mousme: A text icon, white text on green, that reads Zathras trained in crisis management (Crisis Management)
Most of what's going on is not super interesting to the outside viewer, alas. I applied for the rental house I wanted on Friday, and I'm supposed to hear back by close of business today. It turns out that my medium credit rating is a cause for concern to prospective landlords. I mean, it's an okay rating, but due to a fuck-up over four years ago there's a thing on it that's keeping it "artificially" low (another three years to go before that black mark disappears, alas), so the manager I spoke to said he had some reservations. I tap-danced my way out of it, and the fact that I've been employed by the government for over nine years helped a lot. All that's left is for them to call my references, which, of course, includes my current landlady. YAY. I hope she doesn't fuck things up for me. Close of business (or COB, which always, always makes me snigger) is in six hours or so, maybe seven, depending on when their day ends, so everyone keep your fingers crossed.

More landlady shenanigans ensued while I was chasing all over town trying to get my application approved. I got a text message from her while I was out, saying that the reno guys were going to remove the wall between the downstairs storage space and my part of the house, and was I home so they could show me? Needless to say, my blood pressure rose about a million points, because there's nothing I'd like more than to have an entire wall missing in my house. It would mean that anyone with a key to the side door of the house would have unlimited access to my living space. Reassuring, right?

I took a detour out of my day to come home, and spoke with the reno guy. It turns out he had told my landlady that he didn't want to take out the wall and leave my living space wide open without alerting me first, as a common courtesy. If it hadn't been for him having a conscience, I wouldn't have known until I came home one day to find my wall missing. He also proposed installing a lock on a door at the bottom of my stairs (the storage space is about two feet beyond the door, behind the wall in question), so that I'd have at least something of an illusion of control. I mean, the door is made of glass, so it wouldn't afford me true privacy or safety, but anyone in that space would have to at least expend effort to get into my house. So yay for reno guys with scruples! If all goes according to plan, the lock will go on today, and the wall will come down sometime this week (although I don't know exactly when, maybe Wednesday). So at least that's resolved, for now. I even got my landlady to agree, via text message, to return my post-dated cheques to me, so that's a small victory too.

I played 7 Days to Die with my friend V. on Friday evening, and went to bed WAY too late. I knew I had to get up early the next morning for a 06:00 Skype date with my parents, after which I was meant to drive to Montreal for [livejournal.com profile] le_maistre_e 's birthday Dim Sum party. Still, because V.'s computer has been on the fritz for nearly a month, I rationalized to myself that I'd go to bed early Saturday night and make up for it then. Remember this bit, because it will come back later.

Saturday was my mother's birthday, and the Skype call was fun, if maybe a bit shorter than usual. They were expecting my aunt to come to lunch, so I actually got to see her briefly before we hung up, which was nice. She had cancer last year, and had to undergo chemo for a while. She was looking quite good, as it turns out (my mother was convinced that she'd have lost all her hair and look like a skeleton, in spite of evidence to the contrary), if a little fragile. As far as I know she's in remission now, which is good news all around.

I hopped in the car and drove to Montreal, which as usual went well until I got into the city proper, at which point the construction nightmare resumed, and I found myself threading my way through detour after detour until I got to Chinatown. The restaurant itself was on a one-way street that, unbeknownst to me, had been blocked at the end. Why unbeknownst to me? Because there was no sign saying it had been blocked off! So I had to do a U-turn and go back the wrong way up a one-lane one-way street until I managed to find an alleyway I could use to get out of there. Good times. I do not miss Montreal and its shitty traffic and its shitty street signs, let me tell you. I miss my friends and family, but I've become spoiled in Ottawa, where getting around with your car is not a logistical nightmare on the best of days.

The birthday Dim Sum was a lot of fun, as was the outing afterward for bubble tea and cheese cake. I geeked out with friends, caught up with people I hadn't seen in weeks and months, and it was all over far too soon. I did leave on time, though, and managed to get back to Ottawa without mishap. Since it was still relatively early (18:00 or so), I took a couple of hours to run some errands. I was out of milk, and I needed to pull together supplies for First Day School on Sunday (I was meant to lead again, and the first Sunday of the month is always potluck, as I think I've mentioned before).

That's when things went south. I was a little surprised when I got home that Sergent didn't immediately get up to greet me, but when I looked over he was lying quietly on his bed, so I assumed he was just continuing his nap. That was quickly put to the lie less than an hour later when I heard the unmistakable sound of nails scrabbling against the floor. When I went over to check what was happening, I found him unable to get up under his own power. Even with me helping him, he couldn't stand for long, poor puppy. I ran for my coat and boots, and then spent nearly 20 minutes maneuvering the poor dog to the car. He weighs 90 pounds these days (he always gains a bit of weight in the winter), and that's about 10 pounds more than I can deadlift, unfortunately. I just can't pick him up and carry him (I'll have to start going to the gym again or something). Luckily with some coaxing and support from me, he was able to limp to the car. I could see then that it was his front left leg that was giving him trouble, and not just weakness in his hindquarters. I was able to lift him into the backseat, and drove him to the nearest emergency vet (which, luckily, is about five minutes from my house), where the vet tech and the assistant got a stretcher for him and carried him inside.

