Monday, 16 July 2018

Oh Geez

Ok so hi!
I had plans to write a bunch this weekend but last week was so so stressful and I was taking it easy this weekend but then my car keys got stolen (not from me, I loaned my car to a friend, friend had bag stolen, keys were in bag at the time) so I've been dealing with that and I am just... done in.
Like, I can has a break now please oh no wait it's Monday NOPE!
So... uh, yeah, that.

Friday, 13 July 2018

HUMMMMMMMMmmMMMmmmmmmmmmmm

I'm not really an air conditioning person.  I mean, I like having it when it's like ERMAGHERD hot but I can't sleep with it on in a hotel room or anything.  Mainly the noise, but... the air smells weird, you know?

So I was surprised when I noticed an air conditioning unit sticking out of the window of a neighbour's place.

We're not really an air conditioning city, or at least I don't know many people who are?  I guess some do and I just don't notice, but living and working in old buildings you just kind of get used to not having it.

Oh and it turns out?  I can't get over the noise of it in someone else's window either.  Sigh.

I'm getting more used to it and I know we may or may not have that many hot days this summer but I know the noise of this place and it's quiet at night.  Not a lot of traffic.... quiet.  So the hum of the unit is.. well, it's new, and different.  And I hope to not notice it one of these days.  (And I'm grateful for the cooler nights when they keep it off.)

But yeah... noisy things at night are not my favourite. 

Thursday, 12 July 2018

LIFE!

You know what's super amazing about (trying!) to grow these avocado seeds (two with tap roots, one just started, none with sprouts yet)?

It is really incredible and fascinating to watch these seeds grow!

I mean, I grew up with a garden, I've seen things sprout and grow before, but this is different.  Getting to see it in front of me, because I'm doing the "toothpick" method rather than what I'm used to with seeds, which is to stick them in dirt.  I can SEE the life doing... life stuff!

I told Jason about how much fun I was finding it and he has a yard and space where he lives so he gave me a couple of (I forget what?) seeds to germinate.

So I got to see this little ball of "nothing" shoot out a... uh... thing... and then I put it in a little pot of dirt and I got to see it pushing up the dirt!  HOW COOL IS THAT!!!  And now this little seed is doing its thing so so super fast, it's amazing.  In the space of half a day it pushed up the dirt on top of it and now it's out of the "ground" and unfurling out of its own shell casing.  It is blowing my mind to be able to see it DO that literally right in front of my eyes.

I already know that nature is awesome.  I already know it's cool to watch plants grow.  But to be able to watch a seed go from dormant... and help it germinate and now to watch it grow for a bit (until it's big and strong enough to take outside to Jason's) and to know that maybe, MAYBE if things go well, it'll be something I (or someone) can eat?  This is seriously like magic to me right now.  Yay for life and yay for nature.

(It's also super amusing to watch the MASSIVE avocado seeds "going" like sloths compared to the magic tiny seeds.  It's like I have a Great Dane and a Chihuahua in seed form!)


Edited to add:  Ever since I picked that title, I keep hearing the opening to "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M.  So, sorry/you're welcome!?

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Post Titles Sometimes Just Don't Happen

It took me several days and a whole lot of panic to admit that I really did need the help and things my doctor was suggesting.  Initially, she wanted me to take some time off of work to rest and co-ordinate the help she wanted me to look into getting, and I kept insisting there was no way I could take time off work.  NO way.  To which, both she and my brother pointed out that that might just be the illness speaking... that the world would indeed go on spinning and work would indeed go on functioning if I stopped for a few days to take care of myself.  NO IT WON'T!!!!!

But it did, in fact.  And because C-Dawg was working at the same location as I was at the time, she fiercely protected my privacy from anyone inquiring.  I didn't ask her to, mind you, but I was in no place to think that far ahead and am grateful she took over for me in that way.  "Yes, Victoria is not well, but she will be fine.  I'll pass on your well wishes.  No, don't ask what's going on, it's private."  Thanks bud. 

