Dream of the Dolphin
Confessions of a Post-Graduate Pity Whore

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Thursday, October 31, 2002

Into the Mists

I love my volunteer job.

This morning, I got to go to the ROM staff preview of the Two Towers Exhibit at the planetarium, and it blew me away.

From what I understand, last year they took props and things from the movie and stuck them in Casa Loma. This year, they took props and things from the movie and stuck them in Middle Earth.

It's absolutely incredible. You walk in to the entrance, past Frodo's mithril shirt and Sting (wow... they're even more impressive close up than they are on screen), past a case containing Elrond's crown and Galadriel's mirror and flask (ooooh, the detailing...), past the Evenstar (which has a slightly nicer chain but otherwise looks exactly like mine), Arwen's crown (I waaaaant it!) and Eowyn's necklace (wouldn't mind that either), go up a flight of stairs, and walk straight into Fangorn. Which was, indeed, frightfully tree-ish and very, very neat. They had Merry and Pippin's costumes on display, and they were the hobbit-sized versions, not the ones the lead actors wore. I'd never really completely comprehended the proportional sizes until I saw this exhibit -- hobbits are tiny! The forest was all dim and mossy, with little streams running through it.

You walk out of Fangorn and into Theoden's hall, where there's a smoldering firepit (a neat trick with fog machines and fibre optics), Theoden's seal and Eowyn's sword (which is extremely pretty while still being functional), and a display featuring Gandalf's robes and staff, and Theoden's and Eowyn's costumes.

This was the point at which I started to drool. The detail on this stuff is incredible -- you do NOT get the full impact from the movie. And it's not just the etchings and ornamentation on things (which in and of itself is incredible), it's the age. There's no patina of things that have been produced to look old on screen -- this is stuff that looks used. Years used. Wears and scuffs in the leather, etc. etc. etc. It was more like walking through a museum than a prop exhibit.

On all the rooms that were minor set pieces rather than BIG endeavors like Fangorn, the walls are covered with screen shots from the movie and sharp flatscreen monitors playing the movie trailer (without sound) in crisp digital spiffiness. So you see a LOT of that trailer.

Through the Hall into Helm's Deep, where you get to see a lot of neat armour, as well as Aragon's and Legolas's costumes. Again, detail. Wow. They had Aragorn's and Legolas's armor laid out too, and it was just so neat. I mean, bear in mind, these are not replicas or things made for the exhibit, these are the actual props used in the movie. The ornamentation on Legolas's stuff is just astounding. His quiver has a peacock on it, with the tail spreading out over the bulk of it. Aragon's sword has a little tiny knife in the scabbard. The uruk-hai armour is pretty wicked, too -- you don't see it on the screen, but the uruk-hai sword is nasty. It's essentially just a big honking piece of metal a centimeter thick. There's no edge on it at all. The only thing driving it through things is sheer strength, which really brings a new edge to the fight scenes. The crossbow bolts are pretty wicked, too -- they're thicker than my thumb.

Legolas's rig and costume is really neat. I mean, again, you have the age and wear in the leather and things. This is stuff that you can tell has been through crap. But it's so pretty. It's that attention to detail again -- the buckles holding his back rig on are all sculpted and leafy and ornamented (you can actually see them in the screen shots, but pay attention). And even the hooks and eyes holding the top of his undertunic closed are pretty. Simple, unpretentious, functional, yes, but they're gorgeous in the design. It's that kind of detail that sets this stuff apart. It really did have the impression that it was just a normal-run-of-the-mill thing that someone knocked off in a few minutes so Legolas's shirt would stay closed, but the elf who made it is incapable of making anything that isn't pretty; it's completely ingrained in his nature. And this kind of depth is communicated by a shirt fastener. Damn.

Over past one of the Helm's Deep walls, where you can look out at the approaching army silhouetted against the stormy sky and peer down into the darkness to wonder what's coming up the ladder propped against the wall, and into a cavern.

Here my Middle-Earthy knowledge peters out (I've only read the books twice; once when I was twelve and once in Second Year for a lit course, which is conducive to resentment and skimming stuff) because for the life of me I can't recall the glittering caves, but they're there, and they're... well, glittery. Because my knowledge has left me, I have no idea which hobbit's costume was on display, but I'm fairly sure the dress there was Eowyn's. Or I could be wrong. This is why I need to bring Alexandra to this thing -- she'd be a great tour guide. Nothing like a Tolkien scholar to show you around Middle Earth

So then you walk out of the glittering caves, and you walk into Orthanc. I know I shouldn't have been touching, but the staff of the exhibit seemed to trust museum people not to ruin anything, so I got to feel Saruman's robes -- they are heavy. No lightweight discount fabrics used here. Saruman's staff was leaning against his throne, around which one walked to go up the stairs to the top of the tower and what I'm assuming was his workroom -- lots of jars full of unnamed gross things and a cat skeleton probably purchased from the same place the anatomy lab gets them. There was a small problem with the ventilation -- they'd misjudged the fog machines and all of the smoke had risen to the top, so it was pretty cloudy up there -- but it was sorted out pretty quickly and I got to stand there admiring Wormtongue's pendant and dagger and the ringwraith armour -- you do not want one of those gauntlets grabbing you in some dark forest. There are so many layers on those things, which just serves to make them really really sharp and pointy.

Back down the stairs and into the caverns of Isengard, through those and into a swamp. Wow, you think, looking at the still surface of the water. That's impr-- Which is right about when you see what's under the water.

They don't call them the Dead Marshes for nothing.

Edging away from the Marsh, you end up in Faramir's refuge. You're looking into a cave, and at the very back is a real waterfall cascading over the entrance. (Not a thundering waterfall or anything -- think the wishing well scene in Goonies). From there, you walk through a dark, crumbling tunnel to the ruins of Osgiliath, where stand the costumes of Frodo, Sam, and Faramir. Out of the ruins, they have a display which includes none other than The One Ring.

So much trouble over such a small thing.

Back out through a room in Rivendell (oh, how I wanted to jump the rope and run out with Arwen's costume. Like it would fit me.), down the stairs (past the shattered Narsil), and back out into the lobby, for a look at the trailer with sound in its full digital spiffiness, and then out the door.

I wanted to run back in. I probably will, because I'd dearly love to see this with my sib and Alexandra.

I knew Peter Jackson had gone to great lengths on this movie. But oh, man, hearing about it and seeing it are different things entirely. My father said at one point that watching the movie feels more like you're watching a history than a fantasy. That's exactly what this was like. The props don't seem like set dressing from a fantasy movie, they're like museum pieces very well preserved. They're real.

The only disappointment I had was that after all the carrying on about "never-before-seen footage", there wasn't any. There were the omnipresent trailers and screenshots from the film, which, though spiffy enough, aren't quite the same.

There was also nothing of Gollum or the ents. Which, what with them being CGI and all, I suppose is understandable. You don't preserve the illusion of wandering through a museum by sticking a design reference model in there. But there are no images of them in the screenshots (unless I missed it, which is entirely possible -- the walls are covered in them). They want to keep them under wraps. I actually find it kind of neat that all we've seen of the ents thus far are the two legs and the hand in the trailer. I'm looking forward to seeing them onscreen, and I'm not entirely sure I even want to see them beforehand.

