Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.
August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [01/10/14 - Now reached 06/03/2004]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Into BHOC for Kai to have a tacrolimus level review (the Prof increased the dose last time we were in) - and then walked up to Clifton, across the suspension bridge, and around the first part of the Downs. Of course I forgot my camera... Wonderful though, fabulous views, beautiful sunny day, and now I'm completely shattered and just want an early night.
Hoping to do it again - with camera this time - the next appt next month!
Monday, February 23, 2015
Woke up to brilliant sunshine. Half an hour later it absolutely pissed down - then we had heavy hail. Then sun with gusty wind, then it snowed for half an hour, big soft fluffy flakes that failed to settle. Then it rained again, then it was sunny again, then it hailed so hard I thought it was going to chip the greenhouse glass. And we just had a peal of thunder that rattled the windows (but no rain). We had all the weather in a single day.
This is why we talk about it so much.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
There was a heron on the roof when we went shopping...
Then the seagulls spotted it and drove it away...
The usual manic Sunday...
Saturday, February 21, 2015
It's been a busy few days. Yesterday we went for the longest walk yet, to and around Whitchurch and back. The village is small and not particularly pretty, but it has a couple of streams running through it, which is nice.
Legs and back really aching today though, so haven't done much. Little bit of shopping at Sainsbury's (<- this was in the car park)
and then Kai helped me in the garden. We want to clear the space behind Wendy's hazels and turn it into a little bowl, with lots of moss and ramsons, and later maybe a seat.
Crocuses at the top:
Irises in the rockery:
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Can you hear the shouting and cheering and bouncing up and down?
BMT clinic today. Blood results were very good, and Prof Marks says OK, time for Kai to come off the omeprazole (he'll start cutting down on the aciclovir at the next appt in two months!! but he'll need to keep taking the tacrolimus for another nine months) and start getting back into normal life. He can now associate with people again (unless they're obviously ill) and GO OUT ON BUSES!!
(Oh, the trips we have planned...)
He's very pleased indeed, says everything is going splendidly, and he has every hope for the continued success and (fingers tightly crossed) no recurrence. Kai has come through this much faster and better than anyone expected.
Tomorrow we tell the Uni to expect him in October. Today, we went down to check out the fog bridge before his pentamidine, to celebrate.
(Lots of large photos coming up...)
From the Centre...
Not easy to get photos on the bridge as too many people, and there was a bit of a breeze wafting the cloud away. It was delightfully cold and damp though.
Great fun! I hope we have more art installations throughout Bristol's Green Capital year - I'll try to get to as many as I can.
So - time to start trying to get my own work done again...
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Aiming to get into town to see this next week...
Watched The Maze Runner on Filmflex last night. Predictable, and too much indistinct dark/night action, but it was good enough that I want to see the sequel. Oddly, it reminded me of Lord of the Flies...
Going to try to pick up Dracula Untold later, to watch tonight.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Meeting this morning to decide the fate of the BCP website (the organisation doesn't actually exist anymore, but our BCC liaison wants to keep the site going under a new banner - the Greater Brislington Neighbourhood Partnership, which exists but doesn't have a website, and covers the whole ward). We met at the café in Arno's Vale Cemetery (pot of green tea and a slice of very nice lemon and poppy seed cake for me!) a very pleasant location. Should know the decision soon.
My second favourite scarf has a slightly annoying manufacturer's tag on it. I was going to cut it off - until I took a closer look and read the inscription...
Faith and Robot?! [g] Actually, I believe it translates as Faith and Work (or Drudgery or Servitude, depending on which language you choose to take it from), but Robots will do for me. Needless to say the tag is staying.
Sounds like Kai is finally awake. Better start thinking brunch...
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Apparently it's a foxy day today...
Finally sewed the foxes and finished Kai's advent calender:
The foxes aren't perfect but Kai seems happy with them.
And our outdoor foxes bought us a pair of socks.
Yes, a pair. In good nick too - I think they may have pinched them off someone's line!
Not sure what they're suggesting. 'Here's a pressie - please feed us tonight?' (I put out a bowl of dogfood when the temp is below freezing, but it hasn't been the last two nights and I really don't want them becoming dependent on us. I think they missed it...) 'Here mum, we know your feet are cold, have these on us?' (my machine really chucks out a lot of cold air...) Cute, at any rate!
We're watching the next BatB shortly.
Thursday, February 05, 2015
Catch up, again. I really need to get back into the habit of updating every day...
