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, April 28, 2014
Long day at the BRI, Kai needed platelets (again - that makes three transfusions in eight days): used the time to write the first three pages of next!Poppy. While we were out Ken heard Tyjer yowling in the garden and looked out to see this:
It rather looks like a nursing female...
Tyjer remains in a traumatised state, poor kit.
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Quickie because Sunday...
Remember I said it was raining on Friday (which was why our planned trip to Severn Beach had to be postponed. There are no shelters there)? It was, as they say, lovely weather for ducks...
This is right in the middle of Broadmead shopping centre.
Edit: Ken was in Babbacombe yesterday for his dad's 90th birthday celebration. Apparently all went well and everyone had a good time, but Ken was happy to get back. It's a long trip and a long day.
We watched Elysium this afternoon. It's good - not quite as good as District 9, but certainly well worth a watch. With a warning for language and violence!
[bemused] My regular tumblr rp partner called me 'Battle Mama' - which I rather like. Shall use it as a sig I think!
Saturday, April 26, 2014
[rolls eyes] When I typed 'yesterday' in the last post of course I meant Monday, not Tuesday...
Yesterday was not fun. Blood review showed a platelets count of 9, just below the 10 count at which Kai needs a transfusion. So he had to have them. Which meant a four hour wait while they were washed...
Came home (another taxi) and he went a little further with his space programme while I dived out to the post office (to look for cards for dad-in-law's birthday - he'll be 90) and Sainsbury's. We got back for 2 pm, which is when we'd been told the platelets would be ready, only to find they weren't. It was gone 5 pm before they were delivered. So of course we got caught in the rush hour traffic and it cost nearly double in taxi fare to get home. We were tired too.
Decided that from now on we'd both take our laptops in, then at least we can get things done while waiting rather than come home every time.
Today I found that Rosa was out of crickets - a bit of a disaster since Kai hadn't fed her in at least a couple of weeks despite my asking (I can't catch the damned things without squashing them...) But fortunately the Pets at Home at the top of Brislington Hill had various sizes in stock, so I got an all day ticket, went into town to the bank and Wilkinson's (and Timpson, of which more in a moment), then out to Hurrans, Pets at Home, Toys R Us, Lidl (which had no organic food at all that I could find) then to Tesco to top up my mobile phone. Knackered by the time I got back and my legs are still aching, but Rosa's now OK for food for a month (and Kai fed her this evening). I also took Feather out for a cuddle and for Ken to clean out her latest shed skin and any droppings (so she's now sorted too).
But anyway, Timpson...
Yesterday Tyjer came home without his collar. Since he's not allowed out without it on, this is a problem. More of a problem is the disc that hangs on the collar with our address and phone number on it. Timpson sells and engraves these, though they aren't cheap £7 last time I had to buy one). So I got there at 1.45, wrote down what I wanted engraving, and they said come back at 2.30 to collect them (got two so we have a backup).
Found a Yule present for mum-in-law in The Galleries (I know, early, but we buy 'em when we see 'em these days), bought bird food at Wilkinson's, and got back to Timpson at 2.30 - to find they hadn't even started the engraving. I had to wait another ten minutes, in the rain, and even then the quality is poor, with one of them hard to read. And they charged me £19.90 for the privilege!
I will NOT be using Timpson for anything again, and I certainly will not be recommending them to anyone either - and have said as much on the feedback page on their site.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Yesterday's appointment, we knew, was going to be a long one, as Kai could tell he needed blood (which he did, but his RBC count wasn't as low as expected, with was a nice surprise). He needed platelets too, so I took Prowl (the laptop) in with me - and wrote Found (Poppy Tales). I've invested in one of these (though mine was £14.99), and although it's very sensitive - very easy to right and left click without meaning to - it's a fantastic little bit of kit, small, incredibly light, and works a treat. Really pleased with it. My new headphones, Maxell foldables, £5.50 from Wilkinsons, are really good too - lovely clear, balanced sound in my ears but hardly any can be heard outside. Cheap but very impressive. And the laptop battery lasted a good five hours before it stopped, but only took an hour to recharge fully (since the day unit was quiet they let me plug in and carry on working while it charged). Overall I'm really happy with the set up and can now work pretty much anywhere.
And after dinner we watched R.I.P.D., which is quite fun. Not brilliant, and a bit predictable, but harmless and fairly amusing.
This is how the 'rockery' is looking at the moment. A little bare, but I haven't found all the plants I want yet. It will look good when it's finished...
Tired. Very tired.
But Poppy 7 pt 13 is now posted, and I'm gearing up for pt 14. Need to get back into it, need to finish the story!
More tomorrow, too tired now.
Labels: The Poppy Tales
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Veg bed/slope on Thursday:
Same area this morning:
I've scattered Flanders poppy seeds on the slope - fingers crossed for a lovely display come summer.
The acer over Roeg's Pool (and yes, horrendous duckweed infestation. Haven't had the time to do anything about it yet, plus the pool's been full of tadpoles).
It's now started raining, which will help the poppies. The front garden is beginning to look pretty good too - will try for photos next week.
