Current Obsession: Stardew Valley

Things have been rough lately for a number of reasons, and one of the best ways that I have found to weather the storm is to plug myself into gaming. It’s kind of reassuring that you can do something repetitive and know that it’s a few less hours where you had to feel anything or think too much. I have murky geek girl credentials, because I usually steer well clear of a lot of the big selling games. I like World of Warcraft (though level 90+ is pretty boring to me, and I will never enjoy group dungeons), but I also love Age of Empires and Banished-type games. Oh, and Orcs Must Die 2 will never get old. I also love a whole bunch of niche games on Steam, like Who’s Your Daddy? and Goat Simulator. I guess I’m weird and picky, but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody!

Anyway, Stardew Valley – I love it. For the uninitiated, it’s a game where you are the owner of a farm and you have to do all sorts of activities to make money to upgrade your farm. You can grow crops, go fishing, mine for ores and gems, forage for food, explore hidden areas and make friends (or marry) the townspeople. It’s pretty much the opposite of hectic, but you do constantly have to watch how many hours are left in the day and how much energy you have left. There has been a lot of comparison to ‘spoonie’ culture, and I can definitely see that – it’s kind of refreshing that there are no shortcuts, you can’t put in a superhuman effort in one day to fast-track the game, it’s all about slow and steady persistence.

And oh my goodness, search for the game on Tumblr and see how much effort people have put into their Stardew Valley fan art. Especially the dreamy Shane and Sebastian portraits. There are some serious crushes going on for those two, which is interesting considering that one is an emotionally volatile alcoholic and the other is a sulky emo kid who literally lives in his parents’ basement.

Anyway, my very best quality tips for the Stardew Valley novice:

  1. Build lots of chests and hoard a certain number of foraged/fished/farmed items, so you are always prepared if you get a quest. I like to build up to hoarding three of each item, sometimes more if I know a particular character loves something, so that I always have a ‘loved’ gift for them (i.e. Shane and hot peppers). Note: Nathan disagrees with this strategy because he just ignore the quests and gives everybody salmonberries for friendship instead, so YMMV.
  2. Don’t go crazy with farming until you have enough resources for a lot of sprinklers, otherwise it will suck all your energy and you won’t get anything else done unless it is raining. Do make sure that you plant a lot of the crops that are included in the ‘quality crop bundle’ and use fertilizer on them – it really, really sucked only getting four gold star quality melons in summer and knowing that I’d have to wait a whole year for another chance.
  3. Birthdays are really important – I went from zero to three hearts with George by giving him a ‘loved’ item on his birthday, so worth it.
  4. Look at the community centre bundles on the wiki before you even start, so you know what you need. It’s beyond frustrating if you get to the last three days of spring and realize that all the farm items that you needed to collect won’t grow in time before autumn comes, so you have to wait until next year instead.
  5. Watch television! Very important. Especially the Living off the Land show – this will tell you when foraging events happen, like salmonberry and blackberry season. I easily foraged hundreds of these and they are useful for turning into jam en masse and selling.
  6. Plan out your day as soon as you get up, and make it a logical plan that doesn’t involve too much walking back and forth. For example, I might have saved up four geodes that need processing, so it makes sense to take them at a time when I have some ocean fishing to do, since I’ll be on that side of town anyway.
  7. Use a spreadsheet like this one to keep track of which crops are most profitable. In the first year, it’s a good idea to plant some of everything to build up your stored items and get those bundles, but once that’s done, it’s all about profit (except for if you need items for cooking).
  8. Five levels each day seems to be my limit in the mines; any more than that, I seem to be running out of energy or time. I keep a chest outside the entrance to the mines that is stocked with high energy/health food items to take with me, so I don’t have to lug them around with me all the time.
  9. Have fun!

April – Taking Stock

Finally April. This is never my favourite time of year, but a new calendar month feels like a reprieve at the moment. The last two months have been awful, but things are getting better all the time. Looking forward to getting on with things!

