Monday, December 5, 2011

Today is a Better Day

Its been a long time coming, but today is a better day.

I slept in, 'cause I needed it. I had rice krispies and bananas for brunch. I talked to my mom for a long time. She let me vent, bless her. And we talked about how she's doing too! It was a good talk. I felt a lot better about things when I got off the phone with her.

I made carrot muffins and curry lentil soup. This took more effort and time than I thought, but so worth it. And I did oh, three sink/racks of dishes. Baking takes a lot of dishes! And cleaning up directly after makes the clean up so much easier. Batter dried to a bowl is a bitch!

I even showered! No really, this is a victory. I thought I'd be too spent, but I managed easily. I just took breaks. And didn't push. Well, I mean, making the muffins and soup was a push on it's own. I felt exhausted when I started. But I needed to do something useful. I feel better when I'm useful.

I always remember when I'm out of the hole, that there is an out, that the darkness isn't all consuming. That I will find hope again. It's just so damn hard to believe that when depression has you in it's claws. I feel like I need to leave my future self a note, to remind me, that no matter how dark it gets, it will get better, it will be light again, and I will see that I am lucky, I'm loved and supported by the ones I love; it could be so much worse. I'm not alone.

Depression is a battle. Living, surviving chronic pain is a battle. Fibromyalgia is a battle. I get overwhelmed, who wouldn't? But I'm fighting. And I'll continue to fight. Even when I don't want to fight anymore, when I'm done, I can't stop fighting, cause it's not just me in this. I've always said I'd walk through hell for my mom, and now, for my husband, for them, I walk through hell. It's for them that I keep fighting, even when I think I'm not. I'm here, and some days, that's enough, that is a victory. Because tomorrow, gods help me, tomorrow is a new day.

The sun will come out tomorrow!

Sorry, couldn't help myself. But you know, it's true. You just have to survive the night, because Ra, Ra will always come.

I'm sore. I ache, but it's not all over. I won back bits of myself. I'm tired, but somehow less tired than I felt on getting up. But best of all, I accomplished something. I beat this bout of depression, and I made yummy foods. Today, I win.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I am overwhelmed.

This is the point in my day where the pain really wins. I feel the pain wins 99% of the time, and steals my life away, but when I get to this point I realize, nothing I felt today was anything, this, this is the real shit.

Everything hurts. Hurts to the point I can't think. All of me. Right down to my teeth. Even my skin hurts. My brain feels like it's going to bust out of my skull. My eyes burn when I close my eyelids. Every muscle, tendon, and fibre of my being ache, heck, most scream with pain.

I'm not sure there is anything that could distract me enough. Usually when I'm in pain I distract myself by clenching my teeth, by reading a good book, or watching fun TV, but this is too much. This is the level of pain where all I can do is sit here and try to continue breathing.

All I want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep until it's over. Right now I'm not so sure which "it" I mean. Because the pain, the pain will never stop, never relent, never recede.

I don't want to live this way. I really really don't.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Life IS Pain.

I hate my life.

I hate my life.

I hate my life.

I hate my life.

All this Yarn and I Can't Knit Myself a HAT?!

I have two under the bed boxes, one full-size coleman cooler, and another 12x18 inch box full of yarn, and I don't have yarn to make myself a soft, snuggly, super-warm hat.

No really.

The trouble is, a lot of the yarn is already ear-marked for things.

All the yarn in the cooler, other than the tiny discarded bits, is for the baby blanket I'm making. It's also acylic, and I'm so not making a hat for me out of it. I'm a yarn snob. But, I also sweat a lot, thanks to the drugs I'm on and the FMS, so if it's not wool, my hat will get damp and cold and miserable, and won't fulfill it's duty of keeping me warm.

The yarn in the box is for a sweater for me. I haven't started knitting it because I'm now as big as a house, and I don't think I actually have enough to make one to fit me now. Yarn keeps, so I'm waiting.

The one under the bed box has lots of matching balls, but it's either earmarked for other projects or unsuitable. The other box, has lots of wool, but most of it is bits and pieces, there is no one colour that I would have enough of, and none of it is the right weight to get me a super-warm hat anyway. I can't use it double, because, again, not enough in any one or even two matching colours. I refuse to knit myself a hat I can't wear with my winter jacket (because it doesn't match), that just doesn't make any sense, because believe me, if it doesn't match, I won't end up wearing it.


Maybe I'll just steal Chris' hat. His old one, not the new one, that would cruel, it was his xmas gift last year. lol.

Also, speaking of my husband, he's learning what it means to live with a knitter.


Last night I was staring at my bin of yarn, that's all different colours, and bemoaning that I couldn't believe that I couldn't find enough of something to make myself a hat. I mean, it is kinda ridiculous, but I know other knitters will understand!  Chris knew better than to agree with me. He knew it might send me into a tirade about how all the yarn I have is unsuitable!

But it really is!!! Damnit.

I want a snuggly soft hat like the one I made for Chris last winter. But I don't have enough of the yarn I used to make another, and yarn brand went out of business!! There is no more of it to buy, anywhere. I've looked. *sigh* And I have yet to find a replacement brand. In all the yarn Romni sells, I have yet to find a brand in the same weight that's as soft and snuggly. There is one cascade yarn that's as soft, but it's twice as expensive! The yarn that was discontinued was already at the limits of what I was willing to spend. So that's no good. BAH!

I just want a soft, snuggly, super-warm hat! How is this such a tall freaking order?!

I'm giving up, for now. Maybe I'll think of something as January creeps closer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thinking Too Much. Again.

I just got the 'you should be making money, not living your dreams, you need income' lecture.


Ironic really since, just this morning I was thinking, that maybe, just maybe I could do what I've always wanted instead of what I was schooled for. I thought it was amusing that I went to school, to secure a career with a steady pay, but since I'm now chronically ill and totally incapable of working full time, I might actually be able peruse what I wanted to.

I've always wanted to write, but I've never liked the insecurity, the knowledge that I may never get paid enough to live one, the knowledge that creative writing won't feed you, and you'll have to have a 'day job' to fall back on, or learn how to be a commercial writer.

My husband just suggested I seek out freelance work to write crappy websites.

I'm ethically against ad farm websites with dubious and badly written content, just on principle; they're sneaky and sleazy.  Besides that, I'm not actually sure I could write that sort of content. What I mean is, I'm not sure I have any writing skills outside of the creative writing field.

There is of course, pay by the story options. Maybe? Someday?

Right now I'm just beginning to learn how to write. I feel like I'm a toddler, trying to pick out a career. I.... I don't feel ready for that?

All I really want right now is to finish my nano story, let it rest a bit, and then attempt editing it. I've never edited anything half so large. I think it will be a huge undertaking and learning experience.

I also really want to read more on the art, the science of writing and editing. Maybe take a course on mystery/suspense writing, and the one on writing for women and selling it - that one is sounding more and more like something I need to learn.

I want to sell my work. I really do. But I'm not even sure right now what kind of stories I'm capable of writing. I don't want to be some literary genius, I just want to write things I'm mostly proud of, things that others will read and enjoy. I'm perfectly happy being the cotton candy of the writing world. I love cotton candy!

It's been almost a year since I took the creative writing course. I haven't accomplished much since then. I haven't done any of the reading I'd hope to. Life has intruded. Also, a deep love affair with the cotton candy of the writing world. I have read so many romance novels! And most of them were yummy. I'm not entirely sure what I learned, except that I really love simple, cheesy, cotton candy romance stories.

My tummy hates me tonight. I'm not at all sure why it's angry like it is. I haven't eaten anything to set it off. But I know how I'm feeling isn't helping. Right now I'm feeling very guilty and worried.

Guilty for being a penniless burden. Guilty for wanting to live my dream instead of trudging to make some amount of money. I want to believe that living my dream, that writing what my soul wants to, would lead to money, but I know it wouldn't do it as fast as if I just sought out freelance work and wrote, gods knows what. Hell, I feel guilty for wanting to write instead of doing other useful things like getting groceries, doing dishes, cleaning our apartment, doing laundry. I can't do both, at least, I can't write mostly full time AND do errands or anything else. Nano has taught me that getting 100 pages in a month means ignoring everything else in my life. I can't keep that up long term, I'd burn our or contract some filth-related disease.

