Zooted Zinester

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I just read some of the really old posts I wrote (like from 2005) and I thought “Hmm, maybe I should write something like that again.” And then I remembered, I’m not 22, I’m not living with my parents, I’m not single, I’m not a student, I’m no longer a pothead, I don’t live in Canada, I’m not a journalist, and I’m not childless. I’m a completely different person and whatever words I put down on paper will be lightyears away from the ones I did all those years ago.”

I do have fun with the zine I’m making for International Zine Month, though. And that’s good. Again, the stuff I wrote so far is by no means brilliant, but the mere fact of creating and zine-producing is totally exciting as it’s always been.

Sometimes I wonder how my life would have turned out if I had discovered zines earlier. Back when I lived in Canada, I could have attended some zine fests, which I never get a chance to do now that I live halfway across the planet (the Boston Zine Fest in 2015 notwithstanding).

What would I have called my zine? At 12, probably something Michael Jackson related. At 16, something Marilyn Manson related. At 18, undoubtedly something riot grrrl related. At 22, more like something weed related, as Buddah was at the center of my universe back then. In fact, I remember an assignment I had to do for my computer applications class was a newsletter I designed with a bunch of made-up articles about Mary Jane. I called it The Daily H (hence the logo I put on all my zines reading “Daily H Publications”).

A newsletter about drugs called the Daily H could be misinterpreted as a newsletter about heroin. But no. I used the letter H to stand for my name, as Hadass is also a plant and the newsletter was about a plant. The tagline of the newletter was “Get your daily dose of vitamin H!” Have some weed, and have some hadass while you’re at it.

Journalism school was fun, so I bet I could have totally dug being a zinester back then. Maybe smoke a doobie right before, to make the writing sound like the ramblings of a stone-cold stoner.

Reading my old diaries and high school agendas today is fun. But I bet a stoner’s zine would have been hilarious.

Peace, love and H is for High

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No Need for Weed

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The wedding was awesome. Everyone said so. They all told me they especially liked the music, so I think it’s safe to say that I’ve finally proven once and for all that Middle Eastern music is not the only genre that gets people dancing and one does not HAVE to torture people’s eardrums with this whiny shit all night.

And yes, we did have some metal tunes playing at the end. The metalhead group that we invited had the entire dance floor to themselves and went bananas, headbanging, jumping, circle pit, all the good stuff.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I danced the entire time, drank a lot of water, sweat it all out in yet another frenzied dance, and drank some more. I sweat so much, I even felt sweat on my legs! MY LEGS! Who the fuck sweats from their legs?

I also tried drinking some alcohol, but for some reason, my husband forgot to order the Smirnoff Ice I like. So I opted for a regular grapefruit vodka cocktail. I took no more than two or three sips from it, and had to set it aside because I just wasn’t digging it. For the rest of the night, I was on a natural high, and that was good enough for me.

On Sunday, four days after the wedding, we went to our first metal night as a married couple. Then on Monday, we went back to the bar for the mock elections they held. That night was amazing. I was on a natural high once again, and when the “Sunday Metal” party won (by one vote, but still a victory), and they played some more metal, I headbanged like I could not headbang on my wedding, because my hairdo didn’t allow it! I went back home with a sore neck, but that’s the sign that I had a blast. Also, my husband got nice and plastered, but experienced no nausea and no hangover the next day. So we both enjoyed a swell buzz indeed.

That night, I got my period and the next day I wrote my contribution for my friend’s zine “After the Blood” which is a special issue on the period. I wrote all about my experience in the mikve and how this monthly ritual affected the way I view my body and my menstrual cycle. I was looking forward to writing it all week, so once I finally got down to it, I enjoyed it so much that I got into the Zone. I haven’t been to the Zone in a while, and it felt so awesome to be back. And yes, that is definitely another natural high I experienced. Boy, if I’m not careful, my endorphins are going to become my drug of choice.

What will be my next fix you ask? Why, zine production of course!

Peace, love and that’s Mrs. Bar-Lev to you!

