Friday, July 31, 2009


Some of the hottest local temperatures ever recorded lately. Today, it's suppose to only go up to 28 but the last few it was 34-36. I dislike the heat, anything above 24 and I melt. So, not much energy at all to blog.

I'm feeling conflicted by that CBT* appointment...

On the one hand, I went there fully expecting one thing: CBT, and left with something else: the suggestion of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and a book about it; The Happiness Trap. I'm reading the book and although I can very much understand the ideas and see their worth, I feel quite cynical about it. The book comes-off as a bit gimmicky; light and fluffy... and then I start feeling like I'm doomed to be a prisoner of my anxiety.

On the other hand therapy dude was very good, easy to talk to, nice vibe and reassuring. I could tell that he understood OCD and anxiety. I know a few people with OCD and from their, and my own, experiences it's surprising the numbers of psychologists who don't understand OCD. So, that is good, he gets it. Plus he's known locally as an anxiety specialist and he was recommended to me by previous CBT therapist chickie who no longer see clients (damn her, she was excellent).

Has anyone ever read 'The Happiness Trap'?

*By the way, CBT in this instance is cognitive-behavioural therapy, not cock and ball torture. Just reminiscing about my first few internet searches for CBT many years ago and if you click on that link, you've only yourself to blame. ;-)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Biting bullets.

The CBT dude (cognitive-behavourial therapy) called a while ago. He has a cancellation and would I like to start CBT this afternoon? I had told him I'm flexible with my time and was eager to start and if he had an earlier than August 4th opening, give me a call.

He called my bluff! ;-)

Gulp! =:-o

I'm both excited and freaked out and it's 30 degrees out there. I'm sweating bullets faster than a machine gun right now. Ahhh!

I suspect my blog might focused on CBT for a while...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Beyond Muffin Top and Brownies

Another post about baking ;-) and this is going to be a very honest one. I risk being misunderstood and seen as a freak. Actually being seen as freaky doesn't bother me ;-) but being misunderstood does.

But, you know what? Fuck it!

Confessing my muffin top, my hearing loss and my experimentation with the Brownies ;-) on this blog have been positive experiences for me and with that I say....

Hello, my name is Marnie and I have OCD; obsessive-compulsive disorder.

There, I've said it.

Actually that wasn't too difficult as a few of my friends already know this about me, though some do not. I've also met many people with OCD, attended an OCD conference and have volunteered for OCD organizations. I don't have shame in having this thorn in my side.

I have often chosen not to tell people though. This is because after I told a certain friend, she interpreted any quirk I had as a result of OCD instead of just a normal quirk like anyone else would have. I found this highly irritating so I started to not tell people.

But, I've realised that I do feel better about myself when I'm open about it. It makes it lighter to carry. Part of my inspiration to do this post comes from prkl!!!!, who, on previous manifestations of his blog, has been very open about his struggles with bipolary stuff. As well as the more private struggles about the 'weird shit' other friends struggle with.

OCD info, briefly:
OCD is quite common. You probably all know someone who has it (though they may hide it). You may even have it yourself. ;-)

I hesitate putting info about OCD on here because most info about OCD describes all the various manifestations of it. Most people with OCD are bothered by much narrower slices of the OCD pie and, with proper treatment, there is great relief for many people. OCD can fluctuate; when life is good, OCD tends to calm down, when life is shitty, OCD can become a dragon. There's not really 'a cure' but treatment allows a person to manage OCD so that it doesn't manage them.

Treatment of choice is CBT; cognitive-behavioural therapy and, in terms of OCD, it means facing what is feared and learning new ways to manage the anxiety that occurs. It also involves looking objectively at your own thought processes and tweaking ideas and beliefs and learning how to manage stress. It's very similar to the treatment of phobias.

Some? many? people take medications (SSRIs and what not) either on their own or in addition to CBT.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, a sort of mindfulness meditation, which I've blogged about before, is also helpful.

My experience, briefly:
Essentially, I have anxious thoughts about contracting specific germs/illnesses and sometimes I have to check the stove a lot to make sure it's off before I leave my flat (although sometimes I don't at all? weirdly). I can feel the urge to wash my hands a lot. When life is good and my OCD is under control this urge is minimal, if it is even there; when my life is stressy and OCD is not under control, I can wash my hands excessively and feel a lot of anxiety.

