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 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 :)
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.
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.
Today is World Lupus Day. In honor of the day, I'm feeling rather crappy, because far be it from me not to celebrate when the occasion calls. I'm also supposed to be wearing purple or orange - which for some reason are the colors associated with Lupus - but it turns out that I own nothing purple and my only piece of orange clothing is a lovely Indian cotton scarf that I drape across my eyes at night and wind under my face so I can drool into it while I sleep. Probably not a good idea for use as out-and-about wear. Still, it is quite lovely.

So. Lupus. You've heard me talk about it. There's nothing much to add, except that I was pinning my hopes on a new drug that was making its way through the FDA trials. Benlysta, at 52 weeks into the trial, was shown to reduce substantially the pain and overwhelming fatigue of Lupus. Huzzah! Then they continued the trial and found that its effectiveness decreased over time, and by 72 weeks it was no more effective than the placebo. Well damn. It may still be approved, and to be honest, I'd take it for a year and be grateful. (Assuming it would be offered in Canada.) I can't remember what it's like not to feel as if I'm pushing through deep water. Every. Day. It's been getting worse, but there's really nothing out there that manages fatigue. By early evening I'm shuffling like a old school zombie, barely managing to lift my feet off the ground. But you know, at least I haven't been hospitalized as so many with Lupus are, so that's a plus.

In non-Lupus goings on, the pregnant alpacas are huge - so huge that they're shambling when they walk. And still none of them will drop a little cria for us like they really, really, really need to do rather quickly, please.

Still no word from Immigration. It's been 17 months since my visa expired; it's been a year since they said everything was OK, and then it all went to hell. I feel trapped and often hopeless. These have not been my best few years here. But everything changes, right? I mean for better or for worse, it's not always going to be the way it is now; I just have to keep breathing and do whatever the hell it is that needs to be done in this ridiculous life of mine. No retreat, baby, no surrender.

Besides, if you don't count the chronic, disabling illness and the non-personhood, things are pretty good. Ha!

So in closing: Lupus sucks but please support increasing research, Immigration can bite me, and please alpacas - have those crias tomorrow!
I just took a closer look at it. It wasn't forwarded to the regional office; it was forwarded to the Temporary Resident regional office. With several warnings that I can't outstay the expiration date on my passport. And I'll be receiving further instructions "in good time."

I give up.

ETA - Y'all have no idea what I'm talking about, do you? It's because I never posted about that letter; I was talking to my brother about it over the weekend. :head desk: A few weeks ago I got a letter from Immigration - I believe it was the day that Dar left, so I was a little busy, and I just gave it a cursory once-over. I was dreading bad news, and I just didn't want to deal at that moment. It said (I thought) that my file had been forwarded to the regional office for further action. Cool! Things were finally moving along! Today I took a closer look, and, as I wrote above, this isn't about the open work visa or my permanent residence - it's about another freakin' temporary visa. Which I did not apply for! Nothing in that paperwork referred to a temporary visa! I hate those guys. So here I was, getting my hopes up that I could get my health card in another month or so. Looks like we're back at Step 1.
Busy day and now I'm kind of wired. Mostly I just wanted to say that Immigration has admitted that the screw-up is on their end. Yay! Nevertheless, Dar spent all day getting a ton of paperwork together to send to them as a backup. They said they'll restore my previous status as a worker in Canada while they do an "internal review", but I still don't have anything in writing to prove it. I don't know what their next step will be, but I hope it includes sending me my work visa asap.

Now the really good news is that Flo (the woman Dar talked with) said that I absolutely can travel back-and-forth between the States and Canada. Soooo . . . I'll be going to the wedding in Texas after all. I'm still not convinced that this is going to be hassle free, and I'm still half expecting not to be able to cross the border, but what the hell.

We're driving across at Buffalo and taking the plane from there. We figure that it'll be less of a zoo than flying internationally. Hopefully we're right.

Also, I'll probably be showing up in black jeans, but I promise to sit in the back :)
Anyone here a fan of Fire Sign Theater? Anyone?

It's still snowing and blowing. This is crazy. The major roads in the area are still officially closed. Deb closed down the mill today. The only person I know of who struggled into the workplace is Mark. Thankfully he made it in one piece. This was supposed to end this afternoon, but it's showing no sign of stopping.

