Breaking radio silence

So… Best intentions and all that. A brief catch-up.

The last few days have been Mental. Yes, with a capital M. You know when your whole body just kinda collapses into itself and you can’t quite muster up the energy to do anything, and you know you should probably take it as a sign to maybe, just maybe veg out for a few days (that is when not working stupidly long hours to try play catch-up)? Yep, that.

Or playing Diablo 3. Which, by the way, kicks a whole large amount of ass. But then again, Diablo 2 ranks pretty highly on my list of favourite games, like ever, so I was always going to love it.

Also, after typing out a pretty ranty blog post that may or may not have contained some quotes from Sylvia Plath, I decided to cool my heels and not publish it. Very good decision. I’ve kept it in my drafts though. I’m not good at deleting things. My point here is: I nearly blogged. Nearly.

Mostly, the most exciting thing that has been happening is my third round of egg donation. Currently egg retrieval is scheduled for Monday morning sometime – and I do my final scan tomorrow. It’s at the weird nervy-excited stage of the process – but the team at the Clinic is beyond awesome so I know I shouldn’t be worried.

I’m currently at my least favourite part of the whole process – the three days before my retrieval, I’m generally a little crampy, very bloated and rather bruised. This time the bruising wasn’t my fault – the sister at the Clinic had to give me a rather large shot of Cetrotide (to stop me ovulating) and left me feeling super tender. Pretty much just three injections left – one more shot of Gonal F (the follicle stimulating drug) and two shots of Lucrin, the trigger drug. And then we’re A-for-Away.

This is a slightly shorter catch-up than initially intended – I’m entirely knackered. I’ve been struggling with crazy insomnia since about Tuesday last week – largely of the staring-up-at-the-ceiling-for-a-few-hours-falling-asleep-waking-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn variety. And then last night, I managed to fall asleep relatively early (around 10pm). Then had a pretty insane dream about The Geologist, of all people, which woke me up in a cold sweat at 3am and rendered me unable to sleep for some time after that.

Unresolved issues? Me? Never.

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The one with the shin splints

I have so much that I would like to talk about today – but won’t (Quack) –  so instead I’m going to talk about shin splints. And this being my blog, I’m going to talk about MY shin splints.

Look! Photographic evidence!

I’ve recently started gymming. Yes, yes. Try not to fall over. It’s all part of this whole self-improvement thing I’m working on. This involves not being a doormat, actually blow-drying my hair instead of going to bed with it still wet and making more time for myself (blogging, reading, long baths, favourite TV shows… You know).

So we do a lot of really awesome stuff involving kettlebells, pushing car tyres around the courtyard and carrying huge water cannisters up and down the patch of astro. It’s fun and it’s a wonderful way to just blank out and focus on nothing but you and your body.

It was inevitable, but at some point we were going to have to run. We’ve so far been sent up and down the stairs (about seven floors) – once eight times in a session as “active recovery”. I’m not a good climber, but I’m getting better. I think I’ve actually just got a mental block that I need to work through – separate issue.

So the trainer sends us running through the roads near our office. It’s a very very hilly area and the road we take is super steep. Which is no fun if you’re a newbie runner, and less fun if your shins decide to attack you with mind-explodingly bad pain. I’ve heard a variety of different theories as to why this sudden pain attacks – which made me cry during Monday’s run (true story) and made me duck out of a quarter of today’s run.

Firstly (and most oft referred to): Bad shoes. Okay, fair enough. I did buy mine cheap. From Edgars. As gym shoes, not running shoes. But nobody seems to want to tell me WHY they are bad shoes.

Secondly: Bad running form. I do try to run as properly as I can and try to focus on landing my feet correctly, but every now and then it feels as though my toes are trying to pull away from the floor and into the top of my shoe. No idea why.

Thirdly: I’m just not used to running. Fair enough. I think this is a ridiculously valid point and I’m trying as hard as I can to cling to that in the hopes that it will get better.

You see, because I want to get better. I’m struggling with really low self-esteem and I feel that if I can conquer that stupid run up that hill…

I can do anything.

Today I am grateful for…

know! Two posts in a row! Who knew.

Today has been a pretty atrocious day. I was called an asshole by somebody I thought I knew and received a horribly mean – though, depending on who you ask, probably not entirely un-deserved – email from said person.

So today we are playing the “Today I am grateful for” game. The game involves listing as many things in a row as you can possibly can that you are grateful for. I’m taking a while getting started because I’m looking for the perfect picture to illustrate my first thing…

PUPPIES!

Okay, so it’s not like I have a puppy or anything. Not yet. But I’m grateful that the world that I live in – that also includes so much bitterness and hurt – also includes puppies. Plus, adding this to my list means that I got to trawl through photos of puppies for half an hour. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Now, on to the big, real stuff. You can duck out here if you’re not into soppiness – I won’t judge you. 

I am grateful for my brother – who offers to assemble the “Justice Friends” to look out for me, and, when I tell him that I “wub” him, replies with: “and i wub wub wub wub (di di do do do) wub wub wub you too.” [He does a mean dubstep impersonation, honest].

I am grateful for chicken mayo sandwiches on the balcony in the sun with a great friend and colleague, who is happy to listen to my ranting and is almost unfailingly supportive. You wish your co-workers were half so cool. Also, she has a cute puppy.

I’m grateful for friends that respond to angsty Gtalk messages, who judge from afar, have collections of House to raid, share Diablo III stories, who obsess over A Song of Ice and Fire with me and send caring Facebook messages from across the globe in response to slightly emo statuses.

You have no idea how grateful I am that I actually have friends.

I’m grateful that I have a healthy body (ish), that I am able to help other people achieve their dreams of having a family. I’m grateful that I have a family, as strange as it may be.

