Monday, on Tuesday

I definitely forgot yesterday was Monday. The only reminder I had was at 9am when my calendar alarm went off to remind me to go to physical therapy.  I was feeling pretty good, so
I was looking forward to going.  Of course, it is now the next day and I had a hell of a morning…woke up screaming (sorry neighbors,) used the heating pad for a half an hour, and took all my pills.  Still, no better, So I got up and went to my mother’s and had coffee, and sat in her chair which has good lumbar support, Slight improvement.  I went home and did my stretches and then Mark and I went for a walk.  Now I feel almost as good as I did yesterday, except it’s almost 1pm and I also feel like I wasted half a day.

I find it amusing that this sciatica thing happened right as I was finishing my main recovery from surgery.  There are still some foods I can’t eat, and I shouldn’t push, pull, lift or bend for another few months.  But right as I was coming off the restrictive diet and exercise, my leg started hurting.  Usually it goes away quick, but not this time. We are in week three now, I think.

And of course, it is my luck that something else crappy would happen right as I was starting to get better.  (If WordPress had a facepalm emoji, I would put it right here.)

Anyway, I forgot it was Monday after my appointment because I felt great so we decided to go fishing.  We went to one of my favorite spots, and saw lots of jumpers, but all I caught was a flippin’ gobi.  For those unaware, gobi’s are an invasive species, and if you find them, you have to kill them.  So that’s…awesome.

Then we headed home, and upon arrival, realized Marks’s wallet was gone.  So, this made us drive back out to the spot and search.  Thing is, when we were there, we were probably the only people in the park, save the lone bicyclist I saw.  When we came back, it seemed that a large family had set up shop right in the middle of the park and were having a party.  Also, the fishermen were out…all those folks who worked a nine to five and ran out to the water as soon as they could.

The wallet is gone.

We went home and searched the house, just in case, though I know the last time I saw it was in the car.  So, we searched the car, then cleaned the car, then organized the car for our upcoming trip.  Still, no wallet.

By the time all that was done, I was tired.  I watched a little TV and went to bed.

Then I woke up and it was Tuesday!  Damnit, I forgot to blog again!

I don’t know why I can’t keep to my own schedule right now.  There is just a lot going on at the moment, and I am walking around with this limp leg.  Also, numb fingers because I can’t find my hand braces!

Y’know, my birthday is in a couple of days…38 is gonna be a train wreck if this keeps up.

Pride Parade

It is June the third, and already I have twice heard the question “why do we have to have a whole month for the gays?”  Same reason we have a whole month for the blacks, and a whole month for the women.  Because it’s a straight white man’s world, and asking y’all to deign to acknowledge us once in a while isn’t too much.  In a perfect world there would be no need for such things, yet it is always the dudes asking that question who are the ones keeping us from that reality.

But this isn’t about idiots, it’s about pride.

I went to my first Pride in 2003, with a couple of friends.  I’m not gay, but I have many friends and family who are, so I have been an ally since I realized there was something to unite about.  It was magical.  The colors and the music and the people…it was all amazing.  I recall fumbling in my purse for a lighter when a drag queen in eight-inch red leather platforms approached me.  “Here, honey, I got you,” she said, lighting my cigarette as she towered above me.  I was sure I had seen her performing at Marchella’s, the local gay club.  I want to say she did Cyndi Lauper.  We chatted for a bit and smoked our cigarettes.  I told her I liked her shoes.

I went to the parade and after party many times over the years, back when it was on Bidwell Pkwy.  I haven’t been since they moved it to Canalside, but I can only assume it’s bigger and better now.  I wish that there were festivities this year I could attend. 

See, gay don’t mean a thing to me.   Once, when I was about nine, my mother came into the room while I was watching tv  for an “important talk.”  I had a friend who was three years older than me and had given me the sex talk around the same time she got it, so I was ready to shut down any awkward discussion my mother was coming at me with.  However, she asked me this: “do you know what it means to be gay?”  I nodded.  “And you know that Joe (my dads BFF) is gay, right?  Dave is his partner.”  Another nod.  Mom stared at me for a bit then said “well, ok then” and left me to my tv show.  I knew what gay was because I knew Joe was gay because someone told me once upon a time and it was just knowledge I already had.  I knew it meant he liked boys, not girls.  I also knew I did not care; I was just trying to watch tv.

