Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cake baking

Thanks for the suggestions about the leftover milk! I think I'm going to make pudding with the milk we have. I love tapioca pudding and we have some quick tapioca pudding stuff. I'd be happy with a basic vanilla pudding

Ian's birthday is today so I made him a chocolate cake with icing (I put nutella in with the icing instead of fudge sauce). I never thought that I would make a cake that was too rich for both me and Ian, but I succeeded with this one. We served 1/8 of the cake each and both of us had trouble finishing our portion. Ian had to take a break in the middle of eating the cake and even though I ate all mine at once, my tummy isn't thanking me for it now. It may be less rich if it were kept in the fridge. Maybe.

Because I was so busy with the cake I didn't make a fancy dinner for Ian but that's ok. He enjoyed the cake even though I didn't do a perfect job (I should have sifted and/or blended better). It's been a long time since I've made a cake and so I'm happy with the job I did.

Tomorrow I don't have to cook anything special (aside from the aforementioned pudding), thank goodness! Maybe I'll actually get some cleaning done.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I made risotto!

Because Ian was away every evening last week I haven't made dinner for the two of us in quite a while. So tonight I decided to experiment by making a chicken risotto. We didn't have any white wine or garlic so I made it with chicken stock instead.

I've never made risotto before but I figured that I can't be that hard and I was right. The hardest part is the constant stirring but aside from that it wasn't hard. Ian helped with the stirring, too, making my job a lot easier :) I was very pleased with the results and I'd love to make it again with the white wine and garlic - how much yummier will it be then?

I'm also very pleased with my willingness to make dinner for the two of us and to experiment beyond the usual pasta, tacos, and curry that I make all the time. I'm still not totally comfortable making proteins other than ground stuff or chicken breasts but that will come in time.

I need to figure out how to use a litre of milk because our milk expires in a couple of days and we have a lot left. I don't want it to go to waste. Ian's birthday is tomorrow and I'm thinking that I might make a pudding or custard but beyond that I don't really know what to do. If you have any yummy suggestions for that much milk, let me know.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Last night's show

Ian's team lost at curling yesterday afternoon, meaning that they ended up tied for third place amongst 88 teams. That's a great showing, and the best the skip has done so far! I was very impressed, although it has been a lot of curling for Ian.

Last night we had tickets for a comedy show but I ended up going with a friend of mine instead of with Ian. Even though Ian could have gone to the show, he was very tired from all the curling and being out and about for so many days. Both Ian and my friend came to dinner which was fun - especially since Ian hadn't met my friend before.

The show was Shawn Majumder doing stand-up comedy. usually at a stand-up show there are several comedians but in this case there was only the one. Fortunately, he was funny. He was born in Newfoundland of a Caucasian mother and Indian father and much of his comedy was poking fun at racial stereotypes. There was quite a bit of adult humour as well.

One of the funniest bits last night was in the way he interacted with the audience. He picked out two people: Jacob, a 14-year-old, who he named "Pubes" on account of the fact that Jacob's pubes should make an appearance soon; and Vern, an 80-year-old. Throughout the show he kept asking Pubes if he had learned anything or if he had any questions. Sometimes the comedian reassured Pubes that he would learn about certain things (like fisting) in grade eight.

I know I'm not good at conveying just how funny it was last night with the comedian talking to Pubes and Vern - I can't tell jokes and I don't get them, either - but trust me, it was hilarious. If you get a chance to see Shawn Majumder doing stand-up, take advantage of the opportunity because it's well worth the couple of hours.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My plans for sleeping in until all hours today were foiled by Ian's team winning last night. I had to get up early to drive Ian to work because of the way tonight's driving arrangements worked out.

They won tonight, too, so they play again tomorrow afternoon. Ian will be curling eight days in a row when he plays in his regular league on Sunday - I'm impressed! Ian will need a lot of rest after this week.

I was able to have a bit of a nap this evening; in fact I got up just as Ian was coming home so I'm still a bit groggy and dream-filled. I think I'm still tired enough to get to sleep tonight. I hope so - the last thing I need is to be awake all hours.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

So very tired

Today was the third day in a row that I was up early. I know that 8:30am is a "normal" time to be awake for most people but I usually get up around 10:30 or 11am and getting up earlier than that isn't easy for me. I was up early to meet a friend of mine for coffee and a light breakfast before her appointments today. I haven't seen her in ages so I wasn't going to say no to seeing her even though it was early.

I took the bus only partway home so that I could pick up some prescriptions and then I walked home. I wanted the exercise and it wasn't too cold. But between the walk and being up so early, by the time I got home I was exhausted. I feel asleep in the bath, got out, and went to bed around 2:30pm this afternoon. I woke up when Ian called at around 5pm but fell asleep again. When Ian got home, we napped together until 7pm, when we both got up.

I could have slept until tomorrow morning but I hadn't checked mail at all today and I thought that it would be good to do that. I'm looking forward to sleeping in until very late tomorrow.

