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!
lighterthanair: Rupert Giles in a magic hat (mine is a magic hat)
Last weekend before the surgery! I really am at the point where I just wish it was done and over with. I'm impatient, and having to wait is just stressing me out. I slept poorly last night, in spite of caving and taking a sleeping pill, and I strongly suspect that it's because the surgery was on my mind, getting closer with each day but it's still not here yet.

Still no luck finding my camera's battery charger. At this point, I really don't know where it could be. I've looked in all the likely places. I've looked in a number of unlikely places. And I still can't find it. So I'm stuck with a useless lump of machinery when what I really want to be doing is going outside and taking pictures of the new leaves and budding trees and sprouting flowers.

Speaking of buds and sprouts, I managed to mess up the slow cooker by accidentally burning through part of the cord. (Don't ask; suffice it to say that I can be very stupid sometimes.) Not being able to keep using the slow cooker due to its new status as a fire hazard, I've decided to at least keep the stoneware pot from inside and turn it into a mini herb garden. Can't afford the dirt at the moment (does that make me dirt poor?) but it can be used inside, too, so I might be able to coax a few tasty things from it, at any rate.

Definitely getting back into the sewing groove, with an urge to make a bunch of tote bags. I mentally devised an easy pattern the other day and tested it out with some scraps, and it worked pretty well. And also gave me a cute miniature market bag - 2 inches square, not including the handles, and it was too fiddly to make gussets but I've got the idea down and I know the pattern works, so that's the important thing. I think I have enough material to make about a dozen lined small tote bags, and by small I mean about 12" square (again, not including handles). I'll probably end up cutting out the pattern pieces some time over the weekend so that I can have them ready and at hand if I feel like sewing while recovering from surgery.

Hopefully this will mean I can open my Etsy store again soon. I miss doing crafty stuff, and I miss knowing that I might occasionally make a few bucks from it. And I know I don't have a use for a dozen tote bags! That's the downside to loving to sew and knit, I think. I want to make more things than I have a use for, and if I only made what I had a use for, I'd make things so rarely that there wouldn't be much point. And sometimes I want to make the same thing over and over and over, and end up with many versions of the same piece, and what else can I do with them but give them as gifts or try to sell them?

Slowly catching up on my backlog of reviews, though the surgery's going to be a kink in that plan. I'm down from needing to write 24 review to 16. Of course, that isn't counting the books that I've read since coming back from my giant blogging hiatus, but for the moment, I'm pretending they don't exist. One step at a time! But the surgery means I won't be posting for a bit, and will be relying on some helpful guest posters until I feel up to sitting up and typing again for hours at a stretch. Hopefully that won't take too long, but who knows, at this point?

I keep missing certain icons and then remembering that oh right, paid account expired. When I get back to work and have spare money again, I'm going to buy 2 years worth of time here, just because I can and so I won't keep forgetting why features keep disappearing. :p

Not sure if this will come before or after I buy myself a 3DS and a new camera... Ah well, much like with my book reviews, one step at a time. No sense planning all this stuff now when I can't do it, because something's liable to come up between now and then that will blow all said plans to pieces.
10 days to go until the surgery. If you're wondering whether or not I'm nervous... I so totally am. Not about the surgery itself (because even if that goes wrong, then all that happens is she removes my uterus entirely instead of just the tumour, and that's no bad thing because then the tumour can't grow back), but about the recovery. First I was told 4 weeks. Then 6 weeks. Then 6-8 weeks. Nobody's given me any sort of time frame in which I can expect to be doing or not doing certain things (am I going to end up pretty much in bed for a week? Am I going to be okay to take short walks after a few weeks? Am I going to feel mostly like ass for a month?), so what worries me the most is that I don't know what to expect when. And since I have a bad habit of feeling fine one day and so pushing myself too hard, I really don't want to do that when I have an incision in my belly. Nor do I want to take it too easy when moving around a little more would be better for me.

Still, not much I can do about that in the meantime, and I'll be sure to get more info from them before I leave the hospital anyway.

I've been taking the time to enjoy as much outdoorsy time as I can, now that the weather's nice. I've gone for walks almost every day, even if they're just short ones, and while my feet aren't thanking me much, I feel better having spent some time under the sun. It's nice even just to walk 5 minutes to the little park next to the old museum!