Once there he was sort of able to stand for a little bit, long enough for them to weigh him (which is why I know exactly how much he weighs right now) and for him to then poop all over their floor (oops). An examination revealed him to have a fever on top of the mystery leg injury. So $900 later we had bloodworm and an x-ray done, all of which led the vet to the inevitable conclusion of "We're not really sure." Nice to know that Sergent's streak of mystery ailments continues unbroken. :P They pumped him full of hydropmorphone in order to perform the x-rays, and he spent the rest of the night stoned out of his gourd. It was actually pretty funny, amidst the rest of the shit show that was that whole night. We spent nearly an hour in a nice quiet room with a leather sofa while he recovered a bit (he lay on the sofa, lucky dog, but also had diarrhea all over it, which was maybe less ideal), and after two and a half hours total spent at the vet's they loaded him back into the car, and I drove him home.

The story doesn't end there, alas. I couldn't get him out of the car at all once we were home. He refused to stand up under his own power, and I couldn't get the proper leverage to lift him out on my own. I wasn't sure if this was the result of the hydromorphone (he was still pretty loopy) or a combination of that and his leg injury. Either way, I could not get him to budge. So, I decided to wait and see if, when the narcotics wore off, he'd be more willing to come with me. Long story short, we slept in the car. Let me tell you, sleeping in your car is overrated. For one, Sergent picked the coldest day of the week to need to spend the night in the car, so I had to run the engine quite a bit to keep us (mostly me, probably) both warm, and I was really worried that someone would come across the still-running car and report me (for what, I don't know, but I was overtired). 

Anyway, morning broke, and Sergent still wouldn't get up, so back we went to the emergency vet. I wrote an email to the First Day School volunteers, and thank goodness they agreed to pinch hit for me, because I was a bit of a wreck by then. The same assistant and a new tech carried Sergent back inside, and we got seen by the day vet. It took all three of them to get him up and moving, but by then he managed to start walking around mostly on his own. I took him out a few feet away for a pee, and the vet gave him some makeshift physiotherapy, after which we went home again. It took me another ten minutes to get him inside, but after I lifted him out of the car he was able to mostly manage the stairs on his own, which I took as an encouraging sign. I gave him his pain meds (Tramadol), and he actually asked to go back outside on his own (poor puppy still had the runs) and managed it on his own reasonably well. Then we both got a much-needed nap.

He's doing okay today. He's obviously not 100%, but he's putting a lot more weight on his leg than before, and I was able to get him to eat a little bit, at least. I think the Tramadol makes him feel nauseated, so his appetite has obviously been affected.

Once my nap was over I ended up spending the rest of the evening bookending my weekend with 7 Days to Die with V. and later my friend M., before passing out in bed at a more reasonable hour than on Friday. So, yes, the moral of that story is: don't go to bed late thinking you'll be able to make up for it the next night, because that guarantees you'll have to spend the night in the car with your sick dog. ;)

I'm scheduled for a Skype call with my parents at noon today. My father sent me a slightly panicky email about my living situation, which tells me he's even more stressed about it than I am. He said he would help me out, but I'm disappointed that the content of his message implied that all of this was actually my fault, that if only I kept the house cleaner or whatever, that I wouldn't be having trouble with my landlady. Why didn't I accept her offer? he wanted to know. Why didn't I get a house cleaner before? Why not agree to pay more money so I could stay on here? His offer to support me boiled down to "I will help you fix your fuck-up," which is not exactly the ringing endorsement I would have liked. It's disheartening to feel that, after all this time, my parents still default to the notion that if something bad has happened, it must be because I made a mess of things, and not because the other party is at fault. I constantly hear about parents these days who refused to believe that their precious darlings could ever do anything wrong, and I confess I'd like it if my parents took that stance more often. :P

In conclusion, I had an interesting weekend. Lots of ups and downs, so it's difficult to say whether it was "bad" or "good." I guess it just was.

*curls up*

Feb. 26th, 2017 09:01 pm
mousme: A text icon that reads: "When the sun has set, no candle can replace it." (Sun has set)
I appear to have contracted a case of gastro, which sucks. I've had to call in sick to work tomorrow, because small call centre + being short-staffed + gastro = keep your germs at home.

I hope I didn't accidentally infect everyone at Meeting, because I was feeling okay when I went earlier today. I nearly didn't go this morning, but only because I felt tired and didn't particularly feel like moving, but I figured that was just the inertia talking. Anyway, I'm glad I did go: it was nice to sit quietly in Meeting without being responsible for the children for once, and I reconnected with a bunch of Quakers I hadn't seen in a while. The Quaker Book Service is shutting down at the end of the year, so they're having a fire sale until then, liquidating all their stock, which means I scored a bunch of cheap books today. I also managed to recover the measuring cup and the egg beaters I'd forgotten there the last time I made cookies with the children.

I drove a Friend home after Meeting, then came home and was delighted to find out that my friend S.'s computer was finally fixed (it's been on the blink since early February), so we jumped online to play 7 Days to Die, whereupon I promptly started feeling sick to my stomach. Stupid gastro. I took a nap, and am feeling marginally better, but I don't think it will last.