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Boker Toker

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Recently, I started coming across a lot of links to medical articles and studies about the benefits of marijuana. There was something about the study on pregnant Jamaican women and the effects of prenatal marijuana use. The study sponsored by an anti-drug abuse agency yielded results that the latter was not too happy with (i.e. positive effects on the babies born and on the mothers), which is why the agency decided not to publish it.

I also read a little about the positive effects of weed on people with psychiatric and psychological problems, people with eating disorders, depression, anxiety… It is said that marijuana can be used as an anti-depressant without the side effect of reduced libido that other anti-depressants can cause.

There are about two dozen other studies that I read, which show that marijuana use can prevent the spreading, inhibit the growth, and sometimes even decrease the size of cancer tumors in various areas in the body.

A cure for cancer? Seriously?

The more I read about this, the more I think about how ludicrous anti-drug laws are. Cocaine, crystal and heroin are illegal – fine. I agree with that. Shit like that does pose a real threat to living beings. But marijuana? If anything, it’s tobacco and alcohol that should be made illegal.

Sure, I think that, as with everything else, the key is moderation. But I have yet to hear someone or some study saying one positive thing about alcohol. The whole “One glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away” thing is complete and utter bullshit. The reason that people say that wine prevents heart disease is because of the grapes used to make the wine. It’s the grapes that reduce the risk of heart disease, you don’t need the added alcohol to make that work. And besides, one glass of wine a day can increase the risk for breast cancer. So chew on that.

In fact, even my own doctor said that alcohol sucks ass but that marijuana use is perfectly fine. And he’s not the only one who says that.

So why is marijuana illegal exactly? And why is alcohol flowing more freely than water? One of these days, scientists will find out that weed increases life expectancy, while alcohol does the exact opposite, and then conspiracies will start sprouting up like ragweed in the springtime about how politicians and other authority figures are attempting population control by poisoning the masses, and then they’ll be saying “Who’s the criminal now, biatch?”

Or not. Whatever. The point is drug laws are stupid. And politicians are stupid for making them.

Peace, love and it’s 4:20, wake the hell up!

Doctor’s Orders: Drugs

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I’m stoned. Fucking blasted. And it’s not entirely my fault. I was duped by the physical therapists who told me that this is what I should do.

I went to a session last Wednesday and took Optalgin right before. A rather soft-core painkiller, OTC, similar to something you would take for a mild headache. The physical therapist tore me to shreds. Optalgin had no effect whatsoever, not before, certainly not during and not even after. The pain lasted for a few days.

Today, I decided to not squirm with excruciating pain on the Phys.T’s table, and took the painkiller they gave me at the hospital following my surgery – Percocet. Seeing as I had stopped taking it over a month ago, and even while I was still taking it, it was only at night before going to sleep, I wasn’t entirely ready for the actual effect it has on me.

It hit me on the bus on the way to the clinic. I got drowsy, then dizzy, then nauseous and sick.

I got to the clinic stumbling and falling over myself, feeling completely wasted. When I was called in, the therapist asked me why I was limping.

“I’m tripping balls,” I told her.

“Painkillers?” She asked and I confirmed.

The pain was just as bad as I remembered it. Fucking painkiller was anything but. However, while on Wednesday, the pain lasted pretty much until yesterday, right now, I’m feeling just fine. I felt the pain only during the exercises, but not beyond it.

I’m still considering whether or not I should keep taking Percocet before every session. It’s still a narcotic. I mean, a nasty one with a bad kind of trip, causing nothing but nausea and constipation, but an addicting substance nonetheless. In fact, I just learned that Percocet is a combination of Tylanol and Oxycodone, the latter being one goddamn heavy ass drug. So really, is it actually worth it?

Pharmaceutical suggestions greatly appreciated. I’m looking at you, Shay, if you’re reading this… which you’re probably not. But in case you are…

I just hope I heal fast. I’ve had it with this pain.

Peace, love and flex!

