Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.
August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
First, a recommendation. Dive over to The Jonathan Day Fiction Site and try some of the stories. I love this author's writing - it's funny, bitingly witty, dryly incisive, chilling, and deliciously subversive by turns. Absolutely well worth a look!
Monday, December 31, 2007
Here's a better photo of the twiglights - with Pudj. So pretty! I'm really chuffed with them. You still can't see the vase, but that's really only incidental to the lights anyway.
And on the subject of lights, my folks brought this one up with them when they last visited. They bought it way back at the end of the 1940s/beginning of the 1950s (mum couldn't remember the exact date), making it considerably older than me. I remember thinking it was ugly and really naff when I was a child - now I just love it. Elegantly retro, and if we were in the US it would be considered an antique! It has two bulbs, one pointing up and the other down (we'll replace those with eco-bulbs) and the shade looks like raw silk, though it's actually some sort of brittle plasticy stuff (I'll have to try to find out exactly what). At the moment the cord is too short to plug in where I want it, so in the New Year we'll get a length of cable and extend it a little.
It's rather nice: for years I only had the overhead light, now I suddenly have three lovely lamps as well.
I like lights, especially unusual ones!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
The twiglights, taken after dark without flash (using flash, even at the night-time setting, was 'orrible). I'll take another tomorrow and see if I can get something a little better.
K&K disappeared early afternoon, heading for Eastwood farm, a lovely piece of open space a couple of miles away. (It's where the silver birch photo over on the left at the top of the infopane was taken.) They were gone four hours... I did usefulnesses - stripped the Yule tree and packed the decorations, did a little cleaning in preparation for New Year, put a wash through... standard boring stuff, if essential.
Tomorrow is the major clean. Well, as major as it gets around here. Kai still has his workstation to do, I need to get the kitchen and bathroom finished ('kitchen' in this instance meaning the floor. And the litter tray. And the floor under and around the litter tray. Oh joy.)
Raptor seems suddenly very old. She's grown a little thinner, and her back legs seem a little stiff: she doesn't want to jump up to her perch on the cupboard any more, or even go upstairs. She's eating the same as ever, as far as I can tell, and curling up purring on laps for cuddles, but the kittenishness has gone. It doesn't help that Argent is bullying her, now that Quyn, his old target, is no longer here. [sigh] Pets...
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Finally feeling a little better today - still in pain, but the swelling has mostly gone down and I can talk without it hurting. So I went shopping, specifically looking for a vase-type thingie for the gorgeous golden twiglights (that's twiglights not Twiglets™) GoodTwin gave me for Yule. (I've been lusting after a set of these for ages but never mentioned it to anyone - at least, I don't think I did - and they're a bit pricey for me to buy for myself, so they were a wonderful surprise!) I found a rather nice large glass vase shaped vaguely like a milk urn (said Ken, which led to the inevitable 'in keeping with the rustic aesthetic' of the lounge jokes) in Sainsbug's sale: looks lovely. I'll take a photo when the Yule tree is down and the lights in place.
LoveFilm sent the next of my choices - Transformers - and we all sat down to watch it this afternoon (Ken hadn't seen it)...
Oh dear. It was even worse on the second viewing, immensely pointless, characters with all the depth and emotional appeal of wet cardboard, plot holes you could pilot the Death Star through...
But we liked the actual transformer bits.
As a complete contrast, this evening Love Actually was on TV... We let Kai stay up to see it, and we all adored it. It's a fabulous film, and has gone straight on the list to buy. Heh, British films at their best are the best in the world.
Kai wants to go out on his bike with his dad tomorrow. Ken's not so keen - we keep trying to get Kai to ring his bike-riding friends and go out with them, but he seems a bit reluctant. Maybe he just feels safer with Ken.
Friday, December 28, 2007
I seem to have spent a lot of today asleep, which has no doubt done some good. But we cleared Kai's floor and sorted out his bookshelves, so we're that much closer to having the room tidy.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
OK, that's interesting. The side effect of taking the two meds together seems to be that the soles of my feet and the palms of my hands (and only those parts) itch like hell... Rang the pharmacist to check if that's normal - he said he's never heard of it. [rolls eyes] Typical... However, I have established that unless I get a rash (or my tongue swells up!) it's probably nothing to worry about - after all I've had both meds separately with no problems. Quite why it's happening now I don't know, but running cold water over the itches helps.
The pain has eased significantly, enough that I can now ignore it, which is wonderful after the last couple of days.
We have, as suspected, done some major DVD watching. Kai watched The Birds yesterday, and thought it was good, although we all found the ending rather abrupt. But one of the extra features on the DVD was an alternate, expanded ending, done with a few storyboard pics and written notes: it's a shame they didn't make it as it would have been far more dramatic. Eh well.
