My year has not ended the way I wanted it to. I was looking forward to heading into 2016 with a good job, confident about my life and where it was heading. I am now signed off from work, and facing a serious medical condition that is not quite under control (although I am feeling better, so the medication must be working!! ^__- ) I don't really know what 2016 will bring, but I am trying to remain philosophical about it all. And it hasn't been all bad. I do love my job, and even if my health problems force me out of it for a while, I now have a skill that will make it possible for me to move anywhere in the country to find another position. I have great friends (you guys included!), and next year my family will be increasing in size. All of these are very awesome things. So, even with this set-back, I am in a good position to have a fantastic new year.
Can't ask for much more than that.
Oh, and I'm still waiting to hear back about the outline of my novel that I sent off as part of the Hodderscape open submission period. I don't know if I mentioned that at all on here, but basically, they are giving it a second reading. They will probably end up saying no, but I take it as a great thing that they are taking the time to read it twice. Not bad for a first go!! ^__-.
My fitness tracker arrived yesterday, along with a giant hamper full of pre-portioned and calorie-controlled meals from a company called Diet Chef. I'm sure people will have a lot to say about this kind of diet- yes, it's expensive, and yes, I could probably do it myself..... but I don't have the time to do it myself, and I most certainly don't have the energy and willpower. This is a short-term thing, which I will do for a few months until I am out of danger and can reconsider. After that, I will most likely go back to Slimming World (where I had my best success) and begin cooking for myself again.
I suppose what I'm saying is, I'm not looking for suggestions or opinions about this diet. I know what I'm doing, and what I am doing is trying to save my own life while retaining my (limited) sanity.
Having said that, my impression of Diet Chef so far is pretty good. The portions are small (well, probably average sized, but small compared to what I am used to eating) but they taste good, and have a reasonably low salt content, which is good. The only stuff I need to add to it are fresh fruit and veg, and the odd jacket potato if I fancy it. Everything else, including snacks, is included. This made it hilarious to carry up stairs after the box arrived. An entire month's worth of food weighs a fucking ton, but at least I don't have to worry about shopping while my health is so fragile.
Also, they sent me a free smoothie blender as an introductory offer. Dad bought me one for Christmas, so I'm not sure what to do with this one. I will probably sell it. There is a limit to the number of smoothie blenders one needs in the house, after all......
My health tracker thing is fun. It's a Fitbit- basically a more fancy pedometer, which tells me all the usual things like distance and steps taken, but also links into an app which I can use to track my food and even the amount of sleep I have each night. It sort of makes tracking things more fun, and certainly more convenient because everything is covered by one app. It also syncs itself automatically with my PC whenever I get near to it, which is kind of cool. When I get a bit fitter, I can also use it to set daily targets and things like that. It's not the kind of thing I would usually choose to own, but needs must, and if having a gadget will help me stay interested in what I am doing, then that's what I am going to do. >_>;
So yeah.... tentatively optimistic about all this stuff at the moment. We'll see how it goes.
The short version of this story:
I discovered that I have incredibly high blood pressure, and was on the point of having a stroke.
I am now on medication.
This is good.
The long version of this story:
( Cut cos it's long. )
The thing that really scares me, though, is that other than the headaches, I didn't really feel ill today. I could easily have gone on indefinitely with this high blood pressure, and ended up suddenly having a massive stroke without any warning whatsoever. I (like most sane people) have a terrible fear of sudden death, and that is exactly what I have faced today. And for now- at the moment- I've avoided it, but only because a friend of mine had the wits to pick up on a symptom that everybody else (including me!) assumed was just part of the normal condition of being fat. If I hadn't given in and let her check me, I actually could have died. No joke. I'm not exaggerating. It might not have been today, or this weekend, but it could have been. It could have been next week, or the week after. I'll never know, and hopefully it won't happen.
I want to say that I've been given a second chance, and leave this on some kind of high note, but I don't really feel like that. I just feel tired, and washed out. I've slept for about 3 hours in the last 24 (2 before going to work, one this morning). I know I have to make some pretty huge lifestyle changes, but there's a part of me- a part I can't really control- that has always accepted the fact that I am going to eat myself to death before the age of 40. I think I've known that since I was about 15. More than anything else, more than the weight, and the health stuff- that's the thing I have to actually fight here: my own, treacherous brain. Nothing will help until I can get rid of that part of me.