I'm of two minds whether to engage in a bit of a cooking spree next week. I fancy some fresh bread, and I know I have all the ingredients in to make it, but the trouble is that I don't know if I want to go through the hassle of baking it from scratch. Even if most of that hassle is just me sitting around and playing the waiting game while the dough rises and bakes and stuff. But mmm, the smell of bread baking is so tempting!

Also there's a cornmeal-rolled pork roast sitting in the freezer that's been begging me to cook it for a while. That, fortunately, can probably just go in the slow cooker and I won't have to do another thing to it until it's ready to be eaten, so that's no chore at all to prepare. That'll probably be done up next week, even if I don't bake bread.

Also kind of feeling the urge to do some sewing again lately. Might save that for the days following surgery in which I really don't want to get out of bed. I can just sit there and sew to my heart's content, and come away from it feeling like I at least did something productive that day. Maybe I'll come out of it with some stuff I can try to sell. My Etsy store's been closed for months, and I kind of feel bad that I've gotten so caught up in reading again that I haven't had any time for sewing. Even when I haven't been at work and have had the extra time!

Maybe I should stop level-grinding in Pokemon while I'm watching Fringe and instead try to sew or something while the episodes are on. Might work out a bit better, at least while I'm still getting the urge to do crafty stuff again.
Well, as predicted, I have more time off work. I'm off until April 15, which gives me a week to recover from the procedure in early April, and gives me time to bust my butt and recover my hemoglobin levels before said procedure.

I actually had to talk my doctor out of putting me off work for longer than 2 months. If there's one thing that can be said about Dr. K with absolute certainty, it's that he's not stingy when it comes to giving people time off work.

So now I have to go into work and give them various notes, find out how to sign up for their ridiculous mail order medication program, and also remind them that this time, they need to send out my RoE so that I can get EI benefits. They didn't bother with that last time. How compassionate of them...

With more time off, in addition to really working extra hard to get on top of my health, I'm going to put a little more work into returning to some crafts, and probably reopening my Etsy store, so that I can at least try to make a little money on the side. It probably won't be much, if any, but it's worth a try, and doing crafty stuff again will definitely keep my mind occupied when I'm having a bad day. Lately I've been working on some more embroidered bookmarks, branching out with different colours. I want to get back to messing around with some paper crafts, but that requires cleaning off the living room table, and at the moment that's just a little too much for me. Maybe in a week or so, when I'm feeling better again.

I should also have the time to focus on reading, much as I have in February. I return from my book blog hiatus at the beginning of April, and so far even if I don't read another book this month, and I post 2 reviews a week from the books that I've read so far, I'll still have enough material for regular posts for 9 weeks. Weird how that takes the pressure off even more. I have to spend maybe one writing-filled day typing up those posts, and if I really don't want to, I don't even have to touch the blog again for another two months after that!

Which will be good, because part of the reason I went on hiatus was because I was getting burned out. I'd read a book, review it, and then feel like I couldn't just pick up whatever I wanted to read but instead I had to read the review copies that were due to be released soon. I didn't get burned out on reading, but on almost having it pre-decided what I read next. I wanted to read what I wanted to read. If I wanted to read 5 Valdemar books in a row, I didn't want to have to deal with the guilt of inundating my blog readers with a few weeks of nothing but reviews of Valdemar novels. I felt trapped. But taking the hiatus, I got to read what I felt like reading, caught up on some books that I let languish because I had other review copies that I ought to read first, and I feel like I'm in a better headspace for returning to reviewing.

Especially since now I've read all the Valdemar novels. :p That urge won't get in the way again! Admittedly, I didn't get to read everything I wanted to, and I still put some focus on reading review copies when I could, but I read a lot more of what I wanted, without worry. Maybe in the coming 2 months where all my posts are pre-planned, I can do the same thing. No reason why not. Focus on some review copies, but take breaks and read what I damn well want to, continue catching up on books that I bought with my own money instead of just what other people send me for free.

I mean, out of the 18 books I've read that still need reviewing, 5 were review copies, and 7 were Valdemar novels, so that's not a bad ratio, really. Almost 1/3 of my reading material were review copies.

And I know there are at least 2 more that I'll finish before the end of this month that are review copies, too. Mazarkis Williams's Knife Sworn and Aimee Carter's The Goddess Inheritance. So really, nobody can say that I haven't been trying to catch up on responsibilities at the same time as having a little fun.