I’m grateful for new shoes, eyebrows that no longer suck and hair that people seem to think is nice and I seem to think is not.

But most of all – I’m grateful that I can pick out things that I am grateful for, and am lucky to have. Two years ago I don’t think I would have been able to name a single thing.

Progress. It’s actually quite lovely.

On having a slightly unusual name

There’s not much fun in having a slightly unusual name, truly.

My parents – and I do love them dearly – clearly thought the usual “Candice” would not suffice. Instead, somewhere – in the depths of a baby name book, I presume – found the variant “Candace”. Which, I’m sure, was accompanied by something along these lines:

Glittering white; glowing. History: The hereditary title of the queens of ancient Ethiopia.

All very awesome. The trouble comes with the way my name is pronounced.

You see, I pronounce it “Cand-ACE”. To rhyme with race. That’s what my parents named me, you see. Therefore, it is my name.

However, the internet will tell me it is pronounced “Cand-iss”, “Can-deh-key” and even, for some bizarre reason “Can-day-see”. Do you know how many people have pointed out that my own name was not pronounced in the “usual” way? (One of those people was Morgan Freeman. True story.)

Look, if your name was spelled “Diane” and you pronounced it “Dee-anne”, I’d be cool with it. Because that’s your freaking name. Likewise with “Kelle” and “Kelly/Keh-leh”. I’m not judging.

So, with a name like “Candace”, you can imagine how funny phone calls to my office are. “Hello, Candace speaking,” I’ll say. Person on the other end will usually respond: “Oh, hello Candice”. Or, more fun, are the debates we have over how to pronounce me name. They usually go like this:

“Hello, who’s speaking?”
“This is Candace.”
“Candice?”
“Candace.”
[I kid you not, this happened last week] “Sandrace?”
“CAND-ACE”.
“Oh, sorry Candice.”

FFS.

Never mind the written versions of my name. I’ve seen Candice, get “Candance” on a regular basis (even my Open Water 1 diving card reads Candance, it was a huge joke at that night’s braai. “Can you dance, Candace? Can you?”) and once I even had “Can”. As if they got stuck at the tricky part and gave up.

To add to the confusion, my brother still calls me “Candice”. Because when I was younger, I hated “Candace” so much that I basically bullied my family out of it. At high school, though, the teachers preferred to call me “Candace” – and it stuck.

However, in the interests of not going through life in an even larger ball of rage than I already do, if I can vaguely recognise it as my name, I’ll generally answer without comment.

Plus, to make everybody’s life that much more difficult, I spell my nickname “Candi”.

You know, for fun.

Bad Blogger. Bad.

So I had this whole awesome plan figured out. I was going to set aside three days a week to blog. And no matter what it I blogged, there would be a regular post.

You know me by now, it takes me a while to get things going. Part of it is that I don’t feel comfortable blogging at work. Even though I could technically blog during my lunch break a) I don’t really take a lunch break and b) I’m not a big fan really of having people being able to lurk over my shoulder and see what I’m doing.

 

So that leaves blogging from home, but I’ve been so knackered lately that I’ve barely been able to cook dinner in the evenings, never mind string together any coherent thoughts. Add to that my poor laptop, which is so far on its way out that if somebody gtalks me my whole laptop has an existential crisis for a few minutes before remembering how to open windows and switch tabs and things. So trying to do anything vaguely hardcore like blog, browse flickr or watch YouTube videos kinda tanks things.

But, if the Budget Gods are good, I should have a new one at the end of May/early June. I’ll be sad to let Jean-Pierre go (So what, he has a name. He also had a gay lover in university, his name was Giovanni. It’s a long story involving LAN cables, a philosophy essay and far too little sleep) but perhaps I should donate him to charity. After all, he’s not totally written off.

I wonder what my dad would have thought of that, seeing as he sacrificed so much to give me this one.

I miss him.

A Song of Ice and Fire… And minor obsession

Like millions and millions and millions of people, I recently became hooked on HBO’s Game of Thrones. And, being the type of person that would much rather read the book first, I got far too into George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.

Daenerys

Daenerys / Emilia Clark

Anyway, this has led to many, many, many hours doing ASOIAF-related things and having ASOIAF-related discussions with X over gtalk instead of, hypothetically, doing work.

(We also regularly get “Shhhh’ed” by company when we try to discuss anything these days. It’s a problem. We actually have to schedule solo dates so that people stop yelling at us.)

I’m about to embark on the fourth book (A Feast for Crows) after having my mind utterly blown by Storm of Swords. So far I’ve found the books to be utterly, ridiculously good. Seriously – they’re complex, amazingly well-threaded and very, very dense. I couldn’t love them more if I tried.

But I think the favourite thing about ASOIAF has been the immense global community that has sprung up around it – with the tiniest niche groups being catered for. I’ve found tumblrs dedicated to fan art (seriously, the Game of Thrones tumblr is amazing), Instagrammified Game of Thrones art, a Hipster Game of Thrones tumblr (“We liked Game of Thrones before it went mainstream, you know?”), and a real-life Game of Thrones cookbook. Like, for real. With a blog and everything. (X and I are planning a Game of Thrones-themed dinner party. For real. With a menu even Tyrion would approve of.)

Tyrion

Tyrion – Peter Dinklage.

It’s funny how ASOIAF has creeped into so many day-to-day habits. As I read something incredible, I’ll text X. I’ll find myself going over favourite phrases in my mind, and pondering over crazy fan theories. And if I can’t resist, every now and then I’ll Google ahead and find out what happens to a favourite character. (I’m terrible, I know. So far, all of my favourites seem to still be alive. Hooray!) It’s even crept into my workplace. There’s a ring of huge ASOIAF/Game of Thrones fans in my office, which is awesome.

The last time I felt this passionately about a series of novels was the Harry Potter franchise – and although that changed my life entirely