Archive for the ‘about’ category

Counting The Wrinkles And Picking Up The Pieces 5 Years Later

June 24th, 2011

Five years ago today, the unthinkable happened. I had a full-blown left-sided stroke.

It was a rather bizarre event. When the symptoms began, I was talking on the phone with a friend. My left foot had suddenly gone numb and heavy. My first thought was that I was sitting funny and it was just asleep. So in an attempt to wake it up, I changed position and tried to wriggle my toes, only to discover that I could not. Rapidly, the numbness started to spread. That is when I told my friend, “I have to go. I think I’m having a stroke.”

I can only imagine the look on the person’s face when they heard those words coming through the phone. They sputtered. The only response I can clearly remember was something about me being okay and the word stroke being echoed back. Not thinking, I repeated, “Gotta go. Having a stoke” and I hung up the phone and went to the emergency room.

What happened within the next hour was a rush of events as they tried to get a medical history from someone who could now no longer move any part of the left side of their body and had no feeling in it. I was half confused and half coherent. Time was ticking as they only had one hour to decide if it was a stroke or neuro issues as a result of my lupus. You have one hour to administer TPA if you have any hope of reversing the effects.

It felt as if days had passed but it was less than an hour before I was giving consent to one of the most dangerous procedures I had even underwent—having a hysterectomy the year before with only a sedative because of how many times I’ve been under a general anesthetic and subsequent allergy was nothing compared to the risks of TPA.

Consent was given. Loved ones were called. The TPA was administered. Then we waited to see if it would eventually do its job or would I bleed out.

The next week I spent in ICU, in isolation, undergoing more tests and the beginning of rehab. I was to stay in the hospital for months as I had to relearn how to hold objects, talk, walk, dress and bathe myself, wipe my own arse and the list goes on.

A couple days after my stroke, my body played a cruel joke on me. The physiotherapist asked me to move my toes. My brain told me that I did and I cheered, “Yes, I did it!” Grimly, the therapist looked at me and said, “No. Sorry. You didn’t.” I felt defeated.

I was 30-years-old. I had to be fed. I couldn’t pee without a tube. I couldn’t take a shit without someone putting me on a toilet and wiping my ass. I couldn’t walk, never mind crawl. It was bad enough that lupus took my uterus the year before. But I was 30 and needed to be cared for like I was an infant.

I was dehumanised.

It shouldn’t have been surprising that I had a stroke at 30. I had my first TIA (a mini-stroke) when I was 19. Up until that day, I had at least 10 TIA—could’ve been more but I stopped counting. Regardless of the history, who has a fucking stroke when they are 30?! Apparently, I do. But that is something that is difficult to accept.

I forced them to release me from the hospital 6 days after the stroke. I no longer needed to be in ICU. They didn’t have a medical bed available for me. I was only there to rehabilitate and I felt it was a waste of money as I could get the same care at home. Plus, I had promised to take my boys to see Superman that night—it was the opening night—and I’d never broken a promise to them. A pesky stroke wasn’t going to be the cause. They were already terrified that their mum was not going to leave the hospital alive. So, after much convincing and many meetings between the different doctors, they released me.

I fought with all I could to be well again. I also raged A LOT and many times, I just wanted to give up and stay in a wheelchair. It was just so bloody difficult. By September, I was mostly walking on my own. But that took me doing 4 hours of physio at home, every day, and 2 hours, twice a week, at the hospital.

Some are surprised that I’ve had a stroke. If I’m not tired or if one is only exposed to me in small bursts, they don’t see the longterm effects. My brain has problems with communication, especially type communication. I will think one thing but, many times, what greets the person reading my words is complete gibberish. Well, not gibberish per se. They are proper words. Sometimes, they are even proper sentences. But it isn’t even any where near close to what I was actually thinking.

At times, people ignorantly—not willfully ignorant, mind you—will comment on this. My first reaction is to want to yell, “I had a fucking stroke, okay?! Please forgive me if I’m not bright enough for you!” Instead, I just give myself the mental tongue-lashing, call myself a stupid twit and cry on the inside, plus mourn for the brilliant brain I once had. It isn’t until later that I remind myself what exactly it is that I have overcome and continually overcome just to be able to communicate. Considering that a lot of what I do involved typed communication, I overcome obstacles every moment of the day. But because these obstacles are invisible and I make it appear that I do things so effortless, most people don’t see the struggles and just think I’m stupid or incompetent or can’t string together a grammatically correct sentence; leaving me once again to want to scream, “I HAD A FUCKING STROKE!” But that seems a bit like victimisation to me and I’m a survivor, damn it!

It is also because of the above that when I am really exhausted and ill, I don’t do type communication, or at least, I scale it back to essentials only and don’t chat with friends. You may as well be asking me to sprint to the Sun and back. It require so much effort on my part to do so.

The only noticeable longterm effect is that when I am tired, the left side of my face will droop and my left side becomes a little bit weaker.

There are times, especially when I am ill, that I think, “Why do I bother even fighting?”

There is the obvious answer that I do it for my two sons. They are my reasons. They are why I get up in the morning and am thankful for taking a breath of air, even if those breaths feel as if my lungs are being ripped to shreds… such as days like today.

Despite the fact I have moments of rage and frustration, moments where I feel life is passing me by, there are some effects that I am thankful for. These effects of signs of aging.

People are constantly telling me that I look much younger than I am. They tell me that they can’t believe that I have a 12-year-old and a near 16-year-old. I find this frustrating. Yes, I know they mean it as a compliment. But you see, I am a fighter. And, I’M ALIVE!

