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Hemlock B. Bootsalotta

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alpha centuri [Sep. 20th, 2019|05:47 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[Tags|, ]

I've been crap at posting here. I've had a lot going on inside my head.

A friend was driving to Montreal for the Labour Day weekend and he offered to drag me along. It was really good. I got to hang out with people I don't see enough of, we drank, we listened to music, I laughed a ton. I got a bit peopled out by the end because I've gotten so much out of the habit of leaving the house ever, but it was a break and it pulled me out of the rut I was in.

The weekend after that BC drove up to Tobermory. That was even better - lots of walking by the water, cool breezes, lovely scenery and long stretches of time where we were just hanging out and chilling.

Then a couple of days ago a friend took me to a concert and it was loud and sweaty and awesome and a massive endorphin rush.

So you know, the trifecta of mental health boosters.

Still here. Still plodding onward.

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o frabjous day! callooh! callay!” [Aug. 29th, 2019|09:59 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[mood |can i get a wahoo]

I just realized.

I'm going to be out of town during the air show.

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do you want triffids? because this is how you get triffids [Aug. 27th, 2019|02:24 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta

I keep looking out the window at the backyard and thinking it's got to be as out of control as it can get and it keeps exceeding my wildest expectations. Today I think some of the plants are growing antennae. Or maybe hands. You know, those could very well be hands.

Axe keeps saying "I need to do something about that"[1]. Personally I plan to wait until the very end of the growing season and rip it all out at once.

Maybe November. I have some time off work in November. The sun will be further away then.


Because there is balance in all things[2], work is going spectacularly well. I actually won a quarterly performance award, which is a first. (I have been on teams that have won them, this is the first time for getting an individual one.) There is a small amount of money attached to it, which is nice because this month is a tight one.

In a couple of weeks Axe starts a job for Elections Canada, which should get us some much-need financial breathing room.


Just in the last couple of weeks there has been somebody speaking Spanish on the bus every day on my home - different people each time. This is a pretty abrupt demographic shift, I can count on one hand the number of times that previously happened on this particular bus.

My Spanish is at the point where I can make out the odd word and can sometimes get the gist of what they're talking about, if not the details. Very helpful was the girl who was translating between her friend with no English and her friend with no Spanish. Also helpful with a side-serving of adorable was the young family teaching their probably-Kindergarten-age daughter the English words for things. (She kept getting stuck on the correct pronunciation of "apple".)

I probably shouldn't be eavesdropping, but when they're sitting right next to me it's kind of hard to ignore completely so I might as well use it to practice my comprehension skills, right?


I am actually leaving town for the long weekend through the kindness of friends who are throwing transportation and crash space at me. It will be a grand experiment in leaving my assigned furrow.


[1] I have learned over the years that the statement "I am going to do a thing" is not a precursor to actually doing a thing. It probably took me longer than it should have to figure that out.

[2] I have a theory that there are three major factors that dictate how well my life is going; health, work, and relationships. It's a good year if two are going well, it's manageable if one is going well, if none are going well it's time to give it up and go start over somewhere else. There has never been a time in recorded history when all three are going well.

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other good things [Aug. 13th, 2019|11:01 am]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[Tags|, ]
[mood |underslept]

I have been doing a lot of writing lately. It's all self-indulgent and terrible, but the point is to make it a regular activity again and that part has been pretty successful.

I'm seriously considering doing NaNoWriMo again. Maybe I'll start working on the second draft of that stupid book I haven't touched in however many years it's been.

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thimbles and pesatas [Aug. 12th, 2019|12:54 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[Tags|, , ]

To get to the new bus stop I take a shortcut through the park by my house. It's only a city block wide but it's nice for the few feet it lasts. It's always about five degrees cooler under the trees. In the morning there is a group of older Asian women who get together to do tai chi. By the time I'm passing through they have finished their exercise and they are sitting together at a park bench chatting and sharing food out of Tupperware.


An article I read about the techniques that are being used by the Hong Kong protesters to keep them ahead of the riot police.



Project "try to take care of the meatsuit better" is actually making decent progress. I set myself a minimum of stationary bike plus weights at least three times a week and I've been able to stick to that. I've been less good about the yoga and I really need to work that in somehow because my back is terrible. Even once a week would be good.

Teaching myself to get more sleep is the next big monster fight. I suck at going to bed. I suck at getting up. And the more tired I am the worse the inertia hits me so the problem tends to compound on itself.


The roofing job we couldn't afford finally got done so it's no longer raining inside the house. I got the residual sludge off the counters and floors this weekend and at some point I will get around to washing the walls. I also managed to reduce the shit-to-get-rid-of boxes from six down to four. There is still a ton of clutter but I am making gradual headway through it.

Money remains my biggest problem. I flat-out do not make enough to live here. Why can't I win the fucking lottery already? I promise I will use it for good and not for evil.

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135 days [Jul. 28th, 2019|10:22 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
There's a John Mulaney bit where he says "I'll keep all my emotions right here, [gestures to his chest] and then one day I'll die."

I do wonder if that's an Irish Catholic thing.

My own chest is full, brimming, on the edge of spilling over with the tiniest of movements. There's no room for me in there. I guide operations from slightly over my right shoulder and only bark my shins a little bit more frequently than normal.

I exercise because it distracts me. Because I feel like I should. It grounds me, sucks me back into my own body. Then I overflow, sitting on the mat and spilling over, salt water flowing downhill to the sea. I wake up in the morning wrung out and hung up to dry.

