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: (RAWR!)
Somewhere between going to work and coming home from work I lost something. My job. Yesterday, I was let go. "Not a good fit for the company" is the official reason, which personally I think is BS since I've worked there for almost 3 years, my stats and attendance have improved recently, and now is the time they decide that I'm not worth keeping around anymore.

Honestly, I think they needed to lay some people off and I got picked in spite of my seniority because I had 2 main things against me: 1) attendance issues, which were largely due to chronic health issues and had medical documentation to support, and 2) I vocally stand up for employee rights and encouraged others to take their issues to supervisors and management. I just made too much of a nuisance of myself. There's a lot about this that's suspicious, and I plan to file a complaint to the Labour Board to open an investigation. "Not a good fit" is a valid reason to let an employee go, but 9 times out of 10 it's code for "there's another reason but we can't actually say it because if you knew then you could get us in serious shit for it." The official reason doesn't tally with recent events, and any unofficial reasons are suspect and possibly invalid. And I want to get to the bottom of it.

Not taking it lying down.

I have enough money to get by until the end of June, and hopefully by the EI will have kicked in if I don't find another job in the meantime. Which I hope I will. I hope this is the universe kicking me in the butt and telling me that there's an opportunity coming that I might have missed had I continued my employment elsewhere. It wouldn't be the first time a bad situation like this has led me to something better.

In the meantime, I'll be hunting for new jobs, and having a lot of spare time on my hands. I plan to use a lot of it to catch up on reading; I've left a lot of books on the backlog and having extra time like this is a good time to catch up. Even if I land an interview today and get hired tomorrow, chances are I wouldn't start any new job until next week, so I'll at least have the rest of this week to relax a little, clean up the apartment, and read.

Trying to look on the bright side.

I also found enough matched material today to put together 13 azuma bukuro bags that I've been planning on making. I won't be able to make them all very quickly, since a lack of sewing machine means I have to do them all by hand, but even if I just make 1 a week, I can list them in the Riality Studios Etsy store and have another chance for a bit of trickle income. $20 here and there helps a lot when that money can be the difference between a week of meals consisting of only rice, or a week of meals consisting of rice, potatoes, and beef (in a multitude of forms). So it's worth working on. Them, plus my bookmarks. I still do enjoy making bookmarks in my spare time, which I haven't had as much of over the past couple of months due to work and being on my own and thus having to do all the chores myself with nobody to help out. It's surprising what a difference that can make.

Plus sewing and embroidering will help keep me busy, and make me feel productive, and not so much like an idiot who couldn't even hang on to a stupid call centre job. :/
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.)
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...
So my workplace decided they were going to run a leadership skills development course, and asked for interested names. I submitted my name because I've always wanted to be in leadership, and I made a point of telling them that now my health was getting back on track, I wanted to put all of that mess behind me and move on with my life and career. I've been there since the centre opened, and sure, I haven't been there for the whole time, but they've seen me help people, they've heard other workers compliment me, and since I got back, my stats have been higher than ever before. I figured I had a fighting chance.

I didn't get selected.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ And now, I'm off to work. Just today and then my weekend hurrah! Hope that it's as dead as yesterday, when I got a whole 3 hours off the phone!
So on Monday, I'd called Dr. S to see if she'd write a note to my workplace, explaining what's been going on and that there may be times when I might not be able to be there for my shift, depending on the level of pain and/or bleeding.

She did write me a note. It explains that I'll require surgery on May 15, and that I should be off work for 6 weeks after that. Nothing about what I'm supposed to do in the meaning. *facepalm*

So I made a quick appointment with my family doctor and explained the situation to him. He seemed confused as to why she didn't address that. But he and I discussed the whole situation, and he recommended that I take the time off between now and the surgery, to keep my strength up and not put myself under any undue stress.

So, I'm off work for another 2 months. This is going to involve me borrowing massive amounts of money from people, so we can pay the rent during that time. It's paid to the end of May, but since I won't be back to work until July, that's June and July's rent that still needs paying, on top of bills... I'll figure out a way, but it won't be easy.

