Friday, December 26, 2008

CURRENT PLAYLIST



Cause I don't feel like doing a proper entry...what I am listening to at this very minute:



Joy Division - Transmission
Oasis - Wonderwall
Adam And The Ants - Ant Music
Soft Cell - Sex Dwarf
Depeche Mode - It's No Good
Mansun - Wide Open Spaces
The Clash - What's My Name
Oasis - Stop Crying Your Eyes Out
The Distillers - Drain The Blood
God Bullies - Like It Like That
Depeche Mode - But Not Tonight
The Jam - Town Called Malice
Bauhaus - In the Flat Field
The Clash - Train in Vain
Foo Fighters - Darling Nikki
Depeche Mode - Useless
The Clash - Bankrobber
Oasis - Force of Nature
Psychedelic Furs - Love My Way
Dead Kennedys - California uber alles
The Strokes - Last Nite
Social Distortion - I Was Wrong
The Clash - (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It Wasn't A Pretty Picture

Well it's pretty safe to say that the weatherman managed to get it right this weekend! After a bit of a break yesterday, Friday's snow squalls have returned to southwestern Ontario with a vengeance! With all of this snow, and the chaos that seems to come with it, such as early store closings, late running or near vanishing public transportation, pant legs that are constantly soaking wet and gross and a whole boatload of other nifty stuff, I am, at this very moment, thrilled that all of my shopping is completed, and unless I really, really want to, don't have to venture out until the spring thaw! While the rest of the world seems to be running backwards and in circles with little to show for their effort, I'm literally sitting pretty with nary a care in the world!!! Oh this would be amazingly sweet, if this were, indeed true of my entire life. At least, in regards to the upcoming holiday, I am, indeed, in a truly zen place.

Yes, I am still marveling over the fact that all of the Christmas presents have been bought, wrapped and put nicely under the tree. Apart from the obvious, this is no mean feat. Even before the chaos of being an opiate addict began disrupting our home and becoming all too familiar, I suffered from a very common trait that many other normal individuals also suffer, procrastination. In the prime of my youth, long before I even knew what opiates were, never mind having even ingested one of their beauties, I generally found myself in an all too familiar place two or three days before Christmas Eve. Until I could no longer put off the inevitable, I had to suck it up and get my shopping started and finished, all within a very brief window of time! As much as I loathed the ever growing hoard of frantic shoppers, I was simply incapable of doing much to change what inevitably happened year after year. Like clockwork, I waited until the last minute to get my shopping done.

I still seemed incapable of even changing this losing formula even after breaking my leg exactly a week before Christmas Day when I was 23 and hadn't even thought about what gifts I would be buying. Imagine my shame and embarrassment when I finally got discharged on the 24th sometime after 3pm just as the stores were closing up. I had bought nothing at all before my accident and while in the hospital all doped up on morphine for six days, I wasn't capable of doing much to change my situation. I vowed that never, ever again would I ever find myself in this position. I would strive to be more like my Mom, who thinks nothing of grabbing presents for the next Christmas holiday on Boxing Day. This plan just never seemed to work out that well.

So, even before I became an opiate addict, I had definite completion issues with regards to shopping and Christmas. Through in an addiction into the mix, and yikes, you've got a great recipe for disaster. About my only salvation other years was that both Jim and I were gainfully employed so I was somehow able to stretch our funds to include the requisite Christmas gifts and to feed that monkey on our backs. But even still, Christmas always seemed so chaotic, so unsatisfying. I guess I felt like I was cheating somehow, that my heart really wasn't wholeheartedly in it. Now, there is nothing to distract me from the task at hand and what is right in front of me. Whatever I do regarding this holiday, I know that I am giving 100%, my undivided attention and I have to admit that there is something so overwhelmingly satisfying in all of this! I never, ever want to change this again.

Even though I don't have to, I am going to head over to Loblaws in an hours time as they are open until 6pm today. With my extra money, I am going to buy some more Christmas decorations, lights, wrap and a few more stocking suffers for the girls. I want to make sure that this is a memorable Christmas for both of them as they will both be turning nineteen in March and April, respectively, and I kind of suspect that this may very well be the last Christmas that I have both of them living under our roof. I know that they are itching to stretch their wings and a lot can happen in a years time so I figure, I better grab on while I can.

Peace, love and happiness to each and everyone of you out there.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

On the Second Day of Christmas.

Well grabbed some gift wrap and gift bags this evening so that I can get the rest of the presents wrapped up and put under the tree where they belong. The store that I was shopping at had all of their Christmas lights on sale at 50% off so I grabbed two more packages of 50 mini indoor lights in royal blue so that I could add them to the all clear mini lights that I've currently got on our Christmas tree. Now the tree looks utterly fantastic! Am just about to start finishing off the wrapping, etc before I go to bed so that when I get up in the morning, I can truly enjoy the holiday season as I'll literally have nothing more to rush around finishing off, so stress free. I'm literally still in a bit of shock regarding the fact that I am actually organized for the first time in my life as the holidays start. It sure doesn't feel right I must admit. I'm still not convinced that there isn't some little thing that I'm overlooking.

I actually ended up buying a few more presents for each of the girls tonight as I had a bit of extra money left over. I decided to really treat them for once. I ended up picking up a few tank tops each for them while I was grocery shopping of all things. Normally I divide my grocery shopping either between A & P or Loblaws as they are both about a five minute walk from my apt - in opposite directions! Which one I go to is all dependent on which of the two has the better sale, although tonight my decision ended up being made due to logistics and the fact that Jim and I just happened to end up closer to the Loblaws when I decided I needed to grab a few things before going home.

This Loblaws has just recently been renovated majorly and part of this reno was the expansion of their clothing section, JOE Fresh. They ended up increasing the floorspace of the clothes by a good 400% easily. They also had some kick ass sales happening so of course, I couldn't resist. The shirts that I managed to grab ranged in price from $1.94 to $5.94 so for less than $35.00 - tax included - I was able to buy each of them five new tops each! When Jim gets paid on Monday, I may just slip over there again to grab a half dozen more each if they are still on sale!

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On the First Day of Christmas

OK, so here I sit, with a week still to go until Christmas and I find myself in a very unusual place. Not only is my Christmas tree back up and once again fully decorated, but there are now about a dozen presents all wrapped sitting beneath it. There would be another nine presents except that I ran out of gift bags, and need to run over to the mall to grab some more. Guess that I bought more presents than I realized! For a recovering addict, this is obviously a very good thing, as well as a very foreign spot. No complaints from this seat though! The fact that I've even been able to buy presents, never mind the fact that they are already sitting and waiting under the Christmas thing is a huge deal. For the first time in a very long time, I am entering the holidays literally stress free. No running from store to store as each one closes their doors Christmas Eve, as I struggle to throw together a semi decent holiday for my family.

Flip side of this is that I am doubly ashamed that I even allowed some of the past Christmas holidays to even occur the way that they did. Not ready quite yet to rehash stories of Christmas past, but maybe one day soon. Ready for another mind blower? I actually still have a few hundred dollars left in my savings account and some even in my chequing account. Jim and I know that we're getting some money from both sets of our parents for Christmas, so we plan on treating ourselves to a brand new laptop. Both of us have wanted one for quite some time so we're finally going to do it. This is going to be our Christmas present to each other. This is a new arena for us also, as traditionally two addicts tend not to buy each other Christmas presents, unless its more dope! The first year that we were in recovery we bought a new television set for the "house" while we bought a bunch of stuff - new area rug, new curtains, DVD player - for our home last year, our second year of recovery. Looks like this is our third. Congrats to us!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jingle Bells...

Am taking a bit of a timeout because right now I need to catch my breath and count to ten about a half a dozen times! I am T-H-I-S C-L-O-S-E to throwing one of my daughter's cats from the balcony, but as its the season to be jolly, I'm sitting at my computer instead. Its bad enough that I spent seven hours shopping today, but now I come home to our Christmas tree having been mangled by one of the cats!

I know, I know, I can still hear my husband lecturing me about the lunacy of attempting to properly decorate the Christmas tree with six cats living in the house. Even though the tree has been up near three weeks, so far all of the hanging ornaments have had to be removed as well as ensuring that there was nothing at all hanging from about three and a half feet and below, I honestly thought that otherwise, the tree would get through the holidays unscathed. How very wrong was I!!! I've also had to remove some of the presents from underneath the tree as one of the cats was trying to unwrap them.