Oh, I'm also pleased to report that while cashmere doesn't absorb all the sweat, it's still very comfortable to wear even when I'm sweating. So my sweater purchase hasn't been all in vain... and I now have some lovely sweaters that I can hardly wait to wear. The prospect of wearing the same clothes all day long - and not having to change because I've sweated through my clothes - is so exciting!

Ian's been tired because he's been curling in the tournament. This tournament is held in clubs all through the region and there is a 7pm and a 9pm draw at each club. Ian doesn't get home until around midnight if he's curling in the later draw but he doesn't sleep in ever, so he's still getting up at the same time as usual. Between staying up late, not sleeping in, and curling every night, no wonder Ian's tired.

His team has won every game so far so they're playing tonight in the "A" division. They keep playing each night until they lose at which point they're knocked out. I want for Ian's team to win, of course, but I also hope that he's able to make it to Saturday night's comedy show. Saturday night is the tournament final and if they make it that far, he (and his skip) won't be going to the show.

After this week I think both of us are going to be taking it easy so that we get some rest.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dermatologist's appointment

So the dermatologist appointment wasn't everything I hoped it would be. He looked at the things on my shoulder and said they weren't anything to worry about, which is good. As for the sweating, he said that there's really nothing that can be done.

He said that my choices are: pills, a strong antiperspirant, or surgery. Surgery is out at this point because I scar so badly and I don't want to do surgery unless it's absolutely necessary. He described the pills as a treatment worse than the disease because they have very bad dry mouth and dry eye side effects. I already have a dry mouth and dry eyes from the lack of estrogen and I don't need more problems here.

He wasn't selling the antiperspirant, either: he said that I would have to do it every day on my abdomen and back and that it would only work for each day. He reluctantly gave me some samples of a gel-based formulation with a 15% concentration of the active ingredient. He said that if I wanted to try using the antiperspirant, the gel would be better than the other, stronger (20%) stuff which is alcohol-based and runnier. At least the strong antiperspirants are available over-the-counter, if I end up using them. I'll try it and see what happens.

Sigh. I went on a shopping spree and bought another bunch of sweaters today. I now have eight or nine sweaters made of acrylic, wool, or cashmere - and not all of them are black. I wore one today and while I was still sweating as much as I usually do, I didn't feel cold or anything. Because I had to take the bus and walk outside I did have to change into a different sweater. If I wasn't going to be outside in the cold, I wouldn't have had to change the sweater.

The waistband of my jeans was still damp but it wasn't as wet as it usually is. So that's something, right? Hopefully all of my new sweaters will work as well as today's did.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shopping fun

I was out most of today and I'll be out most of tomorrow so I have no pictures of the house for you. Hopefully it'll be nice on Thursday; this place really does look best when it's sunny out.

I went shopping today and managed to buy some black wool sweaters and a couple of acrylic sweaters as well. There's a lot of black out there this season and while I'd love to buy something that's purple or teal or red, I'm just not finding it yet. I decided that I was better off buying what's available so that I'd have something I can wear that will hopefully be comfortable.

It turns out that not all wool sweaters are itchy. Yay! I'm finding that I prefer a very lightweight wool or cashmere; cashmere, if it's light enough, isn't itchy at all. So we'll see how these sweaters work in helping me feel comfortable when I'm sweating.

I see the dermatologist tomorrow and I hope he'll be able to help. Apparently I was supposed to confirm the appointment last week... oops. They called this morning to confirm - it's a good thing, or else I'd have shown up there for nothing! I'd hoped to take a book with me in which I write appointment-related things but I can't find it. I remember seeing it to pack it but I don't quite remember in which box it got packed. It's got the photocopies of the sarcoidosis lab results which would be a useful thing to bring; I guess I'll just have to ask him to believe me while I get the results sent over to him. Hopefully it won't be a problem.

Monday, November 22, 2010

On my own, watching movies

I'm going to be on my own for at least the beginning of the week as Ian's curling in a tournament. He'll definitely be curling tonight, tomorrow, and Wednesday; if they win on Wednesday they'll keep curling each night until they lose.

I took advantage of the time this evening to tidy up the great room and a bit of the kitchen so that I can take some pictures for you of the painting we've done. If it's sunny tomorrow afternoon I'll take the pictures then. There's still a lot to do but at least the main areas are done enough until we get more furniture and things for the walls.

I'm still a huge fan on Netflix and have been watching a lot of movies and documentaries. Most of them are interesting but kind of forgettable. One movie stayed with me: The Living and the Dead, a British horror movie. It isn't a gory horror movie, really... it's more of a psychological horror or a horrific tragedy, if that makes sense. The film focuses on three people: Daniel, his sick, bedridden wife Nancy, and their childlike, under-medicated schizophrenic son James.

All three live in a run-down, huge country mansion that they are on the verge of losing because they are out of money. Because of his wife's medical bills, Daniel must leave his wife and son and travel to the city. Normally he'd have a nurse come in to look after Nancy and James because James can't be trusted to even take his medication. But the nurse can't come in the day Daniel leaves so James is left alone to take care of himself and Nancy because Daniel has to leave. Because wants to take care of his mummy and to make her better, all on his own, he locks the door against the nurse. Things fall apart afterward as James unravels completely.