I suppose that has to be my New Year's Resolution. I don't really have a choice, but right now, I'm just too tired to care all that much.
I'm going to go to bed, and hopefully I can make a proper plan to cope with this in the morning. I'm seriously upset about having to miss yet more work, but at the end of the day, I would rather be alive and in trouble with my managers than dead. I love my job- I really do- but not quite enough to actually let it kill me.
Needless to say, this has been the shittiest Christmas-slash-Boxing Day ever.
In short, I am in a mess. I am exhausrted, in pain, and depressed to a level that I have not felt for years. And all I cam think is that I really, really want is a hug. It has been literally years since I felt any kind of real physical closeness (not even talking about sex, either- just companionable physical contact) and that is a very sad thing indeed. My life is supposed to be improving, but right now, it really feels as if it's falling apart completely.
I always try to do a card reading on the day after Hallowe'en. I have done for years, but my last deck got tainted after my suicide attempt, and it's taken a long time for me to get up the nerve to get a new deck. I eventually bought some a few weeks ago, and have been too nervous to do anything with them. Probably shouldn't have been a surprise therefore when I opened the box and they fell all over the floor- so eager to tell me something that they practically jumped out and shouted it at me! ^__-;
I picked up the first 3 cards I saw face up, and have laid them out in the order that I saw them. It's telling me about what I would expect: If I can curb my addictions (for me, that's junk food, shopping and hoarding) then my life will improve.
It's a fairly simple message, but given that I'm on an emotional down-swing at the moment, it's nice to see my own thoughts laid out so clearly when they get so tangled up in my head. That's one of the things I have always liked about spirit cards- it's like having a direct line to your own common sense.
I have a whole week of work ahead of me (yay annual leave!) so it's as good a time as any to try and start sorting this stuff out. I rearranged my whole bedroom to accommodate Opal's new vivarium, so now is a good time for me to sift through all my junk and see what can be parted with and what should be kept. Days off also mean time to cook, so I'm going to try and get back to eating more healthily. It's not so much about my weight- I've made peace with being fat, it no longer bothers me- but junk food makes me feel ill, even though I'm addicted to it. -__-; I don't like that feeling- and even though my weight loss was a bust when I was on the Slimming World diet, I did have more energy and I did feel a lot better. That's what I need to go for- feeling good, rather than losing weight. Luckily it's stew season, and nothing goes better in a stew than lots of fresh veg!
In Other News:
Zipper had his unofficial birthday yesterday. He remains small and adorable, although he's grown a lot since I got him- he's now 2ft 6inches long, making him bigger than Opal was when I first got her! O_O It says a lot about how big Rambo and Opal are that he still looks so tiny to me!
Speaking of Rambo, he's going back to the vet in a week for a check-up, and then he is also going into a new vivarium. This will leave Opal's old viv free for Zipper to move into (once he's a little bigger, unless I can Zipper-proof it, which might be possible- we'll see...). I'm not planning on getting any more snakes, but it will be nice to have Zipper's tank on hand.... just in case. ^__-.
Ad says I'm going to end up running a corn snake sanctuary once I get a bigger house.
He's probably not wrong. >_>;
Suddenly, the prospect of me becoming an uncle seems very real and surprisingly close.
I'm going to have to learn how to knit baby clothes.
Skelly was awesome, as always. Anybody who happens to find themselves needing ink in my neck of the woods should definitely head his way, because his stuff is consistently excellent quality, and he's a generally all round awesome dude. Having said that, these hurt like a bastard!
This is my NMC registration number. You can actually look me up on the register using this (and I don't really care who knows it- that's actually what the register is for, after all!) I wanted it to look like a rubber stamp on my arm, and I think we got that pretty much dead on. Debated on the colour a lot, but red was a clear winner in the end.
While he was all set-up, Skelly asked me if I had anything else that needed touching up, since the stamp didn't take too long. I asked him to refresh Bastard Dragon. Bastard Dragon was named as such because it hurt like a bastard when I first got it. Well- it was no better the second time around! >__>; Hurt like a complete asshole, and is now making it hard to move my thumb.
