Stability

As I look over my mood chart for the past week and a half, things have been relatively stable. The chart is NOT a flat line. But it does not look like the Wild Mouse roller coaster either. I really think taking Friday off work has done me good.

I've played three games of hockey in three nights - the last class of Power Skating for the session was Friday and that is always a shinny game (for those who aren't hockey people, shinny is a pick-up game of hockey, an unorganized kind of thing), and as the class is about 25 guys and 2 women (me being one), the skating was high tempo. And I was very proud of myself. I kept up to at least half of them and although I skated my ass off I'm sorry to say it found me again.

Then I had my regular Saturday game, and this afternoon was our Sunday game. Our regular goalie couldn't make it, so we were to have a substitute. No luck. I heard through the grapevine that the sub was a bit flaky, and sure enough she never showed up. She told the convenor that her car wouldn't start (which is possible - we're getting the first semi-serious dump of snow of the year, which always comes around my birthday), but we had to play the entire game of hockey without a goalie. Let me put this into American-speak: that's playing a game of football without a quarterback. Yes, someone has to fill in for the position, but it's not even close to the real thing. So we had our defensive line take turns rotating through the goal. I played defense tonight so yes, I was goalie for a while. I let one in, but we still won, without a goalie, 3-2. A lot of fun and a damned good game. This is with the team that I've been debating leaving after this season, but I admitted to Rob on the way home that the more stable I become, the easier it is to tolerate some of the politics of the team. I will withold my decision until the end of this season (April/May).

The only time any BP surfaced in the past few days that I was aware of was during Rob's league this morning, for which I timekeep and scorekeep. There was a penalty during the last of three games, and I was recording the time the penalty was over. At that exact moment, the whistle blew, and because I was concentrating on the penalty, I really didn't hear the whistle. The guys started yelling at me to stop the clock and one guy swore at me. I lost it and even in my little glass booth I'm sure they heard every word I said. It was rather blue. I just lost my temper - 0 - 100 km/h in about 0.2 seconds. The referree came over, told me to calm down and then play continued. The guy in the penalty box apologized for his team mates, but it took me a while to calm down. I was shaking I was so angry, and it really was over something very small. But it's an isolated incident and blew over quickly like a summer storm. All is now good.

The point of all this is I've had a good fun weekend, even though I'm still rather bummed about this damned weight that the meds have put on my frame. But it's at the moment a minor irritation (last week early it was really bringing me down). I do so much work to try to budge it and nothing. I am going to bring up the topic of Topamax during my next drs visit, but I'm concerned about some of its side effects as well. I'm not exactly comforted by its nickname of Stupamax and Dopamax - it apparently makes you quite dopey during the first few weeks, if not during the whole duration your on it (it affects different people with varying severity). I was also told by a friend that it is one of the lesser powerful mood stabilizers, usually needing to be taken in conjunction with some other mood stabilizer. I'm doing pretty good on the Depakote and the Seroquel, except for the weight and the occasional case of the shakes.

So while I am going to bring up the Topamax, Rob is really cautioning me not to abandon any hard won stability I have just for the sake of vanity. He's said he's got no issue with me having to buy a size bigger in my jeans, as long as I'm stable and he doesn't have to worry about me getting hospitalized for my own protection again.

There may be some who read this who think, hey, you're the one on the meds, not him, so do what's right for you. And you're entitled to think that. But he's a part of this illness too, in the sense that my stability affects him very directly. He also (the fool) loves me and has a great deal of emotional investment in our relationship.

I feel good right now, right this very second. And if the doctor said to me this very moment that he didn't think Topamax was right for me because of "x y and z", I would nod and accept it.

I have a heavy week coming at work, and I'm sitting here typing, but also literally picturing in my mind a big box, wrapped in a big red bow, that holds the stability of the past few days. I'm going to try to keep that accessible at work this week and draw from it when I need.

*walks off into the sunset humming a happy tune, because I can't whistle*

Blogger Idol - My top 5 so far

These are my current top 5 (in no particular order):

1) Rather's razor sharp insight
2) Unordered's honesty and plea for familial insight.
3) Ryan's Ramblings - those Old Navy ads have to go
4)Wayne Hurlbert's good list for bloggers of all kinds. Actually gave me some ideas!
5) Cliff's simple pleas
Friday, December 10, 2004

What I want for Christmas?