I'm having a lupus day. Nausea, fatigue, loss of balance. I'm less than useless and have been for a few days. I keep up with feeding the cats, changing the litter, and doing dishes. That's about the extent of my contributions for the last few days. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. I haven't even started my Christmas shopping. Pull it together, mays!

My immigration status is frakked. They refused my permanent residence status and are claiming that I've never applied for a work permit in Canada. Ever. The fact that I have three previous work visas from Immigration in my possession didn't seem to carry much weight. Then it turns out that my files are a combination of missing and strewn around in bits and pieces here and there. We filed an appeal. Who knows when this will be resolved.

We have to buy a replacement for the Jeep ASAP. The rental is up on Wednesday. We can certainly keep it longer, but then it will be on our dime. Because of the high mileage on the Jeep, we're not getting all that much from the insurance payout. Dar did her usual thorough research on comparables in the US and CA, and she did manage to get them to up it by another thousand dollars. Looks like we'll be doing some used car shopping this weekend.

Dar has been baking up a storm today, and the place smells great. We have an alpaca co-op meeting/Christmas party tomorrow, plus it's Mark's birthday. Yumminess, ahoy!

Enjoyed the season finale of Glee very much. Top Chef doesn't air here until this weekend, but I spoiled myself for the results. Bleh. I've been spoiled for Project Runway, too - again, we're a few weeks behind - but I'm still looking forward to seeing the collections go down the runway. Survivor has been a joy this season thanks to Russell and, I must admit, Shambo. I'm sure that the producers have had a major hand in the shenanigans with the immunity idols, but it's so entertaining that I don't care. But mostly I'm just passing time until Lost returns to me. I'm crazy excited for its return; it's killing me that I have to wait until February to see all of my guys again and find out what happened. And I just don't know what I'm going to do when it signs off this year. There's nothing else out there to fill the void. Woe!

It's the first night of Hanukkah, and I need to dig out my menorah and the beautiful candles that [livejournal.com profile] caerwynx had sent me last year. Now I just need to find a place to put the menorah that won't cause a fire hazard or result in Kitty Flambe. (I don't know how to put a diacritic over the "e", sorry.) I love Hanukkah. Any holiday that includes ever increasing numbers of flaming candles is jake by me.

OK, time to nap. Like the two cats sprawled around my bed. I count myself fortunate that they allow me to share their accommodations. I am truly blessed.
I took a bunch of pics of the place and the alpacas this afternoon. (And got a bit of frostbite on one finger for stupidly walking around in the wind and the cold without a glove on.) I'll post the pictures in groups in a minute.

First, though, some updates.

1. We had no heat in the place for about 12 hours starting last night. It turns out that the oil company goofed up and didn't deliver on schedule, so that got taken care of, thankfully. We also have a propane fireplace in the living room that came in pretty handy before the oil truck showed up. Deb (our friend who owns the place) is starting to get nervous about our continual bad luck rubbing off on her. We try to reassure her, but really, we're not all that successful :)

2. And speaking of crappy luck, I got two letters from Immigration yesterday, and both of them were bad news. They've rescinded my status and they're a little pissed that I didn't file from overseas. It's OK, though, because I have 30 days to appeal. ::marathon head desking ensues:: It's a major clusterfuck based on paperwork, but Dar has an appointment to speak with an actual Immigration bureaucrat case worker tomorrow to try to straighten this out. The case worker is going over all of my paperwork and my case file and will hopefully see that they've already approved my status and cashed all of our checks. I just don't even know what to think about this anymore.

3. We heard from the insurance company: the Jeep is a total write-off. As the repair bill started approaching $29,000 dollars (yes, that's thousand), they decided to just say no to rebuilding it. Unfortunately because of the high mileage, they also just said no to a decent buy-out for it.

4. I was sent a personal injury claim from the insurance company, but I'm not filing for anything. Really, outside of some very impressive bruises and some aches, there was nothing wrong that couldn't be solved by taking a Tylenol-3. Still feeling very lucky about surviving.

5. I'm also feeling nervous about driving, and I hate that. I've always loved driving, but now I'm tense all the while I'm behind the wheel. I know it's because the roads are wet and I'm really skittish about ice. I feel the car skidding out from under me even when it's perfectly secure, and my stomach clenches each time a big truck passes by and the wind rocks the car a little. I think this will pass; I hope that it does. I think that there's a part of me that's not going to feel completely safe behind the wheel until the spring is here.