The youngest - and smallest - of the cats has learned to somehow climb up to the top of the tree and shake the heck out of the branches. Obviously, once he is all finished, the branches are lying all willy nilly, and all over the place with huge, gaping holes everywhere! So right now, I am sitting here looking at a near stripped down tree. Looks as if I am going to start decorating it all over again from the start. As it was, the only things around the tree were a few hundred clear lights and bows that I had crafted out of Christmas ribbon - varying in width from 1" to 3", in either royal blue, silver or white or various combos of these three colours. I've managed to return the branches to where it now looks like a normal tree. At least the tree is artificial and its wires are flexible so that the branches can all be reshaped. This was the easy part, now for the hard part!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

She Works Hard for the Money

FROM THE ARCHIVES 2005-07-27



While I was a student at university I waitressed and then finally graduated to bartending. I absolutely loved working in the service industry. Never in my life have I made as much money as I did then. The mid to late 80''s were still the golden age of the service industry. Expense accounts still existed for businessmen and women and the GST had yet to rear its ugly head. I was fortunate that I got into one of the more upscale establishments that my city had to offer because there was a small fortune to be made. I remember going to school full time for my third and fourth year at uni plus working at least 30 hours a week serving. I was taking home a minimum of $600 to $700 each week which was a small fortune to a 21 year old. After graduating university I found it very difficult to give up.

By then I had become so accustomed to the tips always having money available to me rather than waiting a fortnight for a pay cheque - which we actually also got but that was just gravy - that it took me a year to finally leave the industry. I had made a lot of great friends my four years serving. Some of them were like me, students, but many were "career" people, this is all that they would end up doing. Unfortunately serving is looked down upon in the frightfully white collar city that I reside in that had I stayed in service, I would have been perceived as a failure. Back then that apparently mattered to me although I have long since gotten over that mentality. I was dragging my feet though in making my exit. Not only would it be difficult to get used to the substantial reduction in earnings but suddenly I would be expected to be part of the land of the living. Part of the allure of bartending was that you didn't start work until dark and the people that you encountered were by far much more interesting than their daytime counterparts.

As luck would have it, the decision was taken out of my hands when I had a bad fall the week before Christmas and broke my kneecap. After crutches, a cane, physio and not driving for five months I knew that it would be tough to go back to bartending or waitressing anytime soon but I now desperately needed an income of any sort. Plus my confidence had taken quite a beating. Getting my strength back in my leg and as a result my back, et al was slow going plus when I did make an early attempt at returning to bartending I had forgotten how messy we could be and those we floors behind the bar were just another accident waiting to happen.

My immediate loss of income right after the accident also made things tough going. But you gotta take the good with the bad and as the majority of tips are never declared by servers, they end up never paying tax on this income. As a result they are then denied the benefit of collecting any type of Employment Insurance as you can only end up collecting what you contribute and if you contribute a big fat zero then you are not entitled to any thing more. So hah on me. After about three months sitting at home with my dog I started to get a little restless and started to look for a "real" job. I found one and I went to work for what turned out to be a pretty darn nice company. For nine years they treated me well and in return I think that I was a definite asset for them but I always remembered my serving days with fondness. I was starting to get itchy feet. I wanted something a little less ordinary than going to work Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm with three weeks vacation each year and some time off at Christmas and blah, blah, blah.

I was bored and I was getting bored with myself. Surprisingly enough I even managed to spend seven of those years pretty darn squeaky clean. For shame, for shame...to be continued... 

HIGH PRIESTESS OF PUNK returns in high style next!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Paper Chase

For the first time since I started blogging, I've been confronted with a situation regarding a series of comments left by someone else after one of my recent entries. I am left with a situation where I am not even sure how I should handle it. Up until this point, I have never felt the need to impose any sort of restrictions on anyone wishing to comment on any one of my entries. I have been fortunate enough not to have been a victim of anything really hostile directed towards myself, so haven't felt any need to intervene and do any moderation. Yet...

The other day when I logged on to check my journal, I noticed that there were twelve comments for my entry, 99 Channels and Nothing On. Now, even on a good day, I think the absolute highest number of responses that I have ever received is something like four or five, never mind twelve! Something was indeed strange I thought especially as this particular entry has got to positively been my most innocuous to date! All of the comments were from the same person and not one even bothered to address the topic of my entry. To get an idea as to what type of comments that there might have been, you can check out this blogger's site,
Born of the Spirit.


P.S. OK, I don't feel comfortable censoring, regardless how inappropriate these comments may have been so I have allowed these twelve comments from my previous post to now be visible. Anyone that might be curious to read what initially almost caused me to do something utterly foreign, please allow yourself enough time to wade through them all as there are a lot, not to mention that each and everyone is most definitely on the lengthy side. Oh, make sure you're in a nice, comfy spot as well!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

99 Channels and Nothing On

So, I am in the middle of colouring my hair - used to colour it for fun, now I need to hide those pesky grays! As I've got just over half an hour before I need to rinse all of this crap from my head, I thought that I would share some info with you that we've never touched on before this - some of my favourite tv shows!

I, of course, will watch television just like anyone else, although, as I find most of today's tv choices pretty horrific, I  will admit to not watching an awful lot of it. Now, if I am fortunate enough to discover a show that catches my attention and happen to love though, I then become a completely different person - obsessive is a fitting description I should think. Right now, I am most definitely obsessing over Battlestar Galactica, and am literally counting the days until its return. For anyone who cares, the second half of Season Four (Episodes 13 to 22) returns on January 19, 2009. Seeing how the last time a brand new episode appeared on tv was back in June of this year, its about bloody time! Holding my breath in anticipation.

Another show that I never miss is Without a Trace which just started its seventh season. Other than these couple of shows, I don't really have any other never miss shows although I've developed a fondness for a few series this past year and a half, and they are fast approaching this status. I am almost embarrassed to admit that I almost never, ever miss Gossip Girl now - lets call this a guilty little secret shall we? - or The Hills - enough already! Pretty slim pickings to be sure.

Earlier this fall, I discovered Sons of Anarchy, which is almost done for this season, although it's been renewed for a second season so tres cool! Sons of Anarchy is an FX television series starring Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Katey Sagal about the lives of a close-knit motorcycle club operating in Charming, a fictional town in the San Joaquin Valley in Northern California.  I have also developed a fondness for a show that just started this fall and so far there have been seven episodes shown, and its called Life on Mars. Unfortunately, from what I understand, I won't be seeing any new episodes until some time in the new year. I hope there is an episode eight as this last episode was very much a cliff hanger. Grrr.... 

Christmas Is Coming and the Goose is Getting Fat!

or something like that...

It's starting to look a lot more like winter outside now, as it has been snowing on and off for the past few days - I'm in southwestern Ontario, Canada for those that don't know. I guess that this also means that it is starting to look a lot like Christmas, especially as there is now less than a month left to go! Yikes. I've bought a few presents, but not nearly as many as I'll eventually need. I also bought a brand new artificial Christmas tree about a week and a half ago because I came across an amazing sale. I got a 7' artificial one with over 1200 tips plus a metal base at XSCargo for only $19.99 - the store clerk said that theirs were the best prices in the city, and I see no reason to disagree with him as I've been checking prices for artificial trees this past year as we were overdue for a new one. To say I was thrilled to find such a deal would be the understatement of the year.

Sara didn't want me to set it up yet, but this was almost two weeks ago, so I am now seriously considering putting the tree up this weekend. It will be the first of December in only a couple of days after all. I can't really put it up though until I buy some new lights for it anyway. Somehow in our two moves in the past year, I've managed to misplace a whole boatload of our Christmas decorations. I think that I may have put some in the Building Manager's storage room and as technically we're not really the Building Managers anymore, I can't really go and snoop around the building - at least not without feeling a bit on the guilty and uncomfortable side. I know that the Bargain Shop has sets of 50 clear indoor lights on sale currently for only $4.00 a set so I can easily grab a few sets without breaking the bank! Traditionally, I like to limit the number of different colours used when I decorate, and I plan on sticking to this. My colours of choice are royal blue and silver, and any of their variations, hence the clear lights. I think these colours used together end up looking very elegant and sophisticated, plus it is easy to add to my decorations each year if I stick to the same colours. I also need to buy some additional decorations because we are moving up in size from a 5' tree to a 7' one, so I've got that extra couple of feet to fill out on the new tree! Just have to be careful not to decorate too low down on the tree as the cats go mental trying to remove all of the shiny, pretty cat toys!

I reduced my methadone dose to 50ml a couple of weeks ago and am now finally starting to feel comfortable on this dose. This was by far, my most difficult reduction to date. The first ten days were utterly horrible and near unbearable, but I managed to stick it out and am glad that I did. I almost ended up returning to 55ml but in the end, didn't have to. If I didn't get to the clinic within twenty four hours of my previous dose, I would start to feel as if I were in major withdrawal. I had certainly begun to forget how awful opiate withdrawal could be, and am kind of glad that I was given a reminder as this will ensure I don't allow myself to become cavalier about treatment, etc and end up convincing myself that it wouldn't hurt much just to try one pill just one more time! Not that I had/have any intentions of doing this, but it doesn't hurt to be extra, extra careful. Anyway, if I didn't make it to the clinic within that 24 hour period, my body would start to rebel against me. My limbs would start aching so badly, I would start to grind my teeth as I got more and more agitated, my nose and eyes would start to run like mad, and my general disposition would change dramatically. Of course, within a half an hour to forty five minutes of dosing, everything would appear to return to normal.