Each line and wrinkle, each white hair that is FINALLY beginning to crop-up, each section of skin that is becoming discoloured with age has a story. They were earned. As ridiculous as this sounds, I feel cheated that I do not have more. Because, boy, do I have stories to tell. These stories deserve to have a voice. Every fine line around my eyes is there because someone made me smile. Every deep line in my forehead is there because someone or something made me think or feel something. The fine lines around my mouth are there because I can continue to speak, laugh and smile.

I’m getting older. Lupus has not prevented this yet. My lines and wrinkles deserve a chance to share all of the stories of who I am. They too deserve a life. Hopefully, they will get their chance to really shine and be celebrated for the triumphs they are.

If you were to really look at my face, you’ll notice that I barely have any lines on the right side. However, if you look at the left side, there are now, even if really small, permanent lines around my eyes and on my cheeks. The left side of my face tells the story of how I managed to survive a stroke and 5 years later, jump over the obstacles it continues to throw at me, whilst still attempting to pick up the pieces.

There are many days where I do not feel brilliant. If I didn’t have any recollection of how truly fabulous I once was, surviving this may be easier. But I do remember and I know that it didn’t always feel like I was attempting to run with mud up to my neck when thinking. It is hard not to feel dim.

But then I look at my lines and wrinkles, they tell me the stories of my struggles and survival and I celebrate.

Five years ago I had to start over. It has been far from easy. Every day is a battle. But anything worth anything is a lot of hard work. Isn’t being alive worth the effort?

Despite having days where I feel life is passing me by, deep down I know I am living it to the fullest. I am living a fuller life than a lot of people who don’t have such struggles. Yes, I’d like just one day were I didn’t have to fight and could just enjoy it.

But holy shit, I’m alive.

Happy anniversary.

In Which I Survive Some Shit and Denise Hudson Writes Me Another Song

April 29th, 2011

Back story is required for this piece of awesomeness, which you are about to hear. If you are not new to these parts, then you are most likely familiar with this story. If you are new, as I realise more and more of you are, then sit down and allow me to tell you a story.

A month ago, I got really ill. Ill to the point where I required emergency medical care because I could not breathe and was combating four infections. Ill to the point where I became senile for nearly four days. Ill to the point where many held their breath, waiting to see if I would survive yet another battle with Lupus. It was also during this time, that I gave up profanity for 46 days, during a period known as Lent.

Normally when I’m going through Lupus bullshit, I make the most inappropriate and morbid jokes. So do those close to me. The above mentioned battle scared many to the point where nobody knew exactly what jokes would be okay and my partner refused to make any, which is highly abnormal. It was during that time that the awesome that is Jay Biggsy (@BiggsyJay) created the following image, in an attempt to make me laugh and succeeding brilliantly:

Now to go even further back, last year I gave up double entendre and sexual innuendo for Lent. Once Lent was over, the lovely Denise Hudson (@RangerDenni) wrote me a super awesome song, in order to help me celebrate. This year, she has done it again.

This song is a two-for. There are eight *bleeps* in the song, as I swore eight times during Lent. Considering I swear at least 10 times a day, I call that a success. The other part of the song helps me celebrate kicking Lupus’ ass, yet again. I may still be recovering but I’m kicking its ass nonetheless. She’s named this song Sinus Ninja Hates Your Face and I love it! It is extremely silly. She claims that it is rough. Rough or not, it is a very appreciated gesture and I adore it, especially for the silly factor. It will cause me to giglesnort for a very long time.

It isn’t every day that people write songs about you or for you because you’ve inspired them in some way. I’ve been so extremely blessed that people have written more than a handful of songs, with me as their inspiration. This is the third time I’ve been blessed with such a thing from Denise, alone. Four, if you count the “naked” version of of last year’s Lent song I am deeply touched and humbled.

You will find the song embedded below, with lyrics. If you are viewing this in an RSS reader, you’ll probably need to visit the site in order to listen to it.

SQUEE!

what’s that!? -in your nose?
is it snot?
f%^& i dunno [IT’S SNOT!!]
didn’t you deal with that d$5! before?
jump back! He’s back! Lookin’ for more
because…

[rousing chorus]
Sinus Ninja hates your face…
(get your booty back up on that wagon)
there’s no way you can escape
(give a kick to the head to the *shaggin’ bastard*…)
He comes stealthy in the night, you know..
so you have to kick his a## like a commando

Yes you are going to win the day
Sinus Ninja has no say
in your final destiny into an early grave!

You will insult his gluteus maximus
without uttering a nastiness.

AWWWWW… s#$5! I think you kicked him in the t!&!
Now he’s writhin’ on the floor, cuz you’re a
Lupus Warrior!
(cuz you a fiesty…..{horrible word of Xondorian origin which means “bad assed female})

CH
Sinus Ninja hates your face
There’s no way you can escape
kick him down into the depths of hell
Mutha F3%$kah what’s that smell?

Sinus Ninja hates your face
{repeat thill the a@@ho%e is dead. fade out}

In Which I Yell ‘SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!’ And My Brain Implodes

April 21st, 2011

Today started off uber awesome. I received a very exciting email that I cannot talk about. I had a very exciting meeting about the new radio station that I cannot talk about. Today has been awesome.

Just when I think things cannot get any better and I cannot contain my excitement any longer, while at the same time warding off an impending panic attack because things can become equally horrible within a second if it all fall apart, I noticed ‘it’. The thing which nearly caused me to break LENT but instead caused me to exclaim, “SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!” and make my brain implode.

