~ Signed up for an embroidery class at the community school, and the first class was tonight. I do embroidery already, but I thought it couldn't hurt to get some practice with stitches that I don't often use. There's only 6 of us in the class, and it only cost $15 (plus whatever supplies we need) for the whole 10 week deal, so it's definitely small-scale and comfortable and affordable.

This being the first class and nobody really knowing what supplies we would need, we were all just given some fabric scraps and whatnot and did some freeform stuff to practice different stitches. Mine turned from freeform into A Thing pretty quickly.



Got to practice stem stitch, back stitch, satin stitch, French knots, and lazy daisies, which are evil and I don't like them.

(Also, sorry for the lousy picture, but it's nighttime and fabric is hard to photograph under the lousy electric lighting I have here...)

~ Outside the Gold Saucer in the FFVII replay. Spend most of last night wandering around the world map to get more money, since I'm one of those people who would rather save up and buy a lifetime pass to the Gold Saucer now, rather than a 1-time pass now and a lifetime pass later. Plus it's a great excuse to level-grind, and I got everyone from level 18 to level 23 in the process.

~ Currently reading Ferrett Steinmetz's The Flux, the 2nd book in the Mancer series. It's not due out until early next month, but yay for review copies. So far I'm enjoying it as much as I enjoyed the first book, Flex. I think next I'll be reading Kameron Hurley's The Empire Ascendant, since I adored The Mirror Empire.

No reviews of recent books, of course, because my review blog is still on hiatus until the end of the month.

~ Garbage and recycling has to go to the curb in the morning, and because most of the recycling is stored in the basement and I'd have to go down there to get it, I'm using that as an excuse to break out the ShopVac and take care of some of the water that's flooded in. Which should be much easier than my previous solution, which was to bail out the water with a cut-up plastic milk jug and dump as much of it in the sump pump drain as I could before my body stiffened up from the chilly damp basement and too much bending.

~ Also, I shaved my head the other day!



Ignore all the nicks and scratches. This was my first time shaving my head actually down to the scalp, and I wasn't very good at it.

And that's my current life in a nutshell. I want to try and keep more on track with this journal, even if it involves posting silly little things every day or couple of days about what I did and why I did it, even if nobody gives a crap but me. reading through old entries, I've already rediscovered stuff I'd forgotten, so maybe there'll be some good that comes of tracking what games I'm playing, what tasty food I cook, etc.

Updates.

Jun. 15th, 2014 11:33 am
lighterthanair: (for your entertainment)
Last week went by too quickly and yet too slowly. I didn't have any other minor breakdowns or apathetic no-energy days, which is good, but I also feel like I didn't get anything done. Applied for a few jobs. Filled out my EI form. Ran a few errands. Then BAM, the week's over.

And I'm one step closer to my money running out.

I'm trying not to look at it that way. EI will come through, and I will find a new job eventually (the question is when). I have enough money put aside right now to pay July's rent, which is the main thing, as well as buy myself a bus pass so I can get to job interviews. My fridge, freezer, and cupboards are as stocked as they can get, though I suspect I'm going to need more rice and sugar soon. Luckily, both of those things are cheap. I have a little money to get some new clothes, though I'm probably going to have to make my sneakers make do for a little while longer, even though they're leaky and falling apart. My dad gave me money for the Winnipeg trip this coming weekend, and if I'm careful and don't spend all of it, I can put some aside and maybe get a new cheap pair of sneakers when I come back. Or shoes. If I can find something that fits for $30 or less, great!

I can survive. I'm just worried, because EI payments only last for so long, and they're only 60% of what I would have been making had I not been let go, which means my belt has to be tightened and a corner or two must be cut. Hopefully I can find a new job soon, preferably one that pays me $12 an hour or more. Without a roommate, the grocery budget is drastically reduced. Not by half, since I still have cats to feed, but if we spent $200 a month on groceries before, I can get that down to under $150 easily. And $50 saved is my cell phone bill paid for almost 2 months, or the power bill paid for 5-6 weeks.

