Dusting things off again…

Yet again, it’s been a year since I last did anything here and this time I’m determined. I have my resolve face on. The blog has been prettied up and I’m going to be attempting to blog something at least once a week. Yes, even if it’s just a silly link or a quote, there will be something.

And so I will note that I saw a stage production of the Buffy episode “Once More With Feeling” at my local Fringe festival this weekend and it was great. Seriously, if you’re a Buffy fan it’s worth looking out for stage productions of this. It’s written as a musical so it translates beautifully to stage and now I can’t stop humming the songs to myself.

The also overdue non-book post

It’s been an odd couple of months. Winter here has been very mild so the odd storms that we’ve had have thrown the city into chaos and irritated me greatly. I’m definitely ready for spring now! Just got tonight’s storm to get through…

When I’ve not been reading, I’ve spent some quality time with my telly box and the iPad. Thanks to Netflix, I’m now part way through season 4 in my Buffy re-watch and I’ve added in alternating Buffy with Angel so that the cross-overs match up. It’s been so much fun and I’m remembering all over again why I think this is one of the best shows out there.

To contrast with this, there has been the Deep Space 9 re-watch. It’s a lot harder going than I expected because so many of the early episodes are absolutely terrible. I must have had much more tolerance or maybe different expectations when I was younger. Thankfully I’m getting towards the end of season 2 and the bad:good ratio is improving. I just watched two good ones in a row (Profit and Loss and Bloodoath) and in a few episodes time, the Dominion enters the picture fully and as I recall this is when the writing really picked up. Phew! I think that I deserve an award for getting through those early episodes.

I also had a bit of a baking frenzy this for a while, mostly inspired by all the yummy cake consumed on Call the Midwife (and excellent BBC period adaptation of the novels) and watching Sport Relief Great British Bake Off. I’ve been a little more restrained in the last few weeks so I’m itching to try something new. I’ve got a rather delicious apple tart recipe in my sights for tomorrow and I’m also going to be playing around with my favourite tuna lasagne recipe πŸ™‚

Must remember to blog these next week if they turn out well. So, my life seems to be books, TV and baking/cooking lately. The knitting has been entirely derailed by cuddly cats and exhaustion. Oops. Must do better.

2011: A very, very brief review

Everyone’s doing it, so I’ll join the bandwagon.

2011 basically sucked for me. I won’t lie. Any year that has an emergency hospital admission in the first month and the diagnosis of a severe chronic illness is never going to go well. I’ve spent most of the year on steroids and now take a ton of pills and injections to keep things at bay.

While the UC diagnosis did at least finally give me access to lots of help and doctors who are eager (and wonderful) carers for me, it did also make my life a bit more complicated and I ended up cancelling most of the trips and fun plans for the year due to flare-ups. When you add in all the things that I couldn’t do due to my back, you end up with a year that did not have many trips or fun days out and consisted of a lot of hospital trips, tests, needles and bad news.

Thankfully the last six weeks has been better: I’m in remission (I hope, we need to discuss the recent stomach cramps in the new year) and my back has eased off a lot since late November.

I’ve written a bit during December, for the first time in months, and my Christmas has been so much better than last Christmas.

All of this gives me hope that 2012 is going to be a lot better than 2011. So here’s to the end of a sucky year and the start of what will hopefully be a fantastic year!

Er, why is it December already?

(This post was very witty. But WordPress ate everything except the first sentence and I had to re-write it. I forgot most of the jokes. Argh)

Normally I’d title this one “I aten’t dead (still)”, but I suspect that I’ve used that title too often…

I’m not, though. Dead, I mean.

It’s been a weird year, largely featuring my battle to get the colitis into remission, which has involved several rounds of steroids and a variety of increasingly powerful drugs. Thankfully we’ve finally got there and I’m now on some lovely strong immune suppressors (plus a couple of other things) and the steroids stopped three months ago.

Unfortunately the stopping of the steroids meant the return of the back pain. That is being investigated. Ugh.

Still, looking at how ill I felt this time last year, I think that I’ve still made progress. At least I’m able to eat normally again and retain my food, which I think we can all agree is an important thing. I’m slimmer than I was, but at least I’m here πŸ™‚

What else have I been up to? Not a lot. The big trip that I’d planned in September had to be cancelled due to another flare so much of the last few months has been pretty quiet.

