Category Archives: long thoughts

My Coffee Went Cold While I Typed This, Dammit.

Published / by violet / Leave a Comment

Really, everything that’s going on right now is pretty.. formulaic.  Coffee and I are working on our separation agreement (the legal one as opposed to the verbal one) and, individually, working on how to separate our lives and create our own, independently.

The hard part is that I’ve spent 20-ish years asking his advice on everything. Not in a terrible way – not asking for permission or whatever – but in the way you ask someone who’s known you forever to help you steer your thoughts.  Like, you know me really well, so if I do this thing will I be happy with myself?  And now I have some huge choices ahead of me and my life consultant has other priorities in the big picture.  So, this is hard. He has been very graceful in making time and space to help me figure some stuff out.

I had posted on facebook that everything was amicable – and it’s true. The only point where we disagree is the big one – he wants this divorce and I don’t. I asked him if he was absolutely sure this is what he wants, whether there was something I could do to change that, and he said he was sure this marriage is over.  Ultimately, he knows himself better than I do – if being married to me no longer makes him happy in the way he wants to be happy, there is no point in arguing.  It wouldn’t be fair to him. We agreed to end things as intentionally and gently as possible.

I know the whole “we’re going to stay friends!” thing is a cliche. I know that it’s a thing to cling to in a moment when things are falling apart and there is loss on the horizon. And I don’t know if it’s possible to be friends, honestly, when there’s history (good and bad) but, for the moment, we both plan to try our best.  He has been my human for 20 years. My best friend. My partner. My family.  He has seen me at my objectively worst and best, ugliest and prettiest, nicest and awful-est.

Anyway, what I’m pondering this morning is about living an independent life.

Being with someone else means, at times, compromise. It means being a part of someone else’s routines and choices and decisions. Some of those have been really good – like drinking coffee in bed together every morning, talking about things (“the podcast”) and starting the day off feeling connected. Some have been through default or circumstances. Some haven’t been great at all.

I am now starting to try to create my own habits and routines and rituals – but my touch points and anchors are missing. Getting ready for sleep at night seems to be taking me three times longer than before and I keep finding myself wandering off to do something else, absentmindedly breaking my patterns and then climbing in bed to wonder why the curtains are still open.  Did I brush my teeth? Quadruple-check the alarm. Why is that light still on?

There’s no morning coffee in bed (but, for now, Coffee is prepping the caffeine for the morning so I can just show up and pour a mug). I’m trying to figure out what my brain wants to do with this space in my day. This morning I got out of bed, started some laundry, grabbed some coffee, and now I’m at my computer writing. This feels nice but awkward. I’ll try to stick with it for a bit and see how it evolves. Writing, I mean. I’m out of practice.

The funny thing about divorce is that, with so many people having done it (including me, once before), there’s a lot of advice and opinions and perspectives. People who got fucked over in the process of ending a relationship say certain things. People who are still friends with their exes say other things. Some of the best advice came from a coworker whose husband died.  People tell me to rearrange all the furniture, create my own space, shake things up. Other people tell me to keep everything the same, as much as possible, and slowly push those routines into other things. One friend, whose wife died suddenly, sent me an unexpected message on fb to tell me that while our situations are different, the grief is similar and, having been through grief, I should just let it flow for a while.

I don’t know what I’m doing – a combination, I think. Trying not to make big decisions while realizing that I will, at various points, have no choice.

(I mean, for fuck’s sake, it hasn’t even been a week since I learned I was going to be single.)

I am looking forward to making this space my own.
I am terrified that I will be broke and lose the house.

I am excited about painting a few rooms.
I am terrified that the furnace will explode and that there are unexpected termites in the attic and I will have to sell both of my kidneys to fix that.

I am wondering if I will sleep on the couch sometimes.
I am scared that I will live out my final years eating No Name Brand cat food.

Yeah.

I have a lot of friends and acquaintances – I have friends, online, that I’ve known for 20+ years. But I don’t have a lot of close friends. I am not particularly outgoing, I have social anxiety and it takes me forever to get comfortable around people. And I have grown accustomed to being able to just “nope” out of things and not find myself lonely. Socializing exhausts me for so many reasons.  I panic when I feel obligated. I panic when I don’t know what’s expected of me. I always feel like I’m fucking it up – I forget the important date, I talk about myself too much, I didn’t know I was supposed to bring something with me, what are the fucking rules of engagement? Can I get a little laminated card?

