tag’s Haven: #AutismPositivity2013 Day!

I have now posted my Autism Positivity Day 2013 blog post on My Other Blog. Please, please go over and read it (if you haven’t already, that is!); and if you feel you can, please contribute. We need to get a more positive image of autism out there to the world.

Thanks!

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Autism Positivity Day 2013

Tuesday April 30, 2013 is Autism Positivity Day 2013 (read about it from the link). I will be posting my own flash blog entry on My Other Blog, but I wanted to notify as many people as possible about it, and I think I’ll either re-blog my entry here, or I’ll at least post a link to it.

Check out the plans!

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Storage Iron, BP, and Exercise

Just came back from my visit to the doctor (GP). During said visit, I was informed that “storage iron” was not what I thought it was. It turns out it has nothing to do with low iron anemia, the way I thought it did. It’s the reserves of iron in one’s system, and only makes a difference for things like emergency surgery and the like. So, yeah, diet can get to work on that.

With the blood pressure medication I’m on now (Olmetec), my BP is normal; the GP took it and it was 100/70 (you want it to be 120 or less over 80 or less). Yay for normal, but not happy at the thought that I probably have to continue taking the medication. *sighs*

And I’ve been told that to get over the tiredness, I need aerobic exercise. (Well, I think some of it is still depression, but….) So, Dad and I are going to work at taking Sanchy out for more walks. The weather’s getting better (though it was cold today, despite the sun and blue skies… or maybe because of them), so those ought to be more pleasant than Mom’s Saturday walks in the middle of winter. (No matter how much Sanchy enjoyed those as well.) I imagine we’ll probably go to Long Pond (aka the Fluvarium area / Pippy’s Park) again; that’s a nice trail and quite enjoyable. Time to start warming up for that on the treadmill!

‘Later, all!

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Welcome: New Blog Site

First of all, welcome, everyone, to the new site for tag’s Haven. I’d like to thank you all for following me here. Please, feel free to subscribe to my posts – the link is in the sidebar, just under my recent posts.

For those who are new and have followed a link here, Be Welcome! This is the blog where I talk about my life in general, moan and vent about the weather, and pre-publish my fanfic to get comments on it in order to improve it further before it goes to FFNet and tag’s Library for the wide world to see. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (If you want to see the fanfic I’ve put up, links to all of it are available through the Fanfic page, as well as a bit of a summary.)

Over the next little while I’m going to be wandering around the ‘Net, changing the URLs of my blog everywhere I’ve put it up. But there is news, for anyone interested… see below. (Also, question re fic. Sorry, RK fans, not quite ready for updates yet, but have been reviewing and doing a bit more writing….)

Continue for more about me, my family, and fic….

Posted in Autism Spectrum, Camp NNWM, Cats, Dogs, Family, Fic, Goold Zoo, Health, Life in General, NaNoWriMo, Rambling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

20 Years Coming

Today, I had something monumental – for me, at any rate – happen.

I passed my road test!

It’s been 20 years since I first got my first learner’s permit (called a three-sixty-five in Ontario at that time, for the number of days that you had to pass the road test), and I’ve finally done it.

It took a wonderful instructor, who has worked with people with Aspergers and autism before, to give me the knowledge, confidence and support necessary to do it; as far as I’m concerned, thanks go to Frank Cody. He really made a difference, explaining things so that I could understand them and working on my confidence. I was nervous and anxious today when I went for the test, but not nearly as nervous as I was the first three times I tried (and failed).

(Thanks also go to my colleagues at the Independent Living Resource Centre, who cheered me on and gave me good wishes before I left to take the test; and to Jeff, my best friend here in St. John’s, who was willing to provide someone different from my parents in the front passenger seat while I practiced.)

So, I’ve finally done it. I’m understandably proud of myself. Now I just have to really get used to the St. John’s streets! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Later, all!

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IL Internship!

Hi, everyone! Sorry for the long delay between my last entry and this one, but I’ve had not the best summer, and before that I was busy with the Stella Burry New Beginnings program.

Anyway, I have wonderful personal news. Starting Monday until March, I’m going to be working as an Independent Living Intern for the Independent Living Resource Centre here in St. John’s. This is the place Mom and I have been looking for since last June; it’s the centrepoint of information, resources and communication for people with disabilities.

The internship will involve making connections with the St. John’s community, both the disability community and the wider community, doing presentations for organizations about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, adaptive technology, and all sorts of stuff. I’m really looking forward to it.

Hugs to everyone!
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#scriptfrenzy Chat

I know, I know, I haven’t been posting much about ScriptFrenzy. *sighs, shrugs* It’s been a very busy month for me so far.

So, basic update – I’ve got 74 pages, split between two graphic novel scripts: The Rowan Leaf (working title) and White Horses. I’ve told you about The Rowan Leaf – the basics at least – and the logline of White Horses is: Kathleen is an ordinary girl. So why is she seeing mythological creatures that tell her to “Be ready”?

But anyway, the point of this post is to tell you a bit about the ScriptFrenzy Twitter chat that went on today. I was reluctant to get into Twitter back last fall, when I finally did, but things like the chat that happened tonight might just change my mind. It was really fun – fast and frenzied (not a surprise, that last! ;)) – but definitely fun. All kinds of opinions and discussions going on. If you want to read it, check the “#scriptfrenzy” hashtag from midnight GMT (daylight savings time) to 1am GMT on Thurs. April 19 – go back or forward however many hours are appropriate. Currently trying to get past 1 hour ago on the Twitter website so I can save myself a copy of the chat to refer to when I need suggestions/prods. (The 74 pages were all written by the 10th; the 11th and 12th were really busy, and then I had a migraine-intensity headache from the 13th to yesterday.)

Anyway, going to bed within the next half hour, because I’ve got to be up around 7:30 to get going to the New Beginnings by 8:40 (the bus comes at about 8:55, but better to get to the bus stop early than late!). Will fill anyone interested in the details of what’s going on there later (possibly tomorrow).

‘Later, all!
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World Autism Awareness Day

Well, it’s a bit late in the day for this, but I’d still like to draw attention to the fact that today is World Autism Awareness Day.

