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During the Leave of Absence: Part 3: A Mutilated Toe

During the time in which my ankle was starting to heal enough that I could stand to walk on it, I developed another injury: an ingrown toenail.

I’d known that I had had one for some time. I often treated it myself, grabbing some nail-cutters and tweezers and performing my own nail surgery once every couple of months. This was often a success until recently when the toe somehow got infected.

So now I had a painful hippo foot and a painful toe.

It didn’t help that we were now into lambing season, and every day, I had lambs trampling all over it, which as you can imagine is rather painful.

After much convincing and nagging, I finally went to the doctor who put me on some antibiotics for a few weeks (I have a thing about taking antibiotics in that I don’t want to build up an immunity to them, so at first, I was apprehensive).

Eventually, it was time for the partial nail avulsion which is a procedure conducted under local anesthetic. Basically, they numb up your toe and chop about a quarter of it off, removing the section that is ingrown, relieving the patient of pain. After this, they apply some chemical (the name of which eludes me) that is supposed to prevent the removed section from regrowing. There is, however, a 20% chance that it will grow back, in which case the operation can simply be performed again.

I was most upset that the doctor wouldn’t let me watch the operation take place for fear that I may faint, despite my efforts to convince him that I wouldn’t. Instead, I had to assume a ‘relaxed’, prone position while they did their stuff.

The injections were mostly OK, but there was one in what felt like just below the cuticle of my nail that startled me somewhat.

During these injections, the head of on of the syringes actually came off, ejecting a fountain of anesthetic into the air, and into the doctor’s mouth, numbing his tongue.

Some time after this, the doctor and the nurse had a brief exchange about how ‘diddy’ and ‘dinky’ my toes are. I didn’t mind, because I’d rather have small feminine toes than large manly ones, but I felt embarrassed all the same.

I guess I never realised how small my toes are.

When it was all done and dusted, the doctor, upon my request, showed me the section of nail that was removed. I was actually surprised at how large the section was.

I was going to ask to keep it, but decided against it at the last minute.

During the Leave of Absence: Part 2: Hippo Feet

It was during the period that we call ‘calving’ – so named for the obvious reason that it is the general time in which the pregnant cows (or  heifers, to be precise) give birth – that the thing that was most detrimental to my absence occurred.

During the last day of visiting my home for what was only supposed to be a week-end, my mother invited Luke and myself to feed a newly-born calf. Eager to do so, the three of us made our way down to the barn, bottle in hand.

It was just as we were inside, when I, being typically clumsy, slipped over nothing and fell over onto my ankle, twisting it in the process.

In excruciating pain and  in a genuine effort to move things along, not realising how overly dramatic I sounded, I told the other two to just leave me where I was and progress with the feeding.

Having never broken any bones and never having given birth, I don’t think that I have ever experienced as much pain as I did in that moment. Furthermore, I was sure that I’d heard a loud crack when my ankle hit the stone floor which was disconcerting, to say  the least.

Due to spending so much time in hospitals as a child, while I am not scared of them, I do avoid going to them at any means possible and consequently, I never found out whether my ankle was actually fractured or just sprained. As far as I was concerned, it wasn’t broken because I figured that it would hurt more and because I could still move my toes and therefore it would heal without medical assistance.

Regardless of this, I was still rendered unable to move properly and as a result of this, I wasn’t able to go back to work.

In order to get around the house, I experimented with many means of movement and transportation:

Granted, hopping probably wasn’t the best idea for a person who can’t so much as balance on one foot. I was soon debased to crawling around the house.  This was fine, only once I was down, it was difficult to get back up.

At least Luke stayed with me for moral and physical support.

The actual injury looked something like this (it actually got worse, and the picture doesn’t show it very well in the first place, but it shall have to do):

It wasn’t just the ankle the hurt and swelled, but the whole foot and some of the leg. I had the ultimate hippo foot.

Unfortunately, it took a lot longer to heal than I had previously anticipated. Rather than a few weeks, it took a few months and has only recently stopped hurting. In retrospect, I feel like I probably should have had it looked at by a doctor, particularly since hearing that awful crack, but I guess that I was lucky.

