Marijuana Laws And The People Who Suffer

I’ve been quiet a lot again… Emily’s going to get on Methadone soon and she’s worried that it won’t work… we’re both worried.

Something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while is marijuana. For some people, it’s a touchy subject, but for me, for us, it’s important. Marijuana should be legal in Pennsylvania and open to people with chronic pain, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and so on. I made this video on our youtube channel, ‘calmly’ lashing out at where we live and our legislators for remaining aloof on the issue.

For those of you who don’t know: Pennsylvania allows medical marijuana, but for a very narrow group. I want to take her to the marijuana doctor to see if they’ll accept her, but it’s $200, and we’re struggling. Please watch, and thank you for caring/tolerating me.

~Tim

P.S. I thought the title was funny, but, I know, it makes no sense… and I curse A LOT in the video… sorry.

This Very Simple Life We Live

I know we haven’t really used this in a while, because we’ve become more involved with YouTube, but I (Tim) just wanted to give an update.

Following our YouTube shows a bit of us, but the truth is we’re always facing trails in our lives. Be it health (both mental and physical), money, feeling safe, or even being able to function, Emily and I are in a constant battle to maintain a normal life. Emily fights harder than I do, and my fight takes a deeper toll on me than her’s does.

The problem isn’t that we’re unhappy together, far from it, the problem is together we’re fighting in a world that seems unaccepting. Her father doesn’t really believe that Emily is sick. More or less, he believes she’s just becoming like her mother: something of a hypochondriac. I swear to you, with ever fiber of my being, I hate him for feeling this way.

Emily’s step-mother is worse though. Her step-mother is something of a ‘social-alcoholic’, and by that I mean she’s an obnoxious wino/drunk who lashes out verbally at Emily’s father and all of his ties to Emily (including Emily’s sister). From my side, I think of her as a blemish on the world, an ugly spot, that radiates sadness, anger, and negativity around her general vicinity.

That being said, I have a constant twinge of anger when I think of her father and step-mother, but I try to contain it, because I’m not helping by being so angry at them. Emily is so sweet, so idealistic, that she only feels sorry for them for not being able to be happy. I am so negative, that sometimes I can’t fathom how she doesn’t hate her father and step-mother.

I love Emily. I want to (and will) spend my life with her. But, going back to what I initially was saying, we’re in a constant battle.

Emily recently upped her Lyrica (a medicine for fibromyalgia) and it helps, but she’s still very weak, and unable to function. She told me yesterday something along the lines of she needs to space out her days with people other than me, because even talking to others leaves her with fatigue and pain.

I wish I could take her pain away, take her away from here, and give her the life she deserves. Sadly, I face every day knowing that we’ll live paycheck to paycheck in order to maintain this very simple life we live.

 

~Tim

Breathe – A Chronic illness Pep Talk

Hey guys, I uploaded a new video a few days ago! This kind of video style is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and I would really appreciate your feedback ūüôā The past few days have been rough, but I’m working on staying positive.

Soft hugs

XOXO

Emily

Painting to keep busy.

Hi guys! I’m sorry there’s been a big space between the last post and this one, but I think it’s time I come back and chat. I’ve been doing a lot of painting lately. My paint collection has grown from a crayola watercolor pallet, to countless tubes of paint, brushes, and canvases all around the apartment! (Thanks to Tim!)

I’ve always been uncontrollably creative, and that comes out of any outlet it can. Singing has always been my passion, but since that has been difficult for me to do with my fatigue, I took up painting. I like using watercolors, but mainly acrylics.

I’ve put a few of my paintings up for sale on this new site I found, and I’m thinking about selling prints of work that I do on paper at some point. I haven’t sold anything yet, but I cross my fingers!

{ Click here to view my buyable artwork }

Puppy Love

Sorry for the long pause, for anyone that’s been following our blog. I haven’t been doing the best with my chronic pain, and I wasn’t in the writing mood for a little while. As a musician, sometimes I discipline myself and think that if I’m not writing songs, I shouldn’t be writing at all..and this is silly in retrospect. Hopefully I’ll continue to write here, and maybe post a new video on youtube.

I’m not sure if you guys know this about me, but I am Vegan. I care passionately about animals, so I do not consume animal products. That’s going to be a whole other post, but for now I want to talk about my puppies!