I do agree with what a friend said about Dr. S. She's afraid to commit to anything. That's why she was so reluctant to do surgery, even after she agreed that the tumour was the underlying cause of my problems. (The other options were to retry things that had already failed, or to try radiation to shrink it but not get rid of it completely.) It's like she fears that any action that may have permanent consequences is a bad option and to be avoided at all costs. Hell, she couldn't even agree with herself on how long I should take certain pills for, or how long I'd be out of commission following the surgery!

Well, unfortunately for me, her refusal to try anything that might have actually worked was what landed me in the hospital. And even then, the pain and bleeding was bad but it wasn't as bad as it had been, and my hemoglobin levels were higher than they'd been in 2 months at that point. She even saw me, twice, while I had low hemoglobin, and didn't seem to think it was a matter worth addressing.

Or maybe she thought that writing my workplace a note saying that I'd be hospitalized last week and would be getting surgery in less than a month would be enough to keep work off my back. And you know, in a sane world, with a same workplace, that might be a reasonable assumption. But considering I told her I'd nearly been fired for my attendance issues, that they required a doctor's note for every absense, and this was after they'd already gotten info that I had a tumour and was going through stuff... Yeah, even assuming better intentions, it still comes down to her not having listened to me. Or listened to me but just assuming I was exaggerating things.

I'm starting to realize that the term "quality of life" doesn't really enter the minds of doctors unless their patients are terminal or seriously disabled. Anything else and you're just expected to tough it out and still keep a smile on your face. Being in too much pain sometimes to stand up straight? Nearly losing your job due to all the times you've had to leave early because you bled through your clothes? Nah, that's kid's stuff. Just grin and bear it, you slacker. That's not something that can affect your standard of living.


Hell, it was only being hospitalized that made her sit up and even discuss the possibility of surgery. If I'd done what I'd done almost every other time, just sucked it up and dealt with it and hoped that it all stopped soon, tried to hang on until the follow-up appointment... Well, consider the follow-up appointment was for May 17 originally, and after a week I'd already lost the IUD, that would have meant a month and a half of uncontrolled heavy bleeding again, like it was before I started getting treatment only worse because I'd be believing the damn thing was just taking its sweet time to kick in. And since it took 2 ultrasounds and an x-ray to determine that the IUD had come out, I might have been going through this all again for months before anything was done. If I hadn't caved and gone there that day, in spite of the little voice in the back of my head telling me not to bother, that I needed to go back to work and stop disappointing people...

Once this is all over, I'm getting a new doctor. Over half a year of failed treatments, a supposedly slow-growing tumour that nevertheless grew 3 cm in 6 months (6-12 times the normal growth rate for that kind of tumour), and a hospitalization due to a lack of being taken seriously about how much this was messing up my life, and it all leads to me not wanting to see her again. She's a sweet person, but she's a lousy doctor when it comes to serious problems. Maybe she's great at routine stuff, helping people with pregnancy, all that, but when it comes down to the line, when it's crunch time, she dithers, and she's not the one to suffer for it. I am. And I'm tired of that.

But now I have to go take notes in to work, grab some stuff, come home, and start trying to see how I can pay the rent for a few months when I'm not working. At this point, I'm half tempted to set up a freaking PayPal donation thingy, just for even the potential of extra help that it might bring. I'll call my father, apply for medical leave from EI, and see what I can manage. Hopefully it'll be enough.

But yay, at least I'm getting the surgery in less than 3 weeks now!
Back to work today. Of course, after 2 nights of lousy sleep, so I'm freaking exhausted. -_- I hope I can make it through my whole shift, but at this point, if I can't then they can just deal. They know I'm going through stuff, they know I'm waiting for surgery, and they can just suffer through the fact that sometimes I'm not going to be able to handle my whole shift until I'm stable again. Hopefully the pills I'm on will start stablizing me soon so that I can cut down on the days I need off, but we'll see.

Having a lot of fun playing around with photography again. I started up a DeviantArt account for them. Not much there at the moment (about 15 pictures), but it's a start. I'd have more, I don't doubt, but my camera's battery died and I can't find the charger, so no more photos for me until I find it.

I had fun last night and this morning playing with the newest photo there, though. Desaturating all the colours and then slowly but surely putting them back in for the flowers, leaving the background drab and grey. I like the effect, and I suspect that once my camera is recharged, there's going to be a whole series of pictures like this! it's fiddly work but it's worth it.

