Seriously, I'm dealing with massive fatigue and an allergy attack that combined are making me pretty loopy. Let's just see, shall we?

As those of you on Facebook know, we were hit with a huge ice storm Thursday night into Friday. Power is out all over the damn place. Deb, whose apartment is in the basement, didn't own a backup battery for her sump pump, so with the power outage and the freakish amount of rain, her apartment flooded. Like … flooded. The cats' food dishes were floating. All of the floors have to be torn out, all of the walls need to be replaced as far up as the moisture seeped. Some of her furniture, some of our stuff stored down there is toast.

And speaking of toast, that's what we're living on pretty much. We finally got a big generator hooked up, so now we have water (yay, toilets!) and the fridges are running again. But we have to be really careful about everything else. We can use the toaster or the electric kettle or the microwave. I really had no good sense of how much I used the stove until I lost access to it. Also no TV, no radio, no hair dryer, certainly no washer or dryer. Or shower or bath. We use a candle in the bathroom instead of the lights. One light in the livingroom/kitchen, and I get to use a light in my room because I am truly night blind.

Hydro One (the power company for rural folk) keeps pushing back when we'll get power. It started out as Saturday night, then late Sunday night, now sometime Monday afternoon. I'm not holding my breath. I am, however, going to be missing Game of Thrones tonight. Bleh.

The good news is that the alpacas are all OK. The girls and babies were closed in their barn, but the boys had freer access to the outside. I did see a couple of the boys gingerly making their way across the ice-covered ground. Lots of damage all around the area, though.

Dar has had a buttload of medical tests (literally in the case of her colonoscopy last Wednesday), and Friday we get to hear all of the results put into - it is hoped - some concrete diagnoses and plan. We know that the colonoscopy results were A-OK, but the results of her upper GI tests won't be disclosed until Friday. Good thoughts, please.

I'm still waiting for my damn work visa to be renewed so I can get some tests and procedures done. It's over 22 months, guys. On June 4 it will be two years since my visa and healthcare expired. I'd say that's a wee bit excessive, wouldn't you?

Im not reading much anymore because I keep falling asleep. I've been trying to get through Mort (part of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series) for several months now. I bring it with me to read while I'm waiting for Dar to do her thing at the various units at the hospital in London, then fall asleep sitting upright in uncomfortable chairs before I get more than a few pages in. My life, she is exciting, no?

I went kind of overboard with The Walking Dead right near the end there. AMC reran the whole series every night for a week before the finale, and even before that they were rerunning the first season on Thursday(?) nights in b&w. Which I watched. As I watched the whole series rerun during the last week. It became so much a part of my world that I found myself looking for zombies in other TV shows. Like Boardwalk Empire. For god's sake, Nucky, don't just pull over to the side of road and start yelling! The walkers will hear you! I started getting a little concerned about our glass patio door. Way too easy to break down. Now I have until October to settle down.

I was initially concerned about Glenn Mazzara leaving as show runner, especially when I heard that he didn't like the direction that the creator (Robert Kirkland) wanted to take the show next season. But then I watched the episodes that the new guy (whose name I cannot remember right now) wrote - and they turned out to be my favorite episodes of the series. I'm going to have to trust based on that, because the finale had a big WTF moment at the end. But as I said … I'll trust.
I really am trying to get back into the habit of posting on LJ again. [livejournal.com profile] sffan came to visit last weekend, and we were talking about how much we miss the old days when more people posted here. I have to admit that I'm part of the problem, so here I go trying to rectify that. Maybe I'll even work my way back to actual content :) Until then, it's just snippets. Baby steps and all that.

It snowed all day. Again. The worst part was the strong wind. I should say "is" the strong wind; it's still blowing out there and rattling around my corner of the house. Gary the farmer guy came around 10AM to blow out the driveway and the laneway, but I couldn't even move my car for him because it was surrounded by knee-high drifts. There was one little clear portion near my rear wheel, but that wasn't a lot of help. I got it backed up enough to give him room to plow me out, so that saved me an hour's worth of shovelling. Yay, Gary! Unfortunately the blowing snow built up drifts again within a few hours.

[livejournal.com profile] darlong was outside for over four hours in all this crappiness trying to get the doors to the girls' barn unstuck. She was doing other stuff, too, but really - those doors get frozen right into the ground in certain conditions; it takes a long time with much chipping and shovelling and strewing of ice melters to get them free. I'd helped get them unstuck just two days ago, too. This winter can end right now, please.