It was funny -- in my net searches to make sure I hadn't screwed any names up, it surprised me how many computer programs are named after LOTR characters and places. And then I thought about it for a minute and decided it wasn't really surprising at all.

But thank God for Peter Jackson's obsessive geekiness, because it's led to something as wonderful as this. It truly is one of the greatest projects ever captured on film.

Whoever would have expected it from the guy who made "Meet the Feebles"?

( 1:54 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


Pry it out of my cold, dead hands


The hostel I work for is a United Way organization, and each year the United Way solicits the community and its employees for funding. Now, I have no problem with this, but I don't exactly have a lot to spare. Edward bullied $5 out of me, which is fine, except for the fact that because of a change in paydays, my paycheque is really short this week and I don't have the funds I was planning on having to get me through the next two weeks. $5 is enough for a meal if you shop right, and not having it... well, it bothers me.

And Edward is just so damned pushy, it makes you want to hold on to your money out of spite.


( 1:53 PM ) Sarah Jane ~

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Give a little, take a little

Oy, it never ends.

Had a great time volunteering at the ROM yesterday -- the new volunteers are wonderful (though I do miss Marjorie, my former partner, who had to switch days so she could attend evening classes), and oh, where there developments.

First, Sharilynn (my ROM supervisor), who knows of my Fantasy obsession, told me about the special ROM staff screening of the Two Towers Exhibit on Thursday morning! Whoopee! Free Middle-Earth!

Second, I learned that the James Ossuary is making its first ever museum appearance at... that's right, the ROM. Which is unbelievable. I mean, the ROM is a world-class facility, but we're still often stuck playing second-, third-, or sixteenth-fiddle to the more prestigious museums in New York or London or what have you. But now the ROM is going to be the very first museum in the world to host one of the most important archaeological finds this year. Which I think is pretty cool. The gallery is going to be swamped though, and I'm probably going to have to temper myself based on the level of religious fundamentalism in our visitors (I tend to get rather excited when I start talking about evolution and phylogenetic relationships at the touch tables).

And third, I discovered a flyer for a ROM-hosted screening of Fellowship of the Ring on Friday, featuring a Q&A panel before the movie with designers Chris & Dan Hennah, Allen Lee, and John Howe! How cool is that? I'm going to get tickets tomorrow ($8 each!).

Then, after my shift, I wandered over to Bakka before my haircut at House of Lords (ah, the miracles a flamboyantly gay man can perform on hair). I was dismayed to learn that John is discontinuing the frequent buyer program -- no more bookmarks given out after Halloween, and no more rewards after December 31. Fortunately, I was in time to redeem my last bookmark and get a new one (the redemption spent on a bunch of Anita Blake books -- I get the urge to reread the series every year, and the spiffy new reissues were all the incentive I needed to buy them rather than go about playing the game of wait-for-the-fifteen-holds-before-me at the library).

Life isn't all fun and games though, but fortunately all this cool stuff is helping temper the not-so-fun things, so they're not bringing me down as yet. Life on Bathurst is getting intense (go to my sibling's blog and give him a hug -- he needs one. Megan doesn't have a blog, so I'll just have to do her hugging in person). I have to go to the respirologist this afternoon where -- get this -- he's going to induce an asthma attack to see what it does to me. Oh joy. Oh bliss. Feel my excitement. Oy. (add that to the discussions of surgery the nose guy is muttering about, and you get a prescription for medical "blargh!") I get to go drop that nice girl's watch off after, though (hopefully I won't be in the hospital or anything), so that should make things a little more tolerable. Too many nice things happening to let the baggage get me down.

And hey, at the very least, I've got great hair. :o)

( 12:18 PM ) Sarah Jane ~

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Happy Days Are Here Again

It's been a very good weekend.

The costume is finished, and it looks amazing (thanks Megan ::blush::). Simon came over yesterday and we had one of the best weekends we've had in a while. He showed up with "Big Trouble", a movie starring Tim Allen and Renee Russo that came out last year and got abysmal promotion, which is why we've never seen it, but it was one of the funniest movies we've seen in a long, long time. Then we went out searching for finishing touches for my costume, and had a blast doing it.

I found the most awesome bead store, Tami I have to take you there! Everything is remarkably cheap -- those little teardrop crystals are 50 cents each. The pill bottles full of really nice seed beads are a dollar each. And they have more beads than I'd know what to do with in a lifetime! I swear, Tam, we could get lost in there. So that's where we got the little end bits to go on the silver cord I bought to lace through the bodice. Then we went across the street to a bridal trim store, because I figured that if anyone would have marabou trim (I refused to pay $15 for 2 yards), it would be the bridal trimmings store. Sure enough, they had it, for $5/2 yards. Score! But the best part about that store was the wall of tiaras. Beautiful, beautiful tiaras. The clerk spent the last half hour of her shift letting me try them on, and when I apologized for my excess and thanked her profusely for indulging me, she just laughed and said that she needed to thank me instead because I made the last half hour of her shift fly by (and Simon, being his usual funny self, certainly didn't hurt). So I got the marabou trim, and I think I'm going to go back for the full length silver gloves. All I need is a nice big rhinestoney bracelet and I'm set, and if I can't find one elsewhere I'm sure I can put something together at the bead store.

After that we came home to watch Robert Louis Stevenson's St. Ives, which is an obscure little BBC production we've known only as "that funny-looking one from the Bridget Jones's Diary trailers" for ages. Simon, wonder that he is, managed to find it at Suspect, and it was wonderful. It's hard as hell to track down, but it's one of those little gems like Plunkett and Macleane that's well worth seeing if you can find it. It's a period romantic comedy, great for anyone who likes Bridget Jones or Pride and Prejudice.

I ended up closing out the night doing something I haven't been able to do in two months -- hold your breath now.


Yes, Friday night hit me with a narrative dream; one of the only narrative dreams I've had in ages. And to give you an idea of how important this is, the last one I had was the basis for Elysium. Narrative dreams are stories that come to me in dreams, full and complete, and actually stay with me when I wake. So I was up till four (yes, clock change taken into account) working on what looks like it's going to be a new novel. It won't be as long as Elysium, or as involved, but I'm having a blast writing it. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the muse is back!

Add that to an e-mail from Sheila this morning and I was a happy girl. Soon to be made happier when my sib and I headed down to Kensington and I found a fabulous $6 rhinestone ring for the costume, a gorgeous red Indian cotton shirt, and this cute little burgundy velvet dress with an empire waist (LOVE that empire waist!) that was actually under $30! Yay thrifty vintage shopping!

Quickly made even happier when I discovered that there's actually a Toronto School of Puppetry! Classes are on Sunday afternoons, so they wouldn't interfere with work, and as I've spent the last week or so wondering how the hell one goes about getting an apprenticeship with a puppeteer, I'm taking it as a sign. Classes are a lot, granted, but if I save up a little bit here and there, I can probably afford it by next year. I've said for a while that I needed a change in my life, and this could very well be it. Simon and I are also talking about starting up a regular Speaker's Corner bit called Masterpuppet Theatre, based on the routines we play out all the time as we're walking from place to place. I think it could be a whole lot of fun.

