Sunday, 15 May 2016

Fatigue, Farewells and Feathered Friends

The word of the week is intrinsic.

May 9 – Farewell, Chinook

After 17 years, we said goodbye to our little pal today.

To be honest, he wasn't doing so well, and neither were we because of that. As I've mentioned only a few times before, about two years ago, Chinook started waking us regularly at night to be fed, sometimes as many as four or five times despite our many efforts to discourage such behavior including staying up most of the night to literally keep putting them back in his pet bed every time he decided it was time to be fed. In the last 2 months, we managed to find some relief with the addition of a Feliway calming hormone dispenser, but he still woke us more often than not at the crack of dawn anyway - not good.

Examining the symptoms behind such behavior, we realized in late 2015 ago that he wasn't all there upstairs as much as he used to be and this, along with other age-related factors, was influencing his behavior. Losing his hearing, for example, made him yell louder in order for him to hear his own voice, we suspect. The same thing goes for feeling alone; even when we were home, he would often yowl as though wondering where we'd gone, even if we'd just stepped into the next room.

None of these behaviors were sustainable in the long run and neither my sister nor I were sleeping well for the last year, my sister in particular being the one that the cat most often asked for food in recent months.

When we took Chinook to the vets today for his final appointment, but that did confirm that the little guy's kidneys were in bad shape, far worse than when we had him checked a year ago while getting his teeth fixed up so he could eat better( he was steadily losing weight as of two years ago ). The vet said that it would have been impossible for Chinook to last another three months, and that the kidney condition explain why he was eating and drinking so much so often.

So it was time, and as hard as it was, we knew that his quality of life would have declined sharply from this point on. In some ways, it was as though Chinook knew today was his last hurrah: he behaved as energetically as a cat 10 years younger, chasing and playing with his toys all morning before we took him in, like he was expending the last of his energy to make us laugh and help us through today.

Sleep well, little guy, and visit us in our dreams: we will be doing the same.

May 10 – Rest and Recovery

I'm starting to think I'm not cut out for traveling, as it's so stressful.

Or maybe it's just that I'm still not handling my anxiety well enough, coupled with not being in better physical shape; the two factors can amplify one another, I think, if I'm overtired and overstressed like I was this past weekend.

Thankfully, all that came of it was a little fatigue, and a headache.

Now that my sister and I will be able to sleep uninterrupted through the night( passing emergency sirens or the occasional amplified-muffler jerk notwithstanding )we should both see an improvement in our health. For myself, it's going to take some time before I stop hearing cat yowls in my head when there are none, a psychological effect I've woken up to far too many times in the past.

Falling asleep early, and waking early, with light - especially during the day - seems to be the pattern for me of late. I'm trying to moderate it slightly, as I've been getting sleepy around 10pm... meaning I'm waking up around 6am, which coincides with the brightening dawn light. While I'm still groggy at that time, that's hopefully going to fade as I get more sleep-through-the-night rest in the next few weeks.

Falling asleep naturally case in point: tonight I was reading in bed, thinking about turning in around 10 PM... and the next thing I knew it was 1:30am and I'd woken, still fully-day-clothed with all the lights still on and the book I've been reading fallen on the bedsheet.

That's been rare for me of late, and I hope it's a sign that my bodies going to be quite good about conking out on a regular schedule once I start getting some solid sleep every night.

May 11 – Moving On?

My work doesn't need me. Well, to be clearer: they don't specifically need me.

I was moved out of my Corner Condo desk last week, to a new spot temporarily as part of a team restructuring which included losing my awesome team lead of the last year. The glare from the overhead lights is a bit much, and in a way I feel like I've been evicted from a home I loved. It's disconcerting, but it's also a familiar feeling: change.

It's time.

The positions I'm applying for are all steps up from my current level, all in the hopes that a few of them will sidle my way and discover that I'm a solid fit. All of them pay more than my current entry-level clerk job, and I'm crossing my fingers that they're located near the downtown core so I don't have to bus to work; biking would be fine, and good exercise too.

So I've been applying to more jobs lately and I have been in the last six months, helped by the fact that there seems to be more "better fits" for my skills and experience coming up in my GVT searches every week or so.

Working for the government, I've come to realize that the positions are looked at in one of two ways: you either keep upgrading yourself as far as you can based on your qualifications and skills, or you stay where you're comfortable for a long, long time.

Based on my skills, experience, needs and hopes for the future, I'm going full-on for the former: move on and move up, keep applying and keep trying.

I've been stuck in too few places for too long; time to climb!

May 12 – Cancellation Chaos?

Why don't watch television much anymore, today's news just made me shake my head and wonder about the future of the medium.

Today, ABC decided to cancel such amazing shows as Galavant, The Muppets, Castle, and Agent Carter... so that they can renew 'gems like Once Upon A Time, Big Brother and The Bachelor.

As a writer, I'll just say that there's no good writing on anything that was renewed, with the possible exception of Agents Of S.H.E.I.L.D. sure, I'm not watching much television of late, but I can appreciate the shocking difference between a well-written show and one that has as much thought put into it as someone blowing their nose and wiping it on a script before they submit it.