I'm worried my husband is finally starting to understand the burden he's placed on himself (me). Worried that he's worried about money. Worried that he feels the pinch of having a useless wife, and is, understandably blaming me for not helping out. I'm worried that I'm being totally selfish even considering trying to become an author. Being married to an author sucks, authors don't make a lot, but work a lot, and me, I work best at night - he might as well be single. As mentioned above, if I were to take a more serious attempt at being an writer, I'd have to devote time otherwise spent taking care of us. *sigh*

I feel utter selfish for wanting to live a dream. Just because I live with chronic illness, and my life is pain, doesn't mean I'm entitled to anything. As my husband pointed out, he wouldn't be doing what he does if it wasn't for the paycheck. I have no right to expect to like my job, never mind love it. I have no right to peruse something that won't help us financially.

I'm beginning to wonder if I should just give up this silly idea, and look for part time work a chronically ill person might be capable of. Clearly, I need to be making money, not living some foolish childhood dream. I'm an adult now. I didn't pick a field I loved in the first place, I picked one I thought would get me a steady pay check. I need to put that goal first again. Just because I'm chronically ill doesn't relieve me of the duty and need to actually support myself. Dreams are for bedtime. Work is for waking hours.

I'm a WINNER!!!

51,240 words, as of tonight, 6k of which I wrote today! Man am I beat!  I hope I still have something left in me for tomorrow!

I still need to finish my story! I'm almost there. I'm in the climax now. Just a little further to go! May Fria help me write like the wind!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Food I've made!

This post is devoted to food I've made recently that I'm proud of.

First, I made thanksgiving dinner, for the first time ever. Everything was made from scratch, and man, was it good!

Thanksgiving dinner First Turkey

Here's the Apple Pie. My first, if you can believe it.

First Apple Pie

I also made my first Carrot Cake for our first anniversary. It was, in a word, magnificent.

Carrot Cake Slice Anniversary Carrot Cake

Now, clearly, I didn't make/cook this, or rather I don't have a picture of it cooked, but I just had to share it as I think it's really really neat. Yes, neat. It's a pointy cauliflower. It tastes like regular cauliflower, but it's green and pointy. I saw it at the market and couldn't not buy it, it was too neat. Yes neat. I'm a goober.

Pointy Caulifower

You know, all my life I've wanted to be great at something. Just once I wanted to be great, at whatever, just something. I've always been good at whatever I studied, but I had to work my ass off to get there. I was an average university student. I made it, it what I say about it. I'm a good writer, I think. Or at least I know I'll be good, but not great.

Well, I've finally found what I'm great at. I'm a great baker and cook. It's like I have golden fingers -- everything I bake turns out fabulously. And it's easy! And I'm learning how to tweak certain kinds of baked goods the way I always do with cooking. It's awesome. I love doing it. And, my mom, I can hear the pride in her voice when we talk baking. She knows I'm awesome at it, and she's actually told others I'm good! :D It's.. it's everything I wanted and more. It won't bring in money (I'm too ill to bake and sell it), but it brings me joy, and my family yummy baked goods. Finally, finally I'm great at something.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Harvest Muffins

These sort of, came about as a "Melissa can't read/follow a recipe", but they're delicious, so I'm actually writing down what I did!

Makes: ~28 cupcake-sized muffins

Harvest MuffinsIngredients
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup demerara-style brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 large apples, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups bran cereal
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 1/2 tsp cloves 
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350˚F, and grease muffin pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  
  4. Add raisins, pecans, and chopped apples to wet ingredients, stir well to combine.
  5. In a medium sized bowl, combine, flour, bran, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  6. Fold dry ingredients to wet until just combined.
  7. Fill greased muffin cups 100% full (they don't rise much). Bake for approx. 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of muffin clean.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thinking too Much. Again.

So I read this blog: A lot. The woman who writes it, whose blog it is, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, is amazing. She's like my knitting hero. She's one of those people that I think, when I grow up, I want to be Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  Of course, part of the problem with that is, I'm already grown up, in that I'm 32 years old. I also have zero desire to have children, never mind three girls. But knitting/career-wise? Stephanie is amazing. She's written five books on knitting. Five. Her latest is on the New York Times Best Seller List. How awesome is that?!

It's funny, when I first started knitting, her blog was one of the first things I found. It didn't impress me much. It had awards down the side for like 5 years past Best Canadian Knitting blog, and the like. Her blog hasn't changed in format or look since then either. It's very basic and felt dated, and I can be a techie snob sometimes, okay most of the time.(I should say now I appreciate the simplicity and it's appeal. Coming to her blog and reading it feels like coming home, like spending time with a well-loved friend.) Also all the entries I read were about socks. I hate knitting socks. Okay, to be fair, I've only ever knitting one pair of socks, and I don't think I'll ever knit another pair. I hate knitting anything on needles that small, for one thing. For another, my feet are too stupidly sensitive and I know I could never actually wear them, so what's the point? Last and not least, until very recently I've been just rubbish at knitting short rows. I've knit a lot of short rows now on the knitted sea creatures I've made, but I'd still hate to test my short row skills against a sock! No thank you! So, in length, you can see how her blog just didn't appeal to me.

Thanks to twitter, and a crochet-crazy acquaintance I have on my feed, I re-discovered Stephanie about a year ago or more. Yes, she talks about socks a lot, and I can't really identify, but she talks about a lot of other things too. And she's funny! She makes me laugh out loud until I have tears streaming from my eyes. Mostly though, she's just... endearing, entertaining -- she's the most likable writer or knitter I've ever encountered. I really don't know how else to put it, except that she's a joy to read, and I wish she was my friend, 'cause I think she's awesome.

She's having a book signing here in Toronto today. At a chapters downtown. I kinda want to go, because I want to support her, and maybe meet her. But I've never actually bought or read any of her books. I want to, but I just don't have the $$ right now. If I went to the reading/signing, I'd feel obligated to buy her latest book (I do want to but again, $$).. But after spending $35 dollars on tea this week I think my husband might blow a vein if I spent more. *Sigh*

I was just reading her latest post about how we Canadians are quiet with out enthusiasm for writers and other famous people. I am so very guilty of that! A few years ago when I got to meet Kim Harrison, who is my all time favourite author, I was so excited I could barely speak. I had so much love and admiration for her, but I didn't know how to show it. I just ended up being awkward and telling her she made me love reading again, and I almost cried, because she really did change my life, and I didn't know how else to express my gratitude.

I know if I went to see Steph tonight I'd be the same way. I'd barely be able to speak to her. I know I wouldn't be able to tell her how awesome I think she is, or that I wish I knew her in real life, because from a 'fan', that can come off really creepy, and that's the last thing I'd want.

I also really need to work on my Nano novella today as I haven't worked on it since Monday and I'm likely 5k words behind by now. *sigh*  FMS has really done a number on me this week. I'm not in anywhere near the pain I was yesterday or the day before, but my brain still feel exhausted. Being in that much pain for that long takes a mental toll on a person, and it's that toll I can feel myself paying today. Bah. Hopefully by Saturday I'll be well enough to enjoy some time with my friends!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pushing Through the Pain

Sometimes, if I don't push through the pain, I don't get anything done. And by anything I mean basic things like showering, getting dressed, making myself solid food--not just scrounging for whatever will have me standing the shortest time to collect it.

Yesterday I pushed through the pain and complete exhaustion because I really needed to get out, to take a walk, get fresh air, have a sky above my head, not a roof.  And I did it. I went on a walk, almost to Bathurst along Bloor, because I really wanted to go to David's Tea. Let me tell you, when your every movement brings so much pain you are clenching your teeth to keep from crying, walking one km feels like walking 10.

But I got there. I bought some lovely teas, then went to the metro for milk so I could have cereal in the morning. I also picked up some half price cheese and a bottle of gatorade as I was seriously dehydrated.

