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cinnamon gurl: a dreamer of pictures...



Updated: 2016-09-07T23:27:55.957-05:00

 



shhhhh

2013-03-01T22:34:37.446-05:00

I started a new blog. I actually started it a year ago, but I felt shy. Not sure if anyone is still subscribed here, but just in case I thought it worth a mention. This post may self-destruct. In the meantime, feel free to come visit.



28 Comments

2009-01-01T13:42:28.726-05:00

I think the time has come to retire this space.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I'm still not ready to say I will never post here again. But having two blogs has been splitting me, and it feels dishonest and artificial. There's so much overlap between them for one thing -- that overlap being me, of course. The reality is that my photography is informed by my motherhood, the people I've met in this community and my resulting interest in social justice, the books and blogs I read. I've been feeling really guilty about the fact that I've written so frankly about my experiences at the Drop In Centre here, but I only ever give the people I meet there my other website. I want to own what I write; anonymity is only an illusion, especially here where I've relinquished it to promote my photography.

I was debating taking the site down entirely, but I haven't figured out how to archive it all (boy I'd love a way to convert an entire blog into a pdf, just in case any Adobe people are reading and want to develop a new tool), so I'll leave it. Plus, I really don't want to close the door entirely on ever writing here again.

I sought this space out to reach out to other mothers, to find other people with similar, honestly reported experiences of motherhood. You got me through those hard, hard early days, not the really early days of motherhood, but the days when everyone else's babies were sleeping and mine wasn't. And it was blogging that caused me to start seeing photos everywhere, and your support that kept me growing (I love that I know pretty much everyone who's bought my photos or calendars). So much of the rhetoric around motherhood is about sacrifice and losing yourself, but for me it's been the catalyst to reconnecting with myself, my creativity. (Bea introducing me to Myers Briggs and my ENFP-ness also played a significant role in my transformation: it's been so freeing to discover that I'm not as pragmatic as I thought I was, that Sugar D didn't have the market cornered on dreaming. And Mad nominating me for Best Photo/Art Blog in the 07 Canadian Blog Awards also did.)

Ugh, I'm getting all verklempt. It feels a bit like the end of an era, but I'll still be blogging over at peripheralvision, and I'll be expanding the scope over there, for better or worse. I hope to see you over there, but I'll undertand if I don't, since this kind of means the end of Sin. I meant to close up before the end of 08, to make a clean break, but I didn't have the mental space to do it justice until today. But that's ok. New beginnings always need endings to start.

Thank you for reading, for everything.



another one about Swee'pea and the radio

2008-12-18T20:00:45.858-05:00

After I picked Swee'pea up at daycare today, we went to the grocery store to pick up a few necessities. "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails came on, and I realized it might have been close to a decade since the last time I heard it. I own the cd, but "Closer" was really always a club song for me. Anyways, I cranked it and sang along, badly and loudly (except for the f-word, since Swee'pea was in the backseat). I did wonder if this would be another scary cookie monster song for him, but hoped for the best.

"Help me," goes the song at one point. "Help me. Help me get away from myself."

We parked and I just sat there, waiting for the song to end.

"Help me," called Swee'pea from the backseat.

"What do you want help with?" I asked, not catching on to the echo.

"Help me get out of the car."

Walking across the parking lot, I found myself still singing the chorus: "Help me."

Swee'pea said, "I like that song!" He giggled then sang, "Help me!"



our Christmas elf

2008-12-14T09:32:00.354-05:00

Yesterday we got a tree, and pulled out the box of ornaments and stuff. We decided to wait to decorate the tree until we got some more lights this morning, and left the box out. While Sugar D cooked dinner, and I dabbled on the computer, Swee'pea played quietly behind me. I turned around and saw this:


(image)



morning rush

2008-12-12T17:57:02.527-05:00

By the time Swee'pea and I got in the car this morning (because we were too late to walk and I had a 9 a.m. meeting, which was at risk even with the car), I was pretty much vibrating from headache and rush and irritability. I mean, how many times does one have to ask a toddler to do something like put boots on or a toque??? I hate that I'm constantly at Swee'pea to hurry up, quick, quick, focus, just FOCUS on the task at hand, would you? and do it.