I first developed OCD when I was 25ish. I hid it and had no idea what the fuck was happening to me. I thought I was going insane. Then at 27, I had a major time with it. By this time I had learned about OCD but still I did not seek help. At my worst, I did not leave my house for many, many months, depression had set in and I very nearly committed suicide.

Ironically, my fear of germs made me too afraid to take a handful of sleeping pills. I thought: 'what if when I pass-out and die, I fall on the floor and catch germ X off the floor?' The complete bizarre-ness of that thought made me laugh and stirred something good in me. From that point I realised, 'hmmm, maybe I do need some help' (well, duh) and got it.

My doctor prescribed an SSRI and I saw a psychologist who ran me through CBT. CBT was very, very difficult. Imagine making a sandwich on the kitchen floor or a toilet seat and then eating it. Imagine being a germaphobe and doing that. (Oh, the CBT stories I have!) But, it worked and things turned around enormously, even my culinary skills. ;-) I went from being house-bound to venturing off to live in England for a time and stopped taking the SSRI in 2001. To say I was and am proud of myself is an understatement.


Things are not so rosy. I've had a lot of major life stressors packed into a very short span of time; major geographical moves, away from friends, death of my Dad, dumped (twice), family stress, a stupid huge mistake, financial woes, etc. I'm not surprised that my OCD has risen its fucking ugly shitty head. I haven't felt this OCDish in a long, long while. I think I'm having a re-lapse and I hate it.

On the plus side, I understand why this is happening and I am addressing all the crap I've gone through. And I've made an appointment with psychologist who treats OCD (hurry up August 4th). And I do have a solid understanding of OCD and CBT already; I just need it refreshed, a booster shot, a professional kick in the arse. In the meantime, I'm sending this off into blogosphere to lighten the load just a little bit.

I think that's all my warts, confessed... except for the bank robbery. I'll blog about that when I get out of the slammer. ;-)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I love the internet!

Some of you may remember my tampon rant. I bitched about the insidious and intrusive marketing of them and how one day I had had enough.

As a proud owner of a new DivaCup, I have a near full box of tampons collecting dust. I'm also still maintaining an ongoing New Year's Resolution to only make gifts for people instead of buying stuff. So, this site just may come in very handy for me.

Here's a sample from the site:

The Menstrual Militia is now recruiting! Arm yourself with a Tampon Shooter and report for target practice and tactical tampon maneuvers...

Is that cool or what?

Anyone have a birthday coming up? Get your orders in soon to avoid disappointment. ;-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

For my British friends...

I live in an apparently 'Little Britain' type city in Canada (Victoria, BC) although it's usually only called that by people who have not been here, have not been to Britain or by people who market the city as a tourist destination.

Yes, there are some nice Victorian homes but step away from them and the contrived 'British tea rooms' (none of which are owned by British people) and it's just a very west coast Canadian city: lots of greenery, lots of mountains, lots of water, lots of people from somewhere else, lots of Native Art, lots of homeless people and lots of guppies, yuppies and hippies.

To underscore my point, ages ago Neil posted a photo of red phone box on his blog. I thought it would be a snap to find one or two locally since it's apparently so British here. I have tried to find some British phone boxes in 'British' Victoria. I even asked at the tourist office. Nope, they didn't know where one might be... eventhough photos of them are on tourist brochures. (excuse me while I roll my eyes).

I stopped thinking about it until I was just flipping through some of my photos from the wild west city of Cowtown, Alberta and wouldn't you know it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The present moment.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I practice mindfulness meditation.

Basically, mindfulness is being aware of the present moment; noticing what you can see, touch, smell, taste, hear and what you are thinking about and feeling without making judgments about any of it. Just noticing it. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who writes about mindfulness meditation, calls it awarenessing, I like that. Mindfulness allows a greater awareness of choices in how to respond to life, though actually choosing what might be a better choice is often where I trip-up.

Anyways, I was watching Youtube vids about mindfulness and this clip came up in my searches. I think that the first three quarters of this explains the present moment wonderfully (I added the captioning).