Then we watched CE3K, which is one of my all-time favourite films. And this version has all the missing scenes added back in, and fourteen deleted scenes as one of the extras. Kai loved it, which makes me very pleased. But it would look better on a bigger screen. Maybe one day.
Later on I watched the first four eps of Space Rangers (couldn't sleep - the 'prufen had stopped working properly at that point) and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's so wonderfully gritty and grimy and realistic. Great stuff!
K&K have gone out with the bike: not so far today though. I'm knackered and debating a nap - and the itching appears to be easing slightly. This is good...
Woke early after bugger all sleep, tried not to touch badly swollen side of face, ate 'prufens and rang the dentist at one minute past nine, to be given the number of the Broadwalk Dental Centre, who are handling emergencies until January 3rd (or so I gather). Rang them, got through on the third try, was told to get up there as soon as I could and I'd be seen as soon as possible.
Struggled up the hill, found the place, only had to wait twenty minutes. Explained to the dentist (nice woman, looked Chinese, sounded Spanish, interesting mix) the sorry tale of the last month. She thought it sounded like the temporary filling seal had broken and allowed bugs in, so removed it and cleaned out the hole (which involved all sorts of rasping with what sounded like a file, and lots of poking. Didn't hurt the tooth, it's dead, but oh, my gum/jaw/face/sinuses. I have a sneaking suspicion I had some sort of abscess thing under the tooth too, given the release of pressure after she'd been pushing at the gum above the tooth then rinsing thoroughly...) And I now have five days worth of metronidazole 200mg (oh joy, no alcohol to see in the New Year) and seven days worth of amoxicillin 500mg, to be taken together to fight the big (her word) infection.
She also thinks the tooth probably can't be saved, and I'm inclined to agree. This is the second infection in a month, and since the first one happened before I'd had the tooth filled I can't blame the root canal for both. I have to make an appointment to see my own dentist urgently as soon as possible.
Well, I've tried. But I can't keep going like this - I'm resigned to losing it.
Nicer news later - off to take tablets and pain killers.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Rang the surgery - recorded message saying to ring the primary health trust.
That would mean getting into town (with no public transport and taxis charging at least twice normal fare and often three times on Boxing Day) to sit and wait at the BRI (had to wait three hours when I broke my foot) to be prescribed anti-bios (and hope the inhouse dispensary has them: last time Ken went to collect his meds (when he was on them) they didn't, and we had to go back later) and told to ring the dentist tomorrow.
And I hate hospitals.
Sod it. I'll carry on eating 'prufens and parrots and ring the surgery again tomorrow. If they still send me to the BRI at least there'll be buses running.
Labels: medical matters
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Hoping everyone had a fantastic day.
I woke up early with toothache (in the root-canal tooth) which gradually got worse and worse until it felt like someone drilling up through my jaw in time with my pulse. Going to have to ring the surgery tomorrow and find out what emergency treatment's available. I can cope tonight, overdosing on 'prufen and parrots...
But Kai had a fantastic day. Watched Stormbreaker, then, since the weather was nice, he went for a ride on the new bike - out to Stockwood and Whitchurch and back via Keynsham, a hell of a walk for Ken! While they were gone I watched and enjoyed Doctor Faustus (I still found Andreas Teuber - playing Mephistopheles - the most memorable part) then made dinner (I know, I know, very traditional of us) which was very tasty. As was the wine, Sainsbug's South East Australian organically grown Shiraz. I'm not usually that fond of red wines, but that one was wonderful. Kai even enjoyed his avocado - first time he'd ever had any. We ate the cheesecake with the Dr Who xmas special, which was OK, I guess.
Having an easy day tomorrow: I bought some packs of Iceland's special party food (mini BBQ-ed ribs, chicken goujons, chicken tikka bites, chicken satay, crispy duck pancakes, chocolate-coated orange profiteroles, that sort of thing, which can just be thrown in the oven from frozen) for lunch and we're having roast pork for dinner, and no doubt many DVDs will be watched...
Monday, December 24, 2007
Most of the first wave of H: PC went in the post this morning, then I wandered down to Sainsbug's for some last minute shopping. And for perhaps the first time ever it was rather pleasant - relaxed, not too many people, not too much to carry (small portions of paté, smooth duck with cranberry and Dow's port, and coarse farmhouse; some Tintern cheddar with onions and shallots; bagels - onion, and poppyseed - for breakfast tomorrow; a cucumber and pomodorino tomatoes...), and so quiet I just waltzed through the checkout. Of course, once I got outside I found the carpark jammed with new arrivals going round and round searching for spaces, so for once I obviously got my timing right!