What I want for Christmas?

I was born during the holiday season. Today is my birthday. It's a double edged sword, having your birthday so close to Christmas. Some people (my husband, for one, whose birthday is a week after Christmas) got shortchanged and had single presents double for both occasions.

He dislikes Christmas. He likes buying things for Adam and I, taking pleasure in our pleasure. But he hates it otherwise. He works in retail at the administrative level, in a national headquarters of a major retailer. This time of year is hell for people like him. To add insult to injury, his father passed away about 12 years ago the day after his birthday, so, since he was a kid, there has been basically jack good about this time of year.

What is on my Christmas list?

His happiness.

I want him to see this time of year through the eyes of a child again.

I want him to feel the anticipation, the fun of the early morning. Remember being little and just shaking with excitement? SANTA HAD COME!

Honestly, I'm not a religious person. For reasons that I may relate someday, I lost any belief in a higher power at a very young age. But I understand the effort and the sense behind the Christian story. This is a time of birth, of new beginnings, of giving selflessly because it moves us to, rather than because we expect recompense, of taking the long nights of winter and seeing in them the promise of new life, the spring yet to come, (never mind the historical inaccuracies and changes in the actual date of Christmas...the sense of the season shouldn't change).

I know that the commercialism that engulfed Christmas really disgusts many people. The television spews vomitous commercial after banal ad. But it's symbolic. We've got to remember to see past the money and see the metamorphosis: out of the darkness of winter, when historically we would have had the least to give, we give for the pleasure of giving.

My exhusband is now saddled with a girlfriend who writes out explicit and expensive lists of what she "needs". I don't think their house sees a lot of giving for pleasure. It ends up being a barter system for future nights out with the boys and sexual favours.

I want to give my husband the world. Not because I want to get laid, but because he deserves it.

I don't worry that he will or won't like my gifts. I know that he knows they are from the heart, the one place that we should always keep commercial-free.



This is the painting that I've been working on. Still in the rough stage. It's from the inside of a back garden porch looking into a treed lot on a beautifully sunny day. Posted by Hello

Seemed so nice I photo'd twice ! Posted by Hello

Wonderful Surprise Michele! Posted by Hello

Ahhhhhhh.....

Today I've taken a days vacation. I have about 10 to take before the end of the calendar year and that's just not going to happen. But today I'm off and the two intervening days between all the stat holidays in the week of the 27th I'm also taking off. That'll be the first full week of time off work since my hospitalization in late September 2003. No wonder I'm tired sometimes :-)

I feel really good today. Got a lot of big plans (what else is new) and I'll check in periodically throughout the day.

See ya soon.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004

So ya wanna be a Canuck....

There was an interesting article I read at lunch today.

So often, Americans think we are the same, Canadians and them. Apparently, Europeans see us differently. And I think a lot of Canadians see ourselves as distinct - we live here and not there, for one.

The implication in the article is that Canadian politics isn't as heavy and we have a "light heart and quick wit". I can think of far worse things to be tagged with :-).
Monday, December 06, 2004

Untitled

Water washes it all away.
It freezes and trembles
under aloof azure gaze,
But still I wish it would stay.

Water washes it all away.
It laughs and squeals
in a green gloved glimpse,
And night then overtakes day.

Water washes it all away.
Muffled, it struggles but
Fights to the surface where
sunlight and magic both play.

Water washes it all away.
The scales of the sickness
fall, in darkness and light.
Purity is born once again.
Friday, December 03, 2004

Tired but don't want to sleep

I'm done skating. I did burn off some of the irritability, and now my body is quite tired but the head's not ready to sleep. So, I found this.

It's one of those silly "get to know me" things. Usually I wouldn't have the patience to read this myself (posts longer than two scrolls with the mouse lose me quick) so I don't blame you if you don't read it. I'm hoping me typing this in will make my mind slow down enough to let the Seroquel kick in and I can be asleep by the time Rob and Adam come home from the hockey game.

