- by Alyson Shane
Back when I first started blogging in the mid 2000's people would do these weird quizzes and questionnaires on their Livejournals and Deadjournals and Xangas and Geocities sites
(I'm aging myself, I know)
I'm not sure why we all did these. Maybe because quizzes are fun? Or because it's an easy way to crank out a blog post without saying much of anything at all?
Either way, here's one from a long time ago with answers from today. I found this on an old friend's Livejournal and because I've been in the house forever and am feeling nostalgic for the Northgate movie theatre and big Garden City parking lots and
just walking around, honestly
and thinking about how different things are now.
It's nice to reminisce. Pandemic be damned, let's do this:
1. Ever been offered an engagement ring? Hell yeah, front of all my friends at my 30th birthday
2. Longest friendship? Cenquist or Trimble
3. Last gift you received? An Easter Card from John's Aunt Lemire! She sends us one every year and it's very sweet
4. How many times have you dropped your cell? Too many to count
5. When's the last time you worked out? I rode my bike to the bank the other day and even though it was only 20 minutes each way my body was sooooo sore the next day
6. Thing you spent a lot of money on? Food, and things to make food. Books, too
7. Last food you ate? Slow-cooker carnitas tacos with a mango avocado salsa
8. First thing you notice about the opposite sex? Laugh/smile
9. One favorite song? Hot Dog Stand - Begonia (this version omg)
10. Where do you live? Wolseley, in Winnipeg
11. Cell phone service provider: Rogers
12. Favourite mall store: Uh H&M? The Apple store? I don't go to the mall that often
13. Longest job ever had: Working for my own dang self! I've been self-employed since 2015
14. Do you own a pair of dice? Both the regular and D&D variety
15. Do you prank call people? I was never one of those kids who prank called people let's be honest
16. Last wedding attended? MINE. It was so much fun and it feels like a perfect dream now
17. First friend you'd call if you won the lottery: I wouldn't call anyone about it (weird flex but ok)
18. Last time you attended church: Christmas 2018 when we went to the Timothy Eaton Church with my aunt and uncle and Grandma, and John and I sang with so much GUSTO that the family in the row ahead gave us dirty looks
19. How old are you? 32 (have you ever written down your age and had it shock you like "holy shit this is how old I am already?" because that happened to me just now
20. Biggest lie you have heard? "I am a very stable genius"
21. What do you want to drive? I'm not really "into cars" but a Tesla would be neat
22. Where's your favorite place to eat with friends? Anywhere that isn't in my own house and over Zoom would be great, but Carnivale's all-you-can-eat meat swords and slices of pineapple oare sounding pretty good right now
23. Can you cook? I can! It's a fun hobby
24. What car do you drive? I've never owned a car
25. Favorite plant? I like pothos around the house because they're hardy and lush, but most plants in general besides the Titan arum are ok in my books
26. Last time you cried? A few days ago, probably, I cry easily and often
27. Most disliked food: Durian or tarantula*, or those gross microwave grilled cheeses we got from 7-11 on Koh Tao when were drunk and hungry at midnight
28. Thing you like most about yourself? I like that I'm motivated by being useful and making a positive difference. It gives me a real sense of pride and satisfaction with how I spend my time
29. Thing you dislike most about yourself? I get in circles about things that worry me and I have a hard time not obsessing over things that I can't control, but I'm working on it
30. Longest shift you have worked at a job? 12+ hours back at the old Winnipeg Arena - I saw Godsmack and Aerosmith because I worked the concessions!