How mindful are you? Or maybe how mindless? Do you tend to think of the past? Or do you anticipate the future? Have you ever had sexy thoughts about Darth Vader?

With almonds...

From a local sidewalk, a few years ago.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

For my British friends...

Not the greatest angle for the photo but trees, mailboxes and the wrong camera lens... and I don't get to that side of town often so this will have to do. In Victoria, BC:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I'm doing a book cull and I found this...

It didn't scan too well but the due date stamp says: April 7th, 1983. So it's a bit overdue. Before I saw this, I was ready to fling the book into the charity shop pile but now I just can't. Now I really want to go to Calgary, to that library, walk right up to the desk and, as straight-faced as possible, return it. haha!

I wonder what the fine might be? =:-o

Monday, July 13, 2009

Science of the fucking obvious.

I was just reading the Beeb and came across this article that discusses that "reseachers found volunteers who cursed at will could endure pain nearly 50% longer than civil-tongued peers."

Well, duh. Anyone who has ever stubbed their toe knows this already but one of the researchers, Dr Stephens, raises an interesting point:

"If they want to use this pain-lessening effect to their advantage they need to do less casual swearing.

"Swearing is emotional language but if you overuse it, it loses its emotional attachment."

I'm not sure that I agree with this. I think there are likely many types of swearing that people use depending on the context. I swear casually all the time and that sort of swearing is very different that how I swear when I'm in pain or when I'm pissed-off.

I think, for me, there is casual swearing and 'charged swearing.' For instance, one of my favourite movies is The Big Lebowski. Apparently is has the most mentions of the word 'fuck' than any other film. I barely even notice it as to me it's mostly used very casually and is somewhat similar to how I swear casually in certain contexts. But how I use the word 'fuck' when in pain could peel paint off walls.

I think this clip illustrates what I mean; there is 'yeah, fuck it' and 'FUCK!!!'. If you don't like swearing, run away now.


What do you think about what the researcher says? Do you feel that you have different categories or types of swearing? etc...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Some interesting things...

... do happen in Canada.

On this day, nineteen years ago, in an area near Oka, Quebec, a small but many months long protest escalated into The Oka Crisis. This was a very dramatic land claims dispute between between the Mohawk Nation of Kanesatake and Canadian security forces (Quebec provincial cops and the Canadian Army) after the Mohawk Warrior society reclaimed a burial ground from the developer of a golf course.

Not my photo: image from here.

It's interesting to me because it involved many aspects of social life in Canada: human rights, protest, racism, political arrogance, cultural difference, social oppression, censorship of the media, gender, colonialism, violence, a police state, land disputes, First Nations sovereignty, etc, etc... Very juicey stuff, imo.

I highly recommend the documentary 'Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance' by Alanis Obomsawin which you can watch online, here or rent from many places. In England, even my two bit local library had it.

Edit, adding! It can be viewed with captioning here... though the NFB site can be a bit slow at times.

Here's a sort of trailer to the film:

I will likely post more about Alanis Obomsawin cos she kicks ass. And maybe I'll say something nice about the National Film Board of Canada as it could kick ass if it wasn't constantly having its funding cut.

There. I've done my Canadalove post for the month. Now, back to the bitching. ;-)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Skywatch Friday... with butter and salt.

Popcorn clouds!

This is Trial Island. Trial Island... hmmm, it sounds cool, don't it? Like maybe at one time there was some good old fashioned prosecution of uppity women; angry mobs throwing them down into the icy waves to be dismembered and devoured by slithering wolf eels.

Appealing as that may be, this is Canada, and so, it's required that the explanation of the name be dull. ;-)

And it is.

The island is just off shore and a couple of miles east of various ship building docks (Navy and industrial). It use to be that when the ships were sea worthy enough, they would do a trial run out from the docks to the island and back. That's what I've heard anyways.

For more skies go to Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Little shit.

This was me, aged seven or eight, fully decked out as a turd and being made to stare into the blinding rays of the sun.

I hated Brownies with a passion and the group leaders didn't like me either. I kept asking questions a young lady shouldn't be asking; "Why should I want to get a badge for doing stuff that I don't like doing?" "Why should I want to help my mother around the house and not want to help my dad?" "Why do all the girls with all the right badges and stars and bars act like self-righteous little bullying twats?" Ok, maybe not worded quite like that but I do remember thinking stuff along those lines. I also remember wondering why I shouldn't be asking these questions.