Because there's a HUGE ... what.. embarrassment ? for me to have people thinking poorly of me.  And for all sorts of reasons, I had it planted in my head that "mental health issues" are sort of just weaknesses.  People not being "strong" enough or not "sucking it up" enough.  I'm not even sure if that's honestly how I feel or felt, I just knew I didn't want people knowing what was going on and judging me however they might.  I know there are so many conversations to be had around mental health and it's rather odd that so many of us don't feel comfortable talking about them.  I mean... how many of us have gone through life 100% physically healthy?  Like, no cold, no flu, no food poisoning, no nothing.  I'm going to guess none of us.  We get sick.  Sometimes it's our own "fault" I suppose, but most often it's a bi-product of being human.  I mean, damn, C-Dawg and I went to a concert the other month and both ended up sick with nasty colds the next week.  Someone in that theatre got who knows how many of us sick just by bringing their germs with them.  We all get sick.  We don't bother to hide the fact we're miserable with a cold.  So why do so many of us pretend our minds/hearts/feelings/mental processes never get "a cold"... you know?  Why does it seem like we think everyone should be mentally healthy all the time when we don't expect people not to get physically sick from time to time?

But those first few days and weeks were hard.  I was struggling a lot physically as well as emotionally and mentally and I think I was a little bit in shock.  I mean, I went in to see my doctor because other people insisted I do so.  I didn't expect to come out with her very concerned for my well being and diagnosing me with these foreign ... things. 

I honestly wish I'd written about it at the time.  I wish I'd thought to write about it privately even.  So that I could remember now what I was feeling at the time.  I suppose I could go through my posts from the time and extrapolate from there, but there was so much more going on than what I felt was safe to put on (digital) paper. 

And in those first weeks, I was dealing with my broken heart and all that went with that.  And other than my brother, C-Dawg, and Jason, I didn't tell anyone anything.  Not even my parents.  I didn't feel like I could handle the reactions people (especially my folks) might have.  I didn't want to try to explain.  I just wanted to get back to being ok and not feeling like this anymore.  I could barely handle my day to day, I didn't want to have to handle that of other people as well.

It was the very end of October, by the way, before I went in to see my doctor and start potentially asking for help.  I'd struggled all through September and October before it got too too much.  If I could go back and tell myself (or tell someone else right now) anything it would be "you don't feel ok?  It's been more than a couple of weeks and it's not improving?  Go to the doctor right now." 

And this, my friends, applies to everything.  *She says as she continues to nurse a shoulder that should have been to a physio half a year ago... sigh*

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Mother....Trucker

I can't always write a bunch of heavy posts in a row, especially since I'm not sure what or how I want to write, or write about.  So... allow me to complain about something fairly light for a second here...

My damn reaction to mosquito bites!  ARGH!

I went to a garden party event thing this weekend and I wasn't sure about the temperature (it was one of those days of "possible rain and lightning!  or maybe not!") so I did bring both sunscreen and Off and left them in the car.

It wasn't long into the afternoon/evening when I slapped a giant mosquito to death on my leg.  YES!  Got her before she bit (I naively thought) and went out to the car to spray myself down a bit.

It's tricky with Off (bug repellant) because it does not smell all that nice to humans so I didn't want to douse myself completely.  So I just did a few squirts here and there.

Seems I should have jumped in a pool of it.  Sigh.

I woke up two days later with a giant bite on my leg.  Which is usually the worst possible sign, because for whatever reason, when a bug bite doesn't start to itch for me on day one?  It usually means the itching is going to last a long, miserably itchy time.

I've since found at least six bites, and they are mother truckingly itchy.  I've got a spray that seems to work for a while and am trying to ignore them the rest of the time but ugh, I envy those who either don't get bit or don't react.

Actually, as I type this I'm thinking I should go see if I have any benadryl or something like that.  Curse you you biting flying nasty things!