Here is April, inspired by Pip Lincolne‘s lists:

Making : plans and lists
Cooking : tonight I’m making spaghetti and meatballs (plus extra to freeze) and later in the week, beef goulash with couscous
Drinking : I let myself drink some champagne and spiced ginger beer over Easter, but now it’s going to be all water for a very long time
Reading : trying to get on with two books that Dad wanted me to read
Trawling : the internet for a feather mattress topper – I’ve been spoiled by staying at Auntie Marie’s, and now nothing else will do
Wanting : this house to be renovated already so I can clean, decorate and enjoy it
Looking : at these two sleeping puppies and wondering whether we’re going to have a quiet day or a barking party day
Deciding : whether we should go all white or a little bit pale aqua in the new bathroom
Wishing : that I could skip the rest of this leg recovery stuff
Enjoying : being home after being away for the weekend, even if it’s a big downgrade to where I was
Waiting : for all this Easter chocolate to disappear from the house – if I just don’t touch it, Nathan will inevitably make it disappear
Wondering : how hard I can push my leg, exercise-wise, without going backwards
Loving : kind of secretly loving that my sister is living at my mum’s right now, and we all get to see her more often (which used to be a fairly rare thing)
Pondering : whether we can possibly swing a ski trip this year, or whether that will be a next year thing
Listening : to extremely good advice from my aunt about renovating this house o’ mine – it’s so valuable to hear from somebody with a lot of experience in these things
Considering :
Buying : trying not to buy much at all right now, because it is just more stuff to be packed up
Watching : nothing right now – I suppose we watched the two Ricky Gervais specials on Netflix, and I’m slowly getting through Black Mirror, which is a bit too upsetting to watch more than an episode at a time
Hoping : that ordering a meal service for a while will give me a break from meal planning and cooking, but also reset our ideas of portion sizes and help us lose some weight while I can’t exercise as much as I would like
Marvelling : at finally being able to wear leggings, just in time for the weather to get cold
Cringing : at how I almost managed to kill one of our houseplants that has a reputation for being one of the hardest plants to kill – hopefully it recovers
Needing : my hair to grow back from this awfully sad little haircut that I had last week
Questioning : whether I can/should plant out new vegetables for this mid-season if there’s a good chance that we won’t be here (renovating) to tend to them every day
Wearing : leggings, of course!
Noticing : how much junk we have, how much stuff we need to get rid of, how much we need to hire a skip rather than rely on shoving it all in the garbage bin (Nathan is resistant)
Knowing : (now) that it’s going to be a barking party kind of day
Thinking : about what sort of writing I want to get done in the next few months, and how I’m going to get it done while being temporarily homeless
Admiring : the photo that I posted on Instagram of the sunset at my aunt’s house – it’s pretty
Getting : impatient about getting things done
Bookmarking : the Jamie Oliver hot cross bun pudding recipe I made for Good Friday, that was absolutely delicious
Disliking : a giant moth was smacking around in the hallway last night, and this morning, I can’t find it anywhere – it will be lurking though, waiting to haunt me for another night
Feeling : sort of mixed right now – lots of catching up to do
Hearing : Rupert’s cold weather snuffling
Celebrating : that I can’t believe I’ve been married for seven months
Embracing : change, mess and inconvenience, because I know that it will make life so much easier and brighter when it’s all done!

Issues with Outlander

Let me preface this : I have not read the books. I intend on reading the books, because I have heard that Diana Gabaldon’s writing style is exquisite and transcends the literary/genre divide. So I can’t speak for what happens in the books – this is purely about the television series.

There may be spoilers in here – beware!

First of all, I don’t want to be mean… because part of me really loves the show. But another part of me wants to throw my TV out the window usually once an episode. I think I would be much happier with the show if Jamie and Claire weren’t in it (controversial!). But first, let me count the ways that I really like it.

The costumes are wonderful. I have read a lot of criticism of the costumes for not being absolutely historically accurate, but for me, it makes it so much more sense that somebody like Geillis Duncan would be a little bit kooky in how she constructed and wore her clothes. She can’t just erase the influence of her entire life up until going through the stones, of course it’s going to flavour the way she does things.