31. Favorite movie? Oh this is tough - Pan’s Labyrinth, Citizen Kane, 12 Angry Men, Her, and Jiro Dreams of Sushi are some tops, but I have a list that's at least as long as my arm
32. Can you sing? Everyone can sing! I don't have a well-developed range, but I sing a lot these days
33. Last concert? We saw Bedouin Soundclash at The Park Theatre right before everything shut down
34. What are you listening to right now? "Horse and I" by Bat For Lashes
35. What color are your eyes? Aqua/blue
36. Who knows your darkest secret? My therapist
37. Last movie rented? Well this is a quaint question - 2010?
38. Thing you never leave home without? My iPhone
39. What will your epitaph say? "A woman of strong laughs and opinions."
40. Do you like Chinese food? Yup - both the American version, and the authentic, unusual kind
41. What book are you currently reading? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
42. Is your room clean? Yes, but I didn't make the bed today (quarantine life)
43. Laptop or desktop computer? I have both and don't really have a preference
44. Favorite comedian? Tina Fey
45. Do you smoke? Only the Devil's Lettuce
46. Sleep with or without clothes? Without
47. Who sleeps with you every night? My husband (still gives me a thrill to say that)
48. Do long distance relationships work? Sure they can, it depends on the couple and the circumstance
49. How many times have you been pulled over by the police? Once in a buddy's car and I was so scared I nearly peed my pants (he'd accidentally turned right at an intersection where no right turns were allowed)
50. Pancakes or french toast? French toast but I'm probably gonna go make pancakes after finishing this
51. Do you like coffee? Don't most adults?
52. How do you like your eggs? Pretty much any which way, I love eggs
53. Do you believe in astrology? Not really but I think it impacts people's self-image so that interests me, plus it's fun to indulge and be silly sometimes
54. Last person you talked to on the phone? My grandma, for Mother's Day
55. Last person on your missed call list? Kim
56. What was the last text message you received? Katrina just sent me a video of her Animal Crossing world that she's been terra-forming
57. McDonalds or Burger King? McDo all the way down
58. Number of pillows? Our bed only has four but I wish it had WAY MORE - John isn't into it so we compromise
59. What are you wearing right now? Red stretchy jeans and B&W striped tee
60. Pick a lyric, any lyric or song?
Told that bitch I'm sorry though
'Bout my coins like Mario (Mario)
Yeah they call me Cardi B, I run this shit like cardio
"I run this shit like cardio" is one of my favourite expressions
61. What kind of jelly do you like on your PB & J sandwich? Any, I'm a fan of most jams
62. Can you play pool? Not even
63. Do you know how to swim? I mean, I'm not a lifeguard but I can hold it together in the water
64. Favorite ice cream? I recently discovered that I love pistacho which means I'm growing up, but overall I like cookie dough ice cream
65. Do you like maps? Uh I used to look at my dad's old World Atlas if that's what you mean (I was a nerdy kid)
66. Tell me a random fact about yourself? I won the "Most Enthusiasm" Award for my performance as an extra in our Grade 6 production of Little Orphan Annie
67. Are you procrastinating right now? Ugh yeah, I'm supposed to be researching FTUE's (pronounced fatooey) which stands for First Time User Experience and is not very thrilling work
68. Ever attend a theme party? Bitch I throw theme parties
69. What is your favorite season? Summer
70. Last time you laughed at something stupid? Today, at this video
71. What time did you wake up this morning? 7:30 A.M.
72. Best thing about winter? When I can skate from The Forks to my neighbourhood along the River Trail
73. Last time a cop gave you a ticket? Never
74. What's the scariest thing you've ever done?
75. Strangest thing you've ever eaten? I ate tarantula, squid eggs, durian, crickets, and a bunch of other weird stuff in Thailand last year