I’m neurotic about my stats. I was checking them, as I do obsessively throughout the day. That is when I noticed a link referral to Geeky Pleasures from a site I have not seen link to me before. Being OCD about such things, I clicked on the referral link. This referral link was from an online entertainment magazine that I hadn’t heard of before. So, I did what any good OCD nerd would do. I decided to investigate this website. I searched it out on Alexa. My brain sputtered when I saw that it has a worldwide rank 384.

That is when I decided to look it up on the good old Wikipedia and read the following:

Zimbio.com, a San Carlos, California, USA-based company is an online magazine publisher. It was founded by Tony Mamone and Danny Khatib. Mamone is the CEO of the company, Khatib is its president, and John Newlin is the Editor-in-Chief.

Zimbio publishes a blend of professionally written featured stories, user contributed articles, videos and high resolution photography. The site commonly covers headlines in entertainment, style, current events, and more.

Zimbio has also launched “Zimbio TV” that features various videos from very popular TV series and syndicated shows.

According to Quantcast, Zimbio is ranked the 141 most visited US site on the Internet. In September 2010, it received around 21 million visits.[2] In February 2009, Zimbio was one of the fastest growing community sites on the internet.[3]

The company is venture-backed by Menlo Ventures and Draper Richards.

 

Want to know what article of mine they posted, added by CEO Tony Mamone? Click the clip below:

 

Tony, I don’t know how you found my site but thank you for linking to it. It makes my brain especially implode that you linked to one of my articles about the space shuttle program and William Shatner. For something like that to hit a high traffic, mainstream entertainment section of a website which receives over 8 million unique visitors a month, in the USA alone, is both wonderful and bizarre. Especially when stuff like this is not what I had planned for.

Sorry if this seems like I’m name dropping or something. But this is a major thing for me and I don’t know what to make of it. Things like this just don’t happen to small town girls from Canada and I am grateful and currently a wee bit overwhelmed by it all.

Now please excuse me while I faint.

How I Survive Lupus (AKA My 12 Step Programme)

April 7th, 2011

Earlier this week, I was asked by one of my twitter followers (@robtclements) how do I cope with my lupus and the things it does to me. I tried my best to answer him via Twitter, but that isn’t always the best medium. I thought it would be a good idea to write about it great detail. If you are a long time reader of my blog, this will not be new information. However, I realise there are a lot of new people to this part of my world and, in cases such as these, it isn’t a bad idea to repeat it; not only to serve as a reminder to others, but also myself.

There are a few things that I do to get through it:

  1. If something is bothering me on an emotion level (fear, doubt, anger, frustration, etc.), I name it. Naming it allows my brain to make it tangible. It allows me face it head on. I believe you can’t fight something that you cannot, or are unwilling to name.
  2. I do not internalise by feelings. I get them out in the open, either through telling one person or blogging. For me, this is very necessary step in moving onto my plan of action to win whatever battle I am facing. Also, internalising it is never a good idea. I use to do that, isolating myself in the process and causing depression to set in. Some times (read a lot of the time) this is scary because I face rejection and all of my abandonment issues rear its ugly head. However, despite my fear of rejection, I open up about them because:
  3. There is no shame in admitting to fear, anger, despair, grief, frustration, doubt, etc. Admitting to it, especially openly, take a huge amount of courage. It means you are willing to stand up face whatever it is, even if you are shaking in your trousers while doing so.
  4. I remind myself that raging openly about the fear, anger, despair, grief, frustration and doubt means that I am still alive and am fighting. The day I stop being angry, afraid, grieving, frustrated, doubtful means that I’ve given up and am probably extremely depressed.
  5. If I fall down, metaphorically and literally, I pick myself up and try again. I do this as many times as necessary, each time going through steps 1 -4.
  6. I try my best to focus on all the positive things that are currently going on (no matter how small or trivial it may seem) and, in the process, reminding myself why I am fighting. I remain thankful for all the wonderful things I get to do despite lupus trying to kick my butt. Sometimes this can be quite difficult as living with lupus can get pretty bleak. I also remind myself that people are fighting with me and doing their best to carry me when I cannot carry myself. I am not alone, either in this battle or in the way I am feeling.
  7. I breathe.
  8. I erect strict mental boundaries as I’m someone who needs a lot of space and room to contemplate. I am a cave dweller by nature. Sharing does not come easy to me. I can share once and only once. It is one of the reasons I blog, so that I don’t have to repeat the same story over and over. Doing so causes me to become even more angry and frustrated and I find it very emotionally and mentally fatiguing.
  9. I find humour in the silliest and most morbid of places and laugh, even if it is through tears.
  10. I remind myself that, even though I share a lot of qualities with Spock or Data, I am only human.
  11. I remind myself that sometimes you need to crawl before you can walk.
  12. I think most importantly, I deal with lupus like someone would deals with an addiction: day by day. Sometimes the day by day is very difficult because so much can be thrown at you in a 24 hour period. That is when I take it moment by moment. I remind myself, “You survived this moment. You can survive the next.” That does not mean that I am not crying or raging in the process.

For those of you who are new to this part of my world and want to learn more, I invite you to read and download this plus read this and listen to this.

And once again, I’d like to thank every one for all they’ve done to support me over the last little while. It is appreciate more than I could ever articulate.