I've been enjoying some video game time, too. Thanks to Swagbucks, I had enough in gift certificates to order a copy of Persona 2 for the PSP, so in anticipation of that, I've started replaying Persona 1. Now, I say "replaying," but last time I played I didn't get very far before I thought, "Screw this, I just want to play Persona 3 instead," and put the game aside. I probably played for no more than a few hours. Now I'm definitely back to where I left off, stronger than before, and enjoying the plot of the game. P2 should be here in about a week, and I don't know if I'll be done with P1 by then, but I'll give it a shot, anyway.
lighterthanair: Rupert Giles in a magic hat (mine is a magic hat)
Laundry time! My second favourite household chore. My favourite is grocery shopping, even if I've had to do it in small batches lately because of my energy level. I did some today, too, because today's the last day of my monthly bus pass, and I can't afford another one right now because I haven't been at work for a while. So I went out and got some things while I could. And now I'm back home doing laundry, so that I can feel a little productive.

I'm getting a bit tired of my routine lately. I wake up, do a few things, and then by early afternoon I have to lie on the couch and take a nap because I'm so tired. I've been getting better, and each day it seems like I don't nap for as long, but I still don't have the energy that I think I should.

But I am getting better. I'm not as pale as I was a few weeks ago, and I do have more energy than before. The iron pills and the rest at home have been doing some good, and I'm going to keep at them. I go back to work at the end of next week, so I'm going to try to start going days without taking a nap at all, so that I get into that routine for when I have to work again.

My paid account here is expiring in a few days. I wish I had the money to extend it, but that will have to wait too. If I can't afford a bus pass, I definitely can't afford more frivolous things like paid account time here! But it's not that big a deal; I know I'll be able to afford it again eventually. I just have to be patient.

I finished reading Exile and started on Rachel Hartman's Seraphina. I haven't read much so far, but it seems like a really interesting world she's set up. It's not too common to see YA novels with a more traditional fantasy setting. Most of the time now they're urban fantasy or speculative/sci-fi. It's nice to see something that might get younger audiences into traditional fantasy.

So many books, so little time. But I've managed to read quite a bit this past month, with all the time that I've had to myself, so I'm happy that even if my health was poor, I can still say that something good came out of it. I finished 9 books this month alone. Some of them were short, yes, but that's still an accomplishment!

Shame I probably won't finish Seraphina by the end of today, to make that an even 10. Oh well.

Hopefully I'll have some time tonight to play Everquest 2 with friends before I get too tired. I haven't played in a few days, because we're all trying to play together and schedules haven't quite synched up, but I've got my fingers crossed about tonight. Got to make level 20 in under 14 days to finish a quest, after all!

I'm hoping to find a potholder loom for a decent price. I found a few on Etsy (my PayPal account has more money than my bank account at the moment, so I thought that would be the best option), but every one with a decent price didn't ship to Canada, and the ones with fair-but-still-higher prices charged more for the shipping than the object itself. I opted not to get one just yet. Shame, because I have so many plans for one. I have a lot of yarn that needs using up, and I thought weaving squares with such a loom would be a good way to use it, and then I can sew them together into a nice blanket. Possibly multiple nice blankets. But that will have to wait.

And now I think I'll depart the onling world and watch a few episodes of Numb3rs while trying to not fall asleep. :)
It's not as cold today as it has been, which is nice. There have been problems with the heat in the apartment again lately. The landlady's furnace isn't working as well as it used to, or as well as it ought to in a Canadian winter, and the pipes are lukewarm at best. The apartment has been able 10 degrees colder than it ought to be, and that's when there are thermal certains in the windows and the space heater has been on it. It hasn't been pleasant. It got a bit better yesterday, though, and today isn't as cold outside as the past couple of days, which is also helping.

Books I ordered from Amazon arrived yesterday. I now have the fourth book of the Collegium Chronicles, and a paperback copy of Throne of the Crescent Moon, which I've been dying to read for months. A desk callendar from the JNTO also arrived. Perks of working in the travel industry and getting trained on destination knowledge; the JNTO gives some really sweet benefits, not the least of which is a desk calendar which can be turned into a set of postcards after the month has passed. Hopefully the magazine subscription from my mother will get here soon, and that finger claw that my dad ordered for me. I'm looking forward to those!

I've got a load of laundry washing, and if I don't forget, I'll start making the pea-and-ham soup before I go to work.

