A Mother’s Reckoning.

Book:

A Mother’s Reckoning. Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy. Sue Klebold

Wow. Just Wow. First of all fair warning. If you have any kind of trauma injury this book may trigger you. There is absolutely nothing graphic in it but I found myself having to read it in bits and spurts because I was getting amped up. I bit off all my fingernails…I ate out half my pantry, ha ha! ( I still read it in 7 hours though! ) Also, I found myself with racing thoughts at bedtime and the anxiety brought up some well buried events from my childhood. So, take care. I regret nothing and think it was well worth it though because this book…oh this book!

I found great comfort in this book. I’m the mother of a child who has made some bad choices and I have felt all kinds of turbulant, complicated, gut wrenching emotions during the course of that experience. As Sue Kelbold struggles to make sense of why her child did what he did and what her own part was, she takes the reader along with her and imparts great wisdom derived both from her experience AND from experts she meets along the way. It all felt like a balm for my soul.

I was left feeling like there is no easy answer. Good, bad or indifferent. I was left feeling nothing but compassion for every human being who struggles, with anything. I just wanted to give the world a great big hug. We are all just babies really. Vulnerable to the scary and the unknown. And yet we keep trying! How amazing is that!? I felt like if this woman can live her life the way she did and have this happen in her family, then shitty things can happen to any of us regardless of our best intentions, knowledge, beliefs and actions. We can try our best, and our best might not be good enough. The perfectionist in me struggles with this but it is a stone cold fact! I find it comforting. I don’t want to stop trying my best but I think it gives me room to let myself off the hook for all the things I cant control, yet blame myself for!

There is a lot of grace and kindness amongst these a pages too. Sue Klebold is unflinching and sincere. She makes zero excuses and only seeks to understand. The bits of kindness she was shown in the wake of this tragedy and the kindness she showed others astounded me, and filled my heart to bursting.

We all like to think we’re impervious to things like this and when it happens to people boy oh boy do we like to play arm chair expert don’t we? ” Well, she mustn’t have been a good parent if her kid did something like!” we expound sitting on top of our very high -and very wobbly- horses. Until something like that does happens to US and then suddenly, we’re not so sure anymore. Of anything.

I relate to this deeply as the mother of a child with an addiction problem.

I relate to this deeply as the wife of a person with a brain illness.

I even relate to this deeply as the mother of a young mother!

Us humans love to judge and think we know better. It makes us feel safe in a world that is nothing but chaotic.

This was an excellent read. Very well written and put together. Sue Klebold is very human and very likable. There is great wisdom in this one. Well done! I highly recommend.

Plant Medicine – Using Cannabis Spray.

After using my spray a few more times I now feel confident enough to share my testimony!

I bought this stuff here:

It even comes with an official seal:

It’s a non flavoured spray and there are something like 400 sprays in that wee little bottle.

It’s called Balance because its a balanced mix -or close to it- of CBD( 12.20 mg) and THC (13.20 )

CBD is the stuff the medical community is all excited about. THC is the stuff that makes you feel funny! So you can see, there is very little THC in this stuff!

I was told that with this particular product, my mind would stay clear but my body would become really relaxed. It would be good for the pain in my bicep and later, once that resolved itself, it’d be good for calming my anxiety too. I would be able to use it – after experimenting with the dosage safely first- and be able to go to work! That’s how clear my mind would be.

Good! In the past I’d hated feeling high. I wanted to be melty and gooey but not paranoid and stupid, laughing at any dumb thing or freaking out because “everyone can tell I’m high”.

It was recommended that I start out with a small dose of two or three sprays. The gent at the counter actually suggested ONE, since I hadn’t used it in 35 years so one is what I started myself at.

I was honestly really nervous to try it that first time. I had a problem with the unknown of the whole thing. The gent who helped me in the store told me that while, there was a certain consistency to how a body would react, every body is different and everyone reacts in a different way.

There was only one way to find out how that way would be for me so I took the safety seal off, figured out how to use the locking mechanism and gave myself a spray.

Right in the back of my throat.

Don’t do that!

I felt like I was having an allergic reaction! But I think it was just poor application that made the back of my throat itchy.

Under the tongue or in the lip like a spot of “chew” is a much better idea!

It tasted kind of skunky but tolerable.

Within 15 mins I was feeling the effects. My body remembered it right away-humans have cannabinoid receptors. Did you know that?- and soon I was feeling it most strongly in my body. It was very strange at first, to be so relaxed. I didn’t notice my arm at all. (Which by that time was not hurting as bad as it had been) I checked my eyes in the mirror and they looked normal. I felt mostly normal, still clear headed. I was able to play Mahjong and hold normal conversations. There was still this sort of pull to go “into myself” and be alone with the relaxed feeling but it wasn’t so strong that I wasn’t able to tear myself away. I was still social and coherent.