Surviving the Fear and Frustration

March 31st, 2011

I’m driving myself mental at the moment. I’m too ill to do anything of great significance. Even typing up this blog is going to be an all day event. There is a very heavy feeling in the air at the moment and it is rather distracting. Currently there is no distraction from that which is distracting those around me and me.

I can’t play games as that requires too much physical activity. Yes, that is how ill I am right now. Mashing buttons is just too much work. I can’t read because my brain is too busy spinning to focus, never mind too fatigued after both a physically and emotionally draining 24 hours. I want to be distracted from the fact that I was hit with a large dose of reality yesterday but that is hard to accomplish when those closest to you are all suffering from the same thing: fear, frustration, helplessness and worry. And nobody wants to admit to it for a variety of reasons.

Things that are normally okay to poke fun at or joke about are currently off the table. I can understand this phenomena when it comes to my relationship. Before going to the hospital yesterday, I made an attempt to tease about something before getting to the seriousness of “Okay, I’m off to the hospital now.” This was not met in a way that would be normal. I was basically told that it wasn’t the time for such things and all he cared to know about was how I was doing. And that is where my inner conflict comes in: on one hand, I am so very grateful that he doesn’t want to make jokes for once; on the other hand, I feel terrible that he has to go through the worry, fear, frustration, emotional garbage one goes through when they make the choice to walk this path with someone. Yes, I do it for him as well but it is really difficult for me to not feel guilty when it is returned.

My children are not good with this right now. They are putting on the best brave front that they are capable. My youngest wouldn’t go to school today. Thankfully his school understands. He keeps asking me, with such fear in his voice at what the response might be, if I’m going to be okay. I really do not like that he is adding the words “are you sure?” to his questions because he knows damn fine that we can never be sure. We can just hope for the best that we caught this latest set of infections in time. And despite the chances being overwhelmingly in favour of the best outcome, things can change in a heartbeat. The rapid way in which this infection spread and took me completely out of the game is proof of this. All I can do is give him lots of hugs, reassure him that I should be fine within the week and tell him I love him. My oldest isn’t talking about it. That is not a good thing.

My friends are sitting there not sure how to react and being very careful to not say something to create more guilt within me. They are being loving and supportive and trying to figure out ways in which they can be of physical help despite the miles that separate a lot of us.

Yet despite all the outpouring of love and support, you can hear a pin drop. The life has been sucked out of the room while every one waits for me to get better and win yet another battle with lupus. The thing I hate the most about this disease is that with this flare, there is a lot of collateral damage. More than I would like. It is taking all of my emotional energy to not erect the wall and push people away because I really hate that people are having to deal with this as well. I HATE IT! And then comes more internal struggles as I am so very appreciative of it at the same time. I really do not want people to go away. I just feel terrible that my disease is the source of a lot of pain and worry at the moment. But I am so very thankful that people are pushing for me to push through, all the while being afraid and frustrated, feeling helpless and full of worry.

All day today I’ve been fighting the urge to say “If lupus doesn’t kill me, my current boredom currently will.” We all know that I find humour in the most inappropriate of places. But even I’m not sure how I feel about that joke right now. It is a little too close to home at the moment. I don’t know why but this latest health crisis has me as worried, if not more worried, that I was after my stroke. It was a very hard reminder about how terrible and sudden lupus can strike. Unlike other onsets of infection, I had no warning. There wasn’t even a little bit of a warming up period. Yes, I’ve had a cold for what seems to be forever. Yes, I’ve been extremely fatigued and stressed lately. But I’ve been no more sick that what is considered “normal” for me. Normally when I get infection, I have a couple days where I think, “Okay… I think something is building up here… I feel just a little bit more off than normal” before the big BLAMO hit. Yesterday, I awoke to “BLAMO! Be prepared for 10 days of high dose antibiotics and at least 2 weeks on an inhaler to keep your lungs open. And if the inhaler doesn’t work, be prepared for oxygen and a nebuliser.”

I’m afraid. I hate to admit that because then other people will become more afraid than they already aware because if I’m not being my normal “I’m fine” self and reassuring every one, something big must be up. But this is what I am thinking. Maybe we are too busy trying to hide from the fact that there is a lot of fear, frustration, guilt, helplessness, anger, worry, heavy feelings going around at the moment.

So how about we make a deal. I will try my best to not want to pull away when you admit that you are afraid and stuff, in an attempt to let me know you care and in return, you try to not protect me from how you are feeling because I know damn fine. I think we are all a little bit sick with worry right now and it may help if we all just admit to it. I know I’ll feel better about things. Maybe perhaps people are watching what they say because they know that I do have a few triggers about these things and things like telling me to rest (because I’m not a child and can take care of myself [stubborn Jules is stubborn]) and people know things like “feel better soon” can cause me to not talk about what is going on because the look on people’s faces when I am unable to tell them I am better soon is heartbreaking.

All of this is just so bloody heartbreaking and terrible and emotional. Screw the physical garbage. That is a cakewalk compared to the rest. The next few days, where I have to sit idly and wait to get better, giving me plenty of time to focus on the emotional junk, is where the real surviving comes in. And just maybe if we all were to admit to the fact this is difficult on many of us emotionally, we will all survive it together and come through it stronger.

Just an idea.

In Which I Survive My First ER Trip of 2011

March 30th, 2011

I wish I could say today began like any other day. But it didn’t. I woke up this morning with what felt like a sinus infection. Within an hour of waking up, my breathing was very laboured and I was unable to catch my breath. Then, within the next hour or so,  I found I had blood in my urine. In less than a 4 hour period, I went from being more normal level of sick to not having enough air to talk and wanting to die because the pain of breathing was so unbearable.