Kai had made a good start on his bedroom when I got back, then came down and we finished doing his corner - found things we thought were lost forever, including his original bicycle pump... [rolls eyes] Still, we now have a spare.
Speaking of Kai - he's doing a countdown. Not to tomorrow, no - he's counting down to Boxing Day, when he's going out with his dad on his new bike... [rolls eyes again] It's very cute! The weather is supposed to be dry with sunny spells, so we're keeping fingers crossed they're right this time.
If I remember, I'll take some photos of our dinner, since I got nagged last time for not posting any! [smirks at Lutra] Just so's you know - I'm making prawn stuffed avocado for starters, roast partridge with all the trimmings for entrée, and slicing an Iceland Grand Marnier cheesecake for dessert. And Tia Maria coffees with Danish butter biscuits afterwards with one of the feels-like hundreds of DVDs we have coming...
Including Space Rangers, The Martian Chronicles (I remember loving that the first time I saw it, even though I know it's going to look dated now), Dr Faustus (the first film I ever saw on going to the cinema by myself - well, with a friend rather than my parents), onna's Yule present, Artemis 81 [GLOMPS onna!] - all classic and cult stuff. Kai has several coming as well (Stormbreaker, Addams Family Values, Blades of Glory) and we picked up CE3K and The Birds for family viewing later in the week. Yes, I know The Birds isn't what most people would consider family viewing, but Kai's been itching to see it, and he is developing a keen discrimination when it comes to good films. I'll make sure we follow it with something less scary if he finds it bothersome, but I don't think he will...
[grin] Have I mentioned how much I love play.com and its incredibly cheap DVD sales?
I still have to clear the dining table, but other than that we're all set. I even remembered to take the partridges out of the freezer!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
A relaxed sort of day, much of it spent watching TV (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Santa Claus, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, The 100 Most Annoying People of 2007...) while Kai made a start on tidying his corner. Oh, and I signed and packaged H: PCs to go in the post, hopefully tomorrow.
I keep forgetting to say: Kai's nickname at school is Bagel. Because he really likes them. (Which is a point, I could see if I could pick up a pack for xmas day breakfast with the shopping tomorrow.)
Dinner was very tasty. The film was worse than I remember it. Kai thinks he has another cold. And Raptor is completely unfazed by Pudj.
Tomorrow we attack Kai's room...
Labels: nowt really
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Wishing you all a Joyous Solstice
It's our 18th anniversary. Eighteen years... We aren't doing anything special (just a bit broke this year!) but I am roasting the guinea fowl for dinner, with all the trimmings, and we'll open the medlar jelly. HHGTTG is on TV tonight, so we'll probably sit and MST3K it. And I shall eat the strawberry and champagne truffles Ken gave me (oh, they are nice!)
K&K have gone out for a ride and walk, and to pick up a little shopping. I'm about to start signing books...
I've had a lovely day. It was fantastic to see, sit and talk with GoodTwin again, relaxing and comfortable. And when Kai arrived home he was fairly cheerful - the day hadn't been nearly as bad as he was anticipating (although they still had detentions), and he's happy to be on holiday and looking forward to his presents.
And I'm on page 328 and have so far only found one typo (where I used a word different from the one I had intended, but I'm the only person who would know it!) and a couple of instances where my grammar is less than perfect, which is probably forgiveable. I'll finish checking before I go to bed: we'd like to package up the current orders tomorrow, ready for posting as soon as possible.
[grin] This is so nice, after all the work we've put in...
Friday, December 21, 2007
So there I was, doing the usual morning online thingies, when a knock came at the door...
I'm now sitting here surrounded by four of these...
... containing lots of these ->
We were supposed to get one, proof copy on xmas eve, to check everything was fine before we put in the order...
But as it happens, I've done a quick check check through and it all looks fine - the corrected version of the text has been used, and the illustrations look good (though they could have been a little darker. I'll remember that for the next book!) The cover looks a lot paler here than it really is - even a matte cover bounces a lot of flash back - but has actually come out exactly as we wanted it. So I'm very pleased.
[grin] Also as it happens, GoodTwin is on her way over, right now, for the pre-Yule visit. She's going to be the first person, other than myself, to see all the illustrations in place...
I shall sign and post the ordered copies over the next few days. I'm sorry they won't reach everyone in time for Yule, but you'll still get them well in advance of the publication date.
That is, of course, assuming everything is OK. I shall run through my working copy now and check that there aren't any errors.