This is a dark film and it feels very claustrophobic at times because of the cinematography and discordant music. It's told in a strange sort of flashback-flashforward style where events from different timelines are mixed. The only way to distinguish between the timelines is by the lighting and condition of the house which mirrors Nancy's condition.

One key theme of the film is the lack of help or care given to people who have long-term illnesses and the toll that this takes on their loved ones. James should be in a care facility because he is incapable of looking after himself. Nancy should be in a hospital because she's clearly doing very badly. And James never should have been looking after Nancy, let alone left alone with her, but Daniel had no choice: there was no one else to do the job, and Daniel had to leave because their financial situation was dire.There's just no way out of this situation and that's what makes the events of this movie so horrific. That, and the knowledge that almost anyone could find themselves trapped in a similar situation where all the choices lead to very, very bad outcomes.

This is a very engaging, compelling, thought-provoking film and well worth your time.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas trip booked

Yippee - I'm going to Edmonton! I'll be leaving just after Christmas and staying almost two weeks. I'll even be there over New Year's Eve this year. I haven't been there since last October and I've missed everyone very much. Since I moved to Ontario I've been to Edmonton at least once per year and this is the longest I've spent without going there. My entire immediate family is there and most of them aren't able to come here, so the only way I can see them is if I go there.

In the past I've stayed with various members of my family - most often my mom - but this year I've decided to stay in a hotel. One reason for that is because my mom has moved into a new place with less room for guests. While I hope to stay with her for a couple of nights, staying there the entire time would be impractical for both of us.

As well, staying in a hotel means that I won't be intruding on anyone's time or space and I'll be able to rest and recharge my energy as needed. When I go to conferences or meet up my friends, I find I have an easier time traveling if I stay on my own. I don't mind sharing close quarters with someone for a couple of nights but any longer than that is difficult for me. If I don't get enough time alone I get stressed and easily overwhelmed, making for a bad time for me and everyone around me.

The hotel I'll be staying at is right in downtown Edmonton which will be convenient for shopping, movies, and getting around the city. The price was reasonable and includes free internet so I can stay connected to everyone in and out of Edmonton. 

The one thing I don't have is a cellphone. I know it sounds silly, but I haven't bothered to replace mine since I had to give up my BlackBerry. If I'm going to get one, buying it before I head to Edmonton makes sense. Choosing one will be the hard part. We haven't been able to go out and buy all the stuff we wanted for the house because it's hard to choose and I have no reason to think that choosing a cellphone will be any easier. 

At the end of the day it doesn't really matter whether or not I have a cellphone or where I'll be staying. What's important is that I'm going and will be spending lots of time with my family and friends. I'm really excited and looking forward to the trip!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Let's go to Mars!

The other day I read an article talking about To boldly Go: A One-Way Human Mission to Mars, a paper recently published in the Journal of Cosmology. As its title suggests, it's about sending one-way missions to Mars. The idea of the one-way mission is in direct opposition to the implicit assumption by NASA that anyone sent out comes back.

Think about it. What if, this paper proposes, people who went to Mars expected to stay there? What if we thought of colonizing Mars like our ancestors thought about colonizing the New World (aka North America), where the colonists went to the new frontier and stayed there?

This idea makes perfect sense to me. There would be substantial cost savings in not carrying return fuel and having to rehabilitate the colonists upon their return to our planet if they didn't come back. Having the colonists stay on Mars would also mean that they could establish a permanent base of operations for future space exploration.

Of course I've always thought of space exploration as a one-way trip because of the distances involved. I know that not everyone thinks that way and so such a project would require a substantial shift in thinking. The authors of the paper do list some criteria for choosing colonists: they should be past their reproductive years and with a life expectancy of 20 years or less.

However, even with these selection criteria, I think it's unlikely that the US government or NASA would construct a one-way mission to Mars. It costs money to mount any kind of mission to Mars and with NASA's funding in doubt, I doubt that they're going to jump at the possibility to go there. The US has rested on its laurels of going to the moon and the space station without seriously considering anything new, space-wise. It seems that they've lost their drive to go into space.

At this point, space exploration is firmly in the hands of private, very wealthy individuals and other countries like China and India. These countries and people have the money and the desire to explore this "final frontier", especially if the missions are one-way. In fact, one-way missions make the possibility of colonizing Mars feasible. The hardest part would be finding volunteers for such a mission, but I can imagine that there are many, many people who would volunteer to go. I would. I ache to be able to go but even if I didn't have cancer, I don't have any of the skills that permanent colonists would need.

Going to Mars feels like a tantalizingly close possibility. I hope it happens in my lifetime.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fun at the dentist

Since my last dentist's appointment I've started chewing gum pretty much whenever I'm not eating. I hadn't been chewing gum because it used to make my jaw ache. I grind my teeth at night and wear a nightguard because of that, so my jaw gets achy easily. But for some reason, the gum hasn't been making my jaws sore.