76. Do you think pirates are cool or overrated? Who are these dummies who think pirates aren't cool?
77. What are you doing this weekend? Gardening, BBQing, and puttering around the house
78. Who's your best friend? I have a few, but I'm closest to John
79. What is the third letter of your name? Y
80. How old are your pets? 7 (Toulouse) and 5 (BJ)
81. What color is your backpack? Mint green
82. Are you sick? Moar like sickening amirite? (also, no, not sick)
83. Book you are interested in reading? Palaces For the People - it's on my list!
84. Is the bathroom open? What kind of question is this?!
85. Favourite smell? That dusty smell when it's raining
86. Your most prize possession? Some photos of me from when I was a little kid - I don't have many
87. Are you smiling? Now I am
88. Do you have on eyeliner? Pffft no, it's the quarantine and I don't have any Zoom calls today
89. Do you miss someone right now? It's more like a general yearning to be among people and feel normal
90. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go? Back to Asia in a heartbeat - Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Singapore are all on my list once the idea of international travel or being in airplanes doesn't raise my blood pressure
91. Do you have a Myspace? Oh looooooord this makes me feel old. Not anymore
92. Are you in high school? Ahahaha no, I graduated university back in 2013
93. Do you have a crush? Yeah, and I'm married to him (aww)
94. What is your favorite nickname for yourself? John calls me "Bear" which I really like, and some of my older friends call me "Shaner"
95. What color is your bathing suit? Mustard yellow
96. What's your favorite brand of water? Tap water? I don't drink bottled water
97. Did you go on vacation last month? No because there's a pandemic and we've been social distancing in our house since mid-March
98. Have you ever been on a cruise? No, cruises are a gross industry that shouldn't be allowed to exist
99. Do you have a sister? Finally, yes! I married into three
100. Are you upstairs? No, I'm in my basement office because I'm supposed to be working but I'm putting it off because it's not really exciting work and I'm excited to have a Zoom call with Tineke at 5
Whew! Was that as fun for you as it was for me?
If you do this and post it somewhere, tweet at me and let me know so I can see your answers!
*(Upon further reflection, the durian was worse than the tarantula.)
- by Alyson Shane
Plus a day, but who's counting.
By this time next week John and I will be in Belize, on our way to the island of Caye Caulker.
We've been there before
but this time we'll be joined by 34 of our nearest and dearest because omg we're finally getting married. I just finished writing my vows and
I think I nailed it.
Getting married has been a weird experience, because even though we're doing an unconventional destination wedding those "traditions" find a way of sneaking in and making me realize
oh, right, my father isn't walking me down the aisle
oh, right, I won't be needing photos with my relatives because none of them are coming
which makes me either really sad or really relieved, depending on how I'm feeling when it comes up.
On Sunday I'm writing letters to all my relatives who won't be there. My therapist suggested it as a way of "putting down" my feelings, so I'm gonna write a bunch of letters that I won't send, probably cry a lot, then run a bath and make chicken parm and watch a movie and take time to just
sit with these disappointed feelings for a while before letting them go
because there's so many positive things I want to focus on instead.
Like how seriously Adam is taking officiating our ceremony
how Katrina has put some much time and energy into sewing my wedding dress from scratch
the number of times Kim has checked in to see how I'm doing
all our friends and family who've messaged us to say how excited they are
how excited I am to share such an amazing, beautiful place with them
and how much lobster I'm gonna eat.
In a way if feels like I've been preparing for this moment for years. Readying myself for the day when I allow myself to be accepted into a family who want me, and love me, and who choose me just like I choose them.
A few weeks ago my little brother stopped by. We were talking about the wedding, and he said "as far as I'm concened, once you get married you're not one of us anymore"
which came across harsher than I think he meant, but it didn't hurt my feelings
because maybe he's right
and maybe that's not so bad, after all.
- by Alyson Shane
It's odd to be in a calm, happy place.
I don't feel this way very often, so I try and enjoy it when I can.
Usually I feel all wound-up inside, at least to some degree, with a worry or a nagging feeling or an anxiety I'm figuring out how to put down. But every so often I find myself in a place where I can
feeling the air filling my lungs and really being present.
I struggle with that sometimes.
Tomorrow's the last day of work before the holidays. Our offices are both closed until January 2nd and I'm really looking forward to spending a few days relaxing and recharging with friends and family and writing and painting and playing Final Fantasy VII.
I've been burning the candle at both ends since September and yr girl needs a break, which is why I'm staying in tonight.
John's at the Complex Games holiday party and I'm sitting in a the kitchen with a glass of wine surrounded by the smell of the oranges I'm drying in the oven to make Christmas ornaments.