Okay, and when we got home and I pulled out my burgundy dress, I found a watch in the bag. Thinking it odd, I pulled out the card the manager gave me when I bought my coat there and phoned in, to discover that the clerk whose watch it was had been in tears all afternoon because not only had her CD player been stolen but her watch lost, which was given to her by a friend from South Africa six years ago (who was named Sarah, of all things). So I made her day, she was in happy tears on the phone with me, and I'm going to drop off the watch later this week. I love making people happy. I'm all warm and glowy now.

And sometime this week, when I get my hair cut, I get to go to Bakka to redeem my store credit, hurrah! I'm hoping they'll have Eternity Row in, finally. Honestly, finding Sheila's books always seems to turn into a production with me. But I refuse to shop for SF&F anywhere but Bakka. I mean, how cool is it to walk into a store and see Michelle Sagara West behind the counter laughing and yelling at the phone, "Oh no, you who ended a four book series with Blood Pact, do not get to yell at me about happy endings!"

I love that store.

I'm still sick, still stuffy, still getting scary-ass shit coming out of my head, but for the first time in a while, I'm really happy, which sometimes is enough to make all the difference.

So to celebrate, here's section one of the new book:

Shattered prophecies litter the horizon.

Hard to believe it has been only a year since Father Piquar delivered his grave pronouncement -- the days since seem to span an eternity. There are nights when I stand out beneath the stars and beg Her to take it all back. To tear the visions from my mind and the speakings from my lips. To make it so that Father Piquar had never been assigned to Inara's temple. To erase the day the servants of the goddess tore me from the bosom of my family because I shared a dream with Mother Aurelia.

But such is not Inara's will, and the goddess is not known for Her compassion.

( 8:32 PM ) Sarah Jane ~

Friday, October 25, 2002

Blah blah biddy blah, I'm so stuffy, give me a scone

Continuing a trend here (Hi Peter!)

But there is method to my madness. Guess what my new official name is at work. Go on, guess. Yup. "Stuffy".


I'm going crazy. The nasal antibiotic/decongestant the nose guy gave me does actually decongest -- for all of five minutes. Then BOOM! Complete blockage again. Honestly, I can't see how there can possibly be this much mucous in the human head. I swear, there can't even be this much blood in my body... oh, wait, that must be it. All my blood has been turned into mucous and it's coming out my nose. That would explain the light-headedness. I was up at 4 am last night doing dishes. Why, you ask? Because I couldn't sleep, seeing as my nose was completely plugged and breathing through my mouth all night had dried me out so much that I couldn't swallow and my tongue was welded to the roof of my mouth.

It's so frustrating. I'm on the second prescription now -- it's never lasted this long before. I'm really starting to get worried. I don't think I'm dying or anything, but there are times (like the 4am dish doing last night) when I begin to despair of ever being well again. Four months is a long time. I hate that it's killed my brain, too. I miss writing. I miss my characters. But as my first think-tank since the move proved, my brain is still not functioning the way it used to. I'm slow to think, slow to enunciate, and God help me if I need to think up something new and original. Does not bode well for the writing. Elysium two needs to be written, but I'm not going to sabotage it by going at it when I'm not playing with a full deck. It deserves better.

So today, Megan (wonder that she is) arranged for a drastically discounted desk to be delivered here by her friend Justin for me. We managed to get it up to the living room, and discovered then that it's exactly as wide as the stairwell. Which means there's no way in hell it's getting up there without being disassembled, which I do NOT have the energy for at the moment. So for the time being, our living room has a new addition.

Another side-effect of that little move is that I discovered just how weak I've gotten over the past couple months.


I mean, hell, I posted a while back on just how frelling mighty I was, schlepping fans and bookshelves and whatnot across town, and now I could barely move a pretty light desk up a flight of stairs with a really strong guy doing the worst of it. I'm still shaking, and that was two hours ago. That, more than anything else, is what scares me. Hell, I was having trouble just walking to work for a while (which I've thankfully gotten better at).

I've also discovered that my singing voice is shot -- combination of lack of use (singing muscles can be lost just the same as walking or lifting muscles -- easier actually, because you don't use them for everyday stuff) and stuffy head. Which makes me incredibly sad.

I'm tired of being sick. And it's different than a physical injury -- I've had both that stick around and linger, and I'd rather take the injury. More pain, but at least my frelling brain would be working. Right now I feel like it's been wrapped in cotton, weighted down, and dumped into a big vat of oatmeal. It's that, as much as the physical ickiness (which is pretty damn icky) that is really weighting my spirit down. I'm not giving up, but some days it's really hard to find reasons to keep going. Especially when you're out of good books and even though Bakka finally got Eternity Row in they were sold out of it last time you went...

...sorry. Different rant.

P.S. Do you have any idea how hard it is to take your temperature when you can't breathe through your nose? Think about it.

( 11:13 PM ) Sarah Jane ~

Thursday, October 24, 2002

See my mask? Isn't it pretty? It raises the dead!

And there are maybe five people who'll get that one right off. But yes, the mask is done, and here's a really awful picture of me wearing it (my stupid yellow room causes all my webshots to make me look jaundiced. I can't wait to paint it).

It raises the dead!

I spent my second sick day doing everything but recuperating. I woke up with a fever and tried to go to work anyway, till Megan gave me what for. So I decided to compromise. I'd stay home and work on the stats. I was about halfway through when I wandered downstairs for a drink and discovered that both the bathtub and kitchen sink were completely clogged. So I spent my afternoon playing plumber, wandering down to Home Hardware for industrial strength drain cleaner (which has one of those "WARNING! Do not use this product or you could DIE!!!" labels on it), and pulling hair out of the bathtub drain with a fork.

God my life is stimulating.

So once the drains worked again and I had the stats done, I took the rest of the night off to work on the mask. And damn, did it turn out well. The webshot doesn't do it justice -- I'll take some pictures and scan them later. All I had to start with was the actual mask itself, with the black sequin border. The organza crest, ribbons, etc. are all my doing. You can't see it, but each rosette is a blue satin ribbon base with an irridescent white ribbon over it. A pink bead string trails away from the rosette. In the centre of each rosette is a snowflake (which was originally silver plastic, but I dusted with white irridescent glitter) and hanging from each snowflake is a string of crystals (three on the right and two on the left). The elastic holding the mask on is covered by another silver organza ribbon.

I am so proud of myself it's not even funny. I taught myself a lot making this. I've never even used a glue gun before today. I may have created a monster.

And, before bed, I took this quiz Sheila had on her blog:

Take the Purrsonality Quiz!

Yup, pretty darned accurate, I'd say. Especially considering I spent my evening preparing for my own little Cinderella night. I just hope it works out that way for me. Cross your fingers!

( 11:30 PM ) Sarah Jane ~

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

I can see clearly now

Today I stayed home from work and slept. Stupid thing is, I wasn't even going to do that until I got out of bed and fell over because I was too weak to stand. Turns out pushing yourself when you're this sick so you can get stats to your boss isn't such a good idea after all. And I still felt guilty about staying home, because my nose was actually a little bit better today than it was yesterday (which was absolutely awful). It's like when I stayed home from school but didn't feel as sick as the thermometer said I was. I slept till noon, lay in bed reading until three, went to the optometrist, then came home and slept until Megan came home an hour ago.