During the Leave of Absence: Part 1

Wow, OK, it’s been a long time, everyone!

I have to admit, I’ve been away a lot longer than I’d like to have been. It had gotten to the point where I’d been deliberating as to whether or not I should just let the blog die and have it over and done with – give it a kind death and put it out of its misery – but a part of me always knew that I’d be back.

The truth is that the blog makes me anxious when I’ve not posted anything in even a few days, let alone weeks or months. I get to the point where feel like I can’t write anything at all because I have to catch up on so many other people’s posts and as time goes by, this feeling escalates into a whirlpool of procrastination and anxiety.

It’s more that I feel as if I can’t possibly focus on my own posts when I haven’t had the decency to read others’. It all seems so rude. I feel that I’m probably being more polite than I ought to be, and such politeness is absolutely detrimental.

I’ll say right now that I probably won’t catch up on all the posts that I have missed, but I’ll do my best, a little at a time.

With that said, out with all that negativity, and in with the new posts!

I should begin by reeling off my usual excuse that my internet has been – as ever – compromised and it’s now a lot harder for me to get online. This is due to the fact that I’ve been living back at my parents’ farm again (Luke’s with me) and because of this, I’m feeling a lot better in myself. I finally feel like I’m home and that makes me happy (it may also have something to do with the fact that I am finally reunited once more with my beloved piano).

The reason why we don’t have internet here is because two years ago, some silly cow decided it would be a good idea to unearth and destroy (by any means necessary) the cable which delivers internet to our countryside abode.

Since then, no-one has gotten around to phoning up BT and asking for a replacement cable and that’s why our source of internet is now a silly T-Mobile dongle which is slow and irritating.

This means, much to Luke’s utter dismay, that there is no Xbox live here, either.

But my real lack of posting began back in February:

Luke and I had landed ourselves a job in construction, courtesy of Dave, building a bicycle trail through a woodland park. It was only a temporary job, to last from then until May, when the track was supposed to be complete and ready for use. It was a great job; I got to do all kinds of fun things like driving diggers…

…And driving track-dumpers…

…And carrying heavy things, which wasn’t so fun. A lot of the time, I feel like Dave (who assumed the role of my boss) expected more of me than I was capable.

While the start was early and the hours were long with barely a break, the scenery was great, the air was fresh, and generally, the job wasn’t too bad. The days were either really enjoyable or absolutely dire, but certainly there were more of the former

It felt good to do some hard work and know that I was helping people out, although I often had intense feelings of inferiority, being the only female on the job. I felt like I wasn’t good enough since I wasn’t a burly and strong man like everyone else there.

Despite everything, though, I really did have fun.

The only real downside to the work was that I found myself too tired to write or do anything productive outside work, which was reason for a large part of the huge hiatus in my posts.

Unfortunately, though, the work was cut short and the posting gap was prolonged for reasons on which I will expand in part two~ coming soon!

I’d  like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have been loyal readers, even in my absence. I’ve noticed that I’ve still  been having a notable amount of views even while I’ve not been writing anything, and some of you have made efforts to contact me and check that I’ve been alright. I appreciate this greatly and it warms my heart that you all care so much. Thank you for your support and I hope to hear from you all soon (I hope that isn’t presumptuous of me! Truth be told, I’m actually very scared that no-one will read this)! I’d also like to quickly add that I’m sorry if the quality of this post isn’t up to the usual standard. I hope to get back into the swing properly with time.

Depressed Strawberries

I still had a lot of yoghurt left that needed using up, so last night, I decided to follow Patrice’s advice and make smoothies! Unfortunately, I didn’t actually have any fruit in the house so I decided to make a trip to Tesco.

I love mangoes but I haven’t actually had one in years so I decided that mango was surely to be the base flavour for my smoothie (they’re also really difficult to draw on Paint. It looks more like a maraca but bear with me).