I went to bed shortly after that and slept for TEN FULL HOURS!

The relaxed feeling lasted for days after too. I wasn’t like a puddle of goo or anything, I was just … chill. Calm. Unbothered.

My second does was after doing… something…I can’t remember what … gardening probably! I took one spray again and went straight to bed. This time my experience was kind of meh.

My mistake was taking it, waiting 5 mins and then brushing my teeth. I felt it less than the time before and it only lasted about an hour and then my mind was back to it’s usual self, chattering away. When I finally did fall asleep though, I slept well.

The third time was a one spray experience too but this time, I gave myself time before bed and while I was happy with the way my body felt, my damn mind would not shut up.

The thing about being super relaxed like that is that any part of you that is a sort of “problem” spot reeeeeally becomes more noticeable because everything else is nice and chill. My jaw for instance. My bruxism is BAD. And of course, my monkey mind! This is a very common occurrence according to my internet research, SO keep this in mind if you intend to try it too.

Now, the last time I tried it, was after a day of naughty gardening again. (Naughty because I’m not supposed to be using my arm! ) This time I used TWO sprays to see if it helped the monkey mind – it did not- and while it was a little more melty making, it wasn’t long lasting and I woke up with arm pain in the night. ( I had really over done it that day) I got up to pee and stretch my arm and then fell promptly back asleep so while I did still feel some pain, being able to fall back asleep was definitely an improvement.

I’ve tried it a few more times and each time was different but positive.

What’s my final verdict?

It’s still evolving, really.

It’s great for sleeping. It’s great for relaxing the body. It seems to have helped me achieve a greater state of mental calm- even with my monkey mind!- in the every day, just from a few uses by sort of calming down my central nervous system. It allows me to be clear headed and function when I use it.

I’m not sure how I feel about going to work while using it though. I think my anxiety is somewhat helpful in keeping me on my toes…but I would be able to if I chose to do so.

I can’t really say what it did for pain because I haven’t used it while in a highly pained state. It did help me relax enough and not think about the discomfort I was feeling though…it wasn’t useless like the Toradol, by any means. And while I did wake up once in the night, in pain, I was able to fall back asleep. That has never happened before…I think in higher doses, the pain relief would be good- higher doses comes with foggy brain though but if I was desperate, I would choose that!

It showed me my trouble spot- monkey mind and jaw clenching- which I appreciated. I’m more conscious of tending to those things now.

It surprised me by showing me something else…I want that floaty brain feeling! I felt like it was missing from the experience. I would LOVE to get my mind to shut up for once!

Whaaaaaat?!

I know right?!

I never, in a million years thought I’d want to feel like that again but I find myself craving it. The body relaxation feels incomplete without it.

It’s highly, highly unlikely I’ll be seeking that feeling out for the same reasons I don’t seek out my beloved Ativan, ha ha, but I wanted to mention it as part of my experience, in the interest of honesty and authenticity. Instead, I’ll mediate “like my hair is on fire” and calm my monkey mind the old fashioned way. It’s nice to know the option’s there … but I’m not sure it’d be wise of me to use it for that.

All in all, I would recommended this product to first time users, for sure. (After you do your own research, of course!) It felt safe and I didn’t have any weird or negative side effects. It’s become a part of my regular routine. I use it any time I feel like I’ve over worked my arm or if I’ve had a “big day” and am too jacked up to sleep. The good side effects are long lasting. I can take two sprays once in a week and I’m still sleeping well and feeling unbothered four whole days later! It’s worth it, just for that!

So there you have it. I hope reading about my experience helps you if you need it. If you have any thoughts or questions, I’m here to help if I can!

Plant Medicine- Buying Cannabis.

Cannabis has been legal in Canada since October, 2018. It’s been used openly since pretty much forever though and I’m thinking that’s one reason why it was finally legalized for medicinal AND recreational use. People just didn’t care about no stinkin’ laws and smoked it anyway!

Photo by Brandon Nickerson on Pexels.com

The history of cannabis in all aspects -socially, medicinally, legally- is extremely interesting if you’re in to such things. We’ve been using the stuff as medicine for ages AND before prohibition it was most common!

I know right?! The things you learn…anyway, I wont get into all of that here but if it’s your jam, look it up. I found the whole thing fascinating!