So I took a nap, then wrangled my parents over Skype, which was a bit of an adventure. My father is still in Vietnam, and so trying to explain to them how to have a multiple-person conversation was... tricky. We managed it for about a minute, and then they both panicked about it, and I had to agree to talk to them individually over Skype once they were done talking to each other. It was kind of adorable. XD

That's it for me. I'm off to watch The Lost World until I'm tired enough to go back to bed.
mousme: A picture of the muppet Forgetful Jones from Sesame Street (Forgetful Jones)
 My father left for a working trip to Hanoi last Sunday, and I've been calling my mother every day since then to check on her. This is the first time that I've been actively worried about my mother when my father's been away that I can recall. The main reason I'm worried is that my mother took a header into a store window a few weeks ago. I was looking through my entries to see if I mentioned it when it happened, but I apparently didn't, so I'll give a bit of background first.

For those of you who are new (or newish) to this LJ (hi, people from the friending meme!), my parents officially qualify as Elderly™ even if they don't act it. My mother is going to be eighty (!!!) in March, and has stage 2 emphysema, glaucoma (on top of not seeing well to begin with), and osteoporosis. She also has a bad hip, and refuses to take her walking stick with her when she goes out, because she's stubborn. We got lucky this time with the grocery store incident. My godmother (who is considerably younger than my mother and has a driver's license) happened to be there entirely coincidentally, and so she was able to step in ahead of all the useless do-gooders and make sure my mother was taken care of. My mother hit her head hard enough to split open her forehead, and she rocked two black eyes and a serious goose egg for weeks. The goose egg is still there, in fact, though everything else has healed up nicely.

Because she is my mother, she refused to go to the hospital to be checked for a concussion, and I didn't find out about it until nearly two days later, whereupon I read both her and my father the riot act. He sheepishly took her for x-rays the next morning, and all appears to be well. Like I said, we got lucky. It could have been *so* much worse. She could have fractured her skull, or broken any number of bones, thank you osteoporosis.

So I'm worried because now she's by herself, without my physically healthy father there to keep an eye on her. I am a minimum of two hours away in good weather, which means that I can't get there quickly in an emergency. Anyway, in an attempt to assuage my worry (and the attendant guilt), I've asked my godmother to please check in on her while my father's gone for the next three weeks or so. My godmother is leaving town on the 17th, but it's still better than nothing, I guess. I may call my other godmother and ask her to check in as well, just in case.

In the meantime, my mother has been slightly less stubborn these last few days, and has agreed to at least update her emergency contact information and have it clearly visible on her person at all times. We've also got a plan in place for when she leaves on March 1st to join my father in Paris, since she'll be traveling alone. She's agreed to request assistance at the airport in order to get shuttled around by their services, which is reassuring. I don't like the idea of her tottering around while people who are in a hurry rush around her, increasing her risk of getting knocked over. Last time I traveled with her I often had to physically interpose myself between other people and her because they simply weren't looking where they were going.


In more local news, the dog is having yet another bout of gastrointestinal distress. He's still in fine spirits, eating and drinking fine, so I'm not overly worried about him. The inconvenient part is that he asks to go out every 1-2 hours while I'm trying to sleep, and it is exhausting. I've had about four hours of broken sleep today as a result (I got home late from work because I was discussing union stuff with a coworker—more on that later), and am not looking forward to another twelve-hour night shift after that.

I was going to go into detail on another subject, but I just saw that it was ten to five, which means I have to get my act in gear for work. I have no idea where the time went today, but I have twenty minutes or so before I have to leave. I will come back to discuss Star Wars: The Clone Wars (I have begun watching on the recommendation of friends, and so far have mixed feelings), as well as the Hugely Complicated Issue Of Becoming Unionized At Work And Attendant Other Things™.

See you on the flip side, LJ!
mousme: A text icon in pale blue that reads Winter is Coming (Winter is Coming)
 Yesterday was fun but exhausting. Part of that was my fault, part of it wasn't. I got up early to finish my script, and was doing okay right up until I put on the new button-down vest I'd bought to wear to Capricornucopia and all the buttons fell off. In my defence, it looks like they were shoddily sewn on to begin with. :P Since I hadn't planned on spending 45 minutes sewing buttons (I am not a quick seamstress), that threw off my timing for the rest of the day.

I arrived an hour late for breakfast with my parents, but we still had a lovely time together. They've settled into the "elderly couple who've been married forever" cliché with a vengeance, and they are absolutely adorable. I watched them bicker amiably over how to write out the Saturday grocery shopping list, and nearly died of cute. 

[livejournal.com profile] miseri was a lifesaver and agreed to print my script for me, so I was at least spared a last-minute dash to Bureau en Gros and was able to get to his place before noon for the usual pre-Capricornucopia highlighting party with [Bad username or site: sorceror  and  [livejournal.com profile] tcaptain @ livejournal.com]. Wow. Autocorrect just tried to fix both those names for me. They're proper nouns, autocorrect! Grr. Anyway, after 13 years of doing this, we have the pre-party prep down to a fine art (except for [livejournal.com profile] sorceror, who still can't remember to take his allergy meds before getting together with us), and we had finished marking the scripts and bought food for the potluck by 14:00 with no difficulties.

The turnout was a record low this year, as I'd feared. Maybe I should take a page from Trump's book and go on and on about how this was the largest Capricornucopia in all of history. XD Anyway, it was still wonderful to see all the people who did show, up, and we had a good time. We took our time, and started at 16:00 instead of the usual 15:00, and took breaks between every play instead of having only one intermission. We finished at 18:00 on the nose, then hung out and chatted for nearly another hour after that. It was good to be able to catch up with the people I only see once or twice a year, too.