Over halfway finished Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death, and for the times I haven't been able to carry around a physical book, I started reading Karen Lord's The Best of All Possible Worlds. Devouring both, and I wish I didn't have so many things distracting me from returning to both of them. Preferably at the same time. Because I'm a little bookslut, apparently. Bookhussy? Polybiblios?

Bleh, I'd be sorely tempted to go back to bed for a nap if it wasn't for the fact that I need to start getting ready for work in half an hour anyway. keep your fingers crossed, guys, that I can make it through my shift today and that I start feeling better. Honestly, I really can't afford to not go every chance I get between now and the surgery, so it's not like I can even try to convince my doctor to just put me off 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 Amazon.ca 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.


Feb. 12th, 2013 10:19 am
lighterthanair: Dracula, from Hotel Transylvania (bad day)
So all the information I've gathered, including the advice of a registered nurse at Telecare, says that I can look forward to feeling this way for at least a few weeks. If I was on high-dose iron supplements, I'd probably start to feel better in a few days, but it would still take months to get my full energy back, and for my body to form new blood cells that actually have enough access to iron.

So as much as I'm in tears thinking about going in to work today because walking from the living room to the kitchen 3 times (or, in the case of this morning, carrying a load of laundry from the bedroom to the kitchen) still leaves me feeling shaky, and I keep needing to nap in the afternoons just to keep going until the normal time I go to bed. I can't nap at work. I can't just leave early because I can't stay awake any longer.

Fuck. I just called in. I can't do much of anything today, let alone go to work. I'm not bleeding as much (double-dosing on the desogestrel seems to be slowing the bleeding down, though not stopping it completely, and the cyklokapron takes care of the rest), but I'm just too exhausted.

You know the thing that hurts the most, the thing I want to scream to my bosses about? I might not have let things get this bad if it wasn't for them. I've spent over a month now feeling like hell, having low energy levels, and I thought it was just because I'd gotten sick and then had no appetite for a bit, but there was no way I was going to go to a doctor to find out because I couldn't afford the time off work. They've made it clear (thanks in part to my family doctor, and possibly a misunderstanding of what he wrote on forms) that they don't think this will result in me having to miss time, which is why I'm now on my second write-up for my attendance issues. Instead of risking going to a doctor, I used vacation time to get a few days off so I could rest, and obviously it wasn't enough but I felt trapped between a rock and a hard place. I was sick. I was going to feel tired. What else could I do?

And on Thursday, when I was in that much pain and bleeding that heavily, I was in tears for almost 3 hours at work, debating whether or not I could risk leaving. It took my bleeding through all my clothes to finally make the decision (gross though it is, when you bleed through the highest absorbancy tampon and 2 layers of clothes in 10 minutes, you know there's a problem), but I was still in tears when I told my sup I'd have to go home, and told him flat-out that part of the reason I was so upset was because I felt like I was risking my job by going home.

If work hadn't put me under such close scrutiny, hadn't gotten me in trouble for being sick, I might have actually deemed it a better choice to miss a day of work and gone to a doctor to ask, "Is this normal?" Instead, I pushed myself. I pushed myself really hard. My stats have dropped. I was tired all the time even before the massive bleed last week. I kept pushing myself because I wanted to prove to them that I wasn't slacking. To prove that I didn't just call in with every sniffle. I can work through being sick and tired, see? Look, I'm doing it right now!

I'm definitely going to ask my specialist if she can write something for work, to tell them what's going on and that year, sometimes I won't be able to make it in to work all the time if other circumstances get in the way. I'm not asking for leave. I'm asking for leniency. Understanding. Not firing me because I'm not as healthy as other people. Hopefully since she got the results of the blood test and knows just how anemic I am, she might be willing to do that.

Really, though, I'm mostly hoping she'll write me a note to excuse me from work from Thursday on. That will at least take care of the immediate work-related problem, even if not future problems.

Fuck, I really don't fancy the idea of spending even a few more days of feeling like this, let alone weeks or months...
Okay, I know I said I was going to make a real effort to stay positive and stuff, but the past 3 days have really pushed me to my limit, and right now I'm about ready to say to hell with the world, I'm-a bust out of this toothpick house and just curl up in a corner under a blanket and forget everything else exists.