I have a turkey that I need to carve up todqay and harvest the leftover meat from. Good stuff will probably get turned into meat for stew, and dark meat will probably get turned into sausage meat. Bones get boiled to make stock for the stew. I might be able to eat for another half a week on that thing, and it only cost me $15 because it was on sale for 1/2 price.

been watching reruns of Supernatural lately while I work on new bookmark designs. I did a lot of embroidery when I first watched the show, so that seems fitting. And damn if that show isn't entertaining on so many levels. Especially once Castiel shows up. I confess, I'm a bit Dean/Castiel shipper. Not that this sets me apart from the vast majority of the fandom, really. But the show's a lot of fun to watch, if occasionally a little too intense to watch late at night by myself.

And I'm working on a new bookmark design, too, while watching. The test pattern worked well, so now I just need to make a few others in different colour schemes so that I can get a good picture. They should get listed on the Riality Studios Etsy store some time this coming week.

(Not that it matters, really, since nobody freaking buys the things I make. :/ But I feel like I have to list them for sale, just in case, and any little bit of money is helpful at this point.)

Got some decent reading done last week, too. Jill Murphy's Worst Witch, Lisa Ann O'Kane's Essense, and Julia Mary Gibson's Copper Magic. And I'm over 1/3 of the way through Mercedes Lackey's and James Mallory's The House of Four Winds, the review for which can't be posted until later in July, but I couldn't wait to read it. Princesses and cross-dressing and pirates and adventure just seemed like the perfect book for a rainy weekend!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a turkey to rip apart!
lighterthanair: (Persona-phone)
Still jobless. This isn't a surprise; it's only been a week, and even if I'd been lucky enough to get an interview anywhere last week, the turnaround time for jobs, in my experience, is 2-3 weeks from the time of application, if you get anywhere at all.

So I still have plenty of time on my hands at the moment.

I've been cooking more, which is good for me, since it gives me something to do that makes me feel accomplished, and lets me try out potentially tasty new recipes at the same time. I found a recipe for udon made from scratch, actually making the noodles by hand instead of using pre-made ones, and as soon as I can figure out what kind of soup I want to put them in, I'm going to make some for supper, probably later this week. Considering the noodles themselves consist of flour (I have plenty), water (definitely have plenty) and salt (not as much as the others, but still a lot), I can make a lot of tasty meals really cheaply that way. A definite bonus when money is an issue.

And now the window in the kitchen opens, so I can make soup and bread without dying of the heat that having the stove and oven on generates! This makes me very happy, and comes at a good time, since turkeys are currently $1.99 a pound at a nearby grocery store. If I get a $15 turkey, that's a meal or two with roast turkey and vegetables, plenty of leftover meat if I want to make sausage or stuffed turkey buns or any number of things that don't take too much meat, plus the bones and leftover meat also makes a delcious soup. If I buy carrots and potatoes, I can easily stretch $20 of food into a week's worth of meals, using a few others things that I have in to supplement (mostly spices, flour, and water, so I don't tend to count those things in the overall cost of the food I make).

Turkey omelettes are also delicious, and I need to use up the eggs that are in the fridge before they're good for nothing but hard-boiling.

Making slow but good progress in Persona 3 Portable. I abandonned Hard Mode because it was frustrating me too much and the repeated dying I was doing prevented me from doing any decent level-grinding or plot advancement. They're not kidding when they call it Hard Mode! I'll give it another try eventually, but I want to play through more of the game without tearing my hair out. Right now I'm just past the part where Fuuka joins SEES, so now I've got Mitsuru to train in Tartarus, while I try to get enough money together to get everyone's equipment up to snuff. There's not much left that I need to buy, but I like having everyone in top condition as soon as I can.

More specifically, I like being in better-than-top condition; I always overlevel in games if I have the chance, because I'm one of those people who enjoys level-grinding. Always been a little bit weird that way.

Celebrated my birthday on Saturday, which didn't go over as planned but it was still fun. The ice cream cupcakes I was going to buy didn't work out since the store's freezer was broken so they just didn't have any. Then the debit machine was wonky at the second store I went to when I decided, "Fuck it, I still want ice cream, so I'm getting some pumpkin cheesecake frozen yogurt from Yeh!" But I still had a great day, ate a delicious meal at Boaz (and got hooked on edamame), spent time with friends, had delicious strawberry-custard layer cake, bought some tea bags that are specifically designed to make ice tea (the tropical sangria one is delicious, and I haven't yet tried the strawberry basil) and overall had a good time turning 30. There are worse ways to spend a birthday, that's for sure!