Monday, 9 July 2018

The Silencer

The Summer of 2015 was a busy one for me.  I had C-Dawg's wedding, and then a family vacation, and then immediately to Burning Man where I met Max.

And meeting Max was life changing and my heart was full and happy and hopeful but what I don't think I really talked about at the time, was how hard it hit me when I went back to work.

I looked a long time, by the way, just now, at that "it" in the rambling sentence above.  Should I have replaced it with "life"?  Or, more truthfully "anxiety"?  Or who knows what exactly "it" was that hit me but walking back into work after getting home from Burning Man that year was like nothing I'd experienced before.  In a very bad way.

So we don't talk about the specifics of my work here, but I've been doing it for quite a while now, and while I'm good at it, and enjoy aspects of it, I'm not sure I was ever well suited to it...  exactly.

I remember when I was dating (someone who's nickname I've forgotten... DD perhaps?) early on in my career and he said something along the lines of "you seem pretty miserable [at work] maybe you should think of doing something else."

I can't remember what I felt at the time other than "Pshaw, that's ridiculous, it's just learning curves.  Everyone struggles their first few years at this.. it's just... just because I'm new."

After all, my brother had gone into the same field and told me it takes about 5-7 years to get into the flow of things and that starting out it's kind of like learning to drive standard, while on the highway, while chewing gum.  So, you know, I figured I was just in the "getting used to it" phase.

But now I come back to that conversation with my boyfriend at the time and I wonder... what did he see that I didn't?

I mention this because it's only fair to say that it wasn't an instantly easy fit for me, but I was settled and happy enough.

A few things happened over the interceding years with friends leaving, or moving to other positions/locations and I had a hard time with that, but nothing like my return post Burning Man 2015.

Perhaps it was partly the juxtaposition of how happy and content I had felt with Max that week and contrasting that to walking into what felt like the most gigantic brick wall of "NOPE!" but that fall, I suddenly found myself very unwell in a way that was unfamiliar to me.

Most of you who've been around here for a while have probably learned that I'm a worrier.  Yes, I worry, and I can tend to overthink things.  Perhaps even be over-cautious.  But I've never had, or been a person who had anxiety.  Ever.

I've had bouts and struggles with depression, and I know I worry and can be anxious, but this was not what I was feeling that Fall.

I was very very unwell and it was so foreign to me I was terrified.  I was, I learned, having panic attacks.  At work.  Before work.  During work.  After work.  And panic attacks, it turns out, are not "oh gosh, I'm really nervous and have butterflies oh dear!"  Nope.  They're your body telling you flat out "we are going to die, right now, let me prove it."

And then your body does its very best to prove to you you're about to die.  There are no real universal symptoms to panic attacks, so all I knew was that on top of the thoughts I was having, I was dealing with a body that was not well.  I was dizzy.  Losing vision at times.  Unable to focus.  Having to excuse myself to take some time to deal with my symptoms.  Of which there were many more.  So there I was, trying to be a functional member of society while trying not to allow my body to die before I could get back home and at least die on my own couch and not bother anyone.  It was awful.

I started to wonder if I was having some kind of anxiety so I privately talked to a couple of my friends who had been open with me about their struggles with anxiety and they recommended I try skullcap tincture, so I did.  It seemed to help a bit (and I've always said, I don't care if something is working via placebo) so then I found myself at work self-medicating with drops of herbal tincture in my water just to get through the day.  And something in me told me this wasn't a good or normal or sustainable thing.

After the third week of this, I talked to my brother, who suggested I call a help line of some sort, which I did, and it was... er... nice people, but I wasn't in a crisis at that moment, so it was a bit of an odd call... yes, I'm safe, no I'm not in any current danger of self harm or harming others... ok, I will call someone to make a doctor's appointment.  (I'm glad those lines are there, but I'm not sure it was helpful to me at the time.)  So I went in and saw my doctor a couple of days later and I don't remember how, but by the time I left it was after hours and I'd apparently been in there for over an hour.

