Mini Updates

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I purchased something online last night, right before I left work for the day. It’s something I’ve been wanting for quite some time now, and for which I had starting searching almost exactly two years ago. It needed to be perfect, and yet would never be enough. It didn’t need to be very large, yet the value of its intended content is measure. It hurt my heart to place the order, yet at the same time, made me feel like I’d accomplished something important. Finally, after everything.

I did something, and yet still feel just as unbearably sad.

Anyway.

At the beginning of the month, I received an email from Canada In A Day – an update on the video footage I’d shot. Given how disappointed I’ve been in myself for pretty much all of it, I skimmed through the usual form letter about how grateful they were for all of the amazing submissions and that there were so many, etc etc etc. I waited to get to the part where they let me down easy as they gently reject my particular submission.

I had to read it twice to understand that “provisionally accepted” meant the opposite – that there’s actually a chance something I shot might make it into the final film! What?! There were a bunch of releases to sign, and get signed by others, which had to be scanned and emailed back to them within ten business days.

I then promptly forgot – and just remembered this morning!

It’s the 8th, and we had a weekend in there, so it’s not completely down to the wire, but much closer than I’d intended. I scrambled around and scanned my heart out and signed everything I needed to (I hope), then emailed it all back to them a mere few hours ago.

So – that’s done. It’d be cool if any of my stuff could make it in. I had a full day planned – not even intentionally – and plus there’s Brody. Who wouldn’t want his cute self in any film ever, really? I don’t think anyone will know whether they made it in until the film airs next summer, so I guess it’s a good thing I was planning on watching it, anyway.

Now I’ll also just be keeping an eye out for myself!

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Monday TIFF-day

As expected, I am suffering somewhat today.

However, the show must go on. As must life! So with another busy day and late night ahead of me, and the beginnings of a cold that have been hanging around for over a week now, I’m having some spicy kimchi noodles from the convenience store on the corner. Hoping that’ll at least keep me warm until lunch time!

Also because tasty.

Even though I can’t afford to go to TIFF, and especially because it still feels strange to not be on vacation and heading to screenings, I think I should plan to book at least the front end off next year. The Mind Reels is not accredited press on an official level, but we’re still getting more than enough festival action coming our way, and I am broken and exhausted right now.

Luckily I still have paid sick days available. Self care time is upon me, I think.

Remember to sponsor and share our Patreon page (http://www.patreon.com/TheMindReels), as just $2 per month gets you on the Patron board, and gets us closer to our initial $100 goal than ever before!

I filmed as much as I could for Canada In A Day, so once I get feeling better and have a bit more energy, I’ll be able to start going through the footage and cutting it together. There’s unfortunately not very much of it – the day didn’t really go as planned – but there’s some. Hopefully I can at least create a mini-narrative of my day, such as it was, and then share it online once it’s been submitted. I think the cut-off is a month from today, so while I have time in theory, I don’t think I have much time i practice. My next few weeks are pretty busy, too. SOMETHING will get submitted, though! Some clip may even make it in! I filmed Brody a bit, and he’s irresistible!

Tonight is going to be a late night. Not sure how I’ll get through it, exactly, but at the same time, if it’s as much fun as last year, I think my billionth wind will kick in nicely! Just have to get there, is all! I haven’t really been to many TIFF parties – or any others, that I can recall – but I think the Canada one would be my favourite, anyway. It’s just got an unpretentious vibe to it. Plus, I know a lot of the people who will potentially be there, so once the initial red carpet formalities are out of the way, everyone just gets to hang together, which is nice. I even just like people-watching in an environment like that; when everyone is relaxed and having fun together. It’s just nice.

Plus, if there are chips and beer, I’m all good!

Anyway, it’ll be amazing, I’m sure. I wish I felt better so I could enjoy it more, but really, just being there will be worth it. Knowing me, I’ll forget how crappy I feel shortly after my arrival, anyway!

Highlighting The Positive Side

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I don’t really feel like writing today. Over-tired, heavy heart at losing Leo the lion, and a myriad of other feelings. I have the feels, but what I don’t feel is like writing. Haha

Instead, I’m going to highlight a couple of things.

Our latest Mind Reels Ol’ Timey Radio Play reading from earlier this week – we’d recorded back-up audio and video for the “official” read, and the video is now available to be viewed here. So much ridiculous fun! I’m not sure I’ll ever forget Josh Vokey’s performance in particular, both as Mrs Umney AND the Ghost! I actually can’t wait to watch it back as a way of remembering all the awesome! I feel like they just keep getting better and better, and while I’ve already got the next script chosen (to hopefully do at some point during the week after next), I am already looking to choose what the September script will be, too! I’m so excited about how these are going that I keep forgetting to work on booking interviews, as well. Balance! I must remember to seek balance!

Hopefully links for all three radio plays, and most recent interview, will go up at Smithee.TV’s sites soon, too, since everything was recorded properly for those, and using back-up methods for ours.

I am also much closer to being ready to launch a Patreon page for The Mind Reels! The inital goal is to basically get enough support per month to help cover the site-related expenses we’ve been paying out of pocket all this time, and then hopefully to be able to grow and expand the podcast even more! I have a lot of ideas, and I am excited to launch this so that fans and friends and supporters all over the world can get even more involved and interactive with the Mind Reels experience as a whole.

I think a Patreon page will add another level to it all, really. In case you are wondering, Patreon is a model of crowd-funding which allows people to sign up as Patrons to support their favourite projects on a monthly basis, usually in exchange for various rewards given back to them each month. For the Mind Reels page, we will be accepting sponsors at a wide variety of tier levels, with the lowest being $1 per month, and the highest being $15 per month (though I have a possible idea for a cool $20 tier reward if I can get things running smoothly for a few months first). The rewards get better and more interactive with each increase in tier level, and while Patrons can cease their sponsorship at any time, I am hoping that many of the rewards will entice people to stay on and enjoy the ride with us! From simple thank you’s and Twitter follows to entries into monthly draws all the way up to being named as an official presenter of an episode each month and unlimited access to video footage of full episodes via private links (the public video links are generally only for the abridged versions of the full episodes), which can really be a lot of fun to watch, too!

So we’ll see. I really want to put some effort into making the whole endeavour a success, so am going into it assuming I’ll be doing it more or less on my own, and then if I get any extra help here and there, all the better!

I also just today discovered this Canada In A Day thing, and I totally want to participate! I’ve only glanced through it, but already my mind is coming up with some fun ideas to try, so I fully expect to have even more thoughts come to me once I’ve had a chance to go over all of the submission details and the like! Such a cool and fun project – even more so if I am a part of it! Haha

That’s pretty much it for now, I think. I am very heavy-hearted over losing Leo…like, to the point where I can’t talk about it out loud or even really think about it at all without crying, so at least there are plenty of distractions in my work day to keep me focused on other things. But not talking about it doesn’t mean that it’s not affecting me deeply, especially right now. I just can’t let that be my main emotion, so while I’m allowing myself to feel it when I can, I’m also making sure to let myself feel other things, too.

Balance, right?

Also, one more thought – Brody invited me to play with him last night, for the first time in quite a long while! I of course accepted. It only lasted a few minutes because #heatwave, but the happiness it injected into my heart when it lie broken was much needed and appreciated.

He’s such a good boy, that #BrodyGraham. ❤

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Taking Control

My Facebook memory feed today is filled with basically two things – the announcement that Tim and I were official Guinness World Record holders, and video clips of the Conjoined Twins of Terror. Both of those things do my heart some good, to the point where I can’t even really remember what else was in my feed. It’s funny to me that I was already promoting and planning the GWR attempt 2 years ago, and was verified one year ago. Everything came full circle, and I’m still so proud and excited about everything I achieved within that space of time.

It does frustrate me some when I think about how little I have accomplished since then, but also motivates me to get my butt in gear now.

Well, hopefully motivates me. It’s one thing to plan things out while I am distracted by my day job, but a whole other thing to actually get stuff done when I am at home.

I think the key is to stay angry. Haha

Mark Hamill’s autograph and photo op prices are up on the Fan Expo site, and even though they are crazy high, I was actually expecting higher, so now I am hopeful that I can get one of both, AND my usual photo op with Morena Baccarin. She and I met almost exactly 10 years ago – Labour Day weekend 2006 – which was also the first time I met Carrie Fisher. Seems perfect that she would come back now – Labour Day weekend 2016 – when I will hopefully be meeting Mark Hamill for the first time. I’m pretty freaking excited. If I end up being able to afford a photo with John Cusack, as well, all the better!

Found out a friend’s film is having its world premiere at TIFF this year, so naturally I need to be there for it. Gotta support my ladies, after all! And speaking of my ladies, Tatiana Maslany also has at least one film coming to TIFF (of course she does – I’m pretty sure she’s actually a clone, or never sleeps, or both), so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to snag a ticket to that one somehow, as well. Freaking September, man. Always so expensive! I’m trying to remain focused on the things I most want, though, and just letting everything else go. If I can make the few things that will most make me smile happen, then I can do without the rest. I just have to stay focused. On myself. Haha

Computer stuff at home is coming along quite well. I think I might start back into uploading clips from our GWR attempt very soon – perhaps over the weekend. It was becoming such a struggle with my old computer, but this one should have a far easier time of it, so I’ll hopefully finish getting all those things posted in the near future! The sound is a mess, because it’s all backup footage from one of the cameras, rather than the mics, but it’s better than nothing. It’ll be fun to revisit that stuff again!

I’m also trying to take Mind Reels stuff more into my own hands, because I am tired of waiting around for anyone else to do a damn thing. I just need more control in order to get things done myself. Freaking boys, man. I honestly do not understand sometimes. Geez.

In the end, I’m in the mood right now to take a more active approach in getting the things I want. There’s a lot on my list, but I feel like – if I focus and whittle it down into more manageable chunks – there’s nothing I can’t do.

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Expanding On My Happy List

As always, I have a lot on my mind, and today I’m not entirely sure what I feel like talking about here, so I was thinking I’d expound upon some of my happy list from yesterday.

  • getting people to talk about their passions
      • The Mind Reels was initially started because we realized that no one was really talking about the things we loved (as far as TV and movies and the like), so we decided to talk about them ourselves. That quickly turned to podcasting, because talking is faster than writing, sometimes. And within weeks we were conducting our first actual interview with a film director! I think that was the start of things changing for us, because that director (Jeremy Lalonde) hooked us up with interviews for some of his cast, and one of them (the wonderful Mary Krohnert) put us in touch with Lost Girl cast member, Rick Howland. From there, we spent much of our time pursuing interviews with people we wanted to talk to, who were creating the content we love.
      • I’m not sure when it happened, exactly, but at some point, interviews started coming to us. This was different in that it was often for projects and/or people that we might never had been made aware of otherwise. That new aspect added an additional level of excitement to each interview, because not only did it expand on our awareness of content we might enjoy, but it also gave us the opportunity to create a casual, comfortable and fun atmosphere for our guests, which allowed them to open up more about their passions in general. Instead of just asking the same rote questions that go hand-in-hand with every industry interview, we started getting people to talk about themselves, as well as their projects, and that’s made all the difference, I find.
      • I love the way a person will light up when they talk about the things they love, things that interest them, and things that challenge them to be more. It brings out a side of a person that is among the best of human qualities (and we really don’t have very many, so I treasure the ones I find), and that I play a part in bringing that part of them to light makes me feel kinda special, too.
  • being around non-human animals
      • I mean, there is just something so pure about non-humans. Not always “good”, I guess, but it’s like they are on a whole different level from us. They aren’t calculating which foot to put forward, which face to wear, nor do they edit what they communicate in the hopes of not offending anyone’s delicate sensibilities. If my cat, Kate, didn’t like you, she had no qualms about peeing on your shoe. There’s no fake-ness with animals – if you are paying attention and taking the time to know and understand them, you know exactly where you stand. You also learn not to put what you think they are thinking ahead of what they are actually thinking; you learn to admit that you don’t know. At least I do. I admit I don’t know much at all, but I feel like that leaves me more open to learning, as compared to some people who think they know more than they actually do.
      • Anyway, for me, one of the things I love about being around animals – aside from all the love itself that they sometimes give out – is that I don’t have to pretend, either. I just have to show up and be present, and they expect very little from me beyond that. Actually, some don’t even expect that much. Some just want to be fed, and some just want to be left alone. To be able to inhabit a space with another individual who asks you for nothing is really quite liberating. I get to be in their presence, I get to be myself, and things can just be quiet for a while. That they usually don’t care whether I am there or not is also quite humbling. It’s a good reminder that we are not always the shit. We go through our lives looking for validation and attention and for others to just see us and recognize that we are there – we want to be seen. Other animals, for the most part, really don’t give a crap about such seemingly superficial needs. They just are, and the idea that there are times when I can just be, as well, is incredibly appealing to me.

That’s it for now, as I have to get back to work. Maybe I’ll cover some of the other stuff tomorrow.

Oh, and just because it’s still cool to me (and falls nicely into my own personal quest for attention and validation), it was one year ago today that my status as a Guinness World Record holder was posted on the GWR website, and we went public with the announcement of our success!

Learn To React Out Loud

I’ve realized that most of what I know of my friends and their lives – including the ones I talk to almost every day – is gleaned from posts they make online, as opposed to anything said to me directly. That realization hurt at first, until I made the realization on top of it that I do pretty much the same thing.

Except that I don’t really post much online, either.

It’s possible that’s where some of my communication frustration is coming from. Haha

I lean more toward not posting things online in public forums because a) when it’s in writing it’s harder to revise and re-state, b) the general public has no business in most of my bizness, and c) I’m of the notion that those I do choose to share with are closer to me in some way; I trust them with more of me.

So be it in person or via text/email, I much prefer small groups and individual conversations to mass online postings. In a way I choose those trusted few very carefully, but in another way I really just run on instinct. I’m crazy naïve, and of course just want to be liked (emotionally I’m, like, 8 years old on a good day, but most of the time I’m pretty much still an unborn fetus), so my instincts are often steered wrong just by those factors alone. I usually consider what I want to say before I say it (so writing is easier; I’m just not a fan of the public), but I also try to consider who I’ve decided to say it to.

Writing a personal blog each day is ridiculous for someone like me, but one can’t grow and improve unless one ventures out of their comfort zone once in awhile, and thus far I’ve remained mostly inside my comfort zone as far as this little project is concerned. I want to say I’ll work on changing that, but even as I think about typing it, I am also tempted to just let it be. So we’ll see, I guess. I want to keep those closer to me, the chosen few, still closer than this, and to venture further outside my comfort zone with them, too. With them more, actually.

But I guess sometimes I can talk about something other than what I did today, or whatever.

Like fear.

What are you afraid of” and “what scares you” are questions that come up all the time, to celebrities, to potential relationship partners, to friends sitting around a campfire splitting a bottle/several bottles of wine.

I’m not saying alcohol is necessary for conversation, but it definitely helps!

I once did a presentation in high school about fear. I actually can’t remember what it was for, or what I even talked about, specifically. I just remember I started off my presentation with the first 20 minutes of the original When A Stranger Calls. The whole, “have you checked the children” babysitter/phone call bit.

The calls are coming from inside the house!!!”

Guys! Some of the scariest 20 minutes put on film, if you’re me. And apparently if you are some of my classmates that day.

I, myself, am afraid of lots of things. Most things, really, but to varying degrees. I learned very early on in life to not react to some things, because my reactions would make everything worse. If someone thinks it’s funny to scare you and they don’t get the reaction they wanted, they stop trying. I bottle a lot of that shit up, even to this day. Sometimes it’s even practical – if you encounter a wild animal, don’t run. It makes you look like prey. So freezing up on the outside and screaming on the inside can actually be helpful in some situations.

Not in most, though, so training your instincts to do that is not the greatest idea, and it’s incredibly difficult to re-train yourself to scream on the outside once you’re older. I’m still trying to learn how to react out loud; to actively defend myself instead of freezing up.

I’m afraid of any kind of violation, be it of my person or of my home/safe space. Both at once would be unimaginably horrible. Yet I do imagine it, all the time.

I am afraid of the elements, mostly wind and fire. And water, though I guess the chance of a tidal wave coming off Lake Ontario is pretty slim. I think I am less afraid of dying in some sort of natural disaster as I am of losing someone to it. The animals; friends; family. I spend so much time being afraid and trying to prepare and/or avoid catastrophe that I feel like I would survive, but lose someone important to me, and spend the rest of my life re-playing it over and over in my head, trying to make the outcome different. Even losing Alysia – I wasn’t there, but there are still nights even now when I imagine all I would have tried to do to get those kids and Frankie the Kitten out of there safe. I mean, all I think or wish I would have been able to do. Just…anything to make the reality different. I would possibly just freeze in that situation, too, but not necessarily.

I remember once when I was living with Lizz in our cute little house, I was home alone, in the living room, when I heard a cat jump down from her bedroom window and in trotted Kate. Moments later, another thump of paws hitting the floor and Dodger appeared to grace me with his handsome presence.

Then there was a third sound in the back bedroom, and we only had two cats.

They both heard it, too, and together the three of us stared at the dark hallway until a massive raccoon sidled into the light, looked at us, then went into the kitchen to eat all the cat food.

Frozen in my chair, I placed a panicked call to Lizz, who was on her way home from work, and kept an eye on the cats and our unwanted visitor. Everything was fine – more or less – until the raccoon made its way back into the hallway and disappeared. About 2 seconds later, Dodger and Kate took off running after it. I’d heard about how vicious raccoons could be, and how quickly they could kill a cat, and panic washed over me again, but this time it kicked me into action instead. I raced after the cats, yelling the whole time, and they were so startled that they came back immediately. I kept them with me until Lizz came home, but by then the huge critter had made its way back outside through the window from whence it came.

Or from wherece it came.

Anyway, the point is, I was terrified and I froze, but once I was more terrified for the cats, I sprang into action hero mode, if only for a few seconds.

I’m afraid of spiders, though more because of their unpredictability and the whole jumping thing. I don’t like the jumping. Nor the crawling in my mouth while I sleep. Bugs in general…let’s just stay as separate from one another as possible.

So yeah – basically I am afraid of weather, animals/insects, and other people. This is what makes it difficult to leave the house.

However, I am also afraid of embarrassing myself. It’s a different kind of fear, but it ends up having the same result. Often, my ability to freeze and not react has helped me not embarrass myself, though. Or, at least, embarrass myself less.

Like, my first MRI, I did all this research so I’d know what to expect, but still, as I slid into the tube and felt the machine pin my arms to my sides, and looked up to see the cage over my head and the top of the tube inches away from that, I sucked my breath in – and froze. The tech asked if I was okay, and I said “yeah”, which forced me to expel a little bit of air, just to make sound come out. I felt like kicking and screaming and oh-HELL-no-ing my way right back out of there, but that would have been humiliating. One of the techs was hot and I didn’t want to make a bad impression, so I reminded myself to breathe, and let even more of that air out. Then in, then out. And repeat.

Since then, I’ve been admittedly kind of an expert on the whole MRI thing, and even give a little coaching to anyone I meet in the waiting room who’s nervous about it themselves.

I don’t like causing a scene. It gets me into more trouble than it’s worth sometimes, but once in awhile it helps. I just never really found the balance, because I’m still so focused on the freeze and stay silent than I am on what a more appropriate and beneficial reaction would be in some circumstances.

I haven’t found other ways to defend myself, even though my go-to doesn’t really work out very well most of the time.

Interviews Yesterday

Sometimes I put off eating my lunch so I can think of something to write about. When I am at work, anyway, because I use my lunch break to write, usually.

I am hungry, though, and can’t think of anything specific I want to say except that I am hella tired, so I’ll talk about my evening yesterday and that’ll help explain why I’m even more tired today.

I was already pretty exhausted and rundown yesterday, but was able to leave work early and go chat in the studio for the first time in ages. Our guests were two lovely ladies from Dark Matter – one I sort of already knew, and one I’d only met briefly before during Comicon in March. I was ridiculously excited to see them and knew that their friendship alone would mean that there would be a ton of energy and laughter during our conversation.

Then I found out – basically right before they arrived – that we were also going live for the first time in…I don’t even know how long. That added an extra level of fun because some people were watching and interacting with us on Twitter as we were recording. Sometimes it not only added to the conversation, but also sort of directed its flow, too. It was very cool, and I always love when things happen more organically like that.

As well, we were of course silly and joked around a lot, as we do, but we also had some pretty amazing conversations about things that just sort of came up. Our “interviews” pretty much always turn into more of a conversation than anything else, but this one was even more so. The girls asked us questions, too, which led to opinions and thoughts being shared on some really interesting topics. Things like race and gender as portrayed on television and in film – and asked for specifically during the casting process, or character development, how series and films are marketed to the public, and how they are received by said public around the world. There were comparisons between Canada, the US and the UK, and the kind of content each produce, as well as my general dislike of the phrase “strong female character”. I can’t even remember everything right now, just that my mind was still working some things out last night, and apparently overnight, because I had some kind of weird and involved dreams.

It was all very engaging, and entertaining (at least for us), and had me feeling all energized and wired by the time we left to go do Hot Docs interviews. Which we almost had to rush for, because we’d also all completely lost track of time! Usually we try to go about a half hour to 40 minutes as the “long version”, which gets posted on iTunes as an audio file later. Then we follow with a 10-15 minute sort of recap, but slightly more focused, and that gets posted on YouTube as a video file. This time, though, we realized at just over an hour that we should probably wrap it up and get our butts in gear so we wouldn’t be late for the Hot Docs side of things!

As if that wasn’t amazing enough, we ended up having two incredible (though much shorter) conversations with the people we spoke to about their respective films after! Up first was the one I’ve been looking forward to from the start, with the subject and one of the directors of the film, Wizard Mode. I was only about two minutes into the screener when I texted Tim to tell him I already loved the young subject, pinball champion Robert Gagno. Robert has the sweetest smile ever, is very introspective and eloquent with the thoughts he chooses to share, and obviously a badass pinball master. He’s also on the Autism spectrum, which makes his accomplishments all the more remarkable. But the pinball aspect wasn’t what sold me on the film overall. It was Robert himself. It was his eyes, and his smile, and his curly hair – and most of all it was how much he had to say. Not to mention how much of it was relateable for me. It was how young he is, and how hard he tries to express himself, and how incredibly good he is at it. So many of the things he talked about in the film, I felt I could really relate to and understand – and I was kind of shocked at how much better he is at expressing some of that stuff than I am. He kid’s, like, what – 20-something? And so introspective and self-aware that it puts most of us to shame, really. I guess that comes from existing so much inside your own head, but still.

Getting to shake his hand and look him in the eye and talk to him was pretty awesome on its own, but even better was watching him light up every time he talked about pinball. I love watching people express their passion for something, even if I don’t share it. I mean, I could have challenged Robert to a game of pinball, but it would be like him playing against, say, a tree. No contest. But man, I’d love to watch him play in person. Even on film it’s amazing. I can’t even imagine being there to see it live.

I feel like, for me – and this comes from someone who knows next to nothing about living on the spectrum – the very coolest part of the whole block of time we got to spend with Robert was right near the end when he opted to tell us that he thought he might go out to eat after, because he was hungry. It’s just a little thing, but I felt like it was something personal he’d chosen to share with us. Every other time he spoke, he’d been prompted to, either by one of us or the director, Nathan Drillot. That statement, though, that was all Robert just deciding on his own that he wanted to tell us something, and since I get the feeling he doesn’t just randomly share with strangers all the time, it meant the most to me. It made me think he was at least a little more comfortable with us by that point than he was at the start, and I love that possibility.

Our last interview was about a film whose subject is so devastating to me we almost couldn’t talk about it without getting choked up. Homeless people and their dogs. I chose to leave Kate the Kitten behind in Colorado because I’d planned to couch surf and couldn’t take her along, and also because I thought it would just be for a few weeks. It took about five months to find a crappy apartment and get moved into it before I could have her flown back to Toronto, and it sucked pretty hardcore, I must say. Never want to have to do that again, any of it.

Now with three cats and a doggie counting on me to provide them with a home and food and love? I honestly don’t know what I would do. I am not sure I could live without them…give them up to someone else to look after. But I don’t know how I could live with myself if I made them remain homeless with me. Even now, I make sure I have enough food and stuff for them each month, and if I’m cutting things close financially, I’ll eat less, or more cheaply or go without anything I don’t really need. They come first, because they are my responsibility. But what if I really couldn’t provide food and shelter for any of us anymore? Would it be selfish to keep them with me? Or would it be selfish to leave them to be someone else’s responisbility and just focus on taking care of myself? Would they even thrive elsewhere? Flynn alone requires much more patience than most people would be willing to give, and she and Piper at least would have to stay together. The boys would probably be okay without me specifically, but not necessarily. I’m really the only person Jack’s ever known, because he’s been my baby boy since he was 9 weeks old. I don’t know what the better choice would be for them, and I’m the only one who could make it for them.

I can’t imagine what that choice would be like; what it would do to a person. I hope to never find out.