Thursday means therapy!

At least, it does so lately. (Siblings, you might wanna skip today’s entry. I talk about Mom and other deep scary stuff. )

Had therapy today. Nothing big went down. I told my therapist that I have my father’s address now, so I could totally send him a letter. But then we got on talking about how the really hard thing to do is confront the weak partner, the passive one, the one who could have helped but did nothing.

In other words, my mother. Might be different in your family. Probably not.

My mother is the one person who could have restrained my father’s rage at the dinner table, and beyond. She was the sane adult with children who were emotionally imperiled by her unstable and dangerous spouse, and in absolute terms, she should have been fighting for us the whole time.

Instead, we all learned to instinctively protect her. She was always so sweet and so fragile. Even today, I can’t imagine ever confronting her about the sort of childhood I had and her role in the abusive dysfunction of our unhappy home. I just can’t imagine upsetting her like that. I would feel like the worst person in the world if I hurt that sweet, sensitive woman.

Plus, I gather her health is not that great, and I would never do anything that might make that worse. (Don’t leave without me, Mom. I beg you. )

So whatever I might have to say to her, odds are it will never get said except perhaps in a letter that I never send. I can’t see a solution. For me, hurting her in any way is just plain unthinkable.

Like I have said before, she says she was a victim too, and she was. My father systematically dismantled her self-esteem and made her, a very intelligent woman with a professional career and a lot of responsibility at work, utterly dependent on him. He had her convinced that only he could handle the family finances, and so she could never leave him, obviously.

It can’t be easy to be married to Larry, four kids or no. I think, like a lot of abused wives, she just buried herself in her work and in looking after the kids, and treated Larry just like we kids treated him, namely doing her best to avoid him. It’s that old trick, dealing with something by not dealing with it.

Then there is my certainty that she was suffering from depression for a lot of my childhood. Something happened somewhere along the way and I think she just kind of gave up. She just went through the motions of life.

I find it odd that my siblings didn’t notice this. I sure did. But in a sense, Mom was my only friend when I was in elementary school, so I was closer to her than the others, at least till the zombie chill of her depression finally got through to me and I started leaving her alone, too.

Which, of course, left me totally isolated. I am positive there is a link between my depression and hers that goes far beyond mere genetic risk factors. I saw what happened to her, emotionally speaking, and internalized it.

Maybe all my frozen tundra exists within her as well.

It wasn’t all bad, though. I have fond memories of summers with my Mom, where she would be off work and there to be a Mom to us. I remember her taking the time to teach me things and stir my curiosity, and of course I will always treasure her reading all of the Narnia books, plus Huckleberry Finn and both Alice books, to me when I was a wee sprog.

It must have been fun for her too. Reading to wide-eyed little me, answering my occasional question when I didn’t understand something, doing all the voices for the different characters, my little red head soaking it all up in rapt awe.

And of course, like I have said before, I remember sitting with her at the family dinner table, in the kitchen, singing along to folk songs while she strummed her guitar, the very picture of Seventies familial bliss.

No wonder I have such intense Seventies nostalgia that it feels sometimes like a fever dream. No only was that the era of my most formative years, but things were a heck of a lot better for me back then. I had friends, Pat and Janet, and I had my family around me, far more supportive and attentive and less distracted back then, and things were just plain a lot groovier back then.

Everything changed for me when I went to school. Well, actually, the year before that, when Pat and Janet went off to school and so it was just me and the babysitter. That was the year I should have been in kindergarten.

But we’ve been over that.

So in my mind, it really does seem like the Seventies were the good times, and everything went to hell once the Eighties started. Think about it, I was born in ’73, which means I was seven in 1980. That means Grade II, and yup, by then my life was a hell of boredom and terror, utterly alone in a cold, cruel world.

Maybe it seems that way to my mother as well. It feels like in the Eighties, everyone got colder, more self-absorbed, more careerist, more grey and angry.

I know you won’t agree with that, Felicity, but it’s just my own impression.

The more I think about my childhood, the stronger the feeling of terrible wrongness gets. Nobody should grow up that isolated and abandoned, and my mother played her part in THAT as well.

She ignored me just like the others. I was inconvenient. They didn’t know what to do with me. So they did nothing.

After all, I was so meek and shy, it was like I wasn’t even there.

Sometimes I still feel like I am not even here.

Maybe I should pay someone to remind me I’m around.

I will talk to you again tomorrow, dear readers.

On The Road – Rainy City edition

Part 1 : Notes from the Field

You know what that title means. I am currently sitting in my favorite White Spot on 3 and Ackroyd , waiting for my food, and blogging at you nice people.

I am proud of myself. I didn’t have to leave the apartment and hop on the bus to go to Money Mart and cash La Cheque. I could have just stayed home and waited passively for Friday night to maybe deliver me there via Joe.

But I did in any way, purely as a way to get myself out of the apartment on my own, just for fun.

Damn my food is taking a while. Chicken Caesar Wrap, I summon thee!

While at Money Mart, I confirmed that the Amazon Prime money is back on the card. Glee! I got a hundred sixty bux on the card now, so I see a little online shopping in my future.

Or maybe not. Maybe I will use the money to get one of my novels turned into an eBook. Tbe fantasy one is probably the most commercial.

Then again, the latest one is the one I destroyed my soul trying to edit, so from a sunk cost point of view, it should be that one.

Of course… then I would have to figure out how to promote it…

Story of my life, really. I am a wizard in need of a bard.