Years later, my friend Mike came out to me, and I freaked out.  Now, this wouldn’t have been such a ig deal had I not been in the middle of a deep and painful crush on him.  I was mad, but I was mad at HIM, not at the gay thing.  I was mad that he lied, that he kept a secret, that he let me love him when he knew better. 

Alas…I was comforted when he told me I was the first.  I was the only person he had told.  I’m still not sure why that made it better, but it did. 

Over the years I had other people come out to me, a hazard of working in youth theater.  Every time I congratulated them and told them I was proud, because I was and I am.

Last night, around 1am, Mark went to the store.  He was chatting with the guy at the checkout and mentioned that he was having trouble sleeping.  So this gentleman gave my husband his phone number and what time he’d be off shift, and told him to text him if he couldn’t sleep.  Hubs, feeling perplexed, thanked the man, wished him a good night, and left.  He came home and told me this story.  My response was “good for him!”  Mark again seemed perplexed.

“Did he think I was gay?” he asked.  “No, he thought you were cute,” I replied.  Do you know how gutsy it is to just give a random dude you think is cute your number?  I mean, if you’re a woman.  Now imagine you’re a man and you don’t know if the dude is gay or not.  Extra gutsy…bordering on risky, some might say, but kudos to that cashier for taking a chance. 

Gay never bothered me.  It was always present in my life so it was never something that made me confused or cringy.  And when I grew older and learned of all the rainbow folks in my life, I embraced their diversity and culture and passion. 

So, why a whole month?  Why not?  Again, we should have Pride year, like Black History year and Women’s History year, because we have all also been here the whole goddamn time and we deserve some recognition for it.

Happy Pride.

Happy Bookday!

I didn’t update Thursday for two reasons: one, I was behind already and updated on Wednesday, and two, I have a milestone today.

Today is my chapbook’s first birthday.

I finished it over the summer of 2019, and when it was picked up in early spring of 2020, I was flabbergasted.  If you go back and read some of my old posts from that time, you will find a giddy yet terrified recount of my attempts to complete and publish it.  And then, oh the imposter syndrome!  The feeling of being a fake, that my contribution didn’t really “count” for some reason.  That took months after publication to come to terms with…not until the day I was published in The Buffalo News.  And that poem wasn’t even in the book!

I have 4.9 stars on Amazon.  I have 17 ratings, and 12 reviews.  Recently, a few copies made their way over to my favorite tiny bookshop.  I have had two book blogger reviews and a radio review, and have set up both a podcast interview and an author blog interview for the future.  Three years ago, I couldn’t get myself to even talk about a poem I write to someone.  Just a thought.

Have I sold as many copies as I would like?  No, I have not.  I don’t know what that magic number is that would satisfy me, but we aren’t there yet.  I think I would be happy if I could generate enough sales to cover my web hosting costs for the year, actually.  I want to be able to make money that I can put back into my work, somehow.  Because it takes money to make money…I only get a percentage of each book.  Less if it’s overseas.  When it’s in a shop, it’s even less than that, and I have to FRONT the money for the supply.  I also have an illustrator I need to pay for another project, and two websites I need to host.  Like any business, you need to start with a little capital in order to generate more.  I, unfortunately, started with nothing but a dream, so I am taking the long way around.  For year one, I am sadly still in the red.  So, y’know…buy my book.

Ok, that’s enough of a shameless self-plug.  Happy birthday, A Lovely Wreckage.

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and the kiddos are here, so naturally there are things to do.  Like clean and reorganize their rooms, which is the big project for the weekend.  I think the Skylanders and Disney princess motifs are going out the window.  These kids are no longer as interested in these things as they once were.  Time for some teenage-style rooms.