I used the day to catch up on the e-mail that's been piling up over the last couple of days, but my brain was still firmly in bed and refusing to be budged, so I apologize to everyone who got an inane e-mail from me today. I did want to say thank you to everybody who sent me an e-mail or left a comment though. You guys have been amazing, and I wanted you to know that your kind words are a big help. Nothing's worse than lying at home sick and alone, and you guys let me know that the alone part doesn't apply to me.

Sooo.... Sally: thanks for the support, and I'll be looking in to a naturopath as soon as I'm not quite so wiped. Jenny: Hugs. I love you, girl. Megan: What can I say? Responding to that posting on housing services was the smartest thing I've done in a looooong time. Nick: Thank you. And your ass. Keri: Awww, thanks. It's a bit too far, but it's nice to know you care. :o) Vicki: Thank you. Every little bit helps. Dayle: Have I mentioned lately how fabulous you are? Ben: Hi! Nice to hear from you! Tami: You're the best. Love you!

And Ruth. Ruth, Ruth, Ruth. What can I say, besides you are the greatest!!!

So what's new in Sarahland since last I wrote? I've been invited to a masquerade on Hallowe'en, and I'm praying to God I'll be well enough to go. Alexandra and I discussed it a while ago, but I didn't expect anything to come of it. That'll teach me.

See, I have this thing about masquerades, as you'll discover when I write Elysium 3. I think a lot of it stems from Labyrinth, which was one of the movies of my childhood that shaped the way my mind works (and a partial explanation of why it's so bent). I've been obsessed about the masks in the ballroom scene for ages, and longed for one to wear to this masquerade. I was telling that to my brother when he blew me away by finding this page for me. Oh. My. God. I want the firebird mask so bad I can taste it. Hence this blog. Jenny, Tami, Simon and I have been sending "I want this" posts back and forth for so long that I decided it's high time we got a blog about it. So the Labyrinth mask is item one on my "I'm going to set aside a little money from each paycheque until I can afford this" list. Still, I can't get it by this Hallowe'en, so I wandered around Toronto trying to find a nice mask to substitute. Unfortunately, the best I found was at Malabar and cost a hundred dollars at the minimum. I settled for the cheap $20 one they sold.

Still, not one to be defeated, I combatted my wretched health yesterday (it was really, REALLY bad -- I couldn't stop sneezing and my nose was running like a faucet. It's really not surprising that I'm weak from dehydration) by having a bit of a Lewiscraft orgy after work. My costume wasn't quite Snow Queen enough, so I got everything I need to make it better. I have ribbons galore with which to dress up the mask, and I think it's going to look fabulous when I'm done. I'll post pictures, I promise. I was actually going to spend the day doing crafty stuff, but I ended up sleeping it away. Nuts. Still, I needed the rest. I came home last night with a temperature of 102 (and of course, Mark (the landlord) chose that night to show up and ask me to help move the new washing machine into the basement. Me, standing at the door in Pooh pajamas and bunny slippers and shaking so hard I could barely stand, said no. So no functioning washing machine just yet).

My one break in the monotony came in the form of a trip to my new optometrist (I kept putting it off after I ran out of lenses, but now that I have to wear a mask, putting it off is no longer an option). And I have only one thing to say. I love my new optometrist! He's really nice, very thorough, caught that I have an astigmatism and explained why my old contact lenses sucked, and gave me a student discount. Hurrah! So now I can see again. And I can almost breathe. Though the new antibiotic nasal spray the nose guy gave me has the really annoying side effect of making me sneeze. I mean, really! Every time it sends me into a sneezing fit I end up lying in bed with my hands clapped over my nose shrieking "Noooooo! That cost me fifty dollars!!!!!!"

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have the most expensive snot in the northern hemisphere.

( 7:45 PM ) Sarah Jane ~

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Tooth and claw

This is definitely one of the longest gaps in updates I've had in a while, and I apologize to all of my wonderful regulars, but I've been losing my mind. I'm serious -- I'm walking the edge over here.

First off, the health issues. The nose guy was very brief and perfunctory -- he looked up my nose, told me my septum curves to the right, gave me a second prescription and a scrip for nasal spray, and told me to come back in two months with my sinus X-rays. Helpful, huh?

Second, the work stuff. My boss needed the stats for 2001 by the end of the year. Ordinarily, not a problem -- I've been collecting them for two months now, putting together extremely complex databases broken down by month and annual numbers across thirteen sheets in an Excel workbook. Figured everything out. At one point, the 2000 carryovers were giving me grief -- I sort everything by client number, which is broken down by year -- all 2001 residents were given the number 01-xxx, 2002 is 02-xxx, and so on. So the 22 people here on January 1, 2001 all had numbers begining with 00-xxx. This was going to be a pain in the ass for sorting and queries and stuff, so at some point last year, my bosses and I conferenced and decided it would be easiest to leave those out of the stats.

Two weeks ago, my boss decided she wanted those back in. So I had to go to the archives, pull the files, get all the info, enter them into the database, etc. Then she found ALL the housing timesheets for the year AND the kids stuff, and told me to add that in. Then she decided she wanted the info for the other kids sheets, detailing activities. So I'm left with a week to compile three new databases and enter all the information. I've been taking this stuff home and working on it till midnight each night. I worked on it yesterday till 4:30. I got e-mails today asking where the 2001 kids stats were.

I don't have the 2001 kids stats. I spent ten minutes on Friday explaining to her that I was never given any of the kids stats in 2001 except for December. She didn't believe me and told me to leave all my kids stats for her on top of the filing cabinet so she could look over them. She e-mailed today asking for them. I e-mailed back telling her that no, I didn't have them because the only sheets I had were December. I did three months of 2002, but I couldn't finish them this weekend because all my stats ARE ON TOP OF THE FILING CABINET!!!

See my frustration?

So add this to the health thing -- it's a pattern now. I start off getting sniffly, which degenerates into total and complete blockage, which then creeps down to settle in my chest and stop me breathing, so I go to the doctor, get a prescription, get better for a week or two, and then it starts all over again. This is my fifth prescription since July. It's eating up my savings, and more importantly, it's eating up my health. I want to know what the hell is wrong with me -- why this keeps happening. I've never had chronic illness like this before. The doctor says that's what chronic sinusitis is, but that doesn't explain why it's happening to me. It's driving me crazy, and scaring me more than a little. I'm fucking sick of this. I'm sick of being ill all the time. I'm sick of turning all my 'n's and 'm's into 'd's and 'b's. I'm sick of not being able to taste or smell or breathe through my nose. I'm sick of my nose being raw from blowing it so much. I'm sick, sick, SICK of it all!!!!!! I haven't even fucking unpacked yet because I've been too fucking sick to do anything but lie in bed being depressed!!!

I have no energy, no time to myself, no social life, and it's eating me alive. I'm hanging on to sanity with tooth and claw, but it's not easy when everything is constantly beating at me, whirling in a maelstrom around me and shredding my defenses a little piece at a time.

Sheila once told me that when you're constantly sick, the only thing to do is laugh at yourself, but it's damned hard to laugh when you can't breathe.

Added to that, I'm still torturing my feet every night. Yes, the warts are still there, despite cryosurgery every week and application of acid every night since December. Thing is, warts are a VIRUS. And they're not going away. And I'm sick all the time. What does this tell me? SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH MY IMMUNE SYSTEM.

