For you, the dress code is casual.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Am On the Verge...

...the verge of dinner!

I'm actually cooking, sort of. I bought pre-made chicken parmigiana, which is probably going to be laughable compared to the real deal, but that's why I'm making awesome roasted garlic mashed spuds with, oh, I don't know, possibly some parmesan or something else tasty. I have a few minutes to ponder the potential.

Meanwhile, Oprah's yammering in the other room. I'm getting into the habit of taping her again. For some reason, Oprah gives me more fodder for writing than any other source. It trips switches. I haven't been watching in a couple months now. SAY! That's for as long as I've found writing unrewarding! Fancy that!

Today was a strangely good day at work. So good, in fact, that I have decided to be insanely kind to my coworkers and make blueberry muffins in the morning. I recently made some peanut butter-chocolate chip-'nana muffins with soy flour and REALLY liked them, so this time I've bought low-fat soy flour and instead of my usual hijinks of adding blueberry yogurt (I have a dairy-allergic coworker) I will instead blend soy milk and blueberries in the blender for a flavoured batter. Betcha they rock. If they turn out, I'll post my modified recipe so that folks with wheat allergens and shit can have something awesome in their lives.

'cause I'm just THAT KINDA GAL, man.

Woot, indeed.

I like satisfying days at work. I like feeling appreciated. I like getting thanks and smiles and stuff. Is that really so high maintenance? I think not. Of course, any day that involves me getting paid to ride my scooter for two hours is BOUND to be a good day!

Anyhow, I think my potatoes need some lovin' or the broccoli needs toying with or something. And that's all the news that's fit to print from the merry land of Steff. We hope you enjoyed your stay, and come back soon, now, y'hear?

Bah! Weird dream!

I had the strangest dream, which is now all hazy, but let's see if I can piece it together.

It was a day on which one of my photography buddies and I were driving around in a car I used to own, looking for something. Then I spotted this ramshackle old house that must've had a tree fall on it at sometime, 'cos it was split open up top. It was some 100+ year-old house with no paint and boards falling, and something that was very, very unsafe to go in.

So, it's nearing sunset and I get up and grab my camera and go to shoot some photos of it. The lighting's not so good so I figure I'll come back the next afternoon, but that it's the kind of place that would make for eery black and white photos like I used to shoot in the Yukon, back in the day.

The next day I come back, and it's the same nearly-falling-down shithole it was the day before, but this time there's a real estate agent showing the house. She keeps calling it a "nice fixer-upper" and is trying to show it. She turns to me and says, "It's a shame people have so little imagination!" She looks distinctly like my mother, too. "And look! A claw-foot soaker tub!"

We walk through the living room and I notice what looks to be a zombie on the couch. "Oh, don't mind him. He's an everlasting corpse. Try as I might, I just can't get rid of him! I just think of him as a husband without a remote control."

Weirding out, I notice lots of rather nasty things that are making me uncomfortable -- mold, holes on the floor, rats, that kind of thing. I turn to my friend and say, I need air.

We step outside and are suddenly riding a train. The whole time, I'm trying to make him look 'cos on the right, my side of the train, there's all these bushes and stuff but if you look closely, the rock isn't rock, it's turrets of castles from the early times of the UK (we're somehow now in England, but the house is a combination of Vancouver turn-of-the-century and the house as I imagine it from Graham Greene's story The Destructors, which (along with any work by Greene) I recommend to everyone). Everywhere I look on the right has castle turrets and ridges, whereas the left side is all scenic pastures.

I don't remember how the dream ended. The real estate agent was confused why she wasn't getting offers, though. Strange. Weird, weird, weird dream. I couldn't shake it, despite waking up at 5 and thinking "this is right fucked, man" and trying to get it out of my head. Bah! Weird.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Verdict and Victor... Or something.

Ryan's been tossed from Rockstar, and I think that's the only way they could go. Shocked Dilana wound up in the bottom three, but I've a soft spot for her. I still think Lukas will win it, even though I think Dilana has more range.

I'm tired, again.

Not enjoying the job. That takes a lot out of a girl. Maybe it's a phase. Maybe it's not. We'll see.

I bought the sexiest roma tomatoes ever for bruschetta, then forgot to buy the basil. GAH! Tomorrow, I cook something. They're PERFECTLY ripe. So sexy. So, so, so sexy.

I might fuck around with some funky pasta. Buy a little asparagus (emphasis on "little") and artichokes and such and see what kind of playful invention I can muster, and maybe I'll remember to keep notes so I don't forget how I've conjured my latest freeform masterpiece, but I suspect that's asking far too much of a bear of little brain. Fuck it, maybe I'll buy fontina and make me some ravioli with a light fresh tomato sauce. Something delish. Something deserved.

I might just have my first hook for selling ad space on my other blog. Read: This could well finally be a paying gig.

Halle-fucking-lujah, batman. About frigging time. And couldn't happen to a nicer gal, now, could it? We'll see what shakes down. I need to investigate. I wonder if some segment of my audience will perceive me as a sell-out? Well, when they start paying my fucking bills, they can judge me, yeah? Until that day, this ghetto-bootay has a price stamped all over its fucking acreage, man.

Yeah, baby. Get me while the gettin's good, right? Sure. Why not. If it means a little less working for da man, then I'm all sold on out. But at least it's my price and my asking and my concession. We'll see what goes down. I really don't know how to run with something like this. Carefully, I would suspect; just like with scissors.

Rockstar! & me!

Wow, coming down to the end of it now. One more'll get the boot tonight, then it'll be down to five. I'm barely watching TV right now, or at least barely anything on consequence, but Rockstar's still a regular part of my diet.

I honestly don't know who'll be in the bottom three tonight. Ryan, Storm, and Magni, likely. I don't think Magni should be in it, but he will be, just 'cos he's from Iceland and doesn't get a big draw of nationalistic voting like some of the others. Toby might also be in there. The only safe people are Dilana and Lukas, as far as I can see.

Dilana did an awesome job on Mother, Mother, but I keep wondering if Lukas has the whole thing in the bag. Dilana was awesome when she played that song with Supernova and I was thinking, "Yeah, I'd go to that gig!"

Lukas just has a little something extra, though. Not to mention an already growing fanbase. I'm being a nasty little pirate and Torrenting some old albums this morning, and thought I'd plug Rockstar in, and the only two with files popping up en masse are Lukas and Storm, but I dunno if Storm can carry the gig, as much as she fucking rocks as a woman.

Tommy Lee, ever the hilarious but creepy sex-addict muttered something about her taking her corset off for him last week, I think it was. Her response, "You come on up and try to take it, Bitch." TL busted a gut, which is what I like about him. Very self-deprecating and far more charming than I thought he could be. Nice.


I'm tiiiiiiired. Three more days until I can sleep in for THREE DAYS IN A ROW. God.

I ran out of my meds Monday and was too tired to remember to get a refill last night. I'll pop in before work this morning. I was pretty nervous that I'd have a shit night sleep last night, but it turned out pretty well. Started waking up before 6, though, and finally got up at 6:30. I've cleaned the dishes and done a few other things, and now I'll make some java and toast and get my ass in a shower.

Yesterday was not my favourite day. I was in a pretty bitchy mood most of the day and decided to keep the night to myself. Fortunately, the phone never rang, but I wouldn't have answered if it had. The quiet was needed.

I've lost my drive for getting the podcast going and shit, but I suspect I'm just burned out from too many days of too much to do, and so I've postponed the launch for a week to buy myself some time and potentially some sanity. If I can get 60% of it done this weekend, I'll be satisfied with that.

Just getting worn out. Honestly, I'll be glad when it's October. Maybe this weekend's just what I need. I don't know. I told GayBoy I'd go to the PNE with him Sunday, but that's probably the last fucking thing I'll need: Throngs of people. I hate throngs of people. They suck bad.

Oh, and get this, I finally called the insurance dork about that accident I'd seen last YEAR, and dude had called about five fucking minutes before he was leaving on vacation for two weeks. I left a snarky message saying that his "prompt" examination of the case has allowed me to practically forget EVERYTHING involved with it. I mean, A YEAR? Yeah, and I remember shit I saw last week? Yeah, right. I'm over thirty, fuckwad. Figure it out. Some people, eh? Yeesh.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Call me insensitive, or even a bitch...

...but I think the whole kerfuffle over NBC’s Emmy broadcast featuring a plane-crash skit when a crash had occurred earlier in the day is a pile of steaming bullshit.

Crashes are tragic and they occur often. Just because one happened on that very day doesn’t make it any more tragic or tasteless than it would otherwise have been.

It’s terrible that 49 people met their death in a flaming fuselage-cum-coffin, but it happens. To joke about it at any time is crass, but humour often is just that: Crass.

It’s nice that NBC apologized, and I don’t really see that they had any choice but to do so, but I still think people need to fucking wake up and smell the coffee: Never in the history of aviation has a crash been funny, and never will it be. What’s funny is the context in which a joke transpires, not necessarily the object at the center of it.

Humour has long been something argued for its taste or lack thereof. Most jokes will offend someone somewhere. That’s reality. Don’t like it? Tough. Get a funny-bone transplant, then. Whiners. Better yet, turn off the fucking medium that’s exposing you to your discomfort.

Jokes about cancer happen all the time. Jokes about AIDS make their rounds. Tasteless jokes are an epidemic, but if we can’t laugh about this shit, it just gets unbearable.

The timing might have sucked, but had it been a crash on the other side of the world, no one would’ve given a fuck. Because it’s a bunch of nice white people from America who happened to go down, and a wedding party full of WASPs, it’s somehow a great big nasty bit of rudeness on the part of Conan O’Brien and his team of Emmy writers.

