Summer of Changes

1 09 2017

This summer, of the year 2017, has been one hell of a rollercoaster ride, and I’m still reeling from it, recovering from it.

In May, I lost my beloved cat to cancer. He’d been with me for five years at that point and was only a few months shy of turning thirteen. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me, and I miss him so very much. At the same time, I was blown away by the kindness of strangers when I put up a GoFundMe campaign to cover the vet bills. One person donated over 3000 Danish Kroner. That is a lot of money to give a stranger and I’m still trying to find a way to pay that kindness forward, but I will never forget this person, or any of the others who donated to the campaign. It really helped me a lot at the time, and still gets me through the bad days.

Then, at the end of May, I received an offer of a new flat, at a place where I’ve been on a wait list for about a year and a half. I’d already turned down one offer that had come the day after Charlie Cat died, at which point I had no desire for any more changes. But I’ve been ready to move for a long time, and after seeing the flat, I decided to accept the offer, and on June 16th, I moved in.

Moving is hard. It’s one of the hardest things to do in my experience. Even when you hire movers to carry all your junk, it’s hard. And while I’ve had some fantastic help from my best friend, I’m not quite settled yet. While the blackout curtains are up in the bedroom (I can’t sleep without them, and the windows here are HUGE!), I still have no curtains up in the living room. I wanted to make them myself, but I think a trip to IKEA will be in order very soon. The sun is getting lower in the sky, and can be quite blinding in the afternoon.

But I love it here. This place feels more like home already than the place I lived before, where I spent nearly twelve years agonising over keeping a garden I absolutely hated. Gardens are overrated. At least for me, who can kill a cactus with no problems at all. I’m so very happy to have that burden off my back, and now I’ve traded in that nightmare for a huge balcony with window boxes, that need little to no maintenance.

And here. Look at this view!

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I will never get tied of that view, I swear. It changes every day, with the weather and the pattern of the clouds. I feel incredibly fortunate that I found this place.

Fast forward to August. And this is where it becomes difficult for me to write about it. See, the thing is I’ve always had poor teeth. Really poor teeth. I think it’s partly genetic, partly due to me being terrible at brushing and flossing. But long story short, by the time I was in my mid-thirties, if my teeth weren’t filled with filling, they were broken and rotten. Quite literally. And that’s embarrassing at best, not to mention terrible for one’s physical health.

In the end, it was a social worker who convinced me to begin the process of getting dentures. I can’t explain why others, including my best friend, weren’t able to do this, or why I responded to this one guy, but that’s how it happened. And on August 21st, I had the last of my teeth out (apart from my six bottom front teeth, which are amazingly in decent health) and on the same day I got my dentures.

It’s been a tough few weeks since then. My gums are sore, and wearing the dentures is incredibly uncomfortable, something that I expect will take me a long time to get used to.

But I can smile again. Even if that will also be something that I need to get used to. At some point, I’ll be able to eat properly again. I haven’t yet eaten with the dentures in, instead opting for soft and/or liquid food that doesn’t need much chewing. I will have to practise eating with them in.

It’s going to be a long process. I look forward to the day when wearing these dentures don’t bother me any more, and I can speak properly with them in. That day is not today. Today I have a massive cold, and my teeth are soaking in a plastic jar in the bathroom, because honestly… dentures and snot don’t mix.

And that’s the update on the Summer of 2017. It’s been a wild ride, and it’s not quite over yet. But I’m hoping that it will all end well.

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GoFundMe

10 05 2017

I was somewhat reluctant in sharing this on here. I don’t like begging for money. I don’t even like sharing my Amazon wishlist for birthdays and holidays. But after some thought and having had incredibly kind donations from both friends and strangers, I just wanted to share it here, and let it be known that my faith in humanity has been restored today.

No pressure to donate. But I would be incredibly grateful if you would just share this campaign around.

Thank you.

https://www.gofundme.com/charlie-cats-vet-bill





R.I.P. Charlie Cat

9 05 2017

Today, I had to say goodbye to my beloved cat, Charlie. He’s been with me for just over five years since I adopted him from my best friend back in 2012 and it was the best decision I ever made. These past five years, he’s been there for me when I was sad, when I was happy, he has been miffed with me if I took a night out to go see a movie and he has slept next to me almost every night.

A few weeks ago, he began to falter, sleeping more than usual and eating and drinking much less than he normally did. I took him to the vet two weeks ago and the initial diagnosis was a UTI, which we then treated him for. But he didn’t get better and on Sunday, he refused to eat anything at all.

