Aug. 1st, 2017 12:00 am
northwestmagpie: (Default)

It's August. May it melt away faster than July . . . with fall on its flaming heels. Sweet, blessed fall.


Jul. 1st, 2017 12:00 am
northwestmagpie: (Default)

The first half of this horrible year is over. Here’s hoping July will usher in a much more satisfying second half.


Apr. 30th, 2017 09:30 pm
northwestmagpie: (Lucky)

It's May Day tomorrow, folks. We're going to have Workers' Day protests and likely some other groups marching in Seattle. I may be leaving work early, and I may be getting home late. We'll see what happens.

Either way, Happy May to everybody.
northwestmagpie: (It's Not Hell But You Can See It From He)
Stefan got his notice from Port Moller again - he's leaving on May 8th. I'm not happy, but not only because I'm going to miss him. Stefan has recently been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, mainly due to exhibiting such symptoms as irrational fears about everything, horrible sleep patterns and near-constant sickness, deepening depression, and panic attacks that result in self-harm.

He's going to a clinic for therapy, and has involved his general physician. The doctor isn't ready to sign off on medication just yet, but wants to see how Stefan responds to therapy. I'm just glad he's getting therapy. We have no problems with each other; his episodes of stress, panic, and outbursts are brought on by the same parties as always. I can remove him from the environment, but his symptoms need treatment that a change of scenery won't provide.

We had a wonderful Easter with his parents, who are lovely people and always fix a wonderful dinner when we go over. This year, his mother made a boneless leg of lamb, lightly seasoned but perfectly cooked. She made a sauce with mint vinegar and marmalade that actually was a complement to the meat. I don't care for sour sauces, so I had just a little; Stefan covered his slices with it, and enjoyed it much more. Still, it was delicious, and served with couscous and asparagus.

Neither of us went to church. I don't think I could sit through a sermon without gagging on the sanctimony and platitudes, and Stefan's enough of a smart-ass that he'd probably heckle the pastor.
northwestmagpie: (I Can Work With That)
So it's spring in the Pacific Northwest. It's rained almost constantly since New Year's Day; you could count the number of sunny days we've had since January on both hands and not need to count your toes as well. I love rain, but I'm beginning to get just a wee bit sick of it.

On the other hand, I intend to get a Seattle Rain Festival t-shirt this year. It's actually appropriate.

Seattle Rain Festival T-Shirt
northwestmagpie: (At Peace)
My life's still a screwy mess, and there's a good chance I'll be losing my home in two or three months. I'm scared out of my wits and cheerful at the same time. I must be out of my everloving mind.

But I have work, and my brain is finally beginning to break out of the scarcity tunnel-vision it's been stuck in for the last 5 years, so let's see if I can actually get back to rebuilding that life I used to have before 2009 set it ablaze and then pissed on the ashes.

I have a man here to drag off to bed (for sleep, people; geez - brains out of the gutter, please). So I'll be back here in about, oh, maybe a day or so. Have a good night, and let's hope the Orange Shitgibbon doesn't blow us all to hell before morning.
northwestmagpie: (Lucky)
And now I am going to delete my Livejournal. Fuck the Russians.


Feb. 1st, 2017 07:01 am
northwestmagpie: (Default)

Be brave, everyone. February's upon us.
northwestmagpie: (Default)
So January 20th is the day on which this country will install, as President, more amoral, petty, and dangerous than any we've ever considered for this office, and who shows no signs of improving in future.

On January 21st, I will take part in the Seattle Women's March to protest the ascension of the Orange Shitgibbon. I've got a small bag, in which I'll carry a list of what to expect if I'm arrested, some Maalox (in case we're tear-gassed), and my phone. I plan to dress warmly and keep my face covered. And I plan to join in all the chanting and marching I can that day.

I've called my state Senators and Representatives, and I'm looking forward to a year of making it clear that Trump has got to go.

And maybe I'll get some pics. :D
northwestmagpie: (I'm Not Sure)
The Pacific Northwest has something approaching four seasons. We get winter, which is usually rainy, blustery, and chilly, from . . . well, November through March. Spring starts somewhere around the end of March and lolls around until June. Around the end of June, Summer suddenly rages in, and everything's hot and muggy from July to mid-September, making everyone long for rainstorms once again. And after all that, Fall drops in, cozy and gray as a beloved old blanket.

Only occasionally have we had snow since I moved here.

