Update: Apt, Exercise, Camp NaNo July ’15

So, it’s been a while. Since early May, in fact. Sorry about that, and hi, everyone! I hope life has been treating you as well as it’s been treating me.

This is going to be a fairly long post, which a number of different sections: about my new apartment, about Imber, about Camp NaNoWriMo for July 2015, and about exercising and how I’m doing with that. And pictures are included! (Luckily, I figured out how to do them as a gallery.) So I’m definitely putting it behind a “more” tag, and as you can see, I’ve added internal links to each of the sections to make it easier if you only want to read one or two of them at a time, and not have to go all the way through everything else….

Read onwards….

#NaNoWriMo 2014: Day 8, Weekly Report

And yes, I am including the weather in this weekly report, because it’s been weird all day. The sun’s been shining – well, it was until we were well into the meetup, stopped sometime between 15:00 and 16:00 hrs, I think – but the sky has been stormy. While I was walking from the Elaine Dobbin Centre (I have Social Club there on Saturdays… kind of meh, but I’m hoping it will perk up a bit as we start to have outings next week) to the MUN University Centre where we were having the meet-up, the sun was shining brightly as rain was hitting me hard enough to sound almost like hail or heavy snow. (Which it wasn’t, thank goodness.) Even saw a rainbow!

The meetup was fun, and I got to see several familiar faces, and meet someone new. Chatting happened about word count, Disney movies, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (it was highly recommended by those who have seen it), battle scenes, character names, unusual aspects to characters, etc. Lots of stuff. (Oh, and frogs. There was a fair bit of discussion about frogs. ;))

Also found out about a neat little Asian store that’s right around the corner from The Loft in the MUN University Centre – have now had my first taste of mochi! They also sell pocky (marked up, admittedly), and canned coffee. And all sorts of Asian (not just Japanese) treats, and spices, and just general ingredients. I like! 🙂

Now, on to talking about my writing….

Ended up skipping around a bit in the story today, because the scene I was working on (linearly speaking) wasn’t gelling too well (partly because of the persistent headache). So I’ve done some work on the next scene, and a scene that’s another chapter away. *wry grin* Actually, as some of the themes in those scenes are connected (secrets and revealing them), it turns out to be working reasonably well for the moment.

Also had headache today, so didn’t make my usual 3.3K+. I did make 1.9K words, though, which brought me up to 27.4K words in total. Yay me!

And where I’ve stopped in the scenes is good as well – explosions coming tomorrow! 🙂 (Well, not literal ones. I don’t think. Heh.)

‘Later all!

😉 tag

Salmonier Nature Park

Yes, I’m posting! Yay! 😉

I don’t know whether I mentioned this or not – I might have only mentioned it on the tagAught blog – but I’m currently in a program run by Eastern Health (the section of the Newfoundland health system that covers the eastern part of the island) where I live in a house with housemates for about a year or so, learning the life skills that I lack (for which we have a life skills instructor), and then move on to an apartment. It’s a carefully regulated program, and it’s already started making a difference for me. (The only thing is that I go back to my parents’ on the weekend, because otherwise Imber and I would miss each other two much – no pets are allowed in the house, because of potential allergies and potential issues with cleanup.)

Anyway, our current life skills instructor made the suggestion that we might want to take the occasional outing as a house (AKA her and our housemates), just to have some interesting things happen and bond as housemates. So a rec budget is being set up, but in the meantime, since our current life skills instructor is leaving at the end of this week, she suggested we go somewhere free. So yesterday, we took off to Salmonier Nature Park, which is an educational centre and a wildlife rehabilitation park. They take in wild animals who are injured, most of whom are native to Newfoundland and Labrador (I say “most” because moose are not actually native here; they were imported by a British governor in 1912 who was looking for a hunting challenge), and help them. If they’re able to be fully healed, they are then released back into the wild where they are found; if they’re too damaged to survive in the wild, but still able to live they’re placed in the park; and if they’re way too damaged, they’re put down.

Salmonier Nature Park is about an hour’s drive from St. John’s, with no gravel roads (except the short driveway/entrance to the park), and the walk around the rehabilitation area (which is actually only a small part of the park itself) takes about an hour as well. It was a pleasant drive out, and despite the threat of light rain, we only got sprinkled on a tiny bit as we were walking through (despite having to drive through a short downpour on our way there!). While we were going through, I took pictures of every animal we managed to see with my cell phone. *grins*

To read the details of our visit, continue on!

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.

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!
😉 tag0

Here In St. John’s

Well, arrived in St. John’s at 3:45pm (Newfoundland Time) yesterday, having been up for almost 20 hours at that point (I worked Tuesday night), then went to the hospital to visit Granny, then had dinner with one of my aunts.

Granny was… more responsive yesterday than she’d been since Saturday, so that was good.

Going out to lunch with the cousin who was in Toronto in the fall…

Later, minna!

😐 tag

Off to St. John’s…

Grandmother had a massive stroke last week, and hasn’t woken up for about 4 days (she ended up with pneumonia on Saturday) so my sister and I are off to St. John’s. Don’t know how long we’ll be gone…

*sigh*

It will depend on the situation there.

Still, I will be glad to see the rest of the family…

Later…

🙁 tag

Yep – It’s A White Christmas…

*sigh*

Bad enough we had ice on top of snow, but to have more snow on top of it? At least the snowfall seems to be easing after about two hours… well, what I can see of it through the security cameras and out the window behind my desk…

Only just over an hour and a half left of my 12 hr. shift – I’m looking forward to going home and spending the rest of the night with the cats.

Had a wonderful Christmas Eve with my aunt at her place, and I got some very nice pressies from everyone. Going to be calling the Newfoundland relatives up tomorrow to offer thanks to my grandmother, and express my wishes that everyone had a good Christmas…

And even being here at work for most of Christmas hasn’t been too bad. It’s always been my habit to spend Christmas afternoon relaxing with any books I manage to get, or writing… and while I haven’t exactly been doing that (while I brought one of the two books I was given to work, I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet – I’ve been pre-occupied with other stuff) it’s still been a fairly relaxing day.

With the exception of the exterior patrols. It’s not fun trying to watch your feet to make sure you don’t slip on the ice that’s on the ground while at the same time trying to check the second and third story windows from outside to make sure they’re all closed… But I managed it, and without any spills! *cheers*

Then got involved in a fascinating email discussion with Vathara (RK, GW, or Stargate fans might know her fics on Fanfiction.Net), going from last night to today, and now I’ve got one of those blasted RK plot bunnies in my corral! (Which is obviously going to have to be expanded – it’s starting to get a wee bit too crowded in there… Wonder if my parents’ place in Costa Rica has the metaphysical space available to provide an expansion?)

Anyway, hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and here’s looking forward to a Happy New Year! (Quite in advance, yes, but good wishes never hurt…)

Later!