On the plus side, it's now all one colour and no longer looks faded. ^__^. I am well pleased.
I'm going home to see Dad and Liz for a few days- nothing earth shattering, just a few days on the Welsh boarders looking at sheep and enjoying the peace and quiet. I can't wait!
In the meantime, I am off this afternoon to have my NMC registration number tattooed on my wrist, because whatever the future holds for me, I finished my degree and got myself registered, and that is something I am insanely proud of. I may not work in the NHS forever, but this will always be part of my history, and that is worth remembering. ^__^.
In Other News:
I got a tax rebait on my pay this month, because they had me down on the wrong tax code. I'm using it to replace my manky old leather jacket, and to buy some graphic novels. Nothing too earth-shattering- I just figured that since I'm buying myself that amazing Lady Death doll, I may as well buy a few of the comics and pretend like I know something about the character. ^__-.
Oh- and Rambo shed, finally. It wasn't as clean as I'd like it to have been, but he ate right after and looks well, which is good. I'm probably going to take him to the vet later this month for a general check-up, not because I'm worried about him, but just to be certain nothing's been missed.
He will, of course, hate every second of it. -__-; Poor little guy.
She is every bit as amazing in person as she looked in the promotional pictures! ^__^ I haven't put her in her fancy armour yet, since I don't have anywhere suitable to display her at the moment. But, since she is a doll, she is going to get a proper set of box opening pictures. ;)
Yay shipping box!
( More under the cut! )( More under the cut! )( More under the cut! )( More under the cut! )
The detail in her face- really amazing stuff! I'm 99% sure that her face is based on a real person- she reminds me of an actress, but I can't for the life of me think what her name is. But, the eyes and the lips have been done so well that it's not just a creepy passing resemblance thing- she actually looks like a living person. The only thing that spoils the illusion a little is her hair, which- while it's very soft- still has the typical 'doll' flyaways. I'm hoping I'll be able to improve them with some styling later on.
Overall, though- she's very impressive! I can't wait to get a proper case for her to live in (since the sillicone skin means she'll pick up dust like nobody's business), and then I can get the armour on her and play around properly!
All she needs now is a name. I'm not going to rush it, though, because I want to find a good one that will suit her properly. So, it needs to be something suitably 70s/80s fantasy novel-ish, but not so cheesy that it makes me feel uncomfortable. :P
Suggestions will be welcome.
I can't wait for Lady Death to arrive, now. ^__- She's still on pre-order, but at least I know that I'll get one when they start shipping!
In Other News:
I had a fun day re-organising my finances, partly because of this lovely lady, and partly because our water bill arrived. We pay it yearly, so it's always good for a laugh when it shows up. -__-; Mind you, it is nice to actually be able to afford stuff now, and not melt into a puddle of complete panic every time a new bill lands on the door mat. >_>;
I also handled Rambo for a little while, and watered my bonsai trees. Oh, and I set up a new twitter account, because my personal one (@she_man) is probably not entirely work appropriate. ^__-. So, I set up @AegisImmemorial, which I will use to promote my book once it is finished. I'm still assuming that it will be self-published at this point, so having a proper, more appropriately named feed for it is probably a good idea!
Yes, dolls. Plural. I noticed that a lot of sites were closing the pre-order for Lady Death fairly soon, and didn't want to risk missing her by leaving it to fate. No idea when she's being released, but she's all paid up via a reputable site with good feedback (and also in the UK- so no import fees, yay!), so now I can just sit back and wait for her to arrive.
Money's going to be tight next month, but we're talking 'no takeaways or new toys' tight, rather than 'nothing but noodles and rice' tight. Which I can certainly live with. ^__^.
In Other News:
Back to work tomorrow. My flu has cleared up, but now I've developed a slight cough, which I'm not enjoying. I'm really hoping that I can last through my shifts this coming week- I can't afford to take any more time off. Also, being sick sucks, and I'd rather not do it any more. >_>;
...and the best thing is, at 12inches tall, she might even be short enough for me! ^___-;
So, I don't really know how I ran into these dolls on e-bay today. >_> I was searching for something completely unrelated, and one popped up, and I have literally spent the last 9 hours researching the company and looking at pretty pictures. In many ways they are very similar to my fairy, Tea, but she is an older design and this company has perfected the 'internal skeleton under silicone' thing, meaning that their dolls are super-creepily posable and they look amazing! Some of them (like Huntress here) can even stand un-aided!