Dr. T says it's not an immune disorder or I'd be hospitalized all the time, not just sick the way I am. And to an extent I agree with her. I look at the life I'm living now, and realize that you can't recover your health when you hate your life and are so busy scraping by that you don't have time to live. But I'm still scared. It's a vicious circle. I'm taking up things like Renaissance dance in order to improve my spiritual and emotional health, which will help the physical, but it's also impossible to do those things when you're sick. Megan has offered to spring for a naturopath, and I think I'm going to take her up on it. At the moment, I am desperate for answers. I can't take this much longer. I want to scream until I have no voice left... but that really wouldn't be practical.

So between my health, my work, and the various and sundry emotional soap operas playing out around me (which I am NOT getting in to. Read my sibling's blog if you're curious), I'm this close to losing my mind. I haven't written a word in weeks. I tried working on a short story (the waterfall one), but it fell apart very quickly. There's nothing creative there for me to draw on. I've heard several times that you have to write whenever you can find the time, but I don't work that way. I need to be in that place in order to draw on whatever it is I draw on to make my writing what it is. I look at this thing I've been attempting to peck out whenever I had the time, and it looks like Frankenstein's monster -- all stitches and disjointed seams that don't fit together and fall quickly apart. When I write, I need to immerse myself in the story so I can see where it's going. When I'm in that place, where time and space disappear, the story stretches out before me like a glittering web woven of characters and events. I know where I'm going. I know how to get there. The words flow, the sentences gel, and I create things that I look back on in times like this and despair of ever reaching again. Now the words are broken, harsh, stumble over themselves. There is nothing of poetry in my writing now. I can't gather my thoughts long enough to get back to that place.

I need to get away. I need time off to go somewhere far away, away from the work and the stress, where I can heal spiritually and physically, get my health back, get my head together, and get my life back on track. But oh. I forgot. I can't afford that. I'm barely scraping by as it is in the job that I hate.

Sometimes, I just want to cry. Oh, there are little things keeping me going. Megan is a big help -- she's incredibly supportive and I know I'm a lot better off now than I would be if I were still living with Nick and Adrian. At least my home is finally my home and not another thing wearing me down. There has been some progress with The Object of my Unrequited Affections. Not even close to a leap or a bound, more like a baby step, but it's something. But they're very little things compared to everything else bearing me down.

I'm trying to save for Worldcon 2003 now -- it's in Toronto, which seems like a sign to me. I don't even have to stay in a hotel -- I can save money by taking cabs or 24-hour TTC every night. But $250 is a lot of money, and every time I start saving money, I get sick again and have to spend it all on drugs that give me two weeks of grace before I get sick again. I can't make it back to ICFA this year -- the $700 flight would break me. I can't sing anymore because I've lost my singing muscles. Everywhere I turn, something else strikes at me until I don't know what to do anymore. I've tried for so long to keep looking on the bright side, because that's what I do, but even I'm having trouble finding one now. My body is falling apart, my life is digging itself into a rut, and sometimes I just get so lonely I want to beat TOomUA's feet out from under him and pin him to the ground until he pays attention to me.

Forgive me. This was a long, ranty blog, but I needed to get this off my chest. Just being able to write it out helps a little. Being insane and depressed is one thing, but keeping insanity and depression bottled up inside is even worse.

I finally found the Muppet Show DVD's at the used DVD place, and watching them, I'm reminded again of how badly I wanted to be a muppeteer. I think about that, and how happy I would be doing something like that for a living, and wonder if perhaps I should investigate. I gave up trying to be an actor because my parents discouraged it -- said I should do something I can count on to get me a job and pay the rent. I've got a job and I'm paying the rent now, but it's destroying me. Could I still get into something like that? Perhaps. My weight wouldn't hinder me as a puppeteer or a voice actor (and let's be realistic -- how many overweight actresses do you see out there? I know you can site some examples, but lets look at ratios here). I would be happy doing something like that. But I wouldn't even know where to begin.

God, I need a break.

( 11:19 PM ) Sarah Jane ~

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Chronic Sinusitis

Yup, breathing guy decided it would be a good idea to x-ray my head today, and that's what he found. Huzzah. More drugs. See my joy. And I haven't even seen the nose guy yet (that's Friday).

In better news, there's another article mentioning Jenny, and not in a stupid way. Of course, they're focusing on the helpmeleavemyhusband woman and not on Jen. When are they going to start paying attention to the one who actually deserves it? Bah.

( 6:20 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


Say what?

Lol! I just babelized the first paragraph of Elysium, turning it from this:

Once upon a time. That is how this story would begin if it were a fireside tale like those Nana used to tell us in the nursery. But it isn't. This is my story, and every word of it is truth, so I shan't begin it that way. I'll begin instead as it began, which is always the best way to do things.

to this:

It was a time. He is, poichè that this history would begin, if she were one of history of the angle of the fire, that indicated the dwarf we. But it is not. History is mine and each word of her is the truth, to follow I does not begin the direction of the EC. Beginning in the place because he began, that one that is always the direction rather of which to the form of the things.

Ahh, but modern technology is wonderful!

( 12:31 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh, has it been a strange couple of days.

Holidays are always weird these days because my family structure has changed so much. My grandparents' house, which used to be the focal point of my family's holiday arrangements, stood empty this year. Instead, the entire family (less my uncle Tim, who had to work) gathered en masse and descended upon my aunt Jen's house in Milton so that we could spend Sunday afternoon at my grandmother's home, celebrating her 80th birthday before having a Sunday Thanksgiving with the family.

I haven't seen my grandmother since she went into the home. Mum said not to be surprised if she didn't know me, but as she's been calling me Katie for three years, I didn't expect it to bother me. As it turns out, she was having a good day (apparently she didn't even recognize Tim when he went to visit her on Friday). I think she even recognized me -- she seemed pleased to see me, at any rate. But a good day for Granny these days means she isn't upset or confused. She was like a ghost. She said maybe two words, and didn't seem to know what was going on. Oh, I think she did enjoy herself, and had a good time opening presents (with help -- she can't figure out wrapping anymore), but it was like watching a very young child, almost. It's very difficult to deal with, which is why most of the family doesn't. My aunt Jen is over there every day, taking charge of things (Jen's like that -- she's the oldest of my grandparents' five kids and never lost that edge of authority... she became a teacher). She's started a garden out back, which my grandmother seems to enjoy (Granny was the head of the horticultural society for seven years) and takes great pains to keep the staff happy. She decorated my grandmother's room with some rose wallpaper, put all her horticultural plaques and certificates up, and even made a large picture for my grandmother. She took the childhood pictures of the five children and mounted them, then beneath those added pictures of each child's family today. My family had to sit for ours at my aunt's house because she didn't have one of us yet, and I was not happy about it. Apparently Dad's known about this for three months but neglected to mention anything, so I'm sitting there in that picture with hair in bad need of cutting, glasses, a stress-induced acne outbreak, and several layers of drug haze. I'm not pleased. If we're recording things for posterity, I'd rather it not be a chronicle of my chronic illness. But Granny isn't likely to care, after all.

After visiting Granny, we all traipsed back to Jenny's house for Thansgiving dinner. Oh, what fun. Four branches of the family, plus grandpa, sitting around trying to pretend everything's normal. There were no huge fights, which was odd in and of itself -- they're something of a family tradition when the extended family gets together. The cousins barely spoke, with the exception of Lucas (who's turning out as a very nice young man), Steven refused to smile (not even for the family portrait with my grandparents at the home), and I turned into Invisible Girl.