I actually got two for two pounds, which was cheaper than I had expected. This left me with about three pounds to spend on some other fruit:

With produce in hand, I was ready to head to the checkout. It was only by chance (when Luke decided that he wanted to buy some energy drinks or something) that my attention was drawn to the reduced section in which I came across something that I’d never seen before.

Although I much prefer fresh fruit, I do love tinned peaches and pineapples; I’m even partial to the whole fruit cocktail (in juice, not syrup). Despite my many experiences with preserved fruit, I was surprised to see tinned strawberries – reduced to only forty five pence, at that!

I was excited at this, so I rushed home, diced my mango and chopped my bananas (the oranges were somewhat more challenging but I won’t go into that).

I always have to ask Luke to open tins for me as I can’t work our tin opener and he has a way of doing it.

*

I hate our modern tin opener. I much prefer the old fashioned ones; they are much easier to work and they do a better job. Not to mention that the more modern openers are often razor sharp and dangerous. I could probably write a whole post about tin openers, but I shall restrict my rambling to this small paragraph.

What we found in the tin certainly wasn’t attractive.

The strawberries looked awful. They weren’t light, stiff and happy as normal strawberries are; they were dark in colour and flaccid. They were heavy and I supposed that if you were to drop one from significant height (about a metre and a half, perhaps), it would be unable to contain its own mass and splatter when it hit the ground (where a normal strawberry would bounce and recover with ease). Truly, a sad thing indeed.

Strawberries shouldn’t be like that; however I can’t say I’m surprised. Being contained in a tin like enclosure like that would depress anyone. Those poor strawberries never stood a chance. Regardless, I put them in my smoothies (their only hope for salvation being a merciful death), but they weren’t exactly the tastiest strawberries I’ve ever eaten.

I should add that I didn’t technically make smoothies after all. I was about to, when I was informed from an outside source (Luke’s mother) that blending fruit isn’t healthy as it releases all of their contained natural sugars (or something like that). Therefore, It turned into some sort of fruity yoghurty dessert which I was fine with.

*I hate that expression, surely it should always be ‘give it to me’ because ‘give it here‘ doesn’t really make sense grammatically – I mean, you can’t give something to an adverb, can you?

A Friend Indeed

Hello, everyone!

This is a pretty strange post and I’m not quite sure how to go about this because I feel terribly arrogant; I’m just going to jump right in and say what I want to say:

I have a friend who just started a blog and he’s feeling somewhat apprehensive about it. Like me, he started writing not for the sake of having a great readership and to achieve blog fame, but to serve his own purposes and vent his emotions.

It’s nice to write but it’s also nice to be read; to be heard; to know that there is someone out there who cares what you have to say – even if they just find you interesting at face level, it’s nice to know that there are like-minded people to talk to.

I feel arrogant about it, but basically, I want you to stop by my friend’s blog, Pink Shell, because I want him to be able to experience what I have. I want him to meet wonderful people and maybe feel a little better about himself and about life.

Like I said, the purpose of his blog isn’t to achieve readers and he hasn’t asked me to advertise his blog for him, I just think that I was somewhat saved by the people I’ve met here and I want to allow him the same chance.

There are only a couple of relatively short posts so far, so it’s not as if stopping by his blog will be awfully time consuming on your part. If you’re really not interested in what he has to say, so be it.

In any case, I realise that this has been terribly arrogant of me and for that, I apologise; however, I think that my willingness to be perceived in this way illustrates my seriousness.

Thank you for your time, sincerely.

Itchy Balls

Luke was having this conversation with himself in the kitchen earlier:

It actually went on much longer and concluded with him telling himself sternly that he was going to put some sugar up his bumhole. I do worry about him sometimes.

Sorry that this isn’t a real post. I’m having terrible writers’ block lately. In any case, I just thought I’d share this little moment with you.

 

 

Yoghurt and Healthy Cookies

A week or so ago, I bought three giant cartons of yoghurt that were on sale. I thought that I’d use them instead of milk (mainly in cereal) in order to be a bit healthier; also to cut down on calcium for I drink a lot of milk, and if you have too much calcium in your system, the excess excretes itself as those white-headed spots with solid bits – which are actually lumps of calcium – inside them. Athough, thinking about it now, yoghurt contains just as much calcium as milk, I’m sure.