I limped all the way home. I know why old and crippled people walk like they do. It's not for lack of trying to walk like they used to. I was in so much pain every step brought the idea that I should stop, that I should sit, even if it meant sitting on the sidewalk, that I just couldn't take another step, that my body was too heavy, that I didn't have it in me to walk one step further, and yet, I did. I made it home. But the cost!! The cost was great.

I spent the rest of yesterday in sick feverish exhaustion. But it was too close to dinner time to sleep. When I did try to sleep I ended up crying myself to sleep. What I really wanted to to was get out of bed, and go into the living room where my 'old' bed from my parent's house lives. The mattress is far softer, and when I hurt like I did last night, every bit helps. Mostly though, I just wanted to get away from my husband so he could get a good night's sleep. But I did my best to be quiet, to suffer in utter silence. Eventually I fell into a very unrestful sleep. When he got up at 6am, it felt like 3am to me. I slept, tossing and turning, sobbing with pain, until 10am. That's when my headache told me I better get up or I was just going to hurt worse.

Today I've done almost nothing. I made myself cereal for breakfast, so at least I ate well. I had a snack of a couple tiny apples. And I've been knitting. It's about all my good for -- watching tv and knitting.  My whole body aches, I hurt so badly I can't even cry, it would shake my shoulders and ribs, and they already hurt more than I can handle.

Now I've just spilled burning hot tea on my thigh. Cause today needed to get worse. Fuck.  I hate burns, they just keep on burning, even when the heat source is gone!

I had to push through the pain today. I've been sitting here for four hours now, watching tv and knitting. I really need to work on my novel, but the pain, I really don't think I could work through it.

My right shoulder, for reasons I can't understand, actually starts aching when I type to much. That burning, numbing kind of pain. I had it yesterday too, but I didn't type much, so it's kinda odd. I wasn't able to work on my novel yesterday either. Too exhausted, too much pain, too overwhelmed by the combo.

I needed to eat something though. And I'm all alone. I can't ask someone to make me food or go get something cold and soft for my inflamed/scratched palate. If I want it I have to go myself. I don't know if I can do that. But I managed dishes, and I'm now, likely, burning my pasta. So at least I'll have something solid to eat.

I really fucking hate this though. I really need to write today, and, my brain, even as I type this, it's shutting down and my right, NO, it's my left! Fucking dyslexic mess that I am! My left shoulder is already burning with pain, and it's only going to get worse.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chronic Pain

I feel like I live on the edge of overwhelming pain. Meaning, it takes the addition of very little pain (added to my 'average daily pain') to take me over that edge, or tip the scales, or however you think of it. Once past that point, all pain becomes amplified, I am exhausted by doing nothing, and my brain refuses to think, surviving is all I'm capable of.

I hate it. I hate that having a shower exhausts me. That I have to sit for an hour afterwards just so I don't shake when I stand up. Just so I don't bloody well faint if I try to, say, do the dishes. I hate this so much. I hate being a fucking invalid.

But I don't know how to fix this. I don't know how to fight it. I don't have the energy to push though. It just isn't there anymore. Where it was, fear now lives. I know what happens if I push too hard. I end up bed ridden for days, for a week even if I'm not careful.

How the fuck am I supposed to get healthier like this?!

I just... I feel so.. Beaten. So frustrated. So fucking useless and weak - the two things I have always dreaded being. And that's what I am now.

I wish I was stronger. I wish I had the discipline, the strength, the hope to fight this. But it's gone. The pain has eaten through whatever strength I might have had.

It really doesn't matter to me that if I lost weight I'd hurt less. Sure that makes me want to loose weight, but when faced with the pain of hunger, when faced with the chronic, devastating pain I live with every day, it means nothing. I just don't have it in me to suffer further, to 'push' to exercise - because I would have to push, most days I don't have the energy to take care of myself in the most basic terms, never mind enough to go out and do things. I don't have extra energy. When I have any energy at all, I use it for useful things like, showering, doing dishes, cleaning, getting groceries, making soup, making dinner.

I hate what I've become. I disgust myself. I'm so fat my body is falling apart. I'm in so much pain, I really couldn't care less about, well, most things really. It's amazing what chronic pain will do to a person, how it will change their priorities, their personalities, their desires and goals.

I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. I want to hide from the world and wait till it's over. I have no hope this will ever get better. I know it's only going to get worse. I want to hope, but, experience tells me, no matter what happens, I'm always going to be in pain. Life is pain. That's all I know. That's how my life has been for as long as I can remember. I don't know any other life. I don't want to live like this, fuck, who would? but I don't have the faintest clue how to fix it, how to fix me.

Wedding Sea Creatures!

Sea Creatures! Guest Book Octopus

Seeing as our wedding was over a year ago now, I thought I'd (finally) share the sea creatures I knit. To be fair, although I knit four octopuses for the kids coming to the wedding in time for the wedding (see above), the ones I knit for Sabrina's kids I finished at the end of July, so not thaaaat long ago.

So let me introduce you!

This is the Mega Kracken I knit for Caleb. He's big and squishy.
Mega Kraken

This is the wee Kracken I knit for Conner, her youngest. He was sooo excited to see him! Conner jumped up and down with him. I won major points that evening. :)

You can see the size difference here:

Last but certainly not least, this is the octopus I knit for Kiera Bella

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance Day - 11.11.11

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, in 1918 the 'war to end all wars', aka world war one, ended. And almost one hundred years later, we're still fighting.  It's been a bloody century.

But on the eleventh day of the eleventh month we remember. 

I'm a sentimental fool. Thinking about Remembrance Day always makes me teary eyed. The unimaginable sacrifice of fighting and dying, and even of living, that our armed forces make and have made, for all us civilians, gets me every time.

We owe our soldiers a debt we can never pay.

They've put our lives in front of their own. Whether they see action or not. Whether you agree with their deployment or not. By the very act of becoming a soldier, they have put our lives, our way of life, before their own.

Thank you seems so pale, so inadequate. But I say thank you, nonetheless.

I pray to Fria that our younger generations are taught about the horrors of war, that they are taught what we all have to be thankful for. That they, that we, never forget.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

sometimes I'm an angry bitter woman.

My letter to the Red Cross:


I've donated blood over the years, from 15 to 31 years old, I'm 32 now,but I haven't given in a year, so I don't count it. The last time was my 20th, so I guess don't go very often.

I thought it might be helpful for you to know *why* I don't donate more often, and why I haven't gone in the past year. I'm morbidly obese, and chronically ill, but I don't have any blood issues. I'm not diabetic, and thus far the drugs I'm on haven't excluded my donating.

For the past five years or so, the biggest reason I haven't donated, is the attitude I get from the nursing staff. EVERY time I've donated in Toronto I've been lectured, I've had nurses treat me like I'm personally offending them with my presence. I get the lecture that I shouldn't have tattoos because they are dangerous. I get the lecture that I should loose weight because I'm morbidly obese, like somehow I missed that fact. I live with me, of course I know what I look like. I don't like it either, but I at least most strangers are civlil, your staff has no idea what situation is, how dare they judge me! The nursing staff always makes me want to cry.

THEN I get the lecture about how my blood pressure is too high and I should really see to that. You know WHY my blood pressure is so high?? Because I know every time I go in there I'm going to get torn down for something. I know I'm going to get the lecture about how my weight is affecting my health, like somehow I missed that, you know, living in my own skin. You know what? When I go see my GP, which I do regularly, seeing as I'm chronically ill, I get my blood pressure checked and it's perfectly fine. Your staff causes my blood pressure to spike.

You know, when I donated in Hamilton, where I used to live, I never had that problem, but then I usually ended up at one of the McMaster Clinics and they tend to move people pretty fast through there. No time for lectures or passing judgement.

I just thought it might help you to know why I don't want to donate. I can't be the only fat person with social anxieties that doesn't want to put themselves in a bad situation.


Melissa Wood.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Depressed, Distraught, Disheartened, & Frustrated, Damnit!

In the past year I've gained almost 40 pounds. Since 2007, I've gained 90 pounds. o.0

It's a chicken and egg situation, in terms of what came first/what caused what.