Won't be taking my MMT for granted anytime soon that's for sure! 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

98 Pound Weakling

Pretty much from the very start, I've had a bit of a love-hate relationship with methadone - I took my very first dose of methadone in September 1999, nine years and two months ago. Now a decade ago, I was in pretty grim shape physically. I had allowed myself to waste away to near nothing, and at 5'7", I barely topped the scales at 105 lbs, so potential weight gain from this particular treatment was very much a non issue for me. Or so I thought. Within no time, I started to experience a rather dramatic metamorphosis and actually started to look rather healthy. A decade ago, this didn't really bother me all that much as I desperately needed a few more pounds on my body, but now I find myself in the middle of a most unpleasant and unsavory situation.

Funny, what kind of effects, a decade ends up having on our changing bodies too. I now find my self, at the ripe old age of 45, waging an ever increasing losing battle, not to mention having to deal with, until now, some really foreign emotions and thoughts. Its frustrating enough on its own coming to terms with this change, but having to deal with the accompanying boatload of emotions, doesn't help at all! For someone who had never had to give their weight so much as a second thought before all of this, this new reality has been monumentally difficult and stressful.

I've now since discovered how easy it is to be cavalier about weight and diet, et al when no problem exists. This should seem quite obvious, but surprisingly enough, it isn't at all. I've since discovered that its much easier to be without vanity when no struggle exists. If there is nothing to obsess over, there is nothing to obsess over. Now, unfortunately, I seem to have something to obsess over, and that something would seem to be the size of my jeans! I will admit though, that I am still not in possession of a scale so I have no idea what my actual current weight would be, or the actual number of pounds gained these past couple of years. Honestly, I really don't need to have anymore of this rubbed in my face, anyway. The fact that I no longer wear a size five or seven is pretty indicative of the amount gained that I certainly do not need any more confirmation, trust me.

OK, OK,  I know exactly what each and everyone of you are about to say to me now. I know that methadone alone is not the sole guilty culprit here. In fact, there is next to no research or findings or even studies stating that weight gain is even a direct side effect of taking methadone. Logically, I am all too aware of this fact, but, I am also very aware of the undeniable fact that I started to aggressively gain weight once I started Methadone Maintenance Treatment. This is a fact that is next to impossible to challenge! I get it. Suddenly, you're no longer on some endless quest to feed that monkey. After a few months on MMT, your life actually starts to return to what others take for granted, boring and routine. With this, your appetite returns and with a vengeance, although for everyone else, this is normal. Most probably, you even become more sedentary, so its really no surprise that the body ends up having such a huge transformation. Logically, I know this, but it still doesn't end up making my current situation any better.

I think what really bothers me even more than the weight gain, is the fact that I can't help but constantly stress over it. In the past few months, I find myself thinking about this more than I ever obsessed and agonized over drugs! Maybe I'm replacing one with the other. How's that for irony? Grrrr....I can't believe that I am actually publicly ranting and whining about my current situation either, although this just illustrates how depressed this whole situation has gotten me. My mother's constant comments certainly don't do much to help my self esteem either. There is nothing like a conversation with my mother to make me feel ten times worse than I already do. She has a knack for pummeling me ever further into the ground. Its not like I am a beached whale either - I am currently wearing between a size eleven and thirteen, with the larger size starting to no longer feel quite as tight as it did about half a year ago too. Each and every time I see her, she ends up fueling my self obsession with the weight, even if I've somehow managed to finally reach a place where I feel a modicum of peace.

OK, no doubt I could go on endlessly on this subject if allowed, but even I have to admit that I am starting to bore even myself! Enough already. Get over yourself! 

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Emperor's New Clothes

Today was Jim's first day of his six week physiotherapy rehab and I guess all went fairly well. He said that he was pretty tired once it was all finished but is pretty optimistic about the whole program, which  is great to hear. I ended up going with him today, sort of...I took the bus with him there and back, but that is where any similarities end. I had a laundry list of errands that I had planned to do while he was in physiotherapy, but the moment that I saw Value Village all my good intentions completely disappeared!

I had so forgotten how much I loved to browse through Value Village for hours on end as I hunted and searched for the ultimate fabulous find and bargain! Today I made out big time! I ended up getting six items which totaled $34.00 tax included. I got a white 100% cotton Tommy Hilfiger Jeans boat neck sweater as well as a red cotton/acrylic Tommy Hilfiger Jeans mock turtleneck. Both of them are in mint condition and barely look as if they have ever been worn. Sweet. I also got a Beechers Brook black angora round neck sweater and a short sleeved cotton/spandex blouse with a very tiny black and white check to go with it. Finally I grabbed a handful of Old Navy Perfect Fit short sleeved t shirts in red, salmon, yellow, khaki and brown, cause these are my absolute favourite t shirts as they fit me exactly the way I want a t shirt to fit - I've never actually bought one at Old Navy either, only at Value Village

I find that at the best of times, shopping gives me a buzz, but I get an even bigger buzz when combined with killer deals! Now, this is one addiction I can easily rationalize and justify, not to mention get used to! 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

retail therapy and physio as world class events!

As Jim is now finally strong enough, yesterday he had his first physiotherapy appointment. We were only there for about an hour and a half as the initial appointment was just an assessment so that they could go on from here and develop his treatment plan. Starting on Monday, he has to attend this clinic for a minimum of six weeks, Monday to Friday from 1pm to 4pm. That sure is an insane amount of physiotherapy! Combined with the fact that this clinic is just shy of an hours bus ride one way, this means that he will be spending five hours each day minimum with physiotherapy. I know that he prefers that I accompany him to all of his appointments, and in fact, anytime that he leaves the house, but for this I won't be able to all of the time. Certainly, I will end up going with him for the most part anyway, but I imagine that there will be days that this will be impossible, as I will have my own medical appointments.

Even though this clinic is literally on the other side of town, the fact that we only need to take one bus - no transfers, cause I hate whenever I have to change to another bus - makes this journey that much more attractive. Also, there are enough shops that I like going to out by the clinic that it shouldn't be too hard for me to occupy the three hours. I guess that it could be way worse in so many other ways that this is a pretty small commitment when you stop to look at the big picture, so to speak!

Went shopping with my Mom and Sara today and our outing actually remained reasonably stress free considering the length of time we were out and about. As I've mentioned before, my Mom and I used to enjoy a pretty strained relationship, but this now seems very much, a part of our pasts. Even when we were in a constant battle, my Mom never failed to be overly generous where it concerned Sara, her grand daughter. I couldn't even hazard a guess on how many items of clothing she has purchased for her these near two decades. Most likely in the hundreds, and today was certainly no exception. Sara was only able to manage to hold on to one of her winter coats from last year, information that I only recently discovered as well as infuriated me. She absolutely swears that she has no idea where the other two disappeared to, and by the time that we had reached this part of our conversation, I wasn't even sure that I needed or wanted to know.

Two evenings before our scheduled outing, my Mom and I spent about an hour chatting on the phone. At this time, she mentioned to me that she had planned to buy Sara a new winter coat, and if the prices were reasonable then she was going to grab two for her. Now, no amount of protest from myself looked as if she could be made to change her mind so there seemed no point in continuing. Obviously, the more items that she gets for Sara means the less that I'll need to get for her in the future. And its not as if she can't afford to do this for Sara. My Dad made sure that my Mom would want for nothing once he had died, and from where I am sitting, he certainly seems to have been immensely successful in this regard. My Mom owns her condo and her condo fees are not only very reasonable but include the cost of all of her utilities. Other than these fees, the only other monthly bills that she has are for her telephone and cable.

One thing that I have managed to learn over the years is that there is no sense trying to go toe to toe with my Mom regarding what she will purchase during one of our many items, and today most certainly was on of those days! We really only managed to shop in one store today - Winners - as my Mom needed all of this time to buy a criminal amount of stuff for Sara, Jim and myself. Spending $679.00 at a "discount" outlet in less than three hours is quite the feat! I'm sure that if this were an Olympic event my Mom would be the reigning champ hands down!

She did get Sara her winter coat, plus two others! Sara made a few admiral attempts to dissuade her Granny from buying all three, but there was no way that anyone of us would have ever been able to do this successfully. Any time that we approached her, my Mom would head off in the opposite direction. When we did finally reconnect, it was to go off with one or her recently widowed neighbors to discuss their next scheduled restaurant outing. Now as I mentioned earlier, Sara got three brand spanking new winter coats to wear. They are all beautifully made with each one designed to be worn to a specific type of event or to an outdoor concert. I had a bit of a struggle within myself trying to avoid the inevitable argument that I knew was on the way as well as taking Sara aside to inform her that "resistance was futile". Once that was out there, it was smooth sailing for the shopping.