The Morkie on the left is Pluto, and the Maltese on the right is Tinkerbell

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 9.05.28 PM

I guess you can say that I’m kind of an unconventional “Dog Owner”..I don’t crate my dogs, they mainly go to the bathroom inside on dog pads, we get the best quality dog food we can afford, and they sleep on the bed with us. When it’s cold outside I put sweaters on my dogs because they are small and get cold easily. I give them what some consider “People Food” almost every time I prepare food, or snack. All of the things I mentioned, ¬†at some point get negative comments about.

That is ironic to me, because I do all those things because I treat my pets like equals. I don’t feel like I am on top of the food chain, or that I have some sort of special right to eating fresh bananas, or carrots, or even a pasta noodle here and there. My dogs deal with ¬†separation anxiety, and because I know what that feels like, I don’t like the idea of locking them in a tiny cage for hours. Instead, there is a special spot underneath the couch with blankets and pillows for when the dogs feel the need to burrow. Have I lost a couple lipsticks or letters because of their freedom? Of course, but those things aren’t as important as my dogs.

I grew up watching a neighbor a few houses down leave their dog outside for hours and hours, just to bark and be unhappy. Just because you can’t understand what they are saying, doesn’t mean that you should treat them as something below you. When my puppies ¬†are curled up by my side during a bad pain spell, I know the comfort and happiness is mutual; and I think that is really important.

 

Soft Hugs,

XOXO

Emily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working for Verizon Wireless

I know it’s been far too long since either of us has posted on our blog, and to anyone who is reading this and cares: I apologize. Emily has not been finding the right treatment for her illness and I have been without a job for a while, except in February I started working for a hospital as IT Support! It’s an awesome job, and one which involves me doing what I’ve always wanted to do, ever since I went to school to study IT programming. But I digress; I’m here to talk about something I don’t think I’ve really talked much about, and that’s what it was like for me when I used to work for Verizon Wireless.

It’s a huge company, and one which pays well to do one thing: Sell. I only worked there for 6 months, 1 of which I was in training outside of the store I was to work in, so really 5 months. If you’ve ever worked retail, and I’ve discussed this, you know the deep down hatred you feel/felt going to work. But Verizon Wireless is a special monster to me, because, though I’ve spent most of my life working retail, Verizon Wireless taught me that everyone is a mark and there are core rules to this:

The Rules:

  1. No one should leave the store with less than $150 in merchandise. Should they: you are a weak person and unworthy of the job
  2. Everyone is a potential new line, because everyone (whether they know it or not) always has the need for MORE
  3. Verizon Wireless is the best network, no matter what you hear
  4. We are not sales people, we are leaders, bringing people to a better life, and one which benefits all parties

These ‘Rules’ may seem basic, and expected, but how they were used will always leave a dead place in my heart.

Sell, Sell, Sell: The Time I Went Against My Own Morals

I had a manger, his name was Nick. He was short, with greased back black hair, and the demeanor of a rat, except he was able to make older woman love him. Nick used to be the top sales person in the region, until they brought him on as a manager, thinking he could teach others how he made these sales. ‘Lucky’ for me, I ended being something of a project to him. I hate Nick, I hated Nick, and this story will make you hate Nick.

One night, we were about 2 hours from closing and Nick, myself, and a few others were working. The night had been okay, relatively slow, but we had a few new lines and our sales were on the lower end of good. I was set to take the next customer, and Nick was always watching over me, because I had weak numbers. So, in walk an older woman with her daughter, and I chip up, thinking, “Maybe she’s getting her daughter a new phone?” Then the customer walks in, the person at the door leads them too me, I had on my best smile, and then I saw their faces and my smile faded slightly: They had been crying.

I started by asking how I might be able to help them, “…on this fine night” (it was actually after it had snowed, so everything was a plowed mess outside). The older woman began to talk, but faded without saying anything, so her daughter explained to me that her father had just died (the mother stifled a cry when she said this) and, with a slightly weak voice, they needed to disconnect his line.

I kind of stood there, slightly disappointed, but overall filled with sadness for how there two looked, and the state they were in. I started playing with my tablet, looking into disconnecting a line, but the line was only 6 months in, and disconnecting required a manager’s approval.