6. We're getting our first real snowstorm tonight. We did a lot of errands today, so we should be good to stay home for the next day or two. We had a very mild November, so I'm not really complaining. OK, maybe a little :)
I keep planning to update. But as the poet said, "The best laid schemes o' mice an' mays / Gang aft agley."

First, my apologies to anyone who got spammed by me last night or this morning. Something got into my old Yahoo account and went to town. I think I know where it came from, not that it helps. I deleted all my contacts from my address book, so that should take care of it. I was going to delete the account outright, but I remembered that it's hooked into my Flickr account. That would have been bad.

The new boy is doing very well. We're thinking of naming him Castile (or Castille). (Not Castiel, so get your little SPN shipper hearts under control.) Both Dar and I came up with that name independently, btw. We also both thought of "Quinn", but I really like Castile more. His mom, Cinnamon Girl, is back to being The Incredible Psycho Mom from Hell. Frequent screeching comes from the paddocks when anyone even breathes too closely on Cas. That's a drag for him because he and Echo have discovered each other, and the cria games are commencing - until CG notices and comes charging in to protect her baby. Oh well, Ripley survived her over-protectiveness, and so will the little guy.

As some of you know, Mark ([livejournal.com profile] browncoat) has a new job in Toronto. That's a two-hour drive one way. As some of you also know, my car is still sitting dead in the driveway. It used to be that I'd drive Mark into work and borrow the Jeep when we needed to run errands. Not so much now with the driving into Toronto to drop him off thing. Mark experimented with commuting by bus, and that works. I have to get up at 5AM to get him to the bus station on time, but at least we have access to transportation.

Dar has a call in to Immigration; we're waiting for them to call back. Hopefully they'll actually do that this time, unlike the last two times when they never returned the call. Apparently when I called last week, I used a different number than she uses, which is why I got a call center clerk and she gets to talk to an Immigration clerk. Or something like that. I'm very confused about this whole process. It makes no sense. I'm sure that [livejournal.com profile] sparky77 agrees with me.

Still flaring. The Flare That Would Not Die. It's better today than it was yesterday and waaaay better than it was on Sunday. So there's light on the horizon, or however that cliche goes.

New TV is upon us. I'm enjoying Glee, but it's more for the dialogue and characters than for the music. I'm old; I don't know most of those songs, and I don't really like them. (Although I enjoyed "I bust the window out your car" or whatever that was.) "Hey, you kids! Get your dang hippy-hoppy music off my TV!" *shakes TV remote pathetically* I saw the first ep of Community and fell in love. It's just my type of ensemble comedy - smart, funny, fast-paced. I even love the main character (Jeff?), whom I think we're supposed to hate. But I don't. Love! And it also has John Oliver! This show compels me to overuse exclamation points!!!

Here in Canada we're several weeks behind the States with both Project Runway and Top Chef. I'm doing the "no spoiler" dance, especially around Television Without Pity. It's not too bad now because there are still so many contestants left in each show that I can't keep them straight right now anyway, but as it winnows down, I'm going to be doing some heavy duty eye averting.

And speaking of Top Chef, I find the show a mystery. Most of the time I have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to various styles of cooking and such. I don't even like food that much, really. Presentation? Balance of flavors? Means nothing to me. I don't understand waiting in a long line to eat at a particular restaurant, and I really don't get paying large sums of money for a meal, especially considering where it all ends anyway. But still I love this show. It's their mastery of their craft, I think. It's the same with Project Runway. I love the skill and the imagination that the competitors bring to the shows. I could never do what any of them do. Never ever. And I applaud them. Even crazy Malvin and his mother hen outfit.
Stupid, bad week.

1. Mao was killed.

2. Q ([livejournal.com profile] sparky77) was refused entry into Canada tonight by some fucking insane bureaucratic border guard. She's going to try again tomorrow. Forcefully.

3. I got through to Immigration today and was told that because of the several mishaps with incorrect payment amounts and wrong stamps(!), my application date was reset to May 25, 2009. I'm still up for review and it will take six to seven months to get my visa and my health card renewed. I started to choke up while I was talking to the woman on the phone; I couldn't help it. Then I hung up the phone and cried my eyes out. Dar is going to give them a call, too, and see if maybe it was just that clerk's take on what's happening.

4. I'm in the midst of another bad flare. Stress isn't helping.

5. The people with the unethical, insane agent pulled off a miracle and firmed up their offer in time to buy the house officially. I don't trust that their agent isn't going to screw us somehow before the closing date (Nov. 30), through incompetence if not through guile.

