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All right already. So I suck at updating!

Doesn't help that there's nothing to update.  I just get up, go to work, go home from work, go to bed, get up, go to work, go home from work, go to bed, get up, you get the picture.  I am genuinely sick of the sight of this place.  Work, that is.  Home is okay.  My kitty is at home, so home is nice.  Work sucks.

BUT!
I'm starting to plan my holiday to the UK!!  I will shortly have $10,000 in my savings.  I want to get $14,000 to be able to jet off to the UK for 4-5 weeks next year.  I should be able to save that much, no problem.

I'm thinking about going in May. Would UK peeps say May is a good month to travel the Isles??? I'd love to see a northern hemisphere winter but that would mean waiting longer, or going sooner (and I can't afford that).  So April or May 2013 is my shortlist.

I'm going to fly, drive and train.  I do NOT to buses and I do NOT do tours.  I'm all about the hire car, baybee.  I'm fairly against trains as a rule and any other kind of public transport but I will swallow my pride and my motion sickness tablets in order to 1) save some moola, and 2) see things I wouldn't normally have seen, and 3) save my poor tootsies from walking too far.

I'm going to visit wadjet_theperv for some fun and frivolity and a trip to Paris.  I can't go all the way over there and not see Paris. The thought of a whole whole other country that speaks a different language and where everything is alien is terrifying, but I can be brave.  The thought of going to the UK isn't so terrifying because at least I know people there, all  my LJ friends and apparently I have a zillion relatives who I've never met or spoken to, and everything will be mostly familiar.  

So I'm open to suggestions for key travel destinations that should not be missed and/or sooper sekrit local-only-knows sights :-) 

Anyway, its Friday and its 4:15 and I'm tired of being at work and I think I'm going to go home in a minute.

Comment!
Totally bummed.  I've worked my arse off getting this Annual Report done and I'm really proud of it and it looks really good.  But the boss hasn't written her parts yet, the AGM is next Wednesday and it still has to go to the printers.  So its starting to look like it isn't going to be ready for the AGM because she hasn't done the work I asked her to do 7 weeks ago.  And no one will be able to see my awesomely written and designed Annual Report.  

I have enjoying playing with InDesign though.  So, silver lining.

My holiday planning - part II

I'm resigned to not having enough money to go to the UK this year.  This works well on account of the Olympics, which I would want to miss anyway. SO, I'm happy to plan away for a holiday next year.  Therefore:

I'M GOING TO ENGLAND IN 2013!!!!!

I've decided.

All by myself!!!!  *crumbs*  I would go with my mum, but then brother would want to come and I couldn't travel with Derwood, I'd break his neck and there would be ribcage hats involved.  Just. No.  And it would also be a kind of rite of passage - travelling to a whole other country by myself.  Scary, but I've never done anything brave and its probably time.

All this planning stuff, especially the money stuff, is mostly for my brain-storming and figuring out of stuff.  Not that it is secret and I am ALWAYS after advice from the flisters on travelling and stuffs.

I currently have $6,600 in my savings account.  I figure it is going to cost $2,500 to $3,000 in the plane fare to get there and back home again.  I just looked and technically I could do it on Qantas or BA for $2,200 all inclusive. So if I budget 3k I'll be well safe and that can include some transfers and insurance.

When I don't have so much physio (i.e. presently weekly, hopefully down to monthly) I can save around $400 a month and I plan to, dammit!  That means I can save another $2,500 by Christmas.  I think I will need, total, $13,000-$14,000, including travel.  That will mean it will have to be mid 2013 or later for me to have enough moola for accommodation, food, travel (I guess I'll need to get in touch with my public transport-using side...) and sight-seeing.  If I join ICOM here in Australia I can see all the museums and galleries for free.  One of the perks of working for a museum association...

My mum says I should get in touch with all the extended family we have in the UK.  My nan was there late last year and came home with more money than she went with purely from staying at people's houses and them not wanting any money.  I suppose I could try it - not the really old people though.  But there is a cousin who owns a B&B in Wales who apparently is about my age.  Could be worth some emails. 

And then I have to stay with wadjet_theperv and we're going to do some awesome home renos and general frivolity.  Totally looking forward to helping out Wadj.  So Wadj, how to you feel about a subsidised girls' weekend to Paris in 2013?????????  Seriously.  Think about it.  I can shout you some of a weekend in Paris.  Because I don't want to go there by myself!!  But I really really want to go there!  I just looked and it isn't actually as expensive as I thought it might be.  Some more research on the Paris weekend needed.  And the Frenchist speaking-ness.

When is the best time to visit?  I think I've asked this before and the consensus was springtime BUT I have never seen a Northern Hemisphere winter.  And that would mean missing out on an Australian summer, which is always a plan, but that would mean either early or late in the year. Early, I wouldn't have enough money, and later means I'd have to wait tooooo long!

I know that I could just ask my nan for money for a holiday and she would give it to me in a heartbeat, but I really don't want to do that.  I've never owed anyone money before and even though she is my nan, and technically therefore it is my money anyway, and she is always forking out money to other relatives, I just couldn't bring myself to ask.   I want to do this myself. 
Fragged.

