A Ghost Sat on Me

Well, that’s it for me.  Call a priest.  I’m burning this place to the ground.

The Blog Broad Creepy Building
My Creepy Building at Night

While I was awake watching YouTube in bed with one earbud in one ear and my love snoring softly in the other, I was startled.  No startled is an understatement- I nearly shit my Hanes was frightened.

We live in the oldest incorporated city in Canada, Saint John.  It’s a port city that frequently hosts Cruise ships from all over the world.  We live Uptown in a 139 year old building.  It was originally a single dwelling, no doubt for a wealthy individual or family.  Built in 1878, the year immediately following The Great Fire of Saint John, it’s constructed of fire resistant brick as is most of the original buildings here in Uptown Saint John.

More Germain
Historic Uptown Saint John

I’ve spoken of the Rape Basement and how eerie it is down there.  The reason I find it so scary is the fact that I’ve seen an apparition of an old woman down there as well as felt a male presence standing behind me.  The old woman is clearly ill.  Dark circles beneath her eyes and shoulder length wiry yet thinning gray hair.  I’ve seen her in an old white nightgown with worn blue slippers.  Often when I go down to do the laundry, I ask “C” to accompany me down, even if she just stands there and monitors me, it helps.  Sometimes I cannot get out of that basement fast enough.

In addition to that, we’ve heard faint, what sounds to be Ukrainian.  How do I know it’s Ukrainian?  Because a) I am obsessed with all things Chernobyl and want to visit it before it’s completely destroyed.  I have watched entire documentaries spoken in Ukrainian.  b) I can pick out the dialect from complete strangers because c) I have been secretly trying to teach myself the language via the Duolingo app.  I even think think that perhaps this is why she has showed herself to me.  That and illness.  We have that in common.

I have done some research on Ukrainian immigrants.  It appears there was an influx of immigrants that arrived in Canada first 1891 and then again after World War II.  They were logged through the ports.  Even though many settled in areas like Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, some stayed here although I cannot find corroborating records as the Canadian government didn’t keep records before 1947 as Canadian citizenship wasn’t separate from British so Canadians were free to move throughout the British Empire.  In an earlier search I did find evidence that there was a nearby building complex that housed immigrant women in the early 1900s but again, I can’t find the original article.  It is very likely that this woman is/was Ukrainian.

One morning, “C” woke up to her extra pillow standing straight up over her.  It wasn’t until she completely opened her eyes, the pillow fell back down.

This is not my first rodeo when it comes to Hauntings.  I have had many experiences in the past seeing apparitions, hearing faint voices and collecting EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) recordings.  I used to live near the waterfront in Downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia.  There is a lot of energy there.  It’s believed to be residual, leftover from the Halifax Explosion in 1917 which claimed close to 2000 lives that early December morning when the Mont Blanc, a French cargo ship packed with explosives collided in the harbour with a Norwegian vessel called the SS IMO.  Nearly all the structures within 3000 (approx) feet of the explosion were destroyed.  It was one of the biggest Maritime disasters ever.

Which brings me to this morning.  It was around 2 am.  There’s a sudden bump at the end of the bed.  Much like we do when our bed pulls out from the wall, using our knees, we bump it back.  That’s what it felt like.  We’re both lying still and I can see my little dog in her bed to my left.  That’s when I feel someone take a seat at the edge of the bed between my partner and I.  NOPE!

I waited, I didn’t want to wake “C” up knowing her alarm was going off in 90 minutes so I laid there, close to her, frozen.  I recite the Lord’s Prayer to myself and ask Jesus for help.  I tell whatever it is, “I’m not interested, I’m sorry.  I don’t want to see you.” 

I laid there for 30 minutes.  I hear the bubbling of the coffee maker I set before bed.  It must be 4 am now.  Fifteen more minutes and she’ll be awake and I won’t have to shoulder this burden alone.  I debated on not telling her, to avoid frightening her.  After some thought, I decided to tell her because if the situation was reversed, I’d want to know.  So at 4:15 her alarm went off, she stretched and I blurted it out.  “A ghost sat on me!”