The weekend was busy as usual: Kai started getting a sore throat, which is not unusual, but by Tuesday it was worse, and when I took a look his throat was red and his uvula enlarged, so I rang for advice and took him in to the day unit, where they took blood for virology and throat swabs, and he was prescribed a short course of anti-bios. By yesterday, his uvula was so big it was resting on the back of his tongue and making him gag, so we're currently on lots of cold water and spoonfuls of honey (and hot honey and lemon drinks) to try to combat it. The advice is to not worry unless it affects his breathing: the condition is very common, it seems. He hates it, and I'm letting him sleep as long as he wants so he doesn't have to put up with it any more than he has to.
T&M were offering Forest Pansy at half price, so we treated ourself to one as a long-term anniversary present (thanks Wendy!) It was going to go in the front garden, as I thought it grew to around 10 ft high - but I misread and it's actually 10 metres, which is too tall for the front. It'll be planted at the back, up at the top, where the roots won't damage anything. Looking forward to seeing how it does!
In other garden news, all the bulbs I've planted (except for the fritillarias, alas) are all coming up: there are some irises already in flower in the rockery. I'll post some photos once I have more to show.
We've finished Sky and Kai and I are now watching Beauty and the Beast - from the beginning, so I won't be posting any ep summaries for a few weeks. But there are almost no ep summaries for any of the Unicron Trilogy, so I'm now rewatching Transformers: Armada (all 52 eps of it), enjoying the action and cringing at the dreadful dialogue. The IMDb haven't actually posted any yet, but they can sometimes take several days...
Better go wake childe, it's nearly time for afternoon meds. Then I have some client stuff to do...
Friday, January 30, 2015
We ended up going for the river walk anyway!
The Great Western Railway coach works and coke house ruins just outside Temple Meads railway station.
Looking back upriver, blue railway and pedestrian bridge, and behind it the houses at Totterdown.
Strange 'bird' installation along the walk. There are four of these in total, along this part of the walk, anyway (this is still part of the Whitchurch Way, which runs from the city centre to Whitchurch), but one of them has lost its head.
That's the Paintworks on the other side of the river, and the Bath Road at Arno's Vale at the top.
They're very strange. They seem to be a mix of heron, starling and blackbird, and are made of whitewashed straw and mud, as best we can tell. I can't find any info online about them, but they may be related to the Art thing that happens here every few years. The last one was about three years ago, I think.
Discovered last night that the ep summaries for Beauty and the Beast season 2 and 3 are incomplete. Will probably tackle those when I've finished Sky (two eps to go), but by myself rather than as a family thing of an evening. I can watch it of a morning, after dealing with mail and before Kai wakes up. It's not like I need an excuse to rewatch it, I love the series, and it would ensure I sit down with feet up for 45 mins or so, which seems to help my back.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Catch up again...
We did go for another walk on Saturday - all the way to Whitchurch, a bit less than a mile further on from the end point of our last walk. Glorious sunny day again, but ow my legs on the way back...
Sunday was busy as usual. After the morning shop, Ken and I went out to Hurrans to take advantage of the last days of their post Yule sale. Picked up two berberis thunbergii at half price to plant with the three we already have, out the front as a security barrier (yes, OK, it'll be a couple of years before they grow to the promised 4' and are fully effective, but still...) I also found this adorable little pot at half price:
I told Kai he could have it if he could make a persuasive case for it, but he decided it was a little too small for his use so I get to keep it! I haven't decided what to put in it yet, but it looks so sweet in the kitchen.
Monday was another good day - cloudy and windy but no rain - so we went for another walk. Much more strenuous, that one, up the opposite side of the valley from the Whitchurch Way. It leads to Stockwood open space eventually, but after climbing up the hill I didn't have the energy to go any further. Maybe next time. The views from the top are great though!
We've now watched both Dragonwyck and The Raven (so funny! "You're defending yourself, you coward!") and enjoyed them. We've started watching Sky, which, while an interesting idea, is proving to be nowhere near as good as I remember. We expected poor sfx and less than stellar acting, but the acting is worse than anticipated (the decent actors in it seem embarrassed to be there), and the story is choppy and disjointed. Luckily it's only seven eps long (heh, I typed 'wrong' there initially!), but how I'm going to write the IMDb summaries I'm not quite sure.
We were planning another walk today but given it's hailing buckets out there and generally grey and miserable that may be a no-no. Since I haven't had time to do much to revise Perfume Power yet, that may be a good thing...