Either way, my health has seriously deteriorated in the last 4 years. And yet, I don't know if I'd exchange my health situation from then to now. I had debilitating headaches, stress, sinus, migraine, TMJ, all at once, to the point I couldn't distinguish one pain from the other. BUT I also had energy, I had fight. I do not have either now.

I feel so freaking hopeless!

I have no energy. None. I wake up exhausted. Today I'm so tired I don't even have the energy to make myself something to eat! Though, part of that is likely depression. Still, I'm so bloody tired all the fucking time.

I don't have the energy to do normal things, like showering, doing dishes, making myself something to eat, never mind energy for going out into the world!

I hate this. I just hate hate hate hate hate it!

I know part of why I don't sleep well is because I hurt. It's hard to get actual rest when you're sore. I wake up often feeling like I've been hit by a mack truck.

My body is falling apart. My arches ache, even when I'm not using them. My Achilles tendons are swollen, with lumps no less! And there's not a gods damn fucking thing I can do for them. Loose weight. That's what they need. How the fuck am I supposed to do that when I can't walk with them to do it?  Eat less. That's what my doctor told me when I asked what to do about my weight. You know, because that's just so bloody easy.

I have no discipline. I know that's a huge part of my problem. I spent over a year eating miserable 'heathly' food to loose 60 lbs. But what really helped was walking. Something that's hard for me to do now that I'm even heavier, and my feet are broken.

I also have FMS full on now, and it makes everything harder. I used to be able to push myself when I was tired, and had a massive headache. I could go for a long walk, or go to the gym, and still be done all that feeling almost refreshed. If I tried that now, I would injure myself, and I would get home feverish and shaking. I would spend the next few days to a week, in bed, sleeping, or trying to sleep and being unable to because I was in too much pain. That's the reality I live with now. I never know how much I can push, or if I should at all. If I push when my body can't take it, I pay for it for days.

I feel like no one understands. I mean, I wouldn't believe this if I didn't live it. It's fucking ridiculous. I have no reserve energy. I have no ability to tell when moving more will help, or when it will sideline me for a week.

Right now I'm feverish and sore. I'm likely exhausted. Why? Because I stayed up late on Saturday. Nevermind I slept until noon yesterday. Nevermind I did fuck all yesterday. Nevermind I got up late today. Nevermind I had a bleeding nap. Nope. I'm feverish with exhaustion. Yet I have a headache from sleeping too much. WHAT THE FUCK BODY?!?!?!

How do I fix this?? How? Just how? I don't know what to do.

I hate this. I hate my body. I hate being chronically ill. I hate being fucking useless. I hate not knowing what I'm capable of one day to the next. I hate being this fucking fat. Jesus. It's disgusting. Just utterly disgusting.

I swear, if I didn't have Chris, I'd be suicidal right now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Brioche Stitch is my Nemisis


In terms of pattern, it's super easy. It's 3 rows, with a two stitch pattern per row.

You'd think it would be easy peasy, but noooo!

I mean, try it. Count one, two, one, two, for about 200 stitches. You can see how easy it would be to get a "one, two, two," in there.

My rows are about 500 stitches at this point I estimate, and I've tried starting the Brioche stitch twice now, and screwed it up both times! The first time it was such a mess I had to rip back four rows!! Four!! This time I've just left it. I'm not sure what to do. Hopefully I'll only have to go back two rows. Still. It's bloody painful!


And it really doesn't help that it's very hard to see where you've screwed up. It's the nature of the stitch, it looks fine until you get to knitting it the second time around, then you realise it's not right at all, and you've messed up the "one, two, one, two" pattern.

I think I'm going to leave the damn shawl for a bit and come back to it. I just can't bring myself to rip out the two-four rows again. Gods help me! It looks like such a simple stitch.....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Spanakopita

Makes: 1 9x13 inch pan phyllo squares, 8 quarter-sheet phyllo triangles, 12 GF rice paper rolls


  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 20 medium white mushrooms, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 pkg frozen spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
  • 1 large tub (300g-400g) Ricotta cheese
  • ~150g sharp parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • ~200g Greek style Feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup fresh dill, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 pkg phyllo sheets, thawed overnight in fridge
  • 12 rice paper sheets, (I used ~8 inch circles)


To make filling:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, on medium heat. Add the chopped onions, mushrooms and garlic. Stir occasionally cook until onions are translucent/lightly browned, and water is cooked off mushrooms.
  2. While cooking onions, etc., thaw spinach in a pot of water on low heat. Use a fork to scrape thawed spinach off the frozen block. When all the spinach is broken up and thawed drain water off with a sieve. Allow spinach to cool before squeezing water out. I've found using my (clean) hands, wading it in a ball and squeezing out the water works best.
  3. Transfer spinach and cooked onions, etc., to a medium sized bowl. Add cheeses and dill. Stir until just combined.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Add eggs two at a time, stir until just combined.

To make Quarter -sheet phyllo triangles:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375˚F.
  2. Remove phyllo from package, and lay it out fat on wax paper(unfold sheets). Lay another layer of wax paper on top of sheets, with a damp tea towel on top of that – this will prevent the phyllo from drying out (and getting brittle), or getting too damp.
  3. On a clean work surface, lay out two sheets of overlapping wax paper over an area big enough to lay a full sheet of phyllo – work with the phyllo's longest side parallel to you. Give the phyllo at least 2-3 inches of extra wax paper on the top and bottom. This will make it easier to butter the sheets.
  4. Lay a sheet of phyllo on the wax paper. Lightly butter the left half the phyllo sheet. Fold sheet in half sideways. Butter left half of folded sheet and fold again. Butter the long strip of phyllo.
  5. Place a tablespoon scoop of filling near the bottom edge of rectangle. Fold a triangle of the phyllo strip over the filling. Fold filling up – as phyllo box will show – to make a triangle.
  6. Butter all sides of the finished triangle and place on a baking sheet.
  7. Repeat process for 7 more triangles.
  8. Bake in the oven for about twenty minutes or until the phyllo is lightly brown. I fnd I have to watch this like a hawk, depending how you fold, the triangles can take more or less time, so be careful! Check on them when you begin to smell them cooking!

To make the 9x13inch pan:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375˚F.
  2. Lightly brush melted butter onto the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch pan.
  3. Lay a sheet of phyllo, centred, into the pan. Gently press the phyllo to the bottom and sides of the dish. Lightly brush the sheet of phyllo with melted butter. Repeat with two more sheets of phyllo.
  4. Lay a sheet of phyllo sideways on bottom of pan so that it will ft folded in half on the bottom of the pan. Butter half of phyllo sheet resting on bottom of pan. Fold sheet over. Butter top of sheet.
  5. Spread filling evenly into pan.
  6. Fold overhanging edges of phyllo on top of filling.
  7. Lay sheet of phyllo sideways, so that one half of sheet is fulling covering filling. Lightly butter the half of the sheet resting on filling. Fold sheet over, and butter the top. Repeat with three remaining sheets.
  8. Carefully score the top of the phyllo sheets in a diamond or square pattern. If you don't do this before it's baked you'll never get squares when it's baked!
  9. Bake in the oven for approx 20 minutes, or until the top of the phyllo is lightly browned. Let cool before cutting along pre-made lines. Serve hot or cool.

To make Gluten Free Rice Paper Rolls:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375˚F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  3. Melt ¼ cup butter in a small bowl – don't mix butter from phyllo with butter for GF rolls!
  4. Fill a medium sized bowl with hot tap water. You will likely need to rinse and refill bowl while working, as the water cools quickly and the sheets leave a residue in the bowl.
  5. Fully submerge a rice paper sheet in the hot water for approx 5 seconds. Check on sheet, if it is now mostly soft, and no longer crinkles when bent, it's time to remove it. Hold the sheet over the bowl to allow excess water to drip off.
  6. Lay out the rice paper on a clean work surface.
  7. Place 1 tablespoon of filling near the bottom-middle edge of the circle – but leave enough rice paper below filling to wrap paper over the filling.
  8. Fold bottom of rice paper up over filling. Fold the sides in to create a long rectangle the width of the filling – fold loosely as the filling will expand slightly when cooked. Roll rice paper rectangle around filling bundle to create a roll.
  9. Coat finished roll in butter and place on lined baking sheet.
  10. Repeat steps 5-9 for each roll until you run out of filling.
  11. Bake rolls in oven until rice paper is lightly browned. Approx. 15-20 minutes – but keep checking as I didn't time these the first time! I just kept checking on them – sorry!