I flipped some radio channels in the car, and soon heard the first few chords from "Come as you are" by Nirvana. I turned it up and started ,yelling singing along. It was just like being 15 again, and amazingly it felt good. It felt good just to sink into rage and self-loathing without apology, to feel 16 again. I had a moment when I wondered what Swee'pea thought, unusually silent in the backseat, but I didn't really care. I mean, I was singing. Singing can't be scary, can it?

The song ended as we pulled into Swee'pea's daycare. After I turned the car off, Swee'pea said, "That music was scary.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because it sounded like Cookie Monster."



cheap greeting cards ending soon

2008-12-11T18:01:23.079-05:00

Just wanted to let you know that as of January 1, 2009, I'll be increasing the price of my photo art cards from $3.99 each (less if you buy packs of 12 or 24) to $4.99. So you might want to take advantage of this extremely cheap price before I do.

Also -- I'm giving something away to interested Americans over at peripheralvision.



while I'm on the subject...

2008-12-08T20:14:09.611-05:00

I suspect yesterday's squash soup is actually quite good. But sadly, it's still too sweet for me, despite two cups of vegetable stock and several generous splashes of white wine vinegar. This sweet-savoury aversion is a REAL handicap. I think I'll just have to freeze it all and let Sugar D take it for a month of lunches. I'd donate it to the drop-in centre, but many folks thought I was nuts for enjoying the pumpkin soup so much, so I suspect sweet squash soup wouldn't go over well. Besides, how popular is someone for bringing in something they cooked but can't stand the taste of???

* * *

When I started this blog, I immediately covered it with google ads, convinced it would be the ticket to my working from home and, eventually, living for six months in South Africa and six months here, never having to experience cold again. It didn't canvas shopping bag of food), along with my thoughts:

PC Celebration Sparkling De-alcholized Wine, Blanc - I don't much care for sparkling wine with alcohol, so I doubt I'll be trying this one... maybe I should find a pregnant woman to invite over for New Years.

PC Decadent Hot Chocolate - haven't tried it yet, but it's the real stuff you add to milk.

PC Peach and Mango Salsa - Hey, there was peach and mango salsa in the box? I must have stuck it in the fridge before I realized. I probably won't like it (sweet-savoury aversion and all), but I bet Sugar D will be ALL over it...

PC Memories of Fuiji 3 Mushroom Sauce - probably won't try it because I don't really like crazy weird mushrooms and somehow this just makes me think of hoisin sauce, which I hate (see sweet-savoury aversion above).

PC Lingonberry Sauce - Sugar D had it in some yogurt. Said it mostly tasted like cranberry sauce.

PC Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels w/ Sea Salt - Yum! If you scrape off the salt crystals. Otherwise the salty flavour lingers long after the chocolatey caramel goodness.

PC Black Olive & Fig Tepanade - saving it for a party.

PC Dark Chocolate Candy Cane Bark - not bad but a little more toothpastey than I generally like my chocolate.

PC Biscuits for Cheese - Swee'pea went so cuckoo for these mixed crackers I barely got a taste in before they disappeared. Not bad. I'll probably get them for our next party so I don't end up with half-empty boxes of crackers I don't like.

PC Fruit Cake with Single Malt Whisky - I hate fruitcake but Sugar D, the resident fruitcake aficionado, said this was pretty good: moist, nice flavour, just not as dark as he would have liked.

So that's that. I kept my word, and only need to feel a little bit weird for pimping my space.

* * *

On Friday night, we moved Swee'pea's double bed away from his window, because we'd noticed a nasty cold draft coming in. I thought maybe that would reduce or shorten or maybe even eliminate??? his night-time visits to our bed. (No joy there by the way.)

The next night, as I was putting him to bed, he said, "Oh noooo! There's a draft coming in the window!"

He wasn't placated when I told him it wouldn't bother him across the room in his bed: "It's scary! The draft is scary!"

Which is when I explained that a draft is just cold air... He still talks about the draft but at least it's not scary anymore.



squash soup

2008-12-07T13:00:59.110-05:00

My hands are orange and sore from cutting up a huge butternut squash. It's one of those bright wintry days that look really nice from inside a cosy house, but feel like a son of a bitch when the wind blows ice crystals into your face. Everything is coated with a powdery, pristine blanket of snow, so it's almost painfully bright in our living room with the wall of window. I can barely read the computer screen.