Unfortunately, I’ve only used up half of one and there are still two more to go. I’m beginning to get worried that they’re going to go off soon and I don’t think you can freeze them because they’re in a cardboard carton with nothing else to reinforce them.

On a pot of yoghurt that I’ve bought in the past was a recipe for this incredible lemon cake (which I will share the recipe for soon). It reminded me that a great way to use up all of my unwanted yoghurt would be to incorporate it into cooking.

Apparently, you can use yoghurt instead of butter, not just milk: you halve the amount of butter that you want, and then halve that again for the amount of yoghurt. So say the recipe told you to put in 100g of butter, you’d put in 50g and then 25g of yoghurt.

The other day (by which I mean the day before yesterday. Annoyingly, Luke always refers to events that occurred several years in the past as happening ‘the other day’), I used this butter/yoghurt technique to make chocolate chip cookies. I used wholemeal flour, too, so in my mind, they were healthy cookies.

Unfortunately, they were so solid that you couldn’t just eat into them without taking the risk of breaking your teeth; however, I think that was my fault for putting in too much flour.

To eat these formidably strong cookies, you had to either soak them in milk for half an hour (this was my favourite option because afterwards, the milk tasted of cookies; however, it defeated the object of not wanting to drink milk), or microwave them until they were warm and soft.

They tasted great though – once they were edible!

Here’s the recipe for anyone who wants to make their own healthy cookies:

Pretty much just chuck all the dry ingredients in together, then rub in the butter and then slowly add the wet ingredients while mixing. It isn’t the most precise method, granted, but it works. Just do it in the way that you feel is right.

Bake them on gas mark 5/ 190 degrees Celsius. Each batch only takes 10-15 minutes to bake.

If anyone has any other recipes that require (or can use) yoghurt, please post them (or a link to them) in the comments, because I really do need to use all of it up soon!

NOTE: I just got a tablet and I’m still trying to get used to it. At the moment, I’m mostly using it for writing; the reason I say this is because I used it to write up the recipe and some speech in the panels; I hope you can read it! If not, let me know. I was also worried that the writing simply looks too scruffy. Should I stick to touch pad or progress with the tablet? I mean, it’s a lot easier and faster using the tablet (meaning I can theoretically post more often), but does it look as good?

 

My Relationship with Lettuce

Lettuce insists on being part of every sandwich that I make. It can often be difficult to deal with Lettuce’s clinginess  and that causes a lot of tension between us.

Lettuce hates being alone. It gets upset when I leave it in the fridge, who isn’t very happy with me at the moment!

Lettuce is charismatic and gets along great my other food friends.

Having said that, Lettuce doesn’t like the unhealthy foods at all (seductive as they are).

Even though I don’t always make the right choices in life, I know that I’ll always have Lettuce to fall back on.

Lettuce isn’t on very good terms with me at the moment because I called it ‘Cabbage’ by mistake.

Despite our quarrels, Lettuce is good for me. I love Lettuce very much.

NOTE: I want to apologise for some of the drawings in this post. I know that they’re not up to the same standard as usual and for this I really am sorry. Drawing all these on a touch pad one after the other can be hard on the fingers (it’s mostly all the writing that does it)! It does make my hand ache awfully. Thankfully, I’ve got a graphics tablet on its way so this should make this a lot easier and I’ll be able to post more often hopefully! Also, I’m feeling pretty excited because I’ve wanted a tablet for years!

HELP: Flash Export

I’ve recently started using Flash which is pretty fun, but agonisingly time-consuming. In any case, when I export what I’ve done, even though Flash uses vector graphics, the exported ‘movie’ (we say film here) is pixelated and I can’t change it. If anyone knows why this is happening, I’d love some help!

Also, I can’t play SWF files, I’d love some help with that too!

In any case, here’s my first test as a GIF; I was just testing out movement and emotion while getting a general feel for the program. It won’t play on the page (even though it plays in the ‘Edit Post’ box), but if you click on it, a new window will open and it’ll play there.