Note: This recipe makes enough for two to have lunch, while baking a 9x13 pan for taking to a party, and even enough for 1-3 GF, dairy loving friends to have some too!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Curry Lentil Soup

This one's for Dee.

Prep Time: If using a food processor, 20 min, if chopping by hand 45 min (or 1 hr if you are slow like me)

Makes: ~24-28 cups of soup. (Enough for dinner for 2 plus 5 days worth of lunches)


  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger (can also use fresh, but I rarely have that in the house)
  • 1/2 tsp ground corriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp salt (optional, I find the soup flat without some salt)
  • 1 head of celery
  • 3-4 carrots (just lightly less than celery)
  • 900g bag of lentils (I use green usually, but mixed or whathaveyou works just fine)
  • ~18 cups water (can use soup stalk if you have it, no need for salt if you do!)


  1. Pour olive oil into a large pot, and put on medium heat
  2. Mince/crush garlic. Chop onions. Add to pot. Stir.
  3. Add spices. Stir into onion garlic mixture. Let fry while chopping veggies.
  4. Chop/slice carrots and celery. Since carrots are sweet, chop 2/3rd's the amount of carrots to celery to keep the soup balanced. Add other veggies (optional).
  5. Wash lentils, and add the bag's worth to pot. Immediately add the water or soup stalk. Bring pot to boil on high heat, then turn down to 1/3rd heat. Stir occasionally. Add more water if necessary. Cook for 2 hrs, or until lentils are soft.


  • Your food processor is your friend. I use the chopping blade for the garlic and onions (as well as the eggplant), and the slicing blade for the carrots and celery. Saves about 45 min in prep time for me!
  • This is a very basic soup. You can add all sorts of veggies and starches to make it interesting. I like adding 1 cup of chopped potatoes, or frozen peas/mixed veggies. If you are trying to get more veggies hidden, finely chopped eggplant is excellent, it takes on the flavour of the soup and mimics ground beef.
  • How much soup you get will vary by how much veggie you add (obviously). I have a 32 cup pot. I like to make sure my pot is half full of veggies before I add the lentils and liquid, this ensures I get a full pot of soup. If you have more than half a pot of veggies, be prepared to have to scoop some out into a smaller pot at the 1 hr mark (this is approx. when the lentils will have swollen to full size).

Sunday, August 28, 2011


One Best Friend

For shenanigans, long rambling talks, silly stupid adventures, epic cooking afternoons, heart to wounded-heart confessions, long midnight drives to nowhere (optional).

Must enjoy: joyfully watching children's movies - without children; lazy afternoons at the beach baking in the sun, and swimming until your arms give out; singing GBS (or similar) at the top of your lungs.

Must be flexible/open-minded enough to accept chronically ill, disabled woman as friend.

Kindred Spirits only need apply.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Peacock Shawl

As a thank you for my wedding photographer, I knit her a shawl. I used the 'peacock' lace pattern from the Seraphim shawl pattern I bought, though I have seen that same pattern elsewhere on Ravelry. The lady who made the Seraphim shawl had it all nicely laid out in charts, so I followed her pattern.

I used a variated yarn that had blue, green, yellow and brown in it. I didn't like the way the yarn knitted up in stockinette, which is why I just did the lace -- it looks just lovely as lace! I knit three repeats of lace instead of the two Seraphim calls for since I was just knitting the lace. When I got to the end of the last chart I realised didn't have enough yarn to cast off!!! I had quite literally 7 inches of yarn left!!

I also wasn't sure how I wanted to start the shawl so I'd done a provisional cast on. Which meant, I needed yarn to finish that edge as well. Doh.

So, I went to Romni with the scrap of yarn I had from the first time I tried to cast on -- this shawl went through a few cycles of modification since I was winging it. I found a lovely yellow fingering weight superwash wool, that was, if you can believe it, the exact shade of yellow as in the variated wool!! Talk about luck!

So I knit one row in yellow then cast off the bottom. I decided to do three rows of seed stitch on the top (which is what I did on the sides as a boarder), and then cast off in that wonderful yellow. I'd bought two skeins as I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. But when I stretched out the lace, I realised if I made it any larger my little photographer would be swimming in it. Heck, it fit me well enough!

Anyway, now that my photographer has it, I felt I should blog it. I'm really happy with how it turned out! And she says she likes it. I really hope she does... I wasn't sure what to make her....but since she was so impressed with the shawl I made for myself I thought it would be a good bet.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rippit, Rippit, Sigh, Rippit, Rippit, Sob

So I got about 1/3 of the way through the cowl neck tank, and tried it on. I had to get to that point just to be able to try it on -- 1/3 is 1 inch below the armpits where the back and front are reattached. It fit perfectly.



The cowl was very stiff, stood up all on it's own, and was way too low -- it went below my boobs! Like, the middle hung below my bra. Not good. Not good at all. I couldn't wear it like that! And I want to be able to wear the damn thing after putting all the work into it I have.

So. Rippit. Rippit. Rippit. I frogged all my hard work, and am now swatching with different needles.

The band on the ball of yarn suggested 4.5mm needles. And I do all my dish clothes at that needle size, to keep them tight. The last thing I wanted with the tank top was for it to be see through! I wouldn't be able to wear it then either. But, 4.5mm needles was just way too tight. So I'm trying 5mm, 5.5mm and 6mm needles to see which will give me a better gauge, softer material, and better drape.

I hate that I've had to start all over again, but really. I would have been just heartbroken to get all the way done and not have it fit right.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's my Birthday!!!

I'm 32 years old today. 32. Where did all the years go? lol.

I honestly never thought I'd be where I am at 32 - happily married, and living in downtown Toronto. Go me!

I also, never thought I'd be chronically ill and unable to work. It's been 4.5 years since I had a full time job! I've worked retail part time since then (the only work I could get), and it was just way too hard on my body. I'm not sure if or when I'll be able to hold down a real job.

On the other hand, we're lucky enough that we can live comfortably on Chris' salary. Things could be a lot worse!

Today I went to buy some cotton yarn to make a tank top for myself. I got a bright green basic cotton. On sale $2.49/ball, and 20% off at Romni, under $30 with tax, and I have more than enough yarn! So excited to get started!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Story Research

So I've got it in my head to write this cheesy romance story between an older military man and a younger geeky/nerdy civilian woman. As I've already mentioned.

I really wanted the story to take place in Norfolk VA, or Washington DC. NCIS (the show) is based in Norfolk, and there's lots of military types to be had there. I thought it would be a good location for my military love interest.

Trouble is, I wanted my heroine to be from somewhere far enough away that a visit would be a pretty big deal, but not unreasonable. The connection between my characters would be his sister. So my heroine and the sister would go to university together.

This made me start researching US universities. OMFG! The price for ONE YEAR at MIT is more than I paid for all 4 years of university!!! Jesus. How do they do it?? I mean, even if they did get loans, they'd have like $120,000 of debt!! That's just INSANE. INSANE!! So, I can't imagine coming from the kind of money that could afford that. I just can't. I don't understand how anyone but the very rich could ever afford that. That's just... Hell, it would be cheaper to go to school in Canada and pay the international rates than it would to go to many of the US schools. It just boggles my mind.

Anyway, point is, I can't see a where or how for my heroine in the US. And non-us citizens can't get jobs as civilians working with the military, so that connection is out.

I really wanted him to be a marine. I admit it. Gibbs gave me a total hard on for marines. And Semper Fi has just stuck in my head.

So I'm torn as to what to do. Do I just pretend that university isn't insanely expensive and somehow that both women went to MIT and live in Boston? And he's in Norfolk VA as a marine Commander?