My Mom also bought me a gorgeous down filled ski coat in black by Calvin Klein. Its one of those ones that are filled with down and are poufy to the touch. She also bought Jim a new coat. His is from Kenneth Cole and also black. He'll look awesome in it that's for sure!Mom also bought him a pair of dressier casual pants in a darker beige with a very small check/plaid. Not to feel left out, she found a beautiful coat by Calvin Klein for herself. It is a dark gray boucle with an empire waist. It looks utterly smashing. Sara's first coat choice was a black three quarter length w/gray stripes by Dickies, then she found a full length all black one made out of a heavy cotton w/fur lined hood. The final coat she received is what I call a bomber coat made of black wool, also with a fur lined hood, coming to an end at her hips. Sara also scored the cutest 60s inspired minidress made of wool with purple and black stripes and, finally two new sexy bras. All in all, not too shabby indeed!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Today was my third appointment with the lovely folks on the Eighth Floor of the old Victoria Hospital here in town. Pretty much the only floor left at the hospital that is still in use, other than the seventh which is used in conjunction with the eighth to warehouse their psych patients. Today was my appointment with one of their Psychologists. I've already been seen by a Psychiatrist and Occupational Therapist there as part of my assessment/treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from the attack back in May.  Their next step now will be for the three of them to sit down together to discuss what I talked about at each of their sessions and for them to put together some sort of attack plan to put all of me back together again! Today's session lasted just over three hours, the longest of the sessions so far. So far I've been most impressed with my "team" and have ended up feeling surprisingly comfortable and at ease talking to them. Color me shocked!

Jim will eventually also have to start some sort of this therapy but I think that his doctors want him to have some more physiotherapy to aid his physical wounds before they introduce anything new to his mix. His next physiotherapy appointment is not until Thursday afternoon so we've got a days rest between the two. Well, sort of cause tomorrow is "doctor" day at the clinic so not so much of a break! The only downside to his physiotherapy  appointments is that they are literally on the other side of town. Even though we only have to take one bus, we end up being on the bus for an hour and twenty minutes! The upside is his therapy is located beside a mall that I practically never, ever go to because of how far away it is from us. I take advantage of the time that he is with his Physiotherapist to do some shopping! Just a win, win situation all around.

Speaking of hospitals, this certainly has been the week for them in my family. My foster daughter, Katie, just got home from the emergency after getting treatment for her earlobe. She put a stretcher in her right lobe that ended up being too big or put too much stress or something that she got an infection as well as splitting her lobe. I had no idea in advance that she was even going to do something like this so by the time she showed me, it was already infected. She is over eighteen and allegedly an adult after all. Apparently once the infection has healed, they will be able to recommend a plastic surgeon to repair the lobe. Ouch!!!

Yesterday, my daughter, Sara, got a phone call from her boyfriend, Andre, around lunchtime to let her know that he was at the emergency because he got his thumb caught in one of the machines at his work and that he was about to go into surgery so that his thumb could be saved and repaired. He is over here right now and all is well with him and his thumb apparently. Thank goodness. Already too much excitement and its only Tuesday evening. The week isn't even half over yet! Fingers crossed that it will only be uphill from here!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just Another Day In Paradise.

I so wish that I was more diligent with updating but lately I've been so not interested. Plus, whenever I actually do kind of feeling like being on the computer, one of the girls or Jim is using it. Of course, this really isn't a fair statement either as I also have my very own computer. In fact, I just recently bought myself a new computer so we now have three fully operational machines in this home. For some reason, though, I can't seem to get mine networked with the other two so technically it is only half operational. Of course, I haven't really given much effort to getting it networked either. Maybe this can be my weekend project!

For someone who isn't actually working currently either, I also seem to be able to keep myself fairly busy, so I don't always end up finding enough time to get on the computer. Plus, when I do find myself sitting in front of one of our two connected machines, I find that it is way more interesting to catch up on other people's journals rather than write about my incredibly dull and ordinary existence! OK, so maybe I'm being just a tad too brutal on myself right now, and there really is no reason for me to be treating myself this way. Other than life kind of being way on the dull side at the moment, I still must confess that I still am lucky enough to have a pretty remarkable life, all things considering!

Our recovery is going as well as can be expected - both sets of recoveries I suppose. I just started going to therapy to deal with PTSD and it seems to be helping, or at least, I certainly can see how it could very well be beneficial in the long run. Jim will be starting a similar therapy shortly but right now, he is pretty busy with his physical recovery and physiotherapy. Still legitimately away from work collecting WSIB benefits. 

 

Monday, October 06, 2008

I WANT A NEW DRUG

I ask that you bear with me a moment or two until I am able to get my bearings, as I am literally still spinning from yet another attack against Methadone Maintenance Treatment from someone who doesn't have a bloody clue what it even is or entails! Grant me patience, now. First of all, I live in southwestern Ontario, Canada, and because of this location, I, as well as any other opiate addict also residing here, have very limited options available as far as recovery from this insidious addiction goes. Suboxone and its ilk is currently not available for prescription in this country. I will confess that it is more than possible that I may not be completely accurate with this declaration, but the last time I asked my doctor at the clinic about availability, I was told, not yet. Perhaps there are test studies being performed even as I speak, and sooner, rather than later, opiate addicts will actually be able to choose their poison!

Short of going cold turkey, to be properly detoxed and rehabbed from opiates, MMT seems to be an addicts only viable option if one hopes for a successful recovery. I absolutely am convinced that this treatment can and is, highly effective in keeping the addict away from abusing opiates. I know that there is the school of thought that maintains the addict is merely exchanging one addiction for another, but I find this argument simply too simplistic and terribly narrow. MMT does far more than exchange one of the same for more of the same, and I know that anyone reading my journal is well enough informed with what I am alluding to here that it isn't necessary for me to regurgitate all of this once again.

Even to my own ears and eyes, some of what I am about to say sounds like a huge series of rationalizations and this may very well be true - after all, one must never forget that rationalization may be the addicts only real true friend and if not friend, most certainly companion! When I first started MMT in the fall of 1999, I was in pretty rough shape.

We had been doing heroin and some pills for a solid two years, and pretty much had been dedicating all of of extra money and time towards our addiction. Pretty much from the first time that I tried it, I was hooked. I certainly had found what I thought was my nirvana. It was wondrous and it didn't take long to develop a tolerance for it. Thank heavens we knew someone that could get us heroin. He was out of town three out of the seven days and he happened to be working in a place that was literally drowning in it so every Thursday night right after getting off his bus, he would drop by our place with our weekly package. Sunday night we would wave him goodbye as his bus left town, our money in his pocket. This went on for over a year.

It started to get quite expensive as all habits tend to but this one also felt different. Where before, I may have been a bit of a bitch if I couldn't get blow or speed, I could get by at least but not this time. When I was without I hurt, I felt sick, I was in severe pain. I couldn't or wouldn't want to go to work and I had always prided myself on never letting any of my vices interfere with work and to be honest, life in general. Suddenly I had become single minded, nothing else mattered but not feeling sick anymore. I had to have a hit no matter what. Came close to bankrupting us. Sad but at least we had a house to sell to get us out of debt. And selling this one, our favorite, meant that we still had two others left although they were nowhere near as nice and they were in a much rougher part of town but that didn't seem to concern us so much anymore. We moved. We had to. We had someone else very important in our life now that very much needed to be accommodated. I had never lied before but suddenly I found myself doing just that. When my family doctor confronted me I couldn't admit it at first. I was every which way of denial until I couldn't take it anymore. This drug eventually wears you down, strips you of every vestige of dignity and self respect. I fessed up and when he started talking about getting us into a methadone program, I pretty much said yes just to humor him plus he said that as soon as we were on the list, he would be able to help us out and get us from having to buy our dope on the street at ridiculous prices.

I had never actually intended to follow thru with the methadone. The moment we were accepted our doctor wrote us each a prescription for 30 dilaudid a week. It was as if we had hit the jackpot. Between us we had 60 pills that would normally have cost us almost $20 each - quite a savings. He said that he could keep us supplied until we reached a high enough methadone dose that could sustain us on its own. I figured that we would ride this out as long as we could. Looked like it would be at least eight weeks that we could get our prescription and I figured that was long enough for us to get our finances back in order. We would in theory save a lot by not having to buy opioids for a two month period. As it was we were spending about $700/week and that was barely keeping us from getting sick so I knew that we were living on borrowed time if we continued spending at that rate. We were long overdue for a financial break.

But a funny thing happened while we going to methadone. It started working. I stopped grieving for any of the others. I went a day without a hit, then two and then a week. A week turned into a month and then two and three and we were still going. Suddenly two years had passed and I no longer did anything except for my methadone. I didn't even drink anymore. I forgot about heroin and dilaudid and morphine - oxys had yet to make their appearance but that was only a matter of time. The methadone made me so very tired though even if it did seem to work a small miracle. I would start to nod off at the worst possible time something I rarely did while addicted to the others. I needed to stay awake. So slowly, we both started to taper down our dose and as we did this, the constant state of tiredness also started to seem to decrease.