Today, though, I'll be spending most of the day off line, since there's a high possibility of thundershowers this afternoon and I don't like using my computer then. A holdover from the desktop days, I suspect, since I can just unplug my laptop from the wall and still have it function perfectly and not worry about the power going out or power surges or anything of the sort. It's just habit.

And since the next 2 weeks are largely free of responsibility (at least work-related responsibility), I've challenged myself to a readathon! I'm planning to read 6 books, finish a 7th that's been half finished for over a month now, and catch up on last month's and this month's Apex magazine. I'm about a third of the way through Julia Mary Gibson's Copper Magic right now, and enjoying it a hell of a lot! It's a quick read, not because it's so short (though it's under 400 pages, so 'short' is relative anyway), but because it's just so engaging. I can't help but keep pushing onward because I'm loving the story and the tone so much. Another one of those cases where I'm surprised that this is the author's debut novel; Gibson is definitely an author to keep an eye on, I'm thinking.

But now I shall vanish into the depths of my To Read pile and enjoy what's left of the merely semi-clouded sky before the rain really starts to roll in.
Cheques cleared my bank account today so I had a little bit of spending money! Not spare spending money, mind, but it meant I could buy cat food, which was the most important item on my list. I also picked up a load of bread (not great bread, but it'll do for now because it was less than $2), and a small bag of about 10 potatoes that are a little bit past their best but still good so long as I use them quickly (which was only $0.49). This all came to a little over $10, cleared out the remainder of my money, but now the cats have food and I get paid properly next Friday, so I have enough of everything except cat litter to last me.

And I can go out and get cat litter tomorrow or Friday. I'll have to use the credit card, which I don't like to do if there's another option, but, well, there's no other option. So credit it is.

I still have plenty of rice for myself, and pork chops in the freezer, and a giant pork loin that I got weeks ago when it was on sale. And a small salmon steak, which I want to fry, shred, and then turn into the filling for some onigiri. Plus there are still cans of soup in the cupboard, so it's not like I'm lacking for good food. Just variety. And even then I think I've got enough to keep myself culinarily amused for another week and 2 days.

A quick check of the freezer also tells me that I have ground beef, so I could make myself some delicious hamburgers as a quick tasty meal, too. I'll go through bread more quickly that way, but hey, homemade hamburgers! Who can say no to them?

Finished Betsy Dornbusch's Exile yesterday, and I'm almost 1/4 of the way through Craig Cormick's The Shadow Master already. It's a quicker read than I thought, and I should be able to finish it tomorrow. I don't even think I'd need to push too hard to achieve that, either, which is nice because it'll mean I can start on Jeff Salyards's Veil of the Deserters that much sooner. I've been looking forward to it for a while, and Night Shade was good enough to send me a review copy, and I promised both him and myself that I'd start it as soon as I was finished with the 2 books I had scheduled as part of upcoming book tours (Kat Ross's Some Fine Day and Craig Cormick's The Shadow Master).

It's another cold night. The afternoon was fine, mostly clear skies with enough of a breeze to keep me comfortable as I walked back from work, but the area's under a frost warning for tonight and it's currently only a few degrees above 0. I still have a second blanket on the bed, and the heat's up to keep the worst of the chill away, not just for my sake but also for the cats. I'll be happy when this cold snap ends.

I'm also thankful that this cold snap didn't hit at this time last year. I was still only a couple of weeks post-surgery at this time last year, struggling to get mobility and stamina back, and I discovered that hot and cold made the incision hurt more, as well as incoming storms. It was bad enough the way it was, with decent weather until most of the healing had been done. I wince to think of going through it all with nightly chills like this.
lighterthanair: Rupert Giles in a magic hat (mine is a magic hat)
I'd love to be snuggled under a blanket right now, hiding from the chilly rainy weather that doesn't seem to want to go away this month, and the only thing stopping me is that my Kindle still needs to charge a bit more. I have 2 books to read by the end of the week, 1 of which I'm halfway through already (Betsy Dornbusch's Exile, also a reread) and 1 which I haven't started yet (Craig Cormick's The Shadow Master) but that I've promised a review by... Oh, for some reason I thought it was June 1, but it's actually June 4, so I have longer to read it than I thought. I'll be able to get it done by the 1st, though, really, since Exile won't take me too much longer (I'll probably be able to finish it by the end of tomorrow), and I don't have much planned for my days off work on Thursday and Friday except for some cleaning and cooking, and I highly doubt I'll be doing enough of either to take up 2 days of time. So I'll get to enjoy some relaxing time with new books then.