Also, I hope to get some fishing in, of course.  Yesterday I caught a few sunnies and a baby something-or-other, and Mark caught what I think was a small catfish.  So, the skunk is out of the boat, as they say.  And L brought his skateboard and K brought her rollerblades and E promised to help me in the garden and M and I are experimenting with new computer monitors so we all have something to do today.

If I can just get Mark out of bed.

Happy Friday.

Therapeutic

I swear, if it isn’t one thing, it’s another.  I JUST had surgery, and now I can barely walk?!

I didn’t write earlier this week because my leg had been hurting all weekend.  I have sciatica.  I usually get it for a bit and it clears up with a heating pad and Tylenol within a couple of hours.  This time is different.  This has hurt since last Thursday, getting progressively worse each day.  I went to the doctor on Monday instead, who prescribed everything: painkillers, muscle relaxers, nerve meds, and physical therapy.  

The last time I was in physical therapy, it was for my ankle.  When I was about 12, I was on a softball team.  I played left field, because I sucked at it.  Sports are not my thing.  Alas, one day a ball came right for me, and I registered that it would be a low catch, so I held out my glove.  The ball grazed it.  Then, it landed directly on my ankle.  Had I not slowed it down a bit with the glove, we probably would have ended up in the hospital that day, but instead I was told to “walk it off,” which made no sense since it hurt to walk. 

Cut to maybe five years later.  I have had massive problems with rolling or spraining my ankle for years.  One day at Sacred Heart, as I was walking down the stairs from Art class, my ankle rolled and I managed to tumbled down two flights of stairs.  I could not walk.  It wasn’t broken, I knew that, because the pain was only a dull throb.  However, I could not walk.  The custodian got me a wheelchair and took me to the nurse, who asked if I wanted to go home.  Most kids would jump at the chance to leave school early, but in my head all I heard was my old baseball coach saying “walk it off.”  It was just a sprain, like always.  I would be fine.  And, I was, that day…with a little ice and rest during Spanish class.

I really was not fine, though.  It swelled and bruised and when we finally got an x-ray, I was told there were several very old hairline fractures in my foot.  Physical therapy was prescribed.

I remember exactly two things from my time doing PT: putting my foot in the whirlpool tub, and that the therapist was HOTT.  I don’t know how long I went for, but both the idea of the whirlpool tub and the cutie therapist made me look forward to it.  When it was over, my ankle was stronger.  It still rolls on occasion.  And when the weather acts up, the ankle acts up.  But, it is much stronger than it was, so for that I am grateful. 

The PT for my leg is preventative.  Apparently, there isn’t much I can do but ride out the storm, and then try to prevent it in the future.  And ohmygod, I will do whatever they say.  It’s literally the worst pain I’ve ever felt, and this is coming from someone who just had major stomach surgery.  I would do anything to take this pain away right now, and the stretches and heating pads and medication are just not doing it.

So, yeah, it was hard to get myself to the computer to write, just like it was hard today to do it, too.  I am sitting in a comfy chair at the moment, though, and my hip hasn’t started to ache yet, so perhaps a poem will fall out of my fingertips?

No?  Just doom-scrolling Twitter?

Ok, then.

Stuck in the Mud

Three weeks post-surgery, and I am trying very hard to get back into the swing of things.  I have been out fishing with Mark, and caught my first one of the year: a very tiny trout.  Mark caught a gobi, which is an invasive species that we typically throw to the seagulls.  Tiny fish in both cases, but still…first of the year.  I have also decided to take up hiking with Kevin, and am hoping to start that next week as I am going to be able to return to mostly full activity.  I still can’t lift or bend, but I can walk as far as my legs will carry me.  And then, there’s the writing…

I’m so stuck, in every aspect.

My novel, my baby, the one that’s going to make me that Netflix money someday, is stalled.  I simply cannot envision the final scene of part one.  I almost think I am sabotaging myself, because maybe I don’t want that part of the story to end.  I keep reminding myself that I will come back to it in edits, and be able to add all sorts of details I didn’t have in the first draft.  I tell myself that once part one is done, I can move on to part two, where the action really ramps up.  This both excites and terrifies me.  I haven’t written anything like this before, with murder and gunfights and secret plots.  My last novel (well, novella,) was a simple tale about a woman with depression.  That’s my wheelhouse.  The current WIP, though…that’s a whole different ballgame.