Jenny used to be my favourite aunt -- I'd spend every summer there. I did a lot of lifetime firsts with Jenny. She taught me to sew and garden and a lot of things. But strange things began to happen when the next female cousin was born. I was no longer the cute one, and she didn't seem to want to spend time with me anymone. She shifted her attention to them. For a while, I didn't mind, because at least I was still her Sarah-lamb. But two Christmases ago, I showed up at the same time as my youngest female cousin, Katie, and it was. "Hello Sarah. Oh, hello Katie-lamb! Come give us a hug."


So I was wandering around her house looking at the photo table, where she used to keep all the class photos of us in little frames. There was still one of my brother, Erin and Lucas, several of Katie....

No me. All my pictures were gone.

Odd, I thought, and wandered over to the china hutch. On top of the hutch there has always been a picture of me for as long as I can remember. The first, a picture of me on Canada Day when I was four, illuminated by glowtorch light, was replaced by one of me at about ten planting a little herb garden, the sunlight coming in and making me in my white sweater glow. I remember her switching them, saying to my grandmother "Oh, this one's even more magical." Surely, I thought, She wouldn't have taken that one down. I felt a little of the tension give as I saw that the frame was still on top of the china hutch.

Only now it holds a picture of her dog.

It hurt. A lot. But of course I just bottled it up inside, because that's what we do in our family. It set the mood for the night, though. Every time I'd try to say something or join in a conversation, I'd get talked right over. I swear, I was invisible. It was almost a relief to go back to my parents' house.

So today I got to come home. And this house in Toronto really is home, just like Megan is family. There are some families you're born into and others you choose, and Megan is definitely a part of the latter. I am so happy things turned out the way they did during the apartment search this summer. I brought my sibling and a crapload of food, and the three of us had an urban family thanksgiving (Emily was at her parents'). And my god, it was good.

It was everything Thanksgiving is supposed to be. Good food (it was our first attempt at cooking on this scale, and my sib deemed it better than Dad's, which is kinda like saying my writing is better than, oh, Mercedes Lackey's. High praise indeed). We had a chicken rather than a turkey, being only three of us, but we stuffed it and everything (and the stuffing was amazing, if I do say so myself). Megan made a fabulous cheesy cauliflower dish, and we made cheesy mashed potatoes, spinach with feta cheese, turnips, and gravy that actually worked! For dessert, we had pumpkin pie and apple crisp. And we had a damned good time putting it all together. It was companionable rather than awkward, with a lot of laughter and a lot of love.

That is what I'm thankful for this year.

( 12:00 AM ) Sarah Jane ~

Friday, October 11, 2002

Every breath you take...

God I hate that Police song.

I'm extremely tired this morning. Why, you ask? Last night an acquaintance of Megan's who couldn't keep his hands to himself showed up -- drunk -- on our doorstep around 2 am when she wouldn't answer the phone.

We called the police -- who never showed up -- and the three of us sat in the hall listening to the doorbell ring at intermittent intervals. I nearly stopped breathing when we heard the front door open, but apparently it was the downstairs neighbour. The doorbell stopped, but the phone rang again a couple times. Some time later, somebody started knocking on the inside door to the apartment. It was probably one of the other tenants wanting to know what was going on, but we didn't answer it. Just in case.

I went to sleep with my renfaire knife under my pillow.

I feel really bad for Megan -- it's not her fault dickhead wouldn't take no for an answer. But I haven't been that afraid to go to sleep since the idiots in fourth year tried to throw a rock through my window. At least that time security actually showed up.

Megan and I talked this morning (briefly -- it's hard to have meaningful conversation when you've got five minutes to get out the door), and discussed attending a self-defense course. I don't like feeling as helpless as I did last night, and we both think self-defense is a good idea. Not exactly the urban family bonding experience I had in mind, but it'll do. I would have given my left arm for some pepper spray last night. Or a griffin.

( 9:41 AM ) Sarah Jane ~

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

And the World Will Know

Yeah, I'm really reaching for song lyric blog titles now. ::sigh::

So Sheila today posted a challenge -- What do you look forward to? It got me thinking. I know I hate my life right now -- nothing underscored that more than work today. After sitting there working mostly one-handed due to the incredible pain of the kiwi-sized bruise on the inside of my elbow (thanks to Angie the nurse-in-training with her dig dig DIIIIG) I got plagued by three calls from the donor from hell -- the hostel is a registered charity, and we take donations from the community. Furniture is always welcome, since most of our clients are refugees who have NOTHING when they're starting out in the community, and we're always in need of it. Well, this woman called today with a couch. She wanted us to pick it up because she's getting a new one. Normally, I tell the caller that I'm putting her through to the executive director's voice mail, who will give her a call once a pickup is arranged to get all the details. But this caller WOULD NOT SHUT UP. I kid you not. The conversation went much like this.

"Good morning--"

"Yes, I have a couch here and the man I talked to said that you people need furniture, well I have a couch here because we're getting a new one and it's being delivered Friday and I'm not going to be here tomorrow because I have an appointment and I'm not going to be here the next day and I have an appointment and do you pick things up do you need it?"

A little flustered, I say, "Yes, we do. I have to--"

"Oh good now it has to be because the new couch is coming Friday can you come and get it because we just got the new couch and the man said you pick things up because I can't bring it myself and I have appointments and--"

As she continues talking, I'm attempting to interrupt to tell her she has to speak to Donna, but it's like trying to halt a stampede. Finally, during a break in the conversation (she had to breathe sometime), I managed to transfer her over to Donna's voice mail and breathed a sigh of relief.

Two hours later, the phone rings.

"Good afternoon--"

"Yes it's me again, now you said you'd come and get this couch and it's two hours later and I'm still here and there's still this couch and the new couch is coming Friday and I've already cancelled two appointments and I don't know who I was talking to before but you said you'd come and get this couch because it can't be here when the new couch comes because I don't have room for two couches and I've already cancelled two appointments so I can't be here tomorrow or the day after to give it to you and I'm very disappointed because you said you could come and get it but nobody's come to get it..."

Five minutes later (no, I'm not exaggerating, she didn't stop for that long) I managed to transfer her over to Estelle, who's more equipped to deal with this kind of person. She wasn't mentally challenged or anything, and she wasn't even yelling, she just wouldn't shut up. It's like that animaniacs episode with that guy who wouldn't stop telling that story and followed the Warners home, talking talking talking. Or Grandpa Simpson. Anyway, I thought that Estelle would explain things.

Silly me.

"Good after--"

"Yes it's me again, I was talking to a very nice lady before who told me I don't know if it was you or not was it you but she told me that you'd come and get this couch because I have the new couch coming Friday and I can't have two couches here and you said you'd come and pick up the old couch..."

By this point, I was ready to fling myself through the window to escape, or bludgeon myself into oblivion with the receiver. I managed to give her back to Estelle again, and one of the residents walked in for help with her cover letter. She's been sending them out to HR places for admin jobs, and we got to talking about job applications and how I'm looking for another part time job but it's so hard to find a job in your field.