Asperger’s Syndrome, which I have, is basically High Functioning Autism – the only difference in diagnosis involves an advanced vocabulary. I’ve been becoming more aware of the details of dealing with autism since I moved to Newfoundland in August, and as such, more aware of how it’s affected my life in a number of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. For instance, I can’t tolerate spice in my food, and get headaches from even the mildest sunlight: heightened senses – or, rather, problems with controlling sensory input – are one of the symptoms of autism.

The main website that deals with the World Autism Awareness Day is at Autism Speaks. You can also find some very basic information on the history of WAAD at Wikipedia. [Edited: Sat. April 20/13] Sorry, but I can no longer recommend Autism Speaks as being anything but bad for autistics. Please see posts on tagAught’s blog, especially “Autism Speaks, I Want to Say” for more details.

And it turns out April is Autism Awareness Month. So maybe I’ll find out more this month, as well as get some support. Keep your fingers crossed for me, please!

‘Later, all!
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Script Frenzy and Graphic Novels

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve updated this! *shakes head* Going to try not to let it go this far again. *sighs*

Anyway, as you can probably tell from the userpic and the title of this post, I’ve gone and joined Script Frenzy – for the first time, I might add. I discovered that you don’t necessarily have to write a play/movie/television show for it; you can also write (a) graphic novel(s)! So, guess what I’m doing? *grins*

My working title for my graphic novel (of which I am 9-1/2 pages in, out of 100 necessary to win) is: The Rowan Leaf. My logline (which is the one paragraph or less summary) is as follows: Rowan is a medieval squire given immortality by the Fae. Now, in modern times, he must save them from an abductor who plans to drain their magic.

Here are the links!

My Script Frenzy page

My page count widget:

And, if you happen to feel like making a sponsorship donation for me to Script Frenzy, check out my Script Frenzy Fundraising page.

Got to go for dinner now!

Later, all!

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“BiMonthly” Personal Update: Sat. Dec. 10/11

(Okay, so it’s Sunday. It was still Saturday when I wrote this.)

Hey, all.

So… I have apologies to make to everyone. I am terribly sorry that I’ve ended up getting so far behind on my weekly updates. It’s just… well, first I was busy working on getting ready for NaNoWriMo, then November hit and suddenly my stress levels went through the roof. Fans, picture a Sentinel starting to come online without a Guide. That’s what it felt like. My senses were starting to overwhelm me (random note: “whelm” means to cover with water, according to the Scrabble dictionary), particularly sight and hearing, and particularly at work. I’ve been wearing my yellow sunglasses and a bright pink (Fighting Breast Cancer pink) visor to work every day, to try to control the headaches from the CRT screens and the fluorescent lighting. And the noise… don’t get me started. Over the past week and a half or so, I’ve been using an earplug in my left ear (I keep the phone headset on my right) at work. It helps somewhat, but….

I ended up taking a week off work, doctor’s note included, at the end of November to the beginning of December, because my stress level was so high (taking sick days off work due to headaches and nausea, most of which could be put down to stress, and the rest of which could be put down to my senses, which contributed to the stress). It helped a huge amount, though my stress level still isn’t down where I’d like it to be. So, thanks to my lovely training supervisor (who is no longer my supervisor, except in a general sense during the late nights – I got moved to a new team at the beginning of December), I met with the scheduler, and I’ve cut back to 4 days a week, starting today – Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – with slightly reduced hours and generally ending my shift at midnight (on the weekdays) or before 11 (on the weekends). (Except on the weekend after Christmas, which is bound to be busy – but given I’ve actually got Christmas Eve and Christmas off, I am not going to complain about that.)

On a lighter, better note, Imber is improving by leaps and bounds! She regularly comes up to the main floor of the house – she’s even been known to do so when I’m sleeping in my room – and while she still growls and snarls at Thor, the two of them spent last night in an uneasy truce (punctuated occasionally by said growls and snarls) on my bed. In fact, she is up here in the living room, where I’m typing this out, draped over my forearms asking for scritches, and generally making it hard to write. (Scratch that – Dad just came up, and made a remark, “Look at that baby!” and Imber rolled forward onto the arm of the chair. She doesn’t mind the other animals – except Thor – seeing her lying on her back, but Dad is a different matter. Not that she dislikes him, she’s just wary of someone so tall.)

So, back to the somewhat gloomy, but getting hopeful stuff: We’re looking to get me a local psychologist (though I’ve still got Dr. Garling on consult for a bit, in case it doesn’t work out) and I’ve got an appointment just before Christmas at the START Clinic, recommended to me by my Aspie friend (whom I’ve only seen once this past month! *pouts*), which will hopefully lead to a semi-rapid official diagnosis of Asperger’s. (The alternative is waiting 1-2 years to see a qualified psychiatrist, then waiting more time for the team to be assembled to render the diagnosis….) I’m also seeing an occupational therapist who has a very good method for working on getting me to focus on dealing with feeling unwell, and who is trying to get a consult with a specialist in sensory over-stimulation. (No guarantees on that one, but it’s worth a try!) Hoping the combination of these factors will get things resolved with reasonable rapidity – or at least get things on the road to being resolved. Dealing with mental health is, unfortunately, a years-long process.

Family news is, unfortunately, not as good. A few of you already know this (my family, namely), but my “adopted” aunt Gloria was admitted to hospital on Monday. She’s been fighting cancer (uterine and stomach, I believe) for several years, and it’s gotten fairly bad. They don’t think that she’ll live to see Christmas. She’s going to be going into Palliative Care as soon as there’s a bed free. Mom flew down to Toronto on Thursday, staying with Daphne’s friend, to see her, and is currently on her flight back here.

Hm. What other good news do I have to break the gloom?