Plus chewing gum seems to have a side benefit for me: less plaque on my teeth. I had my regular tooth cleaning appointment this morning and the hygienist had to do much less scaling than normal so that my appointment was a half hour instead of my usual 45 minutes. I know that the reduction in plaque isn't due to increased flossing because, if anything, I've decreased the amount of flossing that I've been doing.

I don't think the gum I'm chewing is taking the plaque away. Instead, I think the act of chewing gum has increased the amount of saliva I have in my mouth which is in turn decreasing the amount of plaque. A side effect of the Femara is dry mouth which tends to cause increased plaque build-up because there isn't enough saliva to wash away the plaque. I guess the gum is helping to compensate.

I also found out this morning that my old hygienist (S) , who is on maternity leave, will be back for my next appointment. I've really liked the new hygienist (J) who is filling in for my old one: she's gentle, she's thorough about getting my history, she can check and clean all of my teeth without me opening my jaw wide and hurting it, she taught me how to floss properly, she checks for oral cancer at every other visit, she always polishes my teeth (unless we decide together not to polish them), and each visit she puts a blue dye on my teeth to show me how much plaque is there.

J is the best hygienist who's ever worked on me, and honestly, I was not looking forward to going back to S. Don't get me wrong: S does do a great scaling job, but she doesn't do all those other things J does because she's too busy talking. I was even thinking of changing dentists to avoid going back to S, which I didn't really want to do because I've been with this dentist for ten years. Still, now is a good time to change dentists if I'm going to because we've just moved and that makes a good excuse for the change.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear that J is staying! Both J and S will be in the office, apparently, and the receptionist let me choose which one I wanted to see next time. Obviously I chose J! The receptionist said that many people (including herself and her kids) are preferring J over S for much the same reasons I do. I figure that S can learn a lot from J, if she wants.

Oh and I was able to get a couple of lightweight wool sweaters. They aren't itchy and they are both comfortable so we'll see whether they work to keep me dry.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thoughts on sweating... I need more clothes

While painting, I wore a fleece vest and sweatshirt-fleece shorts and even though I was sweating as much as ever, I didn't feel cold or icky at all. In fact, I didn't have to change clothes at all during the entire painting process, making me feel almost like a normal person!

Afterwards it occurred to me that the fleece absorbed a lot of the sweat, like wool does, which went a long way towards making me comfortable. Also, because the clothes were close-fitting, they didn't stick and then pull away and then touch my skin again, making me feel cold. I think also by not covering my arms and legs, the sweat was able to evaporate off easily and didn't make my clothes stick to me.

While I can't walk around with bare arms and legs, I can change what I wear during the day and when I go out. Instead of wearing (usually over-sized) cotton t-shirts and jeans or layers of shirts, I can wear snug acrylic or wool sweaters with wool or acrylic pants. Sweater-dresses with tights might work, too.

I don't have many of these clothes so I went out shopping today. Ian curls on Wednesday nights so I don't have to be home as early and I figured that I'd spend some time looking at clothes. I tried on a few sweater dresses and either my body has changed or manufacturers have better styles because some of them looked nice. The sleeves made my look twice as wide as I am but at least the body fit so there's hope.

I ended up not buying anything because nothing was quite right. I think I want to go to the other mall closer to our old place because it has an H&M and a better Winners. I'm actually hoping to go tomorrow since I have a dentist's appointment and will need the car for that.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Squish, squish

I had my annual mammogram today. Even though I have stage iv breast cancer with my sternal mets, I have what my oncologist considers minimal mets because only one bone is affected. My oncologist figures that if the cancer were to show up in the breast again, it would be worth treating the breast as if I didn't have mets because treating the breast would reduce the amount of cancer in my body. So one of my annual scans is a mammogram.

Today's mammogram was the least painful I've had. In past years they've squished my boobs really hard and it's been a bit painful, but this year it was painless. Then again, she had me approach the machine differently: instead of standing right against the machine, she had me stand further back and lean in, which I think probably gave a better picture.

As far as tests go, the mammogram is pretty easy to do. There's nothing to drink and no eating restrictions and you don't have to be still for very long. I wish all my scans were this simple!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend painting

We spent the weekend painting the great room because we decided that we didn't want it to be that greenish-grey any longer. Plus we wanted to get it painted before more furniture arrives (or we buy more) because it's easier to paint if the room doesn't have much in it.

The colour is Benjamin Moore's Rich Clay Brown (2164-30). This colour had a bit more of a smell to it than the other one we used for the kitchen but the smell wasn't bad at all. The colour is warm and inviting and we think makes the room feel so much more comfortable. The fireplace looks a lot better with the new colour and our sofa looks great, too. We're very, very happy with it. I promise that once we've put the furniture back later this week we'll take some photos of it and the great room and post them.

We'd better be happy with it because painting is exhausting! This room was particularly challenging because of the peaked wall that starts above the stairwell: Ian needed the ladder to get to that wall and its adjacent walls. Even without that part, painting is fairly physical work and it seems like every muscle has been used.