Went to the physio this morning after feeling really good for the past few weeks.  4 weeks with no physio visit YAY!  But something has happened between morning and lunch and I am now in absolute disabling agony from hip to hip, can't put my feet down, bend, extend, move in general.  I tried a short walk to see if I could walk it out, but just made it worse to the point of tears.

Not happy Jan.  And I had made my next appointment for another 4 weeks away from now.  But its the weekend now (well, in 2 hours) so can't do anything but drugs and heat anyway.  Fingers crossed its better on Monday, or I will call the physio and cry.

At the moment, with 2 more hours of work, I have taken every pain pill I had in my handbag and have my headphones on playing music really loud .

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Work is sucking because no one will do the work they are meant to do so I can do the work I'm meant to do.  Seriously, I asked for the segments of the Annual Report no less than 7 weeks ago - it is due to go to the printers on Monday and do I have them?  That'd be negatory.  FFS, its about 600 words she needs to write and nothing.  So I'm looking like a fool saying to the printers I'll have it to them on Monday.  But, on the other hand, it was fun doing the designing and stuff.

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Ow ow ow ow ow!!

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I am so bummed that House is finishing.  I'm still a little in denial.  There is nothing on the telly and I've rewatched everything I own recently.

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Currently knitting some leg warmers - totally 80s, I know, but they are purple and stripey so I don't care.  Not like I'd wear them in public, der.  I've nearly finished one of them.  And I have some gorgeous yarn to make some socks and some arm warmers. 

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Pinterest has overtaken Tumblr for me.  I still check a couple of my Tumblr tags (knitting, Stephen Fry, typography), but I'm only there a few times a week.

Follow me if you like - Stephicozar, same as everywhere.  Pinterest is a funny animal, because its something they we interwebz users have always done (i.e. harvesting pretties and inspiring things) but it makes it all online and social.  I like it :)
Thanks LJ, but I really don't want, or need, to keep up to date with Britney.

Work is Crazy with a capital OMGWTF!TFIF

But next week, oh, next week:
  • Write the national Annual Report (I've done about 5 of 10 sections - but they were the easy ones)
  • Design the national Annual Report for printers
  • Write and design sponsorship prospectus for national awards x2
  • Research and develop cold-canvassing mailing lists for potential sponsors of national awards x2
  • Draft timelines and checklists for national awards x2
  • Contact judges for national publication design awards to confirm dates
  • Organise event for state branch members for curator tour of new blockbuster - will get help with that one
  • Start drafting grant application for federal funding for indigenous and remote delegate bursaries for national conference
  • Follow up on commissioned articles for magazine and update editor and designer with what we have atm
  • Process membership because I haven't done that in 2 weeks and people will get grumpy
  • Go to the post office in the city
But it gets better:
  • Monday night: boss (as in the big boss) is staying at my house because her house is being de-asbestos-ed and there are no motels available on Monday night - and she has no car
  • Tuesday: all day workshop on using social media for not-for-profits - I didn't even want to go but boss insisted
  • I will be the only one in the office from Wednesday onwards
At home this weekend:
  • Clean bathroom - I swear something will start growing in the shower - but Derwood just doesn't see it.. maybe because the mirror is all smudgy and gross...
  • Clean front porch - the cobwebs are starting to wig me out ... in the sense that one could get a wig of cobwebs from walking to/from the front door
  • Clean the kitchen - pantry, fridge, surfaces, floors
  • Vacuum - will get the Derwood to do that, the Dyson hurts my ears
  • Watch Jeeves & Wooster
  • Read Jeeves & Wooster
  • Immerse myself fully in the world that is PG Wodehouse
  • Frontline the Sassy Cat
  • Clean out the bird's house
  • Do the grocery shopping
  • Finish knitting my drop stitch scarf
  • Update blogs with all my latest crafty completions
  • Play Batman: Arkham City
  • Play Sims 2
  • Make bed for visiting boss
Hai!

Quick update before disappearing again :)  No, I'll try not to disappear... really... I'm sorry for ignoring you LJ. 