Or do I dump Semper Fi, have the women in Toronto (having gone to UofT or McMaster), and him in Ottawa working for the DND perhaps as a Naval attache?

I just.. I don't know what to do... And I can't get over the price of university tuition in the states!

Canada Day was a few days ago, and you know, I'm just so damn glad to be Canadian! I really do love where I live, I have a hard time seeing how I could be happy anywhere else.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Something Old, but Well-loved

When the long night comes,
And the tiger’s claw rips apart the twilight sky
What will you say to the one?
Will you give your excuses,
Or will you stand tall and proud?

I see this tattooed around a cartoon-ish tiger with with the claws of one paw ripping blackness onto my shoulder blade... The tiger would wind around my side...perhaps..

That is, of course, dreaming I'll ever have money for tattoos again. Or enough pain killers to get me threw it. Fibro makes tattooing almost unbearable. So sad. I wanted more ink than I've got, that's for sure.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cheesy Romance Story Plot

Okay, so I had this dream the other night about a Gibbs (Character on NCIS) -- like man and a 30 yr old woman.... He was 40-something, and had two sons. He was a Navy Commander, I believe.... She was very not Navy... They knew each other, somehow, like online emails, not in person... But she comes to visit him and sparks fly. The sparks, oh how hot they were.

I can't really get him out of my head. I'm thinking of writing their story. Or rather inventing it, because there isn't much story to the dream... I mean, I do realise meeting man you thought of as friend, getting all hot and bothered, then fucking him spur of the moment isn't much of a story! I suppose I could do a lot of sexual tension, but I'm more about fulfillment. Besides, I am a terrible flirt, meaning, I'm BAD at it. Like really bad.

So! I was thinking, if this was a cheesy romance novel, what would happen? The woman, or both of them would have to be in some kind of danger, and he/they would have to same her/themselves. This woman isn't in the military, she isn't a cop or a P.I.. she's just your average business type. Everyday Jane, so to speak. What kind of trouble could she get in? Not much. My Navy Commander could be threatened. Maybe he killed some 'terroists' and they want payback, or someone could be blackmailing them to have him endorse their company/product or to embezzle money for them. BUT, if someone wanted to get to the Commander, they would go through his kids, not this woman he'd only just met. That leaves her to be in trouble. Or his kids. They could get themselves messed up in something and the father and woman could do something. BUT if she's just a regular everyday jane, how could she possibly help? She'd have to have some kind of special skills. Maybe a techy that could track the phone calls and find the boys???

The only other possibility I thought of was a stalker. What if she had a stalker, who was like hardcore, and followed her to this other city where the Commander lived. He staked out the house and saw them through the curtains of an upstairs window, naked, and kissing. He goes ballistic, and decides she's betrayed him and has to die. He could bomb her rental car. Try shooting her when she gets the paper in the morning. Take shots at her when she's going to her business meeting, that sort of thing. Then the Commander can be her hero, and catch/kill the stalker.

The other trouble is... Well... I've been watching a LOT of NCIS. So I'm thinking Military, especially Navy.... So do I write these as Americans?? I mean, how much Navy does Canada have. I'm kinda under the impression our Military is tiny and sad....

I'll have to do some wee research on the topic of placement and country.... But I think it could be a lovely, cheesy short story. I'm hoping so anyway. lol.

I can't believe I'm seriously thinking of writing a cheesy romance story!! Gah.

Also, Victoria BC, for the Naval base, OR Ottawa for the Headquarters of National Defense? I originally thought he'd be in Ottawa riding a desk, or maybe training.. But I don't know as they DO training in Ottawa.... They do in BC... And I have no idea what RANK he should have. I was thinking Commander, but that's like WAY up there.... like, running the base up there... I was thinking a leeeetle less high profile than that! Maybe I'll ask for advice.. I do know someone who was a cadet.. Though she'd likely throttle me if I told her why I wanted to know. LOL.

Anyway! Lots to think about! I hope I get some time soon to do some writing!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What Makes a Story A Story?

You'd think after taking a class I'd have that question more sorted out, but I really don't. In part, I think all writers struggle with finding the story, it's all part of the craft. But I can't seem to see when I don't have it. I'm not sure I've really found it yet for any story...

The trouble is, I don't like conflict. I really don't. So the bits of the stories I'm drawn to, that my mind seems to easily come up with is the... back story.. The bit that happens when things aren't interesting. Just everyday kinda life stuff.

I keep finding characters I like, bits and pieces of stories, but I don't know where to take them. I know something is missing, and I can't seem to figure out what it is/how to fix is.

One thing I've not yet tried since the course is just blurting it all out on the page. I want to try that. And soon. Just write everything I can about the characters, the scenes that speak to me, and see if somewhere in it all a story presents itself.

Our teacher told us that the story begins when the status quo is challenged, that's the crux of things. But it's tension and conflict, overcoming obstacles, that's the story, that's what makes a story as opposed to a pleasant anecdote.

Part of my trouble is, of course, is that I love pleasant anecdotes. That's what I've spent my life telling myself when my life isn't what I'd wish. Or when my life was too full and I needed to to drift off to sleep. I'd escape to another world, be another person, live another life. I wouldn't go have adventures, so much as I'd go have romances. Gods, that's embarrassing to admit! But I guess, for most of my life, that's the bit that was most glaringly missing. We didn't have conflict/trouble/adventure to pull us together, but rather time. A slow, true deepening of trust, knowledge, etc. Or sometimes they'd just be hot flings. Much more like life than any story.

All this leaves me wondering if I'm capable of writing stories at all. It's the conflict, the tension, where it all seems to fall apart for me. *sigh*

Maybe I just need to keep writing. Maybe I just need the courage to allow myself to try, and fail. It's okay to fail, as long as you keep trying, as long as you keep writing. If Alice Munro (who is apparently amazing) has false starts, and takes many wrong paths before she gets to where she knows what she wants a story to be, then it's perfectly natural for the same thing to happen to me, a novice.

I just have to learn to let go. To just write, without expectation. To just see. To not feel the effort wasted if the story doesn't come immediately. *sigh*

So where do I get all this courage?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Good Dream

I had this amazing dream last night about vampires, predators, aliens, crazy hotels, and in the middle of it, dildos and chocolate chip muffins. LOL.

It started out... at an old house. Three stories. Turn of the century. Farm house, middle of no where. I don't fully remember why I was there. I think I was protecting someone, or rather a group of people. We were under attack. Vampires. So very fast. I'm almost positive I had a gun.... Like AK47. Semi-automatic. But they were too fast to shoot. I couldn't even see them. We were trying to get them out, the people we were protecting. Many of my men and women died. Fast bloody deaths. But we got some of them out. Some of them just didn't make it. We had planes standing by, though heilos would have made more sense.... Maybe they did take heilos.... If I do turn this into a story, it will be heilos. lol.

I remember being on the first floor. It was a battle just to get there. I think we were on the second or third floor to start. Fighting our way down. Me and another woman. We made it down. She captured one of them. I said we should just kill him and get the fuck out. But she wanted to take him with us. I told her she'd be responsible for him then. She used a wooden chair to break one of the huge windows and threw him out onto the lawn. We were making a run for the last plane. I have this vision of an old school plane with two sets of wings. But the inside was high-tech. Dreams never do make sense.

Anyway. I lost the other woman and her captive in the field, I think. All I know is I made it on the plane, and got the thing to take off. The pilot was just gone. It was just me. I remember thinking: Fuck, I don't know how to fly this plane. But how hard can it be. I can do this. I must know how to fly the plane. LOL Even in my dreams bits of me realise I'm dreaming and don't know my characters whole backstory. So, I get the plane in the air, everything is going fine, and then boom. One of the engines gives out. Hell, I could very well have been shot down. The plane spins out of the control, and crashes in a field by the house. At this point I realise I'm dead. There is no way I could have survived the crashed and lived. And yet I keep going. I keep running.

This is where I meet up with the other woman and her captive. We are in the snow-covered field trying to hide from whomever is coming after us. They have guns. Vamps don't have guns. Or at least, vamps don't NEED guns. It's not vamps chasing us now, it's the military.