What the fuck ever, man. Get over it. The people who were affected by those senseless deaths probably have much bigger things on their mind than a shocking dose of reality that, guess what, the media’s still full of shit. What else is new?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Why My Doctor Rocks And More Meaningless Shit

I have a very cool doctor. He's in his 40s, a screenwriter, divorced, funny, easy to talk to, and a great listener. Back when my mother was dying, he was her doctor, too, and came and told us all to take off and have a family lunch, and to take as long as we wanted, and he'd sit with her. And he did, he sat there holding her hand and talking to her for the next three hours because, as he said, "She was one hell of a cool woman."

Anyhow. I had to go get a urine test because of Strange Things Being Afoot last week, and I got home today to receive the verdict on my machine. "Yo, Steff. Your pee was perfect. Ciao for now!"

He rocks. Enough said.

Again, I'm wiped today. Asthma, etc. Yawn. I replaced my mirror with a shiny new one, and now the other one looks like a rusted piece of shit (which it is) and now I feel compelled to count my piggy bank up to see if I can get a pretty new one for the other side, but then again, shoes would be nice. Geez. Contrast sucks, though!

But you wanna hear somethin' weird? I'm there getting the mirror after zipping down to get cash from the bank and returning, and who should walk in?! The chick I saw getting hit in the accident last year that gave me closure to my own series of accidents! How WEIRD is that? And tomorrow's the fourth anniversary of All That Shit Starting to Go Down. Friday's her one-year anniversary. I really need to phone the insurance folks on her behalf in the morning.

And, then, on my ride home, a truck in front of me had the sticker, "Tough times never last, but tough people always do." I grinned and nodded. Then I went and bought Timbits. (Donut holes from Tim Horton's.) I'm bad.

Speaking of bad food but stuff that's actually good for you: I discovered chocolate almond milk at the Dan-D-Mart! MmmMm. It's better than soy and rice milk, and allergen free. It fucking rocks. I'd tell you the brand name but it's slipping my mind and my energy level says SIT.

Aside from that, I've nothing else to say to you people. Good night and good luck. There's some writing I might do later, but I'm pretty frazzled right now. Two topics loom -- more 9/11 writing, but I don't have "rant mode" on yet, and the other is about estrogen in the urban water supply. Interesting shit, says I, but then if it wasn't, why would I feel the need to write, right? Right.

I think I hear a Timbit squeaking, "Eat me, Steff!" Allow me to acquiesce, then! Die, Timbit! Die! CHOMP.

ADDENDUM: How's this for a cool story? Just saw this on the news. There's this BC dude who's a former US Paratrooper who served in the Korean War, way back when. He jumped 107 jumps during the war, and hasn't jumped in 50 years. He's about 80 now, has no teeth, and his family bought him a skydiving trip as a present! He's so old and frail he couldn't pull the jumpsuit on over his clothing, and needed help. He did a tandem jump and after his rough landing, he was asked how it went. "Awesome," he said, gumming his words. Worth the wait of a lifetime, he decided. Now that's a cool tale. Reminds me of the old woman I knew who skydived at 81 and became a blackbelt in Karate at 82. If you think your life's short, think again. Just getting started. And that goes for you too, Birthday Boy.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sadly lacking, always yearning

I lived in the Yukon for a year, and have spent a couple weeks exploring the Tofino region of BC, and these photos make my heart yearn to return to isolation for a few months. God, how much I would love that right now. The city feels so soulless. I've never believed in the possibility of god like I did when I lived in the north. Something about that land makes you feel a fool to doubt the existence of something wondrous enough to have made all that. How lucky we are. How ignorant we are. Fucking cityfolk. If/when my writing becomes enough to live on, I may just pack this shit all in and find that home I've always dreamed of. Cliche? Perhaps. Not in my mind, though. In my mind it all makes sense. One day. It's always one day. Yet in another nine or ten hours I'll be riding again through the poorest, most lamentable and afflicted neighbourhood in this city, if not this country. It saddens me every time. Maybe I'll go into the woods tomorrow after work.

Some thoughts and some barbecue sauce

It's been a slow grind of a day. I had an afternoon nap, something I almost never do. I tried doing a bike ride, but 8km killed me, as opposed to last week when I rode 25km and got home and had the energy to go for a long walk. I guess I'm a little more drained than I'd realized. Thinking has been the main activity this week, and I believe sometimes mental calisthenics can take more out of us than we'd like.

So, in keeping with being drained, I took the easy way out and simplified my homemade BBQ sauce. Normally I'd caramelize an onion or two, some garlic, and pureed it into the sauce, but this time I just used onion and garlic powder. Still quite good.

I've been writing about 9/11 for much of the last hour, just reflecting on it. I want to do a rant on the social loss of innocence that was the fallout of that day, but I'm not in the right place for the rant yet. I think I need to distill what these past five years have meant to me. I've become a jaded, disenfranchised person. I don't care about the news anymore. I'm not plugged in. I don't get involved. Once upon a world I'd read three newspapers a day. Now I'm as ignorant as the next dumb-fuck, and it's because I just feel we're losing hope as a society. I despise feeling the way I do about the world around me, and I know who it is I blame for it all.

I was once politically passionate, and now I'm just loud and cynical. It's a travesty.

I'm half-watching Bob Roberts, the old political mockumentary (watch for a small scene with a very, very, very young and very, very, very thin Jack Black as an insane, obsessed political groupie) starring Tim Robbins as the uber-sleaze Republican-esque senatorial candidate who'll stop at nothing to get elected. I remember seeing it as a teenager with my mother. She asked me what I wanted to see, and I chose that. She was surprised when we left, surprised to learn I was so impassioned and cynical about politics even then. I still am, but it's far worse than ever before, and I wonder if there will ever be a candidate that invigorates me and restores my faith in the system.

Every now and then I heave a wistful sigh and wish it wouldn't be so outlandish to expect Justin Trudeau to run for office, because if anyone could unbreak my political heart, it might just be him. I loved his father, a man who, for me, still speaks loud and clear about what the Canadian identity ought to be even five years after his death. Sigh. Pierre Trudeau and Terry Fox, for me, are the ultimate Canadians.

So, yes, I have to get to a place where I feel ready to say what I think about the system borne of 9/11. What a world we're living in now. What a travesty the kids just don't give a fuck. They have so much power and they don't even know it. Sigh.

All right. Onward and upward. I call this:

Quick'n'Dirty BBQ Sauce
for Those Too Lazy to Invest Serious Time

3 cups ketchup (cheap'll do)
1 bottle Worcestshire sauce (Lee & Perrins; accept no substitutes!)
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses (I use organic)
3 tbsps mustard powder
2 tbsps chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
1 tbsp onion powder (not onion salt!)

Give it a good mix in a saucepot and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Then, smother the meat of your choice (I did pork ribs today but chicken legs rock) in a deep baking pan just big enough to hold your meats in a single layer, cover tightly with foil, and slow cook at about 250 for five or six hours, and check on it from time to time, making sure the sauce doesn't dry up too much. If it does, you could add water to thin it out, but why would you if you could add bourbon or rye instead? Finish the meat off with a quick 2-minute blast on a high-heat BBQ to char the sauce, and don't forget to take your Bean-O before you dig in. ;)

For a lighter sauce, use honey or brown sugar. But, really, have some balls. Molasses is the only way to go!

God, was it yummy. Burp.

I's so stoopid!

Oh, GOD. This is NOT how a week should end. In twenty minutes, it's noon, and I'm officially declaring a Restart to my day.

I could've fucken SWORN six ways to Sunday that the conference was TWO days. Instead, I must've misread things, and the sign-up on Friday night counted as one of the two days. Instead of finding this out by, oh, conversation or looking shit up, I found it out by fucking GOING to the site it was held at yesterday. I'll spare myself further humiliation by not sharing how long it took to CLUE THE FUCK IN, but suffice to say it wasn't instantaneous.

Sigh. (I am, however, using my recent stupidity and depression as the reason for this oversight, since I haven't really looked much at the barcamp site since then, except to find the addresses Friday. Whups.)

But on the upside I now have a day off, and at least I did sleep in. Now I've bought organic eggs, back bacon, light sourdough rye, and I'll make breakfast. I forgot to buy ketchup, but I'll pick that up later, because I'm now going to make my frickin' awesome BBQ sauce and make myself spicy bbq pork ribs that are slow-cooked and finished on the barbecue for supper. I'd love to have spuds with it, but I think I'll try to be somewhat healthy and have a good salad and some baguette instead. That leaves potatoes available for an all-out brekkie, I guess. Mouahahaha.

Fuck, man. I'm *such* a smart chick, and when I do dumb shit, man, I take the cake. Boy, what a dumb start to my day. At least I turned it around by taking the long, scenic ride home.

In other news, the mirror's completely broken right off on my scooter, thanks to all the rust it'd had, but that's $25 tops to replace. The rest of it is pretty much unscathed, not even scratched. The legshield had a crack along the bottom before this incident, but it's a little more pronounced now. I'd still like to crack open a can of whoopass on the dick who toppled it, but whatever. It could sure as hell be worse. The lights could be broken and the body scratched, and neither of those things happened, so at least it was a "gentle" topple.

Still, a dumb, dumb start to my day. I was born blonde, you know. The business cards I made yesterday have proven to be a waste of my time, but I still need cards anyhow. Now I have some. I think they might be a nice design to keep, too, for self-promoting, but we'll see.

Glad I got a few contacts yesterday. I'd have done things a little differently had I realized it was a one-shot deal, but I can't live in the past, so whatever. Besides, I'm hoping this is the start of the Brave New Networking World of Steff, so I don't want to let myself feel like I've blown my big chance. I just need to keep up the guerilla networking and see where it all takes me.

On the upside, I have some time to script my podcast today and I can probably get a bikeride in at some point, too. For now, some water and some TV while I muster the energy to cook.

(Oh, two things I've read that made me laugh today: One, the sign on Nevermind, a restaurant I consider as a "I may be all grown up but I still need cool digs to hang in!" place to eat, read "Honk if you're illiterate!" And two, I just liked this line in The Corrections: "I love rutabaga!" said Gary inconconceivably.)