Well, I think the road portion of this entry is complete. Typing via virtual keyboard is tiring and I still have some shopping to do.

The rest will be written from home!

Part 2 : The Home Office

Wow, all that typing on the virtual keyboard at White Spot, and I only wrote around 250 words. It felt like a heck of a lot more, I can tell you. I have got to find the power chord for my itty bitty Bluetooth keyboard and charge it up so I can use it again. It’s not as good as a real keyboard, but it’s still better than the virtual one on my tablet.

I got a great seat when I was at White Spot. Way in the back, tucked into a little corner all on my own, perfect for a writer.

I ended up eavesdropping, off and on, on a fairly interesting conversation between an older man and a younger woman who were both involved in some part of the finance industry. The intriguing part was that I was not sure if this was a business meeting or a date.

The older guy definitely had his high beams on, charm-wise. He was sharing some of his life story with her. He did most of the talking. He was telling her about his philosophy of mutual funds, I think. At various times I got the feeling that he was : interested in getting the people to invest in the firm he worked for, there in a more of a mentoring capacity, or trying to get into her pants.

I suppose it could be all three, really.

So not only did I have the sort of personal space I wanted, I also got a fairly interesting conversation to sample now and then.

The conversation definitely seemed tense at times, like this was high stakes diplomacy and they were dealing with really sensitive subjects. I couldn’t quite follow what they were talking about, though, so I can’t be sure.

And yeah, I suppose I should feel bad for eavesdropping on people. But I did no harm. I have no idea who these people are or what their lives are like. There is no way I could possibly harm them with what I overheard. Our lives do not intersect in any way. I don’t even know their names.

And besides, it’s very hard for me to ignore the spoken word when my mind is not otherwise occupied, and so in a sense I can’t really help it. I end up eavesdropping whether I want to do it or not.

And believe you me, I have ended up listening to some really dumb conversations as a result. They are not all mysterious and dense interactions with a lot going on under the surface.

Sometimes it’s just morons yammering at each other about sports.

Getting back home was… moist. When I left White Spot, it was raining… ish. The sort of rain where it is definitely raining, but not really committed to it.

Fine by me. If it had been real, serious rain, I would have gotten a lot wetter. Luckily, I could make it to the bus stop by staying under the Skytrain, for the most part, then under the awnings on Westminster Highway.

When I was approaching the bus stop, I saw the one thing you really don’t wanna see while approaching your bus stop : your bus, pulling away.

Not only is that just inherently frustrating (so close!), but it means that you will be waiting for the maximum possible time until the next one shows up.

And because it was raining, I had to choose between being seated but getting wet on the bus bench, or staying dry under the nearby awning but having to stand for the whole time. Some choice!

I actually tried to sit down on the ground under the awning (I ain’t fancy, not when sitting is on the line) but a warning twinge from my bum knee warned me of the folly of that kind of move.

If it was that bad going down, imagine what a nightmare getting back up would have been! Man it sucks to get old.

After I got off the bus, I went to Safeway and bought a few things, including, on a total whim, a couple of bottles of Mio.

I’ve been curious about the stuff for a while. I got Lemonade (yay) and, get this, Watermelon Strawberry flavour.

Those are two of my favorite flavours of anything! I can’t wait to see what they are like together.

Oh, and the wonderful William should be stopping by tonight with a working power supply for the Mother Ship, and so I should be back on my trusty ol computer by the time I write to you again.

I will talk to you again tomorrow, folks!

The Island of Z

I’ve been having one of my sleepy days.

Makes sense. I am long overdue. And after spending five days fairly ill, I am no doubt in need of some serious mental rejuvenation time.

Of course, it doesn’t feel like mental rejuvenation at the time. Far from it! It feels like my mind is filled with soft electric sand, and every time I sleep, some of the sand drains out…. but only after it fills up in the first place.

Right now, I am willing to just let the sand have its way and catch up on sleep. If it keeps up, I will get irritated with it and start to fight it, forcing myself to move around and be active and shake the sand out of my skull.

Man, when I get hold of a metaphor, I just don’t let go.

Sleepy or no, I am definitely willing to say that I am no longer in the grips of last week’s death spore. I still have some “liquid goo” rattling around in my lungs and a touch of dryness in my throat, but I feel fine, my appetite is back to normal, and I am properly salinated.

I am so glad that shit’s over. Like I said when still in the antiviral trenches, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone, and that applies to your health more than anything else.

So while I would hesitate to call myself “healthy” now, I will say that it wonderful to be back to the far more pleasant level of being ill to which I have become accustomed in recent years.

One little thing brightening my day : I managed to talk Amazon Canada into giving me my money back for Amazon Prime.

It started when I finally got around to looking up the benefits of Amazon Prime. That meant first figuring out which Amazon I had bought said Prime on.

Turned out, it was Amazon Canada. So I fuck around on Google trying to find out what all I get from Prime on Amazon Canada, and it turns out some dude wrote an entire Kindle book about it.

Wow, there are so many it takes a whole book to explain them all, I thought.

But no. I found the information elsewhere and it’s not even a pamphlet’s worth. Pretty much all you get is free 2-day shipping and a deal on 1-day shipping.

Whoopty fucking do.

When I saw that, I instantly made my mind up that it was SO NOT WORTH the $88 it had cost me, and I was determined to get my moola back.