Nick, like a vulture, came over to me as I was headed to the back to see if any other manager was still in. Nope. He asked what was going on and I explained. By the time I was done you’d think I’d told him that he’d just won the lottery by the expression on his face. I remember the next words quite well, he said, “Tim, when people are in high emotions they’re more willing to buy things; this is¬†AWESOME!” He then lead me out to the people (the second he turned he put on a fake expression of grief, almost as if he were mocking theirs, and proceeded to talk to the people.

The mother and daughter, soon were tearing up, I felt awful and tried consoling them. Nick told them that disconnecting the line would be no problem, and how sorry he was for their loss. Then, he quickly turned into a different person. While typing in the approval to disconnect the line, eyes on the tablet, he began talking to them about how, with the line gone and the money to be saved, maybe tablets would make sense (since, at the time, a phone line was $40 per month and a tablet line was only $10). In his snake like words, ones which I still don’t remember, he convinced them that they needed 2 tablets and cases, along with screen protectors and anything else they might need, “…because, I know it’s hard now, but these things will help you, even distract you, from all that’s going on.” I was stunned, but he was doing all of this under my sign in information, so it was going to be my sale.

I nodded dumbly, agreeing with Nick and even backing him in certain instances.

The mother and daughter left that night, still weak and sad, but with bags full of tablets, accessories, and enough money to make my days sales put me in great standing. I went home that night and slept soundly, but within a month I quit, because of Nick.

This was not the only instance of anything like this happening, but this was my experience working there, and how I know Verizon Wireless stores work.

So if you’re ever in the need of anything tech or phone related, go to Best Buy or, better yet, do it online. The coercion and greed that drives companies is normal, and this story isn’t unique.

 

~Tim

Sometimes I Want to Curl Up into a Ball and Eat Double A Batteries

Jonas

So winter storm Jonas has struck and, suffice it to say, the town pretty much closed yesterday. I did manage to go to a grocery store before it closed and get a few ingredients in order to make vegan dumpling soup. I don’t recall if I ever talked about this, but I used to be on YouTube under the title “The Bipolar Chef”. I left once I hit about 1,000 followers, because I had a bipolar episode and decided to delete the channel, and I can think of a no more fitting way for me to have ended that. Honestly, I regret deleting that channel. Emily used to watch it when I was out to laugh and make her feel like I was still home.

Now we have this blog and connected YouTube channel, where I might start being more active in. I love cooking, and I’m really damn good at it, but I think vlogging is more fitting for what I want to do. The cooking was really a distraction for viewers, and an¬†excuse for me to talk about my life. Well, I do miss having my special recipes and sharing them, so I’m here to share one more recipe (and maybe there will be more to come if people like it).

 

~Tim

P.S. The title was random, one of our friends said it and it made me laugh.

 

Vegan Teriyaki Dumpling Miso Soup:

Dumpling Skins:

  • 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup *Hot* Water (boiling works best)
  • 1/4 Cup Cold Water
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Dumpling Stuffing:

  • 1/2 Head Cabbage (chopped very fine)
  • 4 Carrots (peeled and finely chopped)
  • Cooked teriyaki tofu (cut into small cubes)
  • Teriyaki sauce of choice (I prefer anything with ginger and sesame)

Soup:

  • 32 oz container of vegetable broth
  • 32 oz warm water
  • 2 oz Dry packet Miso Base (or liquid miso¬†paste to taste (2-3 Tbls))

Extra bits:

  • small bowl water
  • floured surface

 

Directions:

  1. Put all soup ingredients into a large cooking pot and put onto medium heat. Mix until miso is blended, then allow to reach a light boil while you work on the dumplings.
  2. Put the flour in a large bowl and, using a wooden spoon or silicon spatula, mix in hot water until mixture is blended and flaky.
  3. Add remaining cold water and olive oil to mixture and continue stirring until it forms into a stretchy, slightly sticky ball.
  4. Set aside 3/4 cup of chopped cabbage to throw into soup.
  5. Mix all remaining stuffing ingredients in a bowl, stirring to make sure teriyaki is evenly coating all pieces
  6. Place the dumpling dough on a floured surface and rip off small, roughly tablespoon sized pieces, and knead in your floured hands until they are round and very flat.
  7. Put a hefty spoon full of stuffing into the center of the dumpling.
  8. Dip your fingers into the small bowl of water and dab water around edges of flattened dumpling dough.
  9. Fold the dough over the stuffing until all ended and pressed and stuck together. Fold into the center again if you want, of simply use a fork around the edges to give it that unique look.
  10. Once all dumplings are filled and folded and the soup is lightly boiling, put in 3/4 cup cabbage into soup, then, one at a time, drop the dumplings in.
  11. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes.