GayBoy just called to say that, as usual, he zipped past my pad on the way to work this morning, but unlike usual, my scooter had been knocked over. The mirror's apparently broken. Fuckers.

Grr! Sigh. Any scooter owner needs to know their scoot will inevitably be kicked or knocked over, and this is the second time for this one of mine, but the third time in its life as it happened once to the old owner. Sigh. GRR! How's that for a start to a day, huh?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

the reticent posting

i wasn't gonna post. nope. just too tired. and now that's why i'm posting. i feel like i need to unload my brain. defrag, as it were.

sigh. long, long day. long, long week. and it's going to get longer. i get no days off until next weekend, and i'm tired.

barcamp starts at nine but they ain't fucking seeing me till about 11.

it's been a pretty accomplished week, all in all.

1) figured out how to edit podcasts.
2) came up with a game plan and began writing a script.
3) figured out how to apply the "theme" i've thought of (it'll be worth a good chuckle if/when y'all hear it, by yours truly).
4) eked out the beginnings of a template that just needs tweaks.
5) set up the new blog site and have enlisted help for figuring out the FTP feed.
6) got the company i work for about 90% caught up in accounting, after FuckHead's incompetent "but paper's just fine!" accounting methodology nearly caused me to have an aneurysm.
7) had a good XXXXX in which they asked me for a second XXXXX but after thinking about it have decided it's not right for me.
8) have networked with some very promising leads at barcamp.
9) designed some temp business cards that'll do the trick for barcamp.
10) had a promising session with my counsellor that has helped me sort of see why i've been failing to do what i know i have the potential to do.

fuck, man. lots has gone down. busy fucking week. rewarding, too, so don't get me wrong there, but i'm just tired. if there wasn't so much to gain from going to barcamp, i wouldn't go, but there is, so i'll sleep in and not give myself too much grief 'bout it.

my goals were:

1) to meet some people with good ideas on how to have a good podcast.
2) to get some ingenuity in how to pursue monetary leads in blogging.
3) to make connections for possible job upgrading.
4) to make connections for possible pro blogging.
5) to learn about advertising potential.
6) to meet cool new people.
7) to understand a little more about the world of computers.

and i've met and exceeded all those goals.

then i came home and ate honey garlic chicken wings and garlic bread before doing two loads of laundry, half my dishes, and cleaning my floors -- plus, i made the business cards i mentioned above.

i plan to spend the remainder of this week getting my blog up and running, figuring out the posting, and scripting the podcast. next weekend: sleep, cycling, eating good food, and podcasting. NO PEOPLE.


heh. think they'll notice? heh. snicker.

i'm thinking the podcast air date is september 7th. i need to think about it for a couple more days, and then commit firmly. even if it's just 10-15 minutes long, just having that first one out the door, my god... i bet you i feel like cryin' i'll be so relieved to have it done with. shrug. it'll be a good thing.

i get scared of trying new things. real, real scared sometimes, but i'm normally not dumb enough to be public about what i'm trying, so i've heaped ALL this pressure upon myself by being open about the whole process, and i'm just dying to be done with it now. i think i made it public 'cos i knew i'd turtle and duck from it if i'd kept the goal secret. by being public i forced myself to honour my words. dumb, but not.

i don't have massive expectations. i just wanna be true to myself and have my personality come through. that's all the success i need right now, and it's something i'd be mighty proud of accomplishing.

and it's something i feel i'm on the verge of actualizing.

i had my scooter towed today. sigh. $82. fuck, man. until then, i was having an awesome day. after that, an okay day. i'm cool with it now, still a little mad both at the bullshit of towing a scooter and also at myself for making the erroneous parking judgment, but whatever. even at $82 for that, $40 for the ticket, and $20 for barcamp, this still might be an insanely lucrative weekend for me. i'm hoping the towing is a Big Finish to the Recent Bullshit i've endured. i think i'm done for bad stuff, and i think i'm on the verge of getting my due.

you know, i just need to remember that i've always been able to sell just about anything to anyone. back when i worked managing a toy store, i once was about to process a $9 toy sale, and by just chatting the customer up managed to turn it into a $2300 toy sale. she owned a preschool in Korea, and by just investigating a bit, i sold her everything her little heart desired. i can always sell something i believe in. so why don't i sell myself? don't i believe in myself? maybe i didn't. now i'm starting to.

i wrote this set of goals last week, which i had fun writing, called:

Total World Domination: The Plan of Attack.

on the left are all the goals, about 17 of them, almost all about podcasting right now, and on the right were three "ad" boxes in which i did credos to live by, among which was the Richard Ford quote in my sidebar, as well as: "I must see myself as I am seen."

and that's true. we so seldom look at ourselves as others see us. instead, we judge ourselves harshly in the cold light of cynicism and low self-esteem. i know i do it, all the time. i'm trying to listen to what others say, though, and really start looking at my accomplishments through their eyes. it's hard, but i'm working on it.

oh, and a last point before i recklessly hurtle myself at my bed: i always enjoyed saying the name of my sex blog, "cunting linguist," to new folks. they always grinned and such. but you know what? the new name gets AWESOME reactions. "smut and steff" keeps getting me these gut-busting laughs and big lip-cracking smirks like i never would've thought. i just love seeing people's faces when they hear the name. i'm getting a little more jazzed as time passes.*

but what i'm really getting is tired. so, without ado... adieu.

*y'know, i still remember the night i thought of it. it was warm and i was lying there naked, pretty much as i always do, with just a sheet over me, staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep. suddenly, "SMUT AND STEFF" flashed in front of me and i laughed loudly, snickered, jumped out of bed, and grabbed the first pen i could find, which turned out to be a Sharpie marker, and scrawled it down. i crawled into bed, just elated, and fell sound asleep within five minutes, confident it was a winner. what a great feeling that was. doesn't come often, you know?

Friday, August 25, 2006

And THIS... why I hate the chat rooms of the world. It's like English has had a timebomb snuck into its folds and is on the verge of detonation.

But have a look for yourself.

The BIG Weekend

I'm kind of resentful of the fact that I have to be indoors all weekend this weekend, but maybe I'm underestimating the flexibility of the "unconference" I'm attending.

It's BarCamp Vancouver this weekend, and I'm going. BarCamp still is a little fuzzy for me as to what it's really going to be, but almost all the participants are bloggers, techheads, and podcasters. I'm hoping to learn by osmosis, but I'm also hoping to just meet new people.

The head-doc took me by surprise when she looked at me last night and said, "How much of your social contact is anonymous?"

I thought about it for a minute and then grinned, "Far too much," I said. But I've known that and have been working on it. As a writer, it's a delicate balance, y'know? You can't be too popular, you can't get out too much, or your writing will suffer. As a human, it's a delicate balance. You can't write too much, you can't stay in too much, or your life will suffer. I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't.

Getting out and meeting folk, though, is something I've wanted to do for a long, long time now, and I've been getting it done a little at a time. This weekend will be big for me, in more ways than one. I'm not sure I have the juice to handle an entire weekend, but I'm giving it a shot.

Besides, it can't hurt to learn a thing or two about a thing or two. Mostly, I want to get ideas on how to get advertising that actually pays instead of this affiliates bullshit that doesn't.

Could be cool.

In other news, my new blog's template's got to be emailed off for tweaking, which I'll send out later today. My podcasting, I know how to edit and splice together now, which is a start, and I've solved the theme / transitional song conundrum that could wind up making me look like an ass, but that I think will make my podcast stand out as being very, very unique. I think it'll even be fun. And I even have another person taking a look at my feed set-up to see why I'm having publishing issues.

So, what I need to learn this weekend, then, is ideas for advertising (which will be easier to sell as a joint package with podcast & blog space tied together) and also I need to learn [brainfreeze] --RIGHT!-- how to set up the podcast feed on Blogger when I'm through airing it on

Everything's starting to come together. I think I'm finally, finally going to be over that hump. Then I'll just need to start recording a new 'cast every second week.

I wanna get it published Semptember 11th because I'm going to take a gamble and do a 9/11 rant. I figure, fuck it, let's go into this new venture with guns drawn and cards on the table so they really know who they're getting in the deal, you know? I need to figure the rant out, but it'll have to do with the absence of social innocence. I have a notion, but now it needs to germinate and grow. I'm thinking about it, and the next couple of weeks will have a lot of TV specials that could unlock some thoughts for me.

Y'know what? I'm starting to enjoy this challenge now that I'm learning it's possible to do it in my ideal timeframe. In fact, I'm getting a little stoked. I can't wait to see how it all turns out. Whew! And then I'm gonna have a weekend of SLEEP, man. Fuck! :)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Holy Headtrip, Batman

Okay, so, I'm officially drunk. I've gone from a middle-lightweight drunk to a flyweight on my anti-depressant meds, so, y'know, cut me some slack. I'm no amateur; it's the pharmacopia! It's, like, 2.5 or maybe 3 glasses of wine. Sigh. How demoralizing!


Labour Day week has been fraught with anxiety for me for three years running, now, and this makes four years.

Three years ago this week, I was coming home and less than five blocks from home, a guy ran a light that had been red for more than 8 seconds and slammed into the corner of my front right quarter-panel. (I turned left into the inside left lane, and he was in the curbside lane, and just hit the edge of my car, going more than 75 klicks. Had it been a full-on impact, I'd have been fucked right up. As it was, I was in quite a bit of pain for about three months, with daily migraines and more.) It totalled my car. I had the inglorious moment of picking my bumper up off the ground and stuffing it into my wrecked-but-able-to-get-home vehicle.

Two years ago this week, I was riding my scooter in the morning because I was a FUCKING MORON after a night of heavy drinking and copious marijuana for a concert, and because I was the leader of a scooter group that's now 300+ strong here in Vancouver, I felt compelled to lead the ride. Dumb fucking move. I nearly died. Read the post in the sidebar if you want more. I totalled my scooter and my dear friend's.