6. I'm really tired of crying, but it just starts without my being able to stop it. Like now.

7. Really stupid, bad, fucking week.
1. We have another offer coming in on the house, most probably tomorrow. This is from the couple who spent nearly two hours here earlier this week. It's going to be a firm offer (as opposed to the conditional one already on the table), so this could be it, guys.

2. One of the Canadian channels rebroadcast the pilot for Glee tonight. I love it! It's definitely on my must see list for this year.

3. Dar and I have been trying to save one of Hannibal's crias at our friends' farm. Well, it's really Dar. I mostly drive, hand her stuff, and keep an eye on the cria while she's busy. The poor thing is six weeks old and weighs less now than when he was born. Turns out he has a partial cleft palate, and that's why he hasn't been able to nurse. Worse than that, because he was so weak he wasn't able to to escape the flies that torment him. They laid hundred of eggs that have hatched into maggots that are literally eating him alive. Were eating him alive. We got to him in time (they just started hatching.) He was doing better today, and hopefully he will continue. He's a beautiful little boy, and he's a hell of a fighter.

4. My sinus infection is finally starting to recede. Headaches are less frequent the past few days. The fatigue is still a big issue, but I'm getting more time where I'm up and active lately, so that's good.

5. Still no visa. I'm at the point where I cry every day because I'm so frustrated. If the office were in Ontario, I swear I'd just camp out there until they fucking resolved this mess.

6. I'm not one to dream about celebrities, but lately I've been doing just that. A few nights ago I had a very funny dream involving me, Don Cheadle, and Peter Boyle hanging out in a cafeteria just goofing around. Last night it was the actress who plays Jessica on True Blood; she was helping me find my way back to my apartment. (I have a common theme of not being able to find my way home. Paging Dr. Freud!)

7. And speaking of dreaming, I need to harden my heart against the adorable sleeping kitties who are surrounding me here, shoo them out of my room, and get to bed. I have to finish mowing the lawn tomorrow and do the back paddock areas (I had to give it up tonight because I got hit with the fatigue stick again.) And I think we're going back to check on Hanni's baby boy. Plus . . . who knows what else tomorrow will bring?
Hannibal, our herd sire, got his right rear leg well and truly trapped in the fence this afternoon. Dar found him lying on his side, then ran back to the house to get Maddie and me. Maddie fended off the rest of herd while I held Hannie and Dar cut him free. We're hoping that his leg is bruised and inflamed rather than broken, but we'll know more tomorrow after the swelling goes down. Dar gave him a shot of banamine (pain med plus anti-inflammatory), and he seemed to be doing OK walking and balancing on it. Send good thoughts, guys. Hannie is very special to us.

It just never seems to end, you know? One piece of good news is usually surrounded by three that are bad. At least there is good news: we've got a third offer coming in for the house. That one is still being negotiated. So that means that every showing has resulted in an offer. We can't really grasp the popularity of this place. We didn't really like it when we bought it; we just needed a place in a hurry after the original Casa sold. I'm figuring that it's a combination of the two out buildings (both with water and electricity) and the fact that it's priced to sell. I was telling Dar that while we're not getting our money back on the cost of installing the barns, it's increased the salability of the place.

Meanwhile the ongoing saga of my battle with Immigration has reached a ridiculous point: they have no idea where my paperwork is. None. Their only ray of hope is that the woman I talked with two months ago - the one who said she knew where that last missing piece of info was being held up and was going to walk down the hall to fetch it - will be back at work on Tuesday. She has apparently been gone since that day. Because that's the way my world rolls. Eight months guys. My visa - and my health insurance - expired eight months ago. I just . . . I just want it fixed, you know?

I'm still on a higher dose of prednisone because of the tomato flare, and it's the usual good news/bad news. Good - no joint pain! The trade-off in trying to get off of pred is that joint pain increases. While I'm trying to fight off this latest flare, my joints are feeling pretty good. I can make a fist! Y'all should fear me :) The downside is increased insomnia and hunger. I've still got this incredible fatigue, though. And a shelf full of uneaten tomatoes.