I still think this will be the last one, though. The fact that so few people showed up meant that we had very few people in the audience in order to watch the people on stage, even though we all made efforts to narrow down our cast of characters. We lasted more than most TV shows (except Supernatural and maybe Law & Order), so I think it's been a good run, overall. It's time to move onto new and different things.

In the meantime, I'm spending today quietly. I don't know how everyone else manages to work all week and socialize/run errands all weekend. I spent the week in training and then sped to Montreal and back, and now I am ready for a three-day nap.

mousme: A picture of Wol from Winnie the Pooh, holding a note that reads "Gon Out. Backson. Bizy. Backson." (Back Soon)
Especially when you haven't done much writing in months. Capricornucopia is coming along, but very slowly. Mostly I'm having trouble pulling it all together. With any luck and a bit of perseverance I'll be able to get it to work, although I will confess to not feeling super excited about it this year, for reasons I've detailed already. More people have cancelled or declined since then, which is further demoralizing.

Still, I'm at least entertaining myself by trying to work in as many Hamilton references as I can manage. I am late to the Hamilton party, but I have been listening to it in the car for the past few weeks, and it's every bit as great as everyone has been saying it is.

I hope to come back with a longer post tomorrow or maybe Sunday, once Capricornucopia has come and gone. I do try to get a report written up every year, even if it's a relatively brief one, so I will make an effort this year to be diligent about it and be detailed, if events warrant it.

I'm heading in early in order to have breakfast with my parents, too, so that will be nice. I haven't seen them in person since Christmas, and a lot has happened in the interim. My mother has gotten into the alarming habit of falling. She's going to be eighty in March, and her balance isn't too great, on top of the arthritis in her hip. Ten days ago or so she took a header into a window at a grocery store, and came out of it with a goose egg on her forehead and two black eyes. I already gave her a really hard time for not going directly to the emergency room to be checked for a concussion, and we all got lucky this time, as there's no lasting harm other than the bruising. I wish she weren't so stubborn and would at least use a cane when she goes out, but arguing with her is like trying to melt an iceberg with a Zippo. I'll have another go at her tomorrow over breakfast, at least.

On that note, I should get back to writing my script. It's not going to write itself, unfortunately.


Success!

Dec. 30th, 2016 04:29 pm
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Baker's 12)
I've been preparing to host an "Un-Christmas" lunch since, oh, the beginning of December. I invited my parents and [livejournal.com profile] fearsclave and his wife, Carolyn, and started menu planning three weeks ago and cooking last week. Because I rarely entertain, when I do, I want it to be memorable. I flatter myself that today went really well, overall. My parents get along really well with [livejournal.com profile] fearsclave and Carolyn, and the four of them had a great time laughing about living "near the North Pole," etc. Carolyn got to see how well Maggie and Ben were doing (I adopted two of their cats over the past year, when they couldn't keep them anymore).

This morning I got up early in order to finish the last of the preparation: a last-minute vacuum/tidy of the house, then make the mashed potatoes, mulled wine, wild rice, and green beans. I didn't get it all done before the guests arrived, and we ended up eating about half an hour later than planned, but it all pulled together at the last minute.

The meal itself was a great success. I started out with a beet salad with goat cheese and candied walnuts. It's the only dish which I managed to capture in a picture. The rest of the food got eaten too quickly for me to be able to snap a picture, but there were lemon tarragon roasted cornish hens, balsamic glazed green beans with almonds and cranberries, tourtière, mashed sweet potatoes flavoured with maple syrup, and wild rice with raisins and almonds. For the cheese course we had brie with truffles, bleu d'Auvergne, and Oka, and for dessert I made apple pie and rice pudding (for the gluten-free guest). We finished it off with coffee, and I think all of us may die happily of food.


I was too busy running around trying to get everything on the table and everyone fed and taken care of to get many pictures, but I did get a few, and my parents took some as well. Hopefully between the three of us we'll have a nice record of the day.

Carolyn, my mother, and Darroch. I tried to get a picture of my father, but he keeps making faces at the camera.


Ben wanted in on the action, and kept climbing into my chair when I wasn't in it.

So, in short, I declare success. My parents gave me a sewing basket for Christmas (at my request), and it's glorious: huge, and red with white polka dots. I love it, and I want to get started on sewing something ASAP. Maybe I'll mend the dog's newest favourite toy: a no-longer-squeaky stuffed hedgehog, which he eviscerates on a regular basis.

I got my parents a framed set of my favourite pictures of them taken over the past two years, and they loved it. So I now get to pat myself on the back for a well-done Christmas, all around, even if it wasn't on Christmas itself.

I am due to write a year-in-review post, which I used to do regularly and then sort of forgot about. Tonight, however, I have a D&D game to prep, so it will have to wait.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Lock The Universe)
I've been bad about posting here, for the same reasons as usual. So much stuff happens IRL that I don't have the energy left over to post when it happens, and then afterward there's so much of it to catch up on that I get overwhelmed. I'm going to try to do better. A few years ago I did well when I challenged myself to post once a day to LJ for a year, regardless of how much or how little had happened that day, so I may try that again in the New Year. You've been warned. ;)

I don't know what I've posted the last few times. I should go back and check, but I probably won't for now. The dog training classes are over, and I haven't been out running in a bit because I find running in over a foot of snow really hard on my ankles and back, among other things. I'm a little disappointed about that, but better to take it a bit easy than to injure myself and not be able to run at all for weeks or even months.