Last year, believing things happen in threes, I was determined to avoid riding my scooter for the whole week that dubious anniversary week. Then I said fuck it, life was too short to live in fear. It is, and was, the only time I've ever ridden my scooter listening to my iPOD. I hopped on and did a long, long ride long after midnight, just communing with the night and my fears and the late summer's night air and the long stretches of asphalt that winds its way around UBC.

On the anniversary of that car accident, I was in a series of classes, and had gone for coffee at the corner of Granville and Nelson. I stepped out of the shop with my coffee, and right then, this heavy chick on a scooter gets T-boned by a car doing wide left turn right behind her. She spills and crashes to the ground. I stood there in awe, staring at this chick who weighed the exact same as I had before all my accidents and stuff. For some reason, it brought me closure.

I just stood there remembering this sad, fat lump I'd been when that bad chapter of my life began and stood there puzzling how I'd manage to come so far physically and emotionally despite all the pain and frustration I'd been subject to in the two years past.

Well, Labour Day's around the corner, right, so it's sort of been on my mind. I won't take my chances anymore, and tonight's the perfect example. I showed up at GayBoy's after a post-work therapist appointment, so I had my scooter. I brought a bottle of wine because that's what polite guests do, but he already had one decanting. Well, naturally we tackled both. But I didn't ride home. Nope. GayBoy and I walked my scooter the six blocks home.

And what's the first thing I hear on my answering machine?

A message from an insurance adjuster asking if I remember any details from the scoot-chick's accident last September 2nd.

Holy fucking weird. What took so long, eh?

It has me thinking, and in conjunction with the shrink appointment tonight, that means I'm sort of in a strange place. But what it has me thinking is that, y'know, it's just plain old funny how long adversity can draw out, and that we ultimately have no power over its direction. For some reason, that brings me peace. For some reason, I feel better hearing this message. It is nothing but odd how strange it is that I should hear about it now, tonight, the night I'm thinking just how fucking far I've come in three years, the last couple months excepted.

Instead of my appointment tonight taking me to a negative and overly ponderous place, I left feeling empowered and awesome. I left feeling alive, like I've overcome a lot, and even when it beats me some of the time, enough fight and smarts remain that I still manage to whip its fucking hiney, you know? To a degree, anyhow. To enough of a degree that my fear and apprehension are now tucked squarely away.

It fucking BAFFLES me how much a change my emotions have endured since last week. WOW. Had I known the 180 could occur so rapidly, I'd never have felt the fear I felt. But if I hadn't felt that fear, would this feel so fucking good now? Probably not. How weird a world this is.

So, I will call. If called upon, I will testify in court. I am, and will be, scooter girl's ally. I shall aid her in reaching a new, comforting conclusion. I should have sued the fucker who hit me four years ago, but instead I'm the kind of person that believes the mental anguish of drawing shit out is not something one can be financially compensated for. Instead, I'd rather sign it away and move the fuck on, and that's what I did then, and that's what I'd do tomorrow. Money ain't everything, and never ever will be.

Just before all the bullshit came down on me this year, I had the strange experience of riding my scooter to work and seeing the fallen accident-girl riding her scooter towards me. Chipperly, she waved and pumped a fist as she saw me cruising past in the opposite direction. I recognized her and smiled. "Ride on," I thought. Nothing like getting the fuck back on when the world strikes you down, you know?

After all, one of the things I'm most proud of myself for is my resilience, whether it be getting onto that scooter after nearly dying, even though it was the scariest thing I've ever done, or fighting like fucking hell to get a job when I had to, even though I was coming apart at the seams. In regards to getting-on-the-bike-again, the proudest I think I might've ever been was when I had a party a year or two ago, and my beloved GayBoy, who's not exactly Mr. Effusive, spoke up in front of everyone, looking me in the eye, and said how proud he was of me for getting back on that bike even when I was still injured, even when I was still using a cane. He said he'd seen big fucking strong burly men injured less severely than me who'd sworn forever off of bikes, and that seeing me get back on was almost like a victory he was able to live vicariously through.

I love GayBoy because he's been there for me through SOOOOO much bullshit. I'm far from perfect; I fuck up and fuck up big. I go from being kind and thoughtful and generous to occasionally being a bitch, and he always knows who the true me is, that patience is its own reward in my case, and he waits in the wings until I come back to myself, and I've learned to do the same for him. WhippedBoy is also of the same ilk, but it's just that GayBoy's more present on a day-to-day basis. But THAT was the cream of the crop. That was the moment I felt the most proud and the most loved and the most appreciated. It's not often we have those moments when we truly see what our friends, lovers, and family feel about us, but that was one of those moments, and sometimes, in moments of weakness, I call it back to mind, and I remember: I was (and am) the girl who rode again.

It's sometimes hard to reconcile that, but when I do, it brings me nothing but power.

Anyhow. I'm just mentally tripping a tad 'cos of this phone message. I shall phone. I shall bear witness. I shall tell the truth. She will get her money.

And now I won't worry that there's a target on my back. I know, I know, a silly thing to do either way, but I can't always account for logic over emotion. It is what it is, I am what I am, and superstitions sometimes speak louder than I wish they would.

Tonight, they're speaking every bit as loud as I would have hoped. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about that accident streak, and this is like a message from the beyond telling me that'd be a stupid thing to waste mental energy on. It's a good time to find out.

This has been a very, very good day, from start to finish. And I've fucking well earned it.


Remedial mathematics with Steffchickadee

+ A funky Chinese calligraphy stamp
+ Steff
+1.5 bottles red wine


But it's also good therapy. Fortunately, I know it to be a light day at the office tomorrow. Ah, call it depressurizing.

I really, really, really need to wash my hands. I'm a messy stamper. But stamping is fun!


Being up before 7 is SO wrong. :P Wah.

But I'm up. I've ironed clothes. I've continued trying to solve the mystery of What In The Fuck Happened To My Sneakers, which continues to baffle the shit out of me. How do SHOES go missing? My place isn't that messy! What in the HELL did I do? How weird!

(Ed. Note: 20 minutes later and the kicks have been found! Stuffed into a bag under a couple of things. What was I thinking? Why are they in a bag? I don't even remember that. Whew! I can stop wearing the Ugly shoes!)

I forgot to mention last night: The Moron I've replaced at my job is in his late 20s and lives in his parent's fucking pool house. Everybody at my office is a child of privilege, but THAT takes the cake. The office manager scoffed at his reaction to my working two jobs and that's how I learned of his habitat. "Yeah, what's he really know anyhow? The guy lives in his parent's pool house," she said.

Most of my friends were raised with money, and they're all cool and down to earth. It's just the pool boys who embitter me.

Coffee time. I'm all out of intravenous drip bags for caffeine, so I'm tapping into my nostomania and French pressing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

groangroangroangroangroan * grin

So much for beef enchiladas. I'll soon be throwing a frozen pizza in the oven (McCain Crescendo with Roasted Chicken and Peppers -- pretty tasty and substantial enough for leftovers for lunch).

I've been catching up on accounting today. The MORON who preceded me at this company didn't ever do any accounting on the computer. Nope! All paper. I'm going through and seeing that this fucking dimwit (or possible embezzler) just had no eye for detail in the least. On top of that, he wracked up hundreds of dollars of expenses in single months at times (anywhere from a minimum of $65 a month up to $1500) and I'm not finding a single fucking copy of a bill attached to his expense statements -- but, boy, did he cash his cheques. He was paid more than me, for starters, and I think he was stealing from the company.

I already got a basic filing system up and running, but he didn't file anything alphabetically. Worse than that, he filed bills and such by month, not by vendor. What an imbecile! Soon I'll be receiving all the paper bills from beyond this April to the company's start last year, and then I'll have to start doing filing for those, too. You have any idea how much I despise stupid people? Immeasurably. That's how much. Stupidity is a good argument for eugenics, people. Fuck, man. (There's your new word of the day, minions: Eugenics. You can insult people and they won't even know it. I love it.)

On top of that, I'm finding errors made by the expensive accountant they use for filing taxes and such. Not that they're big or even significant mistakes, but I'm finding them.

It's very draining, this vast quantity of paperwork. In another week or so I'll have caught it all up and we'll be through the historical data -- and my mind will begin working once again.

In the morning, I'm gonna look at career options with someone, and see what happens. I have to be vague, sadly. When the time comes, hopefully I'll have good news to report. I'm certainly in a better place for things like this right now, so maybe it will work out. Again, vague.

And I have now made a mental note: When living on the top floor, don't forget to close the windows during a roofing job. You wouldn't fucking believe the dirt in here.

Gee. I'm so glad I cleaned last weekend. Now all I can do is "maintain" until I have the time to really clean on the long weekend.

On the upside, I'm pretty much done with the majority of my depression, so instead of coming home and being so depressed and tired I sit my ass down, I've spent the last hour scrubbing counters and such. I'm just tired and drained. Entirely different from depression, and a good night's sleep will certainly help, as will a good jug of water. I'm certainly getting lots done now that I'm finding my stride again. This is probably the first time I've been this productive since last year sometime. Feels bloody weird.

Pizza time! Rock on. OOOOOOOOOH! I even have a beer that I've just remembered, leftover from Sunday. Score! (I'm such a loser. "Score!" is my big word this week. I feel like I'm 14 all over again. Shcore!)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

ENCHILADAS made with cream of chicken soup? Hear THAT? That's the sound of corpses rolling over in their graves all over fuckin' Mexico, hombre! Jesus CHRIST! The Anglicizing of ethnic recipes makes me shudder! Cream of chicken?! Gah! Fuckin' whitey's got it all wrong, mang! Mexican grocer, my ass. Fine, then, if these are the crap recipes the web offers, I'll dig into my authentico Mexican recipe book with the shitty pictures. Mmf!