Suddenly twenty seven months had passed. We were starting to get tired of the daily grind of having to grab our methadone. Yes, for the most part normalcy had returned to our lives. We fell into our own little routine. Gone were the hours upon hours dedicated to finding that one hit that would take away the pain. I could go back to work full time, we both could. Methadone gave our life structure once again. My credit card debts were now paid off. We had sold the other two houses and purchased a three story apartment building. Our self confidence and esteem had returned. We didn't want or need methadone any more. It was time to say goodbye. I had two weeks vacation at Christmas 2001 but a week before my vacation started I got a terrible flu. I was down to about 20mg of methadone a day. I felt so sick that I just didn't feel like grabbing my methadone one day and the next and the day after that. I just stopped going and when my flu ended, any withdrawal that I may have been going thru had also ended. It was hard to tell one from the other so I kept telling myself that there was no withdrawal just crappy flu symptoms.

Both of our tapers turned out to be successes. By the time that we had stopped taking methadone on a regular basis, our bodies had repaired themselves as best that they could. After  two and a half years, we were also able to beat the mental cravings as our bodies had essentially trained themselves. So, now both the physical and mental cravings seemed to have been put to rest. I knew that when I woke up each morning that the first thing in my mind would not have anything to do with opiates and so it continued for a number of years after we had finished with methadone.

I wish that I could say that we returned to abusing opiates because of some body and mind crushing craving and longing, but that is so not  true whatsoever. It was actually nothing at all, something so utterly innocuous in the end. Boredom and availability.

TO BE CONTINUED... 

Friday, October 03, 2008

Reach For The Sky

I have managed to taper my methadone dose down to 50ml, an amount that I am quite pleased to be at. I still have no cravings or any sort of withdrawal symptoms, but am now finally regaining energy that I felt I had lost when I was at the higher doses. Without any other sort of aids, I am now finally feeling as if I have managed to find a normal "sleeping" routine. I no longer feel that I need to lie down for a rest midway through my day or need twelve hours of sleep each night. More than anything else, when I wake up each morning, I don't feel as if I am overly medicated. Any aches and pains or stiffness that I might have, I feel are truly my own! This is proving to be quite a liberating feeling I must confess and something positive in an otherwise kind of crap year. I now am able to see that proverbial light at the end...

About a week ago, just before 8am, there were a series of rather loud knocks on our front door. I dragged myself out of my nice warm bed wondering who would be stopping by at this unreasonable hour. When I opened the door, there was this nice elderly process server with a subpoena for both myself and Jim for us to give material evidence at the trial of the three men charged with attacking us and stabbing Jim. Their scheduled trial date is at the end of January of next year and it looks as if all three of them are to be tried together. I understand that the actual trial date on this subpoena will probably change as they will most likely look for adjournments, etc but I am prepared for this inevitability. Obviously we want this resolved asap for a number of reasons. I know already that my testimony is going to be one of the most important of this trial. I also know that as it gets closer, I will become more and more nervous about the whole thing but at the same time, I also know how important it will be for me to get up there to give this testimony. What they did to Jim and myself and ultimately my entire family needs to be addressed and answered and hopefully resolved.

In the end, these three guys have utterly no idea yet the longterm effects that their actions will ultimately cost my family. The physical damage that they've done to Jim is obviously apparent. He has scars now all over his body from where he was stabbed, not to mention this two and a half foot scar down the middle of his chest and stomach where they had to cut him open to perform emergency surgery to repair his lung and liver. These scars will ultimately fade with time and hopefully his body will be able to near fully repair itself given enough time also. Right now though, he can no longer lift or move the same heavy objects that he could less than a year ago. Along the right side of his head, neck, shoulder and arm, he has next to no feeling yet. They haven't been able to tell him yet if this will even return. I could go on.

What hasn't been taken into account is the effect that this has had on our family financially. Our income has been reduced substantially as a result of this attack mostly because neither one of us has been able to return to our jobs. I am currently away from work being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It hasn't been a fun ride. We have now finally gotten our WSIB straightened out - remember the attack took place on May 12, almost five months ago! I have yet to receive a cheque for the correct amount. I'll most likely be back to work before this actually happens! I did get a cheque today covering the shortages of my two previous cheques so that was a most pleasant surprise.

I also received another email from one of the attacker's sisters. I think that I'll let it speak for itself:

It's Riel again, any new conditions on your husbands state? We hope for the best.

But another reason Im emailing you is regarding my brother Marol. He called us today and is telling us that there were no further statements made against him regarding the stabbing or his part in the crime, but there were of course witnesses but none of them are willing to step up and explain Marols part. So this is where Im asking you to step in and help us out since the main reason there were no updates made to HIS part in the crime were because of lack of co-operation with the witnesses. If theres any statements you could make regarding Marols part since he was not the stabber, than please do, it may seem like Im trying to say that Marol has'nt done anything nor is he responsible for your Husbands injuries, but thats the complete opposite of what Im trying to say. I agree with you that they should be punished for what they've done but each be punished seperatley instead of "throwing all of them into the pit". So if theres anyway that you could explain to the investigators who the stabber was and explain the other twos parts aswell than please do. But from what Marol's saying, he makes it seem as like he contributed the least to the injuries.

So once again, if theres any way that you could help us out than please do. It would take alot of grief off of my parents if there was any update to the case regarding Marol. This is'nt the first time one of my brothers has gotten in trouble with the law, so I know alot about the Ontario Justice System and they're state of mind regarding immigrants coming into they're country and just causing complete chaos rather than taking advantage of the education thats being offered to them along with the success it offers in the future. Like right now, my parents have to deal with my older brother as well named Chol, who was also involved in past crime, and hes currently facing Deportation. My mom was just distraught when she found out. It's basically suicide to be deported back to Sudan which was where we had immigrated from due to the ongoing war with our neighbouring Arab's.

If immigration deputies get involved in anyway than theres a sure chance that Marol will be facing deportation aswell which would just fuel on to the grief my parents have to deal with. My parents in no way, expected any of this to happen. They brought us here to a safe,war free and education filled country but in return they get this from my brothers. Like right now, Im only 14 years old and Im highly taking advantage of all the education thats offered to me and it seems to be making my parents proud than ever.

So if theres anyway you could help us out than please,please do.

Thank you for reading.
Sincerely, Riel.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Policy of Truth PART FOUR

Now of course, moving in with my bro wasn't going to be enough for SIL.  The moment that she could somehow manage it, they were married and she was pregnant with their first. They now have three little darlings by the way. So, suddenly their space above mine was not anywhere near adequate enough for their rapidly growing family. For now, SIL accepted moving out of this space and renting something that was more suitable. In the meantime, their old unit was rented out. There was utterly no problem what so ever trying to get a tenant to fill their empty apt as our house was located in very desirable Old South. In fact, we had a waiting list. Without having to do anything at all for the most part, the tenant more than paid for my bro's share of our mortgage and then some.

You would think that this would be more than enough for SIL, but no, of course not. She viewed this house as tainted. He had lived their with that other woman after all so nothing short of him getting rid of this constant reminder would satisfy her. Now, never mind that by this time, my family had lived in our part of the house for close to seven years. We had put enough of our own money into its upkeep, etc but more than this, this was pretty much the only home that my daughter knew. She grew up here. She was barely four when I took possession of the house. She had only ever gone to the one public school. All of her friends were in this neighborhood, in fact, anything and everything she knew was to be found here.

It so didn't matter. SIL wore away at my bro until he himself was convinced that he absolutely had to sell this house. No amount of logic could change his mind. Why would anyone in this day and age get rid of an income property if you didn't need to? It just didn't or doesn't make sound business sense. Well, like everything else, she ended up prevailing and so the house was sold. It was sold at a loss as we didn't end up regaining all of our initial down payment but she didn't care. They still got money out of the deal and as she wasn't around seven years earlier when my bro and I threw $30 000 towards our down payment, what did she care what the actual amount of money was in the end? She's just one dumb stupid b***ch is all that I can say.

Actually, digging this particular memory up has now angered me so much, I must conclude this entry here rather than where I had initially planned on ending. I now need to do a bit of sulking.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mainliner

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 2005 07 29

OK it has been a crazy day at work which kind of sucks for a Friday as I tend to like to ease into my weekend. I apologize in advance to anyone actually reading this entry as my thoughts are all over the place plus combined with the fact that I am also working I suspect that this entry will have absolutely no flow. That being the case,  for some reason there are a few things kind of bothering me today that I need to vent about and this, I guess, is the place that I can do it.


Went to my girlfriend's before work today cause I owed her a little bit of money and I wanted to get that out of the way. Not only is she a good friend but she is also one of my dealers, one that I am ever slowly fazing out because it is getting harder and harder for her to separate work and business and as a result I am now having difficulty also so...Slightly veering off topic now. Told you there would be flow issues. I was a late bloomer so to speak as far as drugs are concerned. I never actually tried any until a few months before my twenty first birthday when I smoked my first joint. Now I am fairly confident that I have made up for lost time. And except for a six year period about a decade and a half ago when I didn't use or abuse anything except for cigarettes and alcohol I have pretty much used some sort of drug every day since my first joint.


