Wednesday, December 31, 2014

An Update - Of a Sort

I don't really "blog" anymore and that is intentional.

First, life got in the way. And then, well, I just felt like I didn't have anything to say. Days blend into weeks and then months and everything just blurs into one thing: the Same Ol'.

2014 has been a weird year, hasn't it? If you were in Scotland, at least.

[REDACTED]

I had a big blog post about this year in reflection but honestly, I started to feel self-conscious about what I had written so here are some photos from the past year instead.

Happy New Year to everyone when it comes!

























Friday, September 06, 2013

Back From Summer Sabbatical

Oh, hi. It's been a busy summer but still, not really. Here's a brief catch-up in pictures and a few words. 

BIKES

23 JuneThe British Cycling Road Championships were in Glasgow and we went along to cheer on my favourite cyclist, David Millar. (Alas, he came third. Mark Cavendish won, of course). 


CANADA (IN THE UK)

1 July: We were invited along to a pancake breakfast at the Canadian High Commission in London. 







Oh, dear. A Canada Day faux-pas. The breakfast was sponsored by Clark's Maple Syrup, who proceeded to give out free recipe pamphlets - which included a recipe for AMERICAN pancakes. Oh, for fuck's sake.

Canadian High Commissioner to the UK, Gordon Campbell, opening the Canada Day celebrations at Canada House.




Canada Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square, which included street hockey, overpriced shitty "poutine" and "butterscotch pancakes". Not to mention ONE Canadian beer for sale: Molson Canadian. Now, this was my first Canada Day celebrations that I have been to in London, and I hate to say it but it was a massive let down. I thought for sure that there would be stalls selling hard-to-find Canadian goodies like Canadian wine, Tim Horton coffee, Hudson Bay stuff, MAPLE SYRUP, and other fairly obvious Canadian stuff. Instead, there were corporate stalls set up by Blackberry (ok, a Canadian invention, sure, but I didn't go to Canada Day Celebrations to get the latest Blackberry), Canadian Affair airlines and other corporate shills I didn't bother to go around to.  Gutted.


 Tattoos: One of the best parts of my trip to London, was the opportunity to get tattooed at one of the best studios in the UK: The Family Business. Everyone in the shop was super nice, accommodating and not to mention very talented.


 BLONDES HAVE MORE FUN



Hair: blonder / shorter. 

And finally, the song of the summer:



Enjoy your weekend, y'all x

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Oh, Yeah. I Have a Blog

Guess I took an unannounced sabbatical from blogging, huh? I guess that happens when you're busy living offline, doing shit. 

So, here's what's been happening: I got a large(ish) tattoo on my back, after wanting one for YEARS. I decided what I wanted and finally had it done. BOOM. That's the kinda thing you do when you're terrified of what your future may or may not hold. 

I moved. After a year and a half of living by myself in a cute little flat in Partick, my boyfriend, G, and I moved in together. We're still in the West end of Glasgow, but just a wee bit further North. We've also had to purchase proper furniture (well, Ikea actually) and at 33, I sort of feel like an adult!? Only, I'm not. I keep waiting for someone to come and take it all away from me because surely I'm still just a kid and can't be trusted with all these adult responsibilities...!?

ILR - I've finally managed to get my arse in gear and apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. I passed the Life in the UK test, scrounged up almost £1000 and sent away my application - along with my passport. Apparently it can take up to 6 months so I am thus marooned in the UK until further notice.  

Being happy. It's disgusting, right?! How dare I. In reality, being disgustingly happy is actually kinda boring. No drama; no stress; no blow ups or outs: just easy. Like a Sunday morning, I guess. 





Friday, February 01, 2013

FLY YOUR FREAK FLAG


I know it's cliched and indeed, perhaps even predictable, but since my recent surgery, I've been feeling a little bit more bold. Actually, that's not entirely correct; I've been feeling more confident about who I am and what I want. Which isn't to say that I've suddenly become some arrogant blowhard - quite the opposite. I suppose what I feel is a sense of calmness? A (foreign!) serene understanding that life is finite and precious and if you're lucky, you might be able to squeeze out a few hefty decades from your time here. And for anyone who has ever survived the cruel years of Grades 6 to 8, you know that it takes a whole lotta courage and resilience to be who you are and do what you want in this life. Going from a healthy 33-year old to an exhausted and frail patient, made me appreciate that even more.

Funnily enough, a couple days after surgery, my wonderful and kind boyfriend was helping me into bed. My abdominal muscles were (and somewhat still are) swollen and in pain and as such, I couldn't lean back into bed without help. With my arms wrapped round his neck, my boyfriend slowly eased me into bed. Several times I yelped for him to stop because the discomfort and pain was unbearable. After about three unsuccessful attempts, I broke out into tears; never in my life had I felt so vulnerable; so helpless. I was frustrated that I couldn't do something for myself that I so desperately wanted to do. Ultimately, it made me realise that at a very basic level, I don't like feeling that; I don't like feeling like I can't do something - or not do something out of fear. Even something as silly as cutting my hair.