(After working nearly 11 hours at the office today [thanks to the accountant walking in at 4:30 to train me for three hours] I was nearly dead and went to Red Burrito and overate, and now I want MORE Mexican!) What's que pasain' in my tummy is something worth replicating the home-cookin' way. 'sides, I ain't done ethnic in a bit and I want some other way to express myself than writing, so cookin's a good way to go, and then I gots good lunchies for work. Ooh, now these look yum-yum. Think I gots me a long project tomorrow. I shall report, minions.

WHEN will I learn...

...that I absolutely despise the taste of processed chives? I saw pita chips for sale that were garlic and chives and it sounded like a good idea. How wrong I was. I lament my lunch. I've assuaged the disappointment with a chocolate-dipped donut.

(Bad Steff. But even worse -- bad pita chips!)

How can they do that to the wonderful chive, huh? I ask you. Talk about missing the mark.

It's Just So Weird

I wouldn't have thought my mindset could do a 180 as fast as it has. I'm pretty stunned by the change in headspace, and though I know I'll have moments when the darkness creeps back, I'm just enthralled by the sight of any light at all. That there's as much light as there is just has me slack-jawed and baffled. Not that I'm looking a gift-horse in the mouth, now.

Depression can be a gift sometimes. It's that rare opportunity you get where you have absolutely nothing to lose by confronting all that's wrong with yourself. I mean, you despise yourself and your life anyhow, so what's the risk, right?

I think I've dealt with this right. By forcing myself to write almost every spare moment I had, I've more or less really opened up some observations for me to tackle now. Even better than the writing are some of the moments I spent podcasting-practicing on the weekend. Listening to the tracks over again, and recording without script, I was surprised at some of the insight I'd spoken.

Not that any of you will ever hear any of it. I think the lion's share of that is going to remain as spoken journals, squirrelled away for some year down the road when I want to sit back to hear myself as I once was. I really laid myself bare in that audio and it took me by surprise, as much of my past week has. Something about spoken word seems more raw and stripped than writing can ever be, and I've been caught unaware in just how honest I was able to be.

I was scared of that. I was scared of speaking truth and being honest. I didn't know what I would learn of myself, and I guess what I've learned is that I'm better at finding an inch and taking a mile from it than I thought I'd be.

(I'm realizing now that the depression has been around since last August, nearly a year. This whole year has been pretty intense. There was a short reprieve, when I met someone I liked and enjoyed being with, and I was able to pretend for a while that I really was myself. I think I was lying to myself then, but that the relationship -- as many of them have a tendency to do -- allowed me to pretend my life and myself were better than I secretly knew them to be. This mindset was present before the relationship, and as soon as trials and tribulations rained down, it returned with a vengeance. That's the reality. And now I'm getting the clarity that allows me to see that, instead of just throwing blame on whoever gets in my way. Another one of my many faults.)

I had decided at some point last week that the only way I'd see my way through this was through accomplishing things I'd had my mind on for some time, but it took me a couple of days to get into that groove. Now, whether it's a weekday or otherwise, the first thing I do when I get up is Things. I get shit done, then I take a bit of time for myself, and then I move on. Before, I'd get up, and sit down. That was it. I'd think of all I had to do, then I'd be weighed down by it.

How stupidly simple it finally seems to be. Do things, feel better. Wha--? Huh? It's that easy? But no, it's not just that, it's my chemistry returning to normal, too. I'm ramping up on vitamins, making sure I get 7 hours a night of sleep, and fighting hard to keep some time to myself. I think I was doing some of this before. The odd thing is, I suddenly can barely remember much of the last month. It's not like I was sitting around on drugs all the time or something. A little, yes, but there's no way I should suddenly barely remember any of the last six weeks. I guess I really was in a different place, quite possibly I was entirely a different person.

Oh, god, you have NO idea how much a relief it is to feel this, this ebbing of sorrow I've got. That shroud's sort of being tugged off and seems almost completely gone. I'm almost wary of it, that this is too quick. How can it be this fast? How can a shift come so suddenly? Can one stupid little pill really hurt someone this much? I'd never have guessed. Ever.

I've never been suicidal, but the closest I've ever come was last week. Scary shit, that. Scary, scary shit. I was shaking in the night one evening, balling my fists, praying morning would come quickly. I was headed that way for a couple months (and keep in mind it was a three-month cycle of pills) but the bottom came up fast, much like the Glass Elevator in Willy Wonka. I saw it coming but it still shocked the hell out of me, and now its arrest leaves me gasping in bafflement.

And the funny thing is, the thing I feel strongest right now is gratitude. Both that it's over, something I'm feeling more confident of with every passing hour, but also for what it's taught me. I'm still doing the therapy this week, and hopefully for a little longer, because I really disliked realizing that all the qualities I've always disliked about myself could still be so present. I've been working on them for years. I thought I was further than that. Perhaps I am, perhaps the chemistry can make dormant elements conjure. I don't know. What I do know is, I don't like what I saw, and I'd be happy if it only ever appeared again in a rearviewmirror.

This will probably be a good journey. I suspect I'll like myself more than ever once I acknowledge more of this and work through it. Depression really can be a gift, if you know what to look for. I'm glad to be nearer to the other side, and wonder just how much distance I might just attain.

And now I have to stop sitting around naked (I had clothes on, I got shit done, and now I've been enjoying the post-shower moments) and dress and go to work. Bah! :P I have to confess, though. I've secretly been enjoying the notion of sitting naked behind blinds while, three feet in front of me, cute construction guys keep climing up and down the FUCKING LOUDEST, RATTLINGEST ladder ever. It's nice to see my playful side emerging again. Where the hell did she go? Whew. Welcome back, indeed.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Fuckin' A!

I've started! I have a bloggie template in the works. Why, I daresay it's mostly done! Now, lemme preface this with this is temporary. I'd like something snazzier, but right now, I'm all about lowering my standards, sweetie-pies. Yep. Get the shit done and move the fuck on. I've been stuck in this mode too long now, and I wanna get my life back into my hands, you know? Stress sucks! We want happy Steff, we want happy Steff! Yay, happy Steff!

Now, for telly & a strawberry fruitsicle (I already miss my telly :( --the picture was beautiful. This one's so big it's kinda pixelated. DVDs will rock. Television's a waste of my busy life anyhow. Serves me right). Oh, and I have a couple nice boys who've offered to tweak'n'polish my blog page, and another couple guys offering to help hook me up with real know-how re: the podcast. Funny: Ask for help and you might just receive it. Nice how that works.

Coolies! Toys!

So, I'm going to be safekeeper of my brother's big fuckin' LCD telly (37" !!!) until some undetermined date, probably sometime in 2007. He's to be coming over soon, when my inconsiderate and bad-at-time-management uncle finally hauls his ass over there, and will be bringing the big shiny TV over here.

Which means my TV, which GayBoy covets because it has the now-obselete option of not only picture-in-picture but TV-Plus TV guide, is going to GayBoy's house.

But what I'm really excited about is that I'm to be the guardian of my mother's china for awhile. My mom had these gorgeous white porcelain dishes that were trimmed in silver. There's something like a setting of 10 or 12, and there are everything from ashtrays through to sideplates and serving platters and covered dishes and all. The only reason my mother decided my brother should have it as her death approached was because he was married at the time. We've never fought over her decisions, and the only thing we've ever waffled on is the one framed sketching my mother once did.

The dishes, though, I've always wished were mine. They won't be, it's just temporary, and I'll return them when my brother decides the time is right, and I'll do so without any fussing, but I'm happy I'll have them for a time.

This means I'll have to have some big dinner party over the coming months. I think this means I'm doing a big Thanksgiving for friends this year. That'll be sweet.

It's been a long time since I've done a big dinner and done it well, but I'll begin expecting that I'll do one. Come October, my life will be in an entirely different place. I'm deciding that September is officially Month of Flux (In A Good Way) and I'm looking forwards to my future, and am no longer loathing my present.

I'm STRESSED OUT, mind you, but I'm in a better place.

And soon I'll have a home theatre. Fuckin' wickid. Time to watch City of God!

By the looks of things, my email address must be scrawled on bathroom stalls all over Nigeria. If I receive one more fucking email asking for my bank account so they can help me after I help them, why, I'm gonna go Samuel L. Jackson all over their asses. Good god! Getting five a day now, at least! My attention is urgently needed? My ass it is!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I've Been Busted... And A Doozy of a Post

One of my best friends came over for beer and the Big Bad Monstuh Burguh for din-din. I fired up the grill and went over the top for the burger -- caramelized onions, proscuitto, jalapeno jack cheese, yada, yada. I made some potatoes on the grill, too. Diced fine with garlic, sweet baby peppers, onions, garlic, and buttuh, all foil-wrapped and grilled long time. All in all, a pretty frickin' sweet dinner. I don't see this friend as much since the kid popped out of the oven and domesticity became tattooed deep into his being, so it was nice to chill for a bit.

We watched Capote, which tripped some interesting switches in me, and I'll touch on that after, but we had a good heartfelt talk afterwards and that was nice.

This is probably the first day in a long, long time that has been a pretty solid day from start to finish. I like the headspace I've been in, I've accomplished a lot, I hung with a couple good friends, I ate good food, I was articulate, I never got emotional. Wow, what a switch from the recent past. I think the estrogen's finally wearing off a little. I suspect it'll be another week or two before I'm closer to who I ought to be, but at least my weekend's ending in a good place, and I'm satisfied with all that's gone down.


