What a week it has been. On Friday, I wrote my first death certificate. There are spaces to fill in for supposed cause of death and co-morbidities and such but eventually, I suppose, old age is not really a valid cause of the expiration of life. The patient died from not being able to breathe anymore - I listed "respiratory failure" as the cause of death.

On my overtime shift on Saturday, I had to certify death. This is quite different from writing a death certificate. To certify death, all a doctor has to do is put into writing a confirmation that the patient has no heartbeat, is not breathing, is unresponsive and has fixed dilated pupils unresponsive to light. The strange thing is that the same bed that that patient died in was filled in not long after by another patient who was similarly going to die.

Death, death, death. There are another couple of patients on my list who are similarly terminal. Nothing much I can do for either of them. Everyone dies of cardiac failure or respiratory failure, one way or another. Do bad things come in threes too?

I guess I take solace in that dying patients leaves me less work to do - I don't have to see them anymore from day to day and there is no discharge letter to write ... death certificates are much simpler than discharge letters ...

On the financial front, I have managed to lose a significant amount of money buying puts on various big blue chip stocks on the Australian Stock Exchange. All signs point towards a downturn in the worldwide stock indexes, consistent with the recession that has already hit.

My advice for the financially interested - listen carefully to the news. Separate fact from editorial. The stock ANALysts on CNBC and other news sources are all saying the news is *bad*, but that the bottom must be in or just around the corner.

It will be a long time before this stock bear market turns around.

Meanwhile, some of my puts will expire this Thursday. *sigh* - I can still hope for a BIG drop this week. The Nikkei stock index is already today breaking below support at 12,000. Who knows how low that might go?

Had a rather crazy week in Toronto, supposedly with the purpose of looking for a place to live in September. Somehow, I ended up looking at one place and spending the week drinking with gay men in fun glasses. Where, oh where, does the time go?

Dancing at El Mocambo last night. Ride back to Ottawa with a stop at somebody else's family reunion on the way. Too many awkward smiles in order to secure ride home. Free food from the buffet taken while everyone watched family videos of Uncle Keith in a thong. Mission completed.

Has anyone seen my shoes? I can't seem to find my shoes. I'm always losing my goddamn shoes. . .

Back from Vacation

I love a good road trip. Pittsburgh is a fun town. My girlfriend went to school there so she made a good tour guide. We went to the Andy Warhol Museum, the Mattress Factory (which has nice installations by James Turrell) got some dinner, etc.

Then we went to West Virginia for grandmother's 80th birthday.

Then we drove home. There were 4 of us, all with CDs. On the way, we listened to:

Primal Scream - Vanishing Point
Spiritualized - Floating in Space
The Fall - Middle Class Revolt
U2 - Achtung Baby
Slayer - Reign In Blood
Sly and the Family Stone - Riot
The Modern Lovers

Interesting being in the south - lots of Christian stuff. Today I am back in New York City feeling grateful to be home. People who don't live here freak out when they come out of the tunnel onto canal street and see the trash and graf. But to me, there's nothing more beautiful than being in New York.
So, there is a list of songs that are eventually going to be put onto a CD or tape or something that all have at least 1 thing in common - they contain a message (either in the title or the lyrics) that Dan and I have for each other. Most of these are country, mainly because I work on The List while at work much of the time, and CMT is the channel most-often on at the Havar group homes.

Anyhow, do remember this list is yet in progress, and may indeed never be finished.

~There You'll Be - Faith Hill
~I'm Already There - Lonestar
~When You Come Back Down - Nickel Creek
~Love is Something That We Do - Clint Black
~Right Where I Need To Be - Gary Allen
~The Keeper of the Stars - Tracy Byrd
~One Friend - Dan Seals
~I'll Be - Reba McEntire
~Close Your Eyes - Edward Bear
~Right Here Waiting - Richard Marx
From This Moment - Shania Twain
If My Heart Had Wings - Faith Hill

Songs marked with a ~ are ones I have in mp3 format already.