01. Bought everyone in the pub a drink: Nope. When I drank, they were bought for me.

02. Swam with wild dolphins: Not even tame ones.

03. Climbed a mountain: Nope. Did a rock wall at the amusement park though and that was cool.

04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive: NO

05. Been inside the Great Pyramid: Nope

06. Held a tarantula: A long time ago and for about a second. It belonged to a friend of my little brother's.

07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone: Yes. Lots of fun.

08. Said ‘I love you’ and meant it: Yes. It keeps me breathing and centred to be able to say it.

09. Hugged a tree: ummm, I think so.

10. Done a striptease: Yes. Again, lots of fun.

11. Bungee jumped: Nope. No one would go with me.
12. Visited Paris: NO, unfortunately.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea: No.

14. Stayed up all night long, and watch the sun rise: Yes.

15. Seen the Northern Lights: Yes.

16. Gone to a huge sports game: NHL hockey. GO Leafs GO!

17. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa: Nope.

18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables: Yes. Tomatoes, green onions, carrots

19. Touched an iceberg: Nope.

20. Slept under the stars: Yes.

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon: No

22. Watched a meteor shower: Yes but I didn't realize that's what it was at the time (I was little)

23. Gotten drunk on champagne: No

24. Given more than you can afford to charity: No. So sue me.

25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope: Yes. My son was given the one that my dearest uncle had after he passed away and we watch now and again.

26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment: A lot :-) I'm an idiot.

27. Had a food fight: Ummm don't think so.

28. Bet on a winning horse: Yeah but nothing big.

30. Called in sick when you were not ill: Never.

31. Asked out a stranger: Yes. Oh, yes. My sisters both swear I have a sign on me written in invisible ink that is only legible to genuinely insane people that says "Hi, please come up and talk to me".

32. Had a snowball fight: Yes of course! I'm Canadian!

33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier: Hell no.

34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can: :-) During sex and during fits of rage

35. Held a lamb: No.

37. Taken a midnight skinny dip: No

38. Taken an ice cold bath: No.

39. Had a meaningful converation with a beggar: Sort of. I made the mistake of making eye contact and then off he went (also, see answer above re being asked out by strangers)

40. Seen a total eclipse: Yes, about 10 yrs ago

41. Ridden a roller coaster: Of course

42. Hit a home run kick ball: What is kick ball?

43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days: Of course - mania's great

44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking: Yep :-)

45. Adopted an accent for an entire day: Yes - long story, but I used to be one of those awful phone sex girls when I was desperate for money and had to be a variety of women all day, from a Jamaican mother of 40 (I was 24 at the time) to a 16 year old chinese girl.

46. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors: No, and I'd really like to.

47. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment: Yes. It was a Tuesday.

48. Had two hard drives for your computer: No.

49. Visited all 50 states: No.

50. Loved your job: No.

51. Taken care of someone who was shit faced: Yes. And I hated it.

52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied: Yes, I think so.

53. Had amazing friends: Friendship is a touchy subject with me. I say yes to this one if I can include my husband and son.

54. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country: yes - a man in Boston on a business trip (I was in Boston which is foreign to me :-))

55. Watched wild whales: No.

56. Stolen a sign: No

57. Backpacked in Europe: No

58. Taken a road-trip: not the kind you mean

59. Rock climbing: See above (duplicate question?)

60. Lied to foreign government’s official in that country to avoid notice: No -

61. Midnight walk on the beach: Nope

62. Sky diving: No/ I'd like to try

63. Visited Ireland: No

64. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love: No

65. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them: Yes, when the airport restaurant was really busy some man came and sat with me and started talking (also, please see above re strangers asking me out)