While Dar was out there doing chores, I was inside making banana bread. We also serve who only stand and bake. Things got very weird at the end of that. The doorbell rang. As I was going to answer it, the timer for the bread went off. Unknown young woman on porch staring in through the door pane; I let her into the hallway and rush back to turn off the timer because it beeps incessantly until it's turned off. Rush back to young woman and the door bell rings again. We look at each other and then out the door pane. No one is there. She says that she's here to pick up "the stuff that her brother ordered." I have no idea what she's talking about, but I figure that it's someone who's ordered an alpaca product from online or at the market. We both see the Alpaca-opoly game leaning up against the wall in the hallway, so I give it to her. "Is this what he ordered?" The door bell rings again. Still no one there that we can see. She says she has no idea what she's here to pick up; her brother just gave her the address. I figure that I need to see if Dar knows what's going on, so I invite girl into the living room while I pull the bread out of the oven and pull on all the blizzard-wear to trek out to the barn. The door bell rings again. She looks at me and says, in a "huh" voice, "The door bell was frozen so I really pushed hard. I think maybe I broke it." Yes. Yes, I'd say that's probably the case. Off I go, plodding through very deep drifts and completely snowblind - I'm just guessing where my feet actually are going. I catch up with Dar; she knows nothing about this, and we realize that the girl most probably needs to pick up her brother's stuff at the mill instead. Back I go, direct very confused girl to the mill (which is right there, right next to the house!) and then back inside to throw the bread back in the oven and listen to the door bell ring over and over and over and … until I finally was able to fix it.

And that was my day. Plus the usual cat wrangling.

the end
So this was my day. Didn't get much sleep last night; joint pain woke me early, although I'm happy to say that that hasn't happened in a while. Still … not a lot of sleep. And this is on top of a week (at least) of going like an over-eager beaver. (I'd been doing more alpaca chores; there was a lot of driving and errand running; worked at the market on Saturday; difficulty sleeping always. Yesterday Dar started her chemo; that ended up being a nine-hour trip.) Our friend Skye had let us borrow her new(ish) Volkswagon for the commutes to the London hospital (Dar had appointments both last Friday and yesterday) because the weather was supposed to be snowy and my 11-year-old Mazda is not great in bad weather.

So today was the day when we were going to bring Skye's car back to her in Kitchener. It's about an hour from our place to hers. First, the car doors are all frozen solid. Dar searches out a long extension cord and goes to work on the driver's door with a blow dryer. Meanwhile, I'm shoveling the porch and steps and getting rid of the (smallish) snow drifts between us and the road. The car door finally defrosts, but I quickly discover that the car battery is deader than dead. It is wicked cold (5F/-15C), strong winds are putting the wind chill at waaaay below 0F and snow squalls are rolling through. I hook up Skye's battery with mine and let it run for 15 minutes before trying mine again. Nothing. Mess around with cables a bit, let it run for another 20 minutes. Nothing. Take all the cables off, we go talk to Deb about using her big-ass truck to jump the car, but she's on hold on the phone. She says to connect the two negatives instead of grounding mine on the engine block. I'm not happy about this because it can be dangerous, so I reattach the cables in the approved manner and hope for the best. Another 20 minutes of letting it charge. Nothing. Fuck this. I make sure Dar is nearby in case the battery blows up in my face and attach negative to negative. Ten minutes later my Mazda battery finally turns over. (Oh, and in between we were trying to affix tarps to the engine hoods to try to keep the blowing snow off the engines. Yeah, that went about as well as you're thinking it did.) Two hours, people. That's how long it took to get the damn car started.

We head out. Mark is driving my Mazda, and I'm following in Skye's car. Or trying to follow. Between the blowing snow and the occasional squall, it's white-out conditions in places. Fortunately it cleared up nearer to Kitchener. We meet up with Skye; I give her the keys to her car, and she hustles off to her dentist appointment. Mark and I slip into a coffee bar to warm up with some fancy-schmancy coffee. And this is when I discover that I have no wallet. Skye is gone, so I can't get back into her car to search around there. The last place I saw my wallet was in London the day before when I pulled into a gas station to fill up the car.

I'm trying not to panic. Maybe it fell out of my purse at home. Fortunately it was a decent drive back home. Once there I tear my room apart looking for my wallet. The same goes for the kitchen and living room. I stomped around all the snow where the car had been parked, in case it fell out of my purse while I was walking into the house yesterday. Nope. Dar hops on Google Earth (I suck at using that app), and we track down the gas station I used. No, they haven't seen it.

I am … upset. My wallet held all of my Canadian IDs. My drivers license, my SIN card (it's like Social Security), my health card, debit card (and one of Dar's, too), credit card, library cards, insurance card. All I have left is my American passport and a work visa that expired in June 2011. Yes, 2011. (Thank you, Immigration. Thank you so very much.) Trying to get all new Canadian IDs based on that is going to be a nightmare given all the bureaucratic hoops I'm going to have to jump through.

Dar cancels her debit card. I cancel mine. I file a police report with the London police online. I'm going nuts trying to find old copies of anything that can help me out. And then the phone rings.

Steven in London is calling to tell me that he found my wallet last night on the ground between a bank and a Tim Horton's. (This is so very Canadian; I can't even begin to tell you.) All the money was gone but everything else seemed to be there. He was going to mail it to me, but then he decided to call just to doublecheck. Can you say yay?

If the damn snow squalls stop, I can borrow Deb's truck and get my wallet tomorrow. Otherwise it'll be Friday or Saturday. And then I'm getting a different purse. And a wallet that gives off a shrieking alarm if it hits the ground. But for now? I'm getting some sleep.
I was getting ready for bed, just checking LJ, and suddenly the Post an Entry popped up. Weird. OK, I'll give. Just a short one, though. Maybe with numbers.