Meanwhile I am discouraged with my poetry.  It hasn’t been coming as smoothly as it usually does, and I haven’t received an acceptance in a while.  Sales are down on my chapbook, although I am quite happy to report that you can now purchase a copy of A Lovely Wreckage at Dog Ears Bookstore on Abbott Rd. in South Buffalo, my favorite tiny bookshop.  This all happened right before I got sick, so I wasn’t able to celebrate it much.  And then there is Me and Jesus, which is stalled.  I have emailed the publisher and am waiting to hear back.   Finally, (Un)Requited, which is out at a few places and I am patiently waiting to hear back from someone.  I feel like it isn’t going to happen, though.

Of course, I felt that way with A Lovely Wreckage, too. 

I am sitting in my office and forcing myself to peck out some words because my blog is already a day late.  I am kicking myself for that, but also reminding myself that while I do feel stuck, I am writing, even if its just in here twice a week.  It’s like an exercise.  It’s going to the gym, but for your brain.

Pretty soon I can eat food again.  I miss it, I do, but not as much now as I did that first week.  In a few months, I can eat whatever I want.  In a few months, I can lift and bend again.

In the meantime, I shall drink my protein shakes and write in my blog and hope that the inspiration for a poem or chapter strikes, because I am ready, finally.  My health seems to be at a place where I can get back to work on my projects, and I am very excited about that.

Of course, I am also very, very stuck.

God is Not a Real Estate Agent

I am an American woman of Irish descent who is a former Catholic.  That is my basic profiling headline.  As such, there is a part of me that thinks I should sit down and shut up because I know very little about a conflict half a world away, but alas, here we are.

You see, one of the most important people in my life is an American Muslim woman of Palestinian descent, Sahar.  We have been friends since sixteen, and for us, religion has always been present in our friendship.  In youth, we examined the differences and similarities between Islam and Christianity.  We learned about other cultures from each other.  For instance, I had no idea that in some parts of the world, the land I know as Israel is actually called Palestine.  This is the land that Sahar hails from, and as the daughter of immigrant parents, she still has family there.  I can’t relate, because any close family we had back in Ireland are long dead.  I can kind of sympathize with all the disruption in the area, as northern and southern Ireland have always had their issues, but I think it’s safe to say it’s never escalated, and probably never will, to the level that it has in the Middle East. 

Growing up Catholic, we learned a lot about Israel and the Jewish people.  In school, we were taught that the Jews were like our kin.  They were the people that Christians would not exist without.  They believed in the same God as us, just with a different view on prophets and Messiahs.  It was actually used as a teaching tool to help us understand other cultures, which is cool.  But, as I’ve said before, I didn’t know what a Muslim was until I was 14.

Are you aware how similar Islam is to Christianity?  Probably not, but essentially, just like the Jews, we are all worshipping the same God, just with different views on prophets and Messiahs.  The Jews sometimes use the name Yahweh, so why do we freak out when Muslim’s use Allah?  It’s just a different name for the same basic principle. 

Anyway, my point is that I was raised to think that Israel belonged to the Jewish people because it is the land God granted to them.  And we, America, supported that.

Then I grew up and I realized that God has nothing to do with real estate.

So, for a while I was like “why can’t they just share the land?”  That seemed like the fair thing to do, and I remembered learning about Gaza in school, so I thought that the whole situation seemed fair.  After all, I was an American and taught that it was totally fair for the Native Americans to live on reservations.

Then I grew up some more and realized that was absolute bullshit and that colonizers were thieves.  I mean, you can’t just come in someone’s house and say it’s yours now.  We literally have a constitutional amendment prohibiting the military from doing exactly that, and I am positive there are other federal and state laws in place to prevent someone from just coming in and taking your house.  And this is what is happening over there…Israel came in and took the Palestinians house.

