• Personal

    Dark Days

    In a couple of weeks I’ll be going back to the States for a visit, for my daughter’s wedding. It’s been several years since I went back (just before my father died) and has been fourteen years since I moved to the UK. I’m nervous about going back.

    I miss everyone, of course. I miss my daughter every single day, I miss the rest of my family, and I even miss the country that I grew up in.

    That country, of course, isn’t the same one that I’ll be going back to…and that scares me.

    Everyone seems so very…strident, to say the least. I’m sure there were almost as many misogynists and racists when I lived there, but most people knew enough to keep the worst opinions to themselves. Not now, though. Everyone is flying their freak flag, bolstered by the approval of other neanderthals on their social media home of choice. It’s bad enough that presidential candidates are running quite successful campaigns based on hatred, and their supporters hail them as “straight-talkers” who aren’t afraid to speak their minds. In other words, this guy is saying what we think. Yee fucking hah.

    I’ve lost most of my family over recent years. The intelligent, intrinsically good people that I loved have turned into raging God-n-Guns “make America great again” conservatives and gradually I’ve muted them, slowly shutting them out of my life. I love them, I would give a kidney or my life for them…but listen to a constant stream of nastiness via social media? Ugh. Life is too short to wallow in that kind of cesspool, so I let them slowly slip away.

    And guns, lord the guns. Astronomically more massacres by gun in the US than anywhere else in the world, classrooms of kids being slaughtered, people at church, you name it. Just this week, black men shot dead by the police in two separate murders, and last night five cops were killed (presumably in retaliation). Guys in beards, beer guts and Dixie flag tshirts walk around carrying assault rifles openly. It all scares me. This is my home, the country I grew up in…and I’m terrified to go back.

    Right now I’m thinking weddings, and love, and hugging my daughter again. Everything else can slip away.

  • Personal

    I’m Alive!

    Wow, it’s been…let me see…a very long time since my last post. After being offline for so long I was really snowed under with a lot of work and things just slid. As they do unless one makes an effort, which I shall have to.

    Aside from work I’ve been doing a bit of gaming and pretty much fuckall otherwise. Black Desert came out, which I’ve just scratched the surface of due to The Division also launching. I got addicted to The Division, I admit. It is so much fun, and simply one of the most gorgeous games I’ve ever seen.

    Character creation still kind of sucks, and I’d hoped for more. Still the default faces and hairstyles and not a lot of choices which is a shame for an otherwise amazing game. I’d really, really wanted to do a version of Carol from The Walking Dead for my character (since, although I have a massive girlcrush on Michonne, Carol is the most badass), but I had to settle with the character that I’d chosen in beta.

    We’ve been mostly running in groups of four with some good friends, which makes encounters and (fer shure!!!) the Darkzone a lot easier. A lot of it isn’t tuned to be too easy, so you can’t faceroll most of it which I like. It’s a challenge without having stupid don’t-stand-in-the-fire dances. Mob AI is extremely well done. The few cutscenes are nicely done, voice acting is great, and as you piece together the story you come across funny, profane and absolutely heartbreaking moments.

    Huge /applause on this one – if you haven’t tried it, you so very much should!

     

    Division3Division2Division4Division1Division5

  • Personal

    Happy 2016

    Well, Christmas kind of sucked. :)

    There was a surgery, which I woke up from and started drinking fluids, etc. in recovery. Then a lot of bleeding and a second, emergency surgery wherein I of course started vomiting. Aspirated some of that, and ended up with pneumonia. Not fun. So I spent most of the days at the hospital hooked up to IV tubes and catheters and oxygen tubes, all so very much not fun. I vomited and/or wee’d on pretty much everyone in the entire hospital, and was naked in front of more people than I think I ever have in my life. Mind you, I’ve been naked in front of a lot of people…but I reached a point where it was commonplace, as all the people currently in the room at any one time had probably already seen my ass. Including visiting family members, yaay. There is little dignity available for patients in hospitals.

    Now I’m home and am pretty much still flat on my back in bed. Pneumonia is the worst. Sitting here at my desk for a bit is a big accomplishment, although I feel as though a small child is sitting on my chest and I’m struggling for air. You would think that sitting in a chair would be rest just like being in a bed, but no. So it will be a bit before I am back at work, sorry.

    One of the worst things that I had to do after I was released? Giving myself injections. If you know me personally you know that I have a deep fear/horror of needles. I can’t watch them on TV without feeling ill. And I had to give myself injections for five days. Five. Days. When the nurse explained it I was in disbelief and then I cried…and when I say I cried I mean that streams of water shot out of my eyes as though someone had squeezed a water bottle. I cried like a cartoon character.

    I mean, I did it. Cowboy up, put on my big girl pants, my daddy didn’t raise no pussies and all that. But lordy did that suck.

    Being sick is full of ass.

    Anyway, ready to collapse now so I wish you all a wonderful 2016, and I know that people with January covers will be worried. I’m going to check mail this afternoon or tomorrow and get back to you all, and hope to be back at work soon. <3

  • Personal

    See You In 2016

    NOTE: I won’t be answering email until after the holidays, and won’t be available on Twitter, etc. Thank you for being patient, and I wish you all a wonderful holiday and a great year to come.

    Peace on earth and goodwill to all. In our current world, could there be anything more important?

    Happy Holidays

  • Personal

    Clockwork Girl

    I’m not going to be reachable by email, etc., for a week as I’m going to be in the hospital over the holidays. Tomorrow they’re going to remove all my insides and replace them with straw.