I took him back to the vet yesterday. This morning I got a call from the vet and was told that he’d eaten last night (everything that he’d been served), but that he (the vet) would still like to take some blood samples, which of course, I agreed to. A an hour so later, the results were in. White blood cells were elevated and some other indicators that it might be leukaemia.

However, at the first visit to the vet, they also found a lump in his belly. So the vet suggested that he open up Charlie Cat to have a look. At first I was reluctant, taking a wait and see stance, which would have meant waiting until Thursday as the vet has Wednesdays off.

After a chat with my best friend, I changed my mind. Better to know than to go around worrying for two days.

Right now, I’m not entirely sure it was the right decision. Probably it was. But it’s still two days I won’t have back even if Charlie Cat would have been at the vet hospital during that time.

What the vet found was two large masses surrounding Charlie Cat’s bowels. Inoperable. And the only humane choice was to leave him sedated and then give him an overdose so that he would peacefully pass away.

At least I got to say goodbye. Even if he was asleep and sedated at the time.

But I shall miss him terribly. He was the light of my life at a time when there was a lot of darkness and he has been the best company anyone could ever ask for. I will always keep him in my heart and I will never forget him.

R.I.P. Charlie Cat

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Welcome 2017!

1 01 2017

I have to say, I’m more optimistic about starting a new year than I normally am. New Year’s is really just an arbitrary point in time that shouldn’t have anything to do with changes in your life or making new beginnings and for the past many years, I’ve avoided making resolutions because I’ve never felt I could actually act on them.

This year is a little different. I have plans. I have ideas. I have something to actually act on. Because I have a story that I’m love with and that I want to finish and put out in the world for other people to read.

So that’s my goal for 2017. To first rewrite Wildfire, then revise it and edit it and figure out how to self publish it.

I’ve gone so far as to have chosen a pen name, even. And today I went ahead and set up a new Facebook account for my alter ego. Once I’ve put the finishing touches on it, I’ll put up a link for it, but for the time being I want to just keep it to myself.

But yes, I’m excited for this and that is an entirely new feeling for me. And even if the whole rewriting, revising and editing thing is scary as hell, I’m still looking forward to it!

Bring it on! At just short of 41 years of age, I’m finally ready to make this dream of being a published author come true.





Goodbye and Good Riddance, 2016

31 12 2016

2016 was a miserable year, I think most of us can agree on that. But I think that rather than delve on all the misery that happen both in my personal life and with all the crap that happened around the world and the far too many of my idols and heroes who died, I want to focus this post on the few good things that also happened.

Despite the awful event (my best friend had an aneurysm, but survived and is much better today) that led to me cat-sitting for almost six months, it was really wonderful to experience life with two cats in the house. I could get used to that kind of life, the playing and the company, but sadly I’m only allowed one cat where I life and now Malik (my friend’s cat) has been adopted by another family. But it was good and I do miss the silly bugger.

In September, the same friend and I went on our first holiday together to Fanø to attend a Knitting Festival. We learned some important lessons on that trip, but overall, it was a wonderful experience and one that we will almost certainly try to repeat with better results now that we know the do’s and don’ts of travelling together.

Also in September, a very good online friend of mine was kind enough to chip in half the money to purchase a copy of a video editing software, so I could begin making fan videos, and though I’ve so far only completed one fanvid and a promovid for an RPG I play on, I am eternally grateful for that gift.

Come November, I participated in NaNoWriMo as usual (see post below this one) and though not everything went as planned, it’s possibly one of the most satisfactory NaNo’s I’ve completed, coming out with at least two stories that I would like to work on further (more on that in a later post).

And here in December, against all odds, I found some Christmas spirit, decorated for the holidays and spent Christmas Eve with my best friend.

I’ve been to the cinema more often this year than any other year since I began suffering from anxiety in my early twenties, and with the cinema buddy I’ve made, I’ve also been to a boardgame café a couple of times, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

Other things have happened on the unemployment front. I’m still unemployed, yes, and probably will always be unemployable, but I’ve had some ‘work experience’ at a place called Centre for Danish Jazz History, where I do the kind of work I moved to Aalborg to study for, which is cataloguing and registering records.

So yes, though 2016 has been a shitty and awful year in large parts, good things have happened and I just wanted to share a few of them with you.

Still… as the headline says: Goodbye and Good Riddance, 2016.