My “Screwed” Up Elbow

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Now that I am out of the hospital, I can try and write a decent blog. Hopefully there won’t be too many spelling mistakes as I am still typing with only one hand.

Anyway, right now I’m at my parents’ house and my mom helps me with feats such as showering and getting dressed. Doing anything when your dominant hand is undisposed and your other hand is holding the dominant one in place, is practically impossible without some sort of help.

So how did I come to this? Well, last Friday, my boyfriend and I took Diamond to the dog park as we do at least once a week. While she was off digging or grazing like the sheep she is, two enormous dogs pop out of nowhere and slammed into my legs. The impact was so hard I felt my legs flying out behind me as I crashed into the hard cement platform and landed square on my right elbow, smashing it to oblivion.

I stayed lying there on my face, breathing hard, screaming bloody murder. My right hand was buzzing with electrifying prickles, and my elbow was in so much pain I was having trouble breathing.

The rest of the night was spent in the emergency room of Hadassah hospital in Har Hatzofim where the orthopedic doctor took one look at my x-rays and informed me that the break is too complex for a simple cast, and I will need a surgery, implanting a metal plate, screws, the works.

I cried a lot that night. They hospitalized me in a small room with two other screaming, moaning patients and I got no sleep.

The next day, the doctors told me they will have to transfer me to Hadassah in Ein Karem because the first thing I told them when they said that the surgery will be under complete anesthesia was that I have Myotonic Dystrophy and that such an anesthesia is dangerous for me. Apparently the people in Ein Karem are more knowledgeable when it comes to patients who require special care. I felt more confident about this transfer because my neurologist who specialises in muscular conditions and who knows me and my condition is also based in Ein Karem, so I could tell the dude responsible for putting me to sleep to speak to my neurologist first before he pumps me full of chemicals that my body cannot handle. Maybe there are some special ways of knocking out a myotonized patient.

When I got to Ein Karem, they put me in a room that was one jacuzzi away from a hotel suite. It was large, with a fully adjustable bed, a big sofa for a guest, a comfortable  couch, a huge window, different lights with varying brightness, and a plasma screen tv with cable. The bathroom was also much bigger and fully equipped for people with physical limitations. I shared the room with only one other person who had her own set of equipment and furniture. We were separated by a long and discreet curtain.

“Now that’s what I am talking about,” I thought. “Ein Karem is where it’s at!”

My parents joined me at the hospital that same night. They were also impressed by the look of the place.

After that, it was a waiting game. I had dinner, and was then informed that my surgery will be the following day so I need to fast. I went to sleep in intervals, awakened by the nurses coming to check my pulse, blood pressure and temperature. The next day, I was taken into surgery only at around 17:00, which felt more like 2 a.m. because we were nervous the entire time.

It was in the operation room that I found out the anesthesian did not speak to my neurologist. When they gave me a form to sign and authorise them to put me under, I said “I am not signing anything until you speak to Dr. Gotkin.”

So finally they did and they administered an anaesthetic only through the vein, no sleeping gas or anything else that could affect and harm myotonia-afflicted muscles.

I don’t exactly remember when I fell asleep, but I will never forget the moment I woke up. I remember being wheeled out of the operation room into the recovery space, and I said “Wait, wait, I have to go into surgery.”

“The surgery is over, ” the doctors said.

“It’s over?” I asked and that’s when the pain hit me like a ton of bricks to my decimated elbow. It felt like I fell all over again, times 10.

I screamed and cried like a baby, my body shaking from the chemicals wearing off, the freezing cold room, and the enormous shock and intensity of the pain. My inner child had checked out. She was in no condition to handle any of it. Through my tears, I saw a mother standing over her sedated son in the next bed over, looking at me with great worry, fearing that her son will wake up just like me, with shrieks and pain-induced hysterics. I heard someone comforting her, telling her that I had a different anaesthetic method than her son.

My parents were finally allowed in the recovery area while I was at the height of my panicked shrieks. My mom asked the doctors to put a heater over me to warm up my temperature which dropped to 34 degrees during the operation.

