spring 6

Spring in Saskatchewan

For those of you who live in more moderate climates, I thought I'd share what spring looks like where I live:
Spring in Saskatchewan

To be fair, I should point out that this is not a completely typical year. We've broken the record for snowfall (we're now at 194.6 centimetres or just over 6 and a half feet). I will also point out that we're expecting a few more inches of snow over the next few days and yesterday the temperature dipped to -30 C (-22 F).

Also, when the snow finally melts, we're expecting it to turn into one of our biggest floods on record.

I'm trying very hard to remember why I live here...
Ain't life grand

What a difference a month makes

Just under a month ago, I posted a very depressing tale about my father's mental state, including the fact that he would never be coming home again.

Tonight, he's at home with my mom.

And ok, so he has to go back to the hospital tomorrow, but if this visit goes well (and it sounded good when I spoke to them both on the phone earlier this evening), then he might be going home permanently as early as next week.

What changed?

Well, the basic diagnosis is still the same: he does have frontal lobe dementia. It's the aggression that has disappeared.

A couple of weeks ago, he was transferred from the psych ward here in the city back to the local hospital in my hometown. So now he's around people he knows; his friends have been visiting; he's under the care of a fantastic nurse-practitioner instead of the not-so-fantastic psychiatrist. With all that, somewhere along the line, he decided to start cooperating with the assessments and taking his drugs (which include an anti-psychotic).

One of the things that seems to be key is that the nurse-practitioner has been absolutely blunt, even harsh, in her conversations with him - explaining his diagnosis and prognosis, explaining what limitations he was likely to have. I think he felt like people were hiding things from him before and so he was suspicious and fought everything. We were letting the psychiatrist determine what information he was given and when because we assumed she knew best. Yeah, not so much.

So. The world is a much happier place and I am very much relieved.

Thanks to everyone who sent me positive thoughts. It appears that they worked. Excellent job, everyone!
emotion, scary

(no subject)

Well, the last month has been, to say the least, educational.

My dad has now been diagnosed: frontal lobe dementia, brought on by his stroke. He spent most of the last month in the mental health ward and has now been transferred back to the hospital in our home town. He will not be coming home. From the hospital, he'll be transferred back to a specialized nursing facility that can handle him (fortunately, it's in the city where I live). He's ok a lot of the time, but he gets aggressive and unmanageable sometimes, and he absolutely does not believe that he needs to be in a facility. He wants to go home, and he wants to go home RIGHT NOW DAMMIT! And it can take 5 men to restrain him, apparently. He's 80. He's rather disturbingly proud that he's able to cause them so much trouble at his age, actually.

Once we actually got a diagnosis and some information on how to deal with him (not from the medical system but from a random friend whose mother-in-law has the same condition), things became a whole lot more manageable. Surreal as hell, but manageable.

He's developed the idea that he's come into a massive amount of money (sometimes he's not sure how much, but one time he informed me that it was 19 billion dollars). This money is apparently from compound interest on his Canada pension payments that accrued while he was dead for a year.

Also, he tells me that he is attached to one of the nurses via his hospital bracelet. The nurse, Stephen, can never be further away than the width of the bracelet. And there are holes in the hospital and people are escaping through them all the time. He gets quite angry at the staff when they fail to go looking for all of these missing patients. Then comes the shouting and the restraints.

My coping strategy is to pretend that I'm doing an improv scene where my assignment is to keep things calm and controlled, and my scene partner is allowed to do or say any damn thing he likes. Treating it as a game helps me to not get rattled and our conversations have been a lot more pleasant. My mom is having a harder time of it, although she's busy being fine and handling everything.

Thank you to everyone who has sent me messages of support. I have been spotty on replying, but I have very much appreciated the notes. I promise I'll get on top of my responses soon.
why (sad)

Sucky week sucks

Just got back from the hospital where I was visiting my father. He's been admitted to the mental health ward while we try to sort out whether his current erratic (and occasionally aggressive) behaviour is a physiological or psychological thing. Or maybe some combination of both.

He was admitted last Thursday night, and we still haven't actually met with his doctor, nor have we seen the results of the CT scan they took that night (he had a stroke back in January and there's the possibility of another bleed in the brain).

He spent the first few days absolutely furious with us for sending him to the hospital, alternately ordering us out of his room or ordering us to call the media so he could report how badly he was being treated. That fury, however, has been replaced by muddled confusion. I'm not sure which state I find more distressing.

Ok, that's a lie. As upsetting as it is to see him so disoriented, it was more upsetting to have him tell me that he never wanted to see me again. I know that he was just speaking out of anger and frustration, but it made me wonder if I was ever going to get to speak to my dad again - the dad I used to know.