I expect I'll get a lot of reading done next week, too. I switched shifts around with a coworker, so instead of having a 4-day weekend, I work Saturday to Tuesday, have Wednesday off (for reading), work Thursday, then have Friday to Sunday off. Roommate's coming back for my birthday (which is June 7) and will arrive in the evening on Friday, so I'll have most of that day to read, and leaving early on Sunday, so I'll have most of that day too. And on Saturday we can go out for a delicious meal and possibly some book shopping and maybe taking a nice walk if the weather's good! Then I'll only work 3 more days before I'll have my usual Thursday and Friday 'weekend' off work again and can catch up on more reading.

I say 'catch up' because I have fallen behind somewhat, and review copies are piling up faster than I can read them. They already have, really, and always will, but it's getting particularly bad, so I want to has a massive reading fest or something so that I can whittle down the pile a little and get more reviews written.

It's an addiction, reading and reviewing all these books. It's hard to believe I've been doing it for almost 4 and a half years now. There have been times where I've thought that maybe I should stop, that I don't really want to keep up the responsibility of having to review when what I'd rather be doing is just more reading, but I keep going back to it, and I do enjoy talking about what I think about the things I read. And I like knowing that I'm doing a little bit to help publicity for good books, too.

I shaved my head last weekend. Not for the first time, but I liked it a lot before and it was getting long enough to be annoying, but too short to just tie back out of the way. So out came the clippers and away went the hair. I like it best this way, I think. It makes me look more boyish. Not manly, but boyish, and that's closer to what I actually want for myself, so I'll take it! Even if everyone else who looks at me sees only the outward signs of being female (boobs, me wearing a long skirt because it's comfortable and nobody can see my legs), I know I can look in the mirror and see a face that's a little more like how I think I ought to be. And that makes me happy.

I've been making more use of my camera, too, and getting more pictures while I'm out. I'm not bad, really, but I'm not that great either, and I think it wouldn't hurt me to read a couple of photography books so that I can get some tips on improving. For every picture I get that I like, there are about a dozen that are mediocre, and about 3 dozen that I just reject out of hand because they're not focused properly, a bad angle, looked great on the digital camera screen but aren't so great on the computer screen... I know that much of it is trial and error, and a bit of editing too, but I think my skill has hit a plateau and I need something new to get me improving again.

Aaand I just discovered that a cheque finally cleared my bank account, so I have enough money to get cat food and stamps without having to use credit! Possibly some cat litter, too, but I think I can make what I currently have stretch until I get my next paycheque if I'm careful, so I may not need to. But the other things are definitely needed; cats need to eat, and I have an important letter to send! So now I can depart the online world happy. My Kindle isn't fully charged yet, but I don't want to wait any longer, since time's running out and I don't have long before it'll be time to go to sleep so I can get some good rest for work tomorrow.
lighterthanair: (for your entertainment)
I need to stop updating this journal so sporadically. It's not like my life stops when I don't write about it. Plenty of stuff keeps happening. It's just that between work, writing book reviews, trying to keep my head above water in multiple ways, and the sheer lack of interaction here between me and, well, anybody who's not me, it gets tiring to think about updating this for the benefit of nobody but myself. And that person already knows what's happening.

But still, on the offchance that someone's still reading this...

I got my wisdom teeth removed. Just the bottom 2, since they were the ones causing problems and they'd both broken through the gums. The whole procedure was relatively easy, honestly, or so I imagine because I was unconscious for it. I was sobbing when I woke up, though, when the anesthesia was wearing off, because I was aware of pain before I was even really aware that I had a body. An aide helped me stagger to a little recovery room until the rest of the anesthesia wore off and I could walk in a straight line and get my emotions under control. A cab driver took me home, and in spite of me coming out of the dentist with a swollen face, he insisted on trying to engage me in conversation.

He gave up after I just grunted a few times at him.

