• 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. :)


  • Personal

    Christmas Blues


    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…



    Where was I? *looks confused*

    Damn, everything is Such. Hard. Work.

  • Personal


    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.


    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. :)

  • Personal

    Good News


    I think I probably came close to having a nervous breakdown over these past two weeks or so. Along with all the other health problems, I found one of those things that every woman dreads: a very scary lump. A huge one, not one of those things where you’re hoping that it’s just your imagination. No, this was one of the ones that stand up and proclaim “YOU’RE GONNA DIE. YUP, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. HASTA LA VISTA, BABY.” Or perhaps that’s just me. In any event, I was terrified and called the hospital to schedule a mammogram (my first one ever). I was lucky, and got right in.

    And then I waited for results. For two and a half fucking weeks. Now, I’m not saying that I totally lost it, but there was a point where I was planning funeral music. (For your information, I was totally going to go with Dancing In The Graveyards, but then settled for Fields of Gold.)

    I finally got in for the scan/biopsy appointment and they decided it was a cyst…everything was ok. It was drained (which was TOTALLY disgusting and just as unfun as one would assume) and I went home feeling light enough to pass out.

    One more biopsy at the end of the month, and then (fingers crossed) I’ll be able to put all of this behind me and let everything get back to normal. Hurrah! :D

  • Personal

    Schrodinger’s Delimma

    I’m still playing the waiting game as far as getting a second biopsy (this one under anesthesia) done and also the gallbladder surgery. On the bright side, I am losing weight due to needing to be on a fat-free diet and also the fact that I get sick if I eat anything other than fruit, yogurt or toast. I eat a lot of toast with jam. :) On the decidedly dark side I can’t have alcohol or caffeine, which is a bad thing. If you know me, and you can imagine me living without either food group, then you have a better imagination than I do. And yes, I said food group.

    Given that the NHS will finally allow me to a) find out what is wrong, and b) actually resolve it, within the next five years or so, I’ve decided to live as though everything is okay rather than agonise over it. Alternatively I could live as though everything is not ok, which has a different beneficial effect in that I don’t want to waste time. I’m going to make the best of what I have and start striking a few things off my bucket list.

    The bucket list is a smaller affaire than it used to be. I’ve kind of crossed out any trips around the world, ditto anything involving space flight. I probably won’t own a Friesian, neither will I finally grow the balls necessary to try three day eventing. I’m not going to run with the bulls.

    I do want to see Ireland. I know that I’ve lived in the UK for over a decade, but it was important to me to go to Ireland the first time with my family (my sisters and my daughter). That’s not going to happen, so I am just going to go. I want to go to Morocco and stay for as long as I can, avoiding big hotels and so on. I want to see Egypt. Most of my bucket list involves travel, actually – if I ever won the lottery I wouldn’t buy a big house or expensive car, I would instead travel for the rest of my life. :)

    Healthy or not. One year, five years, another fifty. Who knows? Anything is possible until you open the box.


    (And yes, the umlaut in the title has been left off, as it caused errors. Too damned sick and tired to fix it, haha.)

  • Personal

    The Not So Good, Very Bad Weekend

    I totally ruined Phil’s birthday this weekend. I didn’t mean to, of course – I may not be the best partner in the world, but I do try. We had steaks and sparkly wine and I had a pile of lovingly, though ineptly-wrapped, presents waiting.

    And then, in the wee hours on Friday morning, I woke with terrible stomach pains. All that day they got worse and I was a bit frantic when Phil got home that night. After a metric buttload of ibuprophen it still hurt. On Saturday, the morning of his birthday, I was even more ill and so we went to the local minor injuries unit to see a doctor. From there we went to the surgical assessment unit at the big hospital in our area. And finally at 10:00 that night after a day with an infected gallbladder I finally got painkillers. Ten. Long. Hours.

    I always said that I would never complain about the NHS because, well, as creaky and inefficient as it is, it’s there. It’s free. It’s medical care that I would have been unable to afford in the States. But lord, the bureaucracy, wait and sheer waste involved! The nurses and techs were great, very warm and efficient with all of the blood tests, scans and so on. It was the wait for a doctor that took so long. They knew I had gallstones and an inflamed gallbladder, but a doctor needed to sign off on it before I could be given anything. At shift change that night a new doctor came on and went like a whirlwind through all of the surgery assessment patients and authorised a veritable armload of various painkillers, anti-spasm medication and antibiotics. I wanted to burst into tears when it was finally all done. Ten hours with that kind of pain isn’t something that you would wish on your worst enemy.

    Ok, that’s a lie…I can think of a couple of people who I would wish that on, but no one else.

    Day two was spent waiting for the results of another blood test, as they were concerned about a systemic infection. An ultrasound and the bloods were done in the morning and then I waited. And waited. I finally left (after threatening to discharge myself) at about six pm that night. They couldn’t find a doctor to look at the results. Seriously?

    As some of you know there are other health issues that I’m undergoing various scans and tests for, which is taking ages. And you know what? If it turns out to be worst-case-scenario results, I don’t think I have any chance whatsoever in resolving it with this type of system. The UK has the worst cancer survival rates in all of Europe, mainly due to very little preventative care and the difficulty in actually getting the screens and care in the early stages.

    On my last scan the tech said “Well, I can’t actually see the ovaries on the scan due to the tumours in the uterus, but if you have a problem there it starts to displace bowel and I’m not seeing any of that,” like that statement was supposed to make me feel better. I was all “Well, if we wait until it can be seen from the FREAKING SPACE STATION, I guess I can diagnose myself!” (I admit that I am not a nice or a polite person when in pain or scared.)

    I love the NHS. It’s worth the tax that we all pay, as no human being should ever have to go without proper medical care (as happens in the States). It’s a wonderful institution, but it just needs to be better. Less middle management, less bureaucracy, more doctors, better care. No one should be forced to drink water from a flower vase because they cannot get a glass of water from a nurse. Brits are a nation of pet lovers, and they wouldn’t leave an animal in pain all day as I was. Humans shouldn’t be treated any worse.