First: My friend busted me. I said I was trepidatious about something that was coming up (what, I can't remember) and he looked quizzically at me and said "trepidatious? Don't you mean I have some trepidation?" I muttered back that it was a word and suddenly realized that my friend's a pretty smart guy and he doesn't call me on much, so I said, "Shit." Then I scurried into my bedroom, looked it up in Google, saw a reference to it in a book by Richard Lederer (the wonderful Anguished English) and suddenly knew I was in trouble. Pulled down my big fucking dictionary -- "the tome," my friend calls it -- and sure enough, it serves only as a noun. There is no adjective. "That's fucking dumb," I pronounced. But now I know. Shit! I HATE learning I've been wrong all this time! BAH! This fallibility thing! Damn it all! [smirk] Whatever.

Capote, as I mentioned, tripped some switches.

In the past week, from when I felt I'd hit emotional bottom to now, I've been very contemplative about my life. I've thought back a lot to the time I was raised and just how many headgames were always played in my family. I am absolutely certain I have come miles and miles and miles from where I was some years ago, in regards to pettiness and the things I've done to people in the past, but in thinking of things of late, I've learned I've miles and miles yet to go. Such is life.

It is with some trepidation that I anticipate the looming appointment with my therapist on Thursday night. I know it's going to tap into things. I've spoken of my family history with her in the past, so it's not like I'll show up and we'll scratch the surface just before she announces that "Time's up, we'll continue there next time." No, we'll be probing.

It was odd. I was over at my brother's and we were chatting as I was teaching him how to cook --(I've been schooling him on the fine art of cooking, one nation at a time. We've hit Thai, Italian, and North American, and next time I'll tackle French. Boy's got to learn.)-- and I mentioned that learning he was going to begin therapy inspired me to return myself, in light of the last couple of weeks of emotional insanity. And he says to me, "What are you going to work on, or do you know yet?"

The question stopped me cold. "Work on?" Why, I don't know. I thought my general fuctedness was a good place to start, but now I've decided there might be three separate things that could use some addressing, not including my sometimes inability to handle an excess of stress: my passive-aggressiveness, which has been an issue of late, my difficulty in being trusting towards others, and my tendency to secretly feel like a victim when things don't go my way.

Now these have been issues all my life, and they're probably not going to go poof in a wisp of smoke anytime soon, but if I can become more aware of them I should be able to learn how to overcome them, yes? One would hope.

So, Capote. Truman Capote's downfall came as a result of meeting someone with an identical upbringing who was the same in many ways, including his ability to articulate and his ability to express himself in writing, except for one thing: Truman Capote managed to wedge himself into the upper echelon of the American literati. He was a who's who kind of person, the sort everyone wanted to be around. Smith, however, was a sadistic killer who knew how to write and talk, and evidently even knew how to feel.

I wonder if it all caused Capote to become too conscious of his roots and how much he would never really be like those others in the crowds he always found himself in the midst of, and whether, if some wind had blown differently or some other leaf fell on some other day, he might have turned out the same as the subject he was writing on, the vicious killings committed by Smith.

Not that I'm comparing myself to either, but there was a scenario of late where I was in a crowd of people all well-connected and politically tuned, and I found myself realizing I had never felt more like the girl I really was as I grew up. Despite playing the role and fitting in well, I felt so far removed from the evening that it felt like interstellar travel just heading back home by night's end.

I was raised in White Rock, which was a suburb in transition back in the day. There were rich parts, middle parts, and poor parts. I came from a formerly poor part trying to become middle class. It didn't work well. Out of everyone in the neighbourhood, I was pretty much the only kid who grew up without a record or some other sordid deal. There was one other girl, but she was an outsider from the get-go, and they had money. The rest of us just tried to act like we did.

Out of all of them, there were kids who became drug dealers, car thieves, thugs, pregnant as teens, and so forth. There were even incestuous relationships I knew of, and lots of home violence. I'm the original good girl who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. I was educated in private Catholic schools and I wonder if that's the only thing that kept me in a different realm. Even my brother segued into bad things.

Every now and then, I'm a little too conscious that I come from a long line of farmers and land-workers with calloused hands and poor diction. My mother's family had some heavy shit go down in her teens, and my father just came from a long line of assholes, as far as I can surmise. (My father's anything but an asshole; he's as kind as the day is long. His folks and beyond, however, are a different tale.) Both were raised with shame and suspicion being the watchwords. Anyone outside the family was not to be trusted. Any act of kindness was to be regarded with suspicion. And one was always to be on the guard with defenses at the ready.

I've been hating the legacy of my family this week, wondering just how far down it all really goes, and whether I'll ever outlive some of the bullshit I was spoonfed as a kid. My mother was fighting her history when she died, and I'm still fighting it today, it would seem.

I was raised with a lot of dishonesty and with people manipulating each other. There was a lot of secrecy, and little trust. I find that I jump on the defensive now as quickly as each of my parents did, and I was hoping it had minimized over the years, but as my recent depression has/had brought out the worst in me, I've learned I've not gained as much distance from it as I would have hoped.

I feel in some ways like I'm starting over in life, as if some great reset button in the sky has been pushed and I've been given a somewhat clean slate. I hope this to be the case, at least. I've not fucked up at my new job yet, thank god, give the headspaces of recent weeks, and I think it possibly holds more potential for me than I may have believed it could. I'm starting new things and pushing in new directions, and I haven't taken so many steps back that I've lost my way. I haven't even gained weight. I think, in the long run, this time will seem lengthier than it really was, and will become one of those times in my life that I can point to as an ongoing example of my resiliency.

That's not to say I haven't faltered and made an ass of myself at all. I certainly have. Still, I'm resilient. I'm just quite imperfect in addition to that, is all.

I don't know. I'm just thinking a lot about the duplicitous lives even the most inocuous of us can lead, I guess. I'm thinking of how Truman Capote got what he wished for and spent the rest of his life regretting it. ("There are more tears spilled over answered prayers than unanswered ones," he once commented.) I'm thinking about who I am and whether it can be consistent with where I've come from, and whether the two need to coexist or whether I can one day gain some distance from my roots. I think the answer is probably not, but that I can learn to amicably amalgamate the two. I'm thinking about how I have more regret than I'd like to imagine. I'm thinking how someday soon this day, too, will be in the past. I'm thinking. I'm thinking an awful lot right now.

But I'm not feeling emotional, and that's a great change. I don't mind being introspective. It's who I am, it will always be who I am. I enjoy the act of thinking, and don't mind pointing my high-powered lens in my own direction. I hate being emotional about it and torn up about things, because that's not very in keeping with who I've been in the past. And I hope it's not in keeping with who I am to be in the future, either.

It's still a good day. It's just a thinking day. And now I'll bathe and do some reading. (I'm reading The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. Quite good. Some brilliant turning of phrases, and I hope I'm finally at the point where I'm mentally able to absorb some of his way with words. I've been feeling so stagnant as a writer of late -- nothing I've done feels like a stretch, nothing very creative has come, and I've had no original ideas. All I've been able to write on is my life and my emotions, and I'm frankly beginning to tire of the subject, but I've been unable to tap into topics beyond those. I think that tide, too, is beginning to turn, and of that I find myself quite grateful.)

Plants and Podcasts

I'm cleaning up my place and suddenly I'm hit with the desire to progress no further. There is an unbelievably thick coat of dirt -- not dust, heavier than that -- on most things in my place. It turns out the rumbling of men on the roof earlier this week was the beginning of a complete re-roofing of my apartment building, in which I live on the third floor.

Tearing all the old tar and grime off the roof has resulted in far more "dust" covering everything than I have ever seen here. I've noticed it affecting my asthma, too, which is bad since I was behaving badly and smoking dope for about ten days as I descended into my depressive hell that seems to slowly be fading away (a good thing). Even cleaning up is making my asthma worse. Bah! I guess I have to continue.

Anyhow, I wanted to write though about the state of my plants. I have two houseplants, a virtually indestructible jade plant that means the world to me, and another plant that I don't know the name of. (The jade plant has been grown from a shoot taken off the one that was my mother's pride and joy, one that grew to more than 8 feet across and now resides on the Sunshine Coast in a real estate office -- fitting, as she loved that area and sold real estate. My plant is the second generation, at least, and is 3 feet wide on its own now, and still going strong.)

Earlier this year, they both thrived. Now, one's near dead, the hanging plant.

I remember when my mother was in and out of the hospital in the six months before her death, particularly when she was getting radiation treatment, and I was caring for all the plants in the house. One plant, her African violet, began flowering right around the time that her treatments were coming to an end. She was thrilled. The plant had been her mother's and had never, ever bloomed since the death of her mother eight years before. She was thrilled to see it blooming.

She commented to me that anyone who could take care of flowers could take care of life. All you needed to do was pay attention and do what needed doing, and things would be fine.

It was on Wednesday morning that I noticed my plant being nearly dead -- a plant I've had for eight years now. I'm going to see if I can bring it back to life, and I hope I can.

The African violet was weird, though. It was like the movie E.T. The plant thrived as she was getting slowly better, and then suddenly the plant took a turn for the worse, as did my mother. The last flower on that plant shriveled and died, and fell off, within three days of her death. I threw the plant out after she passed, because it just weirded me out way too harshly.

I've been thinking about her comments a lot as I keep catching this virtually dead plant in my gaze, wondering if maybe she's right. All it takes is attention and doing what needs doing when it needs doing. Perhaps the secret to a happy life really is as simple as how to take care of a plant.

I'm going to hope so.

The main thing I'm doing to fight this is to make sure I'm productive first thing in the morning; tidy up a little, get a few things done. Then I get to start my day knowing I've at least accomplished something. This has made a bit of an improvement in my mood in the last couple of days. Last night I came home all depressed after my bike ride -- which took me majorly by surprise, as I thought I'd be cocky and the queen of the hill -- and spent a few minutes tidying and such, called a couple people, and that helped me shift slightly, but then I went back into the world and just enjoyed my errands I was running and came home in a good mood.

Which is good, as I did some recording for the podcasting.

I have a friend coming over tonight, and I guess I'm barbecuing to stuff his belly. I was thinking steaks, but since I killed and devoured all of Fat Boy -- a BIG fucking steak -- last night, I think Big-Ass Burgers are on order for tonight, and possibly corn and other things.