December 2016 brought a couple of snowfalls, light and lovely - lacy flakes that left maybe a quarter-inch of snow on the streets. January 2017 brought only one snowfall so far. Since New Year's Day, we've mostly been gifted with ice, in the form of frost on the lawns, ice on the roads, and air that felt like having a pincushion shoved pinhead-side up through your face.

When driving on snow, I go slowly and try not to panic when it feels like my tires (which are all-weather, not studded for snow) are about to swing in a direction perpendicular to me. But this morning, there wasn't snow, just rain, plinking down in cold, silent drops. I got into the car, cleared the windshield, buckled up, started the car, drove to the first intersection off my house . . . and felt my back tires slip.

The tires are practically brand new.

It's foggy out and tomorrow's forecast is for rain & snow - "snowshowers." Lovely. I'm so glad that the commute for this job is only 10 minutes long.
northwestmagpie: (Default)
I'm listening to John Pinette talk about going to Italy to get dinner after spending weeks in France for an acting job. Despite the fact that he's told by the waiters that they're going to "feed him" (after he tells them, "Sono affomato," or "I'm starving"), the routine makes me salivate at the thought of a huge, multi-course meal.

Anybody who knows me knows that I love food. Occasionally, I even cook it. And on New Year's Day, I make lentils with sausage, for good luck throughout the year.

Yikes, I really hope the year goes better than this year's batch of lentils.

I got good, green lentils. I got sausage. Carrots, celery, onion - here's where I screwed up. I picked up a large red onion. While red onions taste wonderful on sandwiches or cooked with beef, they are awful when braised with lentils. They turn sharp and bitter, whereas a good white onion (or even a yellow one) adds a mellow savoriness to the stew.

Then I couldn't locate the herbs I wanted, but found a bottle of Herbes de Provence. Oh, God, why did I do that? All I wanted was a little sage, bay leaf, and parsley. Instead, I got a melange of green herbs, including . . . ::facepalms:: rosemary. Rosemary. That upped the bitter content by a factor of 100%.

Not to be outdone, I added garlic, beef stock, and then sangria wine. I wasn't thinking straight, or I would have known that just because it's a red wine I love to drink, it doesn't make it a red wine that should go in lentils. Good grief.

What I ended up with was a pot of lentils and sausage with a bitter bite and sweetness at war with each other in every bite. Oh, yeah, and the sausage braised for so long that the taste of it boarded lifeboats and headed out to sea to be rescued.


At least the spaghetti and meatballs I made turned out better.
northwestmagpie: (Default)
(Note: there is nothing that can directly attribute this speech to Tecumseh, who was chief of the Shawnee Nation. However, as noted by Amy Sturgis, who has written several books about Tecumseh, the sentiments strongly correlate with those he expressed during his lifetime.)

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.

Trouble no one about their religion;
respect others in their view,
and demand that they respect yours.

Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

Seek to make your life long
and its purpose in the service of your people.

Prepare a noble death song
for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing
a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place.

Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food
and for the joy of living;
if you see no reason for giving thanks,
the fault lies only in yourself.

Abuse no one and no thing,
for abuse turns the wise ones to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die,
be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear
of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray
for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different
way; sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

- attributed to Tecumseh* (1768?-1813), Shawnee Nation
northwestmagpie: (Default)

Talk about a long wait for a happy ending.

Read more... )
So now for the next step: getting my diabetes back under control . . . and changing my careers, because office work has burned me out, and temping is for the birds. But more on that later.

'Night, all. :)
northwestmagpie: (Default)
I thought I'd provide a little backstory on my thyroid lump, and the trouble it's caused me lately. So here's the repost from the LJ entry I made as [personal profile] xanath, back in October 2006. That's how long I've had this damn lump.

So You Want To Be A Surgery Candidate

Read more... )

And this was just how it started. Tomorrow I'll tell you how it all ended this last week, and how it's taken me this long to realize I've been insane about my job search in Washington.
northwestmagpie: (Default)
Oh, God.

It's still before noon. Why am I awake? . . . oh, wait. Yeah, that was the sound of something toppling on its side. It sounded like something heavy, too. That's why I'm up.

I live in a house with children.

Read more... )


There is a betting pool in place, in case you're wondering, on how long Bob will last. Oh, not whether he's going to die - no fisherman wants to see another one bite the dust; they see too much of it each season. But they know it won't be long before Bob wrecks his boat to the point where it's nothing more than salvage material in his mind - and that'll mean Bob will go home and find a new hobby at which to suck, and locals will salvage and restore a perfectly good, extraordinarily expensive boat. A win-win situation for all is what they have in mind.