So I wrote a heart-string tugging letter to Amazon about having been sick (true) and financial times being hard for me (true, but not exactly new) and how I knew they had my money now and didn’t have to give it back, but I would really appreciate all or at least some of the money back anyhow.

There may have been some gilding of the truth in there. Trust me, it was a masterpiece of pathos.

Couple hours later, I get an email saying my Prime membership has been canceled and I should be getting the money credited back to my card within 2 to 3 business days.

SCORE! I still can’t believe I pulled it off. I figured that absentminded people like me were the natural prey of free trial gambits like the Amazon Prime one, and there was no way they would give me a penny back. Or if they did, it would be in the form of “store credit”, so to speak.

But nope. I’m getting my $$$ back. Squee! I not only managed to correct one of my recent stupids, I did it in a way that makes me feel smart. DOUBLE SCORE!

So things are looking up for me. I am recovering from getting knocked almost all the way down by that illness, and pretty soon I will be officially on the rise again and ready to go hunting for some writing courses to take.

It helps that tomorrow is every cripple’s favorite time of the month, Check Day. I plan on going on my own to get it cashed, as otherwise I would end up having to it after therapy on Thursday, or wait till Friday night in hopes we would be going out to eat, and fuck that noise.

It will do wonders for my mood to not have an empty wallet. I have like maybe a couple bux to my name at the moment, and that never feels good.

Sure, intellectually I know that I am not, in the grand financial scheme of things, broke. Check tomorrow, Amazon payback, etc.

But being broke is psychologically damaging on a level inaccessible to mere reason. I have “winter is coming” white people genes in my DNA strand and that means I need to have a reserve of resources available at all times in order to feel safe.

I recognize that this is exactly how financial hoarding (oldschool : miser) happens. I can completely imagine myself being the kind of person who can never have enough money because they use money as security against a cold cruel world, which works for a while, but when the real monster lies within your soul, no amount of money can keep it out.

There, I just wrote the plot for an entire CBC-bait novel about a middle aged rich white dude’s existential crisis.

So my plan is to find a place, financially speaking, where I am comfortable. A place where I can have a nice, easy, pleasant life without a lot of worry or hassle on my part.

I have thought for a while now that a glorious place for any artist to be in is the one where you are so financially secure that someone could offer you a billion dollars to sell out, and you could still say no.

Then watch the look on their faces when “more money” stops working and they realize they actually have to DEAL with you, not just “make a deal” with you.

That’s all from me for today folks. I will talk to you again tomorrow.

A burden of intention

One aspect of modern life in the modern world that puzzles and intrigues me is this burden of intentions that we all carry around for us.

Let me explain. While chatting with my sister earlier this month, she mentioned some small thing she had been meaning to do for a long time, and it suddenly hit me that this is not a rare thing. It is, in fact, a nearly universal aspect of modern life. People walk around with enormous lists of things they plan to do some day, when they get around to it, when they have the time, and then feel guilty for not doing them.

Thus, this phenomenon insures that all us modern naked beach apes carry a burden of guilt for intentions unfulfilled, regardless of how realistic said intentions were or even whether they are something you really, truly want.

A severe but not entirely invalid line of argument could be made that if you wanted to do these things bad enough, you would have done them by now, and the fact that you haven’t means that you likely never will and you would be a lot better off just forgetting about the whole thing and ridding yourself of a lot of unproductive and thus entirely unnecessary guilt.

And yet, we never do that. We hold on to these intentions and their resulting burden of sadness and guilt, and so one has to wonder why.

What is it we are getting out of this internal list? It must be something precious for us to be willing to endure the costs.

I think what we get is hope. Despite the fact that when we think of these little tasks, we risk feeling bad for not having done them yet, we really enjoy the idea that we will do all these things “some day”. It is the miracle of the undefined future, where terms like “some day”, “eventually”, and “when I feel like it” can be used to bypass many layers of reason and prudence and allow us to believe that we will do damned near anything…. some day.

For small things, this is harmless. It doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things if you never get back to knitting Afghan blankets if you otherwise have a happy and fulfilling life. If thinking that makes you happy, then it is probably a net good to believe it, whether it’s realistic or not.

But some kinds of hope are toxic, and if the feeling that you will do certain things “some day” keeps you from doing them in the present and that in turn keeps you in an unhappy or unfulfilling life, you might just be better off deciding, right now, whether you are going to do it, or give up and move on.

One thing I have noticed about the things people have on their little lists is that they nearly always involve either virtue or self-actualization. They are the things that people think they ought to do, and possibly even the sort of thing that people thing people like themselves DO do, but which involve a certain amount of sacrifice of our precious, precious off time and so we never actually do them.

So whether it’s volunteering down at the homeless shelter (virtue) or finally taking that last French course you need to get your minor (self-actualization), this burdensome list is usually filled with the sort of things we feel we ought to do, and it is just easier to imagine we will do them some day than it is to actually do them, and so they get added to the list.

And adding things to that list is so easy, isn’t it? It’s easy and it feels good and you never even think about how long the list is already or, heaven forbid, how realistic it is that you will do whatever it is your adding.

As for prioritizing the list so you can tackle the most important ones first?

Forget about it.

So the list gets longer and longer and longer, and as it does, a very specific kind of sadness begins to accumulate. Because no matter what sort of deal you have made somewhere in your mind about hope and fun, not doing the happen golden life-affirming things you keep meaning to do is damned depressing.