The final result will look something like this:

dumplings

You are the most beautiful

Early this week Tim and I went to see The Danish Girl, a bio-pic about a married painter in the 1920’s who feels as though he is a woman inside. It’s a beautiful film that covers trans issues and showcases some beautiful art pieces along the way. Here’s an interesting fact about me: although I was born a girl and am quite girly, I am extremely drawn and interested in transgender videos, YouTube channels, and movies. The idea of someone finally being able to be comfortable in their body, and working towards that is satisfying and beautiful to me. Now, I’m going to make a comparison, and I want you to keep an open mind, but I’ve come up with a theory of why I connect with these people so well. Chronic Pain and Being a Transgender Woman/Man have a lot of similarities.

Both:

  • Seen as things that are fictional or “In our heads” to a lot of people and doctors.
  • Feel trapped inside the body
  • Feel limited by the body
  • Can become heavily depressed by their situation
  • Treatment options are wide and don’t fit everyone
  • But it’s usually a lot of pills daily
  • Most people deal with their situation from birth
  • Most people are made stronger and kinder by their situation
  • Are told that they need to just deal with what they have

No one should be told that they need to live in misery for the rest of their lives. I’m a strong supporter in both trans issues and chronic pain management. The character Lilly made me want to cry numerous times, because she was such a kind and beautiful girl that got told by numerous doctors that she was crazy, until she found the right one.

“Einer felt lonely, and he wondered if anybody in the world would ever know him.”

In other words, the paintings of ballerinas inspired me a ton, and I worked quite hard on this painting. If you haven’t caught on, every doodle/sketch/painting you see on this blog is done my yours truly! I really enjoy creating things..

 

Soft Hugs

 

XOXO Emily

“Who am I?” asked the mirror

 

Down The Rabbit Hole

My depression has¬†been running deeper lately and I can’t seem to put a stopper on it. I feel like it’s because we live in Bloomsburg, surrounded by people who hate us, with Emily’s family.

Darren (Emily’s dad) is never supportive of Emily to the degree she deserves. He hates us being together, is never proud of her, and acts more like a semi-friend to her than anything. ¬†Then there’s Jenn (Emily’s Evil step-mother). Jenn treats Darren, Aubrey (Emily’s Sister), (and especially) Emily and I like we’re shit. She’s an alcoholic, ignorant, and angry all of the time. Sometimes I think of Jenn and begin to clench my fists and grind my teeth. Emily has even told me she wants¬†Darren to leave Jenn. If I were to express who the biggest problem in this whole thing is, I’d have to point to Jenn. Last time I talked to Darren, even he said, ‘Jenn is the type of person to hold a grudge for 30-years.’

Living in the same town as these people is enough to drive my depression deeper, but it doesn’t end there. Jenn and Darren have a lot of friends (mainly because Jenn has a huge white-trash family and Darren is a somewhat-musician) and all of their friends, when they see Emily and I, look at us with disgust of outright ignore us. One recent instance of this was when Kara (Darren’s 1st cousin he cheated on Sandra (Emily’s mom) with) saw me in a grocery store and gave me a look that made me feel like I killed her family, then curtly turned into a lane and hid there for a bit. I went and got Emily and told her this and she went with me to the lane. When Kara saw us together she said ‘Hi.’ with no emotion and walked off and out of our lives.

Emily takes this stuff better than me; I’m guessing because she’s been surrounded by these people her whole life and never felt like her father was close to her and truly never liked Jenn. Emily’s told me before that I came into the picture and seemed like her only chance at happiness. That felt sad for some reason, but now I get it.

~Tim