    Perhaps I’m not understanding the procedure well. :)

    Maybe they can replace everything with clockwork, which would be extremely cool. I would quite like being a clockwork girl.

    We’ve already had our Christmas dinner and opened presents, and Phil has instructions to not visit me in hospital as I am absolutely the worst patient. I know this from long experience. I don’t get sick very often (this past year being a major exception), which is good because I know that I am a fractious and petulant invalid and no one in their right mind would want to be around me when I feel that way.

    In any event, I am looking forward to this whole year being over with, looking forward to 2016 being a much better year. Love to you all. :)

    …tick…tick…tick…

  • Personal

    Christmas Blues

    ceows

    Well, November and early December kind of flew by in a haze – always so much work to do and it always plays hell with NaNoWriMo. So hurrah for “failing” again this year. :/

    In other news I seem to have become addicted to Fallout 4 in the small amount of spare time that I have aside from work and feeling sick. I also have a date for surgery, finally…on December 22nd. Yep, that means spending Christmas in the hospital, what fun. And here I was actually excited about the holiday this year – I’d decorated on the first weekend in December and had presents ordered. I was looking up recipes for fudge and bourbon balls and other Christmassy things, and now it’s all poo. Poo, I tell you!

    I did buy a holiday oversize tshirt to wear in hospital that said Naughty But Nice. I got this only because I couldn’t find one that said Merry Motherf*cking Christmas. I told Phil that and he said “But what about the kids?” and I had a moment of genuine horror when I said “THERE ARE GOING TO BE KIDS!?!” Haha, truly a nightmare before Christmas.

    I’ll hopefully post again before the end of next week, but if I don’t…have a very wonderful holiday with tons of good food and sentimental movies shared by family and friends. Much love to all.

  • Personal

    old, sick dog chasing a squirrel

    This is a procrastination post. I’ve been sick for almost a week with the Death Lurgy, the chest infection from hell and this is my first full day back at my desk, working. Sort of working. Slowly, with many breaks for twitter and coffee and coughing up nastiness into endless tissues. In other words…

    Squirrel!

    squirrel

    Where was I? *looks confused*

    Damn, everything is Such. Hard. Work.

  • Personal

    Overcome

    This morning I was remembering the first -and only- time that I was overcome by a work of art: totally undone, shattered and in tears.

    Good friends were visiting from the States and we were on a tour of Chatsworth (as you do). It seems that least one visit to a castle or big house is a prerequisite or any first-time visit to the UK. Chatsworth House is gorgeous, richly decorated yet still feeling like a home for real people. One can imagine children running in the hallways and kisses stolen on the back stairs. In places it is overdone, such as in the State Music Room. Carved wooden panels, golden filigree on everything, inlaid marble and Russian malachite, incredible paintings. It is a room of sensory overload.

    And then, to one side of the room, you see a half-open door and a violin hanging against a wood panel, very plain against the excess of the room. It hangs in shadow and a golden glow of light, without decoration, perfect lines of unadorned wood. As you look closer, you realise that it isn’t real at all, but a painting. It undid me.

    I don’t have the words to describe how I felt, even now. It was something to do with the sheer overabundance of richness and detail in the room, contrasted with the perfect simplicity of the violin. Or perhaps it was the realisation that it was a painting rather than a real thing, and the emotional overload in that understanding, I don’t know. I stood in tears, almost choking with it, aware that I looked like a total idiot but unable to stop it. Even now it is one of the most powerful things that I have ever felt.

     

    Violin Door

  • Personal

    Getting Older, Disreputably

    This weekend we got together with two old friends, Raz and Kaz (we met through gaming and I have an inability now to call either of them by their real name). Kaz very kindly spent hours bleaching highlights into my hair in order to dye it with deep blue, green and purple highlights, kind of a crow’s wing effect, but we couldn’t get enough of the dye out of it for the colour to take. We’ll have to try again. :)

    I also designed a half-sleeve tattoo and today contacted a close(ish) studio about doing it. I’ve spent hours and hours trying to find someone close enough with the right style. So here it is: the steampunk Cheshire cat needs work, but I’m reasonably happy with the rest of it.

    tattoo

    As I said to Kaz, I intend to fully try to grow old disgracefully. I don’t want middle-aged hair or clothing. I’ll continue to wear black and big clompy boots. I’ll wear blue hair and black-and-grey tattoos and spend my time gaming. I’m just not a mumsy person.

    Do we ever feel old? It’s like the saying about when an old person looks into a mirror, there is a young person looking back at them in horror saying “What the everloving fuck happened!?!” :D

  • Personal

    It Can’t Rain All The Time

    Yep, this is probably another TMI post, so be warned. :D

    After waiting almost a month after the last biopsy and scan, I finally received a letter through the post from the hospital that said they “wanted to let me know that the biopsy did not show any abnormal results. We hope this relieves your concerns.”

    Over three weeks I waited for this. You bastards.

    In any event, this is obviously very good news and now I just have one (two if you count the minor one to take out my gallbladder) surgery to get through and then everything should be back to normal. I feel SO much better! The constant pain and bleeding were evidently caused by massive fibroids, so they are going to do a hysterectomy and possibly take the ovaries as well, I think perhaps as a safety measure because they can’t see them on scans due to the other issue. I am looking forward to having a flat tummy and no more pain…a very good thing.

    So, even though I felt as though I was going to have a nervous breakdown due to the months of scans and biopsies and endless waiting, we got there in the end and all is well. This feels like a new beginning and I am wondering what I want to do next. This is an opportunity to make major changes, to jump over the edge and do something mad. Or brave. Perhaps just mad. :)