Some part of you is like the kid whose Dad always promises to go play catch with them “next time, Champ. Next time for sure!”.

Sooner or later, that part of you realizes it’s never going to happen, and the constant disappointment of the dream turns it sour, and now the item on your list is not a source of joy, but only of guilt and self-recrimination.

And yet, you can’t delete it off the list either, because that would mean admitting that you were never going to do it.

And that would mean killing the dream.

As I always say in these things, I am by no means exempting myself from this phenomena. I have a lot of dreamy ideas about things I could do “some day”, and these dreams, unrealistic as they may seem to someone else, have been a great comfort to me through a lot of years of emotional isolation.

I don’t think I could ever give them up. Not unless one of them came true. But I could never, I think, settle down to live an utterly mundane life of selling car insurance and going to BBQs and talking about RRSPs.

I have the seeds of greatness within me. I have known it since I was a child. There is a part of me that is a mighty wizard and that makes me the sort of person who can really leave a mark on the world.

And some day, god damn it, that is what I am going to do. I am going to use this magnificent mangled mind of mine to shiny a mighty big light into the world, and where the light falls, miracles and wonders shall occur.

And that’s a dream well worth the burden.

I will talk to you again tomorrow, folks.

Another day, another… whatever

Another thousand words, I guess.

Definitely on the mend. The Snot Faucet has become the Goo Tube. I am horking up sputum on a regular basis, which is a good thing, although I wish the coughing wasn’t so hard that it makes me think I may puke sometimes.

Either way, SOMETHING is coming out of my face.

But so far, knock on wood, it’s just been sputum. Lovely word, that. Sputum. It is the only proper medical term for a substance that sounds pretty much exactly like what a five year old kid would call it.

So yeah. Progress is being made. My lungs are clearing themselves (albeit painfully) and my salty diet has restored my ability to think clearly and feel human.

I still have a small appetite, but that’s way better than no appetite at all. I have been munching the same bowl of popcorn since midnight last night, having a bit here and a bit there, usually with some fruit and maybe an ice cream treat.

Before I get any further away from it, though, I have to tell you about one thing that happened to me during my illness.

It was when it was at its worst, last Wednesday night (Thursday morning). At around 3:30 am, I got up to drain my bladder for like the fifteenth time that day and I guess I got up too fast, because on the way back to bed, I experienced the worst head rush of my life.

And that’s saying something, because I have gotten them from sinus issues or from low blood pressure before. And hey, if too much sodium gives you high blood pressure, guess what too little sodium does?

No, Timmy, it doesn’t give you mutant powers as Saltless Man. Sit down.

So I get this enormous head rush, with a roaring sound in my ears and an intense feeling of dizziness, disorientation, and faintness. And the worst part of it is, it just won’t stop.

Usually, when this happens, it is over in four or five seconds, leaving me feeling weak and sort of giddy. But this time, it just kept on happening.

Eventually, I managed to get to my bed and sat down on the edge to wait for this thing to play itself out. That took a subjectively long time. And during that time, I thought I was going to die.

I thought that the illness plus my inability to eat much had led to a total blood sugar crash, and any second now, I was going to slip into unconsciousness and just plain never get up again.

After all, it’s not like there is even anyone else awake at the time to help me. Even if there was, how would they know I needed help? Even if by some gigantic fluke, they entered my bedroom to talk to me at just the right moment, they would just assume I had fallen asleep.

And they would be right. I mean, a diabetic coma is a lot like sleep.

So all that was roaring through my head as I sat there awaiting my fate. Luckily, the storm subsided and I was left covered in sweat and shaken to my core, but still alive and ready to go back to sleep.

The reason that I have not written about this incident until now is that until I regained my proper blood saline levels, I could not deal with revisiting it.

And that, in turn, has really got me thinking about just how good I am at just forgetting incidents like that. It’s like I am a little kid who falls out of a tree, is all freaked out and scared and crying for a few minutes, then gets up and goes right back to playing.

I mean, three cheers for resilience, but I can’t help but feel I am completely failing to learn anything from these experiences. Sure, the kid is okay, but did he learn how not to fall out of the tree next time, or maybe even that tree climbing might not be for him?

Still, it does point to a vast reserve of resilience in me, a well of power to just get back up and keep going no matter what, and if I can tap into that for uses other than ignoring and forgetting potentially useful medical information, it could be a powerful source of drive and success.

The picture in my mind is less “unstoppable juggernaut” as “wind up tin toy that rights itself and keeps zipping along no matter how often you push it over”.

But I got issues.

I am not out of the woods yet with this cold thing. Granted, the Snot Faucet is down to a slow seep and my throat feels around ninety percent better, but what I really want back now is my goddamned lung capacity.

It really sucks to run out of breath while taking a dump. I mean W. T. F.

Also, my chest still hurts, and that continues to irritate me.

Still, I am counting my blessings. This is definitely one of those Big Yellow Taxi teachable moments when you learn to value something by losing it. In this case, that something is my health.

In my more normal mode, I might not be the healthiest of people, but it is still a fuckton better than how I have felt this week. And if I want to stay out of the hellhole that is true physical sickness, I have to stop fucking around with my health and start taking it seriously.

I know I say that a lot. And I can’t guarantee that this time will be any different than the others. That’s the thing about being my particular breed of jackass. When the crisis is over, we go right back to how we were before like nothing happened.

That would be highly admirably in some situations, but it’s just plain stupid in others, including mine.