My friend's coming, though, to help me play with editing features in this program I'm using for the podcasts. I don't think he's used it before but I know he's an audiogeek and edits bootleg MP3s all the time, so he should be able to figure something out, as should I.

Once I start learning the editing, then I can begin piecing together a show. I need to contact the guy I'm doing it in part for and let him know that I think the first week of September is Go Time. Specifically, September 7th.

I'm considering doing a rant about the anniversary of September 11th. I need to think carefully about it and really consider the potential fall-out, but I think what I'm feeling / thinking in regards to the anniversary might be more universal than I suspect. I might write a test-run of my rant and post that to see what the response is, but since I'm loathe to expose my hand before I need to, well...

I don't know if I'll have my site up and running by then. I've downloaded Wordpress and I can't get the fucking thing installed because I'm apparently too stupid to live. I need to look into other blogging software (recommendations, people?) or else I'm just going to stick with my trusty Blogger and publish to my feed... Which might make more sense in the short-term, because "easy way out" isn't a cop-out, not for me, not right now. It's called efficiency.

There's still the online store I need to restart, and because I flattened my images I'd designed for my t-shirts, I might now be able to edit them as easily as I want to... I need to switch out the URLs for my new site's URL, since all the marketing will be revolving around my podcast.

My god, have I been procrastinating, but I've also been exhausted. At least I'm getting there. This week will begin being much more productive. Also, before the podcast I'll have a three-day weekend for all the tweaking and shit I need to do. Cool. Tonight, I learn editing.

And incidentally, I did manage to record a couple promising bits that do need editing down last night, so that's also a good start. I probably have 15 minutes of potential material, but I'm betting now that I come up with better shit over the next couple of weeks. I think getting off the pill is allowing me a better bit of equilibrium already -- I'm more logical about this fight now, instead of being so emotional. That's a plus. Thank fucking god, yeah?

(Hmm... I'd forgotten about the Blogger "publish-to" feature until just now, and think I'd be a fool to not go that way in the short term. I can always change templates and improve it down the line, when life isn't so overwhelming, and I have a better idea of my audience. There are more important things on which my time can be spent at present. Yay. This is a good idea. A little less stress, then.)

Saturday, August 19, 2006


I ate breakfast at around 10:30. Since then I have worked, cycled just over 25km, had to run back downtown on my scoot to grab something, bought groceries (and end-of-season blooberries)and NOW I am about to make dinner. The grill is heating up. I've had no lunch. It's amazing I haven't torn some of the zombies' heads off I've seen walking around town today and scarfed their zombie noggins for a snack.

(Seriously, there are zombies walking around town. Everyone's been made up to look like zombies with blood drooling down their faces and such... pretty fucking cool, actually, and I've yet to learn why. Some gathering at the Art Gallery. When Fat Boy doesn't beckon, I'll investigate.)

Yeah. You heard me. Fat Boy. I have named my steak. He is Fat Boy, and tonight is his unlucky night. I am grilling with a fuckin' vengeance, baby!

Die, Fat Boy, die! (A medium-rare death.)

Lazy Saturday... Not

Yawn. I'm up. I could sleep a couple more hours, but I'm up. I'll sleep in tomorrow.

Today's a few hours of work and a bike ride, the latter of which I'm actually looking forwards to. I've got my camera charging, and my challenge is to take 15 good pictures today. (Out of far more snaps, I bet, too.)

These are some photos I took on my recent trip around the seawall. It's how I'm making my Saturdays at work be a little more anticipated. Today I'll get started earlier, and work less. I'm tired. Money's great, but tired sucks. I haven't had a two-day weekend in a month. I won't have one until Labour Day, really, and then I'll have a three-day one 'cos I'll be fucked if I'm working. I'd rather "just get by" and keep my sanity, thankyouverymuch.

I love riding around the seawall. I think I'll have a grand total of 30km today, which'll be the only good exercise I've gotten since last weekend, but at least it's happening. When I get home, a FEAST! I have a sexy Uruguayan steak I've got designs on, and I'm going to relax and harden my arteries the good way, and then I'll play with podcasting for a spell.

This is the first time in my LIFE that I have been depressed and NOT gained weight. No matter what else goes down right now, I'm fucking thrilled about that. I also had a few moments yesterday when I was On. I was Steff, with a capital S. I felt like ME. I was considerate, I was funny, I was rolling with what happened. That was nice. I miss that. I ultimately had a killer accomplished day. All these little things add up. I'm doing everything right. Soon, victory!

But now: Coffee. Here are my photos from last week, which are nothing spectacular, but I haven't had my camera out for a while and I haven't been on my game. I suspect tonight will have better yields.

I forget what you call these little itty islands near shore. Pfft. I know someone who probably knows the name, being such a word geek and all, but this is where the holes in my vocabulary emerge: Landscape.

Every time I ride through Stanley Park, around the Seawall, I do it like you're supposed to -- go counter-clockwise from the Coal Harbour side -- and I spend the whole time wondering if Rock Guy has been out. I want to call these Inukshuks, but they're not, not technically. This guy gets out there at the crack of dawn, with low tide, and does this for the hell of it. It's one guy and he's been doing this for more than a decade now, as long as I've been riding the Seawall, and probably more. Now and then he'll step outside his zone and do it along False Creek or in Granville Island, but near Third Beach in Stanley Park is where his heart is evidently at its ease.

This guy, hands down, gets my vote as one of my most favoured Vancouverites. He does what I love artists to do: Do it for the hell of it, and if money comes, then there you go. If not, then you have satisfaction. I fucking LOVE that in an artist, and this guy's at the top of that pack.

The city lies directly east of these rock art pieces. Dude's our own local Andy Goldsworthy.

I also love the steps you find around the park that lead down into the water. As a girl, I grew up in White Rock, and when you walked along Marine Drive in the late '70s and early 80s, you'd find staircase after staircase leading up from the drive, but you'd never see the homes they led to, much like some parts of San Francisco, because the grades were so deep.

Since then, White Rock has become home to the rich and the pretentious, and many of those rustic staircases have been done away with and much of the charm is lost. I miss the town of my youth, because the one that's there now is filled with the sort of yuppies I can't stand.

But this picture made me twinge with nostalgia, and for that, I like it.

There's nothing remarkable about this shot. It would be better on a cloudy day. It'd be better at sunset. It'd be better a hundred different ways. Yet still, I sort of like it. I'm still holding out for the ultimate photo of the Lion's Gate bridge. There's so much potential to come out with an incredible shot of that bridge, but it eludes me. One day. This is the photo I took this spring of the Granville Bridge, which I can officially stop taking photos of 'cos this photo's too fucking cool to trump, I think. One of those rare moments when it all works, y'know?

What in the Hell?!

There I am, hopped onto my scooter, a little after 12:30am, tired, headed home for a nice toasty sleep.

I'm near East Hastings and Victoria, on a side street, when I see no fewer than what looked to be about forty young people, late teens and early 20s, a couple blocks down the street, walking in mass formation straight down the centre of the road, headed straight for me.

So, I turned and fuckin' zipped out of there like the yellow-belly I am, even though it was probably just some dumb "let's walk down the centre of the street" and "yeah, dude, strength in numbers" moment for those morons, but, hey. We yellow-bellies err on the side of caution, I'll have you know.

Look. Belly. Yellow. Yep. That's me!

OH! AND I ALMOST FORGOT the big drama! I live by one of the busiest intersections in Vancouver. I zipped through, just before 1am, rounded down my alley, slid into my scooter space, hopped off, plunked down the kickstand and SCREEEEECH, BANG! An accident in the very intersection I just whizzed through. So, I was in a decent mood before that, but now I've got this weird stupid little "gosh, lucky me" bit of gratitude going on that's taking the chill off the ride I was underdressed for (considering I had to cross town and all -- there's only one word for it: Nipply).

Friday, August 18, 2006

Man, Not Again

I'm back to depressed again this morning. I don't get it. I'm angry about it, too, and that's "really" helping. Sigh.

I had the suggestion proposed to me last night that I get off the birth control pills for awhile, and I guess now that I'm single and not getting laid, I might as well, but it's just such a pain in the ass if I do become sexually active again. Sigh. I've decided on a compromise. I'll go off for three months and see if it helps. If it does, I will probably return to taking the pill around Christmas or late fall, but only on the regular one-month intervals, or perhaps for six weeks on the pill, then one off. I think this three-months of pills thing has fucked me royally.

Not that I wasn't depressed before. I'd been fighting it. When my ex broke his leg, I went from using all that energy I had been using to make myself feel good about myself, and tried to help him. That was my mistake, and I'm paying for it. Oh, I would have helped him either way -- that's what we do for people we care about, right? But I should've been more balanced about it. Balance has always been evil to me. I need to remember how important it is to continue caring for myself no matter what happens to those around me. It's something I've always forgotten, and the price I've paid has always been good.

(They say that good and caring people are more prone to depression, as are intellects. Yeesh.)

So, yet another weapon in my arsenal against this. 1) Writing all the time, 2) the meds, 3) the lack of BC, 4) exercise [but not enough of it] and so forth. I will greatly reduce my drinking, and I will largely eliminate the dope. Now I need to begin actively caring about myself more -- ie, doing things I enjoy like cooking or stuff like that. Not sure I really have the time for it all yet, but soon I will. Still, if I cook myself two or three decent meals this week, I'll be happy.

And I should make more muffins with soy flour. I did that a couple of weeks ago, and oh, my GOD, did my body respond well to soy flour! I'd say holy shit, but then you'd have too good an idea what I mean. Still, soy flour was great to bake with, and the taste was just fine. I'm switching off wheat flour for most baking now. Yeah, I should do some blueberry muffins. Berry season's almost over and I have nothing in the freezer. Bah!