It was right around then that Jason told me NOT to talk about what was happening.  He said it was not worth the risk of talking openly in case something was read by someone who shouldn't be reading it.  And so I was effectively silenced.  Out of an abundance of caution with regards to my employment, I was guided, by him, not to talk too much.  Which meant I didn't know how to talk at all.

I was diagnosed, by my doctor, with major depression, and a list of several severe anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety, along with a couple of bonus ones.  It was like I'd suddenly gotten a whole bunch of new University degrees and had a lot more letters after my name.  "Victoria Smith, B.A., P.D., MDD, SAD, GAD, etc."  CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Except not.

Max broke up with me a week after.  Which.. really.... I said to him, laughing as he dumped me "you really don't even have any idea what's going on for me."  Because I'd kept it from him... it having come on so suddenly and being so new and foreign to me, and him having his own struggles and such.  I called C-Dawg and as I wrote about, she came over with a care package for the breakup and I said "well, at least I'm already so messed up this hardly even registers!" or some attempt to be lighthearted about it all.  But it didn't help.  That's for sure.

It did give me something to write about for a while though... the breakup.  And my pain and confusion around that.  And I can look back and see that I threw in some other struggles here and there, but I lost the feeling of how to write freely and openly about everything.  In part because there was a hitch in my giddyup specific to work and I don't write about work. 

That, combined with not knowing what the hell was going on with me left me feeling very lost about how to proceed.

And here we are, three years later... and I miss my writing, and so I'm trying to get it back.  And this is the start of that.

Three years ago, my life fell apart without actually falling apart.  I suppose it's clearer to say that three years ago, I fell apart.  And it's an experience I wish on no one.


Thursday, 5 July 2018

Days Gone By

It's a funny thing having had this blog for so long.  I feel like I lived through the heyday of blogging and having more than a few readers (I never really allowed myself to get that big though) and all of that... stuff.

Now, I know I've waned in my writing and posting and I know blog readership isn't what it used to be.  Or it's different anyway...

But I still have that sense in my head of "don't write things you don't want someone to read."  Which as I've talked about before, makes it hard, sometimes to write.

I've had one case that I know of, of someone breaking my trust and showing my blog to someone (when I specifically asked it stay anonymous) and that someone having a reaction that really really turned me off of being open and honest and real.  I still feel threatened knowing that person who reacted in that way may be reading these very words.

But I also know that there are probably fewer people reading this currently irregular blog than there were half a decade ago, so I try to tell myself to just write.  While still knowing that this is no longer a safe space for me.  If it ever really was...

I do miss feeling free to just babble and I am trying to get myself there, but I'm also wary.  And (perhaps overly) cautious.  And I'm disappointed.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Holding On

I'm holding on very much to the long evenings right now. 

I actually got quite sad when we hit Summer Solstice because it means the days are heading yet again towards being shorter... and darker and man oh man do I love SO MUCH when it's still light at 9 pm.

I know we still have a couple of months of the really long days so I'm trying to just be in that while they're here.

I'm typing this, for example, at 9:36 pm, with my blinds still open and the sky still with a lot of light in it.  I mean, sure, it's dusk...evening... but it's light out.  And I ate my dinner when it was light out and I felt like my day was long and that I could accomplish a lot.

I wonder if it would be easier to live nearer the equator and have even days all year, or to live here in Summer and the Southern equivalent in Winter.  Is that part of what "snowbirding" is?

Anyway... the long days are so so amazing and I love them.

Yes, even if I wake up earlier than I'd like, I still love them.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Gah!

Ok so I survived the Canada Day long weekend!  Yay!  But.. only.. barely!

Well, that's going to seem overly dramatic, but... I woke up yesterday (the stat holiday of the long weekend) and my entire upper right side, and so everyone around it (neck, etc.) had frozen up, or seized up or whatever it does.  Does that happen to you?  Something happens when you're sleeping and you wake up and your neck is so mad at you it's like.. SCREW YOU!!!!