It’s like I never learn!

I’ll talk to you again tomorrow folks.

How stupid am I?

No, this isn’t a particularly self-destructive Facebook quiz, it is a blog entry about the various very stupid things I have done lately. I am writing this to deal with this issue a la confessionale, and not purely out of self-flagellation.

Though there’s probably some of that in there as well.

But mostly, it’s about getting things off my chest and bringing to anger and self-loathing to some kind of a head so I can lance that boil and move on.

And you all get to watch! Oh, you lucky people you.

I have three main stupids on my mind tonight :

1. The Wellbutrin Caper. Dateline : a week ago today. I was refilling my medicine box when I noticed I could not find the pill bottle containing my Wellbutrin. I looked and looked, but I just couldn’t find it. I was eager to get to blogging, so I told myself I would search more thoroughly later.

A lot of the most tragic tales of my life begin with me assuming I will remember to do something later. I’m not good at that.

So I promptly forgot all about finding the Wellbutrin, and went on with my life without it, because modern psychoactive drugs are exactly the sort of thing you can just drop whenever you feel like it and suffer no ill effects.

Well, except these.

My there’s a lot of them. Makes me feel like I got off rather easy for my five day Wellbutrin fast. Then again, I was sick with this damned chest cold for a lot of that time and that might have masked the Wellbutrin withdrawal symptoms.

So yeah, due to my total inability to remember that I am terrible at remembering things (hmmmm….), I accidentally went off a powerful drug at the same time I would be battling a nasty infection

Because I am just so smart like that.

2. The Amazon Prime Maneuver. A while back, maybe a couple of months ago, I signed up for Amazon Prime because they were offering a free one month trial and I was about to order a bunch of stuff, so why not get it faster?

And as soon as I get my stuff, I will log on to Amazon and cancel Prime. Right? I will totally remember to do that! I am great at that kind of thing!

Needless to say, I did not. Hell, I don’t even remember which Amazon it was, Canadian or American. I have accounts on both!

And this was one of those negative option dealies where if you don’t cancel, they just go ahead and sign you up, charges included.

A perfect trap for absentminded ninnies like myself, non?

So now I got Prime. 88 bucks down the drain. I plan on looking up all the various benefits soon, as I understand a lot of them, but whatever they are, I got’m.

Of course, I didn’t know this had happened. I got to find out when I tried to get $ out of the ATM at Safeway. I told it to give me $60 and it said “insufficient funds”. Well I knew that had to be bullshit, because I knew there was at least $100 on the card. I had put it on there in anticipation of VFS related fees.

Then I go to take some money out to buy sundries at 7-11 after dinner at ABC on Friday night, and it won’t even give me $20. Insufficient funds. Sayswhatnow?

Humiliatingly, I then have to borrow $10 from Joe to buy the stuff I needed.

By now, I am beginning to seriously worry that I have been a victim of cybercrime. I mean, that’s the only possible explanation, right?

So I call the 1-800 number for the card and check my balance. OMG only 5 bucks!

Well, clearly the only way to catch this dastardly criminal was to check my recent transaction history. And that is when I heard it… Amazon Prime, $88.

It was a weirdly stern female voice too, which only added to the humiliation. Like a severe older woman who is only putting up with you at all because you are a friend of her daughter.

Oh well, like dear Felicity said, it’s not like the money just plain disappeared. I have Amazon Prime somewhere for a year. And the dastardly thing is, that makes me want to go order stuff from Amazon in order to justify buying Prime.

It’s downright diabolical. Jeff Bezos… you win.

3. The Saline Solution.This one isn’t quite as stupid as the others, but still. When I was sick last week, I started losing my appetite.

And speaking as someone who has struggled with the issues of how to eat when you really don’t wanna for almost 20 years, I can say for certain that it never gets any easier. The best you can do is treat food like medicine. Completely separate it from your normal conception of food, and just eat it like you;re taking a pill.

So part of my loss of appetite was that I stopped eating my nighty bag of popcorn. No big deal, until you realize that is my main source of salt.

And despite its vilification, salt is a nutrient and something you very much need. Add in that I was eating less of everything else, and you can see that I have been operating on a seriously salt deficient basis all week.

Luckily, my powers of scientific analysis worked this out, and thanks to a bowl of salty popcorn for supper, I feel more human now than I have all week.

I will do the popcorn thing again tonight at the usual time, and do my best to incorporate salt into my diet afterwards till I am back to normal.

So that is my tale of woe for the evening. Life continues to beat me like a rented mule and I have no choice but to endure it.

But I may be bowed, but I will not be broken. I will make it through whatever is thrown at me, and come out the other side stronger.

That said, I will talk to you tomorrow, dear readers!

Desperation is one mother of an invention

I swear, I am so goddamned sick and tired of this runny nose that I have half a mind to buy some tampons and shove one up each nostril.

And hey, if I drip a little vodka on them first, I can probably convince the news media that this is the dangerous new way to get high that literally all children between 10 and 18 are doing.

“They call it Smelling the Dragon, and it could be coming to a high school near you. And now, an interview with a teenager willing to say or do whatever it takes to get on television and who will be tweeting about what a lame bunch of morons we are to believe her during the interview. But why should we care if it’s true or not? It fills air time and gets you to click. ”

Hmmm. That ended up being a meatier bit of snark than I had intended. I really should get back into comedy writing. I obviously have a severely impact snark gland that needs to be expressed.