I'd like to chuck money into that pot, but I have a feeling the odds aren't all that good.
northwestmagpie: (Default)
It's a holiday - granted, one that I don't celebrate the way I used to, if only because I'm not expected to. (Having to buy food for the barbeque AND prepare it, then trek all over to find a spot to watch fireworks . . . yeah, I'm happy to lounge around indoors and then head out for a nice walk on the beach afterwards.) And last night we had a bunch of teenagers get into a screaming match with a man carrying a gun. It took some time for the Tacoma police to show up, but we had already gone to the porch, swords piled on the couch for easy access, and Jason carrying an oosik. Actually, it was Stefan's oosik he was carrying. As for why it's in the house . . . I'll explain that later.

Right now, all is somewhat peaceful at the Black Rose Bar & Grill, and I'm gonna get more sleep. I had a bad day yesterday; either it was one hell of a 24-hour stomach bug, or stress and humidity combined to knock my digestive system into orbit. Feh.


Jun. 30th, 2013 11:58 pm
northwestmagpie: (Hallelujah)

So July is here. 2013 is half over. Thankfully.

Enjoy the summer.
northwestmagpie: (It's Not Hell But You Can See It From He)
Holy shit, brothers and sisters. It's not that bad outside - about 75 degrees right now - but it's hot as hell inside. I've got the window cracked for fresh, cool air, and I'm definitely buying a fan tomorrow. The house has no A/C, not even a swamp cooler; given my hatred for swamp coolers, though (noisy, moldy-smelling, ineffective POSes that they are), I would sooner have a lady's fan at hand. (In "things your electronics may be trying to tell you," my screensaver shows the pyramids at Giza. No, dammit, it is NOT that hot.)

Phoenix has been having cookie-sheet weather (temperatures last week were at a high of 119 degrees), and I've given thanks that I no longer live there. People can exclaim, "Oh, it's a dry heat!" all they want - yes, I know, I experienced that dry heat for 15 years. What's so fucking wonderful about dry heat? You want to know what else has dry heat? A kiln. A crematory. Wildfires. I'd sooner live where the temperatures drop by 10 - 20 degrees by nightfall and I can actually relax and get some sleep, than in a place that will roast me alive if I try to enjoy the daylight, and continue the job while I'm tossing on sweat-soaked sheets.

June is fired. June is not only fired, it is fired without references; I'm having security guards box up its things, and will probably press charges for drunk and disorderly conduct, destruction of property, and anything else that'll stick. I and several other people lost cats or had our beloved furballs stare death in the face. (I will one day have to draw a picture of a cat staring down Death, with a caption reading, "Go ahead. You've got eight more tries.") One friend, who has been in counseling with her husband to save their 20-year marriage, was informed by said husband that he wanted a divorce . . . and then found the duplicitous asshole had filed papers back when they first started counseling. One thing I'll say: finding out that unpleasant little fact had the effect of galvanizing said friend to set fire to the marriage and wish the asshole the best of luck living with himself. (He's the kind of passive-aggressive narcissist who whines about hurting her but insists this is the best of all possible solutions. In that, he's right - getting rid of him is going to be the best thing for her life, sanity, and overall health.) Another friend is having car issues. If I sat down and made a list of all the things that have gone wrong in June, I'd be tempted to just say the hell with all of it, and stay in bed throughout July.

And the hypercalcemia is taking a toll on me. One of the symptoms is fatigue; I am beat most of the day no matter how long I sleep, whether or not I take a nap in the evening. Writing this has drained me. I ache, and (sorry for the TMI) constipation is making me miserable. I don't take calcium supplements, and my doctor has said that it doesn't matter how much calcium I actually eat; cutting that out would be a drop in the bucket compared to what my spastic little parathyroid glands are shooting into my system daily. Thank God the surgery is on the 25th.

Now things promise to be a bit wacky. My friend Kel has insisted that she'll take me to the hospital and back. (Yeah, so not driving myself to surgery and back. The whole bit about being drugged to the gills before they slip the knife in made me reconsider that idea.) Annika, my housemate, has insisted she's coming along and staying with me. And Charles, our housemate, has also insisted he wants to come and visit. Meanwhile, my surgery is scheduled for 8 in the morning. They're going to all be there . . . my crazy little tribe of Goths and geeks.