We had a crazy storm yesterday. Torrential horizontal rain. The wind was so strong and sustained that I can't believe we didn't lose any trees. We lost a large old tree a few days ago as the result of wind storm, but this time we lucked out. No tornado, either, thankfully, although a small town in southern Ontario was just about leveled by one with this latest storm. I had no idea that southern Ontario was the site of so much extreme weather: blizzards, tornadoes, damaging thunderstorms, and down drafts. I'd never experienced down drafts before moving here, and I can't say that I feel all the luckier for having them now. For those who haven't been in one, it's a very localized sudden strong wind that can have the damaging effect of a small tornado. It just comes out of nowhere, too. Very freaky. O Canada. And I'm sure that the Albertans on my flist have a few choice words about the Chinooks that they deal with.

My brain really wants to go to sleep, but my body says no. I think I'll just lie here and let them fight it out. There's a horror movie on the Movie Channel at 9PM that I'll probably check out. Anybody here seen Quarantine? It stars Jennifer Carpenter who plays Dexter's sister on Dexter. I like her, so I may tune in during commercials on Rachel Maddow's show. My life, she is so exciting. Actually sometimes it is, just not in a good way, eh.
As I was walking out to the barn this morning, the heron was making his way toward the pond. He stopped dead in his tracks, and I walked slowly by him giving him a wide berth. I got a close look at him, though, and what I thought was an immature Little Blue Heron is instead a mature Green Heron. And they do, in fact, hang out in trees when they're not wading around ponds and marshes. Who knew? They're in season around here from May through September, so I hope this guys sticks around that long. Lord knows that there are enough frogs in that pond to keep him fed through the summer.

In the ongoing saga of our Mailbox from Hell, we got notice from the Post Office that unless we can get the door of the mailbox to close correctly, they will stop delivering mail in a few weeks. The screw on the right side of the lid is rusted (plus someone beat the snot out of the box with a baseball bat a few months ago), so the door kind of bends upward instead of closing completely. I'm going to scrub the rust off with some steel wool, hammer the door back into shape, and try some WD-40 on the screw. I'll also take a picture for my mailbox gallery. We can't just simply replace it (emphasis on simply) because after the last debacle of it being ripped off the post, Dar glued the shit out of it so it would probably take a chainsaw to remove it now. That mailbox, man. It's like its own little circle of hell.

Got some sort of good news on the Immigration front yesterday. Dar called (since she's the one familiar with all of the paperwork), and it turns out that my application package has been sitting there because they don't have a form that we sent in almost a year ago. After very little effort, the clerk realized that it just hadn't been forwarded from the office down the hall. So she was going to walk down the hall and retrieve it. *head desk* Now I just have to hope that she really did that little thing and my visa will be winging its way slowly to me. Assuming I get the mailbox fixed, of course.

In more positive news on the Immigration front, I received a GST rebate check from the Canadian government today. That means that they have me on their books as a real, live person and not just a temporary worker. Oh yeah - Ontario gives us a tax rebate on purchased goods every few months. How cool is that? It's a set amount based on marital status/number of children/income level, so it's more of an across-the-board thing than an accounting of how much tax you actually shelled out. Still . . . very cool.

And now? Bed.
1. I've still been sick all week, although functioning better than I had last Sunday. My health has been steadily declining, but Dar is keeping my hopes up with the fact that after a high fever your metabalism and other systemic workings need to reregulate for about a week. Today is a week since I got that high fever, so I'm expecting improvement to start tomorrow. Shall we say 6:30ish in the AM? Would that be acceptable, immune system? **muttered imprecations**

2. I still don't have my permanent work visa. This is making me crazy. They said it was ready to go, just missing a stamp on a form. I sent in the final forms and they received them May 25. Send me my visa!! I've got doctor's bills piling up here. I'm forgoing blood work that I should be getting monthly. I'm canceling long-standing appointments because of my OHIP still being expired because I need the damn visa already. Sigh. Please send it. Please.

3. I've started writing again. Slowly. It's picking up a piece that I dropped three years ago. I'm editing and kicking it around. Now I'm thinking that it's whiny and self-indulgent, but I also think that I can save it with more editing and a tighter focus. It's baby steps right now, but I need this. I need to know that I can still do something.

4. I want to enter a picture I took into the local agricultural fair. The only subject for which I had a suitable picture to enter was Cloud Formations, so I'm going to show this one.
Cumulostratus at sunset ) We'll see how it goes.

5. True Blood may drag me back to fandom. Great characters, some fine acting all the way down through the minor players, and a definite style. And it's an ensemble show, which is always a plus for me. What do y'all think of it?