Once I'm finished writing this I'll make some mushroom soup
(Campbell's brand, my guilty pleasure)
and a grilled cheese with the dark brown rye bread our upstairs neighbour gave us and watch the Dem Debate.
Maybe I'll get more work done after that, but I'm in the home stretch of fine-tuning and reviewing and making sure everything is in order as we move into the new year, and I need to draw up a contract for a new client Starling just landed, but that's it really.
My fellow business owners know the relief of having all your ducks in a row before you go on vacation, and that's the vibe I'm feeling right now.
Tomorrow I need to go to The Bay downtown and shop in that big, old department store that I love. I need to find a bodysuit and skirt for my wedding dress
before heading down to work from Forth until John and I meet up after work. We're going to the local legion to cheers under the glow of the rainbow Christmas lights that looked so charming as we walked by along McDermot last night.
It gets dark so early these days and I can't wait to look at the man I love under the glow of all those cheesy festive lights and honestly
it's nice to have a second to breathe and get excited about that.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go interrupt my calm, serene silence by watching a bunch of grown adults yell at each in front of a million plus viewers
(you bet I'm watching the Dem Debate)
Happy holidays, my loves.
- by Alyson Shane
A few weeks ago John and I performed an original song we wrote at the Rainbow Trout Music Festival open mic.
It's called "Manitobae" and it's about a particular kind of Manitoban man
many of whom were clearly sitting around Carpet Beach listening to us sing, by the sound of the cheers and clapping.
I don't have a great singing voice, and I sounded raspy af, but I'm really proud of our song and of our little band. This is Big Trouble in Little Wolseley's 3rd year performing!
I've experienced a few losses recently and I haven't been feeling the same connection to my community as I typically do.
But this video is a good reminder that there are like-minded folks out there, and instead of focusing on the weird, negative feelings still swirling around inside of me.
I'd like to share this moment in time with you because it makes me happy.
I hope it makes you happy, too.
- by Alyson Shane
You never know when yr last conversation with someone is going to be.
I have an Old Grandma so I think about that a lot.
It's why I try not to go to bed without saying "I love you"
or end a phone call without saying the same
but people fight and have disagreements and not everything can end on a positive or constructive note every single time.
People are people, after all.
Which is why it's important to say those things when you mean it
like when you feel like you could burst because you're so happy to be talking to someone, and you're sure they can hear how happy you are in the excited pitch of your voice
- or at least, you hope they do -
and you know in that moment: this is fleeting.
That these are the best days of your lives
because they're spent together.
It's hard to remember that sometimes
until it isn't.
So consider this yr reminder to hug everyone you love real tight tonight.
And tell the people you love that you love them.
(I love you.)
- by Alyson Shane
I wasn't at my best over the weekend.
I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and from the minute I got up everything felt overwhelming, negative, and frustrating. I snapped at John and I snapped at my friends and I posted some dumb shit to Twitter that I later deleted because I looked at what I'd said and realized that even though it felt good to call out some shitty behaviour I'd been made aware of in the moment, imitating that toxic behaviour didn't actually make me feel any better or help the situation at all.
We were planning to go to Electric Six on Sunday night and I spent most of the day in an anxious panic worrying that I wouldn't be able to handle being in a crowded public space trying to focus on a band I like and would spend the whole time
standing with that tingling, tight feeling in my face and stomach and throat
kind of like the numbness that hits you just before you throw up or when you get some really bad news
and I kept saying "I can't, I can't, I can't" because I believed it.
Luckily John is an understanding and patient person and he said "babe if you need to stay home that's okay, but I want you to know I was really looking forward to seeing the show together"
which was hard for me to accept because of the baggage I have from years of having my feelings and needs invalidated and thrown in my face
but I wanted to try
so I said "let's go to dinner instead of hanging around the house" and we went to Elephant & Castle and I had a really good burger with bacon and BBQ sauce and we laughed and talked about our super-secret project over pints of Guinness.