The funny thing is that just before COVID hit, I had been talking to Coffee about how I wanted to be more social. I wanted to hang out with people and do things. I wanted to meet new people, maybe. Dip my toes in the water of humanity.

(And I did – a little bit. Mustang stuff, mostly. Meet ups. Cruises.)

But sitting here, alone in my home office, I feel very much the absence of a community at what may be one of the worst times to possibly need other humans. I am terrible at asking for help (and, right now, I don’t even know what help I might need). I am terrible at reaching out for support.  I’ve been amazed by the messages pouring in, the people who’ve popped up for a quick “hey, I hope you’re okay” (in words or otherwise). My single friends have just popped up to tell me that I can handle this, on my own, and that it will just take some time to figure things out.  It is all a bit overwhelming and I am wildly grateful for it.

I was talking to a friend last night about some of this. He reminded me that it’s hard for everyone to ask for help but that people like to help. I know this.  He started listing off the ways he can help me – big things, small things. But who will I call at 3 am when the roof caves in, I asked. What will I do when I hear a weird noise? Who will I sing the washing machine cycle-ending song with? Where will all the ‘inside jokes’ go?

And then I remember to take deep breaths. Change sucks. But.. just because things won’t be the same, doesn’t mean it’s going to be bad.

Astrology for 2019.

Published / by violet / 2 Comments on Astrology for 2019.

I have always enjoyed the idea of astrology – that the stars align in various ways to make various things happen (whether those ‘things’ are personality traits or specific events) but I don’t attach a lot of weight to the idea. There is just no reasonable, rational way to use astrology. It’s fun, but.. yeah. If you read the profile of a typical Cancer it certainly describes me, but.. y’know. You can read anything and make it fit, somehow, if the wording is vague enough.

At any rate, a friend posted these horoscopes on FB this morning and I clicked through to see what my sign had to say – and.. well, it’s pretty accurate about the things I need to change and/or do differently.  Maybe it just feels that way because I’m looking for inspiration or trying to shift how I work and exist?

Whatever.

Here’s my horoscope:

CANCER

Your Contribution to the Movement: Redefinition.  
Challenge in this Era: Let’s be clear, Cancer, you feed the movement. Maybe this means making food for your families, friends, community, or projects. But really it means that the way you show up, care for your loved ones, make houses into homes, and strive to offer guidance, compassion, and empathy to many, indeed does feed the movement emotionally and spiritually. The love and work that Cancer offers is essential, and everyone needs it from someone, however it often goes without thanks and is taken for granted. Your challenge for this era is to redefine motherhood, parenthood, caregiving, and home and family life at large. You do this by transforming those definitions in your own life, in ways that are unique and personal to you. These identities no longer mean self-sacrifice, or putting everyone’s needs ahead of your own while you tumble into never-ending cycles of burnout. When you uplift your own needs and boundaries, this teaches the entire collective something significant about themselves. Your tough love, Mama Bear way of nurturing inspires anyone who witnesses you. While you undergo this transformation you are shedding many of your own old ideas and attachments to what home, family, and identity used to feel like, and you may have to let go of some loved ones in the process too. Cancer medicine says, it’s okay to feel those losses and gains as deeply as you need to. Your emotions won’t kill you. Your emotions are your strength.

Huh.

Interestingly, I also learned about the concept of the moon sign (the “inner me”)  and the ascending sign (the way I am perceived by other people).  Here’s a little overview of that stuff.

My moon sign is Scorpio. My ascending sign is Aquarius.

So, here’s how others will perceive me:

AQUARIUS

Your Contribution to the Movement: Organizing with Principles of Friendship, not Duty. 
Challenge in this Era: Aquarius, you are the master organizer when it comes to bringing together people, ideas, projects, and forward momentum. You’re also super tuned in to that future frequency, which means you’re thinking about sustainability too. You know in your heart that our movements should not be just another task we put on an already over-loaded list, or shoved into an already booked schedule, or just another obligation that causes burnout. Instead, you’re asking the movement to uplift qualities of a good fucking friendship. Good friendships accept and respect each of us as we are, as our own unique, individual, weirdo genius. Friendships are places we can recharge, have fun, gain energy, comfort, safety, and inspiration. In good friendships, there is no control or manipulation, no talking down to or over one another. There is genuine respect for each other’s autonomy, but also a deep desire to connect, and to share resources, knowledge, time, care, and company. A good friend will give you space to grow and change when you need to. All these qualities are essential in our movements as well, especially as we need to be open to adapting to a quickly changing social and global climate on a collective scale. Your challenge in this era will be confronting whatever dynamics get in the way of friendship: unchecked power dynamics, power-tripping, tyranny, dictatorship. It will feel daunting, but when you get overwhelmed, just remember you’re not in this alone. Gather your people. That’s the whole point.