The only good thing in all of this is how amazingly kind and helpful people have been:
- sesheta_66 and nursedarry, who picked up my issues of the Prophet on short notice
- the ambulance drivers who came to get my dad on Thursday night and managed to coax him into going to the hospital without having to restrain him (one of whom was also very fit. Is it inappropriate to notice hot EMTs when you're having a family crisis?)
- the nurse-practitioner who saw my dad at the hospital and understood that he needed to be admitted so that both he and my mom could be safe
- my friends, who have rearranged their lives to suit my needs and have alternately listened to me and distracted me
- my boss, coworkers and staff, who have all made it clear that work is a distant second place to looking after my dad and my mom (and myself)

I am also excessively grateful about the fact that one of my best friends lives directly across the street from the hospital and I have free use of his extra parking space. It's a small thing, but not having to find change to feed parking meters or drive around looking for a parking spot helps me be just a bit less stressed before I go to see dad and that doesn't feel like a small thing at all.

Dad's supposed to be seeing his doctor tomorrow. He needs to be re-certified (since he's in there against his will), and we're a bit concerned about what happens next. There's no way he can be at home alone with my mom right now. I feel like a shit for hoping that my father continues to be detained in the mental health ward but I really can't see what other option is available.

I'm pretty sure this is not going to be my favourite Christmas ever.
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snow and tree, seasonal

Foundations One-shot Podfic - Festive Fundamentals

The last time I posted (back in late October), I was trying out the idea of posting without a specific purpose, just to chat.

Yeah, not so much with the follow-through on that.

So instead, here's a mini-update followed by the link to the podfic of Festive Fundamentals by the brilliant and lovely saras_girl.
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And now, the bit you've been waiting for: Foundations!verse Fic link.

In the fullness of time (and time seems to be very full), I do intend to finish recording all of the Foundations!Verse one-shots. And then I will have to sort out whether the next project is fluffy!verse or Turn. I am endlessly grateful to Nat for a) writing all of these super-fantabulous stories in the first place and b) allowing me to record them, albeit very slowly.

Ain't life grand

Just stuff...

You know, I've never really gotten the hang of blogging. I usually post only when I've got a new podfic done or similar.

Also, I don't think I really post very much about me. That's partly because I'm really a fairly private person, but it's also partly because I think I'm pretty boring. Also, I overthink everything I say and then get annoyed before I get finished and delete everything I've written.

So this is my attempt at posting just general stuff about what's going on in my life.

This has actually been a very big week for me. I've been working on my CMA designation (CMA stands for Certified Management Accountant. Very exciting, I know) and I wrote the comprehensive exam for the foundation phase on Monday and.....I passed! I wasn't excessively worried about it; the exam was challenging but not horrendous. But on the other hand, I hadn't written an exam in something like 12 years, so I was a bit afraid that I just didn't recognize how hard it was. Given that they had to curve the results, it was at least moderately hard. I'm feeling reasonably smug about the fact that I had a very healthy pass even before the curve. Now we start into the application phase, which I am expecting to find much more interesting. Also, given that it is heavy on the group work, probably more frustrating.

Also, as of this week, I have officially lost 75 lbs on my WeightWatchers program (and was ridiculously pleased with the silly little star that I got from the on-line program). That means that I am more than half-way to my goal. I've actually been working on this since mid-January, but - like I said - I don't really share very well. In the interests of full disclosure, I expect to lose approximately 50% of my starting weight by the time I'm done. I also expect it to take another year or year and a half. I actually have a ridiculously involved spreadsheet that outlines the plan in obsessive detail. What weight I expect to be at each week; what my actual weight is each week; all of my interim targets; percent complete; and on, and on, and on.

The one thing that is causing me some grief at the moment is work, but if I start talking about that, I'm likely to get annoyed and delete the whole post, so I'm going to pretend that work doesn't exist. It's still Sunday and I can do that.

Right. That's enough for today I think. Hitting "Post".

Foundations One-shot Podfic - Detestable Logic

So let's say, hypothetically, that someone has failed to respond to comments on some posts for a very, very long time. Not because the comments are not appreciated, mind you; just because of sheer bad management and disorganization. Is it acceptable to make a blanket apology and just go on from there? At what point is it too late to reply to the individual comments?

Right, so it's not a hypothetical case, and I have comments from 40 weeks ago (40 weeks! Epic fail!) that I never responded to.

The really pathetic thing is that I love comments. Absolutely dote on them. But I get them in my gmail and if I don't reply to them right away, they wind up way down the page, then I get distracted by other things (oooo, shiny!), and I never get back to do it. I am a bad social networker.

I have diligently gone back and replied to the comments from my last post a couple of weeks ago as well as a couple of comments I missed on my Glompfest fic (which I should probably post here sometime, eh?), but I'm not quite sure how to handle the massively old unanswered comments.

Any advice is welcome.

Oh, and if you wrote one of those comments: I'm so sorry!