I love the music. The opening theme is perfect, and the background music never feels like an rushed afterthought. I really like the way that it captures a continuous feeling, but it incorporates different rhythms and instruments depending on the time and place.

The cinematography and the locations are so gorgeous, even when they are grim or unforgiving. A problem that I have with Game of Thrones and actually, most fantasy/historical movies that have come out in recent years, is that everything is so ridiculously desaturated. I know what they are going for – they want it to look gritty and cold, but when overused, it looks like an emo instagram filter. Couple that with the current trend of making everybody as dirty and greasy as possible, and it’s a bit depressing to watch. In Outlander, there are are moments of sunshine, there is the warmth of an open fire, people are occasionally wear colorful dresses or blush with pleasure. It’s nicer to watch, and it’s more realistic than everything looking like Skyrim.

I also thought it was fun and refreshing that Claire (in the first two seasons) drank almost constantly, and often ran into trouble because of it. Unflattering character quirks are always more interesting to watch, rather than somebody who is perfect all the time.

Which brings me to my issues with Outlander – Jamie is too perfect. All the time, no matter what, always noble and just and self-sacrificing and understanding and chivalrous and wounded and perfect. The problem with this is that he becomes entirely predictable. Of course he’s going to defend her honour. Of course he’s going to sacrifice himself to save her. Of course there’s going to be some convenient moral side-stepping if he does anything that doesn’t fit the perfect man narrative (like the explanation for marrying Laoghaire, which just served to make him even more noble). The only thing that could ever be said about Jamie Fraser is that sometimes he can be… backwards in his treatment of women, from the point of view of contemporary Claire. However, this is forgiven in the story as well, because she seems to kind of like it.

Which brings me to the next point – Claire. Oh Claire, the most frustrating person in the show. As a viewer, I should be grateful that she is so annoying, because it certainly makes things interesting. Or, I should say infuriating. Claire seems to run around Scotland causing trouble wherever she goes. She is headstrong, but this seems to translate into screaming, crying and banging her fists on the chests of men all the time… often when they are trying to help her or at least save her from herself. She never listens to anybody or is humble enough to accept advice – she always knows best. Jamie specifically tells her to not do things for her own safety, but of course, she does them anyway, never for a second entertaining the idea that maybe these Scottish people would have a better handle on the way things work in their time period because that’s how they’ve lived their whole lives.

And then there’s the rape bits. I acknowledge fully that it would have been a very dangerous time for a woman, and that facing the threat of rape would have been a real and awful part of daily life for women in that era. However, the show never seems to acknowledge this threat towards anybody but Claire (and to a lesser extent Jamie). Sometimes it seems like everybody that Claire meets wants to rape her. We see almost nothing of other female characters having to deal with these dangers – it feels like it’s specific to Claire, and it’s offered as an example of how singularly desirable she is compared to other women. Even when she boards the English ship as their doctor, everybody is so worried about her being the ‘only’ female aboard and what danger that puts her in… except that there is already a woman there, but nobody is concerned that she is going to get raped. I suppose because she’s not as beautiful as Claire, who’s not like other girls (urgh). This particular little complex that the show seems to have with rape and desirability is really icky, and I have such a hard time with it. And let’s not even talk about the whole ‘curative rape’ thing with Jamie.

Then there’s Frank. It’s very hard to feel sympathy for Claire after the way she treated Frank. His story is so sad, and I hate that she found a way to spin it around into her tragedy (“He was my first love!”). Claire, you are not (always) the victim.

There! Outlander and I definitely have our relationship status set to ‘it’s complicated’. I’m nearly finished with season three, but I think I’ll be doing some reading between now and the next season.

**EDIT – I just read this article, and despite everything I wrote above, I agree with a lot of these sentiments as well… even though they can be contradictory. Like I said, it’s complicated.