Yesterday at the drop-in centre, we served a fantastic pumpkin soup. Gingery, garlicky, smooth but not too smooth, it was delicious. Sadly, nobody knows who donated it or where I might find the recipe. So today I am attempting a butternut squash soup with the flavours I think I tasted (onion, a bit of celery and carrot, fresh ginger and garlic, and turmeric -- I'll add a bit of cream at the end I think). It's simmering now.

Last weekend I went hunting for new recipes. We've been in a bit of a cooking funk lately -- for months, really -- and I need to find new things to cook, things that don't depend on cheese and pasta, because that gets old pretty quick when you eat it four nights a week. But I realized we have a significant handicap: there are a lot of vegetables I don't like, or that I only like rarely with specific and careful preparation (that I don't know how to do). Eggplant falls into the latter category, and all the autumn vegetables fall into the former - squash, turnip, carrots by themselves, sweet potato, rutabaga, parsnips, fennel. Oh and I don't like bizarre, slippery-feeling mushrooms either. Which writes off almost all the recipes in my cookbooks that I haven't already tried. Sugar D doesn't like brussels sprouts, and I don't think lima beans don't really count as a vegetable.

Wow, that was fast -- the squash is already cooked! Apparently, butternut squash takes longer to peel and chop than it does to cook. Regardless, it smells fantastic. Now I just need to put it in the blender, which could prove hazardous since Swee'pea is napping.

Oh crap. I just tasted it - it's way too sweet. (I also hate sweet and savoury flavour combinations - probably why I hate all those root veggies.) Anyone know how to cut the sweetness? Vinegar? Salt? Add more stock to thin it out? Help!

Which was not what I was going to ask for help with. But it will do for now. Help?



anniversaries

2008-12-04T12:06:58.783-05:00

The second anniversary of the Just Posts is coming up very soon.

It was through the Just Posts that I read something about all the women in Africa suffering from fistula, which is preventable and treatable. Yesterday one of my favourite photography blogs led me to this multimedia presentation about a hospital in Nigeria that treats women with fistula. Go watch it; it's beautiful. (Just click on multimedia when you get there.)

* * *
This anniversary is also making me reflect on how the Just Posts have changed my life. On the first Just Post, I pledged to sponsor a child through Help Lesotho and I actually set it up six months later (I know, I suck. But at least I did it, even if it was disgustingly late. And we're still doing it.)

On the first anniversary last December, I pledged to volunteer two hours a month somewhere. I decided on the Drop In Centre, and after my first morning there, I immediately decided to make it two hours a week (give or take a weekend out of town or of illness). I'm still going strong on that.

Last January, I also started selling my prints online and donating at least 50% of the proceeds to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. I've donated more than $200 now from the sale of my prints.

Last Friday I got the following message from the foundation:
It is said that the international financial turmoil will undermine the work of agencies like ours. Supposedly there’ll be no money around for charitable purposes. My colleagues and I refuse to accept that. We work from the premise that the struggle against AIDS will not be sacrificed on the altar of financial turbulence.

So we’re defying the odds. And we’re asking you to do the same. In fact, we’re asking you to do more. We’re asking you to join us in a new fundraising campaign called “TURNING THE TIDE”.

It’s our conviction that so much has been accomplished on the ground in Africa, for grandmothers and orphans and women in particular, that if we can fund every worthy proposal, we can turn the tide of the AIDS pandemic at the grassroots.

People will say that the timing is all wrong. We say, to the devil with the timing. We’re on the cusp of bringing hope to thousands upon thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS. Please join us.
It makes sense to me that charitable organizations could be among the worst hit by the global financial downturn. And it makes even more sense to me that we not let it. (So c'mon, buy a print or a calendar? They make great gifts! Or how about just donate to a charity you believe in...)

* * *

So now what? I feel I need to mark this anniversary by doing something more. But I can't think what. Any ideas???



irony

2008-12-02T09:20:48.708-05:00

Not one hour after I wrote about Swee'pea's capacity for tenderness, he punched a little girl in the face at his daycare. I don't think it could have been too hard because she didn't cry but she did lose her balance. Swee'pea was utterly unapologetic. He said he didn't want her to come to his cubby -- which, given we were at the front door, was nowhere near the poor girl.



moment

2008-12-02T07:49:51.856-05:00

(image)

This past weekend, I went out to a party. I said goodbye to you and asked for a hug and a kiss. You hugged me and presented your cheek for my kiss, then pulled away. "I want to kiss you," you said, and I consented. So you placed your hands on either side of my face, and slowly pressed your lips to my forehead. Your capacity for tenderness is a salve.