Now that we've done the kitchen and great room, we're looking at the original colour in the hall and thinking that it would be good to change it, too. We'll want another paint colour to do that, but even if we had the colour we wouldn't be ready to paint such a large area for a while because we need to recover from this experience.

We do hope to paint the ceilings in the main bathroom and the laundry room because neither are white and both feel very dark and close. We think that each job can be done in an evening. We'll see - I very much doubt that we'll be painting anything else this week.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dreams and dreaming

Who isn't fascinated by their dreams? I know I'm interested in my own and so I assume that other people are interested in their own as well, although they may not be quite so interested in other people's dreams. How many of you have started to tell somebody else about a crazy dream and watched that other person's eyes kind of glaze over? Just me?

Well, I love to think about my dreams, anyway, at least most of the time, and I love to watch or read about things that will help me understand those dreams.

So imagine how excited I was to watch this documentary by Nova called What are Dreams? about dreaming, dream interpretation, sleep stages - there are now three instead of four - and more. The documentary discusses a lot of very interesting dream research going on, like the guy who can see what rats are dreaming, but what caught my attention was something new: people dream during non-REM sleep.

For all this time I thought that people only dreamed during REM sleep. I had no idea that dreams occurred during other sleep stages. Non-REM sleep would explain night terrors, which is cool on its own, I guess. For me the idea of non-REM dreaming is personally interesting to me because I dream a lot while the alarm is snoozing. Seriously, I have these epic dreams in nine-minute blocks of time and I'm pretty sure that I'm not going into REM sleep then.

Moreover, these dreams share certain characteristics: I'm with a group of people I don't know in a city with which I'm unfamiliar and I'm almost always just living a life, going about normal day-to-day activities. It's like I'm living this other, secret life in these dreams when I have them and that other life stays with me throughout the day.

I know that my anti-depressant and my pain medication combine to make my dreams particularly vivid, and I wonder if these medications also contribute to non-REM dreaming. Something about the medications also suppresses the paralysis most people have during REM sleep and dreams. I move a LOT then - I don't get out of bed or anything but my hands wave and type and move around. I also talk quite often (or try to), and my legs and feet move all the time. According to the documentary, this isn't completely uncommon; many people have this problem to even more extremes, where they get out of bed and hurt their partners.

I can never learn enough about how dreams work and why people dream. This documentary has a lot of new information presented in an easy-to-understand, interesting way, so I'm happy to have watched it. If you're at all interested in dreams or dream research this is definitely a documentary you should see.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

HVAC fun

We had the HVAC people come today to check our out furnace and gas fireplaces. It turns out that they're all original to the house and so are all thirteen years old. They're all in great shape considering that they appear not to have been maintained since they were installed.

We'd wanted the furnace looked at not just because we the house is new to us but also because the intake air pipe had been cut. It turns out that the furnace exhaust pipe points straight out while the furnace intake pipe points up downwind from the exhaust pipe. So the intake pipe pulls in exhaust air and the furnace doesn't work so well.

So instead of fixing this problem properly when it first appeared, by changing the orientation of the pipes, they just cut the pipe. Fortunately the furnace is rated to have just one pipe instead of the two so the current configuration is ok but it won't work as well as it could have.

I'm not sure how we're going to fix this. The pipes are the old black ABS pipes. If a professional fixes them, we have to have the new white PVC pipes put in because of the new building code (existing pipes are grandfathered in) and that'll cost a lot. Alternatively, we could fix the ABS pipes ourselves by getting some elbow joints and stuff. I'm thinking that it might make sense to have the pipes changed when we get a new furnace, which will be next year or the year after. Our furnace is thirteen years old and is rated for 12-15 years so it's due to be changed anyway.

I'm a little surprised that the owners just cut the pipe instead of fixing it properly. They told us that they hired "professionals" for all of their work but no professional HVAC person would have just cut that pipe: they'd have fixed the problem. Moreover, chances are that the problem showed up during the first year or two the owners lived in the house, long before the PVC pipes had to be put in (I think that came in around 2007) so it would have cost them next to nothing to fix the problem back then.

I guess this is part of the joys of owning a house, right?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How much can one person sweat? A lot.

I was going to tell a funny story about me first stuffing toilet paper - which didn't work so well - and then paper towels into the front of my underwear in an effort to soak up the excess sweat and make it look less like I peed myself. Ok, so that was the story, and it is pretty funny, I guess, but it's also felt kind of humiliating at the time.

Today I went out for my book club and then my flu shot and even though I brought two separate top changes (each with two shirts), it wasn't enough. I sweated through all of them - all six shirts - in the five hours I was out of the house. I should have brought pants changes, too, because my jeans were soaked on the waistband (and the aforementioned front) and wet throughout. Then again, I suspect that I could have lugged a suitcase full of clothes and I still would have sweated through them.

I wasn't even sweating because I was hot. No, I was a normal temperature, not even feeling the least bit warm, and when I started sweating I got cold and stayed that way, which probably caused me to sweat even more. If I do anything at all other than just sit down - and sometimes even then - I sweat. And I'm not just sweating under the arms or on my feet: my back, shoulders, arms, abdomen, and head all sweat profusely.