April was my last day log, oh it has been a long time dear readers and so much has happened, July has been remarkable. Virtual communities spring up and disappear quickly and there is a certain lack of commitment among virtual friendships from my experience compared to those I meet face to face in my daily life. So it was delightful to have thefez stop here and take the time to meet me and my family. We spent an all too brief day together visiting a cave, learning about saguaros, an impromptu monsoon, and a pleasant evening walk. I babbled on a lot about desert flora and fauna, these wild lands still amaze me and I wanted to share. Jane was there right along with us because I had just the week before sent her my notebook filled with spring flowers from the Sonora Desert; I had watched carefully on my daily walks for the right moment to pick them. I mailed off jp's h2g2 book to Devon_Hart as well. It was great to see all the pictures thefez brought along and put faces with names. Funny how the ties that bind us come about...Number Two Son has become a big fan of Douglas Adams and is currently writing a paper about Ford Prefect over the summer for Honors English.

We celebrated the 4th of July with a cookout lunch and the guys wondered if the cake we had was for my birthday too. I said I never expect a birthday cake, to which my husband replied:
Hear that boys were off the hook for the birthday cake! woo hoo!
Ah well they did get me a cake and electric clippers for the yard, Number One Son was under the impression for a while that I did want a chain saw oh my!

The 4th was spectacular. Number Two Son has been asking me for the past few years to climb up on the roof and watch the fireworks from there and this year I found the courage to do that! He held the ladder still and waited patiently while I waited frozen for a few moments before taking that last step onto the roof. Under a nearly full moon with lightening on the horizon and several fireworks on display it was a marvelous time to spend with him.

As thefez was out at a coffee shop writing past dark whilst the mother in me worried about how faded he seemed. I set out pillows and a blanket for him to use. A sleeping bag would be his bed and these thoughts came to mind. We should find out the meaning of our effort before we attain something, I read once upon a time. It is not after enlightenment that we find true meaning, the trying to do something that is the enlightenment. I thought about the greate many times my sons and friends played camp out in the living room building tents out of couches of cushions and blanketed walls only to have them tumble falling giggling crashing through followed by friends and more that a dog or two in tow. I pondered what their efforts at play meant in preparing them for life and how will they find meaning in theirs. I hope they have a venturesome spirit and the desire to risk sharing that with others they meet along the road in life; to be foot loose and heart free.....it was the 111º the day fez left and I worried about the heat. He says driving across the desert with the wind in his face was rad. I laughed and the friend in me thought yea you're right fezzy! Sometimes we insulate ourselves from the real world, but by living intensely our joys are magnified, and our frustrations and sadnesses fewer and more meaningful. Set in the context of our more significant lives, it's as if whatever we mean by success, establishes a force field within which everything counts, everything matters, simply because it has happened to us. That when we realize that home and family are we all, then we have a real reason to love our lives.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
~Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)


One week ago I did shrooms for the second time, this is the story of my journey.

Dose: 1/8 ounce chopped up and swallowed in water with a dash of lemon.

I took the shrooms at about midnight, while my 4 friends, Ryan, Steven, Erin, and Bryan each took half a tab of ecstasy. While I was waiting for the psilocybin to reach my brain I began to arrange the room so that there wouldn't be anything to trip over while I was tripping (pun intended). All the lights were extinguished except for a black light. The trip started out normally with a spacy feeling and sense of being slowly elevated. I knew from my first time doing shrooms that I would know when the trip had started when I could consciously manifest open eye visions. So when I started to notice an increased sensitivity to light, I laid down on the couch and stared at the ceiling. The patterns in the ceiling were random and would provide a good medium for self induced hallucinations. After a few minutes the random patterns turned into a bas relief of tribal patterns, and the colors of the light began to adjust to the tone of the music. When I closed my eyes the patters stayed, but transformed into brightly colored fractals which pulsated and spun in my mind's eye. There was something else behind the patterns though, a presence, as though a hidden part of myself were standing on the other side of a stained glass window from me. I don't know how long I stayed like this, perhaps 20 minutes, maybe an hour, but here the trip took a slightly bad turn. I started feeling nauseous, so I began to set up my vaporizer. This was a mistake in the state I was currently in, because as I was reaching inside to remove the bowl, the vaporizer seemed to come to life and grab hold of my hand, while the soldering iron inside licked at me and threatened to grind my hand like a blender. I didn't let this freak me out though, I had brought it upon myself, and I enjoyed the surreal pseudo bad trip. But there was still the problem of my ever increasing nausea, so I finished setting up the vaporizer and took a couple hits. Unfortunately I only had bammer, and it didn't help much. I laid back on the couch and tried to control my body, but was unable to get rid of the stomach discomfort completely, and at one point decided I had better move into the bathroom.