Yeah.. it was pretty bad.  I can't take advil or whatever on an empty stomach but I wasn't functional enough to get food going so I had this sort of miserable whimpering hour or so while I tried to make things happen.

The advil didn't do much, so I got out a heating pad and yeah, lay inside on a sunny holiday monday feeling very sorry for myself. 

It took most of the morning to loosen enough to let me go out for some food and some Robaxacet (over the counter muscle relaxants) which I then didn't get to take until bedtime because I didn't want to ruin the inside of my stomach or liver or whatever doesn't like too many meds.

It's not worse this morning, so yay for that and I'm wondering if I should try to get a massage to loosen things up or just see how today goes.  I'm two Robax in and waiting to see what that does but damn that really was sucky yesterday. 

Hope your long weekend was awesomer or that you have a nice week if you're not a North American celebrating stuff this week.  If you run into someone who's constantly gasping for no seeming reason (oh, you wanted to look to your left?  NOPE!  HA!) that's probably me!

Monday, 25 June 2018

Oooooh

Well, we had a bit of a hot spell last week and just as I was about to give up on my first avocado seed (that has sat there and done absolutely nothing at all!) it split!

Pow! 

I think it was possibly the heat???  Or maybe just time, I don't really know.

But yeah, it split and I was super excited.  Except it split on the top half... which.. huh?

So I gave it a few days, thinking I'd likely have to throw it out for dead and maybe it just split with the heat and not in a good way but this morning I noticed it had a tiny little root growing out of the non split base, oooh!

So now I have two avocado seeds that may be doing something....

One is split on the bottom "half" and there's a root growing out of that bottom.  The other is split on the top "half" and there's a root that has now pushed itself through the non split bottom.

Kind of cool to maybe be getting somewhere with these guys!


Monday, 18 June 2018

Hi

I had intentions to write last weekend and then I got distracted by something shiny or something.  And then I got a wicked nasty cold and couldn't write.

Cold is still.... around, but I think it's leaving, so am just stopping in to say hi, I'm here.  Sniff.  Achoo.  Happy Monday n stuff.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Hey!

One of my avocado seeds (attempt number three) is looking like it's alive!!!

The first one I ever tried with is still.... doing not much... the top of it has cracked but that's about it.  The second one I tried did nothing at all so it got composted.  And now this third one, it cracked significantly along the bottom, and now there's a... shoot (?) starting to make its way down the crack.

I may give up on the first one (but I'm still holding my breath on it for now!) and I do have another avocado in the wings (which reminds me, that probably needs to be eaten soon).

But yeah, I might have a functional seed, WOO HOOO!


Monday, 4 June 2018

Whyyyyy?

Dear Hoodie Makers,

Why do you print the interesting part (logo, word, whatever) right where it will be covered by my long hair, and/or, MORE IMPORTANTLY!!! by the hood!?

Because it seems what you're telling me is that I should only ever wear my hoodie (hooded sweatshirt) with the hood up if I want it to actually show the... whatever.

Why, y'all?  WHYYYY???

Signed,
Me, who rarely puts the hood up.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Don't Just Leave Them There

Have you ever picked rocks out of your tires?

It's strangely soothing.  At least I found it to be.

If you remember, I got some skookum new tires a few months ago when the dealership told me mine weren't awesomely safe to drive on anymore.

It was out of my budget, but I want to be safe in my little ball of metal, so buy them I did. 

Jason pointed out when he borrowed my car the other week, that there were a lot of rocks in the tires, likely from our camping trip the other month.  I said oh, ok and mentioned that with my old tires, I'd pick them out with my key when I saw them, but never really thought much about it.

He said it was better for the tires if I took them out (and would reduce road noise) and that I shouldn't use my keys in case they bent, so I found a little flathead screwdriver and went out to pick stones out of my tires.

First of all, it's kind of satisfying!  Second of all, there are SO MANY more stones in the back tires than front.  I'm not entirely sure why, but it's a thing.  Third of all... I realized part way through that I shouldn't just leave the stones sitting there, duh, or else I'd just drive back over them every time I came in or out of my parking space!