Aaaaanyhow, snot faucet aside, I feel better today than yesterday, and yesterday was better than Wednesday, so the trend is clearly that I am on the mend.

The feeling of being drained of my energy is mostly gone, and boy is that a relief. As I have discovered during my occasional “sleepy periods”, sleeping all the damned time gets pretty depressing pretty quick.

Sure, I can tell myself that my body and mind need the sleep and that the more I sleep, the more I will heal, and all that jazz.

But the fact of the matter is that when it is hard to stay awake, sleep becomes a trap, and you feel like you are locked away in a dark cell while everybody else gets to go on with life.

Sounds ironic coming from someone who has used sleep to fast-forward through time as much as I have, but that just proves that I know whereof I speak from both sides of the cell door.

I still use sleep in order to avoid having to deal with life in too large a chunk. The idea of having to stay awake all day (you know, like a normal person) still freaks me out. I am heavily reliant on the refuge of sleep as a way to zero out my anxiety levels and escape from reality for a time.

It’s the closest thing to not existing for a while outside suicide.

It is hard to describe what I am so afraid of, though. It is tempting to say boredom, but that would be wildly misleading. It’s not being bored that scares me. If it was just that, it would lead directly into the motivation to find other things to do.

What I am really afraid of are the things that come crawling out of my mind when I am bored. With insufficient mental occupation, all kinds of demons and skeletons emerge from my mind and start pushing me towards freaking out.

So I hit the snooze button on that alarm, so to speak, and sleep.

I keep telling myself that I have nothing to truly fear and that I should try staying awake all day just to see what happens.

For all I know, I would go through some sort of eye of the needle crisis point and emerge on the other side a far saner and more emotionally stable person who is more awake than I have been in decades.

That is one possibility, sure. But it’s also possible that I would just lose whatever bare strands of sanity I have left and end up in a rubber room somewhere banging my head against the wall and drooling.

Granted, that is not the most likely option. In fact, that is the exact sort of thing that scares a lot of people but almost never actually happens.

But it is hard to get over the feeling that you are barely keeping your marbles together and that any additional amount of jostling will send said marbles everything like you just scored big time at Ker-Plunk.

It is a matter of faith, in a sense. You have to be willing to just let go and trust that your internal defenses will save you. You have to ignroe everything your emotions tell you about terror stricken emotional conservatism (and the resulting lifetime of eternal inner fleeing from even the slightest fear stimulus) is the only way to stay “safe”, whatever the hell that means.

In many ways, suffering from anxiety-driven depression is like being one of those soldiers from a long resolved war who ends up hiding from “the enemy” for no reason for decades because they become so good at avoiding all human contact that they have no chance to ever learn that the war is over.

Their anxiety about getting caught makes them hyper aware of the slightest out of place stimulus that might indicate that “the enemy” is in the area, and they become expert at moving completely without detection.

That is how I have lived my life as well. When the depression truly ruled me, the simplest and most normal of household sounds (I lived in a bachelor suite in a large house) could make me whimper with fear.

So I just strapped on my blinders and ignored the world outside my computer screen, and only did what was absolutely necessary for survival outside that, and even that not without considerable difficulty.

I look back at that time now and I am amazed that I survived it. I guess I was too scared to do anything rash. It’s absolutely true that we depressives are at the highest risk of suicide when we are on an upward mood swing.

Because we really, really, really don’t want to go back there,

Anyhow, I must be getting better, because I am back to being wrist deep in my own navel and talking about my depression again.

I will talk to you again tomorrow, folks.

Love you all!

Feeling somewhat better

Today was better than yesterday, but still not that great.

I am definitely on the mend. My chest is mostly cleared, and coughing doesn’t hurt any more. That is a huge improvement right there. Yesterday, I was ferociously suppressing the urge to cough because coughing was intensely painful.But now, if I get the urge, I cough freely.

Don’t get me wrong, coughing is still not exactly fun. But compared to yesterday, it is a goddamned breeze.

My throat is not as sore either. There’s still some swelling in there and swallowing is a little bit of a challenge, but at least fluids go down easy.

What else. Oh yeah…. not constipated any more. Funny how I usually only notice how long it has been since I pooped when the dry spell finally ends. If I was more cognizant of such things, I could solve the problem with a slow but aggressive course of fluid intake on my own.

Overall, I am getting better, and it’s only now that I can look at what has been happening to me this week and think about what exactly was going on.

I think the problem is that being sick with an infection and being depressed are a lot like one another. Having to stay in bed, being all tired because my body was fighting the infection, being all mentally incoherent…. that’s an awful lot like being depressed, and as a result, I think being sick made me depressed.

And vice versa.

I guess that should come as no surprise. My depression is always there like a gravity well, and recovery is largely a matter of developing the thrust to stay out of there despite the pull.

Anything that drains your engines is bound to cause a bit of a regression.

I also think hay fever has been adding itself to the mix as well. It’s hard to tell, of course. The cold could very well be nasal as well. All I know is that my nose has been running constantly and that always gums up the works.

So I have been rather very a lot unwell, actually. Nothing to take to the doctor or anything, but still, life is still ganging up on me.

That’s okay. I can take it. I will survive. I am through letting life squash me flat. I will bounce back sooner or later and then the battle will continue.

Not much else to report. That’s the thing about spending most of your time asleep in bed. It does not exactly generate a lot of topics for conversation.