Guess what?

2008-11-25T22:45:36.456-05:00

I have calendars for sale now. And I've committed to donating all the proceeds ($9.50 for ever calendar) to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Read more...



so many suckers on my sacro-illiac*

2008-11-25T09:50:00.403-05:00

Apparently I let my backbone slide.

Guess what exercises I need to do to support my sacro-illiac and prevent it from slipping out again? Kiegels.

Yippee...



* With apologies to Maestro Fresh Wes.



3 Comments

2008-11-24T07:39:14.678-05:00

Ugh. I have several posts in draft, but all of them are stupid. Not that that's stopped me from publishing before, but... I don't have much to say. I put my back out Saturday morning while vacuuming of all things so I've been sitting around a lot this weekend, but not in front of the computer because that hurts. I've also been watching a whole lot of Angel.

Anyways, all this to say that peripheral vision was nominated for a Canadian Blog Award in the category of best photo/art blog. Go vote if you want. Now I'm going to try to find a massage therapist with an opening today.



missed

2008-11-18T07:55:09.221-05:00

On Saturday I volunteered at the drop-in centre for the first time in a few weeks. And you know what? I was missed! The minute I got there, Lucille was all, "Where have you BEEN the last few weeks?" I felt bad that I didn't call, but I felt really good they noticed. Is that shitty? Whatever... I used to call to let them know if I was going to miss a shift, but I was never sure the message got through, and nobody seemed to notice anyways, so I sort of stopped.

Anyways, I was missed. And it felt good. The Book Guy is leaving town this week, going to BC, and he's been trying to give me back In the Skin of a Lion, which I lent him a while back. I wished him well, and gave him one of my photo cards. I hope things go better for him there than they have here.

Another man, who I haven't seen for a month or more, also commented on my absence. So I commented on his and he said he went to Scotland. I don't know whether to believe him at face value or if it's a euphemism for a hospital stay or something.



best laid plans and all that

2008-11-14T11:42:52.323-05:00

Some days maybe it's better just to listen to your gut and stay home. I took today off and dropped Swee'pea off at daycare with the intention of taking my camera to the drop in centre. But once I dropped him off, I had cold feet. For one reason and another I haven't been to the centre in a few weeks, and I started to feel scared and self-conscious about just showing up with my camera. But since this was what I'd taken the day off to do, I made myself go. I figured I was just being silly, and once I got there I'd be fine.

On the way out my door, I had sudden misgivings. I have a brand-new winter coat. How can I go there in my brand-new winter coat? What if someone asks where or how I got it? I can't possibly admit it cost nearly $300. But it's my coat, so I wore it.

Sure enough, the first person to greet me comments first on my hair -- for once it is down and really long and big. Next he asks me about my coat - is it really made of titanium? I look to where he's pointing, and see the word on the sleeve. God, I'm such an ass where this stupid coat. I chuckle, "No, I think it's just the brand."

I end up having some really nice conversations, mostly with people I've photographed before. I ask them for more pictures, because the overcast light is soft and the sky is reflected in their eyes, but they all refuse. As I left, memory card blank, I wondered if maybe I should just quit this project. Maybe it's just not the right project for me.

So I go to the used bookstore, which had a gigantic red SALE sign on its wall yesterday. I'll feel better if I just buy more books, if I can just learn enough to feel comfortable. I pick out two books, The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard and Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir, edited by William Zinsser, whose On Writing Well I already own. I rant internally about the price of even used paperbacks on my way to the cash register. Once there, the sales dude tells me they're on sale: one is 25% off and the other is 50% off. Oh, right. The whole sale thing that brought me in in the first place. I was too busy doubting myself and feeling stupid to remember.

So I go back to the shelves. May as well take advantage. And I pick up three more titles: Homesick by Jenny Lauren, another memoir of eating disorders (I haven't yet blogged about the anthology I read a few weeks back on the same topic), Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn, a memoir by a man who met his father while working in a homeless shelter, and Eudora Welty Photographs.