Due to my sensitivity to light I entered the bathroom in the dark, and tried to find my way to the toilet by touch. This proved to be more difficult than I expected, since my sense of size and distance were gone completely by this point. I tried to control my stomach again and had some more success this time, perhaps due to the isolation. The nausea was beginning to remind me of the feeling I get when I drink way too much, and it was having a definite effect on my trip. I sat and meditated on the bathroom floor for perhaps half an hour, I couldn't really say how long exactly though because my sense of time had changed dramatically. I think it was about this point that I began to toy with the idea of leaving my body and taking a more literal trip. I was worried, however, that something might happen to my body while I was gone, that maybe it would forget to breathe, or vomit in a bad position and choke to death without my presence. But I decided I would try it anyway, I would just prepare my body so it would be ok while I was gone. With considerable effort I stood up and walked back into the kitchen to find my cup of water. With my dry mouth taken care of I went back into the bathroom and emptied my bladder, so there would be no accidents while I was away. Once again I sat down in front of the toilet and began to meditate. I tried to project my spirit into the other room where my friends were, to try to feel their energies. Perhaps it was just the power of suggestion, but I think I succeeded in some way, and came into contact with their spirits. They were all glowing red, while my own was blue. I returned to my body to check on it. My legs were uncomfortable on the hard bathroom floor, so I moved them until I was satisfied, and then set off on another journey. This time I attempted to contact the spirit of the earth and nature. I felt something, but I wanted to be closer to the earth. I would have gone outside and walked to the park if I could have, but entering and leaving my body was very strenuous and I didn't have the energy at the moment. I tried to call out to my friends without words, to come help me move closer to the earth, but I didn't reach them. In fact, at this point I had almost entirely lost my ability to speak. Language had become something unnesesary. When my friends would come to check on me, I could only smile at them to let them know I was alright.

A lot of my trip blends together in my memory, but I think this was when I transcended into the spirit world and communed with fellow travelers. It was hard to maintain this level of meditation though and I soon returned to my body again. But this time I had brought something back with me. I felt the presence again, and it seemed to be the spirit of an ancient shaman, there to help guide me through this rite of passage. There was another presence as well, what seemed to me to be a wolf spirit, which I believe was representing the spirit of nature to me. I was beginning to think of this as a ritual, part of which involved purging the body. I tried to throw up, but part of me really didn't want to. I was experiencing ego death, and the different parts of my personality were becoming distinct entities in my mind, and they were arguing with each other. My rational part was telling me that it didn't really matter if I vomited or not, the mushrooms wouldn't hurt me and I'd feel better again when they've fully digested. The spiritual part of me insisted that I purge myself in order to communicate with the earth spirit, and some other part of me tried to convice the others that the mushrooms had become a part of me and I shouldn't be feeling sick in the first place. There was no winner, but I ended up not throwing up anyway.

While I was meditating I learned a few things. I learned that the real evil in the world is the force that tells people not to be themselves, the societal pressure that prevents people from doing what they really want to. I learned that there are senses that humans have long since forgotten how to use. I learned that my body is not who I am, but rather just transportation for my spirit, or soul, or whatever you want to call it. And most importantly I learned that every living thing has a life force which contributes to the overall spirit of the earth, and now it is very hard for me to even kill an ant without feeling remorse. Not that I'm totally against killing, it seems to me that if something is killed for food then it doesn't diminish the lifeforce, but if something is killed and left to rot then it is wasted and the earth is injured by it.

I can't think of how to end this properly, so I'll leave you with some links. For a more poetic explaination of what I was going through read the lyrics to The Patient, Parabola, Lateralus, and Reflection, from Tool's new album. As far as I'm concerned they are all about mushroom trips.
I just woke up on a cloudy morning with the sound of goldfinger ringing in my ears. They really are a great band.
I find that I have less and less desire to go to work every day. Maybe thats part of every job, but I most certainly don't want it to be a part of mine. However today is my friday, so I will have the next two days to spend getting drunk and watching captain kangaroo.
I wonder if it's true that human existance is mired by mediocrity? I have a decent job, a great girlfriend, a so-so family and a crappy car. But sometimes waking up in the morning I just feel very... plain.
NOFX just came on, they're also a good band. I hope there is a storm today.

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