Stitchin’

The most annoying thing about this damn leg injury of mine is that I can’t do anything much. And everything I can do, I don’t wanna do, because it gets extremely same-old-same-old very quickly. I have been surviving on TV marathons, true crime documentaries, snacking like it’s going out of fashion, internet forums, and bitching to my sister about celebrities.

I did one exciting thing though – for Christmas, Mum signed me up for an embroidery workshop. Despite having a former life as a felt bridal bouquet designer, there was actually only very simple embroidery involved in that – mostly chain stitch, back stitch and straight stick. Apart from a few ribbon embroideries that I did as a kid, nobody ever really taught me the basics, so I was keen to do a beginner class and start from the beginning. We worked on Purrrfect by Cinderberries, and the class was run by Natalie Lymer.

It was so much fun! And I get such a kick out of finding I’m a natural* at something. The pattern is perfect for a beginner, is ultra cute, and is going to look adorable hanging on the wall. Natalie was a really patient and kind teacher, so I would thoroughly recommend her if she runs any more classes. I really want to tackle her Yuletide double-hooped wreath to stick on my mantelpiece at Christmastime.

This is my finished work. I’m even proud to say that the back is almost entirely neat as well – just one tiny little bobbly bit where my thread knotted. There is one or two leaf fronds where I accidentally deviated from the pattern and didn’t want to unpick it, but I think it looks pretty good. And I have the perfect spot for it – I guess that will now be ‘the cat wall’ of my house, despite not having a cat.

* The long story on this is… after I finished this pattern, my head was the size of a small planet and I was feeling pretty good about my skills. I got a bunch of patterns that were, in hindsight, way too hard for a beginner. I started an alphabet sampler and oh my god, it’s a disaster so far. Even just satin stitching a simple circular ring has been beyond me. My ego is well and truly deflated now! I’ve worked out that I was probably using the wrong fabric (it was grey shot cotton – I think – and the same colour as my needle, which was making things extremely difficult) and that I didn’t trace my pattern very well… so I’m starting again. Hopefully I will have something worth showing soon, and not another trainwreck.

March – Taking Stock

What a drag. I have no photos, because I’m barely leaving the house right now except for physio and swimming. This is not the most enjoyable season of life, I can tell you. There are gaps this month, as there is truly not much happening in my life. April will be better! Or, it better be better.

Here is March, inspired by Pip Lincolne‘s lists:

Making :
Cooking : not a lot – surviving on takeout and sandwiches a lot these days, because I just can’t stay on my feet long enough to cook properly
Drinking : gallons of diet ice tea – having to take a million painkillers over the last few weeks has had the unfortunate side effect of making me gag on water a lot of the time, but I’m trying to reintroduce myself slowly
Reading : waiting for a copy of Call Me By Your Name to arrive in the mail, and cannot wait to be transported to gorgeous Italy
Trawling :
Wanting : something that doesn’t exist – I want flowers delivered, but not arrangements – just plain old cut flowers so I can put them in a vase, and it doesn’t seem like anybody does that
Looking : pretty bloody awful right now, especially since I hacked myself a new fringe last night
Deciding :
Wishing : that I could magically melt half my body weight off and not feel like such a whale
Enjoying : the slightly colder mornings, and the fact that the dogs like to snuggle now before they get out of bed
Waiting : and waiting and waiting and waiting… until this leg of mine is better
Wondering :
Loving : that Nathan saw my struggles with trying to trace an embroidery pattern by taping things to the window and waiting for a bright but overcast day, so he bought me a fancy lightbox thing that works really, really well
Pondering :
Listening : to the birds chirping outside the window, distant lawnmowers, Rupert snoring, the click-click-click of my keyboard
Considering : rearranging some of our personal timelines and five year plans, everything takes so much longer than anticipated
Buying : a ticket to Bali for the end of the year – I know, I should go somewhere else, but after how much of a nightmare this year has been so far, I’m really just looking forward to familiarity and relaxation rather than something more challenging
Watching : well, we just finished Big Love, and now I don’t know what to do with my life
Hoping :
Marvelling :
Cringing : at the way my leg looks scooped out where the muscle has wasted
Needing : to figure out a way of working out despite my current limitations, because this is ridiculous
Questioning :
Wearing : shorts only – I can’t tolerate fabric on my leg right now, so I’m really glad this is happening at this time of year
Noticing : that people are always all “it takes a village!” about their kids, but when you actually try to be that village, they can’t be bothered to even respond to you
Knowing : that I need to do something about the fuchsias running rampant outside my front door, even though there are native birds that feast on the flowers every day
Thinking :
Admiring : my finished cat embroidery piece that is sitting on the mantelpiece right now, I will post about it soon
Getting :
Bookmarking :
Disliking :
Feeling : pretty miserable about not being able to do anything, honestly
Hearing :
Celebrating :
Embracing :