6. One or more of the cats has turned into a literal head hunter. So far this week Mark and I have chucked out a headless bird, a few headless mice, and several headless frogs. The bodies are apparently trophies to be displayed in the hallway on the carpet - which is where we keep finding them. It's a mystery.

7. Oh, yeah. Remember our mentioning how the house is cursed? Well Dar was talking to an EMT last week, and he said that people think the whole road is cursed. There have been three suicides on this road, the latest one last month. Maybe they were being haunted by various local headless fauna. Time to go, honey. Oh, yes.
1. Still no new power cord for my laptop. Dar kindly lets me borrow hers, but I don't want to hog it, you know? Between that and the fact that our internet connection is slower than molasses in winter, I seem to spend most of my time online trying to load a simple page and watching my battery drain. Not much of a chance to update at all.

2. My final Immigration packet went off to the central office today. I think we crossed every t and dotted every i and my god they make this a difficult process. They should receive the packet by Monday at the latest, and I hope to have my open visa within a few weeks. Think good thoughts about this, OK, guys?

3. The baby continues to progress. Yay! I think we've settled on Ozzie for a name. He looks like an Ozzie. In other alpaca news, Cinnamon Girl is off her rocker around the moon crazy. Hannibal (our herd sire) is on the other side of the fence from CG and her daughter Ripley. Rip was apparently at the fence trying to get Hannibal's attention. CG goes ballistic with the screaming and the spitting. Then she turns on Ripley, bulldozes her to the ground, and sits on her! Poor Ripley is bleating like crazy; I mean Mom is at least 150 pounds. By the time Dar and I got out there, she had let the poor thing up, but really . . . calm the hell down, CG.

4. Dar had a colonoscopy yesterday. The good news is that they didn't find anything bad, but the bad news is that they didn't find the cause of her internal bleeding, either. And the procedure was hellish for her, because the doctors never believe her when she says that she needs lots more sedation than the usual person. Fortunately there was an anaesthesiologist in the OR, so he called a halt and gave her the added sedation. My poor baby.

5. I inadvertently got into the middle of a cat fight yesterday and got a torn vein in my hand for my troubles. It wasn't as painful as it sounds, but it gushed blood and scared the hell out of me. I thought he'd opened an artery, but happily it was just a vein. Pressure, a cold pack, and an ace bandage took care of it. I need to come up with a new plan, or at least learn to scope out the whole area before I deal with the kitties.

6. The weather turned warm today (80 degrees), so we went hunting for little kiddie wading pools to put in the paddocks. You would not believe how hard it is to find those suckers this year. I'm talking about those little 6" high, 5' wide pools for toddlers to sit in. We looked in five stores before we found them. And then when Dar inflated and filled them, most of the alpacas were all WTF about them. Big colorful round thing! It's going to eat us! Even though we put pools out for them every. single. summer. Only CG plopped herself down and enjoyed a cool soak. I checked a while ago, and a couple of them were using it as a big watering hole :)

7. American Idol. Sigh. I thought I was prepared for Adam to lose, but I was not. Hell, Kris wasn't prepared for Adam to lose. I am not saying that everyone who voted for Kris was a homophobe; Kris had his own fan base, and he got to the Final Two and beat out Gokey on his own power. What I am saying is that there was enough of an orchestrated backlash against Adam to push Kris over the top for a win. This was not some last minute attempt by the Christian Right, either. Kris had earlier given an interview where he made it known that this was a singing contest, and he didn't want religion being brought into it. Fat chance.

I'm sad, and I'm angry - not just for Adam but for myself and every other lesbian/gay/queer/trans who was told once again that there's a solid segment of America that says we're freaks and less-thans. And let's not forget that we're all pedophiles and abominations. Do you know what it's like to walk around knowing that there are people who want you dead for being who you are? Who would beat you to a pulp for being who you are? Who would rape you to "show you what you're missing" if you're a lesbian? I'm not laying all of that on Adam's shoulders to bear; he wasn't our flag bearer: he just wanted to win a singing contest, after all. But still, it took tremendous courage for him to be there, to be as 'scary' as so many obviously thought he was. I wish him every good thing, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart.