Have finished watching (and writing up the IMDb plot summaries for) Star Maidens. Such a pity, it had started getting interesting and really quite good, then it ended (though at least not on a cliffhanger!)
On the subject of cult 70's TV, I've ordered The Starlost (cheap from amazon), which I stumbled across by accident last week, never having heard of it before. Could be interesting...
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Well, Kai didn't feel up to a walk yesterday, so we (Ken and I) did a little gardening while childe languished indoors (feeling a little rough, but not bad enough to need to go to the hospital). Today he's felt a fair bit better, to everyone's surprise, and the hospital appt was quick: RBC is at 73 and platelets at 16, so no transfusions needed (which is on schedule). After I got back from Sains we did a little weeding of the rock garden. Everywhere is beginning to look quite good! (I planted the narcissus out the front, Wendy. Thank you, they are very pretty!)
Four days off for Ken now. Hoping to get some more done in the garden: he's made a great start on the path between the slope and the veg bed. Be nice to get that finished this holiday.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Fun day yesterday! Wendy visited as planned, and I had a great time just relaxing and chatting. [GLOMPS!] Thanks, it was a lovely day.
Today the weather is glorious again. Planning to visit the Callington Rd reserve with Kai after lunch: this time I'll take my camera and get some photos.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Saturday the weather wasn't all that great, so we had a wonderfully indulgent family film fest: The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug after lunch, and then Rise of the Guardians after dinner. This latter is absolutely gorgeous and I think everyone should see it!
Sunday the weather was amazing. Ken and I did the Sainsbury shop, then later a Tesco shop, and in between we got quite a bit done in the garden. Kai helped me plant seeds in peat pots while Ken first mowed, then hoed on the slope (I want to plant Flanders poppies there a bit later in the week).
As you can see, my pear tree is full of blossom this year. As long as the weather stays fair I may actually get some fruit!
Today, yet again, the platelets weren't ready, so to avoid sitting at the day unit for six hours with nothing to do we came back (weeded the front, then I did some cleaning and got dinner ready while Kai booted up and got a few things done) and went in again later. It's costing a bloody fortune in taxis, but the Registrar has promised me they'll be ready next Monday and then I just need to remember to remind them every Thursday that they'll be needed after the weekend...
Kai's feeling a bit rough tonight, side effects of the piriton and hydro-cortisone. Fingers crossed he feels better in the morning. Wendy's coming to visit for the day.
Friday, April 11, 2014
News in brief.
I can't remember what happened on Wednesday. It's completely gone.
Thursday was blood transfusion (it's been two and a half weeks - longest yet), and thanks to the cross match I'd asked for on Tuesday it was ready for us, so no waiting and we were able to come home fairly quickly. I did find out a little more about my role as donor though: four days before I get injected with something that will increase my white blood cell count, then they harvest them through a process a little like dialysis - blood is taken from one arm, spun through a machine to remove the vital ingredients, then returned into the other arm. Although, since they had such trouble finding viable veins in my arms, it's more likely I'll have to have a catheter instead of a canula, in my neck or groin. Have to admit neither sounds appealing... Takes two days, with an overnight stay. Could be worse.
Spent a little time in the garden when we got back, as the weather was so good.
Today Kai and I went over to the Callington Rd Nature reserve again, and explored a little more. There are paths everywhere, and next time we're going to follow the longest one that I think leads back to the Talbot Rd allotments. It was great fun, and Kai thoroughly enjoyed himself (although his legs and the soles of his feet are a bit sore now, it was the furthest he's walked since last August. But he still has plenty of energy, which is wonderful.) On the way back he came into Tesco with me to pick up the shopping (it was very quiet with hardly anyone there so we thought we'd risk it). Nice to get back to something vaguely resembling normality.
But first thing this morning I went to pick up my latest Starscream from the delivery collection (there was VAT to pay) - Generations Armada SS. He's gorgeous.
Easy day tomorrow - planning a little gardening (planting seeds) and watching Desolation of Smaug, which I bought as soon as it came out.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
OK, so, appointment in brief.
Kai likes Professor Marks (he sounds Australian) and I was impressed by his forthright attitude. He went through all the pros and cons of the options for treatment, giving us more of an idea of the odds than the book could. What happens next is we're going to wait til June to see if Kai does have a late response to the ATG. If he does and it's worked, all well and good. If it's only a tiny half-hearted response, they think another course of ATG will be the best option (that will mean another year's deferral of his Uni course, assuming they will. I haven't contacted them yet, wanted to wait until after this appointment).
If there's no improvement, he recommends a bone marrow transplant - a haploid-identical one, with me as the donor. Which explains why they wanted my blood yesterday - five vials of it. (No problem, except my veins did not want to cooperate, and I've ended up with six puncture wounds (three inside both elbows, one on the side of my hand, one on the back of my hand and one on the inside of my forearm which hurt like hell) going a pretty assortment of colours today. I just hope they managed to get enough; four of the vials were barely half full and the last one had hardly anything in it... The nurse who tried to take the blood decided I must be an alien of some sort.)