Review : Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I’m always playing catch up when it comes to Oscar nominees. This is the only Best Picture nominee that I have actually seen yet, despite all my best intentions. The kind of anticipation I had for this movie was more like wariness – I knew it was going to be depressing, so I wasn’t really looking forward to it. But I’m so glad I went.

This movie has weathered a lot of criticism, despite a 93% Rotten Tomatoes rating. I’m going to talk about some of that below, so warning – there will be spoilers, so maybe only read this if you’ve already seen the movie.

A lot of people said that the film felt more like a play. This is true, but I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing – in fact, it was kind of intriguing. It made good use of the kind of super-close, intimate acting that suits movies, and the setting and characters reveled in their own gritty realism. But the structure was very play-like, which was intriguing. It kind of gave me vibes of one of Sam Shepard’s plays.

About Sam Rockwell’s character – the criticism that was leveled here was completely unwarranted, and I’m about to explain why, at length, so stay tuned.

Jason Dixon is a racist. This is undeniable. It serves to place his character in an uncomfortable place where you revile him for his views and actions, feel sorry for him for his limited prospects, feel pity for his pathetic predicament, and also feel glad for his actions towards the end. I think he is a very well written character because he makes you so uncomfortable – he contains multitudes, he is a walking contradiction, he can’t be categorized as strictly good or bad – and all of that makes him so much more real than a character that is a hundred percent evil at all times.

I think we have reached a point as a society where people are having serious issues seeing anything other than black and white. There are so many shades of grey. A racist is a racist, and they should never be applauded or admired for that, but it doesn’t mean that they are like an evil cartoon character who isn’t also capable of doing something good once in a while. There was so much criticism of how a racist character isn’t “deserving” of a redemption arc, but isn’t that the character that needs it most of all? If we wrote off every racist as irredeemable, we might as well just bomb the whole world and call it a day on the human race. It seems like it would be much more useful to think of racists with a growth mindset – maybe they just don’t know any better, maybe they are scared, maybe they can change, maybe they can learn, maybe they can do better… and they are probably more likely to do these things if they are presented with positive leadership by example.

I felt similar feelings when there was the furor about The Handmaid’s Tale including black women, and completely erasing the fact that Gilead was meant to be white supremacist as well as deeply misogynistic. The director of the show said something like that he didn’t see the difference between making a show about racism and a racist show. Except that things like racism need to be depicted on screen, otherwise it is being erased and swept under the rug. People need to see depictions of terrible things so that we can make our judgments about how terrible they are – ignoring them or shying away from these representations is basically saying “racism doesn’t exist”, when it surely does, it needs to be seen so that we can make a judgment about it being a bad thing. Some of the criticism of Three Billboards felt like… people would have rathered that Jason Dixon was either politically correct in every way, or that he didn’t exist. But of course he exists – he is probably like hundreds or thousands of small town cops in America. People need to see that. There is no use acting like every person on screen needs to be a hundred percent likeable or politically correct in order to be a valuable part of the plot.

Anyway, all of that aside, Sam Rockwell’s acting was so good. Even though Best Actor/Actress is considered more prestigious than Supporting Actor/Actress, I actually thought he was better than Frances McDormand – even though she was amazing too. I just loved the way that you felt so much for Jason Dixon, even when those feelings violently opposed each other. His character was such a tragedy.