You see, right before Christmas, I cut all my hair off. Big deal, you think. To me, however, I thought it was. I've had long mermaid hair for YEARS and to be totally honest, I was afraid that if I cut it all off, guys wouldn't see me as attractive anymore. And although I would define myself as a feminist, I was still valuing my self worth on men's attention towards something as stupid as hair length...?! In my own mind, I had associated femininity and attractiveness with long hair (despite this being utter bullshit), and I was scared of doing something that I wanted to do - something as simple as cutting my own hair! Ridiculous, I know! As soon as I cut it, however, I felt actual joy. Funny, huh?

Anyway, I suppose what I'm trying to say is: life is short so be courageous and let your freak flag fly high.

p.s. I'm getting a tattoo :)


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

AN ODE TO THE SMALL BUT MIGHTY ADRENAL GLANDS

Remember that health scare I had back in the summer? Well, thankfully it's (almost) over.

To cut a long story short, doctors found what appeared to be a 7cm cyst on my right kidney. It didn't appear too sinister, however, as a lot of people (although usually over the age of 50) have kidney cysts and don't even realise it.

However, after further unsavoury tests and being passed around various doctors, it turned out to be attached to my right adrenal gland. Indeed, it was engulfing my right adrenal gland because it was so beastly in size. What are the adrenal glands, you ask? Oh, just two wee glands that sit atop your kidneys ("kidney hats", you might say), and without which, you would die as they are essential for day-to-day life. Prior to this episode, I had never heard of them; now I am in awe of all the intricate matters of life they are responsible for.

Unlike kidney cysts, tumours/cysts/growths of the adrenal glands are quite rare and because I am so fucking exclusive, my genetics decided to go ahead and grow one. You could, like I did almost daily, google "adrenal gland" and "tumour" and sob at your desk due to overwhelming fear factor of it all. Or you could, like my boyfriend and Mom, reassure yourself and others that even though tumours of the adrenal gland are rare, cancerous tumours of the adrenal gland are even rarer.

And so, after about 1.5 months of waiting, my time was finally up and last Tuesday, I went in for surgery to have my right adrenal gland and its uninvited houseguest removed via laparoscopic surgery. It was my first time experiencing surgery of any kind as well as anaesthetic. And now, after experiencing both, I am actually astounded as to how anyone would ever opt to have elective cosmetic surgery!? The effects of anaesthetic, on me at least, were intense; I went under as a healthy and active 33-year old and awoke as an exhausted, chain-smoking old woman. No one really warns you how tired you feel afterwards and worse, no one really told me (apart from my physiotherapists), to expect to cough up almost an entire cupped hands worth of phlegm (gross, I know).

Anyway, I am so thankful for all the care I received over the last few months - especially from the anaesthesiologist at Gartnavel General, who didn't dismiss me or my fear of needles/ IVs and offered me diazepam and hand-numbing cream; nor did she laugh when I asked, "where do you go when you're put under?" Apparently you don't dream and it's not really sleep - you're just .....really really passed the fuck out, like in a coma? They're still not really sure, apparently. There's a really interesting interview from NPR worth listening to, if you're fascinated/ weirded out by it all like I was.

I am also grateful to the kind nurses who helped me recover when I was in hospital, following surgery. It also goes without saying that I am eternally grateful to my Mom, who flew all the way over from the West Coast of Canada, to be here with me during surgery and after. Not to mention my supportive and grounded friends, who calmed me, answered my questions, took me to appointments and held my hand as I fainted during tests. And to my lovely boyfriend, who didn't fob me off when I sobbed, thinking it was the end of the world like a true drama queen. Thank you.

Now on to the gruesome and gory pictures. Close your browser now if you don't want to see post-op pictures and NHS food.

Ready?



So, you've been fasting for 24 hours and wouldn't mind some dinner to help speed up recovery. You enquire about the veggie option for dinner. You're told it's cauliflower and cheese, with some potatoes. You lift the lid and lo! It looks like the post-morphine puke you did earlier, all over yourself, in the wee hours of the morning. MMMmmmm.....

Following night's veggie dinner was tomato and basil pasta. Dessert was ginger cake, smothered in custard (blech). The tea, however, was ace. Fellow patients in my ward dined on fish and french fries. Anyone else find it odd that hospitals are feeding people french fries? Just me?

Ever wondered what your body might look like post laparoscopic right adrenalectomy? I've got you covered, bro!







Seriously though. Thank the mighty Aneurin Bevan for the National Health Service, even if they do still have visiting hours (grrrr....)


xoxo

Monday, December 24, 2012

Yuletide Greetings


Ok, you know what? Say what you will but one of the most exciting things to happen to me recently is this (as pictured above); I chopped all my hair off. Traditionally, this is something that we womenfolk like to do when we go through a tumultuous break-up, start a new job or move to some exotic far-flung corner of the earth.

Thankfully, I haven't experienced any such events (she says, tempting fate) but rather, I've had a pretty joyous few months (despite health fears and concerns). A lot of the time we go from month to month and suddenly here we are yet again, scrambling to get ready for Christmas and what to do of Hogmanay!? I've spent most days/ months, amazed at how lucky I've been this past year.

2012 started with uncertainty - I had no idea how the year was going to fair. To my utter astonishment, it turned into a year of falling desperately, madly, disgustingly head-over-heels in love (with a Scottish man, no less!) So, who knows what 2013 will bring, eh?!

And with that, Merry Christmas. Bring it on, 2013.