1. Definitely with numbers.

2. I've been waiting to post something good, because I don't want to come on here just to post rants. Still waiting :)

3. Wait! I heard from Immigration. Or Dar did because I was out running errands when they called. They said that my application is in process. That's it. It's been 18 months since I sent my latest application in - you might remember that someone from Immigration had called to tell me that I was here illegally and had to start again (headdesk x 1000) - and all I get is "in process." Dar said that they probably really called to see if 1) I were still alive and 2) if so, if I had given up and gone back to the States. So, I don't know. I'm taking it as good news.

4. Many baby alpacas born. Two of them were miracle babies. One other died, and it broke our hearts. Two, possibly three, left to go. One, possibly two, will be born tomorrow because they were medically induced today. It's been a very weird year for everyone and their alpacas. We all suspect it's due to the extremely long, hot summer.

5. We've been in coat and jacket weather for a few weeks now. I really hope we're not going to jump from summer into winter over the course of a month.

6. I've discovered that I'm a very good salesperson for our alpaca products (yarn, hats, scarves, mittens, lots of kits). It turns out that I enjoy talking about alpacas. Who knew? Heh. Plus it just supports my belief that most people are pretty nice. I've had the two top sales days at our booth at the farmers market. But then I've also had a day when I've only made three sales. Now that the weather is cooler, more people are thinking about warm clothing and/or knitting. We fit that bill nicely.

7. Dar has become a master of the dye pot. I'm dead serious. She's developed a way to get various shades (depths?) of the same color on a skein of yarn. It's a beautiful effect. And her variegated dyed yarns are luscious. We have the dyed yarns right on the end of our shop that's nearest to the corridor, and they pull people into the shop like a giant magnet.

8. Considering that I work (volunteer) at a television review site, I actually don't watch much TV. If it weren't for AMC and HBO, I'd probably just tune in to the MSNBC political news at night. And Up With Chris Hayes on weekend mornings.

9. Pixel is getting very round. She looks like a Kliban cat. She's still my baby girl.

10. Now I'm going to bed. Night-night, guys.

I'll save the not-so-good stuff for another day. Aren't you the lucky ones :)
I never thought I'd get to the point where I'd only be posting every few weeks, but here I am. If thoughts could flow from my mind onto the screen, I'd have been spamming y'all from here to hell and back. Instead I wait for the confluence of time, energy, and a working internet connection. Tonight the stars, as they say, are aligned.

I think I mentioned that the screen on my MacBook is kaput. It's a stylish deep black, which is lovely but hardly functional. I have an old Samsung monitor hooked up to it; the down side is that the connecting plug falls out if I breathe wrong. Some days I swear I'm just going to Crazy Glue the damn thing in place, but then my rational side takes over, and I pick up the stupid plug from off the floor and reinsert it. Along with this comes my "now you have it, now you don't" internet connection. I keep the network diagnostics window open so I can watch the internet connection button flicker merrily back and forth from red to green. It kind of drains the fun from the whole internet experience sometimes, but, as my journal title declares, I am an internet junkie :)

I think I've also mentioned that I was writing reviews for Hell on Wheels for The Voice of TV. The series ended its first season a week ago Sunday, and it feels weird not to be filing a review on a Monday morning. It was scary to leap into review writing, but I ended up enjoying it. It was the one form of writing that had always given me trouble; I'd end up writing a recap instead of a review. I hate not doing something simply because it frightens me, so I took the time to study a raft of different reviews by writers I admire and took that leap of faith. It worked out pretty well, I think. My reviews didn't have a huge following (usually around 185 readers), but one of them was Tiffany Vogt, who is a bit of a big deal. That's flattering. Next up is Game of Thrones. Yay! The tricky part, having read the books, will be avoiding all those, "OMG, guys, wait until you see what happens next!" moments :) I may end up doing The River, too. It's a mystery/thriller/supernatural story by the people who brought you Paranormal Activity.

Oh! I got my brother addicted to The Walking Dead! For a while I was getting frequent emails titled "TWD Stupid Question of the Day." Heh. He went out and bought the first trade, but he's watching S2 on Comcast On Demand, and they're slowly doling out the episodes. He should be just about at the mid-season finale, and I'm dying to hear his reaction. That was one hell of an episode, even if you knew what was coming.

Speaking of scary stuff, I've been watching the GOP primary race. I . . . it's insane. I'm all bruised from my jaw hitting the floor so often. I've become a serial sputterer. I'm just holding on to the thought that the audiences at those debates are an extreme subset of average Republicans, and the majority is not fooled by those hateful idiots running for the nomination.

OK, complete change of subject. I need suggestions on what to eat for breakfast. Dar has been reading a few studies that are linking gluten to autoimmune diseases including lupus and Sjogren's. Every morning I have one whole wheat English muffin: half with peanut butter and apricot or peach jam, and half with veggie cream cheese. Here's the deal: I need to get a decent serving of protein and fiber; it has to be filling enough to counter the nausea that comes with my morning meds, but not so much that it gives me nausea from having eaten too much. (The reason why I do half peanut butter and half cream cheese is that too much of either gives me nausea.) Oh, and I've reached the point where swallowing even tiny pills is difficult, so I chew almost all of my meds. That means that breakfast has to be able to cancel the bitterness of the pills. So - what do you think? Also, keep in mind that I'm in a rural area; salsa is considered exotic.