8. [livejournal.com profile] finitejester37 wrote about it much more clearly and eloquently than I have, and she's opened her post for linking. Give it a read.
I've moved around a lot, and while it's brought me a lot of good memories and grand adventures and new friends, it's also meant that I'd lost track of people I cared about who stayed put geographically but still moved on with their lives. In the past few weeks I've hooked up with a number of old friends and acquaintances on FaceBook, including one of my dearest friends from my 20s. I'd figured that she'd remarried, but I had no idea of her new last name. Happily she found me. Yay! And then today I got email from someone I was good friends with back at Wesleyan. I'd been searching for her on and off since the 90s with no luck, but she tracked me down through Serenity Suris. So huzzah for the internet!

Delilah still hasn't had her cria. That baby is inching its way out of the womb, we swear. Maybe tomorrow. She certainly looks ready to pop.

My asthma still continues to surge along. WTF, lungs? And I've been having more frequent Lupus flares this week, too. I don't get it. And I don't like it.

I don't think I've mentioned that I started group therapy last week. It's Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which in this group is geared much more toward the cognitive rather than the behavioral. Last week was mostly administrative, but I did get some insights from this week's meeting. I'm mostly looking to break the knee-jerk negative reactions I have to almost everything these days. Not negative, as in I hate it, but negative in that all I can see is the downside of even good moments. Or in addition to the good moments, more accurately. I don't want to give the impression that I am solely a walking little black cloud, but . . . I always seem to have a "but" for any situation. I'm depressed, and I know that, and I know that it's situational. I'm anxious, and I know that, and I know that it's situational, too. So I need to get a handle on this, and even if I can't stop the automatic thought process that goes, "Yeah, that's nice but . . .", I can think about why I'm jumping to that conclusion and get a different perspective on it. Living in the moment, I suppose.

In the bad news/good news department, we finally sent off my final Immigration packet so I can get my open work visa and my permanent resident status. (And renew my health card.) The bad news is that it was returned to me last Friday. The good news is that it's for a purely bureaucratic reason (the wrong official stamp on a document), and everything else passed muster. So if we can just get the internet to cooperate so we can get a secure connection to the Immigration site and get the right document downloaded, I'll be all set. Yay!

And on that positive note, I'm going to call it a night and head to bed.
The weather started off being not unreasonable. Kind of damp but warm enough that there was melting going on. In mid-afternoon the temps rapidly plummeted and the wind whipped up and suddenly it was Siberia. And I mean suddenly.

I finally got the Christmas gifts off to my brother and sil, but not without me annoying the hell out of the poor clerk with my many questions. I wasn't really meaning to be annoying, yet I knew the answer to everything I asked her. I was just in one of those "toy with the clerk" moods. I think I've been hanging around cats too long or something; I'm picking up their love of torment. ::evil heh::

After being pain free for a couple weeks now, I had a resurgence of the old lupus pain in my hips and legs. It started late last night and kept up for most of the day. I was lurching around on very stiff joints, looking ungainly and feeling like crap. It seems to be settling down again, so I'm not sure what's going on with that. Dar thinks it might be related to this cold that I'm still dealing with. Hopefully tonight will be better.

I got a call from the Immigration doctor this morning. Those additional blood tests I had to have because my blood pressure was too high? Yeah, well, he wanted me to know that they came back too low, and Immigration will probably flag them for further follow up. And since the tests concerned my kidney function, he suggested that I let my doctor know and get some further testing done. The levels were only slightly decreased but still below normal, so I'm not going crazy over this, but it is a bit worrisome since I just had them done a few months ago and they were fine. Another thing to add to the list of questions/concerns I'll bring to the appointment with my new rheumatologist.

I found a very neat site that I want all of you to try out. It's called Free Rice, and it's one of those "click to donate" sites, but this one has a neat twist. It's a vocabulary test, and for every word that you identify correctly they'll donate twenty grains of rice. It truly is addictive because the difficulty level increases with every correct answer, and I donated 400 grains of rice in very short order before I forced myself to move on. I figured that this would appeal to my meme/quiz-happy flist :)

I stumbled across this by way of a post at Shakesville (formerly Shakespeare's Sister) that was talking about keeping hope for the future in the face of feeling helpless and staying engaged in changing the world instead of adopting that truly despicable "it's cool to be cynical and disaffected" affect that seems to be epidemic these days. Anyway, among the comments to the thread was a link to a site called So What Can I Do?, which I hope you'll take a look at, too. I browsed it briefly, and there seems to be something for every level and type of engagement.