As always when I am ill, I make a specific effort to remember what it is like so that I can be properly grateful when it is over. My life might not be a bowl of cherries when I am well, but at least it’s a hell of a lot better than this.

Well, as well as I ever get, anyhow.

I did manage to get myself together enough to go over to Safeway to buy a few things,which is good. I didn’t super need what I bought, but I thought I needed a reason to move around a little and get things circulating.

Plus I felt I needed some happiness food. So I got myself some of those sugar free iced novelties I like so much. They are expensive but worth it.

And Safeway’s selection for sugar free cookies is crap.

In terms of how I felt, the trip was a mixed back. On the way to the store, I felt fine, and was glad I had decided to do it.

But by the time I was on my way back, well.. let’s say the trip back from Safeway seemed very long indeed, especially the stairs to the apartment.

For me, the worst part of being sick, other than it triggering my goddamned depression, is the icky feeling you get from sick sweat cooling on your body. It leaves me feeling all gunky and gross, and yet it’s hard to shower when you can barely stay awake for more than half an hour, and that is sitting down time.

So first thing I am gonna do when I feel better is take the mother of all long hot showers and try to degunk myself but good.

I would say I was going to take a long hot bath, but despite meaning to take one, I never seem to get around to it, so fuck that.

Showers are just way more convenient and way less of a commitment. Taking a bath is this entire process. Showering is just a matter of an aggressive form of rinsing.

Like I have said before, I wish there was a human washing machine… that is, like a washing machine for clothes, but for people. You would just sit down in it and it would give you a very thorough cleaning.

Without the tumbling around, though. That would hurt.

In fact, I guess it would be less a washing machine for people as a highly specialized form of hot tub. One with like, wash and rinse modes, and presumably a very good filter considering the whole idea is to wash all the gunk off you.

But just think of how awesome it would be to get super clean every morning, and all without lifting a finger. I bet people would be a lot happier if they had very healthy clean skin all the time.

Or maybe that’s just my own weird little obsession. I don’t know.

Now I have to decide if I am awake enough to catch up on the week’s Daily Shows with Joe or whether I need more downtime. I think I will at least try to stay up. I have some diet cola in the fridge if I need awakeness assistance.

Or maybe I will just go back to sleep and trying to sleep this sickness away.

Man, being sick is depressing.

I will talk to all you nice people again tomorrow! :)

An unpleasant day

Yup. I called it. Things have gotten worse before they get better. This summer cold of mine really ground me in its teeth today, and man does that suck.

I feel somewhat better now, probably because the worst of the day’s heat is over and things are starting to cool off. Plus, I finally manages to haul myself out of bed and get some supper into me.

There is no illness that low blood sugar and heat sickness can’t make worse.

And the thing is, I knew that I should be getting out of bed to go refill my water glass with ice water and maybe have the occasional light snack. I can’t claim I was just lying there wondering what to do.

I was just too incoherent to put together a plan of action and execute it. There is a point of no return for things like this, a point where I am no longer capable of fixing the problem, and the idea is to stay out of that zone no matter what.

Today, I lost that little game, so the afternoon sucked. I managed to sleep through about two thirds of it, which is always a good thing when you are ill, but the rest of the time I was awake and feeling miserable and grumpy.

Oh well, I am alive and kicking now, and I have a nice big glass of water to nurse, and freezies in the freezer (sugar free, all juice, pure heaven) for when I feel I need a more radical form of cooling.

Hopefully, I am past the worst of it and will be on the road to recovery soon. I have therapy tomorrow and I would hate to have to reschedule because I am too ill to navigate the public transit system.

Or rather, to walk to the damned bus stop after therapy. If I had rides both ways, I would go without a though. The therapy itself doesn’t require a hale and hearty me. But as is right now, my appointment is at 9 : 30 am so Joe can drop me off on the way to work. But after that, I am on my own for getting home.

That’s not normally a problem, especially now that I understand what Skytrain to get on from Bridgeport. (Hint : Not ones with ‘airport’ or ‘waterfront’ on them).

But this illness is really draining my already less than robust energy supplies, and so hauling myself down to the bus stop near Costco, then up to the platform, then down from Richmond-Brighouse to the 401, then from 1 and Francis to home… that is a lot of schlepping for a sick Fru.

Meh. Either way, I will make it. I value therapy very highly (apparently, some don’t. which strikes me as terribly immature) and I will get there by hook or crook or even the bus.

What else. Oh, something awesome : Patrick Quigley, the awesome guy who handled my (unsuccessful but not his fault) application, emailed me to say he is going to try to get VFS to refund my $50 application fee.

If he can do that, I would really appreciate it. I am somewhat low on cash right now, and I could really use the do’h. Obviously, there are some people at VFS who are still unhappy with how I was treated, and I find that highly gratifying.

Usually, when I am a victim of injustice, nobody knows and nobody cares.

Speaking of injustice, I got Simon’s email address from Patrick, and sent an email to him today. I chose what those familiar with Anne Of Green Gables will recognize as the “Mrs. Lynde” approach, in that I apologized deeply for being rude, told him I understood how hard his job must be, and humbly asked him to help with my search for an appropriate writing course or two.

I am having trouble with that. So far, all I have found are fly-by-night courses of the “$15 gets you a two hours seminar at a Radission Inn” type, and at the opposite end, full degree programs that take two years to finish.

Um, no. What I need is some single-semester courses of the continuing education sort than I can blow out of the water and then hand the wrecking over to Simon before Xmas, and maybe get into VFS in the new year.