This week will be a busy week for me, and then the week after will go largely unplanned. Hopefully, by the end of the first week in September, I will have turned a corner.

But I think I have been depressed off and on for more than a year. I think I need to get real about that. I was winning the fight, and then it slipped, then it fell, then it tumbled right out of sight, and here I am. Still, I'll win this. It's just agonizing while I wait, is all.

I'll probably feel better out in the world later. Coffee is the first plan of attack. I'm so sick of eggs, but I have no decent food in the house for brekkie. Fuck it, toast and cheese it is. My day will improve, my day will improve, my day will improve, my day will improve... Mantra mode: On.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

On serial killers, writing, eight year olds, and Garfield.

This is cool.

As a kid, I once went for Halloween as Johnny Dillinger. The next year I used the same clothes, painted on a black mustache, bought a cane at Value Village, and went as Chaplin. I think I was 12 and 13, respectively.

I used to love mafia shit and true crime books and all that. Oh, man, I read sooooo many true crime books when I was a teen. One day, I read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, and for me the road stopped. True crime would never measure up to the stuff of that book, not ever. Except maybe Helter Skelter, which is pretty wicked, but still... In Cold Blood defined a turning point in literature. The non-fiction as a novel. Yep. Cool shit, Bob.

I've been wondering sometimes why I even write anymore. I... stop more than I start. You think I'm writing a lot, 'cos there's all this new shit all the time, but I feel like I'm not writing enough. 'Cos what's coming out ain't what's inside, you know? Incongruent. That's what it is. Impotent and incongruent.

Sigh. If you want an image, the light's slipping into the room from the hall, from behind me. My right leg is bent over my left knee, on a 90-degree angle. I've shimmied my seat all the way away from the computer and I'm leaning, stretched out, to type. And I wonder about the discomfort.

[Adjusting chair. Feet down. Sitting straight. Okay, I lied, but now I'm... there. Done. Erect, proper, even possible regal.]

Now I'm obsessed. I've raised the chair, I have moved the keyboard closer, and I have turned on my desk lamp. I have even put my Western Europe Lonely Planet guide under my monitor's pedestal. (Might as well get some use somewhere. Fat lot of travelling I'm doing.)

Why the fuss? Well, if I'm to tell you a story, then I require comfort.

I have no idea now why I write. I have a book called Why I Write and it's a whole bunch of killer authors telling why they write. I don't know why I write. I can't tell you it's for some profound reason, like a search for truth or something like that. I just do. I do, because if I didn't, life would be unbearable.

Every now and then I write about the six years of writer's block I had. Talk about a gaping chasm of heartbreak. Just six years of constantly being unable to say anything of value at all. I would have these rare moments when I would remember a time when I could write, a time when I had a notebook everywhere I went. I was that girl, that girl with the long hair and the glasses at the corner table in the cafe, the girl who looked at no one but saw everything. That was me. I was that girl.

And I would remember being that girl. It'd invariably be some late night on a beach somewhere where I'd be talking with a friend and some star or light or figment in the night would stop me cold, and the words that would tumble out would surprise me. I was that articulate? Since when?

And I'd remember. And I'd long, and long, and long to be her again.

To say the thoughts that really emerged inside. To spill that into the open. Oh, the thought would send my heart crashing to the floor like a falling elevator. I have never, ever wanted anything as much as I then wanted to write.

Just under two years ago, I started this blog. 22 months. It started as an exercise to see if I could rediscover writing. I was just getting over my accident injuries, and I was on crutches. At the time, my beloved friend GayBoy was consistently letting me down to the point where I considered ditching him as a friend, because I needed help, being on crutches and living on the fourth floor of a walk-up, and not owning a car. GayBoy was never around. When I finally confronted him, I learned about his relationship's demise and how he fell off the face of the earth for a bit. I forgave him and here we are, but during all that time, most of my friends disappeared. I preoccupied myself with blogging on my new iBOOK, which I bought so I could no longer have the excuse of not having a reliable computer to write on.

Blogging became my life. I never got any comments. I, for all I knew, had no readers. I wrote because writing was all I wanted to do for so fucking long. To write, perchance to understand.

Recently, I've felt creatively stuck. I'm writing non-fucking-stop in the attempt to jar my creativity. Nothing happens. Just nothing. No inspired moments. What the hell has happened? Dry.

I have avoided going onto anti-depressants because I feared they would compromise my creativity. Naturally, to combat that, I bought weed. I think the two have been a damaging cocktail, and I am not happy about it. I suspect I must not buy anymore dope for a long, long time. I will still smoke when it finds its way to me, but I think prolonged, repeated exposure is damaging to me now. That's a price I won't pay.

I sure as fuck will not let anything tamper with writing.

I would love nothing more than to make money from writing, but if I had to decide tomorrow whether I could either write without earning money from it and just being comfortable for life like I am now, or be rich and never write... I'd choose the present. I think it unlikely anything else will ever bring me the sense of wholeness I get from the days when writing just comes together.

I was saying earlier that my confidence has just up and left me. Which is moronic. I deserve to feel like an intelligent, creative, competent, and even accomplished person. I've had some great life experiences, I've done lots of neat things, and for most of my years, I've really lived life. Professionally, I've had better days, but personally, I've really overcome a lot of adversity in my life, and when it comes to things like writing, I've been pretty good at promoting myself without trying very hard to do so, you know? I OUGHT to feel great about myself.

And soon I know I will be. I can feel it starting to gurgle. I'm just tired of not being me, and I'm at the point where I'm taking drastic and confident action in that regard.

So, I'm sitting around and thinking about what writing has meant to me in my life. And, you know, I have had times when I find a single piece of paper with something just heart-rippingly raw and true and so in the moment that it hurts, and it's just some fragment of an emotion I had to just put down. Sometimes it's a thought that made me laugh. Now and then it's an observation. Sometimes it's a good quote from a show. Like this one from West Wing I found recently from a few years back.
"I just found out I'm a Canadian," said Donna.
"Do you feel funnier?" asks Josh.
I'm remembering when I was eight years old and got off the airplane in Toronto and managed to totally lose the stewardess who was to accompany me to the baggage claim to meet my uncle, and there I was, eight, wandering Pearson International... until I found the stationery store. I bought a Garfield notepade (hey, it was 1981) and a Garfield pencil and some other pretty notepad, and all I had for my whole week was $35. I spent $8 on writing paper, and I was 8.

My uncle found me soon after and nearly died of relief. "Get this, Shirley," he told my mom on the phone later. "She spent a quarter of her money already on writing paper."

When I was in grade 5, I won a writing contest about why I wanted to see Pope John Paul II, and I won and got to sit in a special place for his mass, on the floor. I was elated. This was when I still wanted to be a nun.

And then there was my mother's eulogy. Wrote that, too. That was hard. But that's the very definition of the power writing has, isn't it? A well-delivered eulogy? With words you can convey the very greatness that was this person who's gone forever from this world. With words, I could make people understand the magnitude of my loss. I could spill for them the very stuff that composed my soul.

That, for me, was the height of what writing was. I've had a good deal of fun writing for the Cunt, and I love some of the stuff there, but some of my best shit, it's all here. This blog has a very special place in my heart. I sometimes hate the Cunt while loving it, because with it comes so very much pressure and so much demand. It's strange having a well-read blog. It's like a job. Here, I write because I want to. And sometimes that's all it really takes. Want.

So I'm upset that my writing has been less than par of late, but perhaps I've needed to turn the focus onto myself. I'm pleased with some of the things I've learned about myself in the last three or four days in particular. When I do stupid shit, like hurt other people, it really wakes me the fuck up to what I'm doing wrong. It's bad enough when I'm just harming myself, but when I offend or hurt other people, that's when it starts feeling kinda hardcore for me. That's when I know I need to change my game.

So, that was this week. I'd been coming near bottom for awhile, but it's nice to have hit it, and now I think I'm done. Through my writing I've made some pretty keen observations of the dichotomy that is my mindset these days, and now I just need time to pass so I can process and adapt to my observations, you know?

And through it all, I can keep writing. I tell you, when I feel I have the jump back in my writing, I will feel like I'm coming back to myself. Last night was a start. Tonight's not a bad night either. But now I sleep.

What a Difference

Just a day later, and my life seems so much better.

I got to bed ridiculously early last night, just before 10, woke up in a pretty decent mood, then rolled over for another 40 minutes, got up, checked my email and discovered my friend was willing to put our argument behind us, which is nice, and had myself a nice breakfast complete with honey garlic sausages I picked up yesterday on the Drive.

I took the time to enjoy my breakfast, hopped on the scoot, and traffic was bliss for once. Nothing irked me, no unforeseen obstacles, all good.

Work has been like night and day compared to my last two weeks. I've gotten so much shit done and, for the first time in weeks, I feel like a competent human being. Unbelievable. Oh, my god. I'm feeling almost like myself today. About damned time.

Add to that getting a really nice email from someone this afternoon, and my day's going in good places.

What a difference a good, restful sleep makes, you know? I'd had that fun experience writing last night and for some reason it just allowed some of my stress to ebb away. I'm sure all the stretching I'd done during Rockstar helped, too.

I'm wondering if this new switch to trying to suppress my period was maybe fucking with my equilibrium -- maybe an extended PMS or something? Now that I've finally gotten my "womanly curse," and the PMS has died off, I'm almost feeling like the old Steff for the first time in weeks. I'm one for finding coincidences and thinking they mean a lot, so maybe I'm overthinking it (not a surprise) but it seems to compute. It's probably the pills fucking with me again. Hmm.

Either way, I feel oddly free today. I even put off my lunch break until about 20 minutes ago. I hope there's more of this Me available in the near future. I've missed this feeling. I've missed being myself. And, what's more, I've been pretty angry about it. Today, no anger.

Thank god. And, add to all that goodness this wonderful toasted cranberry-turkey panini, and life's a good thang, baby. Today, anyhow.