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Quickie before I go fall over...
I've been been enjoying role-playing on tumblr for the past... ye gods, nearly two years! I've made some fun friends, and as a treat to myself I commissioned a picture from Clicha. Clicha is a Transformers fan, and a fine artist. Clicha instituted a phenomenon called Robots-in-suits-January, which I really like...
[g] Ohhh yes...
Clicha is currently looking for commissions to fund getting to AA 2015. Just so's you know!
Friday, January 23, 2015
Cold. It's below freezing out there today. Gloriously sunny though. It's supposed to be the same tomorrow: if it's not too slippery underfoot we'll try for another walk.
Kai did fancy a walk on Monday - along the Whitchurch Way to Whitchurch. It's an old railway track that's been made into a cycle path (the same one that goes past right outside the house) and from here is 2.2 miles each way...
(Ow my legs...) Kai can now do this walk and more without any difficulty - which is wonderful, given that pre-transplant he couldn't climb the stairs without getting breathless and weak.
And regardless of how I feel tomorrow, I'm going to have to walk anyway. Finally managed to get to see the dr about my hip last night, and she's referred me to the muscular-skeleto (I think that's the term) team at the BRI. Apparently the unfused bone might be what's causing the pain and the team will write to me to make an initial appt, but I'm to carry on losing weight (and keep exercising) in the meantime. Oh joy...
Monday, January 19, 2015
I follow a tumblr blog called The Beauty of Wildlife, which often has amazing photos of foxes. This one really appealed to me (pic is clickable to the original). That expression is exactly what my face frequently looks like when I consider the human species...
I forgot to say - I found out why Kai will have to take penicillin for the rest of his life. Apparently the TBI (Total Body Irradiation) destroys the spleen's ability to handle meningococcal and pneumococcal infections, both of which can be life-threatening. So - penicillin. A small price to pay, we think...
It's a beautiful day today, freezing (almost literally, the outside temperature is around 2°) but cloudless and brilliantly sunny. Hoping Kai feels like a walk when he gets up, although he did walk the Whitchurch Way with Ken yesterday, so might not fancy it.
In the meantime, it looks like Perfume Power has a chance of being republished, possibly as an e-book, so I'm revising it. The science has come on a little way since I first wrote it (and at the very least I have the chance to get rid of the embarrassing number of exclamation marks!) More as it happens.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Every now and then I enter - 'starscream figure' - into ebay to see if there's anything new/that I don't have.
And thus I found these...
Yes, they are in fact a set of Transformers: Prime figures - Kinder Egg ones.
I had no idea such a thing existed. Quite adorable, surprisingly sophisticated, and absolutely teeny!
*whispering* I also gave in and have one of these coming for my birthday, found on ebay for a lot less than that...
And Kai's guitar rack arrived.He's upstairs putting it together. Hi last Skype was - "oh. I finished building it and then found the instructions." Which is actually typical for this family...
His follow up Skype - 'it's probably just as well, the instructions are talking about 'soft stuffed legs' and 'activities ring connecting screws'".
Friday, January 16, 2015
Gordon Bennett where did the week go...?
It's been busy, I remember that. Kai and I have been for a couple of walks, I've only got one small bit of sewing left to do and I've finished everything I planned, I'm nearly half way through the Sentinel season 4 summaries, and the freezer is fully stocked again. Monday's BHOC appt went well: Kai is improving steadily, although he's still very fatigued and has enormous difficulty waking up. (Once he is awake, however, he's alert almost right away, which is a definite improvement!)
Today's project is to reorganise his room again. We think we've now worked out the optimum arrangement, and when he's awake are going to try it. It'll give him a lot more room to move in, but it involves moving the bed half into one of the alcoves (where his guitars are at the moment: we ordered a 7-guitar rack last night, which will fit in the chimney-breast space) and it's going to be a bit of a tight fit. However, we've measure it up and I think it can be done. Then he can order a new desk!
Ascension starts tonight. Looks interesting - we'll give it a try.
Heh, if I remember anything more I'll edit the post later...
Friday, January 09, 2015
Catch up again...
Spoiler alert: I've just watched Only Lovers Left Alive (recommended by Lutra and got as a Yule present from GoodTwin) and it's amazing. I'll talk about it further down under a spoiler warning.