Well, Daphne’s got her audiology hours finished, is waiting impatiently on the Praxis scores (they were supposed to be up last week), and has only her final anatomy exam, on Tuesday, to complete her anatomy course. She’s got paying work for the rest of the time she’s here in St. John’s, at least. I’ve had two interviews for more clerical type jobs (one with RONA, one with the Canadian Red Cross), and continue to send out resumes. Even with the problems I’ve been having, I’ve been able to continue to enjoy Scrabble Wednesdays, and this past week spent Tuesday evening (before and during making dinner) making cookies for the group. They were much appreciated by the family, at least, as well as the one member of the Scrabble group who decided to start nibbling before I had to leave at 12:30, and I found even the burnt ones quite addictive.

A wonderful link from my aunt:
Man With Autism Absolutely Stuns an Entire Crowd

Also, a Happy Belated Birthday to .

Thanks for your patience and continuing friendship, everyone.

‘Later, all!
๐Ÿ˜‰ tag0

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Halfway Mark…. #NaNoBlog

I know I promised regular blogging posts throughout NaNoWriMo 2011. Unfortunately, I’ve been having trouble with this NaNo year. Between my work hours (not good – 5pm to 1:30am), the weather, and a few other things starting to creep up on me, I’ve not had a great month so far. In fact, it got to the point where this morning (well, yesterday morning really, it’s currently just after 2am here) I was worried that this would be the first NaNoWriMo I wouldn’t win. Not a happy thought (the fact that I can win NaNoWriMo keeps me going during the blahs of November, which I need, desperately…).

I was at the point where I challenged myself on Friday to make 25K by today (Sunday) at midnight. (We’re supposed to have reached 33,334 words if we’re on schedule with the daily word count goal.)

So, I was in that sort of state until about 2:40pm this (Sunday) afternoon. Then it occurred to me that at least part of the problem I was having was with the setting of my story. It wasn’t working, and it was leaving my story rather bland and boring, even considering the confrontation with the redcap that Alan had. (And killing off Alan’s partner and potential girlfriend via said redcap.) I kind of shrugged, and went, “Okay, I’m going to change the setting. What I’ve written so far will still count for my word count, but I’ve got to change it.”

Less than 1-2/3 hours and about 3,750 words later, I was pretty sure that was a good part of the problem. *grins wryly at everyone* As I mentioned on Twitter, with this change, I seem to be back to my fairly steady 500 words/20 minutes flow (when I can write for more than 15 minutes at a time). Between what I got done before work (*points at aforementioned word count, plus 370 that I got in this morning*) and what I got done during my breaks and “lunch” at work, guess what goal I made?

Yeah, you got it. I hit 25,001 words total just at the end of my last break, at about 11:30 tonight (Sunday). Such a relief.

My next goal is to get to about 33,000 by Tuesday night (which will be my first night meeting the St. John’s NaNos, because of my work schedule). I’m rather looking forward to it. And if I keep at the rate I’m going, I may even reach the daily word count goal by Wednesday or Thursday! *crosses fingers* I’m getting there, finally. No more days of no writing! Down with bland scenes! Lead on to excitement!

(No, there will be no zombie ninja pirates. Sorry, fellow NaNos. But there are vampires and werewolves… sort of….)

Anyway, off to get some sleep, and then: More Writing!

‘Later, all!

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WAMUN: Medical Genetics Talk with Dr. Jane Green

Tonight, WAMUN (the Women’s Association Memorial University of Newfoundland) presented a talk by Dr. Jane Green on Medical Genetic Research.

I was lucky enough that I sat at the same table as Dr. Green for the potluck dinner. We had a nice discussion about “The Immortal Life of Henriette” (a true story about the cancer cells of an African-American woman that have provided us with a lot of information about cellular genetics, but at the same time is an ethically thorny issue because the family didn’t know about this), genetics in general, and the state of genetics in 1965, when she got her Masters, as well as details of a trip she made up to Labrador in the mid-1980s with a few other doctors, and the talk she’d given on genetic diseases at noon for GPs all over the province. (Apparently Wednesday at noon there’s a teleconference for GPs all over the province about a variety of different issues; last week it was prostate cancer, next week it’s conjunctivitis….)

The talk afterwards was really interesting, and ended up going on for quite a while (from 8-9:15/9:30). It was mainly focused on how the population of Newfoundland, with their isolated outports, large families, and so on, were able to help with quite a few genetic diseases. HNPCC – Lynch Disease – (genetic colon/endomitrial cancer), two variations of genetic breast cancer, ARVA (something right ventricular arteriomyelopathy) – sudden early cardiac arrests, Addison’s Disease – adrenal insufficiency, and juvenile macular degeneration (Starsgard(?) disease) were the ones she concentrated on telling us about. It was really, really interesting. She’s a really good speaker, and there were definitely interesting questions at the end.

The focus was on genetic diseases that have one gene mutation that is what affects them; at the moment, there isn’t enough information about the human genome to look at the ones that are affected by a whole host of genes. But she explained the basics of how molecular genetics analysis works (not the process, but the results), and how in 35 years we went from not knowing much about genes and how they work, to mapping the human genome, and in ten years, how we’ve gone from mapping the human genome to being able to identify mutations in genes that create genetic diseases.

She also pointed out that companies like “23 and Me” are, at the moment, not of huge use. Sure, they can provide you with a genetic readout/map of your genome… but they don’t provide the bioinformatics information that lets you know what are just common variations (like hair colour, etc.), and what are potentially rare – thus possibly genetic disease – variations.

She talked about how they distinguish genetic cancers from familial cancers (familial being it happens in your family, with a few people, and genetic tending towards early onset, large numbers of people in the family having it or related cancers, and multiple instances of cancers), and both of those from general population cancers (the low risk, aging population ones). In general (at least in the US), the incidences of colorectal cancers are: Genetic: 3-5%, Familial: 10-30%, and population: 65-75%. In Newfoundland, I believe she mentioned that familial is at 40%, and I think she said genetic was 5-10%.

Like I said, really interesting, and very informative. One of the last slides she showed us was of the variety of genetic diseases that had been identified throughout Newfoundland (and a few in Labrador) which included the ones mentioned above, ocular albinism, hemophilia (in Newfoundland and Labrador), myotonic dystrophy (in Labrador), MEN-1, BBS, and several others.