This being the case, I also want to state that I think that the reason(s) I still use and abuse and don't seem to have this overwhelming guilt about my usage is that I really haven't had any dignity stealing experiences relating to my use. By this I mean that I have never had to use my body in any shape or form to acquire whatever happened to be my poison du jour. I know alot of female addicts who suffer terrible self-esteem issues because of some of the things that they may have done to get that much needed fix. I am not judging. I know how lucky I am to be in the position that I am in. I was lucky. I have never stolen to feed my addiction - well, I didn't return all of my father's painkillers to the pharmacy after he had passed away but I rationalized that one away. And I did bring back the majority of the stuff that my Mom had given me to return so...


Now I know that this seems to be going nowhere but trust me I have a point. OK so I have never had to sell my body or my firstborn or my husband but over the past year I have been loaning my vehicle to my friend to use while I am at work and for the use of it I usually get some sort of tip. Call this a rental charge. Now as we are first and foremost friends she tends to take a lot more liberties with me than I suspect she would with someone else. I know she does. She has become sloppy in what I think her responsibilities should be when she has my truck. Like I will ask it back at a certain time and she will show up three or four hours later or she won't be here to pick me up when I am done work or even better she will end up giving some lowlife creep a ride in it and then suddenly $750 worth of my husband's tools are missing. And she tells me that she only left it unlocked for about five minutes while she ran into her house to get this guy looked after. Yeah well that is all his friend, who was literally waiting in the bushes, needed to grap everything that was in our backseat. Then she says that this could have happened to anyone. Well, no that is not true because scum like him would never have been in my truck so he would have no idea what goodies I had stored there. Plus she doesn't think that she should be held financially responsible for these items yet the outstanding bill of $385 that I have with her has to be paid immediately or else.


Or else what? I won't get any more of your crap dope? I won't be left standing outside for an hour and a half at night in a rainstorm waiting to be picked up by my vehicle? I won't have stuff that my husband, not even me, uses to make a living stolen from my truck while you are looking after it and then don't do crap about it? I won't have to put another $1200 in repairs into the truck a day after you have had it for a three day period in which you towed a trailer that I specifically told you not to tow? I have put $5200 in repairs into the truck since Christmas plus have also paid the $440 a month we have to pay to get the stupid thing insured.


Anyway it is times like this that I end up getting kind of depressed about my habit. I feel dirty or compromised or something that I can not quite articulate. I resent my usage I guess. Like I said I think for the most part I have been really lucky. I have never had to pawn all of my worldly possessions. In fact I have only been to a pawn shop maybe twice in my life and the visits were totally not related to dope. I have never been homeless or even jobless. I have never been really hungry. Like there have been lots of times that I haven't wanted to eat but I pretty much have always been able to eat.  I sometimes shudder when I stop to think about the shear amount of money that I have probably spent over the last twenty years but it is not as if I can take that money with me either so I can usually shake that thought pretty fast.


Again I am not entirely sure what I wanted to really express today. I was just mad and what actually set me off is that when I went to pay part of my debt she of course was out of pills - so, yes I am actually at work having not gotten anything prior which is a minor miracle in its own right - so I said that I would grab a bit of speed instead. I just wanted a quarter so I gave her another $30. She said that she didn't have any broken out that I would have to take a half but that I could use this as a down payment towards the next time she needs the truck. So I look at it just as she is hustling me out the door and I say to her that there is no way that this is a half and she said that I would have to weigh it at home. Now she knew that I was on my way to work and that I did not have any scales at home so I don't know what game she was trying to play. I said no that it was a quarter and that she in no way was going to get the truck and say that she had already given me something. Yuck, feel gross just writing/typing this out. 

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Policy of Truth PART THREE

You know there is one thing that constantly amazes me about people. Why ask a question if you're not going to be happy with the answer? This was kind of the end, if there was really even any beginning, of mine and Jim's relationship with my brother and his new girlfriend. Of course, right after that first night, they had to see each other and immediately set off on a clandestine affair. Initially they attempted to use both Jim and I as their scapegoats as far as their lies, etc went with his current girlfriend, but we put a swift end to being involved with any of their duplicity. It was hard enough encountering  his current livein on a daily basis as it was. She obviously knew that something was up.

So, one day less than a month into all of this mess, my bro approaches me asking for advice. He said that him and SIL were fated, that it was truly love at first sight, blah, blah, blah... I told him that if this was indeed the case then they should wait until he had a chance to explain everything to his current livein and at the very least, allow her to exit the situation with her dignity and self-respect intact. SIL approached Jim with the same question and concerns, and he essentialy answered almost exactly what I had. Now of course neither one of them decided to follow any of our advise and, in fact, ended up resenting us emmensely in the future for not being there with our support when they wanted and needed it.

Goodness gracious. Whatever. What ended up resulting was one disasterously messy breakup for my bro and his current. For almost a solid month, Jim, Sara and I were subjected to all kinds of drama directly above our heads as various pairs continually did some sort of battle. Finally one day, all returned to relative quiet. Out with the old and in with the new.

Now SIL had quite a few issues that were not first apparent but quickly revealed themselves. For starters, she had my bro paint each and every room new colours because she wanted to erase any memories of his past living situation. Any furniture that he bought with the other one, had to be removed and replaced. Actually, not just inanimate objects, but essentially, she wanted his entire past eradicated so any friends that he had associated with regularly while with her had to go as wel. Unfortunately, Jim and I ended up falling into this catergory also so it wasn't very long until we were both chucked off to the side. 

I mean, it was slow and insideous initially but the end result was the same. It's now been over a decade and this aspect of our relationships have never been repaired. Now, obviously I'd been his sister for three and a half decades and it was hard for me, but for Jim it was particularly crushing. At this point the two of them had been best friends for twenty years. Rarely had you ever not seen one of them without the other. All of their previous girlfriends knew and respected this and learned to adapt. This was the first time ever that something had pulled them apart. To this day, Jim still has a difficult time accepting what happened and what has allowed to continue.
 

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

introducing...CANADA'S NEXT TOP MODEL!











...well, not really, but I must confess that I do take a certain amount of perverse delight watching her reaction whenever I do start teasing her about sending in her photos to the show and entering her as a contestant! She, for some reason, doesn't seem to find this anywhere near as funny as her Mom, does!...OK doesn't every Mom in the whole wide world think that her child is simply magnificent?

Anyway, here are some recent pics of my daughter that I had fun playing around with today using PSP XI. Enjoy.

The Policy of Truth PART TWO

In 1991, I was four years into what was my first real job after having graduated from university. I had been fortunate enough to have received a couple of promotions and by this time I was working in Marketing with new product development. I worked in what was know as the collectible's industry i.e. limited edition plates, dolls, cars, etc. It was an extremely lucrative market in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As part of my job, I got to do quite a bit of traveling, which was fun, as well as was given a nice healthy expense account, but for the most part, I worked Monday to Friday 9 to 5. As a result, Sara was in daycare. She ended up going to the same daycare for five years, until she started school full time.

I loved that daycare and was actively involved with it. I served on its Board of Directors as Vice President the entire time that she attended. As a result, I got to get to know the teachers there quite well - I had hiring and firing privileges cause of my position on their board, as well as cheque signing privileges. One of Sara's teachers just happened to be my future sister-in-law. By 1994, my brother and I ended up purchasing a house together in Old South. It was an extremely large duplex. Jim, Sara and I lived on the main floor which was a three bedroom while my brother and his then girlfriend lived on the top floor which was an equally spacious two bedroom. We shared a huge backyard which overlooked a park and both of us were fortunate enough to each have a huge porch - ours was in the front while my brother's was in the back off of his kitchen and over top of my family room. It was truly an idyllic arrangement.

By this time, Jim was working afternoons which meant he worked from 4pm until 4am. I still worked 9 to 5 for the most part, but once a week each month, I had to remain in the office until 7pm to take my turn managing the late shift. This kind of sucked but nothing that I could really do about this. Certainly raised a bit of a problem concerning collecting Sara from daycare as they closed at 6pm. On these days, my brother and his girlfriend were kind enough to grab Sara for me.

Whenever he picked her up, SIL (sister-in-law) made a point on commenting on him. She went out of her way to mention how cute he was, how kind, how nice he seemed to be, blah, blah, blah. Now I may have thought this kind of odd but to be honest, way back then I didn't really think too much about it. SIL had also started to do some babysitting for me on the side if I ever happened to need one during the week at night or on the weekend. On these occasions, she always asked if my brother was around and if he was, made a point of engaging him in some sort of conversation. Never did she seem to stop to consider that my bro had a live in girlfriend and perhaps, this wasn't all that appropriate.

Now by this point in time, the fall of 1995, my bro and his gf were actually starting to have relationship issues. Jim and I couldn't help overhear some of their ever increasing fights through the ceiling. We did our best to look the other way and not get involved. We did great until one evening when SIL was downstairs at our house kind of tipsy and decided to invite my equally tipsy bro downstairs. He didn't decline her invite and about three hours later, Jim and I were frantically looking for both of them. We found them huddled together out back and by now, both of them were convinced that it was fate and that they were made for each other. WTF?