It’s now 7 am, I have all the lights in the apartment on, and I’m on my second cup of tea while I write this.  I can sleep when I’m dead..  or at least once the sun rises.

For your viewing pleasure, I have included photos of our historic apartment.

The Blog Broad A Ghost Sat on Me
139 yr old original wood staircase

 

creepy old door
Creepy old door that never shuts

 

139 yr old fireplace
Original fireplace, shelves, hardwood, mini dachshund

 

Have you had any paranormal experiences?  How did you handle it?

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

Diet Coke and the Rape Basement

Today my love and I had lunch with her mother and two aunts, they’re in town for a few days.  We hit up the Urban Deli which is one of the best lunch spots going here in Saint John.  I had my favorite, the peanut butter burger fries and a Diet Coke.  I know I know,  it’s diet it has aspartame and all that shit but I love it and I limit myself to one a day.  I usually crack my can (never plastic) of liquid gold in the afternoon when I start to feel sluggish.  It perks me up and it’s oh so cold and bubbly (we call it picky in our house- oh so picky).  I often quote a scene from Family Guy in a highly caffeinated voice, “If you see the green shirt go around 30 times in 5 minutes you get to have a Diet Coke!”

 

 

Lunch was delicious.  The peanut butter sauce snuggled the bacon on my grilled burger before it ran deliciously down my fingers and hands.  So juicy.  We strolled the city market while we waited for our table.  The ladies checked out all the crafts.  These women are serious about their crafts.  They have entire rooms full of fabrics and craft supplies.  They can make anything.  They’re like a team of sewing MacGyvers really.  Afterward they critiqued the crafts which was funny.  “The craftsmanship was NOT worth THAT price.”  Or “That’s not how you make a hat really but..”  We stopped by The Baking Stone which is a little corner spot bakery that offers an array of sweeties.  At 5 ladies deep, two of which PMSing, it wasn’t even discussed.  We just kind of all congregated in front of the glass displays of desserts.  Much like when you were a kid during the Christmas season looking at all the window displays of toys at the mall.  I showed much restraint after having a fight with a pair of zip up capris prior to going out.  I balled them up and tossed them in the closet like “take that evil pants!  You can come back out when you can behave.”  Now, I can’t be sure because I have no corroborating evidence, but I suspect someone has broken into my apartment and switched out all my pants for identical pants only a size smaller.  I settled on one cannoli.  Gotta make it count right?  

 

I was up late blogging last night and out during the day, walking around in the sun so I’m already getting tired.  I started yawning at 5pm.  Starting to have that pain shooting down my neck again.  Ugh.  So sick of wearing Magic Bag scarves all the time.  I do laundry for a neighbor of mine and told him I’d do it tonight which I am now regretting.  Our laundry room is in the basement.  Our building is 140 years old so the basement is dark, cold, dusty and creepy as shit.  It looks like something out of a horror movie actually.  I prefer to do laundry during the day, I refuse to go down there after the sun goes down.  We call it “the rape basement” because it looks like a place that perverts would love with it’s dim light and many dark corners.  “C” says it looks like something out the Saw movies.  I have included photos for your viewing pleasure.

The Rape Basement

I didn’t intend to write a lengthy post today.  It was mainly just to have written something.  Anything.  

 

How was your Monday?

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

 

Sam

I’m Drowning in Notifications

It’s Sunday (but feels like Saturday with undertones of Wednesday).  It’s a grey humid day and I need tea.  I’m stumbling around after a restless night’s sleep from the sinister torment creeping through my legs from myofascial pain and arthritis, muttering to myself about the good old days and whether spiders are as afraid of us as we are of them like the old lady I am quickly morphing in to.  I am trying to clean out my emails from both accounts and holy shit, the amount of emails is overwhelming.  Overwhelming to the point where I avoid it sometimes so long that it literally takes hours to sift through.  I have to psych myself up to even open it. “Ok, you’ve got to do this, here’s some wine, here’s some Queens of the Stone Age and a big fattie, and.. Go!”