I so owe you a post on my home life, because none of you currently have any idea why it is I'm terrified. ;)

And finally, to wrap this up, Stefan says that the salmon season up around False Pass has been fantastic - which heralds a boom season at Port Moller. This likely means he'll get his full set of hours this season, instead of cutbacks; he'll be tired and cranky as hell when he gets home in September, but he won't be scrambling to find part-time work to round out a rattling bank account this year either.

You know . . . I may be tired, but this was actually fun. I think I will tell you guys the story of the Black Rose Bar & Grill sooner rather than later.

Night, darlings. Love you guys.
northwestmagpie: (I'm Not Sure)
It's quiet without Lucky, and lonely, but I'm healing from the shock of losing him. I suspect the pain will be lifelong - of course it will; you never lose someone you love without pain - but the grief is fading as I recall him, and realize that 99% of my memories of him were joyful, happy, or funny ones. Like the time he startled me and I accidentally dumped a glass of tea all over him. Or when he stared down a Jack Russell terrier in Phoenix, and sent the mutt whimpering away with its tail between its legs.

Just so many memories of a beautiful, loving, happy cat who enticed people wherever he went. And I am so glad that I let him go without pain or fear. I am so glad he went in my arms, knowing how much I loved him. Mom died surrounded by her children, two of whom I know loved her unreservedly, so there are two family members I've sent off from this world without a regret.

In the meantime, I've been listening to music to calm my mind. And my mind has responded by jumping up and embracing a couple of ideas for stories. I've been emailed by [profile] wiebke to contribute a story I'd written for Storm Constantine's last anthology to her new upcoming one; I'll see if I can configure that in time for publication. The other story takes place in my Talarian world, and may be a short story or novella - a young boy raised in a matriarchal society loses his mother, and sets out to avenge her death and take back what was stolen from her. How he's going to do it is pretty simple; the implications are the knot I have to untangle.

I am also preparing for surgery on July 25. That's the earliest they can get me in to get rid of this damned node and the parathyroid glands. Oh, joy, hooray . . . the fun of recuperation and the possibility of losing my voice for two weeks. Or a month.

I'm going to stop before I start feeling sorry for myself again.
northwestmagpie: (At Peace)
I have dreaded writing about this since Wednesday.

# # # #

I still don't understand how it started, but on Sunday night, Lucky came into my room and started for his food dish. Then he stopped, hunched up, and vomited two small frothy pools of yellow vomit.

I cleaned it up, wiped his face, and got him some grass from outside. We don't use fertilizers or pesticides on the grass; we mulch it with clippings. I felt safe giving Lucky a small amount, which he ate. After that, I fed him a small amount of hairball remover - the dark, gloopy stuff, which he loathed. He then curled up and went to sleep.

On Monday morning, I woke up and found two more small pools of yellowish vomit on the bedroom floor. Lucky was in my closet, lying in a corner. I touched his nose and checked his mouth; he had no lesions, wasn't drooling, and showed no signs of dehydration or fever. I gave him some fresh water, cleaned up the vomit, and went to work after asking my housemate Annika to keep an eye on him.

Monday evening, I returned home to find Lucky hadn't eaten or drunk all day, but had vomited again on the library floor. With Annika's help, I got a syringe of water down Lucky, smeared corn syrup on his gums, and got him to eat more grass. Then I went out and picked up feline digestive drops to help settle his uneasy stomach. I gave him a dose. An hour later, he threw up again - three larger pools of liquid that smelled like chicken that had gone off. By now I was frightened, and I took him to a local vet. Lucky was x-rayed to see if he had any foreign matter in his stomach, and had his vitals checked. All looked okay - even his temperature was normal - and the vet told me that she believed Lucky had a hairball or bad food on his stomach. She told me to let him fast for 8 hours, and if he was still vomiting, to bring him back in.

Lucky was sleeping again in the morning when I got up. I left instructions for Annika or her husband to call me if that changed at all, and went to work with a heavy heart. When I came home, I saw a pool of water on my floor that wasn't urine - but it also had that raw, acidic smell. I cleaned it up, found Lucky, put him in his carrier, and took him back to the vet.

This time they took blood, palpitated his stomach, and tried to figure out what was wrong, while hydrating him via IV. His stomach hurt him; he didn't cry, but flinched when the vet touched him. Otherwise, he was his usual patient self with the vet, only complaining when his temperature was taken. I held him, rubbed his head and chin, and tried not to cry. All I could think was, Please let this be food poisoning. Please don't let it be kidney failure. Please.

One should be very careful with one's prayers. One should make certain there's no answer worse than the one that's feared.