Not looking forward to work today. I'm supposed to meet with the site manager about potentially resuming my regular hours. I have no idea if my doctor actually did what he was supposed to and sent off the correct forms after I had to call his receptionist and harass her to put the damn forms on his desk like she should have done weeks ago, but even if he hasn't, I think I may still have some leverage over work. I've missed only one day in the past 3 weeks, and that was a bad storm day in which it was less that I didn't want to go to work and more that I couldn't. That has nothing to do with me being sick. So there's no reason why I shouldn't resume regular hours. And there's also no reason why I shouldn't get the shift I was entitled to through the last shift bid, either, because that new shift cycle hasn't started yet. They'll probably try to fight me on that one, but I bid, and if they didn't record my bid or gave the shift I would have gotten to somebody else in a pre-emptive way, then I can definitely cry discrimination. And I will. I'm going through enough stress with my health, and I don't need additional stress because work can't figure out how to treat me like a human being worthy of the same stuff that every other employee gets.

I won't be asking for something that I shouldn't get. I'll be asking for something that I should get, in accordance with their own rules and policies.

Sadly, though, I really do expect to have to fight for it, and I'm not eager to do so.

Happy thoughts. Really, happy thoughts. It's hard to focus on positive things, though, when I know a struggle's ahead. But I try.

I'm in a crafting mood again lately, but I don't know what to make. Mostly, I want to sew something. I think I might put together a couple of little pouches and mini-pillows, and then when I take down the tree I'll strip the branches of needles and use the pouches to hold them. Then I can get the scent of evergreen around the apartment even when there isn't a tree standing in the living room! Plus it'll give me a way to use up a lot of scrap fabric. Maybe I'll have time to sew a couple before I have to go to work. That should get me in the right frame of mind to handle a confrontation, too!
lighterthanair: Dracula, from Hotel Transylvania (grumpy)
So I called my doctor's office today, to see if the results of the ultrasound were in. Apparently, they weren't. Sigh. I was hoping that they would be, so I can start fixing this stupid disruptive problem. No such luck. They ought to be there soon, though. It's supposed to take about 2 weeks to get result, and it'll be 2 weeks as of tomorrow since I had the ultrasound done. Fingers crossed.

The receptionist said she'd call me back if the result came in and there was anything on them, but to be honest, I don't trust that. This is the same woman who had blood test results of mine sitting on her desk for a whole month before I finally gave up and called her to see if they were back yet. Forms to allow me to return to work sat on her desk for a week before she got them filled out. I understand that doctors and their receptionists have a lot to do, but seriously, she's very lax when it comes to getting things done in a timely manner. She once scheduled me for an appointment so that my doctor could discuss a letter he'd received from my psychiatrist. A letter which I had already discussed with my doctor weeks prior to that. Even my doctor was embarassed there.

But for the moment, there's nothing I can do. If I haven't had a call back by next week, I'll call again. Even if nothing odd showed up on the ultrasound (and I doubt that, because even the technician said she saw odd things), then that still means other options need to be discussed so that I can fix this problem and stop bleeding so heavily and for so long and so irregularly.

On a lighter note, I went to see Hotel Transylvania with a friend yesterday. Great movie! The animation was nice and smooth, the humour was great, and with few exceptions, the characters were fun to watch.

Finished watching Community, too. Or rather, the 3 seasons that are on Netflix. I still have my problems with the show. Pierce's character rarely being given any consequences of his idiotic racism and sexism is the main problem I have, and I could write a huge diatribe about how this kind of character seems to be a disturbingly popular one in media now, but not right now. The third season's constant attempts to break up the friendship between Troy and Abed (seriously, I think more episodes were devoted to that than any other one theme). But for the most part, it's an enjoyable show, and I'd like to watch the 4th season when I can.

So now that Community is done, I started on Bones. I've got to say, I hope it picks up. Granted, I've only watched 2 episodes so far, but on their own, they don't really inspire me to keep watching. The show seems okay, but more like the kind of thing I'd put on in the background while crafting, watching it with only half an eye, rather than something I feel warrants my full attention. But I hear it's a good show, so I'll give it a season to get going and hope that it's just taking the production team and the actors a little time to settle into their roles. But really, when after 2 episodes you're already contemplating a drinking game for certain lines of dialogue that constantly keep popping up, you know it's a bit of an awkward show.