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Quick Update and Imber

Hey, everyone.

First of all, sorry about going silent the last couple of weeks. I’m afraid that they haven’t been the best (last week I was at home Thursday and Friday with nasty migraine and feeling sick), and I couldn’t really think of much to say. I hope I’m getting things back on track now (certainly working on doing that with work and my NaNo novel)… but that’s not entirely why I’m writing.

As you might guess, looking at the subject line, I’m writing about Imber. My adorable, lovable, so brave kitten.

Who came upstairs – to the kitchen – to meet me when I came home from work tonight.

I was stunned. It’s still something of an effort to get Imber to come up to the den (1/2 level above my bedroom and unfinished “living room”); to get her upstairs to the main level, I’ve been carrying her every afternoon. (We have to go past other cats and Sancho, you see.)

Well, I get in this evening, and I come over to the door from the hall to the kitchen, glance downstairs to see that Dad’s still working… and Imber’s looking up at me from the bottom of the stairs. I crouched down and beckoned for her to come up, and lo and behold… that’s exactly what she did! She even came onto the kitchen floor from the stairs and over to me, so I lifted her up and cuddled her for a minute. Then I put her down on the kitchen table, she got down, and headed downstairs. But it’s a breakthrough! She’s never come up on her own before!

And it means a lot personally as well. She misses me when I’m gone, and waits impatiently for me to get back. She’s been mewing when I get in since about two weeks ago, when I had a call that lasted until 2:15 so was about 45 minutes late getting home. The next night, Imber was crying for me as soon as she heard the key in the lock.

Well, I’ve got to work on winding down now, but I wanted to let you all know that I’m not dead, and to share the marvelous news about Imber. I’m bouncing about it, and how I’m going to get to sleep tonight I don’t know….

‘Later, all!
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November 1st Is Now Over #NaNoBlog

And now the first day of November, of NaNoWriMo 2011, is over. *heaves happy sigh*

Okay, I didn’t quite make it to 2K words… but I did make it to over 1.7K, which is better than the word target for the day. And tomorrow’s another day. And I’ve started to really get into my characters’ heads – that was, I must admit, something I was a bit worried about. The prologue was easy. Getting into their heads, on the other hand, has been harder.

But, as I said, I’ve made it past the target for the first day, which is a good start to things. If stuff goes as well as it has in the past, I should be at over 4K words by the end of today. *looks forward to it*

And I dragged my supervisor into NaNo as well – I’m really hoping she’s going to enjoy it. I’m certainly looking forward to chatting to her (when we get a chance at work) about what our characters are doing, and bemoaning the fraught sailing through the seas of our imaginations….

Yes, I like the Viking analogy NaNo creator Chris Baty came up with. It’s fun to play with. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not to mention that the alfar might just show up in Wild Hunt as well… I’ve got the Celtic fae, why not the Nordic?

One question I might be interested in delving into: is it spelled “Seleighe” or “Seelie”? I’ve always thought “Seelie” was the anglicization from the Scots or Irish Gaelic. Thoughts, anyone?

Talk to you soon!
๐Ÿ˜‰ tag0

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November Begins! #NaNoBlog

And so, the start of another wild and wacky November. (The Wild Hunt Rides!) Yay!

I already have the first 213 words – the prologue – of my story written. Wrote it as soon as I came home from work and petted Imber. (She feels that I need to have my priorities straight, and given she can walk all over my writing, I tend to listen. She lets me have plenty of writing time in exchange.)

So, as usual, I intend to continue blogging throughout the month, letting you know the milestones I hit and my weekly achievements. (My “until last week” regular Friday updates might end up even further on the backburner this month, I’m afraid. A consequence of the grand adventure that is NaNoWriMo: Eater of Souls.)

So, prepare for the extremes of adventure by getting out that Viking helmet, pulling on your novelling gear, and getting all those colourful gel pens lined up just right! The journey awaits!

tag’s NaNoWriMo Page

Forward, March!

See you in the wilds of the imagination!

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Imber’s Adventures, Part The Second

Yes, she’s had another adventure – this one a lot more relaxing and pleasing for me than the last! Read all about it behind the LJ-cut (put because some people – for some reason that utterly escapes me – might not be interested in reading about my adorable little kitten)!

First of all, a little diagram of the floors of the house… it’s got four “half-floors”:

___2nd Fl_____
              ---
                _____1st Fl______
              ---
____Bsmt______
              ---
                ____SubBsmt______

My room, the “suite/main room” and the laundry room and furnace room are in the “SubBsmt” (sub-basement). The den, Dad’s study, and the downstairs bathroom with the cats’ food is in the “Bsmt”. The living room, the dining room, and the kitchen are on the “1st Fl”, and the rest of the bedrooms and the upstairs bathroom are on the “2nd Fl”. Since Imber and I arrived, she’s mainly stayed down in the sub-basement, mostly in my room, with the occasional foray up to the den (when none of the other animals were there, preferably – which is getting hard now, because the colder weather is setting in, and Thor, whom she hates with a passion, likes the den).

So, as mentioned in my weekly update last Sunday, I’ve started taking Imber up to the living room occasionally. I’m trying to do that a bit every day. A couple of days ago (Thursday night) while I was out at work, Imber apparently wandered up to the den where Mom, Dad and Daph were watching TV three times, including a visit out to the bathroom (the den is right off the stairs leading up from my “main suite”; the bathroom is down a short hall to the back). Good for her!

Well, I got home from work tonight and needed to use the washroom. Looking at Imber, I decided to see if I could coax her out, despite the fact that Thor was in the den and Mew was at the top of the stairs leading from the basement to the kitchen.

To my amazement, it worked! She didn’t even need that much coaxing! I was floored! (In a very, very pleased way, of course.) So she stayed in the washroom with me, then came out, and Mew was down at the bottom of the stairs to the kitchen, watching us. I blocked him with my feet as she slipped carefully around him (not without a hiss or two) and into the den.