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Policy of Truth PART ONE

From the moment I changed the way I was going to record my deepest, darkest & most personal & private thoughts & feelings, I made sure that I oh, so enthusiastically dove in feet first with no regard or thought to possible or potential future issues & problems lying patiently in wait just to wreak havoc on my otherwise chaotic existence. While initially my first entries were tentative at best, I never once lied, deceived, nor even bothered to embellish in an attempt to present my life as more exciting & interesting than it really was. That would have been too easy anyway, too much like cheating. Anyway, it is far easier as well as considerably more mindless to whip up a bunch of semi exciting & titillating tales to share with faceless, nameless strangers. Combined with the fact that I am an utter crap & useless typist, I certainly did not need any additional distractions from my task at hand, so to speak. This little bit of typing here in front of you (up to this word right here) has now taken me a sum total of 33 minutes to complete. I know, I know, I am the suckiness typist ever, ever and once again ever. My current stupidly, brief attention span sure does nothing to possibly correct said situation either. Well, PFFFT...

OK, moving along now. In a bit of an attempt to keep my entries as anonymous as possible, I have endeavored from the beginning to limit any direct & specific references regarding any of my family members. I've done my darnedest to respect their right to privacy, etc, etc, etc. Why I may feel completely comfortable sharing some of my more potentially private moments with complete & utter strangers, I certainly do not presume that my friend seven blocks over from me or cousin or aunt or younger sister, will be able to do the same. And with all things being equal, blah, blah, freaking more blah...WHATEVER... While some members of my family have made brief and fairly neutral appearances from time to time, for the most part I've made a fairly concerted effort to ensure this infrequency. Now, this decision was made & maintained for no other reason than my continued desire for my own self-preservation. I knew that the moment I changed my mind that I would be opening an obscenely massive Pandora's Box.

Interaction with my family over the past decade & more specifically since my Dad's passing in March 2003 has been varied and lively to say the least. Too many of my stories would require extensive back stories & history in order to be completely understood & appreciated. Now if I was a wiz at this whole typing stuff then I wouldn't hesitate in the least, but sadly I am not. Well, as today turned out to be one for the record books & as I now have this overwhelming desire to share, it seems that now it is. No time like the present, blah, blah, blah! The only thing that I will ask of you, dear readers, is your patience as I start to share with you what has actually taken a decade to reach. I will endeavor to provide as great an amount of my family's history in each and every of my upcoming entries.

What happened today was certainly something that I had begun to doubt would ever actually occur. My Mom & I ended up having literally this five hour marathon bitching session regarding my brother's wife who we shall call Big Berta from now on, & her apparent current abusive treatment of my Mom, as well as her previous abusive treatment of me.

As I have always been a firm believer in karma, I truly had faith that one day, a day just like this day, would eventually arrive & on a day very much like today, Big Berta would finally be held accountable for all of her past transgressions against me & mine.

It has now been nearly seven years to the day that my Dad reprimanded me rather severely leaving me no chance to provide my side of recent events between myself, my brother and Big Berta. In fact, my Dad automatically accused me of being nothing more than a trouble maker & that this type of behavior needed to cease and dissent immediately or even sooner. He never, ever wanted to hear anything else at all in regards to this matter.

For seven years, I managed to keep my mouth shut. I quietly kept my own council. So, not a single word from me was ever heard again regarding what had ended up beeing her excessive & abusive treatment of me, not only in my own home, but in front of my then eleven year old daughter. I remember thinking at the time that while all of this was all occurring, that somehow it was just all so convenient, how she had even been able to take advantage of her surroundings patiently waiting until it was finally her turn.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just Can't Get Enough

Well, it looks as if Jim and I will be going ahead and hiring a lawyer in order to represent our interests against those of our current employer. This is exactly the last thing that Jim and I really wanted to do, but it has now reached a point where it is obvious that we will need help fighting for our rights. Jim's father is going to be footing the bill as this is certainly an expense that we are unable to undertake at the moment - Mr A hasd extremely deep pockets and is prepared to go the distance so we'll be well looked after in this regard. The lawyer that we met with on Friday feels that we have an extremely solid case or complaint against them and feels strongly that well proceed.

In the past two and a half weeks, our benefits have been discontinued as well as our cable being cut off - both of these items are part of our "compensation" package so the company is not at all within their rights denying us either one of these two things. Just a few more things to become frustrated and concerned about at a time when Ireally shouldn't have to deal with these kind of stresses.

 MUCH MORE LATER!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cuts Like A Knife

I got a comment on one of my entries at my worpress site where I keep a near parallel blog of this one from the sister of one of the guys that had attacked and stabbed Jim. When I first noticed who it was from, I felt really weird, hard to even describe my feelings to be honest. It was with great trepidation that I actually plunged ahead to read what she had written. She wrote the following to me:


First of all, you have to understand what it’s like for the family members of the suspects aswell, considering that Marol was my brother. I know theres no excuse for his actions nor his “friends” but still, after all he is my brother. He’s been in and out of prison but not to long before the incident, he decided that the same “friends” werent going to get him anywhere, my parents have always despised Leo and Patrick, I KNOW FOR A FACT that my brother nor his cousin (that was released not to long after questioning) had constructed any of the stabbing, but from what I know he had pitched in during the beating. But please, I beg for forgiveness and I know for a fact that Marol had’nt intended for any of this to have speculated as far as it has, please take the time to think about his younger sisters and his younger brother before calling them cold hearted killers or “animals” and such, my little sister is only 5 years old and she doesnt even understand any of this thats going on. He’s always been there for her and theres no way that you can tell me hes an “animal” hes always been caring for her. Once again, Im deeply sorry for what happend to your Husband and also sorry for what you’ve gone through. Please take the time to think about his siblings aswell.

One love, **** ******




At first I didn't know what or how I wanted to respond to what she had said. Of course, I felt for her family and her younger siblings, Who wouldn't? But ultimately, it wasn't up to me or my family, but to her own brother who should have thought about his younger brothers and sisters before he went ahead and got involved with this attack. His cousin obviously made the correct moral decision when he decided to try to help me rather than join in on the attack.So could her brother have made the same one but in that instant when he had the choice, he decided to make the wrong one, a decision now I suspect he will end up regretting for the rest of his life.

I ended up sending her what turned out to be kind of a lengthy email which I will reprint here:

Dear ****

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I am sure that this was not an easy thing to do. I am also truly sorry for you and your family as I am sure that it has not been an easy time for any of them.

You know, one of the first things that I thought about as well as talked about to my husband and children were how the mothers of these young men must be feeling right now. I know that as a mother of two teenage girls, I would be shattered if they had been involved in something like this. Jail is not a place that I would wish upon anyone but sometimes, unfortunately it is warranted.

I never called your brother an animal but I did say that the beating was savage and vicious and like nothing I had ever seen before in my life. They attacked him as if they were nothing but savage animals in the wild and at first, it looked as if they were not going to stop until he was dead. To this day, I don't actually know what ended up making them stop and run away from us.

The aftermath was awful. There was my husband's blood everywhere from the 24 stab wounds, three of which were life threatening. They tore open his neck/throat, punctured one of his lungs as well as puncturing his liver. They had to cut open his chest so that they could repair his lung and liver, and now he has a two foot scar where he was cut open. He was on life support for two days as well as being unconscious for another four. Memories of that week are pretty much nonexistent for him although for me they are all to vivd.

He is very lucky to be alive, as at one point the doctors were not certain that he would make it through that first night. Just in case, his parents had their priest give him last rites. While my daughters were not home at the time of the attack, obviously this has affected both of them tremendously. As a family we will never be the same again. Right now my husband is unable to work as he still has a lot more recovering to do and his doctors are unable to give him an answer when he may be able to return to work. The company that we work(ed) for is no longer paying him nor are we receiving benefits from them at this time. He's not even sure if he will have a job to return to as he had not been at this job for a year at the time he was attacked. Hopefully, he will start receiving Workers Compensation soon as we are now suffering financially for something that we had no control over nor even deserved. It has been frustrating on a number of levels.

For us, there are too many unanswered questions as to why this even had to occur. The only thing that we had done was to knock on the door in response to a noise complaint from another tenant. This was the third time that day that we attempted to deal with what was going on in that unit. I, myself, had been up there not twenty five minutes earlier requesting that they stop making as much noise as they were making as well as to ask them to stop throwing whatever it was that they were throwing off the balcony. For that entire day, they had been increasingly disruptive and were disturbing the peace of many of the other tenants.

We weren't even given a chance to say anything to any one of them. After knocking on the door, we were immediately rushed and attacked with absolutely no warning nor provocation. I am sorry but this is by no means normal behavior nor do I believe, remotely acceptable. If you haven't had a chance to see any of the news reports of the incident, you can check out one of them right HERE. It's a bit graphic, but it gives you an idea how much damage was done to my husband.

Of course, I feel for his younger brothers and sisters and my prayers will go out to them, but more importantly, if he had truly cared for them or was concerned at all for their wellbeing then he should have been the one thinking about them.