The cats are fine. The alpacas are mostly fine; it's been terribly cold and windy lately, so we have coats on a couple of the more vulnerable ones, and we're terribly worried about Daniel, who is the oldest alpaca here. Dar is doing her best; he gets better then relapses a bit. He's not having a good day, but we're hoping he starts to bounce back tomorrow. And speaking of bouncing - or not - Dar took a bad fall on the ice a few days ago and bruised her tailbone. Scared the crap out of me when I looked out the window and saw her lying on the laneway. Damn ice. Damn winter. Just a few more months, and things should start to improve. We can do this!
1. Damn, it was cold today. Blowing snow at times, but then the sun would come out and it would melt. Fifteen minutes later, it would snow again. Then sun. Repeat a hell of a lot of times. It ended with snow squalls.

2. Because the weather has been on the mild side for this time of year, we hadn't completely winterized the alpaca stuff yet. One of the hoses froze, and some of the boys' buckets had ice on them. It's going to warm up again starting tomorrow, so it's not going to be horrible for them again before we can set things to rights.

3. Poor [livejournal.com profile] darlong didn't have the best birthday today. The weather was crappy (which affects her neurologically), she forgot to put eggs into the cupcake batter (but she rescued them and they were delicious!), and our gift to her - business cards for her position with The Voice of TV - turned out to have outdated information because the site is changing, like now. I felt terrible about that.

4. NBC is pulling Prime Suspect. I'm watching it now, and it's so damn good. They say they're not canceling it, but I don't trust TV networks any more. It kills me that there is absolute drek that's been renewed, and top-flight shows like this can't pull in viewers. I think it was Barnum who said you'll never go broke underestimating the American people.

5. I think I've maxed out on the news. There's only so much outrage and anxiety that I can take in, you know? Well, at least for a few days.

6. I have a letter waiting for me at the local post office. It's addressed to Lee Anna . . . that's my official paperwork name here in Canada (everyone else uses Lee) I don't have a good feeling about this, but I'm trying to just put it out of mind until I can actually open it. I'll let you know how it turns out.
I'm just going to link to Dar's post, because it's a great story. The reason I wasn't a part of it the fun and games is because my night vision is getting pretty bad, and the country roads around here are dark and narrow. Mark was home, so it made more sense for him to drive Dar over there. FYI, this is the same farm that I was posting about a few weeks ago, the one that's like a mini zoo.

So, go. Read. Smile.
1. It went down to 1C/33F last night. Dar and I got pelted with ice stuff while trying to wrangle Sandstorm back into the paddock yesterday. (He's quite the Houdini, that little boy.) Dar says it was hail, but I think it was sleet. Four days ago we were frying with the heat and humidity, and today I was rummaging around looking for a warm jacket.

2. We did very well at the Knitters' Fair last Saturday. From opening until about 3PM (it closed at 4:30PM), we were constantly busy. There would literally just be a matter of seconds when no customers were at our booth. The big sellers were the items that Dar had come up with - various types of hand-dyed yarns, kits for crocheting rugs, and kits for thrum mittens. Those last items were just about flying out the door, as they say. Dar had knitted up one demonstration model of the mitten, and we kept having to toss it to each other across the crowded booth, because everyone wanted to try it on. It got pretty funny. Dar will be knitting another demo mitten before our next show :)

3. [livejournal.com profile] puffgirl_two is here for a visit from Toronto. It was very warm when she left home, so she didn't pack for the sudden cold spell we've been having. Poor girl :) We've supplied socks, shoes, and a jacket so she doesn't freeze when she steps outside. The weather system is very like that in New England - very changeable.

4. OK, really (rereading that second to last sentence) - how many of you have given up on the serial comma? I just can't bring myself to let it go.

5. I'm down to 1.5 mg of prednisone a day now, and my body is not happy about this. My asthma has become very, very twitchy, and I never know what is going to set it off. Pretty much any strong scent, that's for sure. I've had to get changed out of my newly laundered pajamas, because the scent of the detergent was setting off my asthma. Perfumes, cleaners, dyes, the alpacas' urine, cat urine, some litters, wet hay, dry hay, damp grass, newly mowed grass, even mildly spicy foods, night air . . . loads of stuff. Oh yeah, and the liquid manure (a mixture of pig and turkey manure) that the neighboring farmer has been spreading copiously around his land. Oh, and dust. This is problematic because I have a dusty room. I need to dust my dusty room, but that just stirs up the dust. You see my conundrum. Although now that the farmer has quit with the liquid manure, I can open the windows; that should help with the dust. That and wear my face mask. Which I wear when I do chores now. Sigh.

6. To go along with the asthma, my body's ability to control my body temperature is just fubar. I overheat very suddenly, and it gets quite scary. It's happened a number of times - always without warning - and I'm suddenly weak and dizzy, confused, burning up, and my heart is racing. If I lie down and cool off, everything returns to normal in about 30 minutes. Conversely, my body temperature can plummet just as unexpectedly. It's been quite the ride.