They do a basic range (all of whom look a lot like porn stars- no surprise there), which can be dressed in anything, provided you're careful about staining. But, the best thing is, that most of their line are either licensed dolls with particular outfits and accessories, or cool-looking art dolls like Huntress. And, while I do get very sick of the typical over-revealing fantasy armour in games, I'm not going to lie- there are times when I have a soft spot for it, and something about this one makes me think of old 70/80s book and magazine covers, which I love. I am pretty much 99% sure that I'm going to buy her in the next couple of days, just because... well... reasons.
Also, if that wasn't good enough.... they're doing a fully posable Lady Death as their next release. And she looks incredible:
The only thing is, I'm fat. You guys all know that, but I don't have a nice, clean well-defined chest area. I have saggy man-boobs with a massive scar that runs underneath them. I know it's a part of my body that I will always feel self concious about, but now I have the chance to have some really stunning art put on it, and I'm actually worried that the shape of my body is going to make it look bad (and that shape will never be much improved- the way my surgery was done means that I will always have a moob kind of shape, because it was done to suit a fat guy. Also, let's not be delusional here- I happy being fat, and I'm never going slim down to the point where I *could* have beautifully defined and toned pecks. That's just not who I am.)
This has raised a whole new level of insecurity for me, like I'm actually worrying about ruining a design with my gross skin. -___-; Even though the end result (like all my tattoos) is more for me than it is for anybody else. I wasn't really prepared for this much worry about something that is supposed to make me like my chest more, rather than less.
This is the artist's etsy shop, by the way- she does some awesome adult colouring pages, for those of you who are into that. And also, the pictures are just awesome. ;)
One of my friend's kids has stolen my tiny fairy, which was given to me by Rory and who has lived a peaceful little life underneath my bonsai tree (and occasionally on a shelf with my pocket dragons.)
I can't prove it was this kid- I didn't actually see her take it- but she was in my room looking at the snakes while we were having coffee in the kitchen the other day, and this morning I picked up the bonsai to water it and noticed that Little Fairy is gone! Looks like some of my cacti have been rearranged too, which I don't mind so much (still annoying, but at least they're not damaged or missing) but I'm actually really upset about this.
I don't know how to approach my friend over this. Her other kid (an older boy of 8) tried to steal one of my retro gameboys once, and even though we caught him with it on the way out of the flat she was really defensive about it and didn't talk to me for a month afterwards, even though I was pretty light -hearted about it and didn't make a fuss, just 'reminded' him that it wasn't his and asked for it back, saying he could play with it whenever he was over at mine. I'm pretty sure that she won't get why I'm so upset about a one-inch tall fairy on a tiny geode. But, it's mine and I want it back. -___-;
...I can kind of see why he might be pissed off with me, actually. >_>;
I'm actually struggling to find a wig that I like for him. I've seen some nice Monster High ones on etsy made from various kinds of fibres, but I'm worried they'll end up looking too bulky for his narrow face.
On the other hand, they'd probably look better than the socks he stole. You know, if I can get him to take them off again, which is currently quite unlikely....
Seriously. This guy has a lot of attitude. -__-;
I'm pleased to say that I have managed to get both submissions in before the deadline, but it wasn't without some issues. Half way through writing the supporting e-mail for the second submission, my browser crashed. While I was trying to close it down, I got a terrifying pop-up saying that my e-mail had been sent- meaning that I had sent off my second submission without a title or a covering message! I therefore had to submit it a second time, with a note in my e-mail basically going I'M SORRY MY COMPUTER HATES ME WAAA just in case they do get two copies. -___ Yay for self-sabotaging browser crashes!
Anyway, now it's just a waiting game. I'm unlikely to hear anything back before October, so it will be a tense few months on the writing front. On the upside, it gave me something to do while I have been off sick for the last few days. I'm back to work on Monday (finally!) so I can go back to being gut-churningly stressed about work instead of being gut-churningly stressed about this! ^__-.
I still love my job, but today made me question why I'm doing this. I am exhausted, and shaken, and I cried on the bus on the way home. And tomorrow I have to go back to that place and do it all again.