 

Let me begin by saying, as a staunchly anal retentive woman of my forties, I simply cannot understand the need for so much communication.  Before the Internet age and smartphones we never knew what other people were doing at any given point in the day, and that was ok.  We didn’t need to talk and stay in touch constantly.  There was quiet time and face to face time and time to read books.  We even used to watch TV and just sit there, on one channel through the commercials and all- doing nothing!  That seems like a lifetime ago.  The other day I noticed that when I posted on Facebook I got a notification letting me know I just posted on Facebook.  Like, I was there Bitch!  I know!

 

I can’t stand the constant notifications.  I have disabled all of them on my laptop but in case something happens, I have slight FOMO- (fear of missing out) I have not disabled them on my phone although I do, at the frustration of many, constantly keep my phone on silent.  I have PTSD and even the sound of the TARDIS materializing (my notification sound) or the Coronation Street theme (my ringtone) often scares the crap out of me.   My problem is that I can’t stand to see the light on my phone blinking or a red number icon showing on my apps alerting me to notifications.  I HAVE to clear it.  I’m drowning in fucking notifications.  I have taken to turning my phone off at night because of the damn blinking light and my constant need to clear it.

 

The Facebook emails.  The majority of my inbox consists of Facebook, Twitter and WordPress notifications.  These are apps that I am on daily, regularly.  Why can’t I just get notified on the app rather than receive an email, a text, a telegram, morse code and a carrier pigeon telling me someone liked my post/tweet/blog?  I don’t know, maybe there is a way of eliminating all these emails, if someone knows how, please tell me in the comments before I lose my damn mind.

 

It’s a typical Sunday here in Saint John.  I’m playing with this useless Snapchat app that all the kids are using, another time waster and more notifications. The wife is making homemade egg rolls which takes her hours so I am preparing myself for the cursing, the tears, the throwing of things and the eating of the ones that don’t come out perfect.  The pain is bad today so I’m just gonna get vertical on the couch with Lucy the Dog and the Doctor (this past season of Doctor Who for the fourth time), while I think about the good old days and what I would do in the event of a Cyberman attack, oh and clear 600 emails and notifications.

 

How was your weekend?

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

 

Sam

Snapchat

 Find me on SnapChat sam_clattenburg if you’re bored

The Mysteries of the Lesbian Relationship Revealed

Cannoli
Mmmm Sweetie…
The quintessential lesbian breakfast traditionally begins with a hefty portion of bacon ideally served with a warm croissant. Money and time permitting, that is followed by a Second breakfast. The ultimate Second breakfast is made up of a delicious sweetie like say, a cannoli perfectly paired with a hot cup of Saint John’s finest coffee- Java Moose, Foghorn if you please.

We will enjoy our morning coffee on our Sesame Street style stoop while the sun is shining and discuss today’s plans (namely, what we will eat) and observances. There was an overweight Robin Hood and a Value Village Xena walking down the street today. Bizarre yes, but this is an artsy area. We live across from a Performing Arts center so we concluded it was for a play. I know people wonder what it is us lesbians do at home. I’m about to reveal an age old secret. It’s not all late night cable soft core porn as many people would choose to believe. We talk about food. There aren’t sexy pillow fights happening, there is Masterchef, Kitchen Nightmares and anything else Lord Gordon Ramsay (he really should be a Lord) has a hand in.

In addition to our many hours of Yahtzee and Star Wars Trouble with the Pop’O’Matic Bubble, we like to compete in the kitchen. Coming up with different techniques and seasonings to try to blow each others’ taste buds away and tease each other over who’s the better cook. I say it’s her.

At some point today we’ll play hide and seek with the dog. We have a miniature dachshund named Lucy. Well, I have a dog that she lays no claim to; more of a cat person she insists. We’ll do some housework and Netflix for the day. We’ll curse my laptop as it craps out a dozen times. Then we will cook dinner. The star of tonight’s dinner will be chicken, frankly it’s the only meat ‘C’ will eat unless I make pulled pork.

Sometimes we send each other dirty mind reading text messages like,

“I’m craving chocolate, are you?”

And wouldn’t you know it? I am!