Thursday )

Friday )

Today )

So one way or the other, I think I'm staying home to nurse my anemia and to recover in comfort. Maybe catch up on some reading. There are worse ways to wait out a blizzard when you're sick, after all.
It's hard some days, especially when health stuff gets me down. But I try, and little by little I'm getting better.

For example, after last week's incident of nearly blacking out after walking up a flight of stairs, I've made an effort to start taking care of myself again. I'm still not able to eat too much in a day, and my appetite still hasn't completely returned, but little by little I'm getting better. I'm drinking an Ensure every morning whether or not I have breakfast (most often, I don't), and I'm usually fitting in a meal and a half to two meals a day now, with a little snack in between. Progress! I still feel ready to fall asleep at about 5 in the afternoon (especially a pain at work, when my shift runs to 8:30), but it's getting a little better every day.

I'm on my third week of bleeding... but I do have my follow-up appointment in 2 weeks, so I can talk to Dr. Satya then about it. I figured I'd still bleed for a couple of days once I stopped the sugar pills and started taking the actual desogestrel again, but nope, I'm practically back to the next line of suga pills and it hasn't let up yet. I don't know if it's just going to take an extraordinarily long time to even out, or if we're going to have to look at other options. But what I'm doing isn't cutting it right now, and that worries me. I don't know what the steps between this and surgery are, and I think that's what worries me the most. Not knowing bugs me. If I knew what the next step was, what she might try next, I could mentally prepare myself. Instead, it's just another 2 weeks of wondering and not knowing and hoping that whatever it is, it works.

It's odd, though... I think it was last January when I was bleeding for 6 weeks straight, and a really really long bleed didn't happen again until almost exactly one year later. I don't know if that's a giant coincidence or if it's significant. And if it is significant, what on earth could it mean?

But again, positive side sneaking through, I just have to wait another 2 weeks until my appointment, and then I can discuss the next step, whatever that may be.

I'm strongly considering applying to the New Brunswick College of Craft and design in a couple of years. I say a couple of years because that's when my roommate will be done school and can take some of the financial pressure of me, so I can afford to go and can have the time to do so. I'm really interested in their fibre arts and ceramics courses. I do want to go back to school, and I confess that one of the biggest reasons was to get any random diploma so that I could be qualified (at least on paper) to teach English in Japan. But realistically, 4 years of school and a heaping pile of debt just to get contract jobs isn't so appealing when I look at it that way. It's something I'd still like to do, but I don't know how feasible it really is.

But if I'm going to go to school for 4 years, then I could do both fibre arts and ceramics and come out with the skills to make some pretty awesome stuff. And with that much financial pressure off my shoulders, I might actually be able to get by with selling what I create. Right now I can and do many some things by hand, and love doing so, but I'm largely self-taught and lack a lot of equipment and know-how to really advance from my current position. NBCCD could fix that.

And if I still want to experience Japan, I can always do homestay programs. :p Or go for extended stays to learn some traditional crafts there, even, since legally I can stay in the country for 90 days without needing any sort of visa. So of all the options I've considered, that one actually seems the most feasible, the least expensive, and one of the most fun. So I'm strongly leaning in that direction.

Shame I can't even afford to apply for another 2 years.

But even that's still better that how things used to be for me. I'd come up with plans that I could afford to do... if I had about twice the money and spare time. Which I never did. I'd tell myself that if I saved diligently, I could afford to go to school for one or two classes in a year. And then things would happen where I couldn't afford to save the money, or else I'd have the money but couldn't actually get the schedules sorted out at work to allow me to do anything like that. It was depressing, and frustrating.

But with my roommate in the second semester of a 2.5 year lab tech program, and knowing that lab techs here gets paid about $45k a year (about twice what I'm making now, in a job that pays $4 an hour more than minimum wage), and once he's making that money he's already said that he'll cover all the financial stuff because there's no sense in me working my ass off then. I pay the rent and bills now, while he's in school, and when he's pulling in more money he can take that responsibility, and so the only thing I need to work for is if I want money of my own, to spend on what I want. He's already said he'd even be willing to help me get through school if I want, once he's got that well-paying job.