So a slight change in plans. Rather than spend the day on photography, I'll spend the rest of it reading. I still have to finish Gabor Maté's In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.



moment

2008-11-16T20:50:46.074-05:00

Sometimes it's the strangest, most insignificant moments when time slows down and I notice everything, all the details of the world outside of me AND the details inside. Yesterday, one of those moments happened, driving my friend's SUV. A man was waiting to cross the street, a man I've seen at the Drop In Centre. I first noticed him because he's exactly the kind of hippie-looking guy I fell for when I was younger: long brown hair, intelligent eyes, long, sharp nose, pretty full beard that somehow echoes the same sharpness and angles of his whole face. He had a black eye the first time I saw him, and he always keeps his hood up. He seems like a loner, at least in the context of the centre. He doesn't drink coffee, so I only really engage with him at meal times when I'm too busy serving everyone to chat. He's always very gracious, makes sure to thank us after he's eaten. He winked at me once, after I smiled at him, and my body responded with a teenage jolt.

Anyways, it was him waiting to cross the street. And I cringed, hoping he wouldn't recognize me in the SUV with the toddler in the back seat. I had to slow down for a pick-up truck that two young men were pushing into the traffic. The guy at the back was wearing a white tank-top and jeans, no jacket despite it being November, and he's really straining to move that beast. Whatever's in the back of the truck is covered with a tarp, lumpy from the cargo. The second guy has the driver's door open, and he's pushing while he steers. He's wearing a sweater. And these boys are working their asses off.

In this moment, I'm all adolescent uncertainty. Not sure if I should stop to make sure I don't hit the pick-up or just keep going since there are two lanes and they should be in the one I'm not. But mostly I just want to keep driving so the cute guy from the Drop In Centre doesn't see the frumpy mum I really am.



not sure where this post is going but I'm tired of typing

2008-11-12T20:00:44.622-05:00

This stuff makes me so angry. Especially the people who are trying to argue that it's unhealthy for a child to suck on boobs that have just been in a chlorinated pool. Showering in hot, chlorinated water for 15 minutes, your skin absorbs way more chlorine than drinking vast quantities of chlorinated water. Our breastmilk is full of crazy chemicals thanks to all the shit that just floats around. So really, I think it's just fine for a mother to choose to breastfeed in a pool (her boobs were out of the water, by the way).Some commenters say they don't understand why the mother didn't just get out of the pool. After all, the viewing lounge is perfectly comfortable. But I know why. When you're mothering an infant, all adult conversation is precious. And if it's taking place in a pool, I sure as hell wouldn't want to leave it. After all, breastfeeding is the perfect time for good conversation, because the baby's not squawking.But more than that stupid smoke and mirrors argument, I really, really, really hate the assholes who say things like, "Well you can't pee or poo or reproduce in the pool so why should it be ok to breastfeed?" Um, because peeing, pooing and reproducing do not FEED YOUR CHILD.Or the assholes who say, "I'm quite certain that nobody would like it if I changed out of my bathing suit and into my street clothes on the pool deck." Yes, because changing into street clothes does not FEED YOUR CHILD.And don't even get me started on Bill Maher's stupid masturbation comparison. It's not because breastfeeding is natural. It's because it's FEEDING YOUR CHILD. And breastfeeding is really, really fucking hard work, and any opportunity to be part of a community, each moment in a conversation with people doing the same fucking hard work, holds a mother that much closer to sanity. It was my experience that breastfeeding specifically, and motherhood more generally, pushed me to the edge of my sanity. And until our culture recognizes it for the very hard work it is, until we truly value motherhood not just pay it lip service, this stupid shit will keep happening over and over.* * *Last week I peed on a stick. In fact, I peed on two sticks, just to make sure. That's what happens when I have several days of intense fatigue, mild queasiness, sore boobs, and sudden queues of people asking me if I'm pregnant. (I'm not.) At first I was terrified at the prospect. But within hours I was pretty ok with it all, even a little excited at the possibility. The thing is, I think I do want a second child. But I don't want to have to decide when the right time is. So a surprise would be kind of perfect, because then you're just dealing with the reality, not creating it.A few days after the pee-stick, it occurred to me that there will never be a perfect time for bringing another child into this world. Now that I know how hard mothering an infant really is, deciding to mother a second will probably always scare me. I'll never truly be ready for it. There will always be things I'd rather do than be nauseous for four months, have trouble breathing for four more, and then have raw nipples and sleep in milk puddles. Not to mention the fear and anxiety and general uncertainty of the whole affair.So I made my case to Sugar D, my case of hey it's never gonna feel easy or right so let's just do away with the condoms, how about? But he's not having any of it, at least not right now. Which is sorta kinda ok with me. Maybe even a bit of a relief. For the moment, anyways.[...]