Sometimes I sweat less if I take percocet even if I know that I'm not going through withdrawl from the pain patches, but that's not a practical solution. Interestingly, I don't sweat at night. My sheets never get soaked and I don't wake up because of this. It's a problem only when I'm awake.

I don't know if I'm actually sweating more now - that it's become worse than it was - or if I'm doing more and so it's worse. Either way, it's having a serious impact on my life. I don't want to go anywhere because I know that I'll need to change once I soak through the clothes I'm wearing. When I do go out, I try to be out only a short time and then rush back home because I'm cold and wet. We've got a Christmas party coming up and I'm dreading it because it's embarrassing and uncomfortable, sweating this much. I leave a wet mark on chairs and cushions just about everywhere I go. And Ian finds it unpleasant to hug me or even hold my hand because my back and hands are almost always wet.

I talked to my family doctor about this before and he said that it's just menopause. I understand that but I just can't live this way. My surgeon referred me to a dermatologist about the warts on my shoulders (that have started to spread down my chest) and I'll talk to that doctor when I see him/her in two weeks. Maybe they can help - a dermatologist treats skin conditions, and maybe excessive sweating is a skin condition.

I just want some relief from this. Walking around with paper towel (or worse, toilet paper, which shreds when wet) stuffed down the front of my underwear because of the sweat isn't something anyone should have to do.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Being lazy

We got our couch yesterday! I haven't taken pictures of it yet but I will so that you can see it. Now that we have the sofa in the great room, we're realizing that we're going to need even more furniture than the two chairs that are on their way. We'll need to get some furniture to fill out the other half of the great room and we'll need to get tables and lamps and plants and stuff in there to fill out the room.

We also need to get that great room painted. Right now there isn't much in the way of furniture in there but as we get more it'll be harder to paint the room. We're trying to build ourselves up to doing it this coming weekend, maybe.

I've been watching a fair bit of Netflix lately, mostly because there aren't many shows on that I don't watch with Ian. I like to watch a bit of tv while surfing the interweb before I get started on chores for the house.

The other day, for example, I watched High Tension, a compelling French thriller about two friends who go to one's family farmhouse to study for exams when all of a sudden a serial killer appears. Most of the film was in English and might have been dubbed but it was still very good. There's some blood and gore but this movie is more than just that. It's well worth watching.

I also like documentaries. Yesterday I watched Gay Sex in the 70s, a documentary interviewing people about what life was like in the gay community in New York City between the Stonewall riots in 1969 and the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in 1981. Those twelve years came after decades of repression and shame and so were a period of joy and celebration... and sex. Lots of sex.

I found this documentary very poignant because the time period - just twelve years - was the beginning, middle, and end of an era. The 70s were an era unto themselves for many but for gay men it was an unprecedented time of fellowship, brotherhood, and sex. Everyone interviewed remembered that decade very fondly and had a great time... at least until their friends started to die from AIDS. I very much enjoyed this documentary and highly recommend it if you're interested in this kind of recent history. There is a lot of nudity and sex and some drug use in it, of course, so be prepared for that.

Today I watched Modify, a documentary about the body modification culture. The people who created different extreme modification techniques and others who have done extreme modification to themselves (or others - several plastic surgeons and teeth modification people are included) are interviewed about different aspects of this culture.

We aren't just talking about tattoos here, although tattoos are part of it; there's scarification, implants, branding, teeth changes, hanging from hooks implanted into the skin, and sexual organ modifications. I find body modification to be quite interesting and hearing about why people do the things they do is fascinating. It's obviously a deeply personal choice and I realize that it isn't for everyone, but this documentary helps understand why each person featured has chosen to modify their bodies in the way they did.

If you're at all interested in body modifications, you should definitely see this documentary. Note that it does show modification procedures in progress and sex organ modifications so some of it is not for the faint-of-heart; be prepared for that.

After watching these three shows, I do have to wonder what movie and documentary suggestions Netflix will have for us. The suggestions will be unusual, I suspect. :)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

One decision down

Although we'd planned to go out shopping today, we ended up staying in. Ian had to do some work and we wanted to be sure that the great room was tidied up before tomorrow's sofa delivery. Yay! The great room won't look so empty.

I've also been sketching out some ideas for my sewing room. I won't be furnishing that room right away as we still need to paint and do the floor first. But I do want to get a sense of what layouts will work and what types of storage I'll need.

I've made a decision: almost all of my fabric will be wrapped onto comic book boards (which are acid-free, archival-quality cardboard) and stored upright. There's another, similar product called Mini Bolts which are plastic, slightly larger, and more expensive than comic book boards. They might be better for heavier fabrics but I'm not sure the extra cost is worth it so I'll probably just go with the cheaper comic book boards. I can put two or three together for heavier fabrics, if need be.