So I'm busting my butt to keep the finances stable so he can get through school without worry, and then in a couple of years it can be my turn. It's within reach, if I can just keep up with things until he's done.

See? Positive thinking! It's a long way off yet, and I really ought to be focused more on getting my health in order (and I am), but it's nice to know that if I'm diligent for a little longer, there really is an end in sight. Not just me telling myself that there might be an end, someday, somehow.

But now I have to get ready for work. It's raining a little, and it'll be raining harder tonight, but so long as it's not too bad I'll try walking uptown after my shift. Enjoy the warmer weather before it all freezes again, and get some strength back in my body!
Three guesses, and the first two don't count.

I blame this all on the stomach bug I had the other week. I got so used to not having an appetite and to experiencing pain when I ate that I think my appetite just stayed firmly away. And for the past few days I've felt dead on my feet, have slept for 10 hours a night, and can't eat anything without feeling like I'm going to be sick. And that's if I feel like eating at all.

I think I just got a little too used to not eating while I was ill.

So I'm taking it slow. Lots of tiny little meals, as often as I can throughout the day, until I can handle something resembling regular meals again. A little bit of soup here, a granola bar there. If it has nutrition and I can eat even a little bit of it, I will. The hard part is remembering not to eat too much at a time, and to not go nuts with heavier foods until my stomach can handle it again.

Thankfully I still have some delicious potato-and-leek soup in, which seems to be something I can eat no matter how lousy I feel.

The lack of food is definitely causing my lack of energy, though. Sleeping for 10 hours a night, and feeling half-dead at work. I bought myself a bottle of Coke on Tuesday, to see if the caffeine would give me a boost and wake me up, but after a few sips all I got was the beginning of a headache. I still have about 3/4 of the bottle sitting on my desk. It'll probably last me for the rest of the week. But at least it's there if I need it.

So tired of being sick. :/ If it's not one thing, it's another. I know how down that sounds, but it's kind of how I feel at the moment. I get one thing under control and a seasonal illness hits me. I recover from that but it throws off my long-term groove and I have to readjust. I readjust and get that stomach bug, which makes me not eat much and get tired and have a hard time getting through the day. Rinse and repeat.

My kingdom for a work-from-home editing or data entry job. Or a winning lottery ticket. I'm fine with any of those options.

But, just have to keep pushing through it. Three more shifts and then it's my weekend, and if I have to spend that weekend doing nothing but sleeping and resting in order to make it through the next week, then so be it. It may seem lazy, but it beats trying to push myself too hard and just using up energy I don't have and making myself sicker. I just got regular hours back at work, and I want to prove to them that I can handle it. If I can go until the end of January without calling in sick, that'll be a vast improvement!

But for now I'll get my energy from this delicious hot chocolate, and then head out to work. One day at a time.
lighterthanair: Dracula, from Hotel Transylvania (bad day)
Tried to log in to DW about 5 times before I remembered herpderp, I'm trying to log in using my old username. I suspect it's going to be one of those days.

So after delays (one of those being me getting sick with a nasty infection that resulted in pain and way too much blood coming from places where blood shouldn't come from), I finally met with the site manager to talk about my work schedule. Things have changed. On one hand, I'm finally able to return to regular hours, which means no more desperate attempts to try to make the rent if I miss a day. I'm also exempt from taking overtime, including the mandatory overtime that's being pushed on people (they say they don't want to overwhelm me by giving me more than I can handle, and since I'm not a fan of mandatory overtime, I'm not going to push that issue).

The downside? No longer are they looking at things from a "for your benefit" standpoint, but more as a disciplinary issue. I've been officially written up for poor attendance.

Unfair, you think? I'm sick, and am on he road to recovery but a little lenience isn't too much to ask for, right?

Yeah, see, there's a problem with that. The problem being that my doctor's office never actually sent those forms. You know, the ones that are signed by my doctor to say that yes, my patient has a problem and yes, this is what you need to be aware of. Given that I handed those forms in to my doctor in November and work still hasn't received them, I wouldn't be surprised if work thinks I lied about having health problems because I haven't handed them any proof besides attendance problems and me running to the bathroom a lot during my shift.