Labels: Haadri: Prime Contact
... and then Kai came downstairs, very distressed and upset, at 11.30, saying he had a sore throat and headache and couldn't sleep, and could I help... We sat and talked the whole incident over for half an hour, and I made him a warm chocolate drink, and finally brought down my sleeping bag and his pillow and let him flop on the large settee for a bit (nowt on TV - left it on the second Bridget Jones film, which he found mildly distracting). Then we both watched The Mighty Boosh (first season - he's not old enough yet to watch the third, and I haven't seen the second), to which I am rapidly becoming addicted and which Kai really enjoyed (it was the Charlie ep tonight).
He's going to be very tired in the morning (heh, so am I) but he went up feeling a bit better and with a slightly more objective view of things.
It's the first time a teacher has actually frightened him. From what he was saying I gather the guy completely lost it and has threatened the sprogs - all of them - with not only detention but also telling all their teachers tomorrow what happened and forbidding them to have any of the fun things (films, games and DVDs) that are the usual fare on the last day of term. I really hope that it was purely an over-reaction and he comes to his senses tomorrow...
Thursday, December 20, 2007
It's difficult to settle at the moment. I've done some housework, which I hate, but the house looks better for it. It's been too cold, and the ground too hard, to do anything in the garden (pity, because the weather was just beautiful today, cold and crisp and brilliantly sunny). Shopped, and remembered to pick up some Sainsbug's own organic horseradish sauce to go with the beef - I think we now have just about everything we need for the next couple of weeks. Except for fruit juices and kit tins. Checked how to cook partridges (exactly how I'd thought).
All fascinating stuff, ne?
Kai came home very unhappy. Apparently the pranksters in the class decided it would be a good idea to hide all the history books before the teacher arrived, and fling sweets around the room while waiting for him. He was absolutely furious and has given the entire class detention on all of their breaks tomorrow (morning and lunchtime) - and he will be checking up on the class when they're in their other lessons too (which is going to make the RE teacher scream at them, Kai says. Why I'm not quite sure. For a sprog with such an excellent vocabulary and high grade for English he's really not very good at explaining things...) Kai thinks this is hugely unfair to those who had nothing to do with it (which of course it is - but that's the whole point) and a miserable way to spend the last day of school. He has PE first thing as well, and a test in RE (he thinks). And he's tired, and stressed, and missing Quyn too. It's all a bit much.
I said just to keep quiet, keep his head down and put up with it - there's not a lot else he can do. Hopefully we can cheer him up over the weekend. And of course he has his bike to look forwards to.
A note to Haadri people (haadrites? haadrions? Ooh, I like that last, sounds like some sort of elemental, subatomic particle!) - don't forget the price of Haadri: Prime Contact goes up in two days time...
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The plush St Bernard's now has a name - Pudj.
And everyone has given him a cuddle. Kai thinks he's wonderful. He's certainly very comforting...
Where did I file the cat?
Argent has made a career out of finding different and occasionally bizarre places to sleep. This is his latest, on top of some of Ken's files, second shelf up of the window-wards tall bookcase, in the study...
Kai handed over an envelope, on arriving home yesterday evening, then scurried off upstairs. It was his end of term report... [bemused] I'm not quite sure why he always hides - if there's anything less than satisfactory we just sit down and discuss ways of improving things, we've never complained or nagged. But as it happens, this report is excellent, great grades, with a whole load of 'excellent' and 'outstanding' amongst the 'good': the only subject where he got 'satisfactory' is PE (and while he's fit and healthy and active outside of school that's hardly important, in my opinion!) He has close to top marks for Science, English, Music and, interestingly, Geography - although thinking about it, we've been discussing his plans for his future just recently, just in an idle manner after one of his citizenship classes had them all devising 'life plans' (at 12. Riiiiight...), and he's keen to take a gap year before university (yes, although we've told him if he wants to go straight into work after sixth form we've no objection, he seems to have decided he wants the uni experience and qualifications - and I have to confess I think it would be a waste if he didn't) and use it to travel the world, so perhaps the Geography grade isn't so surprising... Where was I? Oh yes...
But what we're particularly pleased about is he brought home an official letter: he's been identified as 'talented' in Science and invited to join the school's Gifted and Talented Science Club! We're all dead chuffed, and he will be signing up. (Now, that being said, the letter does also say that they have limited numbers and may not be able to accommodate all their gifted and talented students, but will make every effort to make sure everyone has the chance to "attend at least one Science club in the year". I'm not sure if that means one course per term or just one evening's session. I assume the former - I think. But we're keeping fingers crossed he can join for the whole year - it would be wonderful for him, and I'm sure he'd love it.)