And go figure, it looks like Netflix also took off all the episodes they had of The Tudors. I was really looking forward to watching that. :/

Well, it's almost lunch time so I ought to go make myself something to eat and then maybe do some embroidery before I go to tonight's group therapy session. I've started on a new set of bookmarks using Belarusan wicker stitch (also called nizanka) on 28-count evenweave, and the stitches are so freaking tiny that it feels like I'm stitching forever before I actually make any real progress. But I'm getting the hang of it, and the pattern does look nice when it's finished. Plus it's been a while since I've actually worked on some embroidery, and I miss how soothing it can be.
Holy crap, it's cold out there today. Single digits temperature now. Definitely one of those mornings where it's far more appealing to just curl back up under the covers rather than get up and start going about your day. I just hope they remember to adjust the temperature at work so that it's not freezing cold in there all day.

Of course, we're into that time of year where even though the nights and mornings are quite chilly, the days can sometimes still be very comfortable and warm, so there might not be much of a need for that.

Last night I started cutting some fabric to make holiday-themed quilted coasters. Plenty of sewing ahead of me for that, but they're small projects, which means they'll get finished fairly quickly and it'll feel like I've accomplished more than I really have. Sometimes I need projects like that to get myself motivated for bigger projects.

I'll probably keep one set for myself and then sell the others to see if I can get a little more money for holiday gifts this year. I like making as many gifts as I can, but when I can't, I always try to buy from local or small businesses. This year, that will probably mean buying from Etsy stores with the money that's in my PayPal account, so even if the businesses aren't local, I'm still doing my part to help out other small business owners around the world.

Started watching the second season on Community last night. The first few episodes were rather dull and over-the-top with their storyline and acting, but things seemed to settle down a bit as they went on. There are still a lot of things that bug me about the show, but I can enjoy watching it, and it's nice that Netflix has some new episodes.

Which I should probable go and watch a couple of before I have to leave for my shift. Grab myself some breakfast (honey Shreddies, yum!), sit down with some more fabric to cut up, and enjoy a mindless hour and a half before I have to drag my butt off the couch and go to a job I'd really rather not go to.

(I just have to keep remembering that I'm slowly working toward making my life better and being able to get away from that job. On days when it really gets me down, I have to remember to keep telling myself that it's really only temporary, and that I can get through it.)
  • I saw my mother off at the airport today. She's returning to England. It was a sad moment, lots of tears, but I firmly believe that she's making the right decision for herself. She's got more family back there, more friends, more government support, and just as much chance of getting a job there as here. I support her decision. But it's weird to realize that at this very moment, she's over international waters, not even in the same country as me anymore. You'd think I'd be used to that, after all the time she spent in the States with my father, but that wasn't quite the same. It's a bit of a heavy feeling. I'll adjust in time, of course, but for the moment, it's still sinking in that I won't just be able to call her tomorrow and go out for tea if I want.

  • I decided against selling at the ren faire this year. I didn't give myself enough time to get stock together, and by the end, when it came to crunch time I just had too much stress on my shoulders to keep going. So I cancelled my table there. I still went to look around, and had a good time. I watched a wonderful belly dancing display, bought some polished stones, and some delicious strawberry-chocolate-mint homemade jam. I'm going to try harder to make things through this coming year so that I can have a table there next year instead.

  • I've started watching Juuni Kokki again. It's just as addictive as I remember it, and I have no idea why I never finished watching it the first time around. Also, after all this time, I still ship Enki/En-ou. I really wish that more of the novels were published in English, too, so that I could read them.

  • Catching up with my reading. I've just started Gwenda Bond's Blackwood, which I'm hoping will pick up soon, because with few exceptions, it seems like a standard YA supernatural novel at the moment. Admittedly, I'm not very far into it, so I'll give it a chance. Still have to write up reviews for Martha Wells's The Serpent Sea and Catherynne M Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, which might just win some sort of award for the longest book titles in recent years.

  • I think I might spend some time this weekend making some more paper beads and bracelets. I had inspiration for a different style of bracelet than the ones I normally make, and I want to give them a try and see if they'll work out as well as I think they will. Also, I have a lot of paper strips cut for beads, and more magazine pages than that waiting to be cut into strips, so I really ought to make some better use of them. It'll give me a little break from sewing so much, too.

  • Speaking of crafts, I do have a whole bunch of embroidered bookmarks that I need to put a backing on. I made about 30 for the ren faire, but as I previously mentioned, didn't actually sell anything there. So now I've got a bunch of bookmarks sitting around. I'll probably list them in my Etsy store in a day or so, since there's been some people interested in them.