I called my doctor before Christmas to find out WTF was going on. The receptionist (and I know this is her fault, not my doctor's fault) said yes, she understands that my hours have been reduced now because the forms haven't been sent, and she just put them on the doctor's desk with a note saying he needs to fill them out ASAP. The fact that they weren't on his desk to start with makes me think she just left them on her desk and didn't actually do her fucking job.

So flash to this past Tuesday, and work still hadn't received the forms. I was going to force a face-to-face confrontation with the receptionist on my days off, but anxiety and illness kept me from being able to. So this morning I called. After twice getting a damn fax signal, I finally got through to her voicemail. I left a very curt message saying that I was following up for the second time regarding those forms, work still hasn't received them, I'm not subject to disciplinary action because this wasn't handled in a proper timely manner, and demanding that she fax the forms off and call me back to confirm it was done.

I don't expect a call. I told her to call me back last time, too, and she never did. I expect to have to call again next week (and I'll do so) to find out if she did what she was supposed to do over a month and a half ago.

If I get the guts to manage a face-to-face confrontation, I'm going to demand a free-of-charge doctor's note retroactively excusing me from work for every day that I was sick between the time I handed in those forms and present day. I'm also going to find out how to file a formal complaint against her, because even aside from this issue (and this being the second time she's just let forms pile up and not done anything with them), she's also the bitch who said she'd call me back if the ultrasound results showed anything, and it's a good thing I didn't trust her on that because when I later called back and she said directly that there was nothing on the results, well, that's when I made the appointment to find out I actually had a fairly sizable tumour. I want to make her very well aware that I'm going to be looking for a new doctor, and that she is the reason for it. I want to tell her that while the doctor is standing right there, even. I want him aware that his receptionist is negatively affecting patient care.

I wonder how many people have trusted her when she's said, "I'll call you if anything important comes back on your test," and have thus gone without an accurate diagnosis. It's not her job to make those judgment calls. It's not her job to know why the test was done, or what's being looked for. It's her job to pick up the phone and say, "Mr. So-and-so, the results of your blood tests came back in, would you like an appointment with the doctor?" I get that she also has other duties, but interpreting test results is not one of them. And she doesn't seem to be actually doing the duties she's supposed to be handling.

So now all off this has left my stomach a roiling knot and I still have to go to work today and deal with customers (and possibly management again) for 6 hours.

My hope right now is that the site manager actually was decent for once and paid attention to my schedule request. My new schedule begins on Monday, and today's when I find out what I'll be working. I told her that in accordance with where I fell on the shift bid that just began, I should at least be getting Sunday off, and that I feel entitled to the shift I bid on. Also, on Sunday it actually costs me money to get home from work, due to the bus schedule. She said she'll keep that in mind, but honestly, half of me expects to go in there and to hear, "Sorry, nothing we could do, have Wednesday and Thursday off again."

At which point I swear to all that's holy I will be filing a report against my workplace too, because I've been generally treated like shit since I got back in June, and even before when I was trying to get back to work (part of that delay was due to my doctor's office not filling out forms in a timely manner too) after the enforced leave. I had a high place on the bid ranking, and placed my bid, so there's no reason why I shouldn't get what I'm entitled to based on their own rules. And I will pitch an unholy fit if I don't get it.

I'm hoping for Sunday and Monday off. Partly because the week begins on a Monday, and if I get Saturday and Sunday off (not bloody likely) then I'll have to work an 8-day stretch, and I don't much fancy that. But if I get Sun/Mon, then I'll work for 3 days then have a day off, which will be nice after the level of anxiety I've experienced this past week.

But I don't want to borrow trouble by thinking I might not even get that. I want to try to stay positive as much as I can, to stay as unstressed as I can, so I can get through this. I just have to wait until I go in and see what my shift will end up being. With any luck I'll get the right days off, and I won't end up working until 11PM (which will cost me yet more money because the bus simply doesn't run that late at all, and so it'd cost me over $40 a week just to get home), and I'm trying not to think of the fight I'll have to fight if they don't give me the shift I should get based on the bid.