The advantage to storing fabric this way is that it is neat, looks nice, takes up almost the least amount of space, and all of the fabrics are visible and easy to access. I have to check, but I think fabric stored this way can fit on bookcases which are 12" deep instead of closet shelves which are 24" deep. Putting doors on bookcases is no problem.

Not all my fabrics can be wrapped this way, of course. I'm not sure the jersey fabrics can be stored this way but these can be rolled or stored flat. It's possible that some of my more upscale fabrics might be better off hanging as well, so I'll need to make a decision about that.

At least I've made a decision about fabric storage, even if the details aren't fully thought-out. :) I need to make more decisions about threads and other notions as well as a home for all of my patterns. I plan on putting storage underneath the sewing and cutting tables as well as some up on the walls. I can hardly wait!

As an aside, I might be able to get a gravity-feed iron for (comparatively) cheap. If this opportunity comes my way, should I take advantage of it? Or should I look for a steam iron? Thoughts?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Shoes, glorious shoes

Both Ian and I replaced our walking shoes for the first time in I don't know how long today. When my walking shoes lose their cushioning and absorbency, my feet and knees start to hurt. I've noticed an uptick in my knee pain lately and when I checked my shoes I saw why. The outsole was almost completely smooth and the insole wasn't in the right position.

Ian knew it was time for new shoes because his had a hole in them. We each got the exact same model as we'd had before without looking for anything better - why change something that works, right? :) Afterward, we went out for a walk in the neighbourhood to try out our shoes. My knees didn't hurt and my feet felt really happy while walking. Yay!

We could have gone to a hardware store or looked at rugs or flooring for the sewing room or any number of other practical shopping trips instead, but we decided that new shoes were more important that all that today. 
Now that our feet and knees are happy, we can turn our attention back to putting more things away and the never-ending process of buying things for the house.

Friday, November 05, 2010

About to make some progress

I went out yesterday on my own for the first time since we've moved here. I needed to pick up a prescription at the drugstore and I wanted to also wander through some of the other stores there. It's about a half-hour's walk from here and there are also a couple of buses I can take to get there, if I wasn't feeling up to walking.

I was determined to walk yesterday because I haven't done any exercise in weeks and I've been eating way too much candy and other bad things lately. I'm happy that I was able to do the walk although I think I might have overdone it a bit because I was very tired when I got home. In the future I'll either not wander through the stores or I'll take the bus home, at least until I've got my strength back up.

Today I'm taking it a bit easier: I hope to unpack our books and to do some laundry. The books are going into the spare room (aka the guest room/library/computer room) and because the books are all sorted it should be a straightforward job to put them on the shelves. Once the book boxes are cleared from that room, we'll be able to finish setting it up and hopefully use it as a staging place for stuff from the great room.

I'll be happy to make some progress on the unpacking. Not just so that I stop freaking out about the stuff all over the place, but also so that the house will be ready for our sofa, which is on its way! We got a call yesterday telling us that it was ready to be delivered and we have until Monday to make room for it. I can hardly wait to actually have proper furniture in the great room and a neater, tidier environment there.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Silent Bob speaks

Last night we went out to An Evening with Kevin Smith. For those of you who don't know of him, Kevin Smith first came to fame as director of Clerks - a classic movie, and one that made him the voice of the slacker generation - and more recently directed Cop Out and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. He also plays Silent Bob in many of his early movies.

Microphones had been set up in various places throughout the theatre so that people could ask him questions. Those questions served as fodder for him to go off on a completely different tangent and tell all sorts of stories. Fortunately, the stories were compelling so it wasn't frustrating or annoying that he wasn't answering the questions. These rambling stories unfortunately meant that only 12 questions got asked in the four-hour show.

Yes, the show was four hours with no intermission. I don't know how all the stoners in the audience made it through the whole thing. Smith apparently started smoking a lot of weed a few years ago. Stoners have always liked his movies and they like Smith even more now because he smokes weed himself and is honest and up-front about it. Then again, he's honest and up-front about everything.

As I said before, Smith told some very compelling stories and some of them were really funny. Ian and I were both laughing so hard we couldn't breathe while he told the story about smoking much too much weed for the first time and going poo and ordering too much food in that state. It was way too much TMI but hilarious.

Don't get me wrong: I don't approve of making drugs funny because that doesn't show the whole picture. I don't like the idea that kids hear how hilarious these experiences can be without also hearing how awful some of them are, too. Apparently this particular experience did put him off of weed for quite some time and it was only later that he had more positive experiences with it and started smoking all the time. So at least he tried to make the story a little more responsible.

My favourite parts of the show were when he talked about what it was like behind-the-scenes on the movie set. I love hearing about how things work and getting glimpses into these other worlds. One story that stayed with me was about his recent experience directing Cop Out and his attempts to direct Bruce Willis. Apparently the studio knew something Smith didn't, because they repeatedly questioned whether or not he was prepared to work with Bruce Willis. That should have been a red flag, because why would they keep asking?, but Smith had worked with Willis on another movie and he was a big fan of Bruce Willis so didn't see any problems.