"Oh? What's your field?" she asked.

"Zoology" I said.

"Really? I got my degree in Biology from U of T!"

Dear God, shoot me now.

So with all this, Sheila's post got me thinking about what I want from my life. So here's what I'm looking forward to. Funnily enough, much of it is on Sheila's "don't want" list. :o)

  1. The Book: I wanna be published. Priority one. I want this book done, in print, so I can hold the thing with my name on the cover. I think I'm closer with Elysium than I've ever been before, but there's still much work to be done.

  2. Kids: No, not in the near future. I'll wait till I have a stable income, I've done all the roving I want to do, and I'm not living on the poverty line, thank you very much. But I do want kids someday, and when the doctor suspected something was wrong with my ovaries, I realized that I want them to be mine. Being unable to have them scares me more than a lot of things that might be wrong with me right now. Fortunately, my ovaries checked out okay.

  3. Love: Yeah, usually goes with number two, but I'm prepared to go to great lengths to have kids if I never meet the right guy. Regardless of that, I'm still waiting to meet that special someone (or waiting for the OoMUA to wake up and notice that I'm alive).

  4. Dolphins: Someday, I intend to save up enough money (or get a research grant) to go do an internship with dolphin researchers. Most of the decent internships are pay rather than paid, and even the "free" ones usually charge tuition and board fees. I decided not to pursue a degree in marine mammal research because after watching Karin for the last 2 years, I realized it was 2-4 years in which I wouldn't get any writing done, which is a sacrifice I'm not prepared to make. Writing is my love, and I can't give that up. Not even for dolphins.

  5. Travelling Abroad with Jen: Someday, when Jen's better and we're both not poor, we're going to go someplace cool, just because. Like backpacking around the Irish countryside. Or going on safari in Africa. Or going to Rome. Or Greece, to see... that place.... the big one.... the one that starts with "P".... ;o)

  6. Writing to Live: Since I can't seem to get away from genre fiction, it seems unlikely that I'll be able to support myself through writing -- at least not for a while. But I'm hoping there'll come a time when one part-time job will be enough to support myself with the writing. Of course, if I should pull a Rowling, I wouldn't exactly be complaining either. Oh, that'd be sweet.

And that's it. Oh, there's more I want, but this is really what I want from my life. Take it as you will.

( 11:50 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


Tuesday Morning Laughs

After my sibling's and my complete failure to find the Farscape rally last Saturday, I found this comic really funny.

And for more laughs, Draconis posted this on Julie's newsgroup this morning. What makes it even funnier is that I've actually heard arguments like this:

EU Official language plan:

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which is the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of the "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with the "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and After ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza.

Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza peopl.

( 10:18 AM ) Sarah Jane ~

Monday, October 07, 2002

I Don't Like Mondays

Back on the song lyric title kick again, though this one's a pretty universal sentiment.

My sibling departed last night after staying the whole weekend, and I miss him already. He really is a fun kid to have around, and Megan and I both miss him when he's gone (hence the offer to rent the living room when he goes back to school). And something about my sibling leaving always reminds me of how damn lonely I am.

We really do think way too much alike sometimes. In his last blog entry, he talks about relationships, and it's eerie how similar our thoughts on relationships are. Maybe it's because of our parents, who were best friends first and husband and wife second, but we really do feel the same way about prospective partners (well, I'm straight and he's, in his own words, the queerest of the queer, but that's beside the point).

The search continues for a woman I can connect with on an intellectual and emotional level. Engineering had its advantages. There were plenty of striking, intelligent women there with whom I could build a strong friendship...but the problem with that is; all of my female friends are just that. Friends. I'm probably too picky, but I need to know someone before I can accept any feelings for them, and by that point, they have already slipped me into the 'friend' category.

This is just how I feel, and just what has happened to me. Because of the way things fell out in the past, I need the level of comfort and trust with men that you get with a close friendship before I could consider going any farther -- by which point, the guys were no longer interested. Problem is, I can't even get to the friend stage these days because I'm not meeting anyone anymore. I'm trying to expand my extracurricular activities, though, so we'll see how it goes.

And speaking of relationships, I was reading B.C. Holmes' Thoughts on Willow and cheering. FINALLY, someone who agrees with me! Willow on Buffy went through the whole getting over Oz and falling in love with Tara thing, and everybody was talking about "Oh, wow, so Willow's gay now. What was with the whole Oz thing? I don't get it, do you just switch?" I just kept sitting there saying "Um, hello, Willow's not gay, she's bi. Look, Oz came back, and she still loves him even though she loves Tara." And then out comes the infamous "Hello, gay now!" line.

I have a lot of same-sex relationships in my writing, not because I want to be PC or anything, but because that's who the characters are. But there are a lot of bisexuals in there, too.

Fiona & Allison: Fiona -- unabashedly gay. Allison -- Bi with leanings toward heterosexuality, though she's happy with Fiona.

Edara and Lani: Edara -- evenly bi. Lani -- gay except for one man who never tried to hurt her.

Laur'ia: Evenly bi -- doesn't even think about gender, really, just the mind inside the body.

Rabbit, Alyssia, and Yasha: Yasha -- evenly bi. Rabbit -- heterosexual. Alyssia -- bi, much the way Laur'ia is.

And the list goes on. I love playing around with relationships, and those in my books are rarely simple. But that's really half the fun.

So with all these stuff swirling around my head on this heady Monday morning, I was starting to get pretty bummed -- I want what the characters in my stories have, dammit. But then I went to Sheila's page and discovered that the October Story is up, which made me feel a lot better. I really love Sheila's stories, and this one made Monday a little more bearable.

( 12:51 PM ) Sarah Jane ~

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Hiding away, there's a little bit of griffin in me...

Ten points to those of you who know what I'm referencing there.

I've mentioned Variel often before, but for the uninitiated who wonder just who's attacking the moral supremacist in the post on Jenny, Variel is a very large, very opinionated, somewhat arrogant, and more than a little bloodthirsty griffin with a sarcastic streak a mile wide and a protective streak that puts that one to shame.

He's also more a part of me than any other character I've written. Alexandra was researching Jung for a project during undergrad, and is convinced that Variel is my animus -- the subconsious male part of my personality, and "Like the anima, the animus has a positive and valuable side; he too can build a bridge to the Self through creative activity, and can personify initiative, courage, objectivity, and spiritual wisdom." He is my muse, my core of self, my inner stability, but he is also the part of me that wants to take off after anybody hurting my friends and gouge their eyes out with a dull spoon.

But, (and there are major Kichani spoilers coming up in the next paragraph), in the Kichani stories, Variel has a younger cousin. Tamiel has the same protective and noble instincts as Variel, but unlike Variel, he lacks a positive outlook much of the time, because he was emotionally hurt at a very young age, when his parents were murdered and he was sold to a carnival to be raised chained in a small box for the next twenty years and tormented (he escapes at the height of gryphonic adolescence, adding to his angst). If Variel is my animus, Tamiel is my sibling's (and yes, I do mean animus and not anima, even though my sibling is, for the moment, a "he").

This is not to say that my sibling was raised in a box; rather, he's been through a lot more shit than I have, and though we share opinions on many things, his way of discussing them is a lot harsher and darker than mine, which really reflects on what he's been through.

What is all this leading up to? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my sibling has a blog.