The last time I went over to Focus they had a handful of floor boxes full of soft toys, including several different sorts of near-life-size 'cuddles time' dogs. Very realistic too - the first two I saw were sitting on the floor and I thought, from a short distance, they were real (and looked around for their owner before I realised there were more in the box beside them). Today I went over with my bit of the little extra cash mum gave each of us to buy something frivolous for ourselves for Yule (over and above the two settees, that is) and bought this St Bernard pup (half price in their sale). I had planned to pick up a golden retriever, but this one looked at me and said 'buy me', and I couldn't resist.
Is it so sad of me, wanting something dog-shaped to hug? It's not so bad during the day, when I'm busy and other people are around, but at night it's too quiet. I miss him sitting beside me at the desk, nudging whatever he can reach asking to be petted, or watching me eat, grinning, hopeful there'll be something for him at the end. I miss him barking when someone's at the door, or when he wants to go out, and his scratching to come back in. I miss him sleeping at the top of the stairs, keeping an eye on all of us...
I know it'll get easier in time, but right now the loss hurts so much.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Fair enough, I don't how I'd be feeling if I wasn't using the First Defence, but as of right now I'd say that it doesn't really work for me. But at least the worst of the cold will be over by Yule.
Ken bought the Yuletide TV Times yesterday. I opened it, fluorescent highlighter in hand ready to mark possible essential watches - and the first thing I came to was the double page spread announcing that that f******g obnoxious Catherine Tate is to be the Doctor's next companion, and I dropped the mag, too depressed to go on. I'll watch a couple of eps to see if I can actually bear her, but even David Tennant isn't a big enough draw to persuade me to watch if the stories aren't extremely good.
K&K rode/walked to Whitchurch this afternoon: I wrapped presents, made crackers (I bought a kit several years ago and decided to use it this year, as we're fed up with bought crackers being really a bit on the pricey side and never having things we particularly like in them), and took photos of Quyn in the sun in the garden.
Due at the vet at 11.30 in the morning. I'll make a page for the pooch, as I did for Ryme, and post the link here in the next couple of days, but otherwise I'm taking a little time off while we start trying to get used to not having him here.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
A lovely, if subdued, sort of day. We put on Johnny English and Hot Fuzz, neither of which the folks had seen and both of which they really enjoyed, had a Chinese (delivered) carry-out for dinner (Kai has discovered barbecued spare ribs and just loves them), and petted Quyn endlessly. And I managed a nap this evening so am feeling relatively chipper myself. (The First Defence seems to be helping, the cold, although it hasn't stopped it completely. Not sure yet how effective it will be when it's at its worst, but not having that awful sore throat that's usually the first sign for me is a considerable relief.)
It's been 24 hours since my last metronidazole, and it should now be OK to have a glass of wine or two (missed it last night)...
Friday, December 14, 2007
Friday off school for Kai. We went into town for him to pick up the presents for this year's 'Secret Santa' and for a friend, and for me to buy a few bits and pieces (like a new lighter for the oven as the ignition switch stopped working last night and we can't work out how to fix it - without taking the cooker apart, anyway, and we're not exactly qualified to do that). On the bus on the way in we played the animal game (not the best title for it, but I don't know if it has a real one - it's the game where you describe someone in terms of... animal, bird, building, car, food, etc. etc.) I described Kai as an otter cub, a spagbol, and a dolphin. He described me as an owl, a really exotic curry and a squid! We both agreed we thought those descriptions were apt.
Interesting busker! -> He was pretty good too, played Irish and Scottish jigs on electric violin while balancing on one foot on the tightrope. Impressed, we were...
Afterwards I took Kai straight over to the Showcase to see The Golden Compass. Kai loved it, I mostly liked it, though I was vaguely aware of something missing. It's been a long time since I read the book, and I'm not at my best at the moment, so can't quite pin it down. It may have had something to do with trying to cram an awful lot of book into just over and hour and a half, of course; there's bound to be a lot left out. But overall the sfx are terrific, and the visualisation of Lyra's world extremely effective. Not sure we'd want to buy it (unless Kai says he'd like a copy to keep) but no doubt we'll see the others as they're released.
Our timing was good though - there were only seven of us at the screening, and two of them left half way through...
Kai has managed to bring home a cold virus I haven't had. In an attempt to cut it off at the knees I bought some First Defence, expensive, but if it works it'll be cheaper than the usual things I have to buy for a cold. So far so good - I'm breathing fairly easily and the sore throat hasn't developed, so fingers crossed.
Ken bathed Quyn while we were out. His fur is getting thin, and I was wrong when I said he hadn't lost weight - you can feel his bones now, ribs and spine, and that's only happened in the last couple of weeks. He's still eating like the proverbial horse, but it's not helping. And he can hardly climb the stairs any more. I think, on the quiet and going by Ryme's last days, the cancer's more developed than the vets were able to see.