And the inner me:

SCORPIO

Your Contribution to the Movement: You Break the Cycle. 
Challenge in this Era: Dear Scorpio, since birth you have carried memories of the most painful side of humanity. You have carried secrets from your ancestors that they had nobody to tell but your body. Most Scorpios grow up with some kind of close and intimate knowledge of death, suicide, mental health crises, abuse, or addiction. You’ve likely dealt with supporting family members or loved ones through these struggles, or you yourself have experienced them and lived to tell the tale. Why? Because you came here to break the cycle. Your challenge is to not let yourself be defined by the violence you’ve faced or witnessed. Rather, remind yourself that you have created miracles just by being alive. Scorpio is the sign that rules intergenerational trauma. These are cycles of poverty, sexual or psychological abuse, secrets, despair, and pain that are passed down through generations. So many tried their best, but did not know how to break out of the circumstances they were given. That’s why we have Scorpio. More than any other, you know about death and rebirth. You know what it is to take the violence that you’ve been given and turn it into an empowering story. In our movements, we fear the phoenix, we fear the one who feels as deeply as the ocean, but we need Scorpio more than ever. We need to be brave enough to be present with the generational wounds of slavery, genocide, mass displacement, incarceration, and the ugliest sides of humanity we’ve seen. We need the courage to sit with the emotional and psychological impacts these systems have had on our hearts and minds—whether we have been harmed or done the harm, or both. We mustn’t run away from the ways that these violent systems have been internalized within us—that is the only way we can let them die. Scorpio, your medicine is the death ritual. We follow your lead. We are your witness, as you bury the pain you’ve endured in the Earth’s soil, as you grow new life from the dirt. We praise you.

Well. Okay then.

And It Was All Yellow.

Published / by violet / 1 Comment on And It Was All Yellow.

Over the weekend, Coffee and I went to tour a house that’s for sale down the road from us. The listing price is about $120,000 more than we paid for our home (6 years ago) and, from the photos online, it didn’t look particularly fancy.

We are not planning to sell our home, or move, and we don’t know anyone who’s in the market for a home – we just like to snoop through. If you put up an “open house” sign in our ‘hood, there’s a decent chance we’re going to show up.

I like to look at people’s living spaces. I have to be reminded that people’s houses are (usually) somewhat staged – all the clutter has been boxed up and put away into storage, windows have been cleaned, furniture has been carefully arranged, etc.  But I like to see how people fill their rooms, where they hang a mirror, how they decorate their rec room, and how they organize their garage.

I especially like it if the house in question has even the tiniest resemblance to my own home – like, holy shit, THAT’S what we could put in that weird little alcove! That’s what our bathroom would look like if we moved things around a bit!

In this case.. well.

The layout was similar but the house is much smaller – so the rooms had a weird Alice in Wonderland feel to them. The stairway was narrower. The bedrooms each had one window, not two. The kitchen was teensy.

Walking through the place, I would put money on it being a single father living there, post-divorce, with at least 2 teenagers. Coffee thinks maybe they have to sell as a result of that divorce. I got the vibe that no adult women had lived in that house for a few years – and one was definitely not living there at the time that they put the place on the market.  I will admit that I am basing this on stereotypes.

When I was a kid, my parents smoked. My grandparents smoked. Everyone smoked, everywhere, all the time. In the car. In the house. In restaurants. I spent a lot of my formative years choking on tobacco smoke and gasping for air while someone, cigarette clenched between tight lips, tried to find my inhalers.  At my grandparents’ house, I would often be told to “go stand outside for a little while”, even in the cold, if my barking cough started up.

Look, I understand addiction on some levels, y’know?

Eventually my mother quit smoking and my Dad was relegated to smoking in the garage or his workshop (or his truck).  The air in my childhood home cleared up. (I basically held my breath at my grandparents’ house.) After moving out on my own, I lived with people who smoked – but who either did it in their own rooms or outdoors (with the exception of weed which wafted everywhere, all the time).