Also, as the Subject line indicates, I have another Foundations!Verse podfic for you. This one is utterly charming and features a mildly petulant Harry, a persistent and perceptive Draco, and a very opinionated cupboard. I would never have believed that I could become attached to a kitchen fitting as a recurring character, but that's the miracle of Nat. Even her inanimate objects are riveting.

You can find it at: Detestable Logic Podfic.

More to come soon...
English Major

Foundations One-shot Podfic - The Significance of Draco Malfoy

Hi, all! It's been a very, very, very long time, hasn't it? I really have to get the hang of posting regularly, even if it's just to say hi.

I also have to get the hang of responding to comments. If you have left me a comment and I failed to respond, then please accept my most abject apology and know that I really do appreciate receiving comments, I just suck at responding to them.

The last time I posted to this journal, I promised that I would soon be posting the podfic version of The Significance of Draco Malfoy. "Soon" is, apparently, a fairly elastic term in my vocabulary, as it's been almost nine months.

I've got a plan to finish up the Foundations!verse one-shots in the next few weeks, so the wait will hopefully be short this time.

I have to admit that I have a soft spot for this particular story, as it's from Draco's POV. Ok, so I have a soft spot for each and every one of Nat's stories. The truth is that this one is my favourite because it's the one I just read. When I read the next one, that will be my favourite. I'm not fickle, I just have a very difficult time choosing amongst so damn much perfection.

Anyway, here's the link: The Significance of Draco Malfoy. I hope you enjoy listening to it half as much as I enjoyed recording it!
Ain't life grand

My utterly hedonistic long, long weekend!

Finally, after several months of working massive hours, my huge-assed project has been sent to print. I still have some finish-up work (ok, and a media briefing and committee meetings and things) but the actual work is done and I get to actually have weekends and evenings off again. At least until the next project.

I celebrated my freedom by taking Friday off. Since Thursday was a holiday, that made for a 4 day weekend. I was almost beside myself considering the possibilities. So here is what I did with my first weekend of freedom in forever:

1. Slept in. A lot. Every single damn day. I did get up in time on November 11th to have my own two minutes of silence at 11 a.m.

2. Read a lot of h/d. Since Thursday and Friday were my days to edit the HDProphet, I thoroughly enjoyed the excuse to lounge about reading. Oh, and I got to recc Chapter 2 of saras_girl's brilliant new story Turn, which you are also reading, right? If not, what the hell are you doing here!?! Go, now, and read!

3. Met with my new handyman person and gave him a long and detailed list of things to be fixed in my house. New countertops. Insulation in the attic. Weatherstripping on the doors. New light and doorbell at the front. Etc, etc, etc.

These are things that, in the past, I would have done myself because I am something of a do-it-yourselfer and don't really like to pay people to do things I can do on my own. But then I thought to myself, I thought, "Self, you have reached the stage in your life where you have enough money (more or less) and not enough time. It is reasonable to pay someone else to do things for you. Especially if they are things you don't actually enjoy doing." And therefore, handyman! Very exciting.

4. Picked the paint colour for my kitchen. Which I will paint myself, because that's something I actually enjoy doing. Also, no one else paints to my rather excruciatingly exacting standards.

5. Went for lunch with my friends. I usually find time to do this at least once on the weekend but this is the first weekend in forever that I didn't have to rush away to work after. Also went for coffee with other friends in the evening, which is rather rare because I'm usually tired and cranky from work and just want to be at home.

6. Went to see Ron James. For those of you on my flist who are not Canadian, he's a comic. Very, very funny guy. Excellent live show.

7. Rented a car and drove out to visit my folks. I live a car-less life (on the prairies, this makes me something of a freak), which means I don't get out to see them as often as I think I should. It was a beautiful drive, with everything covered in hoarfrost. It was so gorgeous that I felt the need to share photos with you. These are photos of my parent's yard:

(weeping birch in the backyard)

(part of the front yard)

(for comparison purposes - front yard in summer, with my father, brother, and nephew)

My brother, who lives in Victoria and cannot understand why anyone would want to live on the frozen prairie, keeps pestering me to move to the west coast. I will admit that when it's forty below and blizzarding I see his point. But then we have a day like today and I just can't imagine living anywhere else.

I did other things this weekend too, but I don't think you're interested in hearing about chores, shopping, etc.

Also, on my drive out to my parent's place, I listened to the podfic version of Reparations and now I'm feeling all revved about doing more recording. (Is it narcissistic to enjoy listening to the sound of one's own voice? I swear, it's all about the story, truly!). So I'll definitely be getting something recorded before Christmas. I believe next up is The Significance of Draco Malfoy.

Now that I look back at this post, I have to admit that my weekend really wasn't all that hedonistic. Except the sleeping in part. I suspect that it's a sign of advancing age.

And now I'm slightly sad because it's almost time for bed and I have to go to work tomorrow. Ah, well, the better to pay for the handyman, I suppose!

This post brought to you by Murphy, the wonder cat (aka: that evil git):