I would recommend this movie – I’ve already told Nathan and Mum that they have to see it – but I don’t think I will be wanting to watch it again in a hurry. It was depressing. I went to see it during the daytime, so there were a bunch of (rude) seniors there who seemed to think that they were there for a comedy… and were quite disappointed when they walked out. Their loss. What we did see was something bleak, uncomfortable and unrelentingly bitter, but I’m glad I saw it.

Calamity – Update

I really didn’t think this would be stretching on for this long – it was only a graze, it was only a bad bruise. But it hasn’t exactly turned out that way. My leg is still limiting me and making me really cranky because I either can’t do or can only sort of do all the things that I need or want to do. It’s unbearably frustrating, and at this stage, it’s looking like 6-12 weeks until it’s fully healed. It has already been almost 3 weeks. Totally over it.

So, here’s the update: my GP and the ER doctors agreed that I had likely torn a vein in my leg to have caused so much bleeding. I had an ultrasound to determine a few things. The good news was that I didn’t have deep vein thrombosis or muscle damage, but the bad news was that the bruise was a solid mass (i.e. non-drainable) that was about 14cm by 9cm, and about 3cm thick. I was referred to a plastic surgeon to potentially have the whole thing cut open and scraped out, but he decided there was a better option – physiotherapy and ultrasound therapy.

That’s where we are now. I am doing treatments with ultrasound and massage twice a week, stretches and exercises to help with how my calf muscles on that side have wasted a bit, elevation and heat packs, and lots of swimming and wading to help with mobility. And lots of rest. It will be a long road and I hope that there won’t be any permanent damage, but we’ll have to try our best.

The most annoying part of all of this is that since the shower collapsed, we’ve realized the extent of the renovations will require us to move out for a little while. Because a 3-6 month rental apartment that allows two dogs is a total fantasy in this real estate climate, that means staying at my mum’s for a bit. But it also means having to pack up the entire house until it’s just boxes and large furniture – something that I can’t do right now while my leg is like this. Which means that *I* am the reason that renovation plans have stalled, which isn’t a nice feeling.

It’s also the reason that I haven’t been posting and haven’t had anything exciting to talk about – I’ve said it before, but pain makes you tired and fuzzy. It’s hard to do anything worthwhile with your brain when it’s devoting all its resources to coping. And the pain, although it’s getting better now, has been pretty constant. It has meant I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep since it happened, because there is no comfortable way to lay my leg and I’m notorious for thrashing around when I sleep. I feel like I’m walking around in a mental fog all the time, not exactly conducive to great blog posts, unfortunately.

So, all I can say at this point is… I will be back. Life will get back to normal. But it’s amazing how an injury can knock your whole life around. Really looking forward to everything getting back to normal so we can get things moving!

February – Taking Stock

I missed last month, but to be fair, last month was extremely up in the air. The start to this month isn’t looking particularly auspicious either, but I’m still hopeful!

Here is February, inspired by Pip Lincolne‘s lists:

Making : plans for embroidery and quilting projects, I’m currently working on a Cinderberry pattern that I will talk about some more in another post
Cooking : almost nothing – surviving on cookies, smoked salmon bagels, and delivered takeout… again, I really need to make hay while the sun shines and get some lasagnas and enchiladas into the freezer for when unexpected things crop up
Drinking : frozen cokes, even though they are the last thing I need
Reading My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Trawling : the archives of my favourite blogs
Wanting : to do anything other than lay on the couch with my leg bound and elevated, resting is so boring, I want to go to the beach
Looking : out the window at the little grey mouse (we have called him ‘Tarzan’) who climbs the wisteria and runs back and forth along the carport a few times a day
Deciding : that all this sugar I have been eating is making me feel gross, so maybe it’s time to stop
Wishing : that Zara Home had an online store in Australia, it seems bizarre that they don’t, and I really don’t fancy going to Knifepoint… sorry, Highpoint!
Enjoying : our new pale pink silk pillowcases, feeling like Marie Antoinette
Waiting : and waiting and waiting… having an injury that keeps you fairly immobile is so boring
Liking : Nathan’s world famous smoked salmon bagels
Wondering : if I’ll be able to stand long enough to cook some macaroni for dinner, or whether I can handball that to Nathan
Loving : the Peter Alexander ET nightie that I got in the Boxing Day sales
Pondering : whether or not I should go to the Gold Coast for a weekend next month – I have tickets, I would just need to book somewhere to stay
Listening : to nothing at all – I always forget how calming noise-cancelling headphones are
Considering : what the best strategy is for getting this house to the point where we can get a new bathroom put in, because it’s pretty urgent now
Buying : books on embroidery, which seems to be my new thing
WatchingBig Love, for the millionth time, but also a whole slew of made-for-TV movies like The Betty Broderick Story and Small Sacrifices… such trash, but so good
Hoping : that the super hard swelling on my leg starts to go down in the next 24 hours and I don’t have to go back to the ER
Marvelling : at this little $2 apron-type thing that I bought for Nathan that catches his beard clippings, it’s miraculous (when he remembers to use it)
Cringing : at how Barnaby Joyce could honestly have anything to say about ‘the sanctity of marriage’ while he was doing what he did
Needing : to find a new foundation, now that my ol’ faithful indie mineral makeup company is going out of business
Questioning : whether a pump alone, and no chlorine, is enough to keep our little pool from turning into a petri dish… and whether it’s a good idea for me to get in there with an open wound on my leg
Wearing : a big tight bandage
Noticing : that Nathan turns into a problem-solving robot when faced with emotionally strenuous things, and that it can be pretty lonely
Knowing : that regardless, I am lucky to have him
Thinking : that I might be getting to the point where I don’t want to do these ‘taking stock’ posts anymore… they aren’t particularly organic, and I feel like they force me to talk about things even if there is nothing to say
Admiring : the thought that our bodies are full of little machines that automatically know what to do, and will go to the haematoma site and carry away all the dead blood and get rid of it
Getting : really sick of just laying here, I have so much to do
Bookmarking : embroidery patterns and designers, but also non-commercialized blogs with an emphasis on handmade things
Disliking : okay – here is a story – there used to be this amazing Indian restaurant in our town that was undeniably the best, Nathan went there for his 30th birthday, and it was wonderful. Now it’s so bad that it’s barely edible. It’s sad and annoying, because now it means that if we want really good Indian food, we have to make it ourselves
Feeling : unsettled, unsatisfied, restless but exhausted
Hearing : my dad dismissing my leg injury, saying it’s no big deal, that it’s barely a bruise, that I should be fine to walk kilometers on a beach to go snorkeling on the weekend (I’m pretty sure I can also hear him rolling his eyes when I limp or grimace)… it’s upsetting
Celebrating : the fact that I didn’t break my leg, because I think that would have made me even more unhappy
Embracing : I’m not really embracing anything right now… I am frustrated and raging against my leg being sore, I’m kind of over it

Oh Calamity!

The moment I plan about kicking my butt with huge amounts of exercise – calamity strikes! I think I need to start from the beginning of this crazy story, because it is just too bizarre to sum up in a sentence or two.

So – when we bought the house, we loved the bathroom. It had a screened-off area with a shower over a claw foot bath, which we thought was so cool. And it was, for about five seconds until we realized that there was no possible way to clean underneath the bath and the whole thing was disgusting in no time. We ditched the bath and have been using the tiled cubicle as a shower ever since.

There was increasing evidence of water damage on the other side of the bathroom wall, in the hallway, so we knew that a new bathroom was on the radar for the very near future. The tiles on the floor of the shower also started to sag a bit. I was really worried about them and at one point, I put my foot down and told Nathan that it was too dangerous and that we needed to shower at a gym until we could get it renovated. He told me I was overreacting and that it would be fine, and he put some silicone sealant between the tiles so that no more water would fall down between them.