7. This is in addition to the usual nonsense (pain and fatigue); it means that I'm not doing chores on a daily basis, and then it's a reduced number of chores. I'm not happy. I like doing chores. I like working outside. (OK, not in bad weather, but you know what I mean.) I love working with the alpacas. I also feel guilty as hell watching Dar do the majority of the work out there. Dar says that my body will be wonky for at least another year as it tries to adapt to the loss of the corticosteroids I've been taking. I'm trying to keep myself open to the changes, trying to adapt and roll with them, but I admit that I'm nervous about what may be coming my way.

8. OK! In more pleasant news, I'm about halfway finished with Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Let's just say that I'm inclined to adopt two more female cats and name them Esme and Gytha. I'm also anxiously awaiting the publication of Snuff. It'll be released Oct. 13 in Great Britain, but I don't know how long we'll have to wait to get it here. Not very long, I hope.

9. A little pimping before I go. Dar has become very involved with a TV review site called The Voice of TV. It was started by a young man in the Netherlands, and Erwin's done a great job of building it up. It's grabbed the notice of several of the networks, and everyone is working very hard to make this a success. Dar does a number of reviews there, and I'll be reviewing Hell on Wheels and Game of Thrones when they start their respective runs. Check the site out, please. Sign up. Hell, maybe you'd be interested in reviewing a show that the site doesn't cover yet. It's volunteer status right now, but perks include screeners for the shows and the possibility of interviews with the cast and producers. And the occasional set visit. (Dar was at the Suits set, watching the shooting, meeting the cast.) Just throwing that out there.

10. I made it to ten! Bed time for this Bonzo. I hope that y'all have a great weekend ahead of you.
It's been a very busy week or so. Dar's daughter M is starting at the University of Guelph this week, and we spent a lot of last week helping her get ready and then moving her into her new apartment. She's renting a basement bedroom/bathroom set-up from the woman who owns the condo. It's a nice place, and it's close to a lot of things to which she'll need access. Of course we had a bout of horribly hot and humid weather during all of that, but she's in and settled, and that's what matters.

Dar is dealing with the empty-nest thing by working herself like crazy getting yarn/rovings/product ready for the two venues our fiber consortium will be attending this weekend. She's really turning into an expert dyer; she's taken skeins of yarn that weren't selling and dyed them in variegated fall colors. They're gorgeous! I'll see if I can get some halfway decent pictures of them. She's also been using some of that dyed yarn to knit alpaca-lined mittens, and they're beautifully soft and warm and luscious looking. Plus she crocheted throw rugs and made up kits to sell. In her spare time, you know. If the consortium makes a lot of sales this weekend, most of the credit will be due to her.

And while she's been busy as a very busy thing, I've been kind of laying low for the past few days. Oh, I did a lot of driving and moving and helping with M, and I've been looking after Deb's cats while she's been on vacation, but I've also been having some serious asthma attacks, so I've been keeping away from the barns and also away from the kitchen where Dar is using all those dyes. I had a bad scare a few days ago, and since then I've just learned not to push myself too hard right now.

It seems that prednisone was masking a few health issues that I thought were under control - asthma being one of the big ones. Now that I'm nearly off the pred, I'm having to get control of the asthma again. It hasn't helped that the air quality has been awful recently (smog, we still have it), and the surrounding farms have been harvesting (grain dust)and then laying down liquid manure (very stinky chemicals). Plus lots of rain and moldy grass and hay everywhere. So - it's not surprising, just annoying.

I don't think I'm going to survive the election season in the US. I'm a news addict, in case you didn't know, and since we got our internet back, it seems I spend every spare minute glued to twitter, reading scores of links about issues national and international. I scare myself sometimes, but I'm rather well informed :)

I need another book. More Pratchett, definitely. I've finished the first three Discworld books, and now I'm rereading some of the Watch series just for fun. I need to get to a Chapters and find something new (to me).

The new TV season is nearly upon us, but I'm not all that psyched for it. There are a few shows that I want to check out (Person of Interest, Prime Suspect, Terra Nova), and one that I'll be reviewing for The Voice of TV. It's a new show on AMC called "Hell on Wheels," which makes me laugh because [livejournal.com profile] cajoje had said that her fantasy roller derby name would Helen Wheels. Heh. But this is not the roller derby show I was hoping it would be; it's a post-Civil War revenge Western that takes place somewhere along the laying of the transcontinental railroad. Sounds interesting, and being as how I was brought up with cowboy shows on TV, I love me some Westerns. I'm hoping it will be a good fit.

And now I must hie me to bed. It takes me - without exaggeration - 35 minutes to get to bed. There are routines (flossing! meds!) and traditions (cats. must. have. catnip! omg!) And the washing and the brushing and the getting of water and . . . by the time I hit the sheets, I'm kind of wired. May an easier sleep be yours, my dears :)
1. Still no internet at home. The tower was repaired last Monday, so the problem is with our site, and it requires a company tech to come out to fix whatever it is. (We suspect the ancient modem.) They refuse to send anyone out for - "optimistically" - two weeks. Can you believe this crap? Deb was on the phone for a long, long time trying to get around the bureaucracy but with no success. We're hunting around for a modem on our own - also with little success. Deb has a friend who does freelance tech stuff (he'd helped us out once before), but she can't reach him. I'm hoping he was on vacation and will be returning tonight. Because this is ridiculous.