ABC: Keep the crap, scrap the good stuff... sheesh.

It's much the same on the other networks. Glancing at the renewal lists, CBS has greenlit shows like 2 Broke Girls( awful drek ), Amazing Race and numerous crime shows that all seem alike to me, personally. At least CBS has had the sense to keep New Girl alive, along with The Simpsons( meh )and NBC... well, they're still airing television shows, that's all I've really got to say about them.

In this day and age of independent channels, Internet streaming shows and the like, it's shocking to see a major network shoot itself in the foot like ABC has today. Dumping quality shows for reality television is a trend I'd hoped to see reversed a late, but apparently stupidity is alive and strong at the highest levels of the old guard.

Let's hope that the independents win, as they seem the most likely to bring smart, well-written shows to their audiences directly, without interference from above. You can check out all the shows canceled and renewed here, if it tickles your fancy - in the meantime, I'll be getting back to writing my book and ignoring TV-land for the most part... it's just too dumb lately.

May 13 – Lucky Me!

I just sailed through today.

It was the end of a long week, one that wasn't particularly wearing but tiring all the same due: coming back from ON, losing a pet... plus a few other things, including losing my camera on the flight home( and having it returned! )all added up.

Weirdly, today was Friday the 13th and a full moon, yet I didn't bat an eye.

I suppose I've become inured to the number 13, having included it in the title of my first novel... which kind of endears it to me: in a way, I've owned it, rather than the other way around.

I'm also not that superstitious. While a lot is happened to me in my life, for good and bad, I don't feel that there's some weird invisible hand guiding my destiny whether I want it to happen or not. Instead, I tend to go with the flow and see the best in things as much as I can, meaning that I don't ascribe the negative aspect to dates like today but just enjoy whatever comes along as much as possible.

Like today being Friday, with the weekend to look forward to after having a week of wonderful weather. Why worry about strange superstitions when there's so much else to do and enjoy?

Also, a friend of mine is launching the Kickstarter today for his storybook Jinx The Black Cat. It's the work of almost a decade of dedication from a talented artist, Mike Hogue, so go check him out and get a copy of Jinx's adventures!

May 14 – A Year Of Wonder

Today marks a special day in my life...

It's been a year since I started dating my girlfriend: a wonderful, amazing year that I'm humbly grateful for in every way.

If you'd asked me five years ago if I thought I'd ever meet someone like my lady, I would have given long odds against the chance, let alone odds on her wanting to date me. Thinking about it, maybe I should've bet against myself and made some money? Is that how it works?

To celebrate, I took her out to Ferris' Upstairs Oyster Bar for dinner. It's somewhere neither of us had been and I surprised her with the location, which went over well. The atmosphere was excellent: we were tucked into a corner table above the stairway entrance, perfect for conversation and away from most noisy nearby tables. Our dinners were delicious, the service was excellent and attentive and the chocolate truffles we had for dessert were perfect in portion and taste.

We finished off the evening by watching Babylon 5, having worked her way through most of the third season on DVD( which isn't available on laserdisc, sadly ). I still have to pinch myself sometimes, when I think about how she loves the show just as much as I do and how rare thing that is to have found in someone, let alone a person that I love.

What better way to celebrate being together, than to look to the stars?

May 15 – Contentment

What to do on a cloudy Sunday morning... how about birding?

My girlfriend suggested that we head down to Island View Beach today, to join a local group of birders as part of an introduction to the pastime. My mother's been an avid birder most of her life, though most of its being done from the windows of the houses she's lived in over the years due to her mobility issues.

Getting out into the fresh air and flat-glare of the cloudy sky was lovely, as there were many spring scents in the air from the flowering plants everywhere in the park. Even the sea-smell was pleasant: crisp and salty and reminiscent of vacation.

While I'm not all that into birding, it was a surprisingly fun outing, made a little easier by bringing along my 34xzoom camera to get close-ups of the birds that we spotted with the supplied binoculars. I especially liked how the guide explained some of the nuances of the birder's art, of how to search the edges of tree lines for birds as well as techniques to both spot and identify birds with binoculars.

It also renewed my appreciation for nature, in that I sometimes take it for granted that the trees and landscaped gardens I see when walking the streets of the city are the be-all and end-all of the natural world. It's humbling to actually get out into the wilder areas of Vancouver Island, away from the urban hubbub and to realize just how gloriously wondrous nature is on both the macro and micro scale.

In the evening, we both attended our friend Courtney's birthday party at the 5th  Street bar and Grill, a great way to end the weekend. Many of our friends were there and we had a great time for a few hours chatting back and forth about all sorts of things. Several couples are going on vacations to Hawaii and Jamaica respectively, so that's going to be fun to hear their stories once they return.

I'm full of food while I finish off this blog, fresh back from the birthday party. I've had a wonderfully satisfying weekend, much of which was spent with my gorgeous girlfriend and has done much to boost my spirits into the stratosphere. I'm ready to buckle down this week again and get into editing my book, so that I can wrap it up by Summers and and get back to work on finishing the second novel! 

PS - sometime this past week, my blog surpassed 50,000 hits - hurrah!