I've got to put that stuff out of my mind and just try to enjoy myself for the next hour, before I have to leave for my shift. Maybe I'll get offline and go read for a while or something, to try to calm down.
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: (Lestabulous!)
I'm hoping for an awesome day today. Short day at work, for one thing, and made even shorter by the fact that an hour of it will be taken up by a team meeting and another hour will be taken up by a one-on-one with my sup.

Less happy is the thought that today I'm probably going to have to confront the site manager about her BS attempts to punish me for being sick by reducing my hours again before we've had an official re-evaluation. Twice now I've been able to demonstrate that reducing my hours from 8.5 hours 5 days a week to 6.5 hours 5 days a week does not actually improve my attendance. When I get sick, I get sick. For a full day, no matter how many hours I'm scheduled to work. And while reduced shifts means that the site's stats look better because I'm missing fewer hours at a time, it stresses me out further because those reduced shifts just barely cover my rent and bills, so missing a day means I have to take overtime hours and work full-length shifts anyway, plus I get the stress of knowing that if no OT's available, I can't pay my effing bills.

Work claims that reduced hours are for my benefit, to allow me the chance to rest and recover more from crappy illnesses and the tumour and associated symptoms and all that. If they try to make that excuse again, I will throw it in their face, show them proof that it isn't the case, and if they try to reduce my hours again then that excuse just won't fly. And the only other option (especially since there's no medical documentation saying I should be on reduced hours) is that this is a punishment for being sick.

Which means I can bring in the Human Rights Commission, because that falls under discrimination based on a physical disability. They know about the tumour. They know I'm being treated for it. I gave forms to my doctor so he could fax info to them, and I made it clear to him that the only accommodation I need from work is for them to accept that my attendance may be crappy at times (when I can't stand up straight from pain, or when the meds make me want to barf my guts out, I can't go into work), and that I need additional unscheduled bathroom breaks. Anything else is on work's head, and I'm making sure they can't claim that it's for my benefit anymore. Because it isn't.

If they want to actually give me a reduced schedule that will benefit me, it ought to be 8.5 hour shifts 4 days a week, with that extra day off. More actual rest time, less chance I'll get sick on a day I have to work. But that wouldn't suit my workplace, because if I did call in sick some day, I'd be missing 8.5 hours instead of 6.5, and oops, there go the site's stats. I even suggested that schedule to them, back when they first did this to me, and even told them that at the time it would work better that was because I was still in therapy and that would make my therapy days easier. No dice. Not surprised.

Happy thoughts, happy thoughts.

Yes, short shift made shorter. The team meeting will be full of yummy food (someone's making chili for us, if I recall, and I'm bringing in a crate of clementines to share), and we'll be wrapping presents for the family our team's sponsoring for the holidays. We've got a ton of toys and groceries stockpiled for them, and I'm bringing in some last-minute stuff (bag of apples, box of tea, box of instant oatmeal, and a few other sundries), and I only wish I could be there when the stuff is delivered.

After work, I'm meeting a friend to go hang out with his friends, and I'm pretty proud of the fact that I'm doing this because social anxiety is a big thing with me. I'm getting over it, making adjustments and working through the worst parts, and I'm actually excited about going to spend a couple of hours with strangers who, by all accounts, are just as weird and crazy as I am.

After that, three days off work, because I made sure long ago to book Yule off so that I could ave a proper celebration. And from what I plan to do, I'll need those 3 days. Have to go out on Wednesday to pick up a final gift for someone, then I'll probably come home and bake some cookies. Maybe a log cake, since we can't afford an ice cream log cake this year and I recently learned how to roll cakes properly to make the log shape. On Thursday I bake some rolls to munch on, because fresh-baked bread is just that awesome. I'm thinking some regular rolls, then maybe some ham-and-cheese rolls, and I might experiment with sweet rolls if I have the time. And on Friday comes the big feast!

Ham (made extra delicious with apple cider vinegar), potatoes, carrots, peas, possibly turnip. Wine. For dessert, baked apples in cream, which are insanely tasty. Slices of homemade Yule log if we can stuff any more into ourselves by that point.

I expect a load of leftovers, especially of ham, so on my next day off work (which will be the following Wednesday) I'll probably end up making a ham soup. If we haven't devoured the rest of it in sandwiches or other things first. :p

Starting today, everything will be awesome. Awesome, you hear me!

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