I'm laying in the snow, willing them not to see us, realising the grass isn't tall enough, or the snow deep enough. They should be able to see us. But they walk right by us. Human military. Machine guns. Black army boots. Helmets. They appear to be looking right at us, but they don't see us.

We escape.

It's a dream. So it's all fuzzy. I'm not sure exactly what happens next.

I remember walking along the edge of a wall - something a human couldn't really do, something *I* could never have done. I hear a voice in my head, images. I follow where the voice leads, in a section of city. So very pretty. Black wrought iron balconies. Yellow brick, low-rise apartment buildings. Eyes everywhere watching me, but I can't see them, only feel them on me. Watching, appraising.

The voice tells me about vampires. Fast. Strong. Long-lived. Hard to hurt, very hard to kill. Heal so very fast. Powerful minds, powerful enough to change the way humans around them see the world, see them. They are the perfect predator. They have no rival. But nature hates imbalance. That's why she created the others. So very like the vampire in every way, strong, fast, agile, powerful mind and body, great healers, hard to kill, hard to stop. And that's what we are. What you are, it tells me. We hunt them. They hunt the humans. We lay with the devil and they have no idea we aren't them. This thought terrifies me. Vampires are a dangerous lot. If they found out what I was, that I wasn't one of the, they'd do worse than kill me. I was already dead. Goddess knows what they'd do. You're one of us the voice keeps telling me. Hard to believe that.

Somehow, once again, I meet up with the woman from the farm house. We meet a group of people, well, not people. They are other. I can't tell if they are vamps, or this not-vamp the voice in my head keeps going on about.

There's a male, shorn head (very very short dark hair), Collin I think. He has a lovely Irish accent. He's wearing a sleevless t-shirt. Kinda athetic/mountain climber type. There's a man with long dark hair, dark eyes, reminds me of Antonio Banderas, but he's got an English accent, or at least he does when he wants to. Calls me 'puppet'. Seems kinda nice, for a vamp, or whatever he is. Another male, shoulder length blond hair, muscular, beautiful, very Eric Northman, has the voice too. He's a total asshole, but he's beautiful. There was a thin, fit, petite, dark haired woman. I think she's the one that talked in my head. There's at least one more woman, but I can't quite picture her....... Tall, lean, very like a french model. She pouts perfectly. This sounds like the woman that came with me, but it's NOT the woman that was dragged away... and that IS the one that came with me.. So this one must be the one at the table. The one with me was my height, dark shoulder length hair, strudy build, muscles, fit.

We, me and the woman from the farm house, meet up with this group as they are going into a hotel I think? It ends up being a hotel anyway. Somehow along the way she seems to have lost her hostage. Or at least I don't see him here. We join them. Sleep in some large room. Get up and go to breakfast. I think they have some kind of meeting, and we join them at the table. Or rather Collin is at a table in what looks like a food court. Farm warrior and I sit at the table with him. But two men in blue coveralls come out from two swinging doors behind the table and drag her away. A few mintues later the rest of the gang joins us. I'm shocked. I have no idea what's going on. Who took her, why, or what's to happen to either of us. Collin seemed to give the order, but I don't know why, or even what the order was. I think she was to be incarcerated, but I don't know by who. He wouldn't tell me who the men were when I asked. You don't need to know was all he told me.

When we were up in the hotel room, he and I were talking. I think he talked about losing his family. About some kind of loss that made him sad. They weren't a touchy group. I didn't know any of them, or even my standing with them. Why had they let me stay? I had no clue. But his sadness touched me. I thought of my mom and pa. I thought about how heartbroken, how devastating the news of my death would be to them. I wanted to call them. To tell them I was okay. To not believe that I was dead. But I was dead, wasn't I? I didn't know what was going to happen to me. But I didn't care in that moment. All I wanted was to not hurt them. And I saw, or thought I say a kindred spirit in this man. Before we left, I stopped him, and said, I hoped he wouldn't take this the wrong way, but I just had to do it, and I hugged him. I hugged him and told him I was sorry for his loss. Then I let go abruptly and walked to the elevators with everyone.

I remember sitting at the table eating a chocolate chip muffin. I felt I needed to eat, though I don't actually remember being hungry. The rest of them had said something about being very hungry. They'd gone somewhere else to eat. I was sitting next to the gorgeous blond. I think my eating offended him. I was steaming mad at Collin for betraying my trust, for not telling me what the hell was going on. Somehow the question of who I would kill came up. It think Collin asked me. I told him I'd kill him first and the the blond. The lady sitting beside him asked why - the tall model thin one. I said because he was so beautiful. He got all strangely cocky, asked if I really thought he was beautiful. I said, of course I did. I had eyes, I could see. he was lovely. Everyone in the room looked at him and knew it. He said if I thought he was beautiful now, I should watch something. There was a sort of sitting area behind us, we were on the edge of it I guess. He walked to the far wall, all calm business, then RAN through the middle of the sitting area. He was magnificent when he ran. It was almost like he shone, or bled golden light, and not just from his hair. But no one looked at him. No one paid him any mind at all. It was as if he wasn't there, or as if they just couldn't see him. He came to sit down, he took a large bite of my muffin then yelled something unintelligable at me, spitting large pieces of muffin at me. It even stained my white tank top.

I guess I knew he was offended by my eating after all. He sat down. I told him yeah, yeah, you're beautiful when you run as well. so what? Were you using your eyes he asked me. Of course I was. But what did you really see he asked. I saw you run. And how did the people react to him this time, asked the same model lady. They didn't. They acted as if they coudln't see him at all. Very good, said the blond, you were using your eyes. Yes I replied sadly. I picked up what was left of my muffin, threw it in the garbage and walked away from them.

As I walked what I saw changed. I kept blinking and my vision changed. At first it was almost like I could see two versions of the world, then it came in focus again, just one version, but not the one I was used to. There were aliens everywhere. People hiding as human, but I could see the bits they hid. Large heads, third eyes, technology in the floor, lights, maps, data, all in the floor.A man and a woman were playing a game, but as I blinked, I saw them pouring over some kind of document in the table, and the game pieces were like drives of some kind holding more information. Their bodies where totally human, they were shapped just a little wrong, and they were wearing white jumpsuits, not khakis and t-shirts. I kept walking away from the vamps, or whatever the hell they were. I never looked back. I didn't falter. I didn't want them to know what was happening to me.

I ended up near the concierge desk, and a woman appeared out of no where to one side of me. She held a white translucent clip board that was actually some kind of computer. She was wearing the hotel's uniform and asked if she could help me. I told her I wanted to go back to my room, but I didn't have a key, and for that matter I wasn't sure I could even find it. She knew just where I wanted to go. Said the son, Andrew, 10, was in the room, and he'd let me in. We were staying with his family, but they didn't actually know we were there. Strange that. I thanked her and made my way to the elevators, that were now WAY more complicated than they were a few minutes ago.

To be continued..... (hopefully I'll remember!)

It's very late. My husband had gone to bed. He doesn't like going without me. Nor does he like it when I stay up. So I better get my fat fungus infested self to bed.

Assignment #5, Option 2 - No Strings Attached - 500 words

Maddie stared out the car window at the dark, empty street, her heart in her throat, a question on her lips. Phantoms of the salsa music from the club pounded against her skin. Tonight the silence between them was suffocating; it stole her voice. She took a deep breath and tried again. "Alejandro?"


“Um… Friends of mine are having a party next Saturday. It's a couples kind of thing.” Maddie squeezed her eyes shut, "I'd really like to introduce you to them. Will you come?"

"No," he replied, staring resolutely forward.

She sat silent, still, waiting for him to say something more; he didn’t. "Is that all the reply I'm to expect?" Maddie finally asked, fighting a bad English accent as she stole Mr. Darcy's line from Pride & Prejudice. Had her pride led her astray, just as Darcy's had, she wondered.

Alejandro shrugged, "What more is there to say?"

Maddie watched his broad, muscular shoulders roll gracefully under his tight polo shirt. She would not be distracted. "How about why?"