But wait!  There’s more!

Because they were sick of having their house stolen since 1948, they fought back.  Y’know, as one would in the USA had they property and a gun.  Except instead of a gun (since after all, this is not just one house, but a million,) they used some rockets.

Well, the Israeli leadership did not like this, so in a completely disproportionate response, they proceeded to bomb the bejesus out of the Palestinians.

Sahar told me that on one of the most holy days of Ramadan, they bombed the most important mosque in Jerusalem, just a few blocks from her grandparents’ house. 

For Catholic context, this would be like someone throwing a bomb in St. Peter’s Basilica on Christmas morning.

And that just disgusts me.  I mean, not as much as the photos I am seeing come out of all the dead or injured Palestinian children.  Or the fact that yesterday they bombed al Jazeera’s headquarters, which is their press hub.  Or the part where they’re blocking roads and trapping people in Gaza.  Or the bit about how they’re bombing hospitals, which is a war crime.

Tell me again why we are supporting these people?  Explain to me why Israel is in the right, and do it without God in the equation. 

I dare you.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Today is Friday, not Thursday., when I usually update, because I have been living in a fog all week, trying to adapt to my new schedule.  The day got away from me yesterday, and almost did today, as well.  I have a few moments now, though, so here we are.

May is Mental Health Awareness month.  Since we are smack dab in the middle of it, I thought I would take this time to discuss my own personal journey with mental health…but then the illness piece kicked in and blanked out my brain. 

See, I first came down with depression when I was about 9 years old.  Anxiety shortly followed, then trichotillomania, further manifesting into some vicious obsessive-compulsive disorder.  I went untreated until I was eighteen.  Throw a pile of PTSD on that, and you have yourself a whopping case of mental illness.

Since my adolescence, I have also had diabetes.  But I tell you what, I have yet to have someone tell me to “get over” being diabetic, or that if I “think positive,” or “try yoga,” or “get some more sleep,” then my Hemoglobin A1C will go down.  Yet all these things have fallen from the mouths of those who were trying to “help” me with my mental health.  It’s just further proof of the stigma.

So many people hide their mental illness because they are afraid of what others will think of it, and I want you to know that anyone who doesn’t treat your mental health on the same playing field as your physical health is an idiot.  Yes, I can absolutely die from diabetes.  And yes, I can absolutely die from depression, as well.

Every year I walk in the Out of the Darkness walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  I do this so I don’t die, guys.  I do this so that every year I can celebrate the fact that I made it ANOTHER YEAR.  It’s not unlike other walks, where you have supporters, those who have lost loved ones, and those who are still fighting.  I am one of those people still fighting, and I’m always going to be, because Major Depressive Disorder is a bitch.

People are a lot more open today then they were 20 years ago when I first started therapy.  At least this much is true, but still I feel that we as a society judge mental illness far more harshly than physical illnesses.  It’s almost like we are blamed for it, as if we have done something to deserve it, or we are seen as “less-than.”  You’ll notice that no one ever feels that way about a cancer patient.  No one says they must’ve brought that cancer on themselves, or it’s in their power to control that cancer.  Listen, if I knew how to control my serotonin levels on my own with some superpower, don’t you think I’d be doing it?

I’ve been depressed this week, because I haven’t been very active since surgery and also, it’s been a little lonely without Mark around…our schedule is still not meshing.  I am, of course, looking for my silver linings, which come in the form of the ability to start hiking again next week with Kevin, and…drumroll…SAHAR IS HERE!!  My nearest and dearest drove up from Ohio to see me and I am thrilled.  In fact, I’m going to wrap this up now because she is on her way over.  But my point here is that despite being depressed, I am finding things to look forward to, thus making myself happier.  It’s one of the many items in the emotional toolbox that I have been constructing for the past 20 years.

Also, break a stigma!  Don’t let anyone tell you you’re lesser because you have a mental illness!  You are a strong and special warrior and you should be treated as such!