2. It's been beyond frustrating trying to keep up with things with no internet, especially out in the boonies. We had a tornado warning in our area last Wednesday. Normally we'd be tracking the radar online, but instead we had to rely on the national weather channel, which was pathetic. There is no local no TV, no daily paper. The "local" radio got their information from the same place we did: the national weather service. Even they (the nws) have admitted that they're not very good, and they're working with very outdated equipment. So we packed up our necessaries and kept a lookout for funnel clouds in the distance. Until it got dark, and then we just took it on faith and called it a night. We found out that a tornado touched down about 10 miles from us, but thankfully everything really nasty passed us by.

3. Dar's daughter, the Divine Miss M, is starting university in a few weeks at the University of Guelph. That's about an hour away. Because she's somewhat older than the traditional students (she's 20), and because she has various health issues, she wasn't going to be staying in a dorm. Dar knocked herself out trying to track down housing for her, and she finally found the perfect spot: a private home right next to the campus - like right NEXT TO the campus. The woman also had a gluten allergy, as did the other young woman who was going to share the rental basement apartment with M. The owner and Dar hit it off big time, everything was set, the woman wanted some recipes for M's favorite food, she was so excited to have M move in there . . . two hours later she abruptly backed out of everything. So all this week we've been traveling around Guelph trying to find an apartment for M. And Dar found one. This morning. It's great; M loves it; it's right on the bus route and across the street from her bank and a big, beautiful Zehrs that carries gluten-free food. We move her in next week.

4. I'm almost off prednisone, and it's a mixed blessing. Less drugs, more pain. Manageable but still . . . Also, that what-I-thought-was melanoma turned out to be a strangled blood vessel. Ewww. Looks like an alien bug bite, but I'll take it over the alternative.

OK, gotta run. Have groceries moldering in the trunk while we ducked into McDonald's to grab some online time. I hope everyone is well and rides out Irene safely!
I miss taking pictures. When I'm outside, I'm too busy to lug my camera along with me. And when I'm finished with whatever it is I'm doing, I'm too tired to go in and get the camera. I need a smaller camera, methinks.

The last of this season's crias was born this morning. Ariel (daughter of Angelica) is just amazing: very bright, very active, and very big. She was 21 lbs at birth (big for a huacaya), and she's covered in dense curls. She looks like a little lamb. This is one of Deb's alpacas, and she thinks that she has another champion in Ariel; I think she's right.

We've added a dozen alpacas to our herd. They're not ours, but they are agisting at our place, so we're responsible for their upkeep and their health and happiness. We aim to please :) It's 8 adult females, 1 girl cria, and 3 adult males. Very nice looking alpacas, too, even if they are huacayas rather than suris. They had been agisting at a large farm not too far away, but they were in with a herd of 140 alpacas. They had no shelter except run-in sheds (3-sided), and they were fed from a big feeder out in the middle of the field - regardless of weather conditions - that was replenished once a week. Needless to say, they are loving it here at Chez Serenity :) The first two days they barely left their barn, just kind of hung out chowing down on the hay manger. Then they wandered around more and discovered that they'll get daily showers while I fill their buckets and pools. Yup, very happy 'pacas. And their owners are pretty happy, too, because now they can be hands-on with their guys. They hadn't seen them up close in over a year; today they came over and read the alpacas' microchips to figure out who was who. Dar's got some of the new names memorized, but I still only know that the baby is named Bella. Oh, and I know the boys' names. It's a work in progress.

And that's pretty much it. The sun is doing me in, but that's just something I have to deal with. Oh, it turns out that Dar really did break her elbow! There were more x-rays done last week, and it shows a fracture along the forearm right near the joint. She has an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow to see what can be done about it. Yes, the fun never stops around here. We're all hoping that it won't require surgery, so keep some good thoughts, please.

And now to bed. I'm still behind on everything internet-related. I look at it, and I just . . . sag. It's not that I don't want to write/reply/comment, it's just that effort seems monumental most of the time. In fact, I'm writing this instead of doing any of the other, and I'm . Losing words. Time to quit. Argh.
Still no internet at home. I'm at the library with Maddie, who has to do some online stuff for her university registration. The internet guys were calling Deb this morning, so hopefully things will move along.

In other news . . . omg, guys. There were two crias born yesterday. Deb's girl, Mayo (she didn't name her) had a little girl, now named Maggie. She needed a little help, but everything went pretty well. Mom and baby are great.

Our poor Delilah went into labor at the same time; four hours later Dar called the vet because Delilah just wasn't progressing and was obviously in a lot of pain and distress. The vet finally showed up (he was on another emergency call) and discovered that the baby was really out of position. He reached in and all he could feel was a neck. (He should be feeling feet, legs, and a head.) He had to turn the baby around in utero, and then pull him out. Really rough on the mom and the baby. He's a beautiful jet black boy, but he had a shaky start, obviously. He couldn't nurse, so Dar was checking on him every two hours. About 11 PM she went out and found him bleeding out! His umbilicus had ruptured and he was barely alive. She got it tied off, but he's still so weak. She's been out there every 90 minutes, feeding him and giving him fluids to try to build up his volume. He's doing a little better, but she's still not sure he's going to make it. Poor Delilah is frantic; she knows something is very wrong, but she can't do anything except stay by him and cry. (Yes, alpacas cry in their own way.)