I’ll literally be fantasizing about ice cream when I receive a message from ‘C’

“I was thinking about ice cream, should I get some?”

Hell yes.

Food is prevalent in most lesbian relationships I’ve learned. I’m just glad that I found someone who likes the same food as me (barring seafood). Our snack preferences are the same and our cooking talents measure up to one another. My partner- my life and food partner.

Our relationship is no different than anyone else’s. We do the same things other couples do, there’s no mystery or evil or “agenda”. We’re just two people who love each other, love food, love the same things, (barring my dog) who happen to be women. Period. Sure, we boob bump (chest bump) when something goes our way but I mean- who doesn’t??
Also.. Who couldn’t adore this face?

Wire haired Mini Dachshund
Lucy the Dog
Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

Doctor Who Slippers and Middle Finger Flippers

TARDIS slippers

Well, it’s happening.  Winter is coming.  (Giant groan) I hate winter.  I spent today literally wrapped up in fleece trying to stay warm and dry.   Saint John is such a soggy city.  It rains more than anywhere I’ve ever lived.  

I’ve broke out all my ugly fleece pants.  Today I’m rockin purple ones.  I’ve had the space heater going all day trying to get the dank out of our tiny apartment.   I spent the day flipping between two different books I am reading simultaneously, Doctor Sleep and Revival both by my idol- Stephen King.   The only man I allow in my bed. 

Everything hurts; right down to the joints in my fingers.   FML

To top things off I am in the beginning stages of menopause.  I know it’s menopause because I go from mellow to bitch in under 3 seconds.  I just want to strip off all my clothes no matter where I am and just beat on and berate the next person I see in all my naked glory.  I’m also an emotional mess.   Old episodes of Sex and the City has left me crying all over myself after blowing through two rolls of toilet paper.  When does this stop?  How long will I be a surly, sweaty, crying mess?  

Other things I could do without are as follows:

Cruise Ship Horns–  We live in a port city and all the big cruise ships park just a couple of streets down from where we live.  I can actually see the ships in great detail from my bedroom window.  You can only imagine how loud those horns are or how many teas I’ve spilled down the front of my shirt when they unexpectedly blow at any random time of day.

Slipping on Wet Leaves– It has begun. I slipped yesterday on a yellow maple leaf.  It’s much like slipping on a banana peel only far less amusing.

Everything Looks Dirty– It’s amazing how sunshine and greenery can clean up a city.  I love where I live in the summers, but come the fall everything looks dirty, ugly and depressing.  I am ready for Arizona.  Oh God I wish I could winter there. 

Even the People Start to Look Dirty– In the summer, people walk by smiling, carrying their summer beverages, giddy and laughing.  I have developed “street friendships” with many of the other dog owners so it’s normal to stop and chat.  Now it’s people trying to stay warm and dry.  They quickly shuffle past you, no smiles, no Hellos, just a person trying to get where they gotta go dragging an unwilling dog behind them.  It’s like everyone gets a little less friendly as the weather changes.

Pain, Pain and more Pain– I have crippling arthritis and Fibromyalgia.   I’m like Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde comparing summers to winters.   I know it’s not winter yet but the “in between” seasons in Eastern Canada is basically our rainy seasons.   When winter ends, it rains until summer, when summer ends, it rains until winter.  Our year looks like this:

Rain > 2 weeks of a “Spring” > Rain > A little “Summer” > Rain > Cold as shit > Rain > Winter (also cold as shit)

I’m going to need more Tylenol.  Also, why don’t they make heating pads larger?  Like full body length?  

The season changes always result in a week or two of insomnia, headaches and bouts of crying.   How do you deal where you live?  Is it warm where you are?  Can I come live with you until our 2 weeks of Spring arrives?  

In the meantime,

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,
Sam

Germain Street
Dreary Saint John
*Photos are my own

Genderless Onesies & Other Winter Worries

Fall

The summer is nearing an end, you can tell because the store shelves are filling up with Halloween essentials.  The humid stifling summer air is being replaced by a cool breeze and the need for a sweater.  Soon the flip flops will be put away in exchange for reliable boots and warm socks.  Emerald trees against royal blue skies will give way to streets full of discarded leaves.  The sidewalks will be flooded in puddles of reds, yellows, and oranges in varying degrees of decay that crunch beneath your feet as you walk through them.