purple roses

2008-11-10T09:31:00.413-05:00

The coffins were in the basement. The stairs down there were carpeted with a thick underpad but the steps were narrow and steep, and I was six months pregnant. Upright coffins lined the walls, while others lay, open, on stands in the middle of the floor. There were shiny white melamine ones, which I thought were horrible, and many wooden ones, all shiny, except for an unfinished pine number that they kept a little hidden. My mom remembered her client, the one who had no family. He lived alone in an old farm house, rich from development deals, although you'd never it know it from his life or home. The executor of his estate refused to pay for a decent coffin, so the old man was buried in one of those pine coffins. Only my mom, her colleague, and the old man's neighbour attended. It was shameful, she always said. In fact, it was this very funeral director who carried out the executor's instructions, despite his own misgivings. That's how my mom met him; they ranted together about the injustice of it.I'd never helped pick out a coffin before. It was easy to narrow it down to two, but hard to choose between them. I think we ended up with a cherry one, of a similar colour to my grandpa's old bedroom set, now in my bedroom. But I can't remember for sure.My mom was an only child, so she could only look to her own children for help in carrying out the myriad tasks involved with burying her last parent. Her mother, my grandma Ruth. My sister and I picked out flowers for the arrangements.Everything my grandma brought into her house was pink or purple, almost exclusively. Mauve was her very favourite colour. Yvonne, the village florist, remembered my grandma from her visits. When my sister and I came, she pulled out a bucket of the most perfect roses from the fridge with the sliding glass doors. Mauve or lilac, I don't know what the difference between them would be, except lilac sounds so much nicer, like spring instead of mauve's retirement homes. The roses were just perfect, barely open. I'd never before seen roses this colour, and haven't since either. Like they were grown just to honour my grandma's passing.I can't remember what outfit we picked out for her. I remember having two or three options, and I remember being sad that they seemed so much more grave than the outfits she wore when I was a kid on summer vacation, before the strokes and the car accident and all her friends dying. I think we went with a lilac cardigan that had embroidered flowers in one corner. We even had to bring a bra and panties to the funeral home, which seemed somehow obscene. Although I guess when I think about it, the folks at the funeral home had already been more intimate with her body; putting on her underwear and fastening her bra would be nothing to them.All this was just so impossibly mundane, all this dealing with the earthly. It would be so much simpler if all of her had just floated away. Except of course, we'd keep hoping, waiting for her to come back, if we didn't have the body to focus on, the body that was so obviously not her anymore.* * *I kept two of those roses, the ones that seemed to have been grown just for my grandma. I hung them in the basement when we got home, next to the musty old red rose from my grandpa's funeral less than a year before. I'd never dried flowers before, but I took a guess, and wrapped the stems with an elastic band, and hung them from a nail sticking out of the low rafter. I didn't know what to do with them, where to put them more permanently. I only noticed them when they tickled my hair on the way to the laundry tub.* * *T[...]