Folks up for the day tomorrow.
[bemused] I commented to Ken, earlier - um, I mean yesterday - on waking from a much-needed afternoon nap, that for some wholly inexplicable reason John Barrowman keeps turning up in my dreams. Ken's reply? "Can we charge him rent?"
Thursday, December 13, 2007
[blink] I've just had a root canal.
Goes to show how completely dead the tooth is though - I didn't feel a thing. Well, OK, pressure and a twinge or two in the gum either side due to the instruments she was using, but nowt else. And that dull ache that's been there for the last month has gone, too.
It's nice that something good has happened.
I do need to go back for the proper filling and finish though, as at the moment there's a temporary dressing in the hole. Half hour appointment, and the earliest they can do is 7th of February, but if I have any problems in the meantime they'll fit me in right away for emergency treatment. And there will be a dentist on duty all over Yule and New Year, so I don't have to suffer if anything goes wrong.
In other news... Ken picked up Flood from Phoenix yesterday evening (there was, as usual, nothing worth watching on the TV). It's a good film, wonderfully restrained and understated, thoroughly British, and really frightening, especially since it could easily happen. It's not perfect - some of the acting is a little wooden, I felt, and we all thought that there would surely have been more than one oxygen tank at the Thames Barrier - but on the whole heartily recommended.
I looked at e-bay last week... [slaps own wrist] Today the complete Gravitation DVD set and Part One of The Heroic Legend of Arslan arrived in the post. Very naughty just before Yule, I know, but in my defence I must point out that it was a UK seller, and they cost me a grand total of £1.98 (plus P&P) for the both, and at that price I simply couldn't not get them. Especially since I've been looking for the Arslan for years...
Quyn... Thank you all for your thoughts and sympathy. We're dreading it (especially Kai - he's never known life without Quyn), but I'd much rather now, when pooch is still relatively well and not in too much pain (he can't have the metacam with the other meds, and I know his arthritis is bothering him, he keeps asking to have his hips massaged) than later when he can't swallow properly and is in real distress. At the moment he seems to think he's a puppy again, at least in his head. He's had a lovely life, with more love than a lot of kids, and that's what we're focusing on.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
There is nothing more we can do, and after last night's upsets, I don't think it's fair to Quyn to prolong the situation. He's booked in for 11.30 on Monday, which gives us (and my parents, who love him dearly and who are coming up on Saturday for the usual pre-Yule visit) a few days to pamper him and say goodbye.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Got to bed as Ken's alarm went off: two cycles later woke up feeling surprisingly refreshed, and actually managed to get quite a lot done today; the front of the greenhouse now has paving slabs down to provide a safe, firm footing, the cat mint is now between the greenhouse and the fence, and we've started planning a new bed up around the magnolia and spiraeas (anything that cuts down on the amount of mowing needed in the garden is a good thing as far as Ken is concerned). And tonight we signed/enveloped most of the snail-mail cards ready to go in the post tomorrow.
As for Quyn, however...
He wasn't too bad last night, but I think that was probably because I was down here with him: he really doesn't like being alone any more. His breathing is raspy again - and he's started digging up and eating the cats' leavings, something he hasn't done since he was a puppy. The smell is awful, and he risks giving himself another dose of stomach problems. We've tidied as best we can, but I can't watch him all the time when he's in the garden (certainly not at night)...
Vet at 10 am tomorrow. Will see what she says.
Monday, December 10, 2007
I spoke too soon... Quyn started pacing and panting again last night, following me up stairs and waking Ken. Took him back down and gave him a diazepam, but it didn't help, and at 5 am he started barking at the back doors...
This morning he snuck into the kitchen (where he is not allowed) and ate all the cats' food (he's tried to do it again twice since then: I've managed to stop him in time). The corvental doesn't seem to be working any more.
I'm going to have to sit up with him tonight and tomorrow night, I think. We'll see what the vet says on Wednesday, but I can't cope with this for much longer.
Had a lovely morning though - met Emma Garner (the artist for Celtic Messages and Celtic Symbols) at the Bocabar on the Bath Rd for a chat and to show her the BCA Celtic Messages boxed pack. Unfortunately I couldn't stay for long (Ken had a dental appointment and I didn't want to leave Quyn alone for any length of time) but it was very interesting and fun (and the place is great too - have to go back there some time with more time/money/when I'm not taking tablets whose side effects in combination with alcohol include death...) Emma actually lives up the hill - I can see her house from the garden! Hoping we can meet up again after the madness that is Yule.
I need sheeeep...