Christmas is in two days, and I'll be at work. I don't mind working Christmas for now, or any of the statutory holidays, to be honest. I don't have kids yet, so I'm fine with the idea of working Christmas so other young families can be together during the holidays. I've done that for ten years now, and I probably won't stop until I have children of my own. I can only hope that someone in my office will choose to repay the favour when that happens, but of course, they're not obligated to. I just remember my cousin having to spend Christmas without my aunt (she was a nurse) when we were growing up, and I remember how much it sucked.

Anyway, it's been a whirlwind of Christmas prep around here. I've sent out holiday cards to everyone I know who wanted and asked for one (if you missed my post on here and on LJ and on Twitter, ping me and I'll add you to the list for next year), totalling fifty-seven cards (egads). Two weeks ago I baked cookies with [livejournal.com profile] ai731, which as usual have been a big hit with everyone at the office and at Meeting. I've been lighting the candles on my Advent wreath for the first time in a long time, and I must say I've missed the comfort of that particular ritual. It's as much a part of my Christmas now as singing carols with the Quakers, so I'm glad I was able to start up that tradition again. It's the only tradition I came up with specifically for myself: my parents never lit candles, nor did my ex (who I'm pretty sure no longer identified as Christian, although the secular part of Christmas was a big deal for her and for Bean too), nor does anyone else I know. I just remember the wreath candles being lit at school when I was a child, and to me it doesn't feel like Christmas without it.

I'm hosting an "un-Christmas" lunch again this year, as I'm working through Christmas. My parents are coming up on the 29th, and on the 30th I'm having them and [livejournal.com profile] fearsclave and his wife for lunch. I have what I hope is a fun menu planned: a beet salad as an entrée, followed by lemon tarragon Cornish game hens, wild rice, and mashed sweet potatoes. Yesterday I baked and froze a tourtière as the final side dish. That's the last time I ever follow a baking "tip," incidentally. Several recipes suggested I wrap foil around the edges of my pie crust so they wouldn't burn, and they *stuck* to the foil and ripped apart my lovely pie. :( It should still taste fine, at least, but I'm disappointed in how it turned out. Today, if there's time, I'm going to bake and freeze an apple pie for dessert. There should be time, if I do it right.

I've been doing some tidying and cleaning of spaces in the house I hadn't touched in a while. The front closet got a makeover yesterday morning, and my CDs got sort of organised. Or at least they're not in a massive pile anymore where they didn't fit into my CD case. I need to get a second CD case to hold them all, frankly. I still need to actually tidy, vacuum, and mop the main areas of the house. I've been procrastinating on that, in part because I've been sleeping poorly of late and the idea of doing those "big" jobs feels exhausting. Eventually I'll get over my reticence and do it, probably on Monday, between my day and night shifts. I even put my curtains in the wash, though I haven't ironed them yet. I should put them back up before my night shifts start, at least, so I can be sure to get enough sleep next week. It's hard to tell what consists of me being truly productive, and what's actually a sort of constructive procrastination. Still, at least things are getting done, and with any luck and a bit of hard work everything that needs to be finished will be by the time Thursday rolls around. Then maybe I'll sleep for the next year. ;)

We've been getting a lot of snow this year, which is pleasing to me, in spite of the shovelling. Last year we had a green Christmas, and it almost broke my heart. So I'm happy enough to have to shovel, if it means having a white Christmas.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Gone Out)
I've been back at work since last Tuesday. I'm doing a gradual return to work, which means three-day weeks for three weeks, then a four day week, then a five day week, and then back to my usual rotating shifts. Last week was four hours a day, this coming week will be six hours, then eight hours a day until I'm back on shift for my usual twelve hours.

For those of you who are confused, I normally work twelve-hour rotating shifts, on a schedule that repeats every four weeks. I've found a blank calendar template online, because sometimes seeing it on "paper" is more helpful. So when I start whining about my work schedule, this is what I'm talking about. Shifts start at 5:30 and finish at 5:30 regardless of whether it's a night shift or a day shift.

Calendar behind the cut )


Mental health stuff behind this cut )

I had a really full week, apart from work and the psychiatry appointment. It was my father's 75th birthday on Thursday, and we had two parties for him. The first was here at my house, where it was just me, him, and my mother. A low-key affair, where we went to see the exhibit of Elizabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun, which was a really fascinating peek into the politics of the time, as told through portraits. The woman had an extraordinary talent, and because she was a favourite of Marie Antoinette, she was able, like no other woman of her time, to gain acceptance to the Académie Royale de peinture et sculpture. It's most notable because the Académie was both super stuffy and conservative, and being a woman made you automatically ineligible. Because patriarchy.