“It hurts, it hurts!” I whined through my chattering teeth.

They gave me a shot of morphine, but I still screamed. They gave me another, I screamed some more. They gave me a third, and my shrieks had not abated. They finally gave me a fourth and told me they can give no more because of my weight, any more morphine would make me OD or something.

The pain slowly died down. My shakes stopped, and my speech turned slurred, feeling heavy with drugs.

My boyfriend came over. I missed him terribly, and missed Diamond too. I am so grateful to my boyfriend. He was with me every step of the way. He was so sweet to me. He told me how bad he felt on Saturday when I was in the hospital and how he’s not used to spending the holiday without me. He even had a tear in his eye when he saw me after the operation.

Due to the IV, I don’t think I’ve ever peed so much in my life. I felt as if I was draining myself of whatever fluid was in my body at that moment.

The rest of my time in the hospital was pretty uneventful. I was getting a healthy dose of painkillers, medication against constipation and another against nausea, antibiotics, and some more painkillers. I slowly started eating again and they removed my IV.

This was how I spent my new year’s. Awesome, isn’t it?

I got a short visit by a physiotherapist who gave me some exercises for my fingers and my shoulder to do on a regular basis. I’m still not allowed, and unable, to move my elbow. I have a follow-up visit to the doctor on the 15th when they will remove my stitches, and change my bandage. Maybe in about four months I could start moving my elbow again. And then, I will need another surgery (fml) to remove the metal plate and the screws.

Throughout the entire time I was in the hospital, I didn’t listen to music. I had my boyfriend’s iPod but I was strangely in no mood to listen to it. But when my parents and I drove to Be’er Sheva, I listened to my player on the way and the music felt so fucking good, I got goosebumps that hurt my scar! I almost cried when my favorite Rammstein song came on. With all the pain I am still going through right now, there is no better painkiller than music! NONE IN THIS WORLD!

Thank the Goddess for looking over me, making sure my operation a success, and thank Her for blessing this world with talented musicians who save my life and my soul on a daily basis.

Peace, love and this. is. THE PAINKILLAAAAA.

Smells Like Weed Spirit

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I don’t quite know what status marijuana reached in Canada nowadays (Decriminalized? Legalized? Sold in depanneurs alongside cig boxes?) but I know that possession of a couple of grams is not considered a crime. Here in Israel, you’d get busted for so much as smelling like grass.

So if you ever browse my older posts on this blog (mostly the ones from 2005-2006, when I still lived in Canada), you’ll find me mentioning Buddha on more than one occasion. I was a straight-up pothead back then. My collection of bongs and pipes all had names, I had a constant stash, a favorite strain, a good dealer, a pre-set munchies first-aid kit, the works. I baked my share of space brownies, and I even had a pretty good idea of what it would take for me to grow my own weed. I knew where to get seeds, what kind of light, temperature and liquids the plant would require, how and when to harvest, basically everything. I read about it, in-depth research, listened to music about it or influenced by it, watched movies that had any remote connection to it… I was immersed and I loved it.

Despite that, I never smoked more than once a month. The first time I did it was when I was 21, and I started by drinking it as tea. And when I did start smoking, I used pipes. I didn’t know how to roll joints, even if I researched that as well and tried it many times. And anyway, I preferred bongs mostly. I would get creative with it. Instead of water, I’d fill the bong with mint Sprite or Orange Crush. And I never ever mixed the chronic with tobacco. At first, it was mainly because I didn’t have access to tobacco. But later on, it was because I realized that if I was in the company of other people who passed around a saturated joint, I could not get high with it. I needed the pure stuff, and lots of it.

Anyway, I did all that shit and wrote about it non-stop, as is obvious from my older posts. No authorities ever came to my house. I never got arrested. I could even smoke in the open air at Mount Royal with cop units roaming the area, and still get away with it.

Because I was in Canada. And in Canada, nobody gives a shit.

But in Israel… that’s a different story. One that I cannot write about today because if I did, I’d get all paranoid. And maybe authorities would then come to my house and raid the place.