Quite frankly, he astounds me. While being incredibly intelligent and articulate, he alternates between having me helpless with laughter and staring speechless at the outpouring of rage. Granted, the entry on bigots was written when he was having a bad day, but it really goes to underscore the difference between me and my sibling.

He does mention at one point, "While I, a transsexual insomniac on Zoloft, turned out fairly well, the newer generation of kids seem to be turning out dumber and dumber." He's not being facetious -- he really is one of the most intelligent, grounded, generous, and kind people I know. But poke him, and as this blog proves, you stir up a hornet's nest. And this is different from listening to him rant in real time (which he does often) -- now he has a chance to organize his thoughts.

Bigots of the world, tremble in fear -- my baby sibling is online.

( 11:51 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


Where's Steve Austin when you need him?

My body is broken -- I want a bionic one.

I was walking to work this morning and my back really started to hurt. Which it's done before, so I wasn't overly concerned. I just had to bear it until I got a place where I could stretch, and try not to turn too much. No problem.

About halfway there, the problem started. My neck started to hurt. REALLY hurt. Hurt so bad I thought I was going to fall down or throw up or something. I could hardly see from the pain. It spread to my ears by the time I made it to work, and I thought I'd have to turn right around and go to the hospital. But when I got to my office, the neck pain had faded, the ear pain become more intense, and my teeth started to hurt, so I thought "let's see where this is going".

It crept. It went up my back, through my neck, over to the ears, into the teeth, and then stopped. Leaving me tear-stained, agitated, and horribly horribly confused.

It's gone now. Completely. And I have NO idea what it was. ::sigh::

I need a hug.

( 11:30 AM ) Sarah Jane ~

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Tales From the Doctor's Office

And I know people like Jen can appreciate the horror-movie quality of that title.

So I went to the respiratory specialist today, and spent upwards of three hours getting poked, prodded, and otherwise thoroughly annoyed. After taking down my history (an ordeal that's prompting me to go through my archives and get dates and symptoms down in some sort of organized fashion for the next time), he sent me for the tests. The first involved about an hour performing various breathing manipulations into a machine that resembled some kind of cross between a piece of Star Trek equipment and the scream extractor from Monsters Inc. No big furry blue monster to come rescue me, though.

Then I got to go for the X-ray. Huzzah. Apparently the tech was having one of those days, because after getting me into the room and positioning me and such, she handed me the lead shield, said "hang on to this", walked across the room, and started giving me instructions in Portugese. Only after she'd taken the first shot did she realize what she was doing, and I confirmed that I'd had absolutely no idea what she'd just said and consequently didn't hold my breath.

Back to the respirologist, who gave me a list of blood tests and sent me down another hall to the lab.

So I get in there, and innocently sit down in the chair. "Which is your good arm?" the nurse asks, and I tell her my right. She then picks up both my arms and examines them. For a long time. I'm starting to get a little nervous. Finally, after poking at me for a long time, she ties the tourniquet on to the right arm. Really tight. Ow, I think, as she potters around, taking her time about putting her gloves on. I watch my fingers turning pink.

The nurse is still standing there, pouring very carefully over the requisition form. She pauses. Reads it again. Counts under her breath.

"Uh-oh," I think.

She slowly takes one of the vials out of the rack. Looks at it. Looks at the requisition form. Takes out about six more. And keeps going.

At this point, the other nurse in the office comes along. "No, no, no," she says. "This one is the serum, this is the culture. You need two red, three yellow, and one lav."

Please stay, I think. Please don't go away. Please do this yourself. But Carmen walks away, leaving me with Angie. As Angie is swabbing my arm, I hear Carmen call over the partition, "Angie, don't you have class?"

"Right after this," Angie replies, screwing the needle into the holder.

Yep, I've been stuck with the nurse-in-training. And you know what comes next.

JAB! Poke, poke.... dig, dig, dig, dig, DIIIIIIG, dig, dig, dig, dig..... "Um, Carmen?"

So along comes Carmen, takes one look at my white face and purple fingers (the tourniquet has been on for about seven minutes at this point), picks up the needle, and whoosh, the vial fills with blood.

"See, when you hold your hand like this," says Carmen, "the blood flows better, the needle moves less, and it doesn't hurt the patient."

"Which is always a good thing," I say.

Angie and Carmen, who by this time I'm sure have forgotten there's a person attached to the vein they're draining, laugh.

And by this time, my arm is going Owwwwwwwww!!!! Ow ow ow OWWW ow ow ow OOOWWWWW!!!!!

The worst blood test I ever had done was the butterfly needle one, which I'll tell you about sometime, but this was a close second.

By this time Angie has to go to class, so it's Carmen who does my ECG (thank God), which was relatively painless if REALLY cold, and it's back to the respirologist with the results.

He takes a look at them, puts them down, and says "well, these are all normal."


"I can't say you have asthma because you're fine now," he says, "but if you told me the truth on your history, it sounds like you do. So here's this inhaler, use it, and come back if you have an attack. If not, I'll see you in a week. Here's a referral to a nose specialist, because I think that's the source of the problem. See the receptionist on the way out for some containers; I want to test you for TB."

So that's it. Three hours, for that. And it's off to the nose guy in two weeks.


So now there's only one problem. Does anybody out there know how to do a sputum sample? Am I supposed to spit into this thing, or what?

( 2:41 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


[insert noise of extreme frustration]

Jen's been getting hit by naysayers and the money she needs isn't coming in, but after her interview with Salon.com, we hoped the article would generate some traffic for her and get her the kind of attention she needs.

Well, the article finally appears to be up. The only problem is it's premium content, for subscribers only.


I know that Salon's interests aren't Jenny's, but you don't generate interest by rescricting information. GGAAAAAHHH!!!! They put the link to Gucci-Girl-making-$900/week on the free page, and bury the link to the person who actually needs the publicity and has NO income in the pay-per-view section. Universe, you are SERIOUSLY pissing me off.

If anyone out there subscribes to Salon, would you mind sending me a copy of the article?

( 9:07 AM ) Sarah Jane ~

Sarah Jane Elliott
The often frustrating progress of my life and writing...

(Once known as "The Mystic's Dream", now known as "Dream of the Dolphin", but inclined to change title depending on what's stuck in my head)

Okay, I liked "Confessions of a Post Graduate Pity Whore" a lot more than I thought I would. That line is still hilarious. But I've started writing again, so it's time to go back to before. :o)

Webshot of the Moment:

New hair




My Expansination Blog

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Posts of note:

Hugged by Hobbits

Two Towers Exhibit

Trek 2001

Homosexuality & Stick World

Godkey Varland

I Am A Writer

I Love Jenny

Keys to Me

Creativity and Instability

SpecFic II

Books I like

Cast Iron Bitch

Accident Girl & Epiphany

ICFA 2001


The Mask

Ad Astra 2001

Inside Jory's Song

Sealach and Granthxx

Moments of Pleasure

Why I Write

The Stork Man

Thoughts on twenty-two

First day of posts

I Am Reading:

Guilty Pleasures

Recommended Reading:


War for the Oaks

Beholder's Eye


Summers at Castle Auburn

A Thousand Words for Stranger


Good Omens

Alien Taste


Ella Enchanted

Summon the Keeper

Blood Price



Memory of Fire


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