I spent the next half a day shoving gauze into my face at regular intervals, waiting for the bleeding to stop. I talked with a serious speech impediment for about a week. And I didn't bruise, not even the slightest bit. I hear some people get bruising down to their chest. I just had swelling and numbness.

Numbness in one side of my jaw that has not yet and may not ever go away, I may add. Nerve damage was a possibility the dental surgeon discussed with me. I am officially the genius who managed to have 2 parts of their body go numb from nerve damage within the first 3 months of the year. -_-

In brighter news, the pain problem I was suffering has largely gone away. Turns out the problem was a myofascial trigger point, and after a competent doctor actually examined me and talked to me about the pain instead of just telling me I shouldn't be hurting or prescribing me narcotics so I'd go away, he came to that conclusion and treated it with, of all things, a little injection of saline to break up the knot of muscle.

It's not perfect, and I still get pain flare-ups every now and again, but they're few and far between. Where I used to be in constant pain, never below a 3 on the pain scale, and when it flared up it would sometimes reach an 8 and leave me incapable of bending my torso, now flare-ups are a 5-6 at worst and most days I experience no pain at all. I can walk to work without fear of overtaxing my body and being in agony the next day. I can exercise! Hell, I evendid sit-ups earlier this week! This feels freaking amazing!

Funny what can happen when one's doctor isn't a negligent idiot.

In brighter news still, my father surprised me with plane tickets and concert tickets to go see Adam Lambert in Winnipeg next month, and holy crap, I'm going to see Adam fucking Lambert! O_O Part of me still can't believe that. The musician whose music helped keep me sane when I was dying by inches from that damn tumour, the guy who inspired me to take chances and actually fight to be myself, and I'm actually going to get to see him. From lousy seats, granted, but still. I may just fight crowds after the show to get autographs! Bonus points if I can thank him for what his work has done for me, but I doubt I'll have the time or opportunity. It'll be enough just to be at one of his concerts.

In the middle of reading an advance review copy of Kat Ross's Some Fine Day, which is thus far pretty decent for a YA post-apoc novel, and I'm still slogging my way through Jo Walton's What Makes This Book so Great. I say slogging because it's a thick book, and while her essays are interesting, sometimes it can be hard to keep reading multiple essays on a long series I haven't read any of yet, and where the articles are deconstructing things and commenting on things of which I have no context. I love her writing, and my To Read list has definitely increased, but I suspect I'd be getting more out of this book if I'd already read much of what she's commenting on.

And now it's way too late to be awake, I still have to work tomorrow, and my bed is calling me.
Half an hour before I have to get ready for work, my last shift before my weekend begins, and all I want to do is stay home and play Everquest 2 and read books. But I have no excuse to do this. I'm not in pain, I'm not sick, and the weather's fine, so all things that make me consider staying home are completely off the table. So, to work I go. See how responsible I am?

So I'll just do all of that fun stuff tomorrow.

R's going away for a bit of next week, to head over to PEI with the people she'll be interning with so that they can check out the housing situation. Leaving Monday morning, coming back Tuesday night, which means I will have almost every second of Tuesday to myself. I normally have that when she's at school anyway, but she's back mid-afternoon then, so it feels like I only get half a day. So next week I really can just lie in bed all day and read without any distractions. I shouldn't be so excited about this. It's less than 2 months until she'll be going away for whole months at a stretch, and I know I'll be lonely then because I'll be alone as a default and company will be the novelty, but right now it's the reverse and I enjoy the alone time that I get.

Hoping today at work will be easy-ish. Also hoping that I'll finally get to talk to HR about an adjusted schedule to help me with the pain. I don't hold out a lot of hope, but I figure it's worth presenting to them, and I can let them know if they don't want to bother trying to work on this issue with me then that's fine, but they'll have to be aware of the fact that my attendance will continue to suck until I can get the underlying issue fixed. I'm hoping that by presenting it to them as their choice, they'll make the decision I hope they'll make.