Tuesday night passed badly for me. I woke up, certain I heard him walking across the floor, drinking from his fountain - which I had unplugged and placed on a shelf out of his reach - or eating from his dish, which rested on my dresser. I would have given anything to open my eyes and see him sprawled on the rug, blinking his eyes in the light and giving me a rippling "Meow?" Why are you up, Mom?

Wednesday morning, I stopped by the hospital to see him. He was awake, a little nervous, but happy to see me; the vet assistant brought him into an exam room, and I gave him a hug and many chin scritchies. He didn't purr, but he blinked his eyes at me, got off the table, and jumped down to the chair so I could kneel at eye level and lean my head against his. The only thing that annoyed him was the IV line attached to his leg, which he glared at with loathing with every step he took. I spent 30 minutes with him instead of 15, and was late to work. All day long I waited for a call from the hospital, half-fearing it would be bad news, yet terrified as the silence stretched on. At 5 p.m., I bolted from the office, tearing off to the hospital as fast as I could.

When I was halfway there, the phone call came.

They thought they'd found a mass somewhere close to his gall bladder, and wanted to do an ultrasound.

I agreed at once. All I could think was, if it's cancer, surely they can do surgery. They can remove it. He'll have many more months with me, if not years. He'll survive this. I'll take care of him. At this point, I'd already spent what savings I'd managed to accumulate on his care; yet I knew that, if I asked, Stefan would help me with the surgery costs. I could pawn things - my laptop, Mom's wedding ring, other belongings. Whatever it took, I'd do it if it would save my tuxedo boy.

When I arrived at the hospital, the receptionist asked me to wait for the doctor. The vet came out, and asked if I'd come into a room with him. When we sat down, he told me what the ultrasound had revealed.

A "linear mass" in his lower intestine, likely a length of string that he'd swallowed, and that from the look of things had perforated the gut. Fluid had filled his abdomen. His gall bladder and spleen were enlarged. The radiologist, who had worked with intestinal perforations for years, had told the vet flat-out that she would not place Lucky's chances with surgery at higher than 50 percent. And the specialist informed us both that if Lucky did survive surgery, he would be likelier to die within days.

This is the part I hate to remember, because a voice in my head insists that I should have demanded a second opinion. I should have insisted on the surgery. I should have tried to lengthen my boy's life.

Instead, I turned to the vet and said, "I won't make him go through this. Not if his chances are this bad."

The vet told me he thought I'd made a fair decision, and he would bring Lucky to me. He did, wrapped in a hospital blanket, and placed him on the table. Lucky stared at him with wide-pupilled eyes; he'd been given painkillers, so he felt nothing, but I was crying and that upset him. So I wiped my eyes, forced myself to smile and calm down, and began saying goodbye to him.

I had an hour in which to pet him, watch him wander and explore the room (all the while scowling at that damn IV), and tell him how sorry I was that I'd failed him. I rubbed his chin and head, and despite the fact that he didn't purr, Lucky turned his head so that his face rested in my palm - his usual way of telling me not to stop petting him. His way of telling me he loved me.

He nuzzled my hair. I choked on sobs.

The vet came back in. I started to put Lucky on the table, and saw that blanket. He'd shown me how much he loathed it, and so I tossed it onto a chair. "He's not dying on that thing," I told the vet. "He hates it." I picked up my bag, which Lucky had lain on twice while we were in the room, and emptied its contents on the floor. I spread it on the table and placed Lucky on it; he promptly lay on his stomach, front paws stretched out before him like a perfect gentleman. I stroked his head and the back of his neck, and he lowered his head so that his face rested on my other hand.

The vet flushed the IV. Lucky growled; I rubbed the back of his neck again, and he quieted.

Then the vet gave him Propofol. At once Lucky went to sleep, his head pillowed on the back of my hand. And then the vet gave him the final shot of a clear purple liquid, one I could see clearly even though the tears spilled down my face. This stopped his little heart.

He went to sleep knowing that I held him. Hopefully, that I loved him as well.

When he was gone, I held him in my arms and cried.

He would have been nine years old in July. I found him in 2004 on a freeway in Los Angeles, a battered little baby with a broken nose, burned pads, and fleas all over. He greeted me with a purr. He left me with not even a sigh.

And my heart is broken. A healthy, happy, loving cat; a strong cat; felled by a piece of string. My baby boy is gone.

I loved you so much, sweetheart. You were well-named, but I was the lucky one in finding you.


northwestmagpie: (Default)

August 2017



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