I’ve read lots of books, become a (bigger) TV addict (thank you, Netflix in my Wii, DVD manufacturers and my new iPad with BBC Global iPlayer) and achieved very little knitting. Professionally has been better: despite all the illness, doctor/hospital visits, tests and drugs, I managed to get promoted at work and we successfully released a big bit of software last month. Not too shabby, I think.

So, why have I finally dusted this thing off? Well, it’s easy – books!

And maybe, TV!

As I am pretty terrible about updating on things like what I’m doing and how my life is, why don’t I fill in the gaps with book nattering? My page for this year’s books is here and I’ll be setting up something for 2012 soon.

Also, I’m doing a book challenge next year so I need to get myself signed up and a thread started for that. So much reading to do!

Good thing reading is my first big love πŸ™‚

Oh, right, I’m supposed to update this thing sometimes…

I’ve been rather quiet on this blog lately. I’m not quite sure why, although I think it’s got a lot do with being tired and a bit overwhelmed and therefore not having things to post that aren’t medical and health related.

My trip to England was lovely and the convention was fantastic. It returned me refreshed, renewed and enthusastic for all the things that I’d been not doing or thinking about while I was sick. I read some excellent, amazing books (I’m on a good book roll right now) and was feeling thoroughly ready to tackle the world again.

Then I got the news from my specialist that my colitis was not in remission and seemed to be prednisone dependent. As my symptoms (the bleeding most noticably) had returned when we tried to taper down the pred, I had to concurr. This meant that our plan to taper off the pred and introduce a nice, cheap, easy-on-the body maintenance drug was not going to work. Yup, pretty devestating news. I’m now waiting to hear whether my insurance company will fund an insanely expensive biological immuno-suppressant called Humira, which has the advantage of kicking in fairly quickly, or whether I’ll have to use the cheaper, non-biological drug azathioprine, which takes several months to reach theraputic levels. In the meantime, we’ve bumped the prednisone back to high levels and I’m dealing with the side-effects (acne, gastric reflux, yay) while also dealing with the anemia from my heamoglobin dropping due to bleeding.

Mostly, this has involved insane levels of exhaustion and me turning into a crazy person obssessed with everything I eat in case that’s the thing that’s killing me and OMG what am I doing to myself?

My specialist keeps reassuring me that this is nothing I’ve done to myself, this is not my fault, and I could be not eating anything at all and I’d still have active colitis. My disease is severe and extensive, but it’s not something that I can fix by diet or by not eating or by turning into a crazy obssessed lunatic.

He may not have come out and said the bit about being a crazy obssessed lunatic. He’s far too nice for that. But it was certainly something he would have said if he wasn’t so lovely.

On Friday, I had a slight existential crisis in the middle of the grocery store. I was exhausted, to the state of being a burnt out zombie, and the exhaustion had been doing funny things to my brain all day. I was depressed, feeling rather desparing and defeated, and it all seemed to fall on me in the middle of the grocery store.


A Year in Review (knitting, fandom and RL edition)

This has been one of those years that wasn’t specifically awful and wasn’t specifically wonderful either. There were some good high points, some nasty low points and the end of the year hasn’t been what I wanted. Overall, I’m hoping that the memories of the high points will overwhelm the memories of the low points.


I aten’t dead (still)

I could talk about all the reason that I’ve been largely absent from the Internet for the last couple of weeks, which include (but are not limited to) the Tour de France, the on-going kitchen renovation and the length of time it takes to prepare meals, the weather and the writing that I’ve been doing.

I could talk about that.

Or I could talk about the books that I’ve read in May and June instead:


<- Insert appropriate title here

You know how sometimes life just can’t give you a break? It throws everything at you all at once?

Right now, my kitchen is a bare room with holes in the walls, some of them at ground level and large enough for small cats to get through and get lost inside the walls. It’s also got sharp nails poking out of the floor. This bare room thing also means that preparing meals involves transporting a table plus any cooking devices (e.g. toaster oven) into the kitchen each time we want to make supper.

Added to this, my car is going into the shop for repairs (someone dinged it) on Tuesday so I will be transport-less for most of the week.

Also, we have workmen coming in most days this week and important deliveries (cabinets!) at the end of the week.

This we can cope with. The cats are with my aunt, mum is home during the day, I can car-pool. Mum and I can cope.

This morning, my uncle in Manitoba died. He and Mum weren’t that close, so she’s doing pretty well, but my aunt is completely devastated. Mum is over at my aunt’s right now.

I’m fine, don’t worry. I’d met my uncle a couple of times and spoken to him half a dozen times, so he’s a rather distant figure for me.