Then while directing the very first scene - the one that was supposed to open the movie - Smith asked Willis to deliver his lines just a bit differently in the next take. Willis changed nothing. This set the tone for the whole time on set: in fact, Willis refused to change his interpretation of the script at all, did not respond to direction, and sometimes told Smith how to direct certain scenes. He also apparently gave Smith the "Bruce Willis look" - the one that he gives in movies when he's angry - which started and scared Smith.

Smith very charitably said that Willis behaved this way because Willis is a Movie Star, but I think Willis did it because he was (is?) a Spoiled, Selfish Brat. I can easily believe that Willis would behave badly, especially if he didn't want to do that movie or felt that the Smith wasn't as experienced as he is. But Willis has been making movies for 25 years, so I think it's not at all unreasonable to expect a higher level of professionalism from him on-set. I am not impressed by this kind of diva behaviour

It was clear throughout the evening that Smith has recently gone through a crisis of confidence: at one point he felt that his work had no value and as a result he became despondent and angry and sank into a depression. Smith has come through that experience stronger and more focused about his life and his work. I admire his honesty about this experience and its aftermath. I think him talking honestly about what happened will help those fans of his who will go through the same thing. After all, that kind of crisis happens to almost everyone and when it happens it can seem like you'll never get through it.

I enjoyed the show and I'm happy that we went. Kevin Smith is an interesting person and has a lot to offer his audience - in spite of all the swearing, and talk about weed, sex, and bodily functions - making his show definitely worth seeing.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The disorganization is getting to me

It's hard to believe that we've been in our house now for close to two weeks because it's still a mess. There are boxes everywhere because we have no idea where to put their contents. Clearly this is something we should have thought about before moving. For example, where should our winter boots, hats, and mittens live? Our front closet is tiny and there's really not enough room there for all of the winter gear we wear.

We haven't even decided where all the kitchen stuff is going. The spices are still in a bag on the floor because we don't know which cupboard will be best for them.

At least I've managed to put away most of our clothes although I have no idea where all my shoes should live. Our walk-in closet just isn't that big and there isn't really room in the bedroom. it might be possible to add some shoe-specific storage somewhere but I have no idea where that will be.

The basement is marginally better although there are piles of stuff everywhere. My sewing stuff - which won't have a home until the room is completed and that probably won't get done until the rest of the house is livable - is piled up neatly against the wall. The DVDs are all in one place.

You might be able to tell that the disorganization is starting to get to me. I can live in a mess (for a while) but I don't like living in the I-can't-find-anything mess that we've got right now. It was better for a while but it's bad again and I find it very stressful. I am a little overwhelmed by the mess as well because I don't know where to start... mainly because I don't know where anything needs to go.

It never even occurred to me that planning out where things should go in each room - not just into which room things should go but how they would be stored in that room - would be a useful thing to do. Now I know. If I ever have to move again (and I hope I don't) I'll make sure to think about how each room will be set up in the new place and figure out how to put things away quickly so that I don't have to live like this.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A few more weekend thoughts

I must have been much more tired than I thought because I slept almost all of yesterday. I'm feeling much better today and I hope to get some unpacking done today.

I forgot to talk about one thing at the conference that I didn't like. One of the speakers talked about nutrition and said that if we ate this one way we would prevent the breast cancer from recurring. Not "help to prevent" but "prevent", which of course isn't true. I disliked this because it gives people a false sense of security, that if they just eat right and eliminate sugars and refined products and whatever from their diet, they won't get cancer again.

That's another reason why I loved Bif Naked's talk: she kind of presented an alternate view just by being herself and talking about her own life. She's a raw-food vegan who doesn't drink or smoke and who got breast cancer in spite of living that way. I hope that people realized that eating right and getting lots of exercise and treating one's body well doesn't necessarily prevent cancer from developing in spite of what that nutritionist said.

Anyways - on to happier topics, namely, Halloween! Happily, I was home before it was time to give out candy to the kids on Sunday. Ian had bought three pumpkins and carved two of them, leaving one for me. He also put up a few lights outside and a couple of other decorations.

When we met with the previous owner, we asked how many kids came around at Halloween. We love to give out candy to the kids and to see their costumes. The previous owner said that they got almost no kids here because we're on the end of the place, so she would just buy big chocolate bars and give them to the six kids on the place.

Well, we got 25 kids! We almost ran out of candy because Ian bought only one box and I was giving out lots of the chocolate bars to each kid, figuring that we wouldn't see any kids. I was stingier with the later kids so that everyone got some and we ended up with six left over from the box of 96. Next year we'll buy more.

Seeing as how we got more than a few kids at our house, we wondered whether the other neighbours really did dislike the previous owner as much as the one guy said they did. It's also possible that the previous owner didn't really decorate much. We watched the kids as they came into and went around the place (we can see the whole street from our dining room) and they really only went to the houses that were decorated. They avoided our neighbour's place completely even though their light was on.

I wonder, too, if some of the people came around to see who the "new people" are. I'd be curious to see the new neighbours if someone bought a house on my block. Who knows. At least we got lots of kids and we know that we'll need to have lots of candy on hand for next year.