And here’s to a Happy 2017!

 





NaNoWriMo 2016

30 11 2016

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_winner

30 days, 50,000 words. That’s the challenge. I took it. Again. I’ve done it seven or eight times before with six “wins” under my belt. For me, it’s always exciting doing NaNoWriMo, but until this year I’ve never really ended with a good feeling about the stories I’ve written. They’ve all just ended up in the digital drawer where they gather dust.

This year, I changed it up a bit. I decided to write short stories instead of a full novel. I started out wanting to write a collection of short stories against a background of climate change, but at some point the main focus changed to centre around LGTBQ characters, which I’m really quite happy with, because they are awesome characters.

I ended with six (more or less) finished stories and there are a few of them that I will definitely want to pick up and work on further:

Whiteout has 5,956 words and is a story of a woman getting stuck in her car in a blizzard and through flashbacks tells a story of her relationship with her first girlfriend and her struggle to come out to her parents.

Spindrift is a 4,345 word story, half of which is pure M/M smut. Enough said.

Wildfire is the short story that turned into a novella that wants to be a novel (standing at 20,470 words currently). A twisted tale of a young addict getting kidnapped and ending up falling in love with his captor who has a secret. This is one of those stories I’ll probably work further on.

Sirocco (Ghibli) ended up with 4,595 words and features a bisexual doctor, trying to do her best when there’s an outbreak of a super-flu in the refugee camp where she has volunteered.

Dust Devils is another short story that turned into a novella that wants to be a novel (at 13,814 words). Set on Mars, the main character is a trans/ace man, trying to sort out his feelings while at the same time being part of the first crew to spend any significant time on the Red Planet. This one I’ll also likely try to work more on.

Squall is the shortest of the lot at only 2,524 words with the same MC as in Wildfire, six years after the events in that story. So this one might be merged with Wildfire when I rewrite that.

So that’s my experience with NaNoWriMo 2016. It was good and it taught me that I may need to pull in the reins when writing short stories, but that in writing them it keeps my momentum going.

And it taught me that while I’m most certainly a pantser, it’s not a bad thing to have a few prompts lying around before starting out.

In the end, I’m satisfied, and happy that I’ve finished with 51,704 words in total. But now I’m going to take a short break from writing (maybe just for the weekend before I get back to my RPGs) and reward myself with binging Westworld, which I still haven’t managed to watch a single episode of.





(Inter)National Coming Out Day

11 10 2016

 

aalborgpride

Since I’m in Denmark, calling it National Coming Out Day doesn’t really fit, so you get (Inter)National Coming Out Day from me.

So, where to start? What label do I put on myself in these times of so many different labels when it comes to sexuality (or lack thereof)?

As a child (way back in the late 70s/early-mid 80s), I never gave sex or sexuality much thought even though sex-ed is something that is (was?) taught in school starting in the 5th or 6th grade when I was eleven or twelve years old.

About the time I hit puberty, I guess. But still, sex wasn’t something I thought about in the sense that I wanted to try it myself. Well, not entirely true that. There was a rather infamous television channel here called Kanal København (Channel Copenhagen), that aired unscrambled hardcore porn after midnight. I watched that. And experimented with masturbation. I liked that. Still do.

But actual sex, with an actual different person. No. As the years went by that lust never appeared. Not at sixteen (which from some quick and dirty research is the average sexual debut here in Denmark), not at eighteen or twenty or twenty-five. Now, at forty, I still don’t feel that need for sex with another person.

For a long time I thought it was just me being insecure, feeling unattractive, being shy or an introvert. All those things that could easily explain the reasons why I had no desire to jump into bed with someone. Back then, there was no Internet to answer those questions and me being me, I never tried to find the answers by asking others.

I was probably in my mid-twenties before I knew there was a thing called asexuality. Even then, I wasn’t sure it was a label that fit me. Because, let’s face it, I had crushes, I fell in love with people and I could definitely see what was attractive in certain people. So for a while, I identified as bisexual. But still never felt the need for sex or even to have the company of another human being in my life (that’s possibly a whole different story, though it might be connected and intertwined with everything else, but it would need a post for itself, I think).

So here I am, trying to find a label for myself on Coming Out Day. The closest I’ve come so far is BiRomantic Ace and Genderfluid. But that’s a hell of a mouthful and too much to explain to most people IRL, so usually I just go with Ace, or better yet, Queer and really only when people ask.

So. Happy Coming Out Day, everyone!