  • Been feeling the urge to do some fiction writing again. A friend and I have talked idly about giving each other writing challenges, the way we used to years ago. I hope something will come of it. I really miss having so much inspiration to write, having my fingers dance across the keyboard and having stories flow from my mind onto the screen. Hmm, probably should also go back and rework some older things that I wrote, too...
  • I spent all of last week off work. This was due to a terrible stomach bug that kept me running for the bathroom for the better part of 5 days. I ended up taking a trip to the hospital (not to worry, I only went because work required a doctor's note if I took time off, and the after hours clinic here won't see people who are vomiting, making the hospital my only choice), and lay there for a good hour while they hooked me up to an IV and pumped fluids and medication into me. Apparently I was more dehydrated than I thought, since they decided to make sure I got 2 bags of saline instead of just 1. I think that works out to about a litre of fluid going straight into my veins.

    I still have a bruise on the back of my hand from the needle, and I bled more than I ever have from a needle stick or IV. Not happy about that, but I think it might just be because I'm normally a bit dehydrated to start with (I have a hard time drinking as much as I ought to) and my blood was thinner at the time because of the fluids. Might have made bleeding a little easier. That's my theory, anyway.

    I'm feeling much better now, happily, and I was able to get quite a bit done today to catch up on the various things I'd missed through the week. I did a large load of laundry and hung it to dry on the back porch, to take advantage of the breeze coming off the river. I caught up on the blog posts I'd missed. I wrote 2 book reviews out of the 9 that I have backlogged and scheduled them to appear later this week. I ate a good breakfast and lunch, and experimented with making iced milk tea. And I also spent a few happy hours watching episodes of Charmed on Netflix (sad to say that this show is still better than Angel, and considering I'm a fan of Whedon's work, that hurts me a lot to admit) while working on a cross-stitch project.

    All in all, I'd consider that a good day.

    Tomorrow I'm back to work, and I'm actually looking forward to it. Fingers crossed that I feel the same way in the morning!

    And now I think it's time to feed the cats and head to bed. A good ending to a good day.
    Next week at work sounds like it could actually be fun. Two barbeques, for one thing. The first is because our centre raised the most money for local disaster relief, and the second one is because the class I was in collected the most food for the local food bank. The second barbeque is one that's limited only to our class, rather than the whole centre. So that means that out of the four days I'll be at work next week, I only need to bring lunch on two of them.

    Also, on Friday the class is being taken to tour a nearby hotel, as a sort of field trip. I'm quite interested in this, not only because it will get me off the phones for a little while, but also because I admit that I only know some of the inner workings of hotels and hotel management, and I'm hoping to learn something new while I'm there. Either about the hotel, the hotel chain, or just how things are run behind the scenes.

    I spent most of this evening turning the numerous strips of paper that I'd cut over the past few days into beads. I didn't get them all done, mostly because of sore muscles in my neck making it hard to sit forward in my chair, but I probably got about a third of them made. They're from strips of red and black paper, and some of the beads will be black outside with a red centre, and some red outside with a black centre. I think they'll make rather nice bracelets.

    Tomorrow, I'm going to try to make the rest of the strips into beads, as well as string them all on elastic so that they're proper bracelets. I think I should be able to make five bracelets. Possibly six. I wonder if I'll be able to entice anyone into buying one.

    Also tomorrow, I'm planning a blog makeover. Not this one, but my book review blog. I think I mentioned last time that there are a ton of dead links that need fixing, lists that need to be redone and updated, and reviews that need to be written. I know I'm going to have a few spare hours tomorrow, so I'm going to try and get as much of that done as I can in that time.

    I was struck today by the strange urge to reread all of Erin Hunter's Warriors books. I have most of them, and I enjoy them a lot. I'd call them light reading, because they're about cats and written for a mid-grade/young adult audience, but really, the tone of those books can get pretty dark. Lots of characters die, sometimes in very nasty ways. I felt a little queasy more than once while reading the series. But still, the books are very quick to get through, I'm really behind on my reading goals, and I was thinking of doing a "Warriors Wednesday" feature on my book review blog too.

    There are a few features I started there and never finished. I should add that to the list of things I need to do in an overhaul.

    Sadly, at this point, I think I do actually need to make a list. Let's see...

    ~ Fix all dead links on the review listing
    ~ Create a new list that organizes the reviews by title
    ~ Create a new list that organizes the reviews by the book's publication date
    ~ Update the list of books I've received for review
    ~ Make a list of the features that have been started, and that I want to start
    ~ Type up backlogged reviews

    See? Not exactly a small task. But fortunately, I actually like taking care of things like this. The problem is often just finding the time to do so, and making sure that I don't get distracted by other things too. Sometimes that can be tough, but tomorrow, by damn, I'm going to sit down and just do it!