P.S. I’m using Flash 8

 

Post-haste

I’m not quite sure why this is, but for some reason or another, whenever I buy something online that has an estimated delivery date, said date is never the actual date on which my package arrives.

While the first couple of days are bearable, eventually hope and patience begin to wear thin.

Soon, all I can think about is when the item will arrive.

By the fifth day, I’m almost at breaking point: I go from being distressed at the fact that my package still hasn’t arrived to being angry that the estimated delivery date has grossly lied to me.

And then comes that inevitable and barren day on which there is no hope at all for a delivery.

Then the fear that my package could have got lost hits me. I could easily have mistyped my address on the delivery form, it’s not an unheard of scenario.

Usually, the package dies arrive eventually, but the story doesn’t always end happily. The situation on the 10th day (below) is actually fictional, but I have missed delivery dates many times in the past on account of the EDD being inaccurate.

Incidentally, I have a package that due to be delivered tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Hare Painting

As always, it was difficult to photograph it without it catching too much light. Let me know what you think as this is going to be a present for someone.

HELP ME PLEASE, COMPUTER EXPERTS!

Basically, I’m about to start doing some course in graphics/animation etc and I wanted a really good laptop for it, especially since I don’t have my own and I think it’d be unfair to use someone else’s and take up all their HDD space.

I did some research on the best that isn’t Mac to serve my specific purpose and the result seems to be the Dell XPS 15 (that’s within my £500-£600 budget).

However, I came across a cheap 2008 Mac that has the same amount of HDD space and RAM that I wanted (500GB/4GB) and I know that Macs are supposed to be incredible, having said that, the Dell looks a lot more modern and appealing, despite my love of all things white (the Dell has a white cover though, which is a bonus).

My conundrum is as follows: is a 2008 Mac better than a 2011 Dell?

Dell:

XPS L501X

Processor : Intel i5-460M(2.53GHz)
4096MB (2×2048) 1333MHz DDR3 Dual Channel
Hard Drive : 640GB 2.5inch Serial ATA II (7.200 Rpm) Hard Drive
Display : 15.6 HD WLED True-Life (1366×768) with 2.0 Mega Pixel
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT420M
Integrated Camera
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium (64 BIT)
Optical Drive 8X DVD+/-RW Drive

Brand New Sealed Box
Dell Warranty

£489

Mac:

MacBook White ( 13-inch, Late 2008)
In Very Good Condition
Comes boxed with a charger and the remote control
Apple Care Expiration Date: Jan 20, 2012

Hardware Overview:

Model Name: MacBook
Model Identifier: MacBook4,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.1 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 3 MB
Memory: 4 GB
Bus Speed: 800MHz
Hard Drive: 500GB

£400

HELP ME PLEASE! I want to buy as soon as possible!

EDIT: I went with the Dell, in the end. Thank you to everyone who helped me make this decision!

Back in the Swing

It’s a new year and I’m really sorry that I’ve not been in touch for a while. In short, I’ve not had a decent internet connection for the past however long because I’ve been back at home for a while. I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year (which reminds me, I really ought to change the festive header which is now no longer appropriate)! In any case, this isn’t a real post; I was just letting you all know what’s been going on and I plan to resume my blog and catch up with you all as soon as I can (although it’s going to take some time getting used to drawing on the touch-pad again). Naturally, there’s a ridiculous volume of posts and comments for me to sift through because you’ve all been beavering away, and I’m not sure if I will be able to read all of your stuff, but I’ll do my best – even if it takes me a year.

So, what have you been up to?

 

Parrot Gaming

Whenever Luke plays Halo online, he gets very angry at his team-mates to the point where he will shout in an irritatingly loud and in a shrill way at the television; he doesn’t even use a headset or a microphone so it isn’t as if the other people can hear him.

I really don’t like loud noises so Luke’s ridiculous outbursts can be really annoying; however, despite the eardrum-destroying nature of the screeches, they can be amusing at times:

Still, if you ever see CU1V3RN4T0R online, try not to piss him off – for my sake.