I don’t smoke, myself. I tried as a teen but didn’t like the foggy brain feeling so I had my last puff some 35 years ago. In later years, as I became more Witchy, I became intrigued by it’s medicinal properties – I am the person who seriously thought about growing poppies and harvesting her own opium for pain relief – but up until recently, I haven’t really needed such a thing. I believe strongly in the “magic” of plant medicine though. My aunt owned and operated her own research facility ,studying the effects of cannabis on cancer so it’s something that runs in the family!

Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem on Pexels.com

As my regular readers know, I tore my bicep last week. That is a pain that was something else! Most unbearable for the first few days. I’m talking a nine out of ten! My son could hear the pain in my voice when he called me one night and he got really mad at me for allowing myself to get like that. Don’t get me wrong. I WAS actually on pain meds! Toradol. They worked for about 2 hours and were pretty much useless after that. Plus, they come with HUGE scary side effects for things which I already have issues with. No thanks!

SO, at my kid’s urging, fueled by pain and a real need to get off of a drug that wasn’t helping me, I made my way to a local cannabis shop.
I was curious about the whole thing but it all felt very normal. Just like going to the health food store or something!

I chose Fire and Flower, here in Edmonton. Their Namao location.

I was greeted at the door by a fellow and asked for my ID. I wrinkled my nose a bit at the smell. There IS an odor. Slight but there nonetheless. So be mindful of that, if you can’t stand the smell…it wasn’t enough to deter me from my end goal.

ANYway, from what I could see the place was bright and clean. It reminded me of a department store cosmetic counter, with backlit glass shelves and counters, which held smoking apparatus and the like! I didn’t get a great look though because I was quickly ushered over to a wall of choices, by my greeter gent.

The wall was full of pegs with little cards denoting the strains and names of the various products one could buy. After determining my needs, the young gent – who was a very mainstream kind of guy, for anyone who cares to know- educated me and affirmed the knowledge I already had, helping me make my choice.

I’d come in for oil but left with a spray which turned out to be exactly the best choice for me. I was guided expertly toward the best thing for my needs too. There was no force or awkwardness in any of this, just a real desire to help me have a decent experience and get the help I needed. I so appreciate that! I took my little card up to the counter, purchased my product and that was that. Easy Peasy!

The whole experience was pleasant and professional. For anyone worried, this is not one of those musty dank shops filled to the rafters with crap and people who are “stoked”. Although those are still out there, if you want one! This was well run, well staffed and very consumer friendly. The guy who was helping me was able to read me right away – dorky Grandma, ha ha – and treated me as such. I felt safe and respected and the whole thing felt so normal and civilized.

I say all this because I think some people are reeeeeally put off by cannabis culture and maybe that stops them from investigating these new options. Never fear, my experience was a pretty normal one and I feel good about going back there, should I choose to do so in future!

Coming Soon: Trying Cannabis Spray. I’ve taken it twice with mixed results so I want to try it a few more times before I give you a final verdict -if there is such a thing. Anyway, hang in there for that!

Have a groovy Wednesday!

A Nice Lunch Out.

You know when you’re grocery shopping and you just want to get the job done so you’re doing your thing but, there are people casually strolling through the aisles looking at everything and blocking you at every effing turn?

Annoying right?!

I am that annoying person.

Sorry.

(I’m not sorry)

In my defense I only do it at certain stores and one of those stores happens to be: Italian Centre Shop.

This place is a small chain of locally owned- Edmonton, AB- and operated grocery stores that sell Italian products AND…they carry stuff from around the world.

The world!

It’s the coolest place ever. I almost never go unless I have a good stack of bills because I will BUY ALL THE THINGS and I don’t want lack of cash to limit any of my choices. There are so many choices! They have an amazing deli, bakery and café. They bring in locally sourced items and have specials and deals and events and are active in the community.

Prices are reasonable, products are interesting and of quality, service is friendly and efficient. It’s basically one of my favourite places. Ever!

I’ve been a fan for almost 9 years and while we usually grab sandwiches from the café to go, we’ve never actually ordered a full meal and sat down for it.

We – the Hubs and I -did just that on a cold day in February.

Our location of choice? The southside on 104a Street. The lunch? Soup and sandwich.

It was the daily special and if memory serves me, it was only 9.98. That golden bowl of loveliness was Chicken & Rice and that deceptively looking simple sandwich was … I can’t remember. Sorry! It had sausage, fresh mozzarella , artichokes, a pepper spread … (CALABRESE! That’s the name of the sandwich. Calabrese! ) and lettuce. I could eat 900 of those things…

The soup was thick with rice, veggies and real chicken. The broth was rich and fragrant with just enough seasoning to be satisfyingly salty but not overdone. It was juuuust right. The sandwich had a nice mix of creamy, crunchy, salty, smooth, spiciness that seems to get tastier and tastier with each bite. I could have done without the lettuce. I found it added nothing really and was annoying to bite through. This is probably a personal thing! Some people like it, some people don’t … I couldn’t be bothered to pull it out though so it obviously wasn’t horrible.