Fall has always been my favorite of the seasons.  It’s been scientifically proven that our olfactory senses come alive with the drop in temperature.  The smell of sunscreen and barbecues will be replaced by the smell of wood stoves, decomposing vegetation, crab apples and pumpkin spice.  I love everything about Fall.  The only thing I hate is that it ends far too soon ushering a good five or six months of winter.  My depression usually peaks during the winter months.  The eastern Canadian winters are very unforgiving so I end up staying inside more, selectively hibernating while I pack on the winter 10-15 pounds.  I consume Netflix and books to pass the days away until it’s bearable outside without having to wear several layers of clothing or being afraid of falling on ice and ending up as a viral video on all your friends’ Facebook feeds.

More than anything, I fear the impending isolation as it becomes increasingly difficult to get around.  I fear being alone with my uptight depression brain seeping it’s seasonal negativity.

Summer Sam is so much more fun.  She’s more upbeat.  She takes more pride in her appearance, has more energy and doesn’t experience the intense pain the cold damp weather brings.  She’s also a better dresser.  When the cold weather approaches she packs away her cute tops, comfy capris, summer dresses and cute sandals in a big Rubbermaid bin, and essentially transforms into a winter ready, fluffy, fleecy fashion crime.  It’s true.  In exchange for feeling like a lady, I get to revisit infancy in my warm genderless onesies.  Instead of showing off my fresh pedicures in a sassy sandal, I’m rocking high wool socks and my unisex, weather appropriate boots.  Fashion no longer matters to me as I simply try to stay warm, dry and comfortable.  I have no shame in taking my dog out to pee in my neighborhood wearing Christmas fleece jammies and a bitchy resting face come February.

Looking back, this was actually a pretty decent summer.  I got outside a lot, even got a tan for the first time in years even if no one else can tell besides me.  I swam.  I got to swim in the ocean, a lake and a pool.  I took a boat ride.  I reconnected with my old bestie.  We’ve been friends since the eighth grade and I never would have survived my teen years with my family without her.  My sister from another mister.  We reminisced about old times and shared some new ones as well.  I re launched my blog with a brand new name letting go of my old pen name and some of the ghosts that went with it.   I enjoyed sunny days with my love (“C”) as we walked around our neighborhood examining historic buildings that we previously missed.  We picnicked in the park with hamburgers and far too many pigeons for her liking. (personally, I love pigeons so I’d throw bits of food to attract them in hordes as “C” squealed in terror running away while I laughed).  We laughed a lot.  We loved a lot.   We took walks down the boardwalk with my miniature dachshund, Lucy, to people watch or watch the boats pull into port.  We got to visit and spend time with her family, my new family, who are some of the nicest people and best cooks you’d ever meet.  To finish off the summer, my city, Saint John, New Brunswick, is hosting the “Fundy Fan Fest”.  This is where artists, actors, filmmakers, get together for the fans.  I am a nerd.  I’m a Whovian (Doctor Who fanatic) and a lifelong Trekkie so this is my jam.   I couldn’t afford to attend much but I did end up visiting “Midnight” a.k.a the Impala from TV’s Supernatural.  I got to touch it. Midnight Impala

Kevin Smith This past Saturday night, “C” and I attended a live podcast performance of Jay and Silent Bob Get Old with Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes.  After the show, I got to meet Kevin Smith and give him a hug.  It was such a great moment for me.  I’ve admired his work since Mallrats and he remains as one of my all time favorite filmmakers.  It really was the pinnacle of my summer.   The blessings of a good summer will give me something to smile about on my sad pain days as the days grow colder and darker.

The battle for me lies in staying positive and active with my writing during the depressing winter months.    I tend to slip into self doubt, like most people would slip into sweatpants.  I need to resist that.   I need to resist that voice in the back of my mind that constantly tells me I’m not good enough.  I need to write daily even if I’m not happy with it.  I need to be as consistent in my writing as I am in fighting depression.