The problem is that coping with this week was rather dependent on the cats being with my aunt and my mum being here, plus us not needing to go anywhere after the car went to be fixed.

Seeing the problem here? Mum and aunt are probably going to Manitoba on the first flight they can find. There will be three cats (mine plus my aunt’s) here, in a house that is currently unsafe for cats and a cooking situation that requires careful, delicate working to avoid lighting the house up. There will also be workmen and deliveries, with my mum not here. Plus there is likely to be running around needed, with no car and no aunt-with-car to help out if we need to get somewhere urgently.

This is going to get very complicated, very difficult and probably insanely stressful. Uncle, you couldn’t have waited two weeks to die? (I’m allowed to say this – my aunt said it this morning, we’re that kind of family).

Dear universe,

You suck.

No love,

Kitchen renovation: day one

Lessons learned today:

1) A sledge-hammer is a very slow way to take up ceramic tiles.

2) Homebase rents out machines that take up ceramic tiles v. fast.

3) The original house builder felt no need to put dry wall behind the cabinets.

4) He did carefully put in dry wall around the vent for the range hood, where there should have been a cut-out.

5) The fridge runs perfectly fine if it is the only appliance plugged into our craft room.

6) The kettle is also fine.

7) Possibly so is the toaster oven.

8 ) Running the little two-ring stove-top (with only the fridge plugged in as well, on a different plug but in the same room) will blow the all plugs in the craft room aka our temporary kitchen.

9) After this happens, the trip switch on the circuit board will not un-trip.

10) An electrician will be required.

11) It’s a good thing the contractor hadn’t removed the stove yet today.

12) I don’t cope well if I’m threatened with not having a coffee maker.

13) It’s a good thing the contractor had left one cabinet under a plug in the kitchen. Coffee maker and kettle work fine in there.

14) When the plugs in the temporary kitchen blow, the fridge stops working.

15) Thank goodness for 100ft heavy duty extension cords.

16) It’s going to be a very, very long few weeks.

How to panic two women

Remove their kitchen ahead of schedule.

When I last wrote, I was off to meet with the kitchen designer with Mum. It was a very productive meeting and we left feeling very happy with the proposed kitchen. We even had the appliances ordered and the designer was going to have designs (with pictures!) for us to approve in a few days so that the cabinets could be ordered. On Thursday, Mum went in and ordered the new flooring and we were making plans for what we’d cook to put into the freezer so that meals in our temporary kitchen would be a bit easier.

We’re going to have a toaster oven, microwave and two-ring burner set up in the craft room so that we can cook reasonably decent stuff, but lack of prep area is going to make any significant cooking tricky. So we wanted to get lots of easy to reheat stuff into the freezer in anticipation of that. Plus, obviously, we needed to have lots of baked goods in the freezer so that we didn’t feel deprived of tasty treats during a stressful time.

Then on Friday our contractor called to say that he could start work earlier than anticipated. Say, er, Wednesday.


Mum said yes, obviously, but it’s been a bit mad trying to get everything done in the much shorter time period. I might not have taken it well on Friday, when I was so tired from insomnia that I felt ill and shouldn’t have actually gone to work. Thankfully I picked up a lot and yoga yesterday morning helped a lot with the feeling of overall ick.

We’ve managed to get a few things down in the freezer and a lot of the cupboards are empty. We’re trying not to pack anything away that we’ll need and organise things so that the commonly used things (food as well as tools) are easily accessible, but it’s tricky when we’re so short on time and just want to move everything quickly.

It’s not just the kitchen. Our dining room is also being refloored and our upstairs living room will be hosting our dining room. The dirt and dust from the work means that we’ll be dust-sheeting everything in that living room – the curse of the open plan house. The craft room will be our temporary kitchen, so we need to make sure all the crafty stuff we’ll need isn’t hidden behind things. Also, part of our rec room downstairs is going to be a storage and construction area for all the cabinets, appliances etc. so there’s some reorganizing down there to make sure that everything can be done without us losing access to the only relaxation area we’ll have left. Six weeks with no access to comfy chairs could kill us!

The other thing we’ll be doing is sending the cats to stay with my aunt until the worst of it is over. I’m getting a little weepy because I’ll miss the girls so much. This is going to be hideously stressful and frustrating and I won’t have little purr machines to comfort me!

This is why the baked treats and crafting supplies are going to be essential. Mum and I may go mad without them.

So, that’s been my life for the last couple of days. I might be spotty on-line for the next few days while we get sorted out, but then I’ll be back possibly with pictures of the destruction.

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