This won't last. I know that from experience. (What a terrible thing to be able to say, that I know how grief moves through the body, how the weight of it stretches and distorts it's container until there is finally room for me in there. How the heaviness never fades, how even years later a profile at a distance, or a gesture on the bus can stop my breath.)

There are no shortcuts.

I guide the vessel through my life. There is temptation there to let go. To say fuck it. this is not my life any more. why should i care about this stupid job, this stupid house, this stupid... everything. But it will be my life again one day, when I finally able to fit back inside it and probably is a good idea not to burn anything down until I've had a chance to decide if I still want it.

I push one foot in front of the other. I watch from a distance as the meat-suit, the swollen vessel, carries me forward.

It's the only thing I still know how to do.

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gimme shelter [Jul. 20th, 2019|05:07 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[Tags|, , ]
[mood |out of sync]

I saw some graffiti yesterday that said "colonialism does not spark joy"


It was so humid and hot yesterday that when I was walking from the bus there was actually condensation forming on my exposed skin. Because I was cooler and dryer than the atmosphere surrounding me.

That is a fucked-up thing for a mammal to be saying, but this is my Canada in 2019.


The thing about all this water in the air is that occasionally the sky decides to dump it all out. And in the continuing saga of Shit That Is Falling Off Our House, the kitchen ceiling has been leaking really really badly.

For those of you who haven't heard the story; our kitchen is actually a wooden shack tacked onto the back of our brick house. It's at least 100 years old, the wood is rotten, there is at least one paper wasp nest in the walls, and I figure a few carpenter ant nests as well. We've been trying to hold off on spending more than the minimum on patching it up because the long-term plan is to tear it down and build something with insulation and wiring and fewer non-rent-paying lodgers. But you know, when it starts raining inside the house (and brown gross sticky rain at that) it's time to bite the bullet and throw some money away.

So Axe calls the service that provides out contractors, they contact a roofing company, people come out and look, prices are agreed to, dates are set, our neighbours are informed. And then the roofers just... never show up.

A week of phone tag later, Axe calls the service and tells them to send somebody else because this group are incompetent. What probably actually happened is that they got a bigger job for more money and figured they could quietly dump us as unimportant. Which I kinda get, but at least be honest with us that you don't have time to do the work.


And while this is going on, on the other side of town my mother's dining room ceiling just fell in. Fortunately nobody was sitting at the dining room table at the time. She filed an insurance claim and they're saying they don't have to pay for it because of bullshit reasons. My mother is not one to back down easily and I have no doubt she'll get the money out of them, but for fuck's sake. Making a senior citizen jump through these hoops is just fucking unconscionable.


Speaking of insurance I had to give all D's insurance paperwork to his mother to deal with as the executor. I felt bad about it because it's such a nightmare. She told me she is instructing her lawyer to tell them to piss up a rope. (Not in those words obviously.)

Somebody should tell these insurance companies not to mess with the 80 year old women. They will come for you.


Axe is out of town helping his gf move this weekend and I'm just kind of rattling around the house. I have to finish laundry and throw some more stuff on craigslist and then my chores are pretty much taken care of. I might try to do some writing. It's been months since I've felt like it but it would be nice to focus on something that isn't the inside of my own head for a while.

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everything old is new again [Jul. 16th, 2019|11:08 am]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[Tags|, ]

So Convergence bids are up for next year, and it turns out it's Louisville vs Toronto.

I have to admit it would be kind of cool for a Convergence to happen in Canada where I could actually just hang out and party with people.

(FWIW, I know at least one of the organizers and I think she would do a good job.)

(Number 26 holy shit.)

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diatom [Jul. 13th, 2019|02:17 pm]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta

I've been trying to remember my dreams lately.

cut because dreams are one of those things nobody is really interested inCollapse )

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epi-epilogue [Jul. 10th, 2019|10:49 am]
Hemlock B. Bootsalotta
[Tags|, , , ]
[mood |ditch day]

Memorial dealt with and survived with the assistance of Xanax and dissociation.

So that's over with. Except for the, you know, Darrell being dead part.

Monday night Axe took me out and got me very very very drunk.


I got this for his ashes. (He loves scorpions.)

I won't wear it every day because it's a honkin' big thing. But it will be a thing I can wear when I want to.


Yesterday I did my first tour of a retirement apartment. I picked what I thought was the best one of the bunch to start with (this one fwiw) so I would have a basis for comparison when we start looking at more affordable units.

Some really good advice I got when I first started doing research is to watch the residents and see how much they interact with each other and the staff - a lot of people chatting and engaging with each other is a good sign that the people who live there are happy and active.

It passed with flying colours on pretty much all criteria. Multiple residents saw us with the staff and came over to tell us how great the place is. There is a ton of stuff to do, lots of social activities and lots of places to just hang out and interact with people, including several games rooms and a pub. The living space is a little smaller than they're used to, but that would be the case in any apartment. And all the apartments have a full kitchen, something that appears to be uncommon.

Literally the only downside is that it's expensive. Unfortunately money may be the factor that counts most.

I'm going to go through the list and pick out some others to check out, probably starting next weekend.


I walked into a barber shop near my house and gave him $20 to shave the sides of my head. I'd forgotten how much of a difference it makes to the amount of heat and weight on my head. It makes waiting for the bus in this weather marginally less unpleasant.


Work brought in some new software and now everything is broken. Second verse, same as the first.

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