Initiate emergency plan to get my behind to the hospital. Thank goodness I have an amazing landlady to take care of the kids and take me to the hospital in such instances. Unfortunately, today our timing was off and I had to wait a couple hours longer than normal. But what is a couple more hours, right? Well when you have lupus to the severity that I do, a couple hours means that much more time for the infection to spread through my body like wildfire.

I’m going to try and make the rest of this long story short. I arrived at the ER. My blood pressure was much higher than normal. My oxygen levels were starting to take a nose dive. My heart rate was elevated. Taking a deep breath was impossible. Even so they marked me as urgent, I was still coherent so they had to treat the more urgent patients first.

Finally, it was my turn to see the doctor. And that is when the first event took place which makes me hate ERs. ER doctors are great trauma doctors and overall doctors. They kinda suck when it comes to treating patients with diseases like mine.

After she listened to my chest, lungs, felt my glands and tapped my sinuses, she asked, “Why did you wait so long to see a doctor?” I looked at her with a look which probably was not too nice and said, “I only got sick today. I had to wait for transportation and someone to watch my kids. I’m a single mum with no vehicle.” She looked at me as if I slapped her (or maybe she just felt bad) and replied, “Fair enough.” I wanted to call her something not entirely nice. But then I realised she probably doesn’t fully understand that I can be fine (for me) one day and wake up on deaths door with respiratory distress the next day.

And that is when they hooked me up to the oxygen and gave me a nebuliser filled with steroids in an attempt to get my breathing back under control. Once I was done with that, they doses me up with a high dose of antibiotics. Then I had to wait for another hour after treatment for them to recheck my vitals and make sure it was safe to send me home.

That hour was the worst hour ever, because that dude was there. You know that dude. He’s the dude who’s in the ER for something stupid he did and asks every one, “So… what are you in here for?” I hate that dude. That dude was also complaining about how long he had to wait. He wasn’t dying or sick. He was just stupid and either broke or sprained his ankle.

Finally, after giving me a prescription for 10 days of high dose antibiotics and a steroid inhaler to keep my lungs open, they sent me home. Final diagnosis: sinus, throat, lung and kidney infection.

Today’s events were the toughest on kid2. He was terrified that I would not come home. He asked me those tough questions, such as, “Are you having another stroke? Are you going to be all right? Are you sure you’re going to get better?” When I returned home, he was in bed, wide awake, waiting for me. He asked in a very quiet and scared voice if he could stay at home tomorrow to make sure I’m okay. He’s afraid that he’ll go to school tomorrow and come back home with me in the hospital. I can deal with all that lupus does to me. What it does to my children causes my heart to break. He will not be “okay” with this until I’m back to my normal sick self instead of my can’t breathe sick self.

And that is just another small snapshot into the life of someone with lupus. You can be your normal sick one day and then within hours and without warning, needing to be hooked up to oxygen because an infection spread throughout your entire body within hours, putting you into respiratory distress.

And before any one says anything, yes I am taking some time off. I don’t think I have much of a choice. Even if I wanted to work, a certain someone would kick my behind. I’m under orders from a certain man in my life. Geeky Pleasures will not be updated tomorrow except for Stephanie’s weekly review. I may update Geeky Pleasures on Friday. It all depends on how I’m feeling. I will not be doing any work for the station until at least Monday. This means, my Friday night shows will be cancelled. Well, there is a small chance that someone will broadcast for a bit in my place for reasons they can explain if they do.

And if you see me make stupid jokes over the next few days, it is just my way of trying to cope with yet another health crisis.

Day 1 Lenten Failure Extraordinaire

March 9th, 2011

I’ve never had a Lent kick my butt before. Yes, it has always been extremely difficult but I’ve never failed at my self-imposed challenge.

Today, I failed, not once, not twice but a total of 3 times! Not even 8 hours into Lent and I swore. The ridiculous thing about it, I was asleep for just over 7 of those 8 hours. The first infraction occurred at 7:54 am PST. I swore in an email to the General Manager at the station because he was teasing Trekkies and I had not even had my first cup of coffee nor was I fully awake yet. My statement was, “It is too early for this [word redacted]. I haven’t even had my coffee yet.” It took me nearly 3 minutes after I hit submit on the email to realise what I had done.

First lesson of Lent: Do read nor respond to emails for the next 45 days until I’ve had at least two cup of coffee in me.

The second infraction occurred when I was editing an image for Geeky Pleasures and the program crashed before I could save it. I uttered a very loud profanity at my computer. I had tweeted asking, “If I swear and no-one is around to hear it, am I breaking Lent?” (or something similar to that). Then I thought, wait a minute, no-one was going to know about me! This is twice now you’ve ratted yourself out! Damn you and your honesty! (However, the GM may find out about my fast eventually and I’d get called out on it but… *sigh*).

No sooner do I tweet about my second infraction, does one of my followers tweet to me. Her tweet contained a swear. I RT’d it. Not only did I RT the swear (some said it wouldn’t count as I didn’t say it, but..) but I added “LM*AO” before the swear and the missing letter is a swear, intend was to swear and I failed again. I was immediately called on it. I was asked, “Doesnt tweeting swears count?” Yes. Yes, it does.

All of this was within 4 hours of being awake. I may have even uttered other profanities under my breathe throughout the day and not even realised it as I do not come to realise it (even in type as demonstrated this morning) until well after the fact.