From 1996 onward, though, I lived in spaces that were almost completely smoke-free. And my lungs got really, really spoiled by that. No more inhalers!  It was hard to visit my Dad, who was back to smoking inside (because he was single) and my grandparents who still smoked like it was the only thing keeping them alive.

Since 2001, though, most of my time is spent in non-smoking environments. And that’s all well and good, truly, but holy shit am I ever sensitive and aware of smoke now.  I visit clients’ homes and I want to die. I start to feel like I’m dying of suffocation. I have a few friends who chain smoke indoors – and that’s okay! it’s their home! I’m a guest! but.. holy fuck. The smell is like an oil slick – it coats everything. I can smell it on my skin, hair, clothes.. it’s awful.  I can’t wait to come home and shower and put all my clothing into the washing machine.

(I don’t know how I survived bars in Toronto in the 90s. Was it because I was drunk?)

So, as we’re walking around this house that’s for sale, I am only slightly distracted by the weird room sizes – but I am vividly aware that while the lighting is quite yellowy, the walls and floors are also quite yellowy. Everything smells like rancid smoke.  And I start thinking about how, when my grandparents died, my Dad had to hire a professional painter to deal with the interior of their home (which he wanted to sell) because the walls were so heavily coated in sticky, yellow, rancid stank. He tried to apply special primer and watched as the yellow  nicotine just oozed right through it. 60+ years of multiple people chain smoking will do that.

We came home after the open house, I changed my clothes and washed myself off and pondered just how different my adult life is, in some ways, from my childhood.

And I wondered who would buy that house for that amount of money.

Intro to Weed for Michelle – Part 1.

Published / by violet / 3 Comments on Intro to Weed for Michelle – Part 1.

If there’s one thing that I like best about the whole legal weed thing, it’s that I can actually choose the strain that I want – and am not simply getting whatever someone has on hand.  This is lesson number one, for most people: there are different types of weed and they don’t have the same effects.

There are three types that people consume: sativa, indica, and hybrids.  The latter, of course, is a mix of the first two.

Before I knew about the different types, I was often confused by other people discussing their ‘highs’. For me, weed had almost exclusively given me the stereotypical ‘lazy’ feeling with a heavy side dose of the munchies. Meanwhile, I had friends telling me how they liked to smoke a bit of weed and then clean their house from top to bottom. Like… what?! How on earth could anyone find that enjoyable when the sofa cushions were so soft and squishy?

The answer is in the type of weed consumed.

Sativas are, generally, a more ‘up’ high. Cheerful. Not necessarily a stimulant, but a much more focused or “cerebral” high.  Some people would call them a daytime high – it’s usually not accompanied by the urge to curl up on the sofa with a bowl of cheesies.

Indicas are, generally, the evening/night high. A relaxing high in terms of both brain and body. Often used for chronic pain, insomnia, and anxiety.

Interestingly, the plants don’t just have different effects – they also behave differently as they’re growing. Sativas are tall. Indicas are short and shrubby. Sativas take longer to bloom. Indicas are better grown indoors instead of outside.

Hybrids are a.. well, hybrids. A combination. The aim, of course, being to give someone the best of both worlds. They might be 60% sativa and 40% indica, or the reverse, or literally any other ratio.

Beyond the type of weed, there’s the actual strain – like any other plant, there are plenty from which to choose (like Tangerine Dream, Pink Kush, White Widow, etc..etc..etc..) Each will have a naturally different flavour and scent (thanks to terpenes – scroll down this page for a little chart with some basic flavour/scents. Each will have a slightly different effect. Each will have different levels of THC and CBD.  Much like buying any other product, it’s nice to find one that you like and re-order as-needed. Consistency is a good thing!

Let’s talk about THC and CBD.

Your body naturally makes something called cannabinoids and it has receptors for them.  Cannabinoids are chemicals – and, in addition to those made by your body, cannabinoids are found in weed. Most of the receptors are in your brain – so when the cannabinoids attach, you experience changes in your mood, perception of time, senses, coordination, etc.

The two cannabinoids most discussed, at least when it comes to weed, are CBD and THC.