Sunday, December 09, 2007
[sigh] A bout of indigestion (the sort that feels as though a herd of cats has pulled your intestines out through your navel, played with them for half an hour then put them back in upside down) coupled with an evil dose of backache meant I didn't get any sleep at all last night (spent the night sitting upright on the settee downstairs watching Kai's Jonathon Creek Series One box set, about all I felt up to). So today has been a bit... messy. (I'm fine now, and managed to get some sleep, but I do hate it when that happens. Such a horrendous waste of time...)
But we've laid a few more paving slabs - two in front of the greenhouse door now, which will hopefully stop me tripping over the sill half the time when I try to get in there! - and I prepared/parboiled/frozen the organic dwarf green beans I picked up a few days back (we used to be able to buy them ready frozen in bags, but no-one seems to do them any more).
Quyn is still OK, and I still haven't needed to use any diazepam.
Small Haadriblog update shortly...
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Snowflake lights! Really pretty...
Dived over to Focus for the lights, and also picked up some seed packets (at half price in their closing down sale): cauliflower, leeks, radishes, marrow, Russian tarragon (love the smell) and nasturtiums (great for attracting beneficial insects). We decorated. And did a handful of cards. But that was all: Kai had to clear a load of his stuff from the floor before we could get everything up, and I took the opportunity to wade through all the decorations and get rid of a whole load of old and tatty ones. We've done the lounge, hall and hung up my snowflakes out here, but I can't be arsed with my silver tree this year, too much effort.
Feeling drained - planning on getting to bed once I've taken my metronizadole (at 1.30 am).
Friday, December 07, 2007
So, what happened today...
I finished preparing a synopsis for a possible new project (more if it happens); shopped (how fascinating... Actually it wasn't too bad, picked up a small but pure meat - no visible fat at all - Irish beef roasting joint for Boxing Day on special, nearly half price); and watched Torchwood with Kai - the alien fight club episode. Sprog wasn't that interested, I don't think. I'll know more if he asks to watch next week's.
In other news, Quyn's meds seem to be working well. He's a lot calmer and brighter, and generally much more like his old self. And I'm getting some sleep, which also helps. (Oh, and I did tell Kai about Quyn. I think, like me, he prefers to know so he can brace himself.)
We're planning to put up the Yule decorations, wrap presents (and activate the mobile phones we've bought for both sets of parents) and write cards tomorrow, since the forecast is for rain all day. I'm hoping we can get into the garden on Sunday though - we've been buying really cheap paving slabs in Focus's closing down sale (Kai's been barrowing them back home in sets of six) and it would be very good to get them set into the ground. Ken also picked up some piping: we need to sort out some way of affixing it to the greenhouse guttering so I can collect rainwater in temporary 'butts'. The main butt almost ran out last summer, it was so hot and dry, and with an additional veg bed and everything I plan to grow in the greenhouse the more water I can store the better!
The Golden Compass is on at the Showcase. And by fortuitous happenstance Kai has next Friday off (2008 entrance test for the next intake, I think). Assuming my mouth isn't hurting too much after the dentist on Thursday, I may very well take him over to see it.
Anyone else find the latest M&S advert (the Xmas Belles one) hideously sexist? Makes my skin crawl.
And lastly: wryly chuckleworthy from Mock the Week: Q: What are the voices in George Bush's head saying? A: Breathe in... breathe out...
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The good news is that the crowned molar is fine.
The bad news is that a) the amount of bone loss around the front of my mouth has now reached worrying proportions - it's half way down the roots (which would explain why they're all a bit loose and why it hurts so much to bite down on anything hard). And b) that upper canine I was worried about is, essentially, dead.
I have a week's worth of Metronidazole (400mg) and I go back next week for a root canal to try to save it - I don't want to lose it (and she agrees with me) - but there's not a lot I can do about the bone loss: it's an ongoing problem I've had since my 20's. My diet is very good, and so is my oral hygiene, but she's advised me to get one of these (they sell them at the surgery for £25) which should help as well. An expense I could do without right now.
And in all the worry over Quyn I forgot to commemorate Ryme. It was a year ago on the second of December that we lost her... [sigh] I've gone off Decembers.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Just back from vet. Biopsy shows that the lumps are thyroid carcinoma.
This wasn't completely unexpected, given he's already a cancer survivor. Vet says to continue with the meds he has at the moment (reducing the steroids from one and a half tablets to one, twice a day) and I have another appointment next Wednesday to see the other vet (a lovely Scottish woman who's been treating him for years, and who he likes) for a sort of 'second opinion' and to decide how to go forwards. Since the tumour isn't causing him that much hassle at the moment (he's swallowing and breathing OK now), and vet thinks the pacing might have been a form of canine dementia, especially since the Corvental - which is used primarily for dementia, to stimulate blood flow to the brain I'm told, kind of like pro-plus for dogs. Its secondary effect is as a vasodilator for other parts of the body - has calmed and settled him, and he hasn't lost weight and isn't in distress, it's quite possible he could go on for months yet. But we have to resign ourselves to the fact that we're going to lose him, and will probably have to have him put to sleep in the nearish future.