Dar says that if he makes it to 24 hours (around 3PM today), that his odds of survival greatly increase. God knows, that she's doing everything in her power to keep him alive. There's no such thing as an alpaca blood transfusion, so it's up to his own system to make up the blood volume. He's so little guys, and so very sweet. Good thoughts will be much appreciated. For him and for Dar, both.

In still more alpaca news, the people who bought most of Deb's herd of huacayas will be moving them today. We were expecting them on Thursday, but they called the morning and told her about the change of plans. On one hand it'll be nice to have fewer animals to take care of, but on the other . . . I'm really going to miss them. We all have our favorites among them, and their leaving is going to leave a big hole in our lives.

And now I have to get back. Just need to do a quick run to the store to do some major chocolate shopping. We hope to be back online pretty soon. Hope you all are doing well, my sweets.
1. Dar is really coming along with her recovery. She has another check-up with her surgeon tomorrow, but I'm betting it'll be either the last one or else scheduled for another month instead of another two weeks.

2. Winter has returned. We had snow last Sunday (there's still snow on the ground) and more snow showers today. The big news is the incredibly strong winds that we've been enduring. Remember that scene in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" where the space ship was hovering and the stop sign was winging back and forth like a crazy thing? Yeah, well, we got to see it in person - minus the space ship. Right down the street from us, the stop sign was vibrating so violently that it looked as if it were actually revolving. Craziness. We lost power for a few hours early on, but after that we've been lucky. It's been a royal pain in the ass to be out working in it, though, and the alpacas are very much not amused. We had a brief respite from the winds yesterday, but they're back in full force today. And it's a bitterly cold wind, too.

3. I decided to see if the hype for Game of Thrones was justified - and it was! I really liked it, and I went out scouring the interwebs for more info on the story. I found it, along with a butt load of spoilers, but such is life. My memory is so wonky that I won't remember most of them anyway :) It's great to Sean Bean on TV again, and I must say that he's aging well. And there are wolf puppies who are all gangly legs and big ears! It's certainly sparked my interest in reading the books.

4. Speaking of books, I'm reading Terry Pratchett's Maskerade. Outside of Guards, Guards and Good Omens (which he co-wrote), I haven't read any Pratchett. I know, I know. I especially avoided any of the books that centered on Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. I know! But in my defense, I've rarely come across a male-authored book that dealt well with elderly female characters, and these are witches on top of it. But . . . they're wonderful! I want to hang out with them, not that Granny Weatherwax would hold with that :) Anyway, this has opened the door to diving into the rest of the series.

5. Since I have to get up at 5:30 tomorrow, I'm going to get the going-to-bed routine in gear. You'd think it would just mean getting into PJs and falling into bed, but you would be so very wrong. There are steps and routines and cats who will not be denied their customary night treats. So . . . I'm off. Good night, my sweets.
I'm alive, just too tired to say much. Reading everything LJ but responding only in my mind. Telepathy now, please.

Dar home, doing well. Hooked up to an IV drip for hydration as I type this.

Alpacas good. We got the surprise news that Valentino is the father of our two harlequin boys - not Hannibal as we'd originally thought. Go, Val :)

Daddy and the boys. )

Did I mention I'm tired? June. I figure by June things will be back to normal. I can do this.
It is in no way, shape, or form looking like spring around here. We had an unannounced storm last night that dumped a load of wet yet drifting snow which then proceeded to freeze. Had to shovel out all of the paddock gates in order to feed the alpacas. Yeah, that was fun this morning at 6AM 7AM. Today was gray, cold, and windy with flurries. And I didn't intend to post about this at all, but LJ started it :)

So I saw Dar today at the hospital. She's doing really well! She's having a much easier time getting in and out of bed (and anyone who's had abdominal or OBGYN surgery knows what a challenge that is), and we even went for a walk around the ward. Which is very large and rather labyrinthine. And about every five steps I'd hear her say, "Don't touch that, Lee." Heh. I didn't have to be told, and I was, in fact, walking with my arms crossed. What can I say - I'm a tactile person :) And very nosy curious.

They're starting to talk about releasing her to go home. Starting to talk. There's no firm date or anything, but it's on their radar. The big sticking point is her nutrition; she's eating clear and some semi-solid foods but not in amounts enough to give her everything she needs for good health. She still has a TPN (total protein & nutrition) line into her jugular, but it's leaking and they need to try to place it somewhere else. They're working on that, and we should know more tomorrow. But the good news is that she's making lots of progress on her recovery.

I mentioned this on Facebook but not here: I broke an upper molar two days ago. It tingles a little, but so far no big time nerve involvement. It gets dicey when I'm out doing chores in the cold wind, but I wear a neck warmer and pull it up over my mouth; it helps. I have an appointment with the dentist a week from tomorrow. It's not considered an emergency, and like with so many medical personnel in Ontario, dentists are over-booked.