In a nutshell, earlier shifts will be better than later ones because on bad paid days, I'll be able to get through more of my shift if I start early than if I start late. If my pain level will overwhelm me by 2 PM, to pull a random number out of my butt, then I work through more of my shift if I start at 10 than if I start at 12:30, which will mean I miss less time and my attendance won't suffer as much. By also cutting my shifts back from 5 a week to 4 (still leaving the shifts at 8.5 hours instead of a lower number), there's a greater chance a really bad pain day will fall on a day I normally have off, which will reduce absenteeism even further. I hope. The math is sound, the logic is sound, and I'm not asking for something crazy like all weekends off (pointless, since the pain's not limited to specific days of the week) or to pay me even if I'm not working (also pointless, and a stupid demand), which I hope will lend some weigh to my suggestion. I think this will work quite well, honestly, and still give me enough to pay my bills.

And if they don't want to make those adjustments for me to help me get my pain levels under control and my attendance improved, well, then they'll just have to deal with business as usual, and if they try to write me up for missing too much time, I'll remind them that I presented them with an option that allowed us all to meet in the middle and compromise but they refused it. I'm willing to play ball on this one. I just hope they are too.

But we'll see how it goes. I've been trying to meet with HR for 2 weeks to discuss this, but between them not working weekends and me sometimes not being able to be at work, it's been a coordination nightmare, and nothing's getting accomplished.

Positive thoughts. Like the fact that I only have 1 shift left until my weekend! That'll keep me going today!

And with luck I can make more progress on reading Scott Lynch's Republic of Thieves. I should be reading Mark Smylie's The Barrow, but I've wanted to read this one since last year, and it's about time I got around to it. The Barrow will still be waiting for me when I'm done, and I'll still be able to get it read and reviewed within a week of the release date, so I shouldn't feel too guilty about an extra distraction. (Besides, I got Republic of Thieves as a review copy, so I have something of an obligation to get it read and reviewed too.)
~ 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.
~ 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...
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!
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.
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...
The night before last, I had a bad bout of nausea out of nowhere. It dissipated before I could throw up, and I felt better afterward, so aside from the incident itself, I didn't think too much of it.

Last night, or rather early in the morning, I was woken up with a gut attack and pain so bad that I actually did throw up this time. By the time I crawled back into bed, the sun had started to rise. I couldn't warm up, even under two blankets. Even now, my feet still feel like I've spent the last half hour walking over frosted ground.

Not fun.

I think part of the problem is that I've been eating like a normal person, and overestimating what I can actually do. It's easy to feel fine when your greatest excursion in a day is pacing back and forth while water boils for tea. When I only experience a relatively small bit of pain then, it's easy to forget that I'm actually still quite early in the healing process.

That notion gets thrown out the window when I go for a walk outside, though, since I walk at a snail's pace and get tired after a mere 10 minutes. So tired and sore I need to lie down for as long as I walked in the first place, just to make me feel remotely normal again.

So today, I'm going to focus more on fluids instead of solid food, and taking it a little easy instead of pushing myself. It helps that today's all cloudy and rainy; I have a good excuse not to go outside for a walk, and can just take it easy in here. And drinking enough fluids will help kill some of the hunger I'm bound to feel. I just want to bring myself back to a good stable place before I try to be normal again. Evidently my first time didn't go so well.

In better news, I'm stuck in the middle of David Walton's Quintessence and loving every minute of it. The story presented an interesting mystery right from the get-go, and things just got better since. Which is awesome, because usually historical fantasies are very hit-or-miss for me, but this one seems to be entrenching itself firmly in the "hit" category.

And I'm thinking that after I finish reading it, my next read is going to end up being Mur Lafferty's A Shambling Guide to New York City. I hear a lot of mixed reviews about it, that the talent's there but the execution falls flat, but I'd like to see for myself. I used to listen to Lafferty on podcasts a lot in years past, and I've heard her short fiction, and I'm really interested to see what I make of this novel. It's got an interesting premise, at any rate.

Also, as soon as I feel well enough to sit at my computer for longer periods of time, Ragnarok 2 has been released! I found it all too easy to get addicted to playing the first game, and by the sounds of it, I'm going to find it just as easy, if not easier, to throw myself into its sequel! Anyone else around here playing it?
lighterthanair: Rupert Giles in a magic hat (mine is a magic hat)
Little by little, everything's getting better. The staples have been removed from my incision, and of the 11 of them, only 2 hurt to have taken out. The small sore near the end of the incision is healing nicely, thanks to thrice-daily applications of rubbing alcohol and a prescription for antibiotics. I still need painkillers, but I seem to be going longer each day before I need another dose, even if it's just an extra half hour. I'm getting better mobility. I'm sleeping more comfortably. And while the incision still twinges and hurts like merry hell toward the end of the day (my strength can only run for so long, after all), every day gets a little bit easier.