We talked to some ladies in town from Calgary sat down next to us and started chatting with us which seems to happen every time John and I go somewhere
and I deleted all the dumb shit I said online and reflected on it publicly
(because it's good to 'fess up to when you're being a tit, I think, which I was)
and maybe it was the beer or maybe the music but when I started dancing in the crowd at Electric Six the numb feeling that was sitting in my gut and throat and face started to melt away, and it was nice to have a break from that feeling for a little while.
- by Alyson Shane
which is a weird thing to ask someone who just publicly admitted to being depressed but what else do you ask someone in my position?
"Hey, still feeling like a human dumpster fire today?" isn't a great opening line.
The answer is Fine, I Guess.
As Fine as I can be, I suppose.
I saw a new therapist last week and she's very into these visualization techniques that psychotherapists use to help people who have experienced traumas like PTSD overcome their issues, which I'm down to try but to be honest makes me feel a bit silly.
She had me picture a jar with a lid and had me describe the jar in crazy detail, then she told me to talk about an upsetting experience I'd had recently and how it made me feel, and to feel my feelings and allow myself to cry, which I did.
Then she told me Put your feelings in that jar and close the lid so you can't feel them anymore. So I did.
And you know what. I felt better.
Not one hundred percent better, but a bit better.
That's how it works, my therapist said.
So there's that and we'll see how it goes.
I spent the weekend taking it easy and working a bit and last night John and I went to this dive bar in our neighbourhood and ordered some local craft beer and a slice of lasagna to share
and we talked about the future and the things we wanted and the people we know and the things we're hopeful for, and the place was bathed in the glow of some hockey game on TV nobody was actually watching and everyone was wearing toques and comfortable sweaters and looking very Canadian.
It was very familiar and comforting and it was nice to feel that way.
We stayed for two beers and burnt our mouths a little on the hot cheese because we can never wait for the lasagna to cool, and today we spent some time planning the garden and working on projects, and I've been trying to catch up on the mountain of emails and DMs and text messages I've been receiving since Thursday.
It's been humbling and strange to receive such an outpouring of support and what's funny is that for a person who never shuts up and writes for a living, figuring out what to say back is really hard
so if I haven't replied to you I'm sorry and I'm working on it
but I see you and I appreciate you
and I appreciate that you keep asking.
- by Alyson Shane
I've been staring at this blank screen like a page waiting to be filled and I have this pit in my stomach, round like an avocado pit and heavy-feeling, dragging me down into my chair and the floor and the ground. I wish the earth would swallow me whole.
People ask me to talk and I have nothing to say. My words are like ash in my mouth and they feel caked on my tongue. Nothing I say has value. Makes a difference. Matters.
I wake up in the morning and I want to go back to sleep so I don't have to feel this way and so I don't have to fake being happy and smile and be loud and enthusiastic and pretend like I don't have this
hole in me
that keeps growing larger no matter what I do.
It got real bad after VoteOpen but this lack of feeling has been there for a while, or maybe it never really went away and I was just covering it up. Like a hole in the floor that you put a piece of wood over, and then you put a really thick rug on the wood so when you walk over it you don't feel the emptiness underneath your feet. Or at least you pretend you don't.
I regret being involved with that campaign. The city ground me down and I saw an ugly side of it that I can't unsee and I don't know how to love the place that I used to love
anymore because I don't feel connected to it. I've lost my sense of place, and with it a portion of my identity that was so, so important to me, and it feels like that hole is getting bigger and deeper and more complex and I'm losing myself in it more every day.
In the winter I needed to hustle so I could take time off so I barely had time to acknowledge it. I poured myself into my work and hauled ass and accomplished a lot but I did it so I could have an escape from my life and pretend like I was fine for a little while
and I felt fine in Thailand. Most of the time, anyway.
But then we came back and at first I tried to chalk it up to being incredibly jet-lagged, then being incredibly sick, then one thing and another thing and then another thing but the truth of the matter is that
I don't feel much of anything these days.
Just a hollow ashy feeling in-between bouts of profound sadness and red-hot anger. I yo-yo between being angry at everything and everyone, to feeling so sad I can barely get out of bed, and in-between I feel numb. I walk and I talk and I feel myself going through the motions of living my life but it's like watching a movie because the things that are happening have no meaning. They just happen. They don't matter.