Once again, freedom of speech is hindered because when you post your life online, you can never be safe. And in a country that considers marijuana-consumption to be a criminal act, and alcohol-consumption to not be one, and fails to see the absurdity of that fact, you can never admit to still be as big a pothead as you once were. Especially in a public forum.

So we’ll just leave it at that.

Peace, love and chocolate mint is the best mix

I Popped My Cherry With Blueberry

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I recently figured out what “categories” was on WordPress and I spent the past several weeks going over all my posts (all 338 of them), and trying to put them in the right categories, which I listed under “Anti-Labels” (see right hand column).

Anyway, I came across the earlier posts I wrote, mostly around 2005, when I was still in university in Montreal, and realised just how big of a pothead I was. If you go back to the December 2004 archive, the first blog post I ever wrote, conveniently titled “Hahahahigh,” was written under the influence. I mean, I still love such trips today, but back then, I was on a completely different level. I honestly think it has to do with the Canadian drug laws, that basically do not exist, as opposed to the Israeli drug laws, which model themselves after the American ones – i.e. get caught with half a seed and find your ass in jail.

It also has to do with the quality of the product. Comparing Canadian pot to Israeli pot is like comparing Jenna Jameson’s breasts to mine. Mine are basically non-existent, and so is Israeli pot. There are no sticky greens in Israel, it’s sad.

Besides that, back then I didn’t restrict myself regarding cash. I was still living with my parents and had no financial obligations, like rent and bills, as I do now. So if I wasn’t spending my money on movie tickets and popcorn or new strings for my guitar, I would exchange a green paper for a green leaf. Mostly it was 30 CAD for 3 gr worth of blueberry – my strain of choice.

I remember today the first time I ever did pot. I was 21 and I didn’t know how to roll a joint (I still don’t), and I also didn’t know how to smoke, and I was kinda scared of it, too. So I took my ex’s advice and drank it as tea. The day I did it was the middle of the week. I had an evening class, so I met up with my ex in the early afternoon to have tea. He knew where to get it and how to make it, and since he was a major pothead, I figured my first drug experience should be with him. The tea wasn’t the most horrible thing I ever ingested, but it was still pretty nasty. I drank the leaves along with it, per my ex’s instructions, and nearly puked.

I didn’t feel anything right away, but the placebo effect gave me a mild buzz. I went back home, had dinner, got ready for my class and headed out, still relatively sober. By the time I made it to the metro, I started feeling weird. It was my vision that was affected first. Everything started moving really slowly. The approaching train seemed to be inflating into the station, instead of rolling into it. I got Chinese eyes as I walked into the train and sat down. All very, very slowly. I was wearing my winter coat and it suddenly dawned on me that I feel inflated, too. The fat winter coat became a part of my body and I thought “Holy shit, I’ve gained weight!” It was the most amazing feeling in the world. It was around the time I was still trying to get over my breakup with my boyfriend, and being high helped me forget about him and the pain. I wanted to feel like this forever.

Somehow, I managed to make it to my class. It was a bio-chemistry class – an elective I had to take to complete my credits. As the teacher explained the division of cells, I understood everything so perfectly and thought: “Yeah, my cells are dividing. I CAN FEEL IT HAPPENING!”

I also totally forgot that my ex told me about the strongest side-effect of weed – MUNCHIES! But during my break, I headed for the nearest vending machine almost instinctively. I weighed my options, and although I just ate a huge dinner, with meatballs, I bought a Coffee Crisp, which was dairy. I never mix meat and dairy, but that evening, I forgot about everything, and that candybar was the best chocolate I ever had. In fact, all other times I drank or smoked weed (in Canada), I had to have a Coffee Crisp readily available for the immediate munchies emergency.

The high lasted about nine hours. I went to sleep with my head still spinning and had some weird dreams I can’t remember. But dude, I will never forget my first time!

Peace, love and Israeli government needs to have a toke and model its laws after the Dutch ones.