    No matter how many things need sewing or how many bracelets need stringing.

    Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!
    Tomorrow's Friday, and 5:30 tomorrow afternoon can't seem to come fast enough. This week has been a slow one. Not a bad one, but just one that feels like it's been dragging its heels. I'll be happy when the weekend comes and I don't have to worry about work for a few days, and so can relax a little.

    Tomorrow isn't going to be any easier. It's the class's graduation, so everyone's ordering Chinese food to celebrate, only I can't because I haven't even been back long enough to have gotten a paycheque yet. Also, half the class gets time off tomorrow to donate blood, which I would do if not for the fact that my blood isn't good enough.

    I write that with no small amount of bitterness. Because I've been in the UK for more than 6 months since 1980 (I was born there in 1984 and moved to Canada in 1990), I can't donate blood. The whole Mad Cow scare, you see. And I understand, to a degree, why they do that. They can't guarantee that my blood wouldn't transmit the problem to somebody else. But my biggest problem with it is that somebody could have eaten a contaminated burger during a stopover in Heathrow airport and been exposed to it and they're still allowed to donate blood. The chances are slim, yes, but they're still there. Either way, I can't donate, as much as I want to and have wanted to for years.

    I have many issues with the regulations imposed by Canadian Blood Services, in truth, and that's only one of them. But I don't feel like going into extreme detail right now. Maybe some other day.

    I have enough paper strips cut, I think, to make about 10 bracelets this weekend, and that's assuming that I don't spend some time tomorrow evening cutting more. Is it sad that I find cutting paper to be really relaxing? I suppose I could have worse relaxing hobbies. At least this one lets me do something productive, and might help make me a few extra bucks.

    Halfway done Jo Anderton's Suited. It seems all the positives and negatives from the first book are still here in the second. The imagery is very clear, the characters are fairly compelling, but the foreshadowing is very heavy-handed, and some things become obvious long before they really ought to. Still, I'm enjoying the story, and I'm getting through it at a decent pace, considering that I've really only been reading at work on my breaks and lunch. Well, also on the bus there and back, too.

    Nick's still doing well, and I hope he continues that way. His antibiotics finished a day ago, and so far he's only been listless again when it's a hot day, like it was today. Opening a few windows and turning a fan on seemed to help with this a lot. He's still eating, drinking, and using the litter box. I'm really hoping that he's fully recovered from whatever was wrong with him. But I'll still be watching him closely for the next while, to be sure.

    I have so much work to do on my blog this weekend. My book blog still has a ton of dead links, I need to redo the reviews list, create a new one so that they're organized by title instead of just by author, update the list of books I've received for review, and type up 5 reviews and schedule them for the coming week. Week and a half, really, is probably what I can get away with. I'm definitely going to make some time for this on Saturday or Sunday. I've let that stuff lie for too long, and I need to give that blog the attention it deserves. It may not be making me any money, but I still want to put forward a somewhat professional appearance so that I can make a good impression on any authors or publishers that drop by. It could make the difference between getting a review copy of a book I've been drooling over, and not.

    And now I think it's a good time to sign off, feed the cats, and climb into a comfortable bed. Only one more day of work to go before the weekend!

    Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!
    lighterthanair: Rupert Giles in a magic hat (mine is a magic hat)
    Today was actually a pretty good day. Work was worth note in that it was both easy and beneficial. I did a small presentation in front of the class, and got praise for it, and more importantly, I didn't feel especially nervous about doing so. I consider that to be progress.

    We also spent about 20 minutes outside, watching the Disney cruise ship leave port because the trainer wanted us to see how their horn plays the first few notes of "When You Wish Upon a Star." It was chilly, since we were so close to the ocean and fog was rolling in, but I didn't mind too much since it meant I could breathe fresh air and have a little bit of time away from the computer. As much as I like computers and use them a lot for personal things, it's nice to take a few minutes and get into natural light when you use them all day for work.

    After work, I came home and had a delicious supper of teriyaki salmon and rice. Simple, relatively cheap (since I bought the salmon fillets when they were on sale), filling, and very tasty. Simple rice-and-meat dishes like that are common in this apartment, because they're so easy to make and yet can have so many variations and all be really delicious.

