Dear people who smoke –

That’s an expensive habit you have there. Can I just ask that you keep it to yourself, though? Why are you breathing out all that smoke and letting it go everywhere? You should have a system whereby you get the full benefit of what you’re paying for! I can’t even see you, but your smoke has travelled all the way down the street and into my apartment window. I had to turn on the air purifier. It seems such a waste of your personal resources to let all that smoke just blow “away.”

Couldn’t you do this in some sort of vessel that could capture more of this smoke for you? Hang onto it til you can breathe it in. And never breathe it out. Seriously, you need to work on this. What is the point of breathing it in… and then just blowing most of it out again? I donno if you can hold your breath for a bit like the pot-smokers in high school did, but seriously this technology needs improving, stat.

I was a passive smoker in the womb and through my childhood til I left home. At least that’s what the respirologist told me when I had pneumonia. I had told her I never smoked, you see. And I never intend to. Hence the air purifier. So, tobacco industry people and product developers – get with it so you are not selling something that people have to waste probably more than half of the product they buy! Let them get the full use and benefit of this stuff.

I’m a lifelong nonsmoker, healthy as a horse at age 55, and don’t want to have the next 30-40 years tainted by this acrid airborne chemistry that other people want to inhale and deposit deep in their lungs. Please, don’t share. Sharing is so 1960s. Get the full benefit and experience and keep it selfishly to yourself.


Joy of quiet

Joy of quiet

Went outside to water my plants and noticed, as I have so often this week, people wearing t-shirts proclaiming “Canada” – today is the nation’s 150th anniversary.

I’m not attending my boss’s ginormous party, because once I calculated the hassle of transit, trying to get there and having to go through downtown Vancouver on my way home around the time the 1M of fireworks aficionados are also transitting, I realized it was all too much. Was going to get a ride with a friend, but then her ride evaporated. Just at that rate, I was kinda dreading the party. I cannot get into saying “Happy Canada Day.” I can do the fake smile thing, but only a few times. Not for four hours or whatever. I have never liked parties that much.

So, tempting as the Waldorf Hotel street party with music sounded in theory, it’s also a party with noise and lots of people, and most likely pot smoke and other obnoxious smells.

Nah, I stayed home. I’ve been so busy lately I forgot how nice that can be on a quiet day. In fact, it’s long been my habit to stay home on big holidays and long weekends, when everyone else flees the neighbourhood. I can sit with windows open and not constantly hear people walking down the street yapping loudly, be it together, with kids, or on a cellphone relentlessly. Instead, I feel I have space around me. I hear crows and other birds. This, I like.

Open windows, cool breeze, quiet. I feel energized! This is what I need more of. I need to move out of this city. That’s top priority for my well-being and motivation. So much easier to concentrate when it’s cool and calm. I shut windows, normally, to block out noise and stinks, and to maintain privacy, and then I overheat, feeling hot, sweaty, and lethargic. Today I can have a heavy-duty dance session. Yesterday I danced up a sweat when I was already starting out sweaty. Even so, dancing gave me a bit of energy, even under those unpleasant conditions. Today’s will be even better.

Under these conditions, life is tolerable. And I have hope of taking constructive action, like getting my volunteer projects finished and even applying for some jobs, eh?


Lately, I’ve realized that despite feeling quite alone and unsupported, actually my various friends have given me quite a lot of support. One gave me a big monitor, bigger than the one I have. It’s nice, makes work easier and play a little richer. Two others let me stay at their homes while I travelled to a conference. They appreciated talking to me. They fed me. Thay had time for me! Even my ex wanted to help me.

One of them even dumped out three days of my urine and toilet paper from a chemical toilet in the camper. Now, that’s a true friend, no? Last time I made sure to empty that toilet myself. I had to ask for help how to do it. I bet usually she does it for everyone, but I felt like I should take care of my own bodily fluids, ya know?

And then today I got a chunk of good luck, a bit of freedom. My divorce papers came through. There was some technical glitch with the format, so they were refused last month, but the kind registry clerk took pity on me and resubmitted it to another judge, who ended up approving it. Whew! I’ve been hoping and hoping for that all month, because my ex got into blaming mode and didn’t want to redo the papers, even though it was all by consent. Even though I redid the papers and printed it for him. But now it’s done, and I feel numb. I never wanted to be divorced, but since that’s what he wanted, I’m glad it’s finished.

So what about gratitude? Yes, I’m grateful for the luck today and when the clerk took pity on me, but I’ve talked to people who say gratitude changed their lives. I need my life to change! I don’t want my life the way it’s been. I tried to practice gratitude, but it didn’t do much for me. I read a lot about it. I tried the exercises repeatedly. So… anyone of the very few rarified people reading here have the solution? I don’t know. Life ain’t worth living, and I’m trying to change that.



Take time to enjoy life?

That’s what the guy at the job centre said. For me, the problem isn’t time. It’s capacity to enjoy. There’s not much I really enjoy. Oh, sure, a movie is an escape. Food is great while eating it and alcohol makes the worries fade away, but both of those things are extra calories, especially the second one which has no nutritional value. At my age, I don’t need to eat much, so most every bite should be a nutritious one.

So suddenly I got the bright idea to go get a massage at the massage therapy school.  Something I’ve been planning to do for over a year. It’s only $30 for over an hour of therapeutic massage. I checked their online schedule – only one booking left for today, in 15 minutes. I had to dash down there after leaving them a phone message.