Goodbye, 5am

Today, Mark starts a new job.  This is wonderful news for him because, honestly, if he spent one more month in that toxic work environment that he called a job, I was probably going to have to bail him out of jail.  The man has been grinning and bearing it so long, I assume his jaw is aching terribly. 

He is very excited about this new opportunity, and I am very proud of him. 

But this isn’t about him…it’s about how my life has been restructured.

See, with this new job came a shift change that ultimately takes my daily timetable and throws it in the trash.  Now, I am what you would call a creature of habit, and I like things how I like them.  I get used to them, and am comfortable there.  My very favorite time of day is 5am.  At 5am, there is no one awake, save maybe a couple of birds tweeting in the tree outside.  I can watch the news and play on my phone and drink my coffee and be at peace.  It’s my “me” time, and I really love it.  Sometimes I wake up even earlier and just stay up to enjoy even more time alone in the dark.

But that’s over now.  Now 5am is sleeping time, and 5pm has become my “me” time, I guess. 

I mean, I woke around seven, which was earlier than planned.  (I’m thinking I can wake at 8 to make this schedule work.)  I did my usual morning routine, despite the presence of Mark, and around 1pm I became tired, so I took a little nap.  3pm found me dropping Mark off at his new job, and I was home before 4.  No one is sleeping and the birds don’t seem as lively right now, but I do have my coffee and I did play around on Twitter and now here I am typing my blog at 5pm.  Usually, my blogs come in the morning.  Not anymore.  Enjoy them with your dinner.

So now I have to keep myself busy all night, which is less easy because I don’t have errands and doctor’s appointments and such in the evenings, like I do during the day. The evening ahead seems almost endless.

But then I remind myself that this is not my first rodeo.  Mark has worked second shift before, and I managed fine back then, so why wouldn’t I now?  I just have to adapt, kind of like I do for daylight savings time.  (Though, as you may know, I complain about that loudly and often,)

So today is extra coffee day, because I need to start staying up late.  I am thinking of rearranging my bookshelves or perhaps even reading one of the books on them (gasp!)

Well…goodbye 5am, a time I have cherished for the past four and a half years.

Much unlike my husband’s previous job.

Recovery, Day 7.

I haven’t blogged in a bit because I haven’t been able to sit at the computer for a bit.  I got sick exactly two weeks ago, my gastroparesis throwing one final tantrum that lasted several days.  Then, one week ago, I awoke sick again and even more terrified than usual, because I had plans that day.  Big plans.

When I started vomiting blood, Mark suggested I throw in the towel and go to Mercy hospital to get checked out, but I wasn’t going down that easy.  Instead, I called my surgeon’s office, retching in the poor nurses ear, and asked what I should do.  She called me back and told me to go to Sister’s hospital ASAP.

The relief felt in that moment was almost as good as the relief felt when the anti-nausea drugs kick in.  My stupid stomach would NOT ruin this for me-but I knew it was going to be hard.

When I got to the hospital, they took me right away to a room and got me setup.  I knew I couldn’t get the “good” meds, the kind that calm me down or make me sleep, because they would interfere with the anesthesia.  So, they gave me one of those sea-sickness patches you put behind your ear and a dose of Compazine.  It didn’t work.  I sat there and waited for surgery, puking the entire time.

When they got me down to the OR, it was clear that the attending’s were not used to a “visibly” ill person in the room.  Everyone kept asking if I was okay, and what I was there for, and if it was related to the vomiting.  “I’m fine, I have gastroparesis, the surgery will help,” became my mantra.  They kept telling me that once the anesthesiologist came down, he would give me something to calm me.  It never really happened, because I blew my IV site right before going in, in classic Brigid fashion. 

They put me on the operating table and put a mask over my face and told me it was oxygen.  It smelled like perfume.

Then, it was over.

I woke up back in the prep room with an excruciating pain in my neck.  That turned out to be a central line, because they never did find a vein.  My stomach hurt, but no more than it had prior to surgery when I was sick, so it wasn’t my main focus.  The nurse with the ice chips was.