I made my parents dinner on my new-to-me barbecue, and I wowed them. It's sometimes really heartwarming to see how my parents think that every little thing I do is magic. I did, however, make a fan-fucking-tastic meal. I'm a novice barbecuer, so I was rather worried about how things would turn out, but everything cooked to perfection, including the t-bone steaks I had bought and very lightly seasoned for the occasion. I also grilled portobello mushrooms, which had been marinaded for a few minutes in garlic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar (next time I am going to halve the amount of vinegar, because I felt it overwhelmed the delicate taste of the mushrooms), corn on the cob, green and yellow zucchini, and a variety of peppers. It was a feast, and we capped it off with a homemade chocolate cake.

The chocolate cake was a bit of an adventure. I am not a skilled baker, and I nearly broke one of the cake layers while cooling it, and the icing (which should be a simple process) had more drama than I would have liked. The first thing I did wrong was ignore my instincts, which told me to melt the chocolate in a double boiler, and tried to melt it in the microwave. BIG mistake. Chocoloate is super delicate, burns like a motherfucker, and smells terrible. So I started over with a double boiler, then dumped the ingredients into a bowl before realising that I was supposed to do them in a specific order. Oops. Not to worry, I thought, it's just buttercream icing, I'm sure it'll be fine if I blend it as is. I then tried to add 1 tsp of vanilla extract from my brand-new bottle. It had a convenient squeezy-top thing to allow me to carefully measure out the vanilla without spilling, which was a great idea—right up until the squeezy-top thing popped off and literally 3/4 of a cup of vanilla gushed into the bowl. I quickly donned my superhero cape and managed to drain most of the vanilla into the sink without sacrificing the other ingredients, and managed to salvage the whole mess, but let's just say that the icing tasted way more of vanilla than it did of chocolate.

Luckily the cake still turned out okay, if slightly lopsided, because I still don't know how to level or tort a cake.
work calendar example.png

When I'm done with my dog training course, I may sign up for a Wilton cake decorating class. It would be nice to know how to make a cake that doesn't look like it narrowly escaped a harrowing death. ;)

For posterity, here are a few other highlights of that evening's dinner:
Birthday photos! )


On Friday I drove to Montreal for the second party, which was a surprise party. My party was a decoy, so that my father wouldn't know there was a surprise party for him. He was, for the record, very surprised, and quite touched. All but one of his brothers and sisters were there (one sister lives in France and is having health issues), and we had a sumptuous dinner that my mother cooked (I went up early and helped her). I don't particularly like my father's family (they range from bigots to self-important blowhards to unpleasant cynics), but I can put a good game face on and so can they, and so we all made an effort and it went really well overall. My father is incredibly loyal to his family (and slightly blind to their faults), so he was incredibly moved that we'd all gone to such lengths for his birthday.

In short, a really busy, but good week.

Oh, and before I forget, today was also my first day of dog training classes. I was late because I misunderstood the time, but as it was the first course I didn't miss much. It was all introductions and whatnot. I'll have a better idea of things next week, I think.
SaveSaveSaveSave
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Clever Canadians)
As I mentioned before, I got inspired by [livejournal.com profile] toughlovemuse to try out bullet journaling. I had tried it back in April or May, if memory serves, but I didn't stick with it for more than a few days at best. Having seen her beautiful notebook and nifty pens and washi tape, I decided to give it another go. It's only been a few days, but I'm having a lot more fun with it this time, now that I know that I can experiment with different layouts and fun things like that.

I'm going to try to use it to track new (good) habits and old (bad) habits, and see if I can't become more organised and productive in the future. I mean, I've been doing this dance for as long as I've lived on my own, so honestly it probably won't work. At least it'll be fun while I'm doing it. It's allowing me to indulge in some more artistic pursuits, even though I have basically no artistic talent. I've looked up a bunch of different ideas online, and am using the plethora of users and communities that have sprung up around this phenomenon for inspiration. I've got several pages done already, and managed to mess up my first weekly layout (my weeks start on Sunday, but I was copying a layount and accidentally started the first week on Monday), but at least it should be relatively easy to alter it later on. Here's hoping it sticks, but if it doesn't, it's not the end of the world.

Bullet Journal pictures behind the cut )
In other news, I'm heading back to work starting next week. I'll be doing a month's worth of Gradual Return to Work. By the time October rolls around, I'll be back on shift full-time. I'm a little wistful, but it's not like I can spend an indefinite amount of time on sick leave, especially since I'm mostly functional these days.

I also start the dog training on September 11th, so it looks like the fall will be a busy season for me. My parents are coming for a visit this weekend, so I'm going to try to bake a cake for my father's birthday. It'll be a bit early, but better that than nothing at all. It's his 75th birthday coming up, so we're planning a big party with his family the following weekend, but it's meant to be a surprise(ish), so having a small celebration here is a way to throw him off the scent.

On that note, I'm off to figure out what to have for dinner. I'm supposed to be making attempts at a normal meal schedule, for whatever that's worth.
mousme: A text icon, dark green text on pale green, that reads There is no normal life. There's just life. (No Normal Life)
It's not that I've forgotten LiveJournal exists. I come on here and read my friends' list almost every day. Few of you post that often, but enough of you post intermittently that I feel as if I'm keeping track of many of you. I suspect that may be a bit of an illusion, but that's okay. Social media is always a bit of an illusory beast.