Then I started to head up to the kitchen to make some hot chocolate (it’s getting cold here!). After a bit more coaxing, Imber decided to stay up in the den to wait for me; and then, to my astonishment, when I got up the stairs to the kitchen and turned to look, she’d settled in the doorway of the den, right across from Mew, and was just watching me!

At some point while I was waiting for the water to boil, Mew got up and wandered up to the top of the stairs – which luckily kept Sancho (the large dog) from bounding down them as soon as he saw Imber. Everything went surprisingly peacefully, and then when I started downstairs with my drink (and Sancho following me), Imber headed back down to my bedroom.

I’m really, really proud of her right now. She’s been so brave, it’s humbling. She is scared of the other animals, but she put that to one side to follow me. It means a lot. I know I shouldn’t compare her to Brightspot too much (though I still swear she has to be Brightspot’s next life) but that devotion reminds me of my Burmese demon-child. And yet there’s something in there that’s pure Imber, determined to prove herself fully capable to her Mommy-Cat. That cat doesn’t know the meaning of the term “physically handicapped”, and thank goodness for it!

Well, thanks for listening to me ramble on about my kitten. Weekly update coming later today.

๐Ÿ˜‰ tag0

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Weekly Update: Sunday Oct. 23/11

Okay, here’s the belated update for this past week. Sorry for the delay in getting it out, but, well… it’s been that kind of week, as you’ll read. It’s not going to be very long, because most of this week has been a blur and a half, and I don’t remember specifics.

Hm. In no particular order, the following happened:

Had a very enjoyable Scrabble game on Wednesday with the WAMUN group – I even managed to win a game! Yay me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Got a detailed response back on my Canada Writes story from my adopted uncle that echoed some things that my sister-in-law and one of my other uncles both said, so I’m planning to do some revising (AKA re-writing) during my free days this week, so I can send it in to the contest by the weekend. (It’s due in by 11:59pm ET on Nov.1.)

Um… brought Imber up to the living room a couple of times. The last time was early this afternoon, and I’m told she stayed up there for about an hour (a whole hour!) without me after I went down for a nap. I was very impressed by this, because she spent last Saturday or Sunday (whichever was the first day up there this past month) shivering the entire time. She even let Dad hold her for a while when I went in to make Mom some hot lemon with honey and answer the phone!

Right, that brings up another thing. Mom’s sick with a cold/the flu. Nasty sore throat, no energy, etc. She’s been sick since Friday (at least).

I have a few more ideas for my NaNo story, and am getting impatiently eager for November to start.

Work is… well, it’s been improved the past two days (yes, I’ve worked seven days in a row, and I’m working again “tomorrow” – Monday), but it was draining me this past week. I was having a lot of trouble with sleeping and depression – and headaches – and that was worrying me. We (my supervisor and I) now have an attack plan for part of what the problem’s been, which is part of the reason why the past two days (Sat. and Sun.) haven’t been too bad. Also, I got another 5 renewals this week in total, so that’s not too bad either. (And no, we don’t get commission on renewals, but we do get point awards, and you can buy things with points.)

We had Julia last night and this morning (Sat/Sun), and Dad, Daphne and I went to breakfast/brunch with her. That was nice. She was very chatty, and she’s started learning her lower-case letters (as opposed to just the capitals). She’s wanting to know how to spell everything even more now. And she was pointing out the various things that appear on my NaNoLand t-shirt, and having a ball doing so. This cheered me up a great deal.

I’ve resumed doing Tai Chi Chuan by myself, and am hoping that once my work schedule stabilizes, I’ll be able to get involved in the St. John’s chapter and actually go to weekly meetings for Tai Chi. I need it, based on the help it’s been so far the past couple of days.

Mom saw a physiotherapist for her rheumatoid arthritis earlier this week, and she might be able to get into a study on it. This would be a good thing, so we’re rooting for that. This might also mean that she wouldn’t have to go down to CR in November.

Huh. I guess there was a bit more to talk about than I thought. Well, that’s good. Hopefully there’ll be more details about what’s going on in my next update, and I’ll have pleasanter things to talk about. (Though some of my points were pleasant enough – like Imber and Mom possibly getting into a study.)

Okay, I’m wiped and really need to get some sleep. *sighs* Can’t wait until I have the seniority to move my schedule down a bit, so that I’d get home by about 9:30 or so. That wouldn’t be too bad. (On the other hand, after midnight, things get fairly quiet….)

‘Later, all!
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Weekly Update: Friday Oct. 07/11

So, this past week.

Well, turns out that Dad got cashews when he went shopping last Friday, so my friend and I had Oriental Chicken with cashews. Was good, and there were a couple of servings left over for lunch this past week.

The weekend was fairly quiet – nothing much happened, really. I read a bit, relaxed, did nothing much… it was nice. Mom and I did go out shopping for a rain jacket and shoes on Sunday – found a really nice, light jacket and a pair of good, black shoes with velcro “laces” – I’m a match for Julia now! *G*

Not a lot happened Monday – just went to work/class, did a few things there (though not much, because we’ve had ID troubles all week – see more on that below), and started learning the basics of the Loyalty program. Got 92.5% on my final Wireless test – yay!

Tuesday… well, Tuesday during the day was pretty much the same as Monday. Tuesday night, however, I found a link to CBC’s Canada Writes contest and decided that there was no way I wasn’t going to participate. Actually started writing the story I plan to enter today.

Wednesday again, went much the same. Did okay on my Loyalty test (86.something%) and got my schedule for the next couple of weeks. Sort of. Again, see below for details on what’s been going on with that. But I was due to be working the floor Friday and Saturday from 3:30pm to midnight, and next week Tuesday through Friday, same thing (though I had put in a shift request form to get Tuesdays off, because I have the Asperger’s Group meetings the second Tuesday of every month), and the week after Monday through Friday, same thing.

Wednesday night I had my phone appointment with Dr. Garling. It went well – I was able to tell him all about what happened last week (the bad and the good things) and how I handled the bad things, and we were able to discuss the books I found (ref. Update Fri. Sept 23rd). It went well.

Yesterday… ah, yesterday.

First of all, yesterday was cold. Today was worse, but yeah, winter weather is starting to hit.