ugh

2008-11-09T14:12:31.665-05:00

Shortly after I met Sugar D, I started having horrible gastrointestinal attacks. I'd been having gastrointestinal complaints for a couple of years already, but after I met Sugar D, sudden, intense, and long-lasting nausea joined the parade of symptoms. The attacks came on without warning. One minute I'd be fine, the next I'd feel like I was going to be horribly, violently ill. Often they occurred at restaurants, right after dinner, and I'd either be trapped in the washroom or race home in a cab. Either option was hugely embarrassing, especially if my dinner companions weren't particularly close friends.A number of factors were at play in those attacks: poor diet, too much booze and stress, undiagnosed panic and anxiety. I've already written, at length, about how I overcame panic and anxiety. Or so I thought. On Thursday night I had another attack - the first in many, many years. Out of nowhere, I felt nauseous and shaky and terrified. I'd been talking to my mom earlier in the day and she told me how she had a stomach bug. I thought about all the people at my work who have had recent stomach bugs. I realized if I got sick that night, I'd be totally screwed because I had something important on at work the next day, something I'd been working on for months. So when I started to feel nauseous I was terrified that it was actually happening.Once I realized how scared I was, I decided it must be panic. So I pulled out my usual bag of tricks for managing panic. Usually just recognizing it for what it is is enough, but not this time. I tried the tapping thing. I tried a happy place. I tried relaxing my muscles. I tried waiting. But nothing worked. It lasted hours - hours of nausea, shaking, trips to the toilet, sips of water, and wondering if perhaps I actually was sick. The ghosts of Wretched Past flitted in front of my eyes, all the grotty floors I've been intimate with. Finally, around 9:45 (two and a half hours after it started), I decided to take some Lorazepam. I've never actually taken it for a panic attack before, only for prevention on solo flights. But I had it, so I thought I might as well take it. It took an hour to take effect, and even then, I still felt sick, I just wasn't terrified. So it was an improvement. I slept - mostly - through the night and woke in the morning with no vomiting having taken place.I went to work, relieved I could make it, but still the worse for wear. I felt crappy all day, and crappier once I got home in the evening. The day was a success, work-wise, as far as I could tell, but I was exhausted. I don't think panic is the only culprit for Thursday night. Given how crappy I felt the next day, physically, and how the physical crappiness has continued over the weekend, I figure it must have been a combination of exhaustion and panic (caused or ennabled by the exhaustion).I've been working flat out for the last six weeks. From the moment I arrive at my desk until I race out to pick up Swee'pea, I'm on one long adrenaline trip of not having enough time to get everything done that needs to be done and not being able to delegate anything. So Thursday night was my wake-up call. If I don't set some boundaries at work, I'm going to end up the way I was before: feeling mildly ill all the time and violently ill sometimes, afraid to eat, afraid to be full, afraid to leave home. I know enough to know I'm not exaggerating. I thought that kind of attack would never happen again because I could control my anxiety and panic, but I took for granted the balance and wellness required for that kind of c[...]



SYTYCD Canada stuff

2008-11-08T10:47:23.773-05:00

I actually do have a more serious post in the works, but first I wanted to share with you one of my favourite couples on SYTYCD Canada: Lisa and Vincent. Here are two reasons why:

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And while I'm on the subject: I want to see more House on SYTYCD! AND how about a contemporary routine to "Record Body Count" by the Rheostatics? I think that would kick ass. How about more Cancon generally in the music?

If these videos break my blog for you, be patient, I'll take them down in a few days.



public service

2008-11-06T07:57:43.496-05:00

Well it's already been a week since I finished Buffy and I haven't returned the dvds yet. I'm just not ready to let them go. I think I may have to ask for the whole series for Christmas or something, just so I know I'll be able to watch them whenever I want (HINT, HINT, Sugar D). I think I will watch Angel, soon, and then I'll just have to watch Buffy all over again. It's that good.

For the Buffyheads who visit, you probably already knew that there's an entire field of academic inquiry dedicated to Buffy Studies. Did you know there are entire periodicals dedicated to Buffy Studies? Like Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies, which is on issue 26 and still going strong, five years AFTER the series ended. Crazy, eh?

There's even a virtual season six of Angel. And not only have I seen Spike action figures for sale, but I've seen a Spike bust AND a Spike flip lighter.

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So here's where you find the season 8 comics, and the complete series on dvd is only $180 on Amazon (I saw each season for sale for $50 a season, which adds up to like $350!).

Hopefully this marks the end of my blogging about Buffy.



what do I do now?

2008-10-31T19:39:15.526-05:00

Well, it was inevitable really. Last night I finished Buffy. And here I am on a Friday night, not sure what to do. Do I rewatch some of the episodes I still have in my possession? Do I surf online now that I don't have to worry about spoilers? (But shit I'm handicapped for not having seen Angel. I just saw a reference to a relationship between Angel and Cordelia - WTF?!? That is SO unnatural! My eyes! My eyes! Maybe that's enough web-surfing.)

Do I catch up on all the tv I missed? Edit the photos I took in my class last night of some very kind and beautiful and tattooed models? Try to persuade Sugar D to bleach his hair and find a long black trench coat? (He said he rather fancies himself in a black trench coat but only because of The Matrix. Nothing to do with Buffy of course.) Try to start some discussion here about whether Buffy is a feminist icon? Maybe check out the reported season 8 in graphic novel format? Or find Dr. Horrible? I just don't know. It all feels so empty now.