    I spent most of the rest of the evening cutting up magazine pages into strips, in preparation for making another batch of paper beads this weekend. I figured that instead of cutting strips and rolling beads, cutting strips and rolling more beads, it would be easier to do each step in large batches. Marking and cutting the strips takes almost no time at all, and is easy to do it little bits on nights when I'm home from work. But rolling the beads and applying the sealant takes longer and can get a little fiddly, so that's best left for when I have a full day off work. And by that point, if I've cut up even one magazine page a day during the week, I'll be able to make lots of beads, and enough bracelets that it will definitely be worth making a large update to the Riality Studios Etsy store.

    Paper crafts seem to be my big obsession at the moment. I'm still sewing, but in between cutting strips. I have to get back to sewing all the 2 inch squares together for my postage stamp quilt. I've been neglecting that.

    I also have to stop forgetting to work on the two pillows for my father and his wife. He'll be back in town in about a month, and while it shouldn't take too long to finish the pillows, if I keep putting it off and ignoring the project, I'll find myself with only a day to spare and too little done to be able to finish on time. I'll try to remember to sew some more of it tomorrow evening after work.

    I started reading Jo Anderton's Suited today. It's the sequel to Debris, which I read last year and rather enjoyed. It's an uncorrected e-ARC, which normally doesn't bother me (I can overlook the occasional typo), but there are a lot of formatting errors. Any instance of "ti" gets turned into a capital H. A combination of "ft" gets turned into "_" for some reason. And "tt" becomes [. Once you figure that out, it gets more readable, but it's still a pain to have to adjust the way I read in order to accommodate for errors that could have been really easily caught before giving reviewers access to the book.

    Still, I can't complain too loudly. I did get the review copy for free, after all, and I'm still enjoying the story. I try my best not to hold formatting errors against the final review, unless it's a finished and published copy of the book that I'm reading. Then errors are fair game, because they had plenty of chances to be caught and corrected before final publication.

    I suppose I should get offline now and go feed my cats before they start getting bothersome about it. Then it's off to bed. Only two more days of work before the weekend!
    lighterthanair: (othering)
    I survived my first week back at work. Well, first four days, anyway, since they're insistant that since I have therapy on Monday mornings, for the benefit of my emotional state, I should just skip Mondays at work entirely for now. So I really only work for 4 days a week, for the next while.

    I'd be fine with this, if it wasn't for the fact that I'm in retraining, so my study and relearning time has been cut down by 20% just in that one "consideration."

    Another lovely consideration of theirs is constantly checking in with me to see how I'm doing. I was asked 5 times in 4 days how I'm feeling. I might think this was out of genuine concern for my wellbeing, if it wasn't for the fact that a girl who spent some time in the cardiac unit of the hospital earlier this week only was asked once how she was going.

    I stand by my theory that they're afraid of me, and trying to cover themselves. Badly.

    But I'm trying not to let all that get me down, and I'm trying to keep my mind focused on more entertaining things, happier things. For instance, this weekend was good. I went out to Jade City with a friend to celebrate a slightly belated birthday dinner. Chinese-Canadian buffet, yum. I especially liked the deep-fried balls filled with azuki paste. They haven't had anything with azuki for a while, and it was a real treat to find some again.

    Today, I amused myself by reading (Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone is actually far more entertaining than I expected it to be), and making paper beads for a bracelet.

    I used pages from a magazine to make the beads, and then applied a sealant to make them sturdier and a bit more water resistant, and then strung them on stretchy jewellery cord. I definitely want to make more of these, both of bracelets and necklaces. They're fiddly to make, but they're satisfying, and they can make some quite unique jewellery.

    I'm also very tempted to make some friendship bracelets again. I used to make then by the dozen when I was younger, but gave them up years ago when they fell out of popularity (and so most of my friends stopped appreciating them as gifts). But I've seen some amazing examples of them lately, and it's made me want to make them again. The proper term for the technique used to make them is Cavandoli macrame, which is simple enough and yet holds so many possibilities with colour. And other kinds of macrame have their own charm. I'll probably end up experimenting with a lot of different styles.

    Tomorrow, after group therapy, I do believe I'm meeting friends so that we can all go and see The Avengers. Not a movie I would see in theatres under normal circumstances, but spending time with friends is a good motivator, and it should be fun either way. I'm looking forward to it.

    Shame that tomorrow coming means one day closer to going back to work, though.

    Positive! Must think positively!

    Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!

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