Good luck to both you and your family. I wish no one any ill will. I am trusting that with time, we shall all be able to put this incident behind us and hopefully become all the stronger for it.

******

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The High Priestess of Punk Makes Her First Appearance

It's a Tuesday night shortly after Labour Day, 1997 and my bestest friend in the whole world wants Jim and I to join him at the bar. While not remotely my scene, we drag ourselves down to listen to the likes of Kinnie Starr, Veda Hille and Oh Susanna. Ty kind of has it cool. His parents own this pretty funky building in the east end of town and in this building there are two separate and distinct drinking establishments, band rooms for bands to lease and practice out of and about two dozen rooms of varying sizes that the family rents out on a weekly basis to an odd assortment of characters. The primary bar has a seating capacity of about six hundred and is one of the few live entertainment venues that our fair city has to offer. There is a smaller, separate establishment also licensed that can seat just under 100 if squeezed in properly. We were lounging in the smaller venue this particular evening. There was actually a capacity crowd for the room and only one bartender catering to these obviously thirsty emo imbibers. Natch!


I pride myself on my generosity as a customer. While I don't over tip because that is simply vulgar, I have been known to nicely compensate the server who takes the time to remember what we drink and to ensure that we are never left staring at a glass of ice. Keep 'em coming and keep 'em coming correctly and you can be sure to make an easy $15-20 off of us by the end of your shift. Bless his heart but Justin, our very much overwhelmed bartender that evening, was way out of his element Service was beyond awful. I spent the night teasing Ty about all that lost money and how I could do a better job half asleep. Just the booze talking of course. About ten days later, Ty approaches me in all seriousness and asks me if I would basically be interested in putting my money where my mouth was. He was getting tired of the responsibility of looking after both rooms for his parents and was seriously getting itchy feet. He wanted to pursue a career in the profession that he had spent four years at university studying, a career in his chosen field, the one in which he had earned his degree in. He did not want the responsibility of having to look after the family business anymore, even if said business was cooler than most.


His only way out was showing his parents that there were other options for the two licensed establishments. If he could get rid of the smaller venue to someone else it would mean considerably less work for him and the chance to perhaps do the same for the larger room. Would I be interested in leasing the spot from his parents and in turn making it uniquely my very own? Well, at the time I certainly wasn't looking to start my own business but his offer certainly sounded intriguing in theory so after asking him numerous times if he was actually serious, I decided to take a risk and go for it. So, at the age of 33 I gave notice to the only job that I had known since graduating from university eight years prior and with basically next to no capital began my own business. No capital. No business plan to speak of. No direction at all really. I had a fully licensed establishment that could hold a maximum of 100 individuals and some acts that he had booked for the next four weeks. After that, nothing.


Jim was working in a machine shop at the time making pretty decent money. Overtime was never an issue so he could pretty much work as many hours as he wanted, so financially we were secure enough. Ty floated me the capital so that I could afford my initial inventory and I had six months in which to repay this initial investment. Rather than a set rental amount, we negotiated my rent to be 15% of my gross monthly sales. I paid all of the room's utilities as it was separately metered and any enhancements that I wanted to make to the room itself ie. better sound equipment for any of my future bands. Otherwise, I was in complete control. Because of its size, from day one I decided that none of my events would be all ages. I didn't have enough legal seating to take this chance. If you were going to frequent my little lounge then you better have proof that you could legally drink. I in return would endeavor to keep my prices as low as feasibly possible.


Ty promised to hold my hand for approx three months until I became familiar with local agents and became comfortable booking my own entertainment. As it turned out I didn't even get this from him. Pretty much after my first month I was on my own. Talk about trial by fire but I am if nothing a quick learner and very adaptable to ever changing situations, traits that ensured my continued survival in an extremely fickle market. It didn't hurt that I entered the scene at a time when local punk bands could not get a show anywhere within about a 30 mile radius of the city and were absolutely desperate for any place that would give them local exposure. I couldn't imagine any other type of music gracing my doorstep that it was literally a match made in heaven. Almost immediately I developed a hard core nucleus of rabidly loyal customers. They told two friends who quickly told two friends and so on and so on.


Within six months, my shit hole was grossing over $15 000 a month. With their 15% cut, Ty and his folks were realizing over $2500 a month considerably more than they had been able to bring in revenue when they were looking after the bar themselves and substantially more than they would ever have paid had they rented the place based on square footage. Life was sweet for everyone but it was exceptionally sweet for Jim and I.


Surprisingly enough it was during this time that we developed a serious habit, something I now look on back with near disbelief. Had it not actually happened to us I would be hard pressed to believe anyone else were they to regale me with tales about this amount of consumption and obvious disregard to the ultimate outcome that such recklessness can only produce. We were still young, beautiful and anything and everything that we touched still turned to gold. We couldn't see the end through our opiate haze. This was one party train that couldn't or wouldn't derail. Boy, were we incredibly stupid or naive. Hard to say, but when we crashed, we came thundering back to earth with such an impact that its effects are still being felt to this day.


TO BE CONTINUED...

I Wanna Be Sedated

Our generation and those that will follow us have had and will have the luxury that our parents nor grandparents were unable to experience. If at any time we are unsatisfied with our lot we can without any real effort redefine and reinvent ourselves. Don't like that office job balancing columns of numbers? Not to fear...you can start your own business or go back to school or drop-out or whatever. We don't necessarily have to choose wisely because most likely we are not going to be toiling at the same job and the same place for forty some odd years. Employment has become much more transient. What we did straight out of university will not necessarily be what we are doing by the time our twentieth year reunion rolls around.


I haven't always worked in an office supporting computer software. Less than a decade ago, I owned my own business - a 100 seat bar that was primarily a live entertainment venue for the local punk rock bands. Those literally were the days. We were absolutely depraved during this time. It was one never ending party which we were able to float with relative ease because of the success of the bar. We always had cash on hand and with that cash we bought copious amounts of dope - I actually hired my dealer to be my doorman so we never even had to travel any distance to cop! Very convenient. But, I those stories are for another day.


And I have many stories to tell of my days as a bar maid but I thought that I would wet your appetite with a review of my establishment that was published originally in my local paper.



Hit-and-miss funk of ******* Lounge worth checking out. CLUB SPY 1998-07-17


There are a few places in town I wouldn't recommend to anyone and there are a few places I'd say you simply shouldn't miss. The trouble is, I don't know in which category to place ******* Lounge.


For years, I've been a semi-regular patron of the *******. If you've never heard of it, that's OK. It's the smaller lounge directly beside the ******* on Dundas Street East and it's used to taking a back seat to the more prominent bands that play the larger room next door.


I'm not sure how to categorize the ******* because while I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of live music, it certainly isn't suited to everyone's taste. But, like sushi or bungee jumping, it's the kind of thing you should probably try at least once, if for no other reason than to say you did.


At first glance, the ******* Lounge might not seem like much to look at, but it's the kind of place that has a strange way of growing on you. The decor is 1960's mod and you can tell that when it was first built, it was the kind of place where Austen Powers might have liked to hang out. The room is long and thin with funky lighting. The bar itself is also quite long with puffy vinyl padding that's both cheesy and comfortable. Most everything in the ******* Lounge has seen a better day, but to renovate would be to lose some of its strange appeal.


For years the ******* Lounge has been a kind of proving ground for undiscovered and burgeoning talent. You'll find live entertainment there almost seven days a week. Its stock and trade is punk rock and many bands have names like Eating Disorder or Urban Goons, but the lounge also features just as many solo and acoustic performers, many of whom are from well-known bands trying out new material.


For example, Bill Eldridge, lead singer for Laughing Sam's Breakdown and formerly of Ten Seconds Over Tokyo, appears there Monday. His solo show is remarkable.


UNIQUE PERFORMERS


In my travels, I've seen my fair share of talentless wonders hit the stage, but at the same time I've seen just as many fresh and remarkably unique performers. And if you're lucky, you might see someone on their way up.


One evening I was introduced to an up-and-coming singer songwriter performing an acoustic show. I was duly impressed with his material and rightly so. His name was Hayden and a couple of months later, he signed a six-figure recording contract with a major record label.


That being said, I should also say that the size of the crowd has no relative bearing on the talent of the performer. Hayden's audience could not have been more than a half-dozen or so.


The same goes for my visit there last Saturday. Performing was Jennifer Mclaren, who, without a doubt, is one of the city's finest singers and most under appreciated talents. She played a knockout solo set to about a dozen people, several of whom wandered back and forth from the show at the ******* next door.


Beer at the ******* sells for $3.25, draft for $1.75 a half-pint, $3.25 for a pint and $9.50 a pitcher. Bar shots are $3.50.


I can say this much: You can't judge the ******* Lounge by one visit. The nature of the place is hit-and-miss. But, like London's weather, things change overnight and the next time you're in, you might well be amazed.


The ******* Lounge certainly isn't everybody's cup of tea and even for those who enjoy it, it isn't a place you'd go all the time. But if you're in the mood for something different, it's worth checking out. You just never know who might be there. 3*** out of 5*****