Soooo... what have we been up to? Well, Kai's had another little episode of tinnitus and blurry vision, although that has improved over the last couple of days. Yesterday the weather was glorious, so we went for a walk down to Arno's Vale. Yes, it's a cemetery, but it's also a fabulous nature reserve, with paths everywhere of varying steepness and difficulty. We went up through the woods to the open plateau at the top - the views are fantastic, out to the Cotswolds, but you can't see them when the trees are in leaf so this is the right time of year to go. It took us an hour, and our legs were aching when we got back, but it was good and healthy and all helps to build up Kai's strength and stamina again.
I replaced a whole load of music cassettes with CDs I found on amazon and ebay, and we've been working our way through them - the first five Queen albums over dinner (After Day at the Races they started believing their own hype and got tedious, so I gave up collecting them). Night at the Opera, of course, has the wonderful track '39, possibly the first ever s-f song...
Kai brought the laptop down on Tuesday evening and worked on some art while we played a series of concept albums - Scenes from a Memory (not my favourite Dream Theater album, I must confess, but Kai says it takes a least three listens to really appreciate it), some of Patti Smith's Horses, Welcome to my Nightmare (ye gods, 1975. That's the year I met Wendy and Ken, and it still sounds as good as it did on first hearing. Timeless stuff...) and the first couple of tracks from Diamond Dogs. Of course, the Alice Cooper album has a voice over to Black Widow by Vincent Price, which reminded me we have no Price films...
Half an hour later and we have an extremely cheap amazon order of Dragonwyck (serious classical stuff), The Raven (gloriously funny and distinctly campy), The Tingler (which absolutely terrified me the first time I saw it), and a double set of The Abominable Dr Phibes and Dr Phibes Rises Again (very silly). We'll still need to get the classics Masque of the Red Death, and Fall of the House of Usher, but four will do to start with...
We've nearly finished watching Sentinel season 3 (my IMDb summaries are still being posted): next up is Sky (will write the summaries for that too, since they're currently empty). We still have Twin Peaks and the Battlestar Galactica phenomenon to tackle - plus Charlie Jade from several years ago (watched the first couple of eps and they sent me to sleep, but I should try again as the premise is interesting), and Falling Skies (first ep was so-so, we haven't gone back to it yet). So no lack of entertainment!
Only Lovers Left Alive... It's a vampire film, but completely different to any other I've seen. It has a feeling of agelessness, and the characters are perfectly believable and perfectly cast. Many centuries - if not millennia - old, they've transcended concerns for physical things (except, possibly, clothes, though even there what they wear is often decades or centuries old): they live in what can only be described as squalor. Life is difficult: most humans' blood is tainted these days, causing sickness, and procuring safe nourishment can be difficult. And the music is fantastic (the soundtrack is available and has gone straight on my wishlist!) It's a slow-paced, artistic gem of a film. Not for everyone, but I'm very glad I have it!
Edit: Lutra tells me Eve is about 3000 years old and was a druid.
Saturday, January 03, 2015
Quick catchup - it's been busy, but things seem to be slowing down a little...
So... Kai is looking and feeling better all the time - slowly, it's not a sudden thing, but it's noticeable. He's more alert, and has started programming again. His hair has grown back lighter, but still brown, and I think it may be wavy, but we can't tell until it's a bit longer. It's certainly thick, and very soft.
Not having to schedule in the twice daily itraconasole has eased the pressure a little: he now has main meds around 9 am and 9 pm, with aciclovir, omeprazole and cyclizine around 1 pm. And he's preparing most of them himself (I'm still doing the morning ones).
Things can still go wrong, but it's very promisisng...
In other news... I now have a litre bottle of Turkish Delight vodka creating itself quietly in the pantry, and a small bottle of lemon vodka (lemon oil and lemon TD) to see what it's like. Also picked up some orange oil to try making an orange version in the near future.
Less good news is I put on half a stone over the last month - though the good news is it was only half a stone, which should be relatively easy to lose. Fingers crossed!
Thursday, January 01, 2015
Tempted to take a nap - weather is grey and dull, and I ate too much!
Labels: Happy New Year
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Last BMT clinic of the year - and Prof Marks is very happy. Kai's blood counts are up again, he is now off the itraconasole, and we have to halve the MMF every two weeks over the next six, then stop. He only needs to go for blood reviews every two weeks from now on (unless anything happens, of course, there's a very nasty respiratory virus doing the rounds that has landed two BHOC patients in intensive care... and the MMF has been keeping GvHD at bay, so any rashes and we're to contact them right away) and his next BMT clinic is in six weeks (Day +172)!