OK, who else hates Daylight Savings Time? I appreciate the extra hour of light in the evening, but my body gets all out of whack for about a week. And then I get all anal about keeping track of time: I keep subtracting an hour so I'll know the real time. I got into this habit when I was a kid with insomnia. I'd wake up at 3AM - the Witching Hour - and then start doing the math. Is it really 3? Or is it 2? And it's only 3 in my time zone. That invalidates it, right? I mean, it's not a universal constant. And what is time anyway? I was a weird kid. I got very little sleep last night - like 3 1/2 non-consecutive hours - and I should go to bed, but the time change has me all whirly. And I have to get up early tomorrow, which in reality is even earlier than it says on my clock. See what I put myself through? Anyone want to switch brains with me?
1. I'm watching Cloverfield for the billiontyth time. I deeply love that movie, and yet I couldn't tell you the name of one actor in it. Because there are no actors - it's a documentary, see?

2. My right ring finger has an infected hangnail. Or space where the hangnail was before I pulled it out. I will never learn.

3. Rocky cat is doing better, thank the powers (and Dar). He had bronchitis or maybe pneumonia; his breathing was terrible, and he was coughing up phlegm. He was lethargic, and wheezing, and not eating, but he's much better tonight. I was a little worried last night and this morning that it was getting worse again, but I think it had to do with the rain. I know that it makes my breathing worse. But the rain stopped, and I haven't heard him wheezing in hours. He's been in my room where I have the space heater going, and I think the warm, dry air helps him, too. Right now he's gently snoring :)

4. I haven't seen Dar since Thursday, but she's been online updating everyone. The doctors and nurses are very impressed with her progress. Yay! She even got out of bed for a bit today, which is just remarkable. Her epidural stopped working, so she's on a pump with Dilaudid. I hope it helps. I'll be seeing her tomorrow for a little while.

5. It was a miserable weather day today. Rainy and cold and windy. The driveway and lane to the paddocks were literally sheets of ice. I crept down the laneway to do chores. Then the rain turned to wind-driven ice pellets. Ouch. It finally turned to snow, and that actually made everything easier.

6. So we finished chores. I had some leftover pasta, took a shower, got into my jammies, and suddenly - out of nowhere - I remembered that I forgot to secure the pitchfork and the heavy rake in the boys' tent when I finished in there. If a couple of the boys got rambunctious and knocked them over and stepped on them, someone could get seriously hurt. So I climbed back into my snow pants and sweater and coat and barn boots, grabbed the flashlight and off I trudged. Fortunately, when I got there the tools were upright, and the alpacas were mostly settled in for the night. Until I barged in :) Then there was a lot of humming and "are you gonna feed us now?" stuff going on, but they quieted down pretty quickly.

7. Now to put some ointment on my finger, bandage it up, and call it a night.
Dar's younger brother, Con, died this afternoon in Cape Breton. He'd been in the ICU for a few weeks now, but loss is never expected, really.

I know not everyone on my flist knows Dar, but there are some of you who would want to know.
1. If the deserved firestorm of outrage over the rape and beating of Lara Logan can be sustained and carried over to the lesser known women in our world who face such things just as a matter of course. I can't bear what is happening in Sudan (particularly in Darfur), Afghanistan, Congo; the word needs to get out. Doctors without Borders have the facts; they're there trying to help the victims, the survivors. Someone needs to hear them, give them air time, stop. this. It drives me to depression and deep guilt that I'm not doing anything - something - to try to help. We're women. These are my sisters; I can't ignore them.

2. Then I watched Frontline; the program was on women being sold into sexual slavery under the knowing eyes of their governments and judges and police. What their lives are like. How many never make their way to freedom. What can I do? What can I do?

3. Dar's stomach is giving her a lot of trouble today, and I'm pretty worried about her. What can I do except worry and keep a close eye on her? I want to do more, make it better.

4.My visa is up on May 31. No more extensions. This is it. We haven't even made it past step one before hitting a wall. If I end up back in the States, I'll be homeless, unemployable, without health care, and destitute. Oh, and chronically ill. I have no idea how it's going to turn out.

5. I was an officer in several unions during my working life. My first paid job was typing up the meeting notes for my dad's machinist union; they insisted on paying me union scale. They won my heart right there. I stand in solidarity with the workers and students in Wisconsin!

6. I'm so tired, and I could stand to get just fifteen minutes pain-free and feeling vibrant again.

5.
I'm really tired, but I wanted to put this out there.

Dar went to the surgeon today. The good news is that it isn't stomach cancer. The bad news is that her stomach has expanded to three times its normal size, displacing internal organs and pressing up against her lungs. The surgeon said this has probably been progressing for years. She needs major surgery, and they'll probably have to take the whole stomach out. They're going to try to save a portion, but there's no guarantee. She'll know her surgery date fairly soon; best guess is 4-6 weeks. They still don't know what's happening in her small intestine; another surgeon will be scoping her intestine while the primary is working on her stomach. They'll most probably take a portion of that, too.

The alpacas are still alive and showing a little more spirit. There's a plan afoot to move them to another part of the barn where the dog doesn't tend to hang out; it's also warmer there. Of course all of this happens during the coldest weather we've had all seasons. Those poor animals are skeletal - no body fat to help protect them from the cold. We went over last night to put coats on the most vulnerable ones. This weather needs to break.

It's just been one shock after another. We all need to get some sleep and then start making plans.
Hey, guys. Dar still has to transcribe the recipe, but when she gets the time to do that, I'll post it here.

August 2015

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