I just saw [livejournal.com profile] slipjig link to a friending meme, and I think that it would behoove me to at least try to post more regularly. Sometimes I feel like my life is far too mundane to be of interest to anyone, but then, I love hearing about the little things that all my friends are doing. Going to work? I want to know how your day went! Planning a garden? Show me pictures of your squash! Taking your kids to school in the morning? Yes, please! Are your pets adorable? PICS, OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN! Etc. So if I'm interested in all these small, daily victories and disappointments, it stands to reason that at least some of my LJ friends feel the same way.

So, what have I been up to since the last time I posted? That was in February, I am a little horrified to see, when my computer keyboard bit the dust. I got it repaired, it's working fine now, except every now and then it... decides not to. It's always a bit nervewracking when that happens, but it's never for more than about 10-15 seconds, and it's happened maybe twice or three times. I'm trying not to worry about it too much.

Quaker Stuff )

Pet updates, with cute pictures! )

The Parental Units )

Work and gardening )


In short, I'm slowly re-aligning myself with my values. I'm trying to cook and bake from scratch more, getting back into being a steward of the earth and not just a mindless consumer. It's a process, and I still have a long way to go, but at least I'm moving back in the right direction. I feel like, in some ways, I lost a lot of myself for a while there. While there are still important decisions to be made, it's nice to catch glimpses of the person I used to be.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Always Summer)
[livejournal.com profile] curtana has asked me to write about the music I love. If I had infinite amounts of time, I would never get to the end of this subject, and tonight I only have about an hour in which to write this post, get dressed and run to work. Alas.

Working 911 here has been exhausting (in a good way), because not only is it quite busy but I also have to learn everything anew, since each comm centre works differently. So instead of waking up at 14:30 or even 15:30, I've been sleeping until 16:00 or even 16:30 every day (I also finish later in the morning, which means a bit less sleep than usual), and today I had a half-hour phone call with my parents, which resulted in my having even less time than usual for writing.

Let me sing you the song of my people! )
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (A Little Worship)
:::ETA::: This post was written on June 9th, but due to the marvels of travel and different time zones, I am posting it and the next entry on the 10th.

Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, I am writing this from the plane. You have to admire human ingenuity, that means that I have the means not only to move hundreds of kilometers inside a matter of an hour or so, but that it's barely an inconvenience to do so. I am thousands of feet above the ground, but I'm seated as though I'm in a movie theatre and supplied with pretzels and a soft drink and have my laptop out in front of me like it's absolutely nothing. In less than an hour I will be in a completely different city, and will likely have internet access again without having to think about it too hard.

(I can feel the tray bouncing as I type, even though I'm being careful. I'm a little worried I must be irritating the poor lady sitting in front of me. Hopefully she'll let me know if that's the case. )

Still, isn't it incredible? I know that on many flights in the U.S. they even have wifi available on board. It's not the case with this flight, but we've basically reached the point where air travel is as mundane (though not nearly as cheap) as driving or taking the train or the bus.

Anyway, on with today's (or, actually, yesterday's) post! t! has asked me to write about who my role models are, and though he didn't specify, I assume he wanted me to go into the reasons for which I picked these role models.

Just what sort of role model are you? )
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Rainbow Guard)
[livejournal.com profile] tx_cronopio asked me to talk about my own experience coming out. Most of you who read this LJ these days were there when I came out, but I suspect there are a handful of you who weren't, so I guess this might be new to you.

I feel like I should preface this with a few caveats. For one thing, everyone's coming out experience is unique, even if they share a few common elements. My own coming out story is even less typical than the ones you will usually find in North America, though it has nothing especially remarkable about it. In fact, my story is probably remarkable for the fact that it's wholly unremarkable, if that makes any sense.

Out of the closet, into the fire. )
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (To be true)
It's Day 6 of tell Phnee what to write about, and once again [livejournal.com profile] sorceror's prompt takes the limelight. Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, so he asked me to talk about that.

La guerre n'est pas une aventure. La guerre est une maladie. )
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (To Be)
Not necessarily in that order. Come to think of it, when all the craziness has died down I may well do a Sergio Leone rewatch. It's been a while since I enjoyed a good Spaghetti Western. :)


Nattering about the week that just went by and the week to come )
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (To Be)
Angel. New member of the family:

DAS AUTO.

It's dark blue and has a glass-top roof.
It smiles a lot.

Huge hug with frizzles,
Mim



I will post a proper update later.

For the record, my mother actually speaks German, and is not quoting a VW ad (though I do believe that the car in question might actually be a VW, if memory serves).

This is exciting news, because my parents haven't had a car since the last Brunellemobile died an ignominious death on the side of the road in 2008. Not only that, but I do believe this is the first car my father has ever bought that does not qualify as a clunker. He's always prided himself on getting "inexpensive" cars that ended up costing a fortune in repairs, much to my mother's despair. This time, though, I believe he actually went to a dealership and arranged for a used car that wouldn't fall apart, which is a good thing, given that my parents are getting on a bit.

So, very exciting news for them. :)
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Going and Staying)
My parents and I were supposed to Skype on Thursday morning, but they never turned up. This is what happened instead:

Correspondence )
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (G'quon)
I am taking a page from [livejournal.com profile] owldaughter's book and writing a weekend round-up. It'll be easier than going back and writing individual entries.

Friday

After work I headed out to pick up my costume for Sunday's party. I got a car from Communauto, went to Laurier st., got the costume (lost my little paper, but they were nice and understanding) and drove back to get my dry cleaning...