It’s a mixed bag of feelings as I grieve the loss of summer, and the warmth, welcome the Fall, while, fearing the winter…

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam


Image – Fall- courtesy of Pixabay User Valiunic/Coffee

Appointments.  Are There Anything Worse?

I am sitting here dumping a Lukewarm cup of tea down my neck hole fussing about my appointments today in my head.
I’m guessing normal people don’t do this. They probably just get up feeling rested in the mornings, go to their jobs and appointments and then home to their pet unicorns and eat mana as it rains down from the Heavens.. 

Stress. Why do I stress about everything? My anxiety levels rise, my heart beats a little faster, I start walking into door frames and bumping into things as I am otherwise distracted by my worries, then I start chewing on my fingers and cuticles as scenarios play out in my mind.

Today’s appointment is with Mental Health. I have been dealing with clinical depression for my entire adult life. I’ve been on medication since I was 18 years old. I have severe anxiety as well as PTSD. I moved to Saint John, New Brunswick with my partner two years ago and it has been DIFFICULT to find doctors here. It turns out I moved to the sickest province in Canada; meaning there are more chronically ill people here than anywhere else in Canada. That means doctors have limits on how many patients they can see, it means limited access to specialists, long wait times and full emergency rooms at the hospitals. I also don’t have a vehicle so that makes transportation difficult. I have to do quite a bit of walking to get around, and on days like today (rainy, damp and cold) I am going to need an appointment with a long hot bath and my heating pad when I get home. So this appointment with Mental Health; I don’t know what to expect really, but these are the possible outcomes:

“Ugh you people with your “chronic illness” and your “chronic pain” don’t you know how much of a drag you people are? You people are just whiny little pissers who just can’t toughen up and deal.” I picture a nasally lady with glasses much too large for her face with one of those long gold chains that attaches to your glasses so you don’t lose them. She has a knitted sweater around her shoulders  probably knitted by her friend Myrtle last Christmas, poor Myrtle has the rheumatoid arthritis so she can’t knit like she used to so Sheila (that’s what I named the Mental Health lady) wears it often because it reminds her of the everyday struggles and that people can overcome anything. Sheila is also slapping a nightstick in her palm. Not sure where she got that but, I feel scared.

“Wow. You are literally THE craziest broad I have ever met. You need some serious help. How do you get through life at all even? I’m not sure I can continue this session today.” The uptight tight faced lady then places a call and requests Igor and Hugo immediately. At that point I am carted away by 2 beasts of men in a straight jacket against my will. 

“Yeah you have some legitimate issues for sure, unfortunately so does everyone else so you will need to go on a waiting list for a year or so. It could be less if suicide rates continue to rise.” This time it’s a man who looks like kind of like David Suzuki only less Asian. He’s wearing brown pants with brown loafers and grey socks to match his grey shirt. I find him oddly comforting so I agree to go on his list.

“What problems? You’re completely and utterly lying. Pain? You are not in a wheelchair nor do you have cancer, why are you wasting my time today?” This guy kind of looks like Sigmund Freud only he speaks with a British accent and wears his shirt collar buttoned up with a bow tie. Normally I think, ‘Bowties are cool’ but not in this particular case. It just comes across as simply pompous. 

I don’t make it to my appointment at all, instead I just collapse from exhaustion and pain in the street while the rain beats on my face. The camera pans out from above and I am all alone drowning in rain, tears and failures while people hurriedly walk past and over me.

Wow, that’s a little dramatic Sam, and yes I am aware of that but this is how my brain works. Mostly I’m simply afraid of opening up to yet another doctor/medical professional with little to no help as an end result.  

After this appointment, I have yet another with a social worker from Community Living here in the city. They assist people with disabilities attain help from different resources. I don’t have some of the documents they want though and need more time so again I stress.

What would a life without anxiety feel like? Would it be as liberating as I assume it would or would you even notice how lucky you are?

Worry

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,
Sam

Photo credit http://www.demotivation.us/worrying-works-1281560.html