ANYhoo, it was a great meal at an affordable price in a busy little neighbourhood café . It would benefit your stomach and soul to stop in sometime. And if you just want to shop, I promise to try and be more mindful of my surroundings!

M is for *Melatonin For S.A.D. A-Z Challenge.

Have any of you read the Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson? There’s Netflix series of the same name…???

In the book, a group of people hole up in a haunted house and aim to do an investigation of sorts and all kinds of weird shit goes down. The brilliance of the story is that one never really knows if the hauntings of place and people are true hauntings or the results of a mental disorder. It’s creepy, thought provoking stuff.

When I read it I was shook! It reminded me of something that happens to ME, every Autumn.

DO I live in a Haunted House…..???? !!!

Ha. I wish I was so lucky!

No.

As the Summer light fades to a brilliant Fall, a change comes over me. I know its coming and try my best to stop it but somehow how it always gets me! S.A.D. Seasonal Affective Disorder, known usually as Seasonal Depression.

Even with the typical treatment you hear about, light therapy, vitamins, diet and exercise, cognitive therapy…I turn from my normal cheery, positive self to a hate filled monster. The physical symptoms are bad enough, aches and pains. Low energy. Sleep issues. What bothers me the most is the change to ME. I fixate on people and things in a hateful way. I decide that they are JUST THE WORST and spend all of September and October despising everything and everyone, until I pop up again for air in mid November and realize I’ve been overtaken again.

It all feels so normal when I’m in it. I really believe the things I’m thinking are true and valid. Thank Goddess for self control and clarity. And to all of you suffering with a year long depression disorder. High Five for making it through the everyday.

BUT when I came up for air this past November, I found something very helpful. I don’t even remember where I heard about it … Micro dosing with melatonin. One takes a wee amount, in the late afternoon, like 1mg and carries on like usual. It doesn’t make you sleepy but it does help with
circadian misalignment which is a major part of SAD.

I haven’t tried it through the worst of my seasonal depression but I did notice a positive change when I did in November. I felt better over all, both physically and mentally. I felt lighter and brighter and the usual “last hurrah” of illness that strikes me in February, didn’t make an appearance. That’s pretty amazing since I’ve been dealing with this since I was a child. The true test will be this Autumn and I am ever hopeful! I’m going to take when I notice Summer fade to Fall in addition to all my other treatments. Check back with me here, around mid November for an update!

Now, I’m a nut. Not a doctor. So PLEASE, if you suffer so and think this all sounds very interesting do your own research. Here is a link to get you started.

Untreated S.A.D can turn into something a lot more invasive so I urge you to seek help from your doctor too.

Do any of you suffer with S.A.D in the Winter? What have you found helpful?

March Books-3 & 4.

Hand Wash Cold Care Instructions For An Ordinary Life by Karen Maezen Miller was a delightful little book of loveliness. A quick and easy read but one that you’ll want to savour and read in bits, so as to not miss anything. This book is hard to describe. What is it about? Life. Simple life. Insights into life as it is. The author takes us through her life’s stages and offers sound advice observations. A nice and valuable read.

I read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate in an evening! So let that be your first indication of my feelings toward this book. On one side of the story you’ve got your ‘river rats’ and on the other you’ve got your “powerful and well to do”. How are they connected? Read the book and find out! The story pulled me straight through -in an evening- and got me thinking about class and adoptions and prejudice and love. Another good read.


Buddhism & Afghanistan

This was my first read this month:

The Lovers- Romeo & Juliet in Afghanistan by Rod Nordland was capably written if not entirely frustrating. Not the writing or the book itself but the situation. This true story tells the tale of a young couple from two different ethnicities who fall in love and then have to fight their families and culture to be together. There are a lot of horrible things that happen to them and others and I find the book hard to read because of that, so be warned. It was eye opening to say the least.

Did you know there were once giant Buddha statues in Afghanistan? This book taught me that. I’m on a mission to learn more about that and I’m grateful for the new knowledge. I had no clue!

Speaking of Buddha:

Buddhist Bootcamp by Timber Hawkeye is my second read this month. A quick read full of personal insights, wisdom and lessons. I follow Timber on Facebook and this is just more detailed versions of his content there. Worth your time, especially if you want to take things in, in small doses.

So far, I’ve read 32 of the 125 books in my reading challenge. I seem to be reeeeeally slowing down but I’m still confident I can finish strong. I’ve got 10 month left to read the last 93. No problem!

Happy Day To You!