Obviously the first option is by far the best, but we need to see the numbers improving much faster than they have been. More as it happens.
Labels: medical matters
Sunday, April 06, 2014
Kim didn't have room for this little tree in her garden, so I've given it a home. Not entirely sure what it is - maybe a willow? - but it's very elegant and pretty. I've planted Oriental Pixie and Stargazer lilies around the bottom, should look pretty in the summer.
We finally had the results back from King's College Hospital: pretty much as they said while we were there. The biopsy has come back confirming aplastic anaemia (with a host of details I'll have to look up to understand). The report was peppered with phrases like "exceptionally fit young man" and "remarkably few side effects", which I suppose puts him in the best position to work with whatever treatment they schedule next. Another dose of ATG only has a 30 to 40 per cent chance of working, and they still haven't found a good donor match. We have an appointment with the Bristol transplant specialist on Tuesday, to discuss where we go next.
Friday, April 04, 2014
Thursday's blood review was OK, nothing needed, so we were able to come home fairly quickly. Then we spent the afternoon setting up my new laptop (which Ken decreed I must have and which was paid for by the cash I got for doing the initial things for the thing that might become a thing). Found a nice little Lenovo on amazon for £299.97 (over £50 off in the sale: price has gone up again, I notice!) and since all the reviews sounded positive (I always google for item problems before forking out any substantial amount of cash) I bought it. It's called Prowl (after this one) and is rather nice - though I absolutely hate the touchpad pointer and will be buying a thumbball mouse to use with it. Or maybe a cheap tablet.
Anyway, it's set up now (except for Thunderbird, which is refusing to recognise the Wavewrights server to send messages, though it will receive them, and I don't know why...) I've copied across all my current wips and will be able to work when Kai has a long day at the hospital. Not online unless I borrow his wifi login, but I should be OK without that until I get home anyway.
Kai was of immeasurable help, and recommended Ninite, an absolutely fantastic bit of kit that will install all your usual apps in just one click. You just check the ones you want, hit [get installer], follow the incredibly simple instructions, and it does all the work for you. Brilliant, just brilliant.
The laptop comes with its own Lenovo troubleshooter, and since it was indicating a couple of issues I took a look. One was for launching a couple of backup options, one was to register the machine, and the other made us laugh...
Am aiming to get moving on nextPoppy this evening (after Marvel, Agents of SHIELD). I've reread everything and think I'm pretty much ready...
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
[bemused...] It's been an odd and interesting day. When I woke and looked out of the hall window, as I usually do, I saw our blackbird in Roeg's pool. Yes, in. Standing on the pondweed, of which we have far too much, actually bathing itself. I think it's been fishing for tadpoles too: the pool is heaving with them. After it had gone, a couple of sparrows got in and did the same...
Then while I was upstairs getting ready to go out (PO and Sains) Kai called from the bottom of the stairs, "Feather's got out..."
I've never got down the stairs so fast. I leave the front glass doors open a little for ventilation, and the sneaky snek had pushed them both to one side, leaving enough of a gap for her to almost get through. She was balanced along the lip of the vivarium, with the fattest part of her tail still inside. So I caught her, Kai unlocked the doors so I could free her, and she cuddled into me for half an hour while we let her viv air out a bit. Very calm and relaxed she was, which was a bit of a surprise as - shame on me - she hasn't been handled for several months (I just haven't had the time). Cleaned out the droppings after putting her back in, but we really need to clean her out properly this weekend, and change the aspen substrate.
Wish I'd had time to take a photo!
Interestingly, Ken dreamed last night that she'd got out and was trying to eat Tyjer in the kitchen...
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
I can't keep up. What day are we? Ah yes. Tuesday.
Sunday the weather was great, so we did some stuff in the garden. Kai sat on the bench and enjoyed the sun: I made a little stone 'wall' around the asparagus bed using thin stones and pieces of slate (looks much better than the tatty old green plastic edging) and Ken mowed.
Kai had platelets yesterday, so the appt wasn't quite as quick as we were hoping. But we still got back reasonably fast, and all watched my new RG Veda DVD (a Clamp Studios classic, very pretty, if very confusing as the anime takes a couple of later episodes, starting and ending in the middle of the story. Lovely to have it though - I can get rid of the video now). After dinner Ken and I watched the last ep of Space Rangers so I could finish writing and posting the IMDb ep summaries. Finished now, and all accepted. (Next we move onto Star Maidens next, those IMDb ep plots are empty too!)
Today I had to get back to the hospital as we were almost out of itraconasole (I should have ordered it last week but it slipped my mind, and the pharmacy are always very busy on a Monday, and wouldn't have had it ready for hours yesterday). Took advantage to stock up on bird food and buy a decent digital thermometer, a Braun one from Boots (the Lloyds one is a complete fail and I'm taking it back to complain tomorrow). Hoping to watch Forbidden Planet after dinner.
I am really tired of this blasted vertigo. Over a month now and it's not getting any better. And my legs are constantly aching: I have to keep making tiny muscular adjustments when walking to stay upright and while I'm sure it's probably doing my leg muscles a lot of good, it hurts...