So that was one of my few forays into social conformity; it didn't take. ;-)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Poor ol' Fosina Ross

The first pic is not my photo, I swiped it from here (sue me). It's McNeill Bay, in Victoria (well technically in Oak Bay, a city squished right beside Victoria). It's a very nice place to walk, jog (yeah, right) or ride your bike along the water.

Here's a plaque that basically says that McNeill Bay was where the SS Beaver (heehee) anchored before landing to scout out where 'Fort Victoria' would be built and it was, in 1843, the first few days of Victoria's existence. Of course, the place existed and had been settled quite happily prior to Whitey showing up but fessing up to this that would meaning having to redo the plaque.

The view is great. It's the sort of place that is beautiful to see from and that's hard to capture in a photo... hard for me to, I mean.

The actual beach is not really a great beach as the road is smack, right there and wave break is just functional concrete.


When on the beach, if you turn your back on the water you are met with another commemorative plaque! This is to Fosina Irene Margaret Ross who 'gave this esplanade to the people of Oak Bay.' Could it be uglier?

I especially like how it's so lovingly placed next to a storm drain.

And I always wonder did she get shafted in this deal? Or was she such a royal bitch that she had that coming? I've been wondering for years...

For more That's My World Tuesday posts - click here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What's for brekkie?

The most important meal of the day... the breaking of the fast... as they say.

I am a breakfast eater; I love it. And probably because I've lived on my own for much of the last few years, I've maybe developed odd breakfast habits. Contrary to my blog name, I rarely ever eat toast (a very typical Canadian breakfast food). I don't usually eat other typical Canadian breakfast foods either: eggs, cereals, French toast, pancakes (North American kind), bacon, granola, etc... I like all that stuff but typically I prefer a big mug of strong black coffee and something very spicey.

This morning: coffee, honeydew melon, a few cold leftover boiled baby potatos (yum) and a few slices of some very spicey Italian ham (I forget the name). My mouth is still burning. Heaven.

I very often double-up my evening meal and eat the half the next morning; day old, ice cold spicey stirfries = bliss.

Do you eat breakfast? What is a typical breakfast in your part of the world? What is a typical breakfast for you? What is your favourite? Any weirdness you're will to fess up to?

Over to y'all.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Saturday Sun

came early one morning

Saturday sun came early one morning
In a sky so clear and blue
Saturday sun came without warning
So no-one knew what to do.

Saturday sun brought people and faces
That didn't seem much in their day
But when I remember those people and places
They were really too good in their way.

In their way
In their way
Saturday sun won't come and see me today.

Think about stories with reason and rhyme
Circling through your brain.
And think about people in their season and time
Returning again and again

And again
And again
And Saturday's sun has turned to Sunday's rain.

So Sunday sat in the Saturday sun
And wept for a day gone by.

- N Drake

Friday, July 3, 2009

Damn pedestrians!

I'd like to point out that there's a perfectly good crosswalk just beyond that blue car ahead... lazy bugger!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Skywatch Friday... for the foot fetishist

Blue skies, blue skies, blue skies; boring, boring, boring.

I was looking over old photos trying to find a nice Skywatch Friday photo and noticed a disturbing theme. So, like any good blogger would, I decided to post about it on my blog. ;-)

City sidewalk feet:

Calgary Sewer feet:

Caterrrpillerrrr feet:

Flowery feet:

Seaweedy feet:

Ottawa Canal feet:

Walking where Romans once walked, Wivenhoe feet:

Poplar tree fluffy feet:

I love my feet:

OMG! feet:

I haven't linked up with the Skywatch Friday website... but check them out for groovy sky photos.

And yes I know my feet are quite grubby. I walked many grubby miles in those sandals.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada Day - Captioned

July 1st is Canada Day, Canada's Birthday, a day during which I avoid public parks like the plague. Being surrounded by a thousand squealing crotch crickets amped on 'free cake' iced with tantrum-inducing red food dye is not my idea of good time. My Canadian beaver and I say 'bah humbug' to all of that and offer the following captioned Canada-ish clip: