~ Managed to spill Ribena on about 2 dozen embroidered bookmarks last night. Quick action and a soak in some near-boiling water with Woolite did the trick, though, and in spite of the Ribena being spilled on white cloth, no stains remain. This makes me beyond happy, since it's not like those bookmarks took no time or effort to make. 2 dozen of them would amount to about a week's worth of evenings, doing nothing but embroidering from supper until bedtime, and I'm glad I didn't lose all that work.
~ ~ Though in a pinch, I was prepared to stain them all with Ribena if I couldn't lift the stain, just to make the cloth uniform in colour. I had a backup plan, but I'm glad I didn't have to use it.

~ Washed my giant comforter today, did some dishes, and cleaned off a messy counter in the kitchen. Hurrah for productivity.

~ Am about to start making supper. Baked pork chops, with a sauce made from cola, brown sugar, and ketchup, and rice on the side. Easy as anything to make, and tasty. Good for days when I want a good meal but don't want to or can't put a lot of work into it.

~ Got some good reading time in today, too. Though I should be reading the last bits of Rachel Neumeier's Black Dog, I decided to take a break and reread Janet McNoughton's The Secret Under my Skin, since I saw it on my bookshelf and realized it had been a while since I'd last read it. It's a quick book, and I'm about 30 pages from the end, and I've really only been reading it between other chores. So, not too bad.

~ Actually managed to fit some singing in today, too, which made me wince because I'm sorely out of practice again and my range has decreased. Again. One of the few benefits to being off work for so long last time was being able to spend so much time alone so that I could sing without worry of anyone hearing me, but since I went back to work, I haven't had much time for that. I'm disappointed in myself, really, because singing's good for me. Good for my lungs, good for my mood.
~ ~ And when stuff was too challenging for me to sing along to, well, it's not like I was complaining at listening to Adam Lambert's amazing voice without my own getting in the way!

~ Watched a couple of episodes of Chiritotechin, too. It's nice that the episodes are only 15 minutes long, so I can squeeze one in while I'm waiting for dishes to dry, or between loads of laundry. It's a surprisingly entertaining show, and I'm enjoying it so far.
lighterthanair: Rupert Giles in a magic hat (mine is a magic hat)
Wow, has it ever been a long time since I've updated this. I want to say it's because life hasn't given me anything worth talking about lately, but, well, that would be a big stinking lie.

The pain has been investigated. Still likely to be due to all the surgical scarring, but the fact that there's a 6 cm cyst on my left ovary probably isn't helping matters. That's almost as big as the tumour was when it was first diagnosed, and a full 1 cm above the minimum size requirement to consider surgery to remove it. I find it more than a littlr suspicious that this cyst showed up hot on the heels of the tumour and surgery. I don't know if they're related, exactly, since 1 was solid and 1 was liquid-filled and not in the same place, but really? 2 benign growths in 3 years, where previously there were none and no symptoms? And the cyst literally grew between the surgery and now, or it would have been spotted on previous scans and the surgery itself.

So I'm going back to Dr. S. I wouldn't, except Dr. K thinks it might do me some emotional good to tell her, "Look, you gave me substandard care before, you ignored the severity of my symptoms, and now I'm back and you'd better take this seriously before I end up hospitalized again." And if she still doesn't give me proper care, then Dr. K said he'll be more than happy to refer me to another specialist to get this dealt with.

That appointment is on February 5, so I don't have to wait too long to start getting this handled. Which is good, because the pain has just steadily gotten worse as time has gone on, and the other weekend had a day in which I was in too much pain to bend in the middle and get out of bed without help. I managed to get up, get some morphine, and once that kicked in I went back to sleep, and by the time I'd woken up again the pain had mostly gone away. Mostly. Not completely. I don't think there's been a single day in over a month where my pain level has been under 4 without painkillers. A few months ago, I would have said 3 instead of 4. So it's ramping up, I'm having more bad days, and I'm not happy about it.

Still reading books like a mad fiend, and enjoying every second of it. It's funny, whenever I look at the ARCs folder on my Kindle, I think, "I remember telling myself that I'd work harder to keep my number of review copies under 300. Crap, now it's over 300. Okay, I'll try to keep it on the lower end of the 300 scale. Hmm, I'll try to keep it under 350. Fuck, I'm now almost at 400 review copies!" Don't get me wrong; I love this gig and don't plan to stop reading and reviewing any time soon. I just wish sometimes that I could read faster than people I like to read keep writing books. Give me a month in which no books I want to read are released, and I'll at least be able to get 8 or so read with no new additions so that I can bring the teetering pile down a little bit more!

There's nothing better than curling up in bed with warm blankets and a hot mug of tea and a stack of good books within reach or on my Kindle. I could spend weeks like that. Hell, if I could afford it, I'd spend every winter doing that!

(Ignore the fact that this means that in Canada, I'd be doing that from December until late April, if I'm judging winter by when it gets too cold outside to be comfortable. But hey, approx 1/3 of a year devoted to reading? Now that's a dream job!)

I've been getting back into crafting more and more, deliberately making the time to do a little each day. I've made some embroidered bookmarks lately, and tonight I think I'll start working on some coasters. Woven paper strips with a felt backing? Sounds like a plan! It's relaxing, and doing stuff like that allows me to destress and get in a few episodes of Supernatural now and then. :p

As soon as I can afford a new camera (or can borrow someone else's), I'll start getting pictures and re-open my long-closed Etsy store, so that I can sell things again and make a little bit of extra money to cover me during lean or sick times. I've learned the hard way that I can't rely on any benefits I get through work, or anybody at work to actually help me get more details about those benefits, so that if I end up really sick again or end up needing another surgery to remove things that shouldn't be there, I'm on my own when it comes to money. So the more I have saved up, or the more things I do that can make me money when I can't work my dayjob, the better things will be for me during that time. And if it doesn't come to that, then I'll just have some spare money saved for anything else that I need or want to do down the road.

Speaking of making things, a friend was incredibly generous recently and paid for me to take an art course I had my eye on. It starts on the same day that I have my appointment with Dr. S, and the focus is on making small objects, repurposing, and ACEOs and ATCs, so it should give me plenty of inspiration for other things that I can make on my own once the class has ended. I can't wait for it to start, and as shy as I am, I also can't wait to meet other artists and crafters in the city. I think it'll be fun, and good for me. So many thanks going out to V for helping me with that when I couldn't afford to do it on my own.

And that's about it, at least for important lifey updates. Hopefully I can get the health hell sorted out soon (I haven't been healthy for about 2.5 years now...) so that my life can return to positive things all the time, like books and embroidery and walks in warm weather and all that wonderful stuff!
Went to see my doctor about the pain. Turns out that my doctor wasn't in and that it was his temporary replacement doctor that I was seeing and I hadn't been notified about this even though the receptionist had known weeks in advance. Fucking lovely. Anyway, this doctor barely bothered to listen to me and all she did was shoo me out of there with a new prescription for painkillers.

Apparently the answer to, "I'm in so much pain that I can't function unless I take enough painkillers that I can't function," is "MOAR PAINKILLERS!"

Needless to say, I called back later and left a message for them to make me another appointment, in which I specifically requested to see my doctor and not his replacement.

The pain gets worse during the week and a half or so leading up to my period, plus the time I'm actually bleeding. So about half the month I can expect to be in agony, sometimes bad enough that I have to reach my daily limit of painkillers around lunchtime. Yesterday I came home early from work because of it, and by the time I got home, I looked strung out. My eyes were red, my pace was a weird mix of flushed and pale, and it wasn't a wonder that nobody complained that I was leaving.

The pain's better today, thankfully, and I hope it stays that way, because if I don't work my full shift today, then I don't get the holiday pay for this coming Monday that will make missing half a day more tolerable because my paycheque won't be short.

Kind of thinking that unless I can find a doctor who'll do more than just throw drugs at me and hope they stick (the spaghetti theory of medicine?), I might have to start looking seriously at throwing aside my dreams of going back to university so that I can be a teacher. That's the kind of thing I'll need my full mind for at any given moment, and I can't take 2 weeks a month off when the pain gets bad. I still have options for that, of course, since I have skills that I can use for small home-based stuff that doesn't involve a regular schedule or the need for regular payments, but still, the idea of going through life until meopause with this much pain so often is one that makes me want to just break down and cry.

Have to think of happy things, or else I'll go fucking nuts at this point. (It doesn't help that my 3DS died last night and won't hold a charge, and I was looking forward to using this weekend to get further in Pokemon X... Fuck you, bad timing.)

Yes, happy things.

NaNo's going well. I'm ahead of the goal for 50K words by the end of the month, but I'm not as far as I wanted to be for my own personal goals. There's still plenty of time to catch up, and I probably will, so I'm not especially worried.

I won $50 through an affiliate program that I had to join through work, and since that $50 was for use on a site that specialized in concert tickets and mucisian merchandise, I promptly spent it all on Adam Lambert swag. Because fuck you, world, I want accessories and a Trespassing poster! I got an email yesterday telling me that at least one of the items had shipped, so I have that to look forward to in the mail.

I also have about 8 books coming to me from various publishers, which I'm also looking forward to, though I have no idea when they're going to get here either. Still, having something to look forward to keeps me going, because getting through the day is easier when I feel good about coming home because there might be something nice waiting for me there. (Other than cats and food and warmth and a roommate, I mean.)

Oh, and also a shirt that I ordered through TeeFury. I have a lot of mail that should be coming later this month!

If I can't play Pokemon X on my long weekend I'll probably spend the time feeling greater motivation to catch up on reading, and to catch up on Black 2, which I still haven't beaten and I really ought to make more progress in before the cloud storage and transfer option becomes available in December. Then I can transfer stuff that I can't get in X (assuming my 3DS works at that point) and have a much more complete Pokedex. But really, I'll probably just spend a lot more time reading, because I've been a slacker with that lately and I have a lot of stuff that I need to get caught up on in regard to that. Which is just a tad more important than Pokemon, I think.

At work, an incentive bonus is coming along nicely, and I'm in good stead to receive 3 $100 gift cards in December. If all of the reservations I made during the incentive period go through and no cancellations were made, I should get 6 of them, but I'm not counting anything that I can't see the company received comission for, and so far that's just enough for 3. Still, $300 will buy my roommate her 3DS and give us some money to spend on something nice, or get some holiday presents with, or something.

That'll be the biggest thing I'll miss about eventually not working there anymore. The sheer number of perks I can get through affiliates and vendors.
lighterthanair: (rageface)
On Thursday, I spent a good chunk of the day in the kitchen, preparing tasty food for the Samhain feast. Apple tart, chicken stew, peameal-encrusted pork roast, boiled new potatoes. Freaking delicious! I've missed cooking.

Problem is, it seems like I'm going to end up missing it a whole lot more. By the end of the day, I was in a lot of pain. Partly my feet, for having been on them for hours, but mostly my midsection, around the incision and the scars inside me. I figured I'd just worn myself out and that I'd feel better the next day.

Yesterday, I felt just as bad. I took one of the super-naproxen (500 mg, that I was prescribed last time I went to urgent care for the pain) before I left for work. Before my lunch break, I had to take another. The two together took the edge off, but didn't kill the pain completely, and it left me feeling stoned for about 2 hours. I pushed through the shift because I was too afraid to tell anyone that I needed to go home. My mobility was shot. Walking hurt. Sitting down hurt. Standing up hurt. I moved as slowly as I could, which meant that going to the bathroom and back to my desk took roughly 5 minutes when I had to walk 200 feet, at most.

I have an appointment with my doctor this coming Monday, to discuss pain management and what I can do about this.

I know I need to lose weight. That would help. But it's fucking hard to lose weight when just cooking a meal from scratch leaves me in massive pain the next day; how the fuck am I supposed to get exercise without removing my ability to do things like, oh, I don't know, go to work?

There has to be an option.

But what scares me the most about this is that Rachel and I sat down last night and had a frank talk about what we can do if I'm not able to work because of the pain levels. Not at the moment, obviously, but once she's through school and has a job in a lab (which she's just about guaranteed, and there's the possibility we'll need to move to another province, but that just makes me excited), and I know she's said that once that happens she'll be making enough money for both of us to live on without me needing to work, but there's a difference between that and not being able to work.

And this is the first time in my life I'm really faced that as something I may need to consider. Something that puts paid to all my plans and makes me consider what else I'd do. I want to go to university and get a degree and teach in Japan. That's been my dream for years, and thanks to the job that Rachel's likely to get, that dream might actually be feasible for me. To go to school and learn awesome things and teach in a country I've wanted to be a part of for so long.

But now, what if I can't? What if this is pain that's not going to leave me alone any time soon, and it keeps limiting what I'm capable of doing? Is it worth it to push through to achieve a dream, or is it better to scale back my plans and do something that I'm better able to do while accommodating the fact that my body doesn't like to do what I tell it to do?

It's not like I don't have options. Writing, if I get lucky enough to make something of that. Book reviews will still keep me wonderfully busy. I've thought many times about making spare money by selling handmade items online. If I don't need to work for a living, then I have plenty of options that won't leave me feeling like I'm useless, and may actually get me somewhere else that I'd enjoy being. But it's still scary to think that if things continue as they are, I might be a lot more limited in what I do with my life than I originally gave thought to.

I'm probably jumping the gun with even thinking seriously about this. Chances are that if my doctor can help me manage the pain without relying on dopey painkillers all the time, I can keep going through daily life just fine. And I'm sure there are options that I haven't considered or that he can help me with. (I've thought that having access to a swimming pool would help me lose weight without going through as much pain as I have been, and while the local pool is pricey, there may be options if I need to go for physical therapy or something.) So I won't be too grim just yet.

But it's a possibility I might have to face, I guess, so maybe thinking about the logistics of it now will prevent some of the frustration and shock later.

I don't hurt as much today, which is good, but I also haven't moved around much yet. Let's see how I feel after walking to work this morning, and make my judgment then. I hope I can do it without hurting myself.

...More reasons to be angry at Dr. S, though. If she'd just taken out my uterus in the first place, instead of hanging onto the hope of me making babies (that I can pretty much no longer make), my uterus wouldn't be so damaged and there wouldn't be as much scar tissue inside me, and I likely wouldn't be in half this much pain, if I was in any at all.
~ Didn't budget for things properly, and now I only just have enough money for rent but not to pay anything on credit cards or get groceries. Luckily there are still a lot of groceries in, but I wanted to do something special for Samhain, and now I might not be able to do what I wanted to do for that. Might just have to see if I can accomplish some kitchen magic and only use what I already have.
~ ~ Doing that wouldn't be so bad, since it would pretty much only involve me missing out on making a chicken pie. I have vegetables, I have a peameal-encrusted ham, I have the stuff for a decent dessert, even if it wouldn't be what I originally wanted to do. But I don't doubt that I could still make tasty things, even if I have to be a little more frugal.
~ ~ ~ Being low on money does suck because I currently have a cold and don't have any daytime cold meds, though, to help me get through the day. I'll live, obviously, but it won't be comfortable for a bit. :/

~ I ended up losing everything I'd accomplished in Pokemon X thanks to that Lumiose save glitch. :/ So I had to start over. I'm trying not to look at that in too negative a light, since I was struggling to build a decent team due to choosing Fennekin in the beginning, and I seemed to be having lousy encounter rates for some things (it took me over an hour of hunting to find a freaking Pikachu!), so a restart wasn't the end of the world. I think I'm doing much better this time around, even if it's slow going because I've only been able to play for an hour or two a day, at most.
~ ~ If anyone wants to know, my 3DS friend code is 4914-3830-2347. If you play Pokemon (or any games, really) and want to add me, feel free, and I'll do the same if you give me your code.

~ NaNoWriMo is fast approaching, and I actually have an idea this time, and I hope this year won't be like every other year, where I go full steam ahead for a while and then get stuck and start working on another idea instead. I get to my wordcount goal, but I end up with two unfinished stories instead of one, and it's frustrating. I'm not worried about making the wordcount goal, at least, since even if I just take 5 minutes between calls to write at work, I usually end up getting 3-4k words written over the course of a shift. I've written reviews and short stories that way before, nobody cares so long as I keep my stats decent, so I can't see why November would suddenly change that,

~ Still chugging along with reading, though I keep falling behind in my goals there. I read at work when I can (breaks and lunch), but I spent a couple of weeks playing Pokemon on my days off (before I lost the save file), so that meant about six hours a day for two days in which I didn't read, and that's a lot of reading time. I'm trying not to do that so much. Even if I don't get as much of the game played, I need to keep up with reading more than I need to play a game. With luck and good timing I should be able to finish Veronica Roth's Allegiant today, and then I can get back to Jaime Lee Moyer's Delia's Shadow. Probably be able to finish that by the end of this weekend, too.
~ ~ It'll get easier, too, if I just forgo leaving work right when I leave to walk uptown for an earlier bus home. A bus goes right by work half an hour after my shift ends, which means that if I just stay and wait for that bus, I save myself a 20 minute walk in the cold (then a 20 minute wait for the next bus that gets me home), and give myself half an hour in which I can read. Extends my daily reading time from 1 hour plus commute time to 1.5 hours plus commute time, which is a significant boost.

~ There's every chance I might end up moving to another province in about a year and a half. Rachel might end up getting a good job in Charlottetown, and while some people might see that as a step backwards (PEI isn't known for much besides potatoes and Anne of Green Gables), the university there will allow me to work for a degree that will get me one step closer to my own goals, and Rachel will still be able to work at a good job in a city we both know we like. It's only a possibility, but I've got my fingers crossed that it works out that way.

~ Weather's definitely getting a lot colder. I mean, I know that this is Canada. In October. But brr, does it have to be constantly dipping to the freezing mark? temperatures don't get very high even at noon now, the leaves aren't so much turned as fluttering off the trees with every puff of breeze, and I don't relish the really cold days when my lungs will seize up and refuse to let me breathe properly. :/ Well, just another reason to stay in after work and catch that later bus so I don't have to walk in that weather, right?
lighterthanair: Rupert Giles in a magic hat (mine is a magic hat)
Today is going to be stupidly busy. First, half a shift of work, which is okay except that of course it's the half of my shift that contains the largest section of unbroken work. But it's only half a day, so I can manage.

Then I'll be waiting around uptown (and probably catching up on some reading and/or Animal Crossing) while I wait for the reading by Patrick Rothfuss, which is going to be awesome and I'm excited for this because I've never been to an author event before. I'm hoping I can get a book signed by him, but even if I just enjoy the reading itself, that'll still be cool.

Then I'm coming home so I can be part of a podcast that's getting recorded tonight. This will be my first podcast, so I'm nervous and excited about it, but I hope it'll go well. I'll post a link when it airs, so anyone can listen to my voice if they so desire.

So from getting up at 7:45 this morning to whenever the podcast recording ends (recording starts at 10 PM AST, which is pretty late), I'm busy. Worth it, though. Totally worth it. Being a part of SF Signal has opened up so many doors for me already, and I've only technically done one review and been part of one Mind Meld!

Speaking of SF Signal, their Top 3 posts of September list went live yesterday, and my review of Kim Stanley Robinson's Shaman made the list. Impressive, I think, for a first post there! Hopefully some of my future posts will go over just as well.

(Just got a message from another guy at SF Signal who said that reviews rarely make the list, which makes me have a "whoa, seriously?!" moment as I try to process that... O_O)

Also did a September in Retrospect post over at Bibliotropic, so if anyone's curious about what I accomplished there this past month, please drop by. #shamelessplug

Hope it's dead at work. It'd be nice to spend some of that time off the phones, working on the database project for a while instead of taking calls...
Okay, so maybe it's not really a dream, exactly, but today, I dyed my hair black. It's something I've wanted to do for years now, literally, but never had the guts to do before.

Much like I wanted to buzz my hair but never had the guts to, and then this June, I went and did it anyway.

I figure, "Why not?" It's not like it's hurting anyone, it's only hair, and dammit, I'm nearly 30, and I'm too old to be scared by the idea of my parents freaking out over some change in my life that they don't like. And that's what stopped me so many times before. That, and the thought that if it looked awful, I was stuck with it, and people would laugh at me, and it would be awful no matter what.

If it looks awful, I'm not stuck with it. I can shave my head again if I hate it that much. And if people laugh, they can bite me while they're at it. This is something I want for myself, not for them.

It's funny how crushing defeat, or at least the feeling of it, can galvanize me into doing something with my life or my body that I've wanted to do for a long time. It feels like fighting back. The world pushes me down, so I make a point of standing up a little taller and saying, "Wanna try that again?"

It feels good to be so bold, sometimes.
So my workplace decided they were going to run a leadership skills development course, and asked for interested names. I submitted my name because I've always wanted to be in leadership, and I made a point of telling them that now my health was getting back on track, I wanted to put all of that mess behind me and move on with my life and career. I've been there since the centre opened, and sure, I haven't been there for the whole time, but they've seen me help people, they've heard other workers compliment me, and since I got back, my stats have been higher than ever before. I figured I had a fighting chance.

I didn't get selected.

The people who did get selected are people who have already started taking extra duties, floor-walking, mentoring, openers and closers, people who have already demonstrated that they're willing and able to put in the extra effort that it takes and so they're seen as a good investment for building skills that might make them solid assets to the company. And I don't begrudge them that at all. Most of them I know, and I know they'll be good in their roles.

But it really slapped me in the face that putting ill health behind me isn't as easy as I thought it would be. These people spent the last six months working on their skills, showing their stuff to management. I spent the last six months trying to regain my breath after walking up a single flight of stairs, trying to stay awake when I had no energy, getting hospitalized, recovering from surgery. My life came to a standstill. Theirs didn't.

That fucking tumour stole time from me that I'm never going to get back. And I feel less like I have to move forward from where I left off and more like I have to claw my way back to where I think I left off, because in reality I was sliding backward the whole time. I lost 6 months for sure. I lost even more time when you consider that I was constantly in and out of work for much longer because I kept pushing myself too hard and my weakening body would sometimes just stop and tell me this whole "trying to exist as a normal person" thing just wasn't going to work.

It's time I won't get back. It's life I won't get back. And it just hit me yesterday how much time I lost. How many opportunities I either missed or had to pass over because I just wasn't capable of doing them. I feel like I have to work twice as hard as anyone else now just to prove that I'm healthy and capable of advancing.

It didn't escape my notice that two other people with health problems got passed over for the course, too, even though they've also taken on additional duties and one of them even has training and supervisory experience.

I tried to talk to one of my coworkers about it. How frustrated it made me feel. When he wasn't talking over me about how he lost his chance, and I said flat out that I felt like the tumour stole my life away, things got suddenly quiet, and I started to cry. I got up and ran to the bathroom to hide until it had passed, and there was no more talk about it after that.

I spent most of yesterday getting frustrated and trying not to break down into tears again. It was then that I made the decision, finally, to get counseling for this. I need help getting through everything that happened. I can't do it with only the resources I have. I need guidance, and I need support, and I need to be able to put this mess behind me so that I can actually start moving forward the way I feel I should be.

Nobody told me that getting my health back would be just as hard, but in different ways, as being sick in the first place. Nobody prepped me for it. Hell, I barely got any prep from my doctor about what to expect physically while I was recovering from surgery, let alone emotionally. And some of what she did tell me was flat-out wrong. This is the stuff that gets glossed over, ignored, until it all comes crashing down and you're left in a pile on the floor, thinking that you're weak and stupid and why the hell are you crying anyway, you're healthy again, you should be happy, you're just malingering and want attention because there's clearly nothing wrong with you, you idiot.

So I sent a message to a local counseling place, asking for info and rates. I hate having to do it, but I know I need to. I can't just sit back and say that I want to get better while doing nothing about it. To get help, I have to ask for it, accept it, and really work at it. Maybe then I can actually get back to where I left off in my life and start moving forward, instead of feeling like I'm just going 2 steps forward and 1 step back all the time.
lighterthanair: (huggle)
~ So so happy that I have tomorrow off. It's been a long week, and I'm looking forward to a little downtime. Even if tomorrow I'll be having a friend over and cooking supper, it'll still be downtime, and I have Tuesday off too, so that's still all good.

~ Still reviewing books. Like a boss, no less! This past week, I reviewed The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White, and A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin. Next week I've already got reviews lined up for A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey, and Manifesto UF, why a load load of awesome authors. I'm in the middle of reading red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch, We Will Destroy Your Planet by David McIntee, and I should probably be starting A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin for the readalong. So much reading! I love it!

~ I've also starting writing for SF Signal, which is freaking awesome because holy crap, why did a Hugo Award-winning fansite decide that I'm good enough to do stuff regularly for them!? O_O It's intimidating, but I think it'll be a big step in the right direction for me. The first thing I did for them was review Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson. (Ignore the fact that it says it was written by John. The site crashed and he had to restore some things from backup, so my post vanished and had to be reposted under his name. I'm just glad that I didn't have to write the whole thing out again, because I was dumb and didn't back it up myself!)

~ I recently splurged and got myself a 3DS. If anyone wants my Friend Code, just ask and ye shall receive. Only 2 games for it so far (Animal Crossing, and SMT4), and I'm telling myself that I won't buy any others until the new Pokemon games come out. There aren't too many other games for it that I really want right now anyway. Soul Hackers, yes, but I can live without that for a while, since I'll be so busy playing other stuff.

~ Getting back into fiction writing in a big way. Sneaking writing in at work is a good way to boost my wordcounts. The problem is that the thing I want to work on most right now is explicit, and so, er, not really appropriate for work. Oh well, it's not like I don't have other ideas swirling about in my brain.

~ Still listening to Adam Lambert. Which is awesome, because when I'm alone I sing along and it's a great workout for my lungs! I can't hold notes as long as he can, and I can't quite belt it out the way I want to (the disadvantage of living in an apartment), but it still makes me feel great.

~ Really need to buy more paid time again. Maybe on my next paycheque, I'll see if I can spare the money. I should be able to. I miss being able to support awesome sites by giving them money. It's great to be earning a proper paycheque again, I'll say that much!

~ And now, I'm off to work. Just today and then my weekend hurrah! Hope that it's as dead as yesterday, when I got a whole 3 hours off the phone!
So you don't like the term "rape culture" because you think it's demeaning to men, insulting to men that women are encouraged to feel so afraid of them and get defensive around them, it punishes the innocent, and all the reports of rape are minority cases blown out of proportion? Fine. Go ahead and think that. And let the stomach-clenching fear that's running through my body get silenced because you don't want to hear how much your dismissal of serious issues frightens me, because when it comes down to it, you may not be the person doing the rape, but you are the person dismissing that the rape is as big a problem as people are saying it is.

Let me say it loud and clear: rape is a problem. I don't care if the statistics say that only 0.01% of women get raped a year, because putting that into context, that's 1 in 10,000 women. Doesn't sound like many, right? In my city alone, that would mean that 6-7 women get raped a year. In one city. That has a pretty small population. That would mean that just in my lifetime, almost 200 women would have been raped in this city.

That's being optimistic, though. A study done in British Columbia revealed that 1 in 17 women get raped in their lifetimes. 5.8% of women. Rounding down, that's 5 out of every hundred. In my city, that's 3400. In one small city alone, over the course of a single lifetime.

Does that scare you? Because it sure as fuck scares me! So far, my chances of getting raped in my lifetime are higher than the rate of me getting hired compared to the number of resumes I send out. The percentage is roughly the same as the people in my office who prefer tea to coffee. That kind of statistic should terrify you, not insult you because you're not the one doing the rape.

Think it's not a problem for those women? Think the correct response is to say that the idea that rapists can get away with it in this society is insulting to men? I beg you to look at your ideas a different way.

It's been said before, but it bears repeating. If you think that the idea of rape culture is insulting to men, because most men are not going to rape a person (I say 'person' because I'm not naive enough to think that only women get raped, though they are the vast majority of rape victims), think for a moment outside your own tiny box and wonder how it must feel for a woman. Someone who is taught from childhood that the responsibility of stopping rape lies squarely on her shoulders. Someone who has been given ample reason to fear walking down a street after dark. Someone who grows up being ashamed of her body because the most she hears about it is how it turns men on and they might give in and rape her. Sure, it's not fair to Joe random she sees on the street and crosses to avoid. He might not rape her. He's probably got more on his mind than random sexual assault.

But we don't know. Because people aren't Sims, we don't walk around with our intentions in little bubbles floating above our heads. We have to keep ourselves safe, and that means keeping ourselves from potential harm. We can't wait until you start holding us down and tearing our clothes off to start worrying about the consequences. We have to do our part to keep that situation from even getting started. We are taught to live in a culture of fear. That's another part of rape culture. It's not just about how men are all awful potential-rapists and how they'll get away with it because the law is just a big Boys' Club. It's about the fear that we feel going about our daily lives, the fear that yes, that stranger over there could hurt us, and for no other reason than because he wants to feel good about himself and making us feel like shit is the only way he can think of to do it.

That 1 in 17 statistic is what we have to live with, every day. Walking down the street, going to work, meeting new people, attending a book club, going to a bar, going to school.

A study was done at a university not far from here. Results showed that almost half of the men interviewed would rape a woman if they believed there would be no consequences to themselves.

This is not about you. This is about us. This is about the fear we live with, because men more dickish than you take our power away from us, and we don't know you aren't one of those men.

But if you don't like the idea of rape culture, how about we call it something else. How about "sexual assault culture?" Because in Canada, approximately 33% of women have been sexually assaulted in their lives, and only 6% of them report it to the authorities.

So here's some news for you, if you're curious. I'm in that 6% of people who didn't report it. Which means that at some point in my life, I was sexually assaulted.

Sexually harassed, technically. I was not touched. But I was harassed. Multiple times. By multiple people. And no, I'm not just talking about turning down someone's advances and then trying to hit on me again. Men like that I find creepy, but for the most part, I'm not going to say that was harassment. Mostly because I made a point never to go to that restaurant again, but hey, that's how I'm counting it.

(Okay, if truth be told, I was molested by my babysitter when I was 4. The scariest part is that she likely did that to me because someone was doing it to her. And I did tell my parents about that. They don't remember. I do.)

But sexual assault or harassment culture? That's everywhere. And it's just as insulting to men, because it still assumes that you're all potential dirtbags who are going to make us feel uncomfortable, but it's easier to ignore. On both sides. It's why the high school friend who interrupted conversation with, "Can I touch your boobs? My other friends let me," did not get reported to my parents or the school. It's why I stood for half an hour in the corner to avoid a group of guys pinching my ass in elementary school, and the teacher nearby did nothing to stop it. It's why I was bullied for years by idiots, making fun of me by saying I had my hand down my friend's pants (I was 7 at the time). It's why when a coworker kept making inappropriate jokes about me wanted to see and touch his penis, I was petrified of reporting him, because I didn't want him to get in trouble and then his fiancee, who also worked with me, would be angry at me and then make my worklife hell, and my silence meant he kept up this little joke for over a week, every time I saw him. I was afraid of getting punished for someone else's wrongdoing.

It's why a friend of mine walked into McDonalds one evening and was asked by a random group of guys if she was "a moaner or a screamer."

It's men thinking that this stuff is all in good fun, perfectly acceptible. It's everyone thinking this this is just what happens in life, and you have to toughen up and deal with it. it's people telling you you're making a big deal out of nothing if you do report how uncomfortable it made you. It's these people not getting taught not to to these things, but girls getting taught how to avoid them. It's these people not getting punished for their actions because "they didn't cause harm."

No harm... That must be why, when I was at a completely different job and saw a man who reminded me of the old coworker who harassed me, I had a panic attack and literally ran away and hid in a bathroom stall for half an hour, crying. I don't even know if it was the same man. But he reminded me of that man. That man may have done nothing wrong, and if he'd seen me run when I laid eyes on him, he would have been understandably confused and possibly a little hurt. He can't help the memory that he triggered in me that caused me to relive harassment and emotional trauma.

But that didn't stop the trauma. That didn't stop my panic. That nice little piece of logic that said this guy might not be the one I'm actually scared of didn't matter in the moment, because what mattered was OH GOD THAT MIGHT BE HIM I CAN'T SEE HIM AGAIN I CAN'T STAND IT IF HE TALKS TO ME LIKE THAT AGAIN I CAN'T BE DEGRADED LIKE THAT AGAIN I CAN'T DO THIS I HAVE TO GET AWAY. His fault? Maybe not.

Your fault? Maybe not. And it sucks that you have something in common with the people who have repeatedly hurt us. You could be the nicest guy in the world. You could be the kind of guy who, upon hearing what happened, would gladly go and tear off the nutsacks of the people who hurt us and made us so afraid. But we'll never know. In our heads, at that moment, you are that guy.

It's similar to PTSD, the kind you see in people coming back from war. When people with PTSD have panic attacks and can't handle being around others because they've had so much trauma in their lives, you don't turn around and say to them, "Well, I'm not the one who shot at you, so your fear is insulting me." If you do that, you're a dick. You just don't do that.

And this is what you're doing when you say that rape culture insults men. Yeah, it isn't fair for us to assume that every guy might potentially rape us if given the chance. You're also not the one who dropped bombs on soldiers. Kudos to you for that, by the way. But keeping ourselves safe takes priority over your hurt feelings, and if you're honestly going to claim that your bruised ego is on par with our assaults, then you are a jerk and you don't deserve my respect or sympathy for the situation. What you're doing when you say so is just that. You're telling us to stop talking about it, stop planning for it, stop educating people about it, because your feelings are getting hurt. And your feelings are more important than our safety. Your feelings are more important than our feelings. Your feelings are so important that we should be silent about a serious issue that has, does, and will destroy lives.

Which is bullshit, and I won't ask anyone's forgiveness for saying so.
I've been neglecting this journal. Partly because I've been busy, and partly because I just haven't wanted to deal with a lot of stuff since the surgery and since I've returned to work. I'm capable of working again, which is good. I'm glad of that. But there's still some stuff I need to get off my chest, so I'm back to old habits, returning to a personal journal in the hope that I can get some of this stuff out and maybe that'll help me come to grips with what's been bothering me.

I think the surgery did more damage that I first thought.

Not physically. Mentally. I had moments during the first few months, where I'd suddenly stop and go, "Whoa, somebody cut me open and played around my with insides!" And it felt surreal, and sometimes it freaked me out enough that it was hard to not cry, but I put it all off the being early in the healing process, and still adjusting from lousy health to recovering health, and then pushed it all further aside because hey, I shouldn't be feeling weird about stuff. I'm getting better! I should be happy!

And I was. Am. And will be.

But the dreams...

I've started to have dreams where I'm back in the hospital, and they've figured out that something is still wrong with me or something new is wrong, and they have to keep me there and do tests. And those dreams stress me out, more than I think they should.

I half-woke up one morning last week, only covered in a bedsheet, and in my half-awake state I had the unsettling notion that I was in the hospital, covered only in a sheet again, waiting on the gurney to get wheeled into the OR where they'd cut me open again.

Then there's the matter of medicine. I used to like that dopey sleepy heavy feeling of taking something like NyQuil and falling into a deep and restful sleep. It meant that I'd sleep well, and fall asleep quickly, and rest enough that I'd feel better in the morning than I felt the night before. Now, I feel trepidation when I take anything that has that effect. Why? because the feeling I get from it is a milder but similar version of that second between being injested with anesthetic and falling under, that one second in which I groaned from the sensation and then felt nothing at all.

Which, it hit me all of a sudden about a month ago, was actually the scariest thing I can imagine. Because if something had gone terribly stupidly wrong during the surgery, there'd be no way I'd have known. There was nothing between that groan and waking up later on as they took me into post-op. Not even the vague sensation of time passing. Just a dark void. And if I had died, my last memory would have been of that groan, that sensation, and then nothingness. And that scares the ever-loving hell out of me, and I'm not exaggerating. There are tears in my eyes as I type this, just remembering that realization.

So now taking NyQuil fills me with this unpleasant unreasoning discomfort whereby in my sunconscious, I start fearing falling asleep because part of me associates it with a void of uncertainty and then pain afterward.

This is the shit they don't prep you for when tell you they're cutting you open. Or if they're supposed to, my doctor gave me no such courtesy. I don't know if this is normal, or if I'm overreacting because of various other mental issues I've had to deal with over the years, or what. But it's freaking me the hell out and the dreams and thoughts are getting more common, and I don't know if I should push past them and they'll go away, or if I should be calling my therapist and booking appointments again.

Grief counseling is supposed to work for stuff like this, because what is grief but having to deal with sudden unexpected and unpleasant life changes?

I don't want more dreams about being in the hospital, or about being sick again. I don't want to hate that feeling of actually getting rest and knowing my cold will be better in the morning. Is it even possible for me to deal with this stuff on my own, or should I just cave and get professional help, and then possibly add all this to the complaint about my doctor and why she made numerous mistakes and also didn't prep me for this when she knew my history of mental illness?

Do I blame my brain, her, or both?

And does it even matter?

I hate those dreams.
lighterthanair: Rupert Giles in a magic hat (mine is a magic hat)
Since my roommate went camping yesterday and won't be back until Thursday, I've designated these days full of alone time to be my own personal readathon. So far I'm almost finished with Mike Carey's The Steel Seraglio (highly underappreciated piece of speculative historical fiction, I might add), and will probably be able to finish the last half of Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death (which I've been on-and-off reading for months now and really ought to finish up) before the end of the day.

Tomorrow, I'm probably going to end up tackling the second half of Michael Sullivan's Theft of Swords. I read the first half last year, and while it didn't wow me as much as some people had led me to believe it would, I hear the series gets so much better as it goes on and I'd like to give it a chance to improve.

The city's been stuck in the middle of a heat wave for the past few days now, and it's oppressively hot and all I want to do is lie still all day. Which works out well for reading, at least. But even though it cools down a bit at night, the breeze goes away too, so nighttime isn't much more bearable than daytime. I'm hoping for a bit of rain soon that might break the heat. I've never tolerated heat like this very well.

The cats seem to be doing well through it, due in part to hyper-vigilence after one of them got sick last year around this time. In addition to making sure they get plenty of fresh cool water to drink and wet food to keep their hydration decent, they also get a plates filled with ice cubes made from frozen low-sodium chicken broth. Most of them like it, and it serves the double use of cooling them down and getting more liquid into them. And for the ones who don't like that so much, well, I'm being creative with getting water into them, so it all works out in the end.

It's harder to remember to drink enough for myself, though, since I get so easily distracted by what I'm doing and don't remember to drink anything for hours. I'm trying to take a brief break every hour or so just to make sure I drink even half a glass of something, and maybe it's just my imagination, but I think doing that is helping me deal with the heat far better than I normally would.

You'd think I'd have learned tricks like this long before the age of 29, but, well, there you have it.
So my appointment with Dr. S didn't involve any arguing. She gave me an additional 2 weeks off work, hesitant to give anymore in spite of my continued pain and fatigue because "sometimes workplaces call [her] and want more information if she puts them off longer." (Uh, then tell them? Radical concept, I know...) I was very tempted to tell her again that I've already been off since February, my workplace isn't going to notice an additional week here or there are this point, but though that would be entirely truth, that would probably look like I'm just fishing for time off when I don't need it, even though I do. So I kept my mouth shut.

Also turns out that the tumour had grown so large that it outstripped its blood supply and had started to die off. And while that sounds good in principle, keep in mind that meant I had dying tissue trapped inside my body, and that can easy spread infection to other nearby tissues. Again, signs that this should have been done long ago instead of her dilly-dallying to avoid potentially harming my reproductive ability.

And where that's concerned, if a few months she wants to do some scans to determine that. See, with the tumour's infiltration and the amount she had to cut and move in order to remove it all, she's not even sure my fallopian tubes are even attached to my uterus anymore, let alone whether they're in good enough condition to allow the egg to keep passing through. The only reason I give enough of a damn to let her do these scans is because I think it will be supremely ironic if it turns out that I'm infertile, because my infertility will have been caused by her delaying things and letting the tumour grow so large while she tried to save my fertility with lesser treatments. And if she'd just done the surgery sooner, before the tumour had grown larger and infiltrated further, she might have actually been able to save what she valued so highly in me.

If that happens, I'll have to try my best not to laugh. It would be bitter ironic laughter, but I doubt it would go over well.

In different news, last week I managed to get out 2 reviews (David Walton's Quintessence and Madeline Ashby's iD). This week I plan to write up a review of Joelle Charbonneau's The Testing, which, in a nutshell, was a pretty decent YA dystopian novel, but unfortunately was so derivative of the dozens of other YA dystopias and brought nothing new or interesting to the genre, so it largely fell flat. I think that genre's getting pretty tapped out at this point, and yet because it's still popular, more and more novels are getting written and more and more of them and just the same as what came before. Same Story, Different Day.

And considering I love reading about dystopias, that's saying something.

I've been doing a fair bit of reading this past week. It's felt so good to just lie in bed, the window open and a bag of tasty candies by my side, getting buried in books and running off to far-away lands. Though I'm still doing it for review fodder, it doesn't entirely feel like it. It feels a lot more like reading purely for my own enjoyment, which takes a lot of the pressure to review off me and cycles back to make the whole experience that much more enjoyable. I kind of wish I didn't have to go back to work at all, even in a few weeks, because I've been having so much fun reading like that. If only there was a way to make reviewing into a decently-paying career. Sigh. But I've been doing that thought-road before, and short of selling out and charging for reviews, that's not going to happen.

And that's dishonest and fills me with a sense of discomfort so profound that I wouldn't do it even if it were an option.
Today I have an appointment with Dr. S, and I've been dreading it all week. I've learned to pre-emptively dread seeing her, after this whole experience, and today I'm in knots over it because I have to do the fun thing of convincing her that I'm not ready to go back to work yet.

Why am I not ready? Well, because I had the fun of trying to heal from surgery while battling anemia that's as bad as it's ever been, all at the same time. Funny enough, low hemoglobin can affect your ability to be healthy! This may have slipped her mind at some point when she released me from the hosital with hemoglobin levels 10 points below what she claimed they were. So still I can walk for about 15 minutes at a time, slowly, before feeling sore and tired. Two short (7 minutes or less) bus rides combined with that 15 minutes of walking to get groceries pretty much leaves me unable to do much for the rest of the day, and depending on the weather (wet or humid weather makes me hurt even more), possibly the day after.

So there's no conceivable way that I can go back to work right now and actually get through things. Getting there requires a 20 minute bus ride, followed by either another 4 minute bus ride or else a 10 minute walk at my normal pace, which may take me half an hour now. Then 8.5 hours of working. Then either a half hour walk uptown at my normal pace (which may take me over an hour now, if I don't collapse first) followed by another 15 minute bus ride home, or if I'm lucky enough to get off work early, 2 15 minute bus rides in a row.

Hahahaha no.

There's no way I can do it. If I could teleport from here to work and spend the entire 8.5 hours working at my own pace and being able to sit or lie down as I pleased, then teleport home again, maybe I could handle it at this point. But I can't. I still need naps in the afternoon, especially if I've already gone somewhere that day (eg, to get groceries). It hurts to roll over in my sleep, which usually wakes me up, so I'm not sleeping well either. I can get by without painkillers if I have to, but it's not fun, and even taking the painkillers is no guarantee. I'm a lot better than I was, but I'm not ready to start a full-time workload again, and full-time's pretty much my only option. I've been gone long enough that they'll likely stick me back into training again, which means I have to do a full 8.5 hours, and can't start off at 4 hours a day or something much more tolerable.

Again, though, that doesn't solve the problem of the bus rides causing me pain and fatigue.

So I expect to have to argue with her to get another few weeks off. Outside, I'm healing fine. The scar from the incision isn't a large as I dreaded, the infection I had cleared up (left another scar, though...), and have more colour in my cheeks than I've had in a while. But I've been trying to heal from 2 things at once and that's not easy. Given that she's the doctor who subtly blamed me for letting the anemia get out of control and ignored the fact that it was happening in the first place, I don't expect much sympathy from her over this.

Hence the nerves. Stress. I don't like it. I can't wait for the appointment to be over.

In a pinch, if she refuses to give me more time off, I can go to my family doctor and ask him. He's okay with handing out sick notes like they're going out of style, provided he gets paid his $20 fee for them first. And no matter what happens, I'm filing a report against Dr. S, regarding her abysmal treatment of me since I started seeing her, and her negligence which allowed the problem to get seriously out of hand in the first place. No matter what she does today, that's happening. I'm still too pissed at her idiocy to let it all slide. She needs to be held accountable, not just for letting things go too far but also for repeatedly giving me poor health care advice that, had I followed it, could have seriously damaged me. There's no excuse for how this all happened, and I at least want it on the record.

And hopefully I can find a new doctor to do any additional follow-ups with, because Dr. S wants scans later on to see if the tumour permanently damaged my fallopian tubes, which she suspects it did. Funny how her insistance on saving my reproductive capability might have actually led her to destroying it in the end anyway. I don't care, since I don't want kids anyway and never have, but I would sincerely love to rub the irony of it all in her face. While dealing with a competant doctor.

Ugh, I rant too much about all this crazy health stuff. I'm so tired of it. I want it to be over, and I want to be healthy again. I know that the surgery was the right decision to get me healthy again, and even 2 days after it, when I was still in pain and standing up nearly caused me to pass out, I didn't regret doing it because I knew it was what I needed. If I can get over this hurdle, and not be one of the 15-30% of people who have a recurrence, I can start living life properly again. I can do things without having to count my spoons. I can lose weight, and take up photography again, and go for walks, and cook, and all the stuff that's had to be put on hold because I just can't handle it.

Can't wait for that day!
lighterthanair: Dracula, from Hotel Transylvania (bad day)
It's not unusual for this time of year in this part of the world, but it seems like this month has been about 1/2 rain, 1/3 cloudy, and the rest of the time there's actually been sunshine. Which normally wouldn't bother me, since I'm typically a fan of rainy days because it's so much fun to sit by the window and read while there's rain coming down outside, but since the surgery every rainy day, extra-cloudy day, foggy day, and humid day hurts like a bugger, so I'm considerably less happy about it than normal.

Like today, when it's not only raining, but the ceiling in the dining room is leaking again. The landlord has had roofers out here at least twice since I moved in, but she doesn't like to spend money and so always hires discount workers, so the problem never actually gets fixed. And because she likes to spend money so little, I'm half afraid to tell her that the ceiling still leaks. Hell, when the heating stopped working this winter, she insisted that the problem was because I had furniture blocking some of the heaters (as though heat was a solid thing that can't move past, over, or around physical objects), and so any lack of heat I had was my own fault. Ignoring sections of the heater that had nothing in front of them and didn't work, of course. But I fear that if I tell her this, she'll find some reason to blame the problem on the tenants rather than the fact that she owns an older building that she doesn't pay for good repairs on.

So instead I just keep a supply of buckets on hand and hope that the leaks stop soon.

I'm really considering moving out of here when I can. I like this apartment. It's in a very convenient location, the view from the back deck is beautiful (especially at sunset), but between this winter's heating problems, the leaks, and the fact that the only time I can consistantly draw hot water for a bath or shower is when the heat is off in the rest of the apartment (ie, summertime), I really think it's time to start looking for a new place. It can't be soon, because I'm still in lousy health, and by the time I get healthy enough to pack and carry and move stuff, my roommate will be back at school and that will be a big inconvenience, and besides, we're low enough on money as it is... But maybe next summer. If we can survive another winter of lukewarm showers and inconsistent heat, we can save up enough to get out of here in about a year, and move to a place that might not leak so damn much and might keep us warm when we need it to.

In less annoying news, I've gotten back to reviewing with a review of Rachel Hartman's Seraphina. The contest to win a signed copy of M L Brennan's Generation V is open until Thursday night, if you want to enter. And I wrote a couple of posts that seem to be getting some attention: on audiobooks and auditory processing disorders, and how an over-reliance on tropes can lead to the illusion of character development. More writing than I've done in a while, and it felt good to get back into the swing of things. I'll probably write up another review tomorrow, too.

And since today is a rainy day, I expect to curl up in bed with a book, to keep the pain away and to keep myself happily entertained. I have a steady supply of these, and some apple green tea to drink, and comfy blankets to crawl under. I expect to finish Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave today, and then I should really get back to E J Swift's Osiris, even though there are now about 5 other books that I want to read instead. But I started Osiris and I really ought to finish it. It will make going to a different book that I'm more keen on reading even better, when I get to it!

Then again, maybe I should just move to another anyway, because if I look at Osiris that way, reading it might seem like more of a chore than an enjoyment, no matter how good the book is, and I'll resent reading it and ruin the experience. Eh, I guess I'll see when I finish The 5th Wave, anyway.
lighterthanair: (tell me about it)
Took me a few days to get the energy to make a post about this, but here I am, so let's go.

Originally, I was going to go uptown on Saturday, the day after my birthday, because that was when we both had time free. But my roommate got done with classes early on Friday, and due to the nasty weather that was due to hit us on Saturday, we figured it was better to go earlier than planned, to avoid badness and maximize goodness.

So uptown we went, to Cora's, where we had a delicious lunch. Ham-and-swiss omelette for me, with potatoes and toast, and a peach smoothie. Very yum, and that's one of my favourite meals at Cora's, so that made me very happy. And sitting down for long enough to eat a meal also helped me recover a bit from the bumpy bus ride there. I'm still low on energy and I still hurt a fair bit, so as much as I can technically handle bus rides, they still wear me out and cause me pain.

We also stopped by Coles, and found that they had a Buy 3 Get 1 Free sale on just about everything in the store. So my roommate got 3 books she was looking for, and I got 1 (Terry Pratchett and and Stephen Baxter's The Long Earth in paperback. Very happy, because I've heard good things about that book. And 2 of the books that my roommate got are also books that I want to read, so that was a bonus for me. :p

We split up then so that she could pick me up a couple of bags of those raspberry cheesecake candies that I mentioned in my last entry, and I headed to an awesome small bakery in City Market to get some baked goods. I didn't want a full-size birthday cake, because I figured it would end up being more than we could both eat before it went stale, so instead I got a couple of small things each. I ended up with an apple dumpling and a lobster tail (pastry filled with cream), and she got a caramel crepe and a cannoli. Expensive, but so worth it!

After that, there was enough time before the bus home and I had enough money left to make a stop at a nearby tea room, and I bought myself a bag of White Swiss Truffle tea, which is an amazing blend that has a lovely chocolate-mint flavour running through it. I discovered that they also had a new blend made by combining that with peppermint, called Peppermint Patty, and I was curious about it but decided to stick with the White Swiss Truffle. Maybe next time I go there for a cup I'll try the new stuff, because there are very few of their blends that I dislike. And that has more to do with personal taste than them making a bad blend. I love that place, and I wish I could go there more often. They serve good tea and food, and don't mind if you sit there for hours with a book or writing or just chatting. I've been a patron of that place since it opened, and will be so until it closes.

After that, I was in a lot of pain and getting really worn out, definitely reaching the end of my strength, so I was happy to go and wait for the bus. By the time I got home, my face was red, I was sweating badly, and my slow pace was slowed even further because it hurt to move. I was damn glad to see my bed, that's for sure!

But even though there was pain involved, I had a good day. Honestly, I think I'd be happy if all my birthdays were spent like that. A good meal, some tasty treats, a new book, and I also got a video game ($8 for a virtual copy of Ogre Battle that I can play on the Wii) and a print from a photographer I really like. It was wonderful!

Of course, I paid for my excursion the next day, and the fact that there was heavy rain didn't help matters. I woke up at 6 AM in too much pain to go back to sleep, and spent the entire day on the couch, except for the time I went back to bed for a nap. Painkillers galore, and it hurt every time I even shifted my position on the couch. Unfun.

I feel better today, though I'm still in pain, and plan to spend the day taking it easy again. Maybe get some more reading done (I finished rereading the fourth Harry Potter book last night) and watch some TV, or maybe see if I feel up to playing a video game or something. Relaxing and easy stuff that doesn't involve too much movement or brainpower.

And tomorrow, I should be getting back to writing reviews, because Bibliotropic has been quiet of late, and I think I'm finally strong enough to not only sit up to write for decent periods of time, but also able to keep my thoughts together enough to tell people coherently what I thought of a book. It actually took longer to reach that point than it did to sit at my computer for an hour. Kind of sad, that. But I blame the fact that I'm still healing from the surgery, coupled with anemia that's pretty much as bad as it's ever been because my doctor's still an idiot.

And oh, Adam Lambert, your music makes me feel good no matter what mood I'm in. :3 I wonder if I have strong enough lungs to start singing along again...
lighterthanair: (huggle)
I'm 29 today. Not 19, as I first typoed. That would have been impressive. "I got a time machine as my birthday present and decided to redo my 20s!"

Not doing much for my birthday, partly because there isn't much to do and partly because I can't do much anyway. Tomorrow I'm going uptown with a friend for a birthday breakfast, though, and I'm looking forward to that! I'll probably pick up some more little bags of candy while I'm there (I have a not-so-small addiction to Allan's raspberry cheesecake Dessert Bites and these raspberry and blackberry gummy candies).

I am, however, running a giveaway on my book review blog to celebrate my birthday. It's for a signed copy of M L Brennan's Generation V, so if that interests you, please drop by and enter. Open to residents of North America, and unlike many blogs, I don't require you to follow me in order to have your chance at the prize.

So likely today will involve me playing some more Ragnarok 2 while I drink my morning tea, and then curling up in bed to devour some more books. I rather like spending my birthday doing enjoyable and relaxing things, rather than making a big deal out of it and going out and doing all sorts of things, even when I am more capable of doing so. It may not be the most exciting things, but it does make me happy.
lighterthanair: Bat-Mavis, from Hotel Transylvania (shiny!)
Last night, somebody told me I was inspirational.

This person said that they've followed my health problems when I post about them on Facebook but hasn't said anything because with health problems, there are a lot of things that a person can say wrong. But last night she took the time to tell me that she admires my strength through this, and my ability to get through it all has been inspirational.

I don't know what to say. I know she's not exaggerating or just being polite (because she's not the kind of person to just give lip service to social niceties unless she means them), and so I can conclude that she actually does mean what she says.

But... In truth, seeing what she's going through has actually been inspirational to me. She's had multiple surgeries lately, in far more pain than me and with far more limited ability, and I think that what I'm going through doesn't hold a candle to her ordeal, and so when things are hard, I remember that she's powered through far worse than this and so I can too.

And then to find out that she thinks that I've been an inspiration? I can't quite wrap my head around that.

Nor can I say I've handled this with grace and strength, not really. I've broken down repeatedly, as much from recovering as from the problem itself (I remember sobbing at work because I didn't know how I could go through another day of pain and heavy bleeding while still trying to keep doing my job more than once). I've been too weak to keep working. I've been angry and ranty and wished nasty consequences on the people who didn't take me seriously and allowed me to get worse for so long (Dr. S, I'm looking in your direction here).

My condition wasn't life-threatening. Well, I suppose it could have been, given about another year of ignoring things while I slowly bled out and the tumour kept growing at a disturbing rate, but I mean that the tumour wasn't malignant and I didn't have cancer. It affected my mobility and my energy and my ability to do much some days, but not more than what a lot of people I know go through on a daily basis, and have gone through for far longer. As hard as this has all been for me, it could have been a lot worse.

But then a voice in the back of my head (a non-negative voice, for once) tells me that I'm doing myself a disservice here, because what matters is that I did pull through and I did stick to my guns at last and demand surgery, and that I managed to put up with so much for so long and come out the other side with hopes of recovery. And even though that's not as much as some have to do, that's also more than many have to do. It's more than I've ever done before, and I'm still standing (not always easily, but still standing nevertheless). And someday it may happen that things get worse again and I can't draw on the strength of knowing I overcame it before, or maybe someday this very thing will happen to someone else and they can find my story and take courage from the fact that I made it through, or who knows what will happen?

I'm still healing, and I'm still in pain and my mobility and stamina have been shot to hell, but I'm still here, and I'm getting better every day. Maybe that is inspirational even to people who've gone through worse, because it's different than what they went through. Maybe it's inspirational because they know something of what I'm going through and can see strength behind it that I don't because they themselves know what it's like to have to be strong just to get through another day. Maybe it's inspirational because fuck, having someone cut into you is never fun no matter what the reason!

I don't know. But I'm flattered, and baffled, and more than a little humbled by her words.
lighterthanair: (reflection)
This weekend, I had a large-scale panic attack and argument that resulted in an even larger panic attack. )

That's about all I have the energy to say. I've worn myself out, I need more painkillers, and I might very well need a nap at this point. I'm tired of being tired, too. Have I mentioned that yet?
lighterthanair: (Persona-phone)
I've been watching a lot of TV shows from my childhood lately. Well, but "childhood" I mostly mean my teenage years, because as awesome as kids' shows can be sometimes, I've been in the mood for fluff with good plot. Or at least interesting characters.

The other day, I finished my rewatch of Vampire High, a Canadian show that ran for a single season early in the first decade of the 2000s. It's one of those shows that's pretty much entirely composed of filler episodes, very few references to continuity outside of a few specific things... until you hit the last 7 episodes. Then it takes a serious turn for the dark.

Vampire High commentary. )

After that, I started a rewatch of Big Wolf on Campus, a show that's little more than fluff but has some awesome characters and comedic timing. premise of the story is that a high school jock gets bitten by a werewolf and transforms, and together with his geeky goth friend, has to figure out how to get through normal life (as well as battle the supernatural enemy of the week) while coming to grips with his new condition.

BWoC commentary. )

Not sure what I'll be watching after I'm finish with BWoC. I do have every episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark, a show that I didn't watch from beginning to end when it was on TV, let alone after it came out on DVD, so I might pick that up next. It'll keep me amused, at least, and the boring episodes can provide good background noise while I read.

...I also miss my paid icon slots, since I have a few screenshots from these shows I want to turn into icons. Once I get back to work, I'll be able to get some more paid time and enjoy the fun of additional icon slots again. :3

September 2015

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