Please allow me to be full of myself for just a moment

I found a nifty colour perception test on Get Lost and decided to give it a try. It was actually pretty ironic that I found this because a few days ago, Luke and I were discussing how I think he might be somewhat colour-blind (the way people confuse reds and browns etcetera) and I went on to say that it’s very rare for women to be colourblind when he accused me of being so.

Anyway, I found (well I didn’t find it, previously credited blogger found it) this interesting little test and was rather excited about it.

I didn’t realise this at first – being so intimidated by what was before me that I panicked – but the separate block on each side of the bar is to indicate at what level you should begin piecing the hue together.

I found that arranging the colours was pretty weird. For me at least, when I had figured a part of it out, my mind would ‘lock’ (it’s the only way I can explain it; I don’t even know) and I would just know that it was right.

On the whole, I thought it was a weird experience – but very fun! When I submitted my test, I had a hunch that I had done well and I will make no reservations in boasting that I got a perfect score.

To me, this is a big deal and I’m (probably undeservingly) very proud of myself ergo I made this whole self-centered blog post about it.

You can find the test here so really, go and try it out and tell me what you thought. I’m also very interested to know if anyone else also experienced the ‘mind lock’ or if I’m just awesome and only I can do it abnormal.

In any case, this is the end of my ridiculous boasting (I mean, getting a perfect score is probably really rare and that must mean I’m really special and talented common anyway).

Also, Luke refuses to try this test, probably because he knows deep down that he is colour-blind.

DISCLAIMER: I am really not a boastful person at all and my arrogance in this post is all in jest. That’s not to say that I’m not pleased, but my lack of modesty is quite hyperbolised and I felt it necessary to point that out.

To my fellow bloggers

To all my good pals in the blogosphere, I must extend a sincere apology for the recent lack of activity. I know that most of you aren’t that bothered anyway, but especially to those of whose blogs I am a regular (I’m not sure if the syntax or grammar of that sentence is correct), I will apologise for not commenting on any recent posts or making contact etcetera. This is due to the fact that I’ve been spending a lot more time at home over the Christmas period where my internet connection is compromised.

Also, I feel very intimidated by the volume of posts I have to catch up on!

Fear not; there will be more Detrimentally Disgruntled shenanigans, soon!

Freudian Slip

The Flimsy Bank Card

My mother is rather fond of the old PS2. She enjoys the easy games like Ratchet and Clank, but recently moved on to more challenging titles such as Prince of Persia (although she is terrible at it and it’s frustrating to watch; she also calls the wall jump ‘boingy boingy’).

While perusing the shelves in CEX (which is a really good shop for discount games), I came across the first and third games of the Jak and Daxter series and I was naturally eager to purchase them for my mother since she had played the second of the series and had previously expressed interest in the others

I should note that in CEX (at least, in the one near me), the queue system is similar to that of a bank in that they call you when it’s your turn to be served and the actual queue is some distance away from the tills.

It was just as I had reached the front of the queue, excited to make my selfless purchase, when disaster struck:

I was holding my bank card in my hand (I have a thing about having money ready before approaching the till) and I must have some iron grip or something because it just snapped in two for no apparent reason.

I was mortified.

There I was, about to be summoned to the register, with no way of paying as I had given Luke the rest of my money (under the condition that he would pay me back as it was my designated Christmas money) to buy a Dynasty Warriors game that he really wanted.

When I was called to be served, seconds later, I had no choice but to shout ridiculously and stupidly to the cashier that I’d broken my card before running away and hiding behind some shelves.

I felt like such an idiot.

In retrospect, I don’t know why I announced it to him when I could have just walked off and pretended that I’d changed my mind.

In the end, Luke was kind enough to sacrifice the purchase of his game so that I could buy the ones that I had intended to give to my mother but unfortunately, when I reluctantly and awkwardly returned to the tills, to my horror I discovered that I was to be served by the same person to whom I had shouted dumbly from the queue.

While I was, thankfully, able to buy the games, all in all, it was a pretty grim experience; I don’t think I can go back there for a while.