And now my aching joints and I bid you good evening. Hope you're all warm and safe and happy this night.
I'm happy to say that this was a pretty damn good day. I second Olive's "Hurrah!"

The doctor's appointment went very well. In fact the words "excellent" and "perfect" were uttered several times by the doctor during the exam. I did my calming, centering thing before he took my blood pressure, and it came out as 142/84. Yes! (It had been 160/105 last week.) He attributed the 142 to the stress of the appointment, which . . . OK, I can go with that. The slight tremors in my hands were attributed to the blood pressure meds, which is actually true. (It's not all neurological: atenolol causes tremors.) There was nothing that I had to lie about, which was the best part of all, so I walked out with a clean bill of health as far as the exam went and a clear conscience. And something else, too - a wonderful feeling of normalcy. The past six months (at least) have been spent concentrating on all of the things that are going wrong and breaking down in my body, but today was a reminder that parts of me are ticking along as they should. It felt great :)

As if that weren't enough goodness, it turns out that the doctor is a clone of Tim Gunn from Project Runway. I was astounded when I saw him. It's true that I'd been to see this guy before, but it was several years ago and before I'd ever laid eyes on the divine Mr. Gunn, so the connection wasn't there until I saw him this time. I kept waiting for him to tell me to "make it work" :)

Along with all of that, the weather has given us a reprieve from winter today. It was in the low 50s. Not really sunny, but not all gray and gloomy, either. It was funny to see so many people walking around without coats, because really - not summer temps out there, guys. Canadians :)

To top it all off, Pushing Daisies was just about perfect. It lost a few points because of the complete lack of Digby - although he did get a shout-out - but really, I had a grin on my face throughout and a couple of full-on belly laughs. Aaaaand I just realized that most of you won't get to see it until tomorrow, so I edited out all of the spoilers, but trust me - don't miss this one. And I have an icon request for y'all once you've seen it.

Okey-dokey, I still have things to do before I go to sleep. Y'all have a wonderful night, hear.
Good things! There are good things :)

1. Dar and I are going to Vegas for a long weekend. Wheee! A one-day fare sale popped up on WestJet this afternoon, so we grabbed it. We leave on Saturday the 20th and return on Tuesday the 23rd. In between there will be Star Trek: The Experience, a hoped-for but not definite meet-up with the shindiggers who are renting a house outside of Vegas that week, and much giggling at the excesses of Las Vegas. The last time I was there was in 1975; I think it's changed a bit. Heh. And this time I will a) have more than $2 on me and b)be wearing something more appropriate than ripped jeans, an old beat-up flannel shirt, and work boots. (I was heavily into my dyke phase at that time *g*)

2. I got my work visa renewal in the mail today. YayyaY! I'm heading out first thing tomorrow to get my health card renewed. That's a big weight off my mind, let me tell you. And now I'm one step closer to getting my permanent resident visa, too. (I'm not going to think about the possibility of being denied because of health reasons. I'm not.) I may even blow dry my hair for the occasion since I'll need a new photo on the new health card. My last haircut - which truly is the worst haircut in the world - is growing out as crappily as I figured it would. I am going to try my best not to look like Larry from the Three Stooges when I stand in front of the camera. No guarantees, but I'm givin' it my best shot.

3. Chloe Kitty is now an inside cat. She showed up on the back deck late this afternoon, so I opened up the screen door and she wandered in and just made herself at home. She spent a good portion of the evening down in Mark's office hanging out with him while he tried to work. He said she was having a grand time with his keyboard. I'll bet :) The other cats are doing pretty well; there's stalking and sniffing but no hissing this time around. It's really helped to have had her make short visits indoors over the past month. I'm not saying it's going to be a seamless blending, but I really think that it's going to be fairly uneventful. (See what I just did there? Put the jinx on it, I did.)

4. Dar had an interview with a potential new personal physician--and she passed. Woo! And no, I'm not kidding. The doctors in Ontario can afford to be that picky. But Dar liked her, she liked Dar, and best of all, she's of the opinion that doctors aren't just for people who don't actually need them. We were wondering if she was going to be scared off by Dar's extensive medical history and, uh, unusual ongoing health issues, but it appears the doc is up for the challenge. YayyayyaY! And although the office is 45 minutes away, it's a pleasant drive and Mitchell is a lovely little town. The office sits on the edge of a nature trail/bird sanctuary, so I can hang out there while Dar is meeting with her doctor. Win/win.

5. Good day. Very good day. \0/

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