Fast forward a few months, and no, the house has still not been restumped which is the major obstacle between us and a new bathroom. I was in the shower at about 5:30pm. We were going to visit my parents to do a make-your-own-pizza night with them. I put conditioner in my hair and suddenly the floor gave out underneath me. I fell through all the way to the dirt underneath the house, maybe 2-3 feet down. Because water had been dripping on it for god knows how long, it was all mud under there. My right leg grazed the side of the hole as I fell. I hauled myself out of there in two seconds flat, because it was that gross and terrifying, and started screaming for Nathan.

And there I was – sitting on the floor of the bathroom, covered in blood, mud and conditioner, sobbing and hyperventilating, with a gigantic hole in the floor beside me. It was honestly one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me. There is something about being in the shower, where you are relaxed and just thinking your thoughts, humming a song, thinking about the pizza you’re going to make… and then to be plunged into a slimy, wet, horrifying hole through a trapdoor… well, it was the worst. I was still crying about it the next day.

I ended up going to the doctor about my leg a couple of days later, who referred me to emergency. They took an x-ray – nothing is broken – but there may be soft tissue damage in my knee. What they were worried about was compartment syndrome, which I luckily avoided (VERY luckily, because the surgery for that is pretty scary) – I just have a massive, rigid, constantly draining-and-refilling haematoma with some superficial grazes. I can still not bend or straighten my leg, and can only walk short distances without crutches.

But it could have been so much worse.
It could have happened when Nathan was in the shower.
The tile gave way in one piece, but it could have snapped, and I could have had jagged shards tearing a huge gash in my leg.
I could have hit my head.
I could have cut myself really badly.
Nathan could have been at work, and if he was and my phone wasn’t in reach, I could have had paramedics breaking my door down to rescue me, naked, from my bathroom.
Or I could have bled to death before they got there.

It’s kind of scary thinking about all the ways that it could have very easily happened, and how close I was to an even worse calamity.

When we examined the damage to the shower, we realized that there was no proper beam running underneath the tiles. It seems like it was a shoddy renovation job from before we moved in. I’m not sure how this wasn’t something that was inspected before we bought it, and we’re investigating whether or not this will be something covered by home insurance – we’ll see.

In the meantime, I’m just resting my leg, eating even more bad takeout food, and watching made-for-television movies from the eighties. This whole thing has been a bit of a nightmare, but it could have been so much worse, so in a weird way, I’m kind of grateful.

Synchronized Swimming and Sickness

All it takes is two people getting colds at the same time for everything around here to go to absolute pieces. Seriously. I have never eaten so much consecutive delivered food in my life. And I feel disgusting. Like the trans fats and sodium are eking out of my pores. I would be very happy to not look at pizza again for a long time.

It’s so ridiculous though. I am an adult, I should be prepared for these things. If one of us gets sick, the other one can manage. But both of us – nothing happens, nobody cooks, no laundry gets done, and it’s pure luck if one of us manages to put the dishwasher on. Luckily we seem to be getting over it, finally… but what a way to waste the long weekend!

It wasn’t entirely wasted though. We got a pool. Nothing to brag about (although $50 from Kmart was pretty exciting), and probably not recommended for somebody with a shocking cold (and asthma, and allergies, etc). But it was pretty glorious to lounge around in it on these extremely hot days. There is something so bogan about laying in my backyard in my blow-up pool, but I felt like Marie Antoinette when I was snacking on chocolate profiteroles, listening to French music and floating coolly in the dappled sunshine. Posie sort of likes it… as in, she would race around the backyard and threaten to jump in, but would cling to me as soon as she was in. Her fur dried in adorable little ringlets though.

This has been a challenging month, for a few reasons. I was going to be on my way to Beijing in February for one hot minute, but that opportunity had to be put aside. Somebody I care about is not well, and I don’t know how things will turn out… but that’s not really my story to tell right now. January has been such a mixed up month. Even the weather has been strange.

For once, I’m looking forward to autumn.