"Does it matter? The answer is still the same." He said sullenly.

"Yes it matters, damnit." She said, crossing her arms.

Silence filled the car, every long moment more stifling than the last. Alejandro rotated his white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. Very carefully, he pulled onto the entrance ramp for the QEW. Her heart twinged; he was taking her home.

Maddie broke the silence first. "Come on, Alejandro, talk to me. I deserve a better answer than just no. Why don't you want to meet my friends?"

"It's not that."

"Then what?" she asked, her words sharp.

"I don't want to talk about it," was his churlish reply.

"Of course not. Well I do. Why are you being such a closed mouth jerk?"

"Do you really want to have this conversation right now?" He countered caustically.

"Yes!" She all but yelled.

"We aren't a couple," Alejandro said with hushed venom. "I'm not lying to your friends."

"I didn't ask you to," she said from between clenched teeth. "I just, want to introduce you, to, my friends," her words haltingly pushed through the sea of her emotions. "Is that too much to ask?"

"What kind of relationship do you think we have?" He asked in a carefully neutral voice.

"What?" She replied, genuinely confused.

"Just answer the question."

She brushed her bangs behind her ear. "I don't know. I mean, I thought I did, but now I'm not so sure."

"So what did you think?" He pushed.

"I thought..." Maddie shook her head, her eyes glassy. "No, I'm not humiliating myself further. Clearly I was wrong."

"Maddie, don't be like that. I like you, you know I do. We have a lot of fun together. You dance..." His voice went husky, low, "like sex incarnate. And everything you promise on the dance floor, you deliver. You're amazing, really. But I like things how they are. Casual. Do you understand?"

"Yeah," She coughed, choking on her tears, "I understand."

Assignment #5, Option 1 - The Adulterer - 502 words

Maddie stared out the car window at the dark, empty street, her heart in her throat. Phantoms of the salsa music from the club pounded against her skin. Tonight the silence between them was suffocating; it stole her voice. She took a deep breath and tried again. "Alejandro?"


"Um.. Friends of mine are having a party next Saturday.” Maddie squeezed her eyes shut, "I'd really like to introduce you to them. Will you come?"

"No." His anger dripped from his short, sharp word.

She sat silent, still, waiting for him to say something more; he didn’t. "Is that all the reply I'm to expect?" Maddie finally asked, fighting a bad English accent as she stole Mr. Darcy's line from Pride & Prejudice. Had her pride led her astray, just as Darcy's had, she wondered.

"You know I can't do that Maddie. I have a fiancée! I can't be seen going to a party with someone else. What if Carmen found out?"

"Are you going to tell her?,” she asked, her voice flat with anger, “Because no one going will; they don’t know her.”

“No, of course not.” He rotated his white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel.

“We go dancing almost every weekend, how is this so different?" Maddie stared at Alejandro expectantly.

"You're just my dance partner to her. Like a football buddy, it means nothing." He said, his eyes obstinately on the road.

"Bullshit! Are you telling me if she saw us dancing tonight she wouldn't mind?! Your hands were all over me! Anyone could have seen us!" Maddie ranted, her hands gesturing wildly with her words.

The streetlights strobed across Alejandro's face. He paled visibly.

“So why is that okay, but you won’t come with me to a private party? Why?” Her words were so hot they almost burnt her lips.

“Because we don’t have that kind of relationship Maddie!” Alejandro snapped, his hand smacking the steering wheel. In a strangled calm he continued, “Whether we like it or not, I’m going to marry Carmen. I have to show her some respect.”

"Wait," Maddie shook her head to clear her thoughts, "whether we like it or not? You don't want to marry her, do you?"

"I didn't say that," he spat.

"But you aren't denying it either. Shit, Alejandro do you love her?” Maddie asked, forgetting her own troubles to deal with the bigger issue.

“What's love got to do with it?” He countered.

“Everything! Marriage is about love!”

“No. Marriage is about duty, honour, family,” he explained, every word bitingly crisp.

“Is that why you're marrying her? Duty?” Maddie asked, shocked to her core.

“You wouldn't understand. It was how I was raised. How we both were. Carmen gets it.” His voice was sullen now.

“Marriage isn't a short term commitment… How can you risk it?” She breathed, her mind reeling.

“I'm not risking anything.” He scowled.

“Oh Ale, you're risking everything.” Her voice betrayed her heartache; she’d thought she loved him, but here sat a perfect stranger.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Playing to Your Audience

So, assignment 5, the last one, is to revise a previous assignment in 500 words. I decided to go with Assignment 2, about Maddie the homewrecker and Alejandro the adulterer. No one liked my characters. It's hard to be likeable when you're dating an engaged man, and the audience is all married. LOL But I like her. I want her to be likeable. A younger woman I know read my piece, and said she felt badly for Maddie. So maybe it's just that they're all old?? I really don't know.

Anyway, the point is, I revised my work. Twice.

The first time, I reworked their relationship entirely, so they were dating casually, with no strings attached anywhere. The cravat being that Maddie wanted more from the relationship that Alejandro wanted to give. Argument ensues.

The second time, I reworked the piece so the ending was very different. Maddie was still dating an engaged man, but we learn that he doesn't love her (the woman he's going to marry), doesn't want to marry her, but is. Maddie is shocked to say the least, and heartbroken for him.

I'm not sure how I feel about the casual dating rework. It feels kind of wishy washy to me. I'm not sure how to explain, but I guess it feels unreal to me, the argument feels false. Maybe that's because I've never had that particular argument.... Maybe it's because I didn't write it well. I can't really tell. Maybe it's because I know full well that I'm playing to my audience of white middle-class, conservative, married women, and it rubs me the wrong way.

I'm not why playing to my audience irks me so, but it does. It just feels so damn wrong. Though I"m sure part of it is, I really don't identify with them. I guess I am technically middle class now, but I don't feel it. I was raised by labourers, that's who I identify with, that's the kind of life I understand. I'm a practical person, but I'm also very young at heart I think. I understand that you can fall in love with someone you really shouldn't, that you can't always help it.

I want to write this story. I want to write it so badly. But I'm afraid it won't make sense, that no one will understand. That, as my husband put it, I've bitten off more than I can chew. *sigh* Maddie is so much a part of me that I can't help but love her. Heck, I even love Alejandro a little bit, and he's pretty much a jerk. I want to tell their story.... but I'm not so sure now which part of it IS a story. Blarg.

Stories, good stories, are the significant moments in people's lives. Little blocks of time, at least the ones I tend to read, where they are faced with a decision, with a change to the status quo.... I can't write them falling in love, that bit takes time. But maybe, just maybe, I can write the moment when Maddie realises she has fallen for him, and her decision process on what to do about it. Is that a story?? I'm not sure I can tell anymore.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Knitting - GASP!

I know. It's been a damn long time since I've talked knitting. Don't fall over or anything!

So, last summer I went yarn shopping with my husband. Isn't he sweet coming to a yarn store with me? He was so patient too. Let me fondle all the wonderful yarns. He even bought me the yarn I was sad to put down, bless him! It's by Tanis Fiber Arts (go Canadian yarn!), their Blue Label Fingering Weight, in Seabreeze. It makes me think of shallow Caribbean waters or a sunny summer sky.

I wanted it for a Seraphim shawl. I made one in a buttery, sunshiney yellow last summer, and was so enamoured with the pattern I wanted to knit it again. I should also say, a year later, I still love this pattern, and I still intend to make a Seraphim shawl with this yarn.

I started the shawl last summer, on 5.0mm needles, and got about 20% done before it got close to my wedding, and I had other things I needed to knit. Like finishing the Spanish Armada shawl for the wedding, and knitting wedding octopuses. This spring, when we had a nice warm day, last week, I started knitting on it again. I got to about 25% done, and realised that on the 5.0mm needles I was getting too dense a fabric. I wanted this shawl to be very light and airy, I think that will show off the colours best, and I just wasn't confident that blocking it would stretch it out enough.

I frogged it, and it was painless! Let's hear it for frogging last summer's work! Now I'm going to start all over again with 6.0mm needles and see if that's more to my liking.