I spent the night in total pain until they gave me a shot around midnight and then I slept until six.  After meeting with a nutritionist, my doctor came in to tell me all was well and I could go home that night.  Originally I was supposed to stay longer in the hospital, so this was a delightful sur[rise.

I went home to recuperate, and I was thrilled to be able to have something to drink finally.  Alas, no food.  No food for two weeks, while my stomach heals up.  Then soft food for two weeks.  June can’t come fast enough.

No exercise for a bit, and recommendations fo rest.  I took to the couch with my protein shakes and Gatorade and recovered.  A week went by.

It’s hard for me to believe that it was two weeks ago when the flareup first started.  It seems like it was only a few days.  I am eternally hopeful that was my last episode, at least for a good long while. 

So, it’s now a week after surgery and I feel quite good.  Better every day, actually.  I am hoping that once this recovery process is over next month, I am able to return to living a life that I have missed.  I miss going to bed at night without a contingency plan.  I miss waking up in the morning without nausea.  I miss eating foods I love, or drinking a beer.  I don’t think I want too much, just the ability to enjoy a few things life has to offer that I have been missing out on.

(Also, I wanna know how much I’m going to weigh at the end of this, because this is definitely the most intense diet I’ve ever been on.)

Prohibited

I didn’t write on Monday because I was doing a thing I wanted to write about on Tuesday, but then that became a thing I want to write about next Monday, so I said screw it, and here we are.

When I was in about fifth grade or so, we learned about prohibition of alcohol in the 20s. It was in my textbooks, and also sort of presented to me as a nonsense thing that we were all grateful the country got over after a few years.  Those against it were painted to me as sort of religious extremists.  It all gave off a very “we believe this thing, and you should, too,” vibe, which even at the tender age of ten, I did not like.  I went to a Catholic school and we were taught to spread the Good News, but only to those willing to receive it.  It wasn’t about pushing it on people-that was disrespectful.  (Of course, if you were already baptized in the church, they will shove that stuff so far down your throat you will choke on it.  But that’s a different blog for a different day.)  The point is that I found it all to be a little silly.

Around the same time, we stared the DARE program.  DARE was a drug and alcohol awareness program that was supposed to keep your kid off drugs.  What it really did was explain all the drugs that were out there to impressionable children.  I mean, we knew about cigarettes and alcohol because it was the early 90s and everyone’s parents were smoking or drinking, But I didn’t know what pot was until that day in DARE.  Thanks, Kenmore Police Department. 

Miraculously, I made it through high school with very little exposure to drugs.  Cigarettes, I started smoking at 16.  My first drink was when I was 13.  A couple of my friends smoked pot, but I didn’t, because DARE told me it would kill me or make me an addict because people would lace it with things like PCP.

Then one day I watched a documentary about the history of cannabis.  I don’t know what it was called, exactly.  I really wish I did so I could recommend it, because it was a real eye-opener.  It made me realize that while some drugs DARE told me about, like coke and heroin and the dreaded PCP, were very dangerous, maybe cannabis was closer to alcohol than any of that.  And then the documentary went on to talk about prohibition of cannabis, and I was right back in fifth grade thinking how silly it was that once upon a time, you couldn’t order a beer.

It is many years later and almost every adult I know has used cannabis in some form, be it CBD, or hemp extracts, or good old-fashioned weed.  Then, a few weeks ago, it was legalized in New York state, where I reside.  I thought to myself, “gee…I wonder if this will be in the history books someday.”

Tuesday, the day I meant to update, was April 20th, also known as 420, which is like Christmas for cannabis users.  Mark and I went out to the Cattaraugus Reservation because there was a sale, and we got free hot dogs and CBD cigarettes.  Also, a basket raffle…I love me a basket raffle.  Driving home, Mark said “this is our first legal 420!”

It was.  Prohibition is over.  I still kind of forget that it’s happened.  Like…Mark had a drug test recently for a job, and I kept getting worried he would fail even though they do not test for cannabis.  I have thought prohibition was ridiculous for so long and now it’s over and I just need to adapt, I guess.

Is this how they felt way back when, when they took that first sip of an ice-cold beer?  Like guilty, but not at all?