It was suggested I add another day to Lent. I may just do that. I’m not quite sure. All I’m sure about right now as this is proving to be much more difficult than I had originally thought.

However, today was filled with a day where many things caused me to want to swear. I am not a happy camper today. I can’t even discuss completely openly why that is without a bunch of people wanting to poop down my throat for inserting some reality into their lives.

I just hope that today was the first and last fails. I’ll admit, I’m a little bit discouraged at the moment. I’m feeling as if I bit off more than I can chew. But I believe I can do this… maybe. I think people are having more confidence in me than I am at the moment. I really do not do well when I fail at something and it takes quite a bit to rebuild my confidence.

I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.

In Which I Give Up A Variety of Profanities for 46 Days

March 8th, 2011

So it almost that time of the year, once again. That time where I give something up for 46 days as a test of will-power. Some people call this time of year Lent. And so do I. However, for me it has less to do with religion and more to do with “can I do this?”

I should warn you now, there will be a lot of NSFW language in this post.

If you were around these parts last year, you may remember that I gave up innuendo and double-entendre. If you were not around these parts, you can read the result of that extremely long 46 days here. I even got a song out of the deal! Denise said I may even get a song out of the deal again. SQUEE!

If you follow me on the Twitters, then you already know what I am giving up this year. If you do not follow me on the Twitters, in a nutshell, I’m giving up: bollocks, balls, cunts, twats, bitches, assholes, buggering, sodding, fucking, wanking, shitting, merde, and crapping. As I said on Twitter, it sounds as if I’m giving up sex again. Not really. I’m just giving up swearing. And it isn’t “just”. This is going to be bloody difficult!

I had asked on Twitter if blaspheming would be considering swearing, as I do drop “Bloody Hell!” quite often. The poll came back and told me that blaspheming would not be considered swearing. Which relieves me greatly, even so “Bloody Hell!” and “Awh Hell!” is about the only blaspheming I do.

So effective March 9, 2011 at 12:01 AM PST until April 23, 2011 at 12:01 AM PDT, if you hear or read the following from me, it means I have failed and you must spank my bacon (but I’d probably enjoy that):

  • Bollocks
  • Balls
  • Sod
  • Sodding
  • Sod off
  • Bugger
  • Buggering
  • Bugger off
  • Fuck
  • Fucker
  • Fucking
  • Fuck off
  • Shit
  • Shitting
  • Crap
  • Crapping
  • Wanker
  • Bitching
  • Bitch(es)
  • Ashole(s)
  • Twat(s)
  • Cunt(s)
  • Merde (even so I was allowed to get away with in school because it isn’t considering to be any different than saying “shoot”, ruling was that if I were to say “merde”, well… my intent would be to say “shit” and I’m just trying to play foul)
  • Or any combination of the above, i.e. “mother fucking cunty ass”

Arse and jackass, however, I am deeming to be okay as arse I mean my buttocks or someone else’s buttocks and a jackass is a donkey. If I have to give up arse, then I’d have to give up penis, vagina and testicles… I’m not giving up penis and testicles when I’m already giving up buggering and a bunch of other things. Vagina… well that is a whole other topic. But I suppose that means I can’t say “ass” or “asshat”.

I have a really terrible feeling that I’m forgetting some swears that I should not be saying. A list was suppose to be constructed for me but shit happened, such as my websites getting repeatedly hacked, power supplies dying, USB ports not being recognised, people dying and the list kinda fell by the wayside.

If you think of anything that would classify as a swear, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I can make a final decision, including them in my list if necessary.

What the fuck have I decided to get myself into?!? I think I have a real problem here. I’m in competition with myself and as a result, each year I attempt something more difficult. My brain is currently saying, “Bugger me!! What the bloody hell are you going to put me through next year?!”

When it comes to type, not swearing will be a wee bit easier as I can look before I hit enter (cos initially I don’t really think about what I’m typing). Speaking, this is going to suck balls, especially as the swear is out before I even think about it. This is going to be especially difficult when doing interviews or making appearances on certain political talk shows, speaking to my staff and staff meetings, never mind every day normal conversation. I think I’ve only managed 1 or 2 swear free verbal engagements.

So, I suppose this is where I ask you wankers to wish me luck. You aren’t really wankers. I’m just trying to get it out of my system, while I can.

Let the games begin!

Setec Astronomy

August 25th, 2010

You all may hate me after this post. And by hate I mean, you really love me but you are getting even more frustrated with my secrets. Trust me, I’m frustrated with them as well. I swear, if I don’t get to unleash some of the SQUEE, and soon, I’m going to implode in ways that are both ferocious and disgustingly disturbing. It was suggested to me after I wrote my last blog, to write in code. Well, if you actually knew me (and I don’t mean that in a condescending sort of way), you know that would require me completely changing the way I think and process information.

I’m the person who has a hard time with rhetorics. I’m the person who is honest to a fault. The ability to be dishonest is something I need to work on. (Not really. I’m proud of my brutal honesty.) I’m the person who saw a video on Facebook, almost shared it, but was going to add “There is no way she accepted millions of friends requests! Sure she may have received millions, but you can only have so many thousand friends.” But then my brain quickly stopped me. Because the message of the video was to be careful of what person information you share and if you are going to accept strangers on Facebook, make sure your home address is not listed. (The video was about some girl who was brutally raped and murdered after adding the wrong person on Facebook). If I had posted my automatic, “Well that is just not possible and it is a complete over-exaggeration” literal/ skeptical/ critical/ scientific thoughts, I would have come off as cold-hearted and unfeeling. The message of the video was quite valid, but the way my brain works, it automatically goes to the logic of the situation and not the feeling and/or intent. And there was another instance where a comment was left somewhere and my first reaction was to correct a timezone remark. I suppose no harm is done by miscalculating 1 hour. I’ve had to stop reading the comments on that blog because my brain keeps screaming, “That is incorrect!” But then I’d come off as a know-it-all (which isn’t my intent), instead of some person who’s brain works in very peculiar ways. (I swear, I’ll get to the Setec Astronomy soon).