66. Visited Japan: No

67. Benchpressed your own weight: No, but close

68. Milked a cow: No

69. Alphabetized your cds: No, but Rob does. Religiously.

70. Pretended to be a superhero: yes, when Wonder Woman was on TV

71. Sung karaoke: No

72. Lounged around in bed all day: No

73. Posed nude in front of strangers: Yes and I'm not telling you any more :-)

74. Scuba diving: No.

75. Got it on to "Let’s Get It On" by Marvin Gaye: No

76. Kissed in the rain: Yes.

77. Played in the mud: Yes, as a kid (not the sexy kind you're thinking of)

78. Played in the rain: Yes. (see above)

79. Gone to a drive-in theater: Yes. of course

80. Done something you should regret, but don’t regret it: Yes. :-D

81. Visited the Great Wall of China: No.

82. Discovered that someone who’s not supposed to have known about your blog has discovered your blog: Not that I know of

83. Dropped Windows in favor of something better: No.

84. Started a business: Getting ready to hopefully.

85. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken: no - it hurt

86. Toured ancient sites: No, but I'd love to.

87. Taken a martial arts class: Yes.

88. Swordfought for the honor of a woman: umm, no. helllooo????

89. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight: yes, years ago

90. Gotten married: Yes. Twice.

91. Been in a movie: not that I remember

92. Crashed a party: Yes - met my exhusband there when I was very drunk. That'll learn me

93. Loved someone you shouldn’t have: Well, that implies that I regret it and I try not to regret things. Even bad things teach lessons and make one a better person.

94. Kissed someone so passionately it made them dizzy: Dunno. You'd ahve to ask them

96. Had sex at the office: Nope.

97. Gone without food for 5 days: No.

98. Made cookies from scratch: Yes all the time

99. Won first prize in a costume contest: No.

100. Ridden a gondola in Venice: Nope.

There

I actually do feel a little calmer.

Now I'm going to go lie down and see if that helps and lets me sleep.

Night.

Deliberate Isolation

I remember long ago when I was in grade school walking home with a friend and having them ask what I was doing on the weekend. Almost without fail, I would lie. I'd tell them I was going to my aunt's. Or my grandmother. The point was that I wouldn't be home so they couldn't come over.

I never wanted to have them come over. Or very rarely. I don't know if some of that was a carryover from my absolute terror of my mom, but I think a good portion of it was my seemingly in-born need to be alone.

I've always prefered my own company to that of others. Even now I don't like having company over. My home is my sanctuary.

Why?

I think it is in large part due to the fact that alone I don't have to put on the masks of acceptability. I don't have to pretend to be okay. I don't have to be "on" (and every bipolar person reading this knows exactly what I mean by that). I can sit and stew in my own juices, or I can daydream or I can create in peace.

And it's always been this way.

Now, as an adult, I have been invited to a few Christmas gatherings. I DO NOT WANT TO GO.

The one that we really seemed locked into was being held by a couple of women who play on one of my hockey teams. And, while I think it was because he genuinely forgot about their party, Rob has booked that same night as the yearly Christmas get together with his sister. It's really the only time they see each other all year (both their parents are dead and they are the only family each other has left, and they barely tolerate each other). But I'm having trouble lately (past month or so) believing that the women on this hockey team aren't talking about me. I'm getting really paranoid about them (or most of them) and it inhibits my interaction with them, which then feeds the paranoia because they talk to me less and I then assume they're talking about me more when my back is turned (anyone ever been truly paranoid will understand that - paranoia isn't logical). Thoughts have been strange at strange times.

So I seem to have escaped the social things for the most part. I do have my family "do" on the 26th, and that will be interesting *coff coff*.

My mood right now is somewhat irritable, tired, but agitated. I'm off to power skating shortly, and Rob and Adam have gone to watch a semi-pro hockey game downtown at the Air Canada Centre (someone might as well play there since the NHL is on strike). I'm hoping that the sweatbox of the skating class will help burn this mood out of me and I will come out the other side cleaner, shining.

I'll let you know.

Watching

I've had the shakes a lot this week. This morning I would have to put my pen down at work and flex my hands and concentrate really hard at not focusing on my shakes. It was very distracting.

I also forgot my mid morning snack this morning - I have a Nutrigrain bar every morning at 10 am. So I was hungry. And I find that food and sleep at regular intervals are as important to me as medication in keeping things within the realm of the sane.

It's taking me a good week at least to recover from my meds screw up. Let's hope the weekend is better.

Copyright © 2005 Blondzila (because no one else would own this).

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