...

... only to realize that I left my wallet on the counter of the costume shop across town. There was swearing. Lots and lots of swearing. It was 17:00, right in the middle of rush hour on a Friday afternoon, and I think I may have aged five years from sheer stress. I lucked out: they found and kept my wallet for me, and on my way out I met my old friend B, whom I hadn't seen in a very long time. So, bonus. I even managed to pick up my dry cleaning with five minutes to spare before the place closed.

After that I hied myself to the Parental Units' for dinner, where W., the mother of my childhood friends, had also been invited. We had a very nice time, although W. was in fine form, which meant I had to run interference for most of the evening because she seriously gets on my father's very last nerve. Damages his calm something fierce.

Went home and collapsed, after watching a couple of DVDs.

Saturday

Awoke on Saturday morning, feeling god-awfully tired and wondering what god I had angered that I would feel that tired after sleeping for so long. Then I saw that it was 10:00 and that I was LATE. So I jumped out of bed in a complete flap and made a beeline for the phone to call [livejournal.com profile] luvenditti to let her know I'd overslept and was going to be late. She answered the phone and sounded bemused, but agreed to meet me a bit later than we'd planned. She called back about three minutes later to see what the hell was wrong with me, and by then I had figured out that I wasn't late, but that my alarm clock was poorly set.

Not a great start to the day, but things improved swiftly after that. Saturday was a cooking day with Lu. I am not allowed to discuss much of what we cooked, because it is part of the Soopar Seekrit Menu for her next dinner party, but let me tell you it was SINFULLY DIVINE, OH GOD.

We also made stew and meatloaf and pizza. So. Much. Food. In between bouts of cooking we also watched part of the latest episode of Glee (meh), Eastwick (cute) and The Mentalist (so much love).

After the day of cooking we called it an early night. Turns out spending all day cooking is tiring. I went home, watched a few episodes of Supernatural, and then turned in for the night.

Sunday

I got up early-ish to do a minimal amount of tidying before [livejournal.com profile] tcaptain and [livejournal.com profile] maya_banana came for breakfast, and then realized belatedly that I had nothing for her to drink, since she can't have tea or coffee. One hasty phone call later, and they agreed to pick up some orange juice. They arrived resplendent in their costumes, and we set to breakfast with enthusiasm.

Breakfast was not a success. I was off-beat the entire time, and managed to burn the pancakes and came rather too close to setting fire to my kitchen for my own comfort. Luckily they were very understanding with me, and the bacon turned out delicious, so it wasn't a total waste.

[livejournal.com profile] maya_banana helped me get into my costume, since it's one of those Victorian dealies that hooks together in the back, and once I was all put together (photos will be forthcoming as soon as people who took them send them to me, I promise!), we headed out to Hurley's, where the murder-mystery Blood, Sweat and Gears was taking place.

I had a blast. I was playing Priscilla "Prissy" Swinton, who was invited to this scientific exhibit along with her husband Dunstable. The guy playing my husband never showed, but it turned out not to matter. I decided that Prissy was an amiable twit, and so I wandered around being insipid and saying stupid things in the loudest, most fatuous fake British accent I could muster. I *broke* people. Repeatedly. My rule of thumb was to think of the most inane thing to say at any given moment, and then to say that. It worked like a charm.

By the end of the evening I was exhausted. I have no idea how the people running the show managed, because it felt as though I had been there for ten hours instead of four. It was a great time, though, and I understand that there will likely be repeat performances in the future.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Valar Morghulis)
So in spite of my mother's absolute certainty that my mild cold was in fact really the H1N1/swine flu, I find myself pretty much recovered, as of yesterday.

I am always amused by my parents' hypochondria when it comes to my own health. They themselves come from the "Eh, I'll walk it off," school of doctoring, but the minute I have a sniffle or a paper cut, they're *thisclose* to calling the paramedics.

In other news, work is crazy. I've been trying to post this for about 30 minutes now. Time to quit while I'm ahead.

Diseased.

Aug. 23rd, 2009 08:37 am
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Dead Baby Possum)
So the ick has turned into a fully-fledged summer cold. Bleargh. On the plus side, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of colds I've had in the past five years. The last time I had a cold was last October (according to LJ), and it was pretty minor. Overall, this one feels as though it's not going to be too bad either. I'm congested, but the chest thing seems to have improved. The bad part about not having been sick since last year is that I don't have a single decongestant in the house. Bah.

In non-ick-related news, I not altogether surprisingly didn't get everything done yesterday. I did, however, can all my rhubarb, which once it was cooked and organized turned into less rhubarb than I was afraid I had. I have a little over four litres of the stuff, which is all to the good. The canning appears to have gone off without a hitch, with all four jars going "POP!" when they were supposed to, which makes me very happy.

I also finished the god-blessed baby blanket. Looking at it now, I realize that I probably should have put in at least two more repeats, but I was really sick of it (no pun intended) and it looks fine. Pictures will be forthcoming, as I have once more located my camera cable. ;)

So today is a day for more domestic chores, and then in the evening I will be off to visit the Parental Units for dinner. They have been feeling neglected, and rightly so, since I haven't seen them since the end of July, what with work and WorldCon and the like.

Okay. Off to get coffee.

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