Considering my still-abysmal hemoglobin levels, I'm pretty damn pleased with the way I'm recovering.

I'm still taking it easy, of course. Most of the day, I lie or sit on the couch, reading and watching shows on Netflix (right now I'm trying to finish up the last season of Fringe). I get up and wander around a lot, though, so that I don't stiffen up and so that I can at least get a little bit of exercise, even if it isn't much. I'm apparently not supposed to go for any walks outside for a week (according to the patient discharge guide I was given), but I cheated and walked about 100 feet down the street and back yesterday, just to get some fresh air. It tired me out, though, and made the incision ache by the time I'd gotten home. Guess I can see why that guideline's in place after all... It's surprisingly easy to walk inside compared to outside, and it's one of those distinctions I didn't quite appreciate until now. Outside, even relatively even ground isn't as even as a tile floor, and there are little swells and bumps in the sidewalk, and more things to contend with when a body is healing than you often notice. Funny, what we don't think about that becomes so important later on.

I've been on a Harry Potter rereading kick since I got back, too, and just started the third book today. I might take a break after I'm finished it, though; too many review copies piling up again, and I really ought to make some headway on them instead of letting myself get slack with rereads. That's what I used to do all the time before I started doing book reviews. I'd read new things, but not nearly so many, and I'd often stick with many of the same tried-and-true novels I knew I'd like and knew wouldn't disappoint me. I don't want to fall back in that rut again.

Especially because I have so much time on my hands, being home alone for most of the day, and what else can I do but read when I can't move around too much?

Next week, though, I hope to be able to sit up for long enough at a time to start writing reviews again, so I can catch up on that backlog. I still have about 20 books read that need reviews written; if I can even write 1 a day next week and stagger them being posted, I'll have some content set up for a while in case I backslide or don't feel like writing much else for a week after that.

Other than that, not much has really been going on since my release from the hospital. (Well worth an update post, yes?)
Just got back from the hospital, where I spent the morning in a barrage of pre-surgery tests. Had swabs done for MRSA and VRE (is it odd that the nasal swab was more uncomfortable than the rectal one?), an ECG to check and see if that heart murmur has gone away (they suspect it was caused by me being so anemic for so long), and then 2 vials of blood taken so that they can type-and-match me all over again, because it's likely that I'll need yet another transfusion after the surgery.

2 vials! I figured they'd only need 1. I'm starting to wonder if the reason I'm anemic is due to so many people drawing blood to check to see if I'm still anemic!

And now I'm back home, enjoying a nice cup of tea while I relax a little before I start a load of laundry.

Last night I signed up for an online writing workshop, one that will hopefully revitalize my writing urges and send me on the road to good creative outlets again. I've really missed writing lately. Not just writing book reviews and babbling on about how cruddy my health is. But creative writing, fiction writing. Original stuff and fanfiction. I used to have so many fanfic ideas floating around in my brain, and some of them are still there, but I just haven't been able to let the words from from mind to fingers lately, and that bothers me. So hopefully the workshop will help get things back in gear.

And it doesn't start until halfway through June, so I should be recovered enough from my surgery to sit up and do some writing by then. I'd damn well better be, really, since it'll have been a full month between slicing me open and starting the workshop.

Charging my Kindle now since it's almost dead. I finished rereading The Golden Compass the other day, and today I finished The Future is Japanese, which is a collection of sci-fi short stories featuring Japan. It was okay, but some of the stories were outright boring, or felt like they were sections from other complete novels and so I was missing part of the story vital to having it all make sense. Other bits, though, were fantastic, and I enjoyed reading them.

Not sure what I'm going to read next, though. I still need to finish Who Fears Death (not on my Kindle, but an actual paperback copy), but for electronic reading? I have a whole load of review copies piling up again, and I ought to read one of them, but the problem is there are a good dozen that I'd like to start right now! I think I need to clone myself and link all the minds together, so that I can have the time to read everything I want to read.

Especially because in addition to all of this, I got the urge to start rereading the Harry Potter books for the umpteenth time, too.

Flipping a coin won't help. Maybe I should roll a D20?

September 2015

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