Things what are going well in Stephiland:
  1. My knitting!  I will have to post pics, I know, to chronicle my efforts.  I've made 2 pairs of slippers, 2 scarves, a calf warmer (a single leg warmer, that I use to keep my calf warm to avoid cramping) and I'm halfway through a crocheted Ewok!  I spend all my lunch times on Ravelry now, instead of Facebook or Tumblr LOL
  2. My lumbar spine is making progress, I am now down to physio appointments every 2 or 3 weeks, instead of 1-2 times every week.  I didn't make this last 3 weeks, had to go in today because my thoracic is broken (see not good going things)
  3. Work is as sucky as ever, but some things have been happening at a Council level that will give me more administrative power over a couple of programs, like the national awards and the design awards. I'm currently practising my long-forgotten report-writing skills trying to write the Annual Report.  Not an easy task as I'm really trying to make it nationally-focused, not just the National Office, which is what all the previous ones have been. I've written thousands of words, but still have way more to go.
  4. Long weekend!  Not only is it choccie weekend, but I get Tuesday and Wednesday off next week.  6 days weekend and 2 day week.  Boss is going away next week so can't have the whole time off :(
  5. Fry & Laurie loves.  I am on a Fry & Laurie kick.  I've dug out all my old tapes (yes, tapes!) of Fry & Laurie and Blackadder, and bought the complete series of Jeeves & Wooster.  So my long weekend is set.  Playing computer games, knitting/crocheting and watching the wonders that are Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.
  6. Its nearly winter and I'm looking forward to it so much!  People think I'm crazy, but I hope its going to be really cold so I can wear all my lovely scarves and socks and woolly jumpers (sweaters) and wrist warmers and arm warmers.
  7. There were CAMELS at work last week.  For the opening of a new exhibition.  Camels make everything good!
Things what are going not as well as the previously mentioned going well things:
  1. Money!  My physio has taken a real toll on my bank account.  While I happily still have plenty of money each fortnight to be able to do things like go to the physio, buy the occasional DVD, lunch etc, and all the regular bills like car payments and food, I am saving NOTHING.  So no way I'll be able to go on holidays to the UK this year.  Looks like next year :(  it makes me feel very unaccomplished, and like I work really hard for nothing, and a total loser at life, especially when there are people all around me who just pop overseas for a holiday, and buy business class tickets and whatever. I used to be poor, I know what its like, and I am incredibly frugal now when I have money, but still, it sucks.
  2. We have rats in the walls at home.  OMF trousers!  Rats.  Yuck.  Pest man came this morning to put baits and traps in the ceiling.  Can't put them under the house because of my kitty and all the other cats that use our house as some sort of Cat Central Station. 
  3. My thoracic spine is mucking up, and hence my shoulders and neck.  Has been for a few weeks now but this weekend gone it was excruciating and I couldn't move my arms!  Its a Catch-22 in that when my lumbar spine is hurting, I slouch to relieve the pressure the disc causes on the nerve, and that aggravates my thoracic and neck, which, when sore, makes me tense and twisted, which aggravated my lumbar spine.  Thus the life serial that is my spine!
  4. I am still completely unmotivated to be at all fannish and this really makes me sad.  I love seeing what everyone else is going as far as art and meta and fic, but I just can't do it myself. I made a couple of Upstairs Downstairs gifs and some QI caps, but gave up half way through.  How do you guys keep motivated?
Am now on Tumblr and Twitter.  
stephicozar

I don't post very often, in fact I only signed up to Twitter today, and mostly because of my current infatuation/obsession/scary stalker love of Stephen Fry.  But one day I might just post the funniest thing and you don't want to miss it.  Rest assured, should you feel the desire to follow me, you won't get spammed :)

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Is it sad that I've been watching so much Fry & Laurie, Jeeves & Wooster, Blackadder, QI, etc, and reading Moab and Fry Chronicles, that all my internal monologues are now narrated by Stephen Fry?  Reading this post back right now for typos, Stephen Fry is reading it to me.

I rather think not.
So I've been through the barrage of tests and, basically, I'm fine!  Which is nice to know :)

Thyroid = healthy
Vitamin D = low to very low - not so good
Cholesterol = bad is low, though good is also low
Blood sugars = low
Ferritin (iron) = high to abnormally high - not so good
Insulin = badness! 52 WTF?? Its gone up another 10 points in 3 years even with going to the gym and losing quite a bit of fat.  Sucks.

So she's officially called it hyperinsulinemia, but said that because my blood sugars are consistently low, I'm not for the time being at risk of diabetes.  So that's a plus.  She's a little concerned about the iron levels, but said that it could be from the inflammation in my spine at the moment, but will test for haemochromatosis next time.

My xray and SPECT CT scans were inconclusive.  The xrays show marked decrease in disc space between L4/5 and L5/S1 from last time (6 years ago) and I've got about another 4 osteophytes growing down there too.  Joy.  But all in all, I think I'm slowly improving after this past episode.  We really hit a plateau about a month ago, which is why nice!Physio sent me for imaging, but hopefully its getting better.


So it is nice to know that I am, in general, not going to drop dead suddenly.  I'm in pain about 80% of the time, and obviously the insulin resistance takes its toll as far as making it incredibly difficult to lose weight, in a physiological sense, but I'm all good.

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Had a dream last night that I was at a Stargate convention, but I was sitting next to Hugh Laurie...

Writer's Block: What’s in a Name?

What name do you wish you had?
I don't really have a problem with Stephanie.  Although it is easy for it to sound accusatory when said in full.  Steph is better.  But over the phone people always hear it as Beth.  I can't tell you how many times people have called me Beth.  I just ignore it.

I was going to be called Heather or Briony, but my dad was a fan of Stevie Nicks, so I got Stephanie at the last minute.  

At least is it spelt correctly!