All in all - bearing in mind things could still go wrong - a very happy end to what, with the notable exception of the transplant working, has been an absolute bugger of a year. Please let 2015 be better.
Monday, December 29, 2014
It's a bit chilly here at the moment...
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Oddka Salty Caramel Popcorn flavour - whoa Nelly!! *g* It's good!
I now have a recipe for Turkish Delight flavoured vodka, which I shall be trying as soon as I can pick up some good Turkish Delight!
Found at Sains today for £2.10 in their post-xmas sale...
It's a strange design, and will never replace my true mug, but at that price I couldn't leave it behind...
We have foxes still, and Kai has done two nights of filming them, but the software he used to use for creating compilations doesn't work on his new machine, so he can't post them yet. The foxes are beautiful though. And extremely noisy!
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Mmmmmm(melting)... Made myself an Options orange hot chocolate drink - then added a measure of Cointreau and a big dollop of Sains Taste the Difference thick cream with Mandarin and Valencia orange and Grand Marnier liqueur. I can tell one is never going to be enough...
Yesterday was also very pleasant - calm and relaxing. I did have to nip to Sains for bread and milk, but apart from that we had the usual buffet, then extremely tasty roast beef for dinner. And watched Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which was quite good.
Today I transformed (and built) my new Starscreams - Ghostscream and Constructoscream...
Constructoscream I actually managed to build myself without Kai's help!
With trademark smirk! (And he does transform to jet mode but it's fiddly. Will try some other time.)
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Duck is roasting quietly to itself in the oven, sitting in a bath of Hock: the orange and brandy sauce is made and just waiting to have the pan juices added: the veg is prepared. We'll eat, then watch Dr Who, then have dessert, then watch Frozen (finally!)
It's been lovely and relaxed: the presents are fantastic - four Transformers graphic novels to read (Windblade, Drift, Dark Cybertron vol 2, and Autocracy) - Only Lovers Left Alive and Sky to watch, and some Oddka samplers to drink.
[GLOMPS] to GoodTwin and Sue for indulging my Transformers obsession!
Better go start the veg cooking...
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Well, my venison casserole was a fail. Ken ate it, Kai and I gave up. The sauce provided smelt very nice, but tasted distinctly of liquorice, which I can't stand, and the meat was dry. I ended up making Kai and I pizza instead! (Think I'll give up on venison, I've never yet managed to cook it successfully...)
Then we watched Snowpiercer... wow. Goes straight up there with Cloud Atlas, The Fountain and Sunshine. Took a few minutes to get going but afterwards... what a film.
Kai's cell counts were up yesterday, which is great! All is continuing well (still fatigued and feeling rough, but we know that's the meds and until they're reduced all we can do is put up with it and cope as best we can). Though he really doesn't like the pentamidine...
Last time I was in the hospice shop I found a crab for 70p!
A friend for Lutra's cuttlefish. Isn't he cute?
(I'm still on the lookout for a velociraptor plushie, in case anyone finds one. But best to let me see a pic of it first, I'm very fussy about plushies...)
Sunday, December 21, 2014
And Happy 25th Wedding Anniversary to us!
Ken and went to the Black Castle for lunch - I had two starters (Filo Prawns and Breaded Mushrooms with garlic mayo) and a side of onion rings rather than a main, and very tasty it was too. (Had the Epic Choc-tastic Sundae for dessert. Was very nearly too much!)
My present from Ken:
So cute! I'm not sure I can wear the bracelet any more, there are 40 charms on it now and 10 more waiting: it's less an item of jewellery and more a dangerous personal weapon...
I'm roasting a pork joint on a bed of apples and oranges and cider for dinner. Smelling nice... Afterwards we have Hercules to watch (I was going to wait until the price dropped but soddit...). I'm very tired though, didn't sleep well last night and woke at 5.30 am and couldn't get back to sleep...
Kai is doing very well.
Friday, December 19, 2014
My chibi Starscream arrived from Hong Kong. Beautiful, sturdy figure with eyes that light up.
Now, 'chibi', by definition, implies 'cute, sweet, awwww-worthy' - but the creator of this has managed to make him look like a malevolent imp.
Cracks me up...
Heh. He's top heavy and refusing to stand up, keeps falling over. Absolutely typical (of the character, I mean, awkward bugger). He's now supported by the long-suffering (blue) Armada Starscream.