Another suggestion to help me uncork some of my need to share but not quite knowing how to go about it or what to write, was to write about gay rights. Well, I want to. But I am conflicted. In order for me to write about my views on gay rights beyond just saying “I believe they should have equal rights and that is that”, I’d have to talk about religion and my religious upbringing. Yeah… I don’t talk about religion in public. But under the circumstances it may not be a bad thing as it was my church who taught me gays should have equal rights. Whodda thunk? Organized religion being supportive of gays? Some may say, “Only in Canada.” So maybe I will write that post. I just need to ponder it a bit more.

Where was I going with this post? Oh yeah… I have some super awesometastic sooper sekrit things happening right now. I’ve told my Alfred. (Now, that is code! But in a way it isn’t as some know of whom I am talking and if you’ve read my blog long enough, he’s been mentioned before.) And after I’ve shared my moments of squee with him, he is nice enough to put on his logic hat and ask, “Jules, are you getting paid for this?” To which I sigh and respond, “No.” To which he sighs and responds, “Jules…” To which I smile, attempt to contain the giddy and say, “I know. I’ve thought the same things you are thinking. BUT this is giving me more exposure. I get to have a voice outside of my own content. It will give (insert things here) more exposure and awareness. It will give me more credibility. It is for a cause that is near and dear to me (or it is something I quite enjoy, brings me pleasure to participate in and makes me happy). And with all the extra, unsolicited exposure and writing opportunities, hopefully it leads to something paying soon. Because we both know, I really need the money. And even so when I started on all of this just over a year ago, money was the furthest thing from my mind, I am in desperate need of it right now. I’ve thought this through. I know I’ve said a million times that the next time someone asks me to create for them, I’ll ask them ‘How much?’ But these are really special circumstances.” And then he agrees (even so I’m sure he is still shaking his head on the inside but he is very nice and supportive and only wants what is best for me) and says, “That is really groovy! I’m happy for you.” And that is when I cannot contain my happy any longer and exclaim, “ISN’T IT THOUGH?!? This is so totally awesome! I can’t wait until I can share it with every one!”

And I really can’t. It is bloody KILLING me! So, I think I’ve come up with a happy compromise. Hopefully this will accomplish a few things. 1) I can release some of my SQUEE pressure that has left me feeling as if I am drowning and being suffocated by a whirlpool of ecstatic (if that is possible). 2) I don’t divulge the things I really cannot right now. If I were to divulge them, I think future possibilities will turn from many to zero in short order. Yet, I divulge enough for others to be happy for me (even so I think you’ll want to kill me at the same time for a variety of reasons). 3) Fill you in on some things that I feel are safe to share since they have been discussed (even so mostly quietly) on Twitter and other places online. And we all know, once it is online it really isn’t a secret anymore. 4) I don’t come off as some self-promoting, pompous asshat.  I’m afraid some of this may teeter on the edge of name dropping and name dropping isn’t all that kosher. Hopefully I can find a balance here that works for everyone.

So, without further ado:

Secrets That Aren’t Really Secrets: (click on clips below to visit the sites that I mention)

1) There is this awesome site/ service/ blogging tool call clp.ly. I’ve been part of the beta since it first launched. I’m affectionately known as “The Number 1 customer.” I adore them (both the people who work there and the service). And it is safe to say, they adore me. They used my site to demo their service at a tech conference thing a few weeks ago. It felt so unbelievable cool when they asked my permission to use Geeky Pleasures for their demo (and that same day, I awarded their service Geek of the Week). They’ve used Geeky Pleasures in a number of blog posts and were nice enough to feature it prominently on their press page. All of this I’ve shared via Twitter and Facebook but what I haven’t share yet – I was asked if I wanted to be a guest blogger. I said I’d love to. Now I just have to figure out what the hell it is I’m going to write!

Clipped from: clp.ly (share this clip)

Clipped from: clp.ly (share this clip)

Clipped from: clp.ly (share this clip)

If you do any type of blogging and content sharing, then I highly recommend you check out clp.ly.

Now moving on.

2) There is this site. It is still in its infancy. It is dedicated to one of the greatest nerd/geek fights of all time: Which is better: Star Wars or Star Trek? I also featured this site for Geek of the Week. I’ve gotten to know both creators through various different things.

Well, I was asked if I wanted to write for the site from time to time. Are you kidding? Writing about why Star Trek is so much better than Star Wars? Being able to have epic debates, not having to worry about language, throwing it down like never before? Of course! And I can see some people who read this taking a bit of an issue (especially some family members). Especially as I’m helping someone out and for nothing.

However, how can I turn down another space to write about things that cause me to have juicy geekasms? And besides, I want to help them out. If someone didn’t give me a hand when I was a nobody Program Director with a radio show called Geeky Pleasures, I wouldn’t have had the moderate success that I have been able to enjoy over the past little bit. And here is the thing, when those people did what they did for me, it wasn’t because I was seeking any type of “fame”. I just wanted to geek out and have fun. I had no expectations for anything. And the same goes for this. They asked me because they thought it would be fun for me and not to get themselves further ahead. Now, the results may end up being something quite different.