[SPOILER ALERT if you haven't seen Buffy]

I'm still feeling kind of raw. Today at work, I had a bunch of meetings, and my mind kept wandering to the series finale and Spike, and my eyes would get all prickly and my chest would get all tight, and I'd have to drag my thoughts back to the room just so I wouldn't make an ass of myself. I just wasn't prepared for Spike dying. I accidentally read somewhere online that Spike continued his role on Angel, so I thought he was the most likely to survive. I'm still clinging to the possibility that he somehow managed to survive.

I'd been planning to take a break before tackling Angel, to recapture some of my life. Maybe even wait until Janna comes home in February (fat chance), but now I'm going to have to watch on the faint hope that Spike will show up later in the series.

Anyways, now you're all free to share your innermost thoughts about Buffy... did you like the way it ended? I think I did. I just wish Spike hadn't been all, "No you don't." And I wish Andrew had died instead of Anya -- although I did really like Andrew.

And since it's Halloween, here is our jack-o-lantern (I think Sugar D outdid himself this year), and our little trick-or-treater.

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Wordless Wednesday: the morning commute

2008-10-29T06:26:45.305-05:00

Pictures from the walk to work-slash-Swee'pea's-daycare, a couple of weeks ago.

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And ack! I only have five more episodes of Buffy to watch! I'm torn between wanting to see what happens next and not wanting it to end.



this is your brain on 2 1/2 years of sleep deprivation

2008-10-27T11:16:01.682-05:00

Another shitty morning after another shitty night.Last week at the market, I saw a woman with her newborn son. Someone asked her if he was sleeping better, and she said, "Not really. He's still waking every two hours. I guess it's just a phase he's going through." He was 10 weeks old.And because I'm me, I had to share my truth with her, that my son woke every two hours until at least 14 months, and even now doesn't sleep through the night very often. "My son woke up every two hours for -" I started to speak, but I just couldn't go through with it. "... A very long time," I finished weakly. I laboured through Swee'pea's entire infancy believing that a good night's sleep was just around the corner. If someone had told me then that it could be years before I could depend on a four-hour stretch of sleep, I might have been in danger of doing something drastic.* * *The stretch of two nights in a row I last blogged about? It lasted a month. A month of being able to stretch out in sleep, of waking up on my own, a month of peace. A month without ambivalence, without constant, unfillable hunger. I was a bit disturbed that we'd done nothing differently, that it was all completely beyond my control. And I knew it was too good to be true, I knew it couldn't last. But with every good week, I thought we were that much closer to putting the sleeplessness to rest. I started to wonder how I would revise the little about me bit here, the bit that says my son is a lousy sleeper. I never imagined we'd have another whole month and a half of shitty nights. And now we're worse off than before, because now I know how good it can be, I know how good *I* can be.Back when Swee'pea was a baby, I thought the secret to him sleeping through the night would be getting him to fall asleep on his own. That's what all the books said. But I can tell you from personal experience that that is total bullshit. Most nights he falls asleep by himself, but that doesn't stop him from waking up within a few hours and demanding to get into our bed, even if we ourselves haven't gone to bed yet. Then he'll wake up screaming to have his socks put on or taken off or to change his pyjamas, or to find his soother, or give him another soother, just to hold. Sometimes he bellows like an autocrat, "Lie on your back!" (so he can rub my belly more easily). Sometimes he screams for reasons I can't figure out.Last night at 4:30 am, he was screaming for socks (his dad had taken them off when he changed him out his wet diaper and pyjamas), and I lost it (not the first time). I yelled at him: "Stop screaming! If you're going to scream, do it in your own bed. Mommy and daddy's bed is only for quiet indoor voices." The middle of the night is not a good time for me; I think all my night-time patience dried up with my milk. These days, however, after so many interrupted nights, the daytime isn't great either. I'm resentful and impatient, I yell at the slightest provocation and disengage at the first opportunity, running to the computer for some kind of connection, some kind of relief, but never quite finding it.I find myself rationalizing my daytime distance the way I did when he was a baby. That he's chosen to demand my attention while sleeping and he doesn't demand it while awake. Or that it's just until I finish Buffy, then life can get back to normal. But I think Buffy is just a friendly escape.So... please help. Give me your best advice. H[...]