Secondly, I (well, Mom, but that should hopefully be fixed now) got an email to say that the Asperger’s Group meeting this coming week would be Wednesday, rather than Tuesday. Hmph. As Dad pointed out, changing schedules like that is not the best thing to do to anyone with an Autism Spectrum Disorder… and it also screwed up my next week’s schedule (which has thankfully been ironed out, because I told Heather – our trainer – about it as soon as I got in to work). I wrote an email back about that (not the ASD stuff, but the work stuff), because this coming week we’re going to be discussing relationships – friendships and dating – and it’s an important topic, one I really, really don’t want to miss.

So, then, on to work.

We were due in at work at 4:30 to get certified, and then go on the floor. We got in there… and discovered that A) Adam, the only male left in our group of 4 students, had evidently decided not to come back; and B) we didn’t have our IDs set up for the live environment system, meaning we couldn’t go on the phones. So no certification, and no floor work.

So we shadowed (listened to other people taking calls) for a few hours, then had a “huddle” – an hour-long meeting – with our new supervisor, who seems very nice. Then we were free to leave, so Dad came and got me and drove me home at about 8:30 or thereabouts. *shrugs* We were also told to come back for 5:30 tonight, rather than our scheduled 3:30, because our supervisor wasn’t going to be in until 5. That was fine, a bit more time before I had to face the phones.

So, I get into work today to discover that Suze – the other newbie in our class – was shadowing. News? Our IDs still aren’t live. *sighs heavily* Which means that really, all we can do is shadow. So we shadow for about 2-1/2 hours, then have another hour-long huddle, and head back home after that. We were informed there was really no point in coming in tomorrow (Saturday) because the Rogers guys (it’s Rogers Wireless we’re working for, so they’re the ones who have to set up our IDs in the live environment, because they’re Rogers programs, not Sykes) aren’t working the weekend – or Monday, seeing as it’s Thanksgiving.

We were told that we could come in for about 3 hours (minimum) on Monday to do some more shadowing, and both Suze and I are going to do that – go in at 1 and shadow for a few hours.

Other than that… the plan is that we’re having family Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday (Tony, Anna and Julia will be coming over, I believe) – with pumpkin pie as an option for dessert, yum! (I love pumpkin pie with – or even without! – whipped cream….) Tomorrow I think I’m going to make another try at the Margaret Mews Library, now that I know exactly where it is. Hopefully it won’t be too cold out (though compared to Toronto’s winter weather, St. John’s is mild – there’s windchill, yes, but it’s rarely below -10ยฐC, if that), and there might be sun. (Hey, it was sunny today while some light rain and hail were coming down!)

The rest of the week – well, I’ve mentioned that I’ll be working Monday for a few hours. We really, really hope that our IDs will be live by 3:30 on Tuesday, and I’ll be working Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in the afternoon and night. Despite the fact I’m uncertain about my ability to bridge for renewals and upgrades, I’m rather looking forward to getting on the floor and starting to answer calls myself.

Anyway, to those of you in Canada, I really hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. To those outside, have a wonderful weekend, and a good week to come!

‘Later, all!
๐Ÿ˜‰ tag0

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Pictures From Newfoundland!

Hey, everyone! I’ve got some Newfoundland pics up in my gallery, from both St. John’s and Brigus. The direct links are as follows:
Main Newfoundland Gallery: which has a pic of the two flags of Newfoundland, and contains the two below galleries as sub-galleries
St. John’s Gallery: with pictures from a couple of different days, currently mostly of downtown St. John’s, Water St.
Brigus Gallery: with pictures from the trip we took out to my uncle’s townhouse in Brigus in August

‘Later, all!
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Weekly Update: Friday Sept. 30/11

So, it turns out that Tony and Anna had a couch-surfer from New Zealand this past weekend, so on Friday night, we looked after Julia while they took him downtown to be Screeched In. I slept well Friday night – I even slept in! – and woke up to Julia and Mom in the morning.

Had a good, relaxing Saturday. Not much happened; I read a bit, relaxed, read fic… and in the evening, went to see “Dying Hard”, my cousin Mikaela’s show.

Gods. I sent out the link to my review on Sunday, but… man. The show was intense. I really enjoyed it.

Sunday was mostly quiet, but I ended up meeting the guy from the Asperger’s group that I clicked with. (It turned out I’d been waiting for him to contact me, and he’d been waiting for me to contact him – but he had my phone number, and only Daphne had his info.) We met up at Tim Horton’s at 3:30, and before we knew it, it was 6:30! Had to call Mom and Dad as we were leaving to let them know I hadn’t disappeared. The two of us just have so many similar experiences and manifestations….

Monday morning, I discovered that the cocker, Quixote, had peed behind Imber’s litter box. (It was definitely a dog, and Sancho won’t walk on the laminate that is the floor of my “main suite”.) Turns out he’s also done some peeing on the floor of the den, which he knew he wasn’t allowed to do – and it wasn’t kidney problems, he was choosing to do it. As a result, Monday afternoon, Mom and Dad went to the vet and had Don Quixote de la Rancho put down. Sancho and the parents miss him, but they’re adjusting.

Had an issue at the end of work that upset me Monday evening, but was able to talk it out with Mom and Dad. However, I was really upset and crying, and I woke up Tuesday morning with a sore throat.

Aside from getting 96% on the weekly assessment test on Tuesday, nothing much happened Tuesday and Wednesday. Just went to work, came home, and crashed early because I wasn’t feeling too well. Took a few cups of hot lemon and honey Wednesday and Thursday.

Yesterday (Thursday) I was feeling even worse (still just the sore throat, luckily), so grabbed some Strepsils, and took a drink of cranberry cocktail to help with the throat. It’s still sore today, but much better than it was yesterday morning.

Yesterday I also had coffee/tea (well, hot chocolate) at Timmy’s with the guy from the Asperger’s group again – though this time I set my watch alarm so I wouldn’t be late for dinner – and he’s coming over tonight for dinner. *shrugs* We’ve just clicked so well….