There is no point in taking a stupid $15 course on How To Write And Publish Your eBook In 21 Days (listen buddy, I know how to write them) because if I was Simon, all that would prove is that I had $15 to spare.

and obviously, there is no point in taking a two year associate’s degree (lame) just to qualify for a one year Writing for Film and Television course.

So I will have to keep digging. Surely somewhere out there are single-semester courses for bored housewives who want to finally get down to writing that novel they have been meaning to write since they were in college.

What else… I was also planning on calling and asking about that house we have our eye on today, but I don’t think I am up to it. Sigh. Perhaps tomorrow I shall muster up the wherewithal to do it.

We are running out of time and I am terrified someone will snap it up before we even make the call, but there is only so much I can do.

Ah well, this too shall pass. One way or another, it will all work out, and by this time next year this stressful period of my life will be nothing but an amusing anecdote of the time when everything in my life was suddenly happening all at once.

An anecdote I will recount with breezy yet self-deprecating wit as I hobnob with the creative hoi polloi of Hollywood North and meet everybody who is anybody in the world of actually writing the damned thing.

Those scripts aren’t delivered by angels, people!

I will talk to you again tomorrow, folks, hopefully with full lung capacity back.

Better and worse

I feel better today. And, worse.

Getting some of my negative thoughts out of my system last night definitely helped my mood. It always does. Sometimes you just have to vent the negative stuff.

That’s why some people end up having to fight for their right to be sad, or rather, to express it. The Happiness Patrol, being basically stupid, tries to keep people happy by telling them not to be sad, or at least, to keep it to themselves so they don’t make others sad.

But emotions are information and that information needs to be shared, so that only makes the person worse as the sadness and anger build up inside.

Anyhow. Back to feeling better. I do get really frustrated with my life fairly often. And it’s hard to get out of the habit of taking that frustration out on myself. Even the most negative and self-destructive of habits can become the path of least resistance and hence the easiest thing to do.

So instead of trying to completely suppress this anger and frustration with my life, and hence creating more emotional tension in my soul, I am instead working on developing my belief that I can do something about it.

After all, I have a bus pass. I (usually) have money. There is a great big world out there beyond this apartment and there is no reason I couldn’t just walk out that door and go find meaningful (or at least enjoyable) things to do.

For example, I could just go to Stanley Park. I saw a little of it when I was looking for the Aquarium, and it seems like a very lovely place. Peaceful, green, full of little nooks and crannies and surprises. And it’s all free. Free to get in, free to get there via my bus pass… totally free.

And there is lots of summer left over, so I could go there any time I like. It’s not like my days are filled with better things to do. I could even bring the tablet and do my blogging there, amid all that inspiration.

I definitely feel like I need to open myself up to the world more, and give myself some real input instead of all this virtuality. If I want to learn to feel more real, I need to interact with more real things, and thus have rich real world experiences within me, not just this thin and tenuous online life.

Besides, I need to go out there and find some writing courses that I can afford and will not totally hate. I will tamp down my irritation at having to take some lousy little writing class when I can probably write better than the instructor and have certainly written a lot more than the other students, and honestly could probably teach the damned class…

Ahem. I will forget all that, be a good sport, totally crush the courses academically speaking, and get into the VFS Writing for Film and Television for the January 5 start date, or die trying.

Once I get all that in place, I will lose the feeling of disconnection that has made me sad lately, and resume feeling like I have a direction and a purpose, and that will help me simply scads.

Sure, it sucks to have my dreams deferred, but what the hell. Better late than never. Starting in 2015 is better than never starting at all.

So I am feeling better about that, and about my life in general. I have done my flailing and wailing and gnashing of teeth and I am ready to face facts and get on with my life.

Still gonna email Simon, but I am not pinning my hopes to that longshot.

The way I am feeling worse is physically. I have caught the chest cold that has been plaguing Joe since last Sunday, and so my chest feels all scratchy and my throat is all raspy (giving me a slightly deeper voice, which is cool) and I am going to probably get worse before I get better.

So bleh on that. I will up my lemon juice and chicken soup intake, and do whatever else I can to make sure I have plenty of fluids and vitamin C in me for my immune system to use, but I am pretty sure I am in for a bumpy ride.

Oh well, such things are best endured with a positive attitude, knowing that this too shall pass so there is no point in getting all sad about something that will be over before you know it.

I will just take care of myself and try not to lick any doorknobs while I’m contagious. It won’t be easy.

What else… Spuug was nice enough to stop over today to look at my computer. Thank you so very much, dear William! He is going to go to the Vancouver Hack Space and try to get me a new power supply for my computer there. They often have spare computer parts just floating around for anyone to take, and hopefully, they will have a power supply that suits my computer.

Money is a bit of a rough issue for me right now, and I would really rather not have to figure out how to pay for a new power supply. As is, it will take all the money left on my card to make it through the next week.

But then again, a week from tomorrow is check day, and I could just get it then.

So all in all, viral infections aside, I am doing alright. The road of life is neither straight nor smooth, so I suppose it is wisest to not get too attached to any one game plan and focus on the goal instead.

I will get to the Vancouver Film School Writing for Film and Television program by whatever means necessary!

But for now, I am gonna relax, recuperate, and maybe make some phone calls concerning places we might rent.

I will keep you posted.

I’ll talk to you again tomorrow, folks!