John asked today me if I was excited about anything. Folk Fest. Rainbow Trout. Summer and gardening and riding our bikes. Our wedding. Any of the dozens of things going on in my life that I ought to be excited and happy about.
But I'm not. There's that hole in my chest where my feelings should be and it's deep and dark and grey and it feels like if I stare into it for too long I may lose myself and fall in and never come out. I could get lost in it like a series of hallways that lead nowhere but go on forever, empty and dark and endless.
If I were someone else I'd tell me to talk to someone. Anyone. That's what John tells me to do.
"See a therapist" he says "get some help."
So I'm getting help.
Tomorrow I'm seeing a new therapist and maybe that will make a difference but I'm nervous and scared, because the last time I saw a therapist it was to manage the emotional baggage I was carrying around from my relationship with my parents and for some reason I'm okay being a victim of abuse but I'm absolutely terrified of being depressed even though that must be what this is, right?
Is this what depression feels like?
Am I depressed?
I don't want to be. I want to be someone who overcame some shit and maybe still has some anxiety, but is pretty okay now and working on it but can do normal things like talk to their friends and partner about their feelings and get excited about getting married and the future and all the amazing, positive, special things in my life that should be making me feel anything but exactly how I feel right now.
But I'm not okay
and I need to do something about it before this hole in me eats me up and there's nothing left.
Wish me luck.
- by Alyson Shane
Well, John is. I'm blogging because he's in the process of editing a photo of the island of Caye Caulker, Belizem with little notes and arrows and Xes like
X <-- The Split
X <-- Wish Willy's
X <-- Wedding
and watching him is the most charming thing.
As it turns out, John is very good at wedding planning because he
is an A-type, and we both like to take charge of a situation.
We have very specific and well-researched and strong opinions, so it's good we agree on most things. Like:
waffles are better than pancakes
wet cold is better than dry cold (but no cold is best)
inequality and climate change are the two most pressing issues of our time
new Weezer sucks.
the best way to decorate is with plants and books
dogs are superior to cats (sorry T and BJ)
steaks should only be eaten rare
punk's not dead.
Y'know, the important stuff.
It's also good that we agree on wedding stuff because I don't want to fight about our wedding.
I once dated a guy whose brother and his fiancée nearly broke off their wedding because they had an argument about the colour of the candles they wanted to have on the tables at the reception.
But I get it. Weddings are stressful and expensive and that shit gets to ya.
So I'm thankful we haven't had a dumb wedding fight yet, though this hasn't been a stressful experience so far.
The wheels are in motion, and now that we're back from Thailand we're shifting our future-planning, A-type attention to this
the next big thing.
One of the Biggest Things.
I know it'll be different than what I expect, so I'm trying not to expect anything specific.
We're gonna get to the island, get off the plane, and it'll all work itself out. Even if the weather is trash or someone sprains an ankle or I cry so hard that I can't wear my contact lenses.
It'll work itself out.
I'm still nervous, but that's more because our buddy Adam is officiating the ceremony
and I know he's gonna steal the show like he always does.
I should really go see if John needs help with those maps.
- by Alyson Shane
but I'm indoors and cozy underneath a warm blanket with my cats nearby
and a glass of wine
and a couple of dried figs
and a big 'ol mason jar of water
(gotta stay hydrated for our flight)
listening to ASMR videos and reading Hacker News articles.
Even though I'm pumped to leave on an adventure tomorrow
it's nice to be home curled up with our cats in the living room
hearing John laugh every once in a while from the kitchen
(he's on the phone with his mom; they are talking about dog breeds)
maybe with a slight buzz, lulling myself to sleep for our 3AM wake-up time.
(Send thoughts and prayers, folks.)
Tomorrow we have a 24-hour travel day to get to the other side of the world
but for now I'm happy to be safe and warm here in my winter city
feeling excited for what's to come.