Today was fine – somewhat warm and muggy, though. Work went fairly well, and going to have Oriental Chicken and Cashews with rice (and without cashews) for dinner and chat some more. Watch us still be chatting when Mom and Dad get home from dinner out!

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Dying Hard: An Award-Winning One Woman Play

Tonight I went to see the performance of my cousin’s play, Dying Hard. It’s based on the book of the same name by noted anthropologist Elliott Leyton, professor of anthropology at Memorial University of Newfoundland, about the miners in the town of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland – miners who suffered and died from cancer and silicosis got from working in the fluorspar mines, and their wives. Those of you who have read yesterday’s weekly update saw some links about the play, but this was the first time I saw it. I won’t be posting this review behind an LJ-Cut, because I want everyone to read it.

The play consists of the verbatim responses to the interviews given by six of the subjects of the book, four of them miners and two of them wives. Their stories are powerful in and of themselves, because all the ones chosen by Mikaela (my cousin) faced their fates with strength, and weren’t afraid to prompt laughs – even with the subject matter, the play had the audience laughing at numerous parts.

The order in which they progress is also powerful – two miners, one of the wives, then the other two miners and the second wife, who had already become a widow by that time. And I hadn’t realized before just how versatile Mikaela could be with her body language, and her face: she became those characters, using only a prop or two for each, even taking on their dialect (which made those of us in the audience unaccustomed to the thicker Newfoundland accents listen even more carefully to the first character) in a way that really got the essence of who they were across.

The play took place in the basement theatre of the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, a small and fairly intimate theatre. Several songs were playing leading up to the play, including “The Chemical Worker’s Song (Process Man)” by Great Big Sea, from their album “up” – all focusing on the plight of miners in the developing industrial world. It added something to the atmosphere, I think.

I won’t describe the play in detail – it’s really something that has to be experienced to be understood, because it’s very much a visual and audial experience, and one that I think would be cheapened if I were to write it down. All I can say was that it was exceedingly powerful – so much so that as the lights faded after the widow’s part, one member of the audience (no idea who – we were sitting in the front row) breathed, “Wow!” That really said it all, I think.

Both last night and tonight were fully sold out; she’s going on to show the play in twenty more locations around the island over the next month or so, and she’s also going to be giving talks in high schools and junior highs about sociology and the means of passing on culture and history by means of stories and things such as theatre.

The play was first performed last year, in 2010, as part of the Fringe Festivals, which is where it won at least some of the aforementioned awards. Given the performance I saw tonight, it definitely deserves them. Mikaela mentioned in an interview she gave (the one with WAM, see link below) that while the stories were harsh and unpleasant, in terms of what happened to them, she wanted people to come away from the experience of watching the play with a feeling of hope and strength, the way the subjects had faced their fates. I think she definitely succeeded. And the order in which the characters appear plays a role in this, as well as the elements of humour from each of them. You might think that the widow’s story is the saddest – and in a way it is, if any of the stories can be said to be sadder than any other. They’re all facing death, after all. But at the same time, the widow spent a wonderful life with her husband while he lived, and she herself talks about the strength that everyone has shown facing this, and that really comes across.

Mikaela: Congratulations on succeeding in your aims for “Dying Hard”. You really did a magnificent job.

Links for some further information:
Here’s her interview on CBC WAM (Weekend Arts Morning).
Here’s a The Telegram article (for those who don’t know, The Telegram is the St. John’s newspaper).
Another newspaper article, from The Southern Gazette.
And one from the Calgary Herald.
Dying Hard: Industrial Carnage in St. Lawrence Newfoundland by Elliott Leyton at Amazon.ca, at Chapters/Indigo, and at Amazon.com

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Weekly Update – Friday Sept. 16/11

Well, it’s been an exciting and surprising quick week for me this week. Third week of training for work (three more to go, and we’re down to six people, from eight), and we had our first weekly assessment on Tuesday. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and the whole class passed. I was the only one to get 100%, so that was a nice bit.

Imber’s been getting braver; she’s starting to go up to the den on her own, rather than waiting for me to coax her. Sancho (the mutt) chased Imber on Wednesday when she had gone up there. *sighs* Imber also has it out for Mouse; for some reason, she seems to dislike Mouse intensely.

In terms of physical health, I seem to be doing well overall. I suspect I’ve lost a bit more weight over the last week, though I don’t have a scale to confirm that. I’ve also felt more energy (especially Tuesday and Wednesday!), so clearly the iron pills are working. Only thing really bothering me (in part because Sykes is a scent-free workplace) is my buggered up right knee and the occasional headache (note that they’re not as frequent). I plan to go to physio for my knee – the doctor’s given me a referral – I’m just waiting for my health insurance to kick in. (Not until 3 months at work, unfortunately!)

Speaking of insurance, I have got on the NLPDP (Newf & Labrador Prescription Drug Plan) but they won’t shell out at all for my anti-depressant (which is one of the two drugs that costs a few hundred dollars for 2-3 months’ worth). They’ll do it if used for neuropathic pain in diabetic patients, but not as an anti-depressant. *sigh*

However, in terms of mental and emotional health… well, honestly, I’m doing a lot better than I have been in a while. One of the reasons I was so pumped up Tuesday and Wednesday was the fact that… well, first of all, the assessment test at work. Secondly, Tuesday night was my first meeting of the Adult Aspergers Support Group – and it went wonderfully. It was… I don’t know how to describe it in short form. It was like meeting someone you’ve known for ages without realizing it. It was seriously relaxing. So I was right bouncy Tuesday and Wednesday.

Other than that… well, we’re suffering the ravages of the approaching Hurricane Maria right now. It made landfall at St. Mary’s Bay at 3:30 our time, and Mom figures it’ll hit here within the half hour (it’s currently ten to five here). The winds following it, though, are due to be the worst of it. Steady winds of 95 km/h with gusts of up to 130 km/h, and the soil here has been softened by the rain we’ve been receiving since the middle of last night (though not as much as they were predicting, because apparently the hurricane is travelling north faster than they thought, and the faster it is, the less rain it drops on the areas it goes over), so there’s concern about the trees. That’s why I’m sending this so early, so that if the power does go out, at least you’ll have received my update on time. It’s fairly important to me to make this as regular as possible.