CBD has been a big deal for a lot of people over the past few years – with people buying it in lotions, feeding it to their dogs, and otherwise finding creative uses for it.  CBD is cannabidiol – it’s part of the weed that doesn’t get you high at all, but has the potential to relieve pain, help you sleep, decrease anxiety, etc. The research is still pretty new, but a lot of people swear by it. For some people, it’s the redeeming part of the devil’s lettuce.

THC is the part that gets you high.  THC is tetrahydrocannabinol. It attaches to the brain receptors and makes you feel relaxed, a bit happy (or downright euphoric), etc. The more THC, the higher the high.  Under 2.5% THC and you likely won’t feel anything. 15% THC is sort of the middle ground. Over 25% is considered strong.

Think of it like alcohol – the higher the percentage, the stronger it is. You can use a smaller quantity (generally) to get your desired effect.

Every strain of weed will have a specific amount of CBD and THC in it – low or high, depending. Some people specifically choose weed that’s low in THC but higher in CBD – they don’t want to feel ‘high’, but they want the pain relief, perhaps.  Other people prefer something with more THC so they can experience the ‘high’.

Summary:

So, you’re thinking you want to try some (presumably) legal weed. You need to decide on a combination of the following:

  1. Are you looking for something a bit energizing or relaxing or middle ground? (Sativa, Indica, or hybrid)
  2. Do you want to feel high or just have some potential benefits from CBD, or somewhere in the middle? (% THC and/or % CBD)
  3. What flavours are you interested in? (Strain)

And then you’ll need to decide how you want to consume it – which I’ll talk about in (probably) tomorrow’s instalment.

Also – please add corrections, more info, or ask questions… I tried to be accurate, thorough, but not overwhelming… but I was a little bit baked while writing this.  (Ha!)

Going Feral.

Published / by violet / Leave a Comment

There is a possibility that Coffee will have to travel for work at some point in the future and my mind has immediately gone to the worst-case-scenarios. I like to imagine myself as being a smart, strong, sensual woman – and to varying degrees I am – but the life I have constructed with Coffee is intended to minimize my weaknesses.

I have been half-joking about all the things that will go wrong – like a toilet will get clogged and, since I have no idea how to use a plunger, the youngest kid will need to shit into grocery bags until Coffee gets back later in the week.

Or what if something goes wrong with our electrical system? We’ll be living in the dark until Coffee returns because I’m afraid of the breaker panel in the basement and there is no way I’m getting near it.

WHAT IF THE INTERNET GOES OUT?!

And let’s not forget the actual simple practicalities of managing a life – walking the dog, feeding the cats, buying groceries, paying bills, doing laundry, shovelling snow (or mowing the lawn, depending on the season) and, oh, wait, I still have to go to work 5 days per week. Holy shit, I am not qualified.

Look – I’m really good at some things. But I have a lot of.. quirks. I’m fussy. I am not remotely self-reliant on, like, 30 different levels.  My mental well-being depends on all the lovely structure that’s been crafted around me like those wooden stakes and ropes around a sapling.

Coffee has humoured me in these discussions, while reminding me that I can call a plumber or an electrician, I can google instructions for things, the kid can walk the dog, and that I can order groceries online so I don’t have to worry about endlessly wandering the store without supervision. (Too bad – I’ve already insisted that the kid  and I will eat sandwiches and multivitamins.)

But he also reminded me that the more likely outcome is that I’ll be just fine and that I will have a hard time adjusting to him being home again after he’s been away for a bit.  And I admit, I will likely need to adjust – because I get very, very lost in my head sometimes.

Maybe it’s an only child thing – spending a lot of time alone, lost in thought, with a very controllable (by me) environment, is something with which I am very comfortable. I know that I lean towards the hyperfocus aspect of ADD and it’s hard for me to drag myself out. I describe it as being “in the flow” and when I need to shift away, it feels like I’m trying to swim against a really strong current.  It makes me irritable. It takes me some time to drag my attention outward again. Everything seems harsh and unpleasant, suddenly.

I will need to make an effort to see other humans, away from work, too – which.. well, I really enjoy being a hermit, so that’s going to be rough.

The good, I suppose, is that Coffee will be doing work-related stuff that he’ll enjoy. And I’ll be able to go to bed at 7pm and sprawl like a starfish across the king-sized bed.

Maybe I’ll discover that I am surprisingly self-sufficient, or maybe he’ll return to find out that I was fired and we now live in our cars.  It’ll be an adventure.