It felt great though I feel oddly stiff now as if things were stretched and I should take a hot bath and then ice my sore foot that got killed with all the activity over the past week. I had some strenuous forest hiking that overdid it for me and triggered old injuries and weak points.

So I did something nice for me that felt good. Hurrah for me!

Getting better

Getting better

I must be getting better. All my hard work over the last year or so, especially the last six months. I came back from the separation, thinking we were going to see each other every week, do something. It’d be like the date nights we never had. He wanted to be friends. It was his idea to see each other at least every week or two or a couple times a week. Sure didn’t work out that way. Still, I must be getting better because even now with this last chunk of jaw-dropping madness today, I don’t feel suicidal. I’m not even lying on the floor screaming in a blackness. I don’t have the urge to ingest anything. I made a cup of peppermint tea because warmth is good for anxiety. And jaw-dropping madness generally leads to anxiety.

See, yesterday I caved to his demand that we only meet do to something fun. I temporarily let go of the requirement that we deal with resolving a now shrivelled and ancient conflict from the last time we got together a month ago. I caved, and I even came up with the fun or creative thing. He built on it. He liked it. But now the goalposts moved, as usual. The bizarre language reminds me of the crazy soldier I painted at his request for the cover of his apparently unpublished book. General Madness, his name. Rule from on high: I must not ever refer to anything in the past. Frankly, I don’t see how I can function like that.

I was strong enough to cave, but not strong enough to subject myself to this. I can’t afford the emotional risk and inevitable cost anymore. I’m trying to get myself a life, and that’s time-intensive.

Plus I value the past. Context, ya know? And that old cliche about repeating the past. I think that’s exactly what he must want: to continue the pattern from the past. Ever since our split he’s refused to examine it unless it is to bash me. I’ve squeezed a few apologies out of him by calling him on his shit, but they aren’t a bountiful self-sustaining crop. More like a square mini-watermelon grown in Japan with great management effort and follow-through. And probably not as good as a fat old field-grown watermelon, straining its thin skin in the Texas sun. Crispy and juicy at the same time.

So, here we are, almost nine months after I got back, and he wants no contact. Just wow, after 12 years of friendship. I know I haven’t done anything that bad, and I have to put this down to his incapacity. After all, he was self-diagnosed schizophrenic from the start, based on his strong hallucinations, but we thought it’d be okay, given he knew they weren’t real. I was proud of his ability to handle them, and so was he. I trusted him. But I didn’t research the complications of schizophrenia, at all. No official diagnosis there, but he fits the patterns I’ve heard about from those more experienced than me. My cousin who does a lot of charity work recognized the schizophrenia before I ever mentioned the word. I just told her how baffled I was by what was happening. The paranoia, the strange fixed ideas, the very low EQ, and tendency to lash out at the very person who most supported them. And BINGO was his name-o.  He can’t deal with me, but that quickly translates as “I’m not worth it to him” and that hurts.

So I lay down on my bed, under a soft flannel blanket that used to be only for meditation time. Heat is good for anxiety, I read, and so I acted on that advice. And I tuned into my body, my feelings. I took a watchful and meditative stance in my mind.

I cried. I went to my safe place. I imagined I’m a crying kitten, a tiger kitten. My mother is big and soft and wrapped around me. Cat armpits do not smell bad in my experience, and cat bellies can be quite nice. And this is wrapped around me in a big way. I just imagine feeling it. It soothes me. Takes me away from all the realities I have experienced.

The cat takes my back and the little fairy-girl takes my front. She came from a dream I had, of a strange little girl putting her arms around me and kind of burying her fase in my belly. Disturbing, but then I thought about it and it was like being kissed by a fairy, loved at my centre, accepted. I don’t have kids, but I’m going to be born out of myself, out of that belly formed from stress eating and stuffing down emotions with numbing quantities of food. Cat at the back, fairy kiss at the front. For the moment I feel safe.

I really should take down the cable from the bathroom hook. I’m not going to kill myself. I had a really bad day a few weeks back and I dug that thing out of its box, and I actually put it around my neck. First time for that. Seems like I won’t be needing it, though. I am alone, there is no contact, and I don’t feel suicidal or needing to indulge and ingest, to fill myself up, deaden the panic and all the other feelings. Instead I’m sitting with them and being willing to let go in general, and embrace a life of new good things.

Healing emotional eating

Food has been the go-to. Fill the emptiness. Some desperately-needed pleasure. I need a better source of pleasure, one that goes somewhere other than to my thighs and internal organs. One that goes to success, happiness, and glory.

The eating-solace started when I was born and it’s gone on for five decades. There was no holding, soothing, affection, but, hey, Canada isn’t a third-world country. I got fed. So that’s the addiction I’ve been fighting. Not by dieting. Never done that. Never had the yo-yo-ing weight. Only recently I had the yo-yo thing for the first time. I knew it wasn’t about weight and food. I knew it was about tortured emotions, emotional eating.

Seeking emotional well-being has been ridiculously hard. Counsellors have been as useless as as my ex-husband as far as emotional growth. More like destructive. A band-aid shouldn’t be destructive, but somehow it was. So, I kicked butt to create some well-being on my own. All I have is book-learning. I’m a mess. You are welcome to come along for the ride out of here.