Anyway, that was my week. How have you been? I very eagerly await the news from you.

‘Later all,
๐Ÿ˜‰ tag0

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NaNoWriMo 2011, Here I Come!

Well, I’ve been struggling over this for a week now, trying to prepare for getting everything on the NaNo site set up as soon after October 1st as I can access it, and I’ve finally got it. I know what novel I’m going to be writing this year.

It’s a fantasy novel, tentatively titled “Wild Hunt”. Fae, vampires, Hunters, and all that good stuff. But not stupid Hunters – for instance, my male protagonist, who is a Hunter, routinely wears combat pants or not-too-loose cargo pants (for all the pockets) and t-shirts for hunting. None of that silly leather stuff! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now I’ve just got to work out the details of what the main storyline is. *grins wryly* And the backstory of my two protagonists. Fun times – I like figuring these things out!

‘Later, all!
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Weekly Update – Friday Sept. 09/11

And… it’s Friday again!

Well, it’s been a long week, despite the fact that Labour Day was on Monday (thus no work). I must admit that I’m rather glad it’s Friday, and not just because I got paid this morning (;)). During this week, I have discovered that I am (again) low-iron anemic (which may explain part of why I’ve ended up so tired the last week and a half or so), and Imber has gotten braver at following me out of my room.

Work has gone well. I’m finding that despite my tiredness, I’m enjoying the training – in large part because our trainer, Heather, is very enthusiastic and tries to make things interesting for us. (Glitter. Glitter everywhere. *snrks*) We’ve been learning this week about phone manufacturers (if you want a durable cellular phone, Samsung, Apple, or Nokia are your best bets), and about phones themselves. We’ve started learning about other products as well, and some of the service plans Rogers offers.

Hm. Other than that… my niece was here until Tuesday afternoon. We had a reasonably good weekend, though the weather has gotten a bit more towards “St. John’s normal” (i.e. colder and greyer) this week – though today ended up warm (to me) and sunny…. Note that the temperatures in St. John’sย do feel a bit cooler than the same temperatures in Toronto, probably because of the difference in humidity and how it reacts. Not that I mind! (No, the only thing I mind is the fact that the training room’s air conditionerย has to be broken – Heather insists it’s 21ยฐC and we’re all freezing, or nearly so!)

I’ve lost some weight since I got here, which is good. The everyday walking I’m doing is helping with that, definitely.

What else? Nothing much, really. I’ve been busy with work and with dealing with my exhaustion, and cooking the occasional dinner. I’m really hoping that I’ll get some writing done this coming week, because I haven’t written aย word inย weeks, and it’s beginning to really get to me.

The good news is that my sister-in-law has been dragged into NaNoWriMo, and we’re going to meet up Sunday so she can pick my brain about it. Ought to be fun – window-shopping followed by coffee/tea!

Oh… and I’ve gotten into Twitter. Not going to use it much, but if any friends of mine out there are also on and want to follow me… there’s a link over to the side!

Hope you’ve all had a good week as well!

‘Later,
๐Ÿ˜‰ tag0

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Weekly Update – Friday Sept. 02/11

Okay, weekly update time. Like I said, I’m going to try to do this every week.

This one’s not a long one; just… it’s been a long, exhausting week, mostly because of the training (the first two and a half days, we were sitting listening to and watching speeches and PowerPoints, and doing paperwork; it’s only in the last couple of days that we’ve startedย doing things, like training on the systems we’ll be using).

Imber continues to get a bit bolder, and we’re now finding her semi-frequently in the “main room” of my “suite”, or in the laundry room, rather than just in my bedroom. This is a good thing. Now we need to get her up to the level of the den, the basement bathroom, and the food and litter box that are around the bathroom (food inside, to dissuade Quixote, the cocker, from getting at it; litter box(es) outside so that the bathroom can be used). So that’s the project for the next two weeks, I think.

Hm. Not really all that much else to say, save that my younger niece has been staying with us since Wednesday evening, and will be here until/including Monday, since my brother and sister-in-law are camping. And I don’t have to go into work on Monday because it’s Labour Day (though I don’t get paid for it either). Yay, sleep-in time!

*shrugs* If I think of anything else, I’ll add another entry.

See you next week!

๐Ÿ˜‰ tag0

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General Update – August

Well. It has been quite the busy month.

In the middle of the month I moved from Toronto, Ontario, to St. John’s, Newfoundland. From a basement apartment to my mom and dad’s house (where my bedroom is in the basement ;), though I’ve got a huge window). With my cat (you can see Imber on my new bed in the next post’s userpic). I’ve just started a new job (well, the training, but that’s the start of the job, effectively) that’s only about a 10-minute walk from the house, which is nice. (Though lunch is only half an hour, so I don’t get to go home for that.) I also had to get rid of the vast, vast majority of my books and DVDs, because we flew here (renting a truck would have cost thousands of dollars, a good portion of that for the ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland). That was painful.

Altogether, things are going well, and it’s likely this move was the best thing for me to do. It gets me out of the Toronto weather (boiling heat in summer, which I’m allergic to, and freezing cold in winter – St. John’s might get a lot of snow, but the weather is generally milder than in Toronto). St. John’s, despite its status as the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, still is very much a small town in mentality, and the pace of life in Atlantic Canada is slower and more relaxed than in Ontario (part of the reason my brother chose to stay in St. John’s, and my middle sister chose to stay in/around Halifax). Plus, the vast majority of my mom’s family lives here, so I have a ready-made support system if I need them. (And I can still participate in NaNoWriMo here…. ;))

I’m determined not to lose track of my friends in Toronto though, nor any friends I’ve made through LJ and my fanfic, so expect more updates than usual as I settle in. (I’m going to try to update my LJ every Friday, now that things are a bit more settled here.)

The next post (which will follow shortly) will detail Imber’s “Great Adventure” in the two days before the move. (*shudders*) I was so terrified throughout….

‘Later, all!

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