We'll focus on enjoying the time we have left with him. But I might leave it 'til the weekend to tell Kai.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
[Cross-posted to the Haadriblog]
The final cover...
It's gone - cover and manuscript winged their way off to the printer! Will take a photo of our proof copy when it arrives. Not sure how long that will be, but it may be up to four weeks I think...
Now I can focus on Heart properly - including reading through your feedback, Sue. Haven't had time yet, it's taken nearly two days for the final proof-read and cover preparation.
In other news, Quyn hasn't quite recovered from the sedation yet, which is a little alarming. He's spent all of yesterday and most of today asleep (though in a way that's good, as I haven't needed to give him any diazepam. It's there if needed, but it's addictive to dogs as well as humans, apparently, and as you've probably noticed, as a family we prefer not to take medication unless it's really needed.
He's speaking to me again though. At least, he is at the moment: I have to take him back to the vet tomorrow, which might change things...
Monday, December 03, 2007
Quyn's back, very dozy and wobbly from his sedation and not at all keen on me at the moment...
We're continuing with the meds I was given on Saturday, since they did seem to make a positive difference (after I went up at 4 this morning he slept right through until Ken and Kai came down, so the diazepam does seem to be working) for the time being. However, the x-ray showed his heart is enlarged (not uncommon in older animals, I was informed: I've been given info on heart disease and heart failure in dogs) and there's also some 'patterning' on his lungs. Not completely sure what that's about, though they suggested it may be connected with with the heart and possibly the lumps (yes, there are now two causing concern, the massive one - it fills my cupped hand now - on the left and a smaller one on the right), but they'll know more when the biopsy analyses come back. I have to take him back on Wednesday for another 'sit and wait' appointment to hear what those tests show.
More as it happens...
Sunday, December 02, 2007
<- Sun shining through jar of medlar jelly on kitchen window shelf.
We tried splitting the metacam into two doses, and for a couple of hours I thought it had worked. Quyn slept - until I tried to get to bed at 4 am, when he followed me up and started panting and pacing. Kai, luckily, slept through it, but it woke Ken, who - bless him - came down to sit with pooch. Got an urgent appointment for Saturday morning: even the vet noticed his breathing was worse from Wednesday, and prescribed two day's worth of prednisolone steroids, two day's worth of corvental - to 'open the airways' - and four diazepam tablets, these last to sedate him just a bit so I can get some sleep.
The steroids and green things helped a lot yesterday, his breathing eased and he almost stopped panting, but the single diazepam I gave him last night... He took it OK (squashed into a small knob of butter, the way I usually give him his tablets) and dozed off - but an hour later he leapt up, looked around really startled, and wolfed down two bowls of food. And his back legs were wobbly - his bum kept falling sideways. It would have been funny had the whole situation not been so alarming. He went back to sleep and slept through 'til morning (sort of. Kai tells me he was wandering around panting again at 7 am, but I was out by then).
This evening he's panting and unsettled again. I can't win.
Tomorrow morning I take him back to the vet for 8.30: he's booked in for a chest X-ray and biopsy of the lump. I'll be able to pick him up in the afternoon, though, so hopefully he won't have time to be too distressed.
I think I said, back when I was redecorating the kitchen, that I was looking for a high, narrow stool to sit in the corner. I didn't want to have to fork out much (if anything) for it, and the ones I've seen in the shops have all been in excess of £25, so we've been keeping an eye on Freecycle. There've been a couple, neither of which were any good, but then on Friday Ken found one that sounded as though it might be right. I rang, and the description the Freecycler gave sounded ideal, so on Saturday while the M sprog came round to see Kai and I tried very hard to catch up on a little sleep, Ken bussed out to the place (other side of the city) and bussed back home with this ->
It's perfect, exactly what I wanted (I gather it's actually a bar-stool, but what the hell...) and it matches the kitchen nicely. I'm very pleased with it.
Achingly tired, but I still have to take my last amoxycillin (at around midnight) and give Quyn his diazepam, so can't go to bed just yet. And then I have a 7 am start. I need a holiday...
Later edit: WAIII! I love this film. I never ever thought I'd see it for sale anywhere! That's straight on the 'must have' list - as is this. I don't know how they did it - I heard that the original Ace of Wands recordings were destroyed - but I'm very glad they did.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
A little later than anticipated, but still as promised, the pre-order page is now up and available