Oh, and they’ll be interviewing me for something. It will be quite unlike anything I’ve ever done before or they’ve done before. There will be some things that are quite familiar (like geeking out over things) but… well… you’ll just have to wait and see.

I think that is it for the things that are secret but not really which I feel are safe to share.

Sooper Sekrit Things

I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. (I realize I am now over 1600 words. I thought this was going to be a short blog when I started. Go figure.)

1) I wrote a review a little while ago. (Sorry, I can’t tell you what review I’m speaking to, otherwise it may totally blow the secret). I was asked my permission for it to be used for something that really is beyond amazing and feature it in a way that… well… to put it plainly… I was so very humbled and touched that they want to use it and for this purpose. I responded to the email with, “Quote whatever you want”, but what I really wanted to say was, “FUCK YES!” And tears formed in my eyes, my soul was touched and I was deeply humbled.

2, 3, 4) The Lupus Awareness Virtual Art Gallery is going to get some really nice press. I emailed some place asking if they’d feature the October project in their next issue. They said they would be more than happy to. They said they were very happy I contacted them. They had read my review of Love Simple and listened to my interview with Patrizia Hernandez and are very happy that I made contact with them. This led to them asking me if I wouldn’t mind writing for their magazine. (Before you ask, as I stated above… the answer is no.) SQUEE! Of course! Be able to write about Lupus to a more focused audience… I’d be crazy to say no. Then this subsequently led to my book also being featured.

(Seeing as their are a number of Lupus related magazines and such, I feel it safe to disclose this much information. This is really completely awesome. I’m not sure if you can truly comprehend how much it means to me that my voice is one they want to hear and feel others will want to hear as well. In the next few days, after the press release goes out, I can say for what magazine.)

Oh man, there is more. There is so much more. But I think this is the extent of what I can safely share at this moment in time. Sure, none of it is paying monetarily but what it is paying in other ways more than compensates. And all of these things are building blocks. All of these have the potential to lead to bigger things. All of these allow me to use my various voices. And maybe, just maybe, next time someone asks me to write, it will be a paying job. Because we all know, I’m in desperate need at the moment.

Thanks once again for sharing with me my moments of squee.

I Think It Is Done

June 28th, 2010

What a bloody crazy week/weekend. Over 4 gigs of data later and all my websites have been successfully transfered to their new home. Overall, I do think it went pretty smoothly. There were a few bumps in the road but they were quickly ironed out.

But it has left me mentally exhausted. I’m edgy. I’m cranky. I’m irritable. I am having a difficult time communicating which just exacerbates the edgy, cranky and irritable. I was hoping to get a day of mental rest yesterday in order to fix this but it didn’t happen. Stupid Jules who cannot not do something when she sees it needs to be done, decided to do some things that would fall under the work category and I am left to feel as if I haven’t had any me time in a billionionty-one + infinity years.

And now that the transfer is complete, I have a bunch of songs that I need to finish reviewing for Spintunes by tomorrow and all I want to do right now is sleep for the rest of the week. But the site is transfered. And that is good. So far, it seems to be running splendidly. My load times are A LOT quicker. I do not know if anyone else has noticed that difference.

I do have to thank Will Bradley for the new home. I put a link on the bottom of Geeky Pleasures saying the hosting is courtesy of Zyphon.com. I’ve also tweeted about it to some extent. As I was writing up the “I need your help” post, he tweeted me asking if it would help if he ran my site on one of his servers. I told him I was busy writing up a post at that very moment explaining what I need and once it was done, I’d send him a link and then we’d talk.

After he read the post, he tweeted back to me, “So, I ask you again. Would you like me to host your site on one of my VPS for free.” Well, I think my response should be pretty damn obvious, HELLZ YA! He was super awesome and helpful with the transfer. He put up with my nitpicking and asking him to add a bunch of crazy things. I felt horrible asking especially as he is giving me space for nothing, but without a single complain or any sign of frustration, he did it. In the middle of last night, I realized I had fubar’d myself by changing the URL for my personal blog when it comes to sites that have linked to it. He saw my tweet and wrote a redirect code so that I wouldn’t have to spend hours with a plugin manually entering every old URL to redirect to the equivalent new URL. He was up until like 6 am this morning working on my site to make sure it ran smoothly for all of you. That is totally awesome. There are still a couple backend things to finish up, but the really important changes are done (I think).

I just hope I don’t use up my space on his server too quickly. I’m already over 50% in storage capacity because between my three sites, as there is a lot of media and data. But I will cross that bridge when I come to it (I think that eventual bridge issue has already been solved but I am tired and cannot recall correctly. I could check my email for the answer, but I am too lazy at the moment). At least I have a new home and it is one less thing for me to worry about because my plate is overfull at the moment with things both professional and personal.

Now just because my hosting is free at the moment thanks to a fantabulous sponsor, doesn’t mean I still don’t need your help. There are still other bills and such to pay to keep the sites going. So if you have no already, please read the post before this one and email me if you think you can help or point me in the right direction. And there is always the donate button on Geeky Pleasures. Plus you can purchase Geeky Pleasures merch and purchase my book (free shipping during the summer to US customers) and this also helps raise money for Lupus research and treatment.

Thank you all again for putting up with not so pleasant Jules lately. Hopefully pleasant Jules makes an appearance again soon. She just needs some rest, a bit of a time out and some room to sort a bunch of stuff that is going on.