So now there's a nice little collection of small stones/rocks back behind where I park (and where no one can drive over them) and I look forward to seeing how large I can grow the pile over the years!

So yeah, pick rocks out of your tires... it's fun.  And then make a rock pile you can't drive over!

Friday, 1 June 2018

Ok, So Then?

So as if yoga wasn't hard enough as is, I decided to try a hot yoga class.  No, really, I did.

There's one in town that offers a Friday drop in for $10 and a really reasonable first month beginner price ($40) so that fits my budget so I thought I'd give the drop in class a try...

I sent them an email the week before saying "so... I'm really bad with heat... should I maybe not do this?" and they said, give it a try, it's not all that bad... which I expected them to say, but they were nice about it and I had no other plans, so I steeled myself and figured I'd give it a go.. it was only $10 after all.

I didn't bother bringing a towel, cuz they had some to rent and I figured a beach towel was probably not what they meant, and I honestly thought the need for a towel was probably an exaggeration.

Y'all? It wasn't.

I had no idea I had that much sweat in me.  I really am not kidding.

The instructor (is that what you call them?) was super nice and I guess she could tell I was super nervous (me saying "I'm super nervous" may also have been a tip-off) and she told me to work at maybe 60% of my full effort and rest when I needed to and drink as much water as I needed to (I had read enough to know to bring my full Nalgene.)

But holy smokes.  So.  Much.  Sweat!!!

My initial thought when I walked into the room was "damn, I'm glad I've been to Burning Man" because that desert heat that first year was awful, but I at least knew what I was getting into the next year, and so the heat of the room was... hot, but I was like "ok, it's only an hour, not a full week, plus days of driving... I can... survive this..."

So I tried to keep up as best I could, and I stopped to sit and sip water a LOT.  And then I realized my water was nearly half gone and it was probably not halfway through the class yet.  Uh oh.  So yeah, I started rationing my water.... in a hot yoga class!  ERMAGHERD.

And you guys, the sweat was pouring off of me. It was really, I'm not exaggerating, dripping off of me.  My face, my arms, my legs, just... dripping sweat.  Not stinky sweat, thankfully, but damn it was hot.  I can see why they're not kidding about needing a towel.  For reals. 

So on top of the un-like of the yoga itself, there was the added... un-like? of the heat... and the sweat.  So... so much sweat.  I really can't tell you.  But I made it through the class.  I lived.  And I took my drenched and soaking self home.

I'd texted Jason before I left that I was really nervous about the class and when I got out he'd texted back that I'd be fine it was "just yoga in a warmer room"

I laughed.  Somewhat giddy from the class, sure, but also because that was the funniest un-exaggeration I'd ever heard in that moment.  A "warmer" room?  HA!  HA!  HA!  NO!!!! 

I have honestly never sweated that much for that long, in my life.  I mean, I've probably had that much sweat, or a lot of sweat doing whatever exercise or run or who knows, but that consistent of sweat in that amount?  Wowsa.

But here, again, comes the "problem".  I felt pretty darn good after.

My shoulder arm wasn't dying.... none of my body parts hurt, actually.  And it was like I'd taken some sort of something... and was relaxed and happy and "peace and love man!"  For real.

And I was pretty good the next day too... calmer.. not sore or achy.... My skin, I swear, was softer (it had felt like it was rubbing off in the shower after class) and I felt.. good!  Oh boy...so now what?

So now I'm wondering.... am I going to actually try this hot yoga intro special?  Oh man!
Please don't steal stuff from here, it's not nice. But leave a comment, why don't cha? And drink more water. It's good for you.

P.S. If you think you know me? You probably don't. If you're sure you know me? Pretend you don't. I'll never admit I know what you're talking about anyway.

P.P.S. All this stuff is copyright from then til now (Like, 2006-2018 and then some.) Kay? Kay.