Long Time Coming

I’ve been meaning to update my blog for a while, and I know this has been a long time coming. I’ve been exhausted though, and somewht distracted. Exams finished almost a month ago, but they left me feeling drained. I had a whole entry I was going to write about the top things I learned after my first year at Durham, and all I can think to say is just don’t do it.

That’s not true, of course. Totally do it, it’s, I’m sure, worth it in the long run. But it’s just such a different experience than community college, or even American universities. It’s so intense. I’ll still write the entry, I think, but I’m still getting over the stress.

Since finishing the year, I’ve been trying to work on other things. I’ve been working on brandng for a pen name I have in mind in which I write according to certain tropes. It’s an experiment and also a means of me trying to figure out self publishing before I consider whether or not I want to put something out there I’m really proud of. Part of this pen name experiment is that I’m looking at a bunch of writer self-help books, taking their advice and trying to put it to use. This includes advice from groups like 20booksto50K, which encourages writers to publish a book every three months, and books like 5000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox.

I’ve also finsihed revising my (hopefully) finally draft of my novel that I’ve been working on for the past four years. It’s in the hands of beta readers at the moment, and I have somewhere I’m looking to sumbit it to this month. I’ve also been working on a couple of short stories, one which I’ve submitted as well. I’m waiting to hear back on those. Last year my goal was to submit three things for publication, which I did. This year is to double that. Once I submit this novel, I’ll be four in, with two to go. We’ll see how it all goes.

And finally I’ve been doing things regarding my wrist, which is still causing me problems. Granted, they’re nowhere near as bad as they were, these problems, but I still have issues with it. I went to a musculo-skeletal doctor (however that’s spelled), who sent me to have an MRI done. I did that the other day, which was a very weird experience. Then next week I’ve got to have elctronic pulses or something along those lines sent through my nerves.

I do have to say, as I always do, kudos to the NHS. I wouldn’t be able to get any of this done in the States, nor, I’m sure, would a doctor recommend having these things done.

But that’s the brief catch up. That’s where I’m at.

Hunting Medication

So, for the last few days to a week, I’ve been singing the praises of the NHS. I’ve been able to go to the Minor Injury unit in Pwllheli, the Out of Hours in Tremedog, and A and E in Bangor Hospital, all the while procuring three wrist braces and a box of medication–without charge. Hurrah for the NHS!

When I was in Bangor, the nurse practitioner had me double my dose of anti-inflamatories that I’d been given, and told to see my GP about refilling for another week. Fair enough.

By Thursday, I only had a couple of days worth of medication left, so I called Botwnog to get an appointment, telling the exactly what the nurse practitioner told me to tell them–that I needed to make an appointment with a GP to get a refilled perscription, and that my informtion sould be in the system.

I tried to make an appointment, but the person I spoke to said that they had nothing for the day–because it’s a call in the morning to make an appointment if you want to get seen any time before three weeks sort of deal. Ridiculous.

So, since we were going to Bangor any way, we stopped off at the hospital to find out what we could about how to go about this if I couldn’t get in to see a doctor. I went in to the Out of Hours clinic, which apparently you have to go to another section of A and E for, got shouted at by the woman behind the desk for asking the emergency services these questions (despite it clearly saying it was the Out of Hours clinic, mind–how was I to know??), and turned away. Though, she did give me a number to call, though no one answered.

Yesterday morning I tried my luck again with Botwnnog, calling at 8 in the morning for an appointment. I was on hold for half an hour before I got through, and the nurse wouldn’t let me make an appointment with a doctor because she didn’t have a file on me. I tried to tell her it was in the overall system, that I watched the nurse practitioner at the hospital put it in there, but she wouldn’t listen. I tried to reason with her, asking for an appointment so that I could show the doctor my wrist and then he would prescribe it to me any way. She said unless she had my notes then I couldn’t see anyone. When I tried again, she told me she’s very busy and there’s nothing she can do.

I was able to get ahold of the Out of Hours nurse in Tremadog who faxed my notes along to Botwnnog, though it wasn’t the complete set of notes since they didn’t have them from Bangor (some system). However, she told me to call Botwnnog later to make sure they were there.

A few hours later I did so, and didn’t have to wait very long on hold. I spoke to a very kind, and helpful person who apologised that there weren’t the full notes. In Bangor they doubled the dose I was given in Tremadog, which was information written that the lady on the phone didn’t have. However, she listened, said she would pass it along to a doctor and that it should be in the pharmacy today–and it was.

So that crisis is averted.

But I understand now why so many people complain about the NHS. This, I think, was the result of it. Botwnnog is bursting and busy because the surgery in the village I live in shut down, and who knows how many others. The system that is suppose to work all over doesn’t.

It doesn’t excuse the excessive rudeness I experienced (aside from the last person I spoke to), but I think the rudeness is a symptom.

However, all healthcare systems have their flaws. This is by far infinitely better than what’s provided in the States. And, bonus: When I picked up my prescription today, not only did they give me twice the amount needed, but I didn’t have to pay anything for it.

An injury like this at home would have drained my savings by now and put me in debt. The NHS is flawed, but man, I sure am grateful for it.

Laying to Rest

When I moved to Wales this last time, it was rather tumultuous. While I’m really grateful to those who helped me, it was still quite difficult. A massive part of the difficulty was when my grandmother died. For those of you who don’t know, she was very much a passive part of my motivation to apply to university in the UK. I wanted to be near her in her final years.

Well, she passed last November, only slightly over a month from my arrival. And yesterday, we laid her to rest.

She was of course cremated in November, with the family there  to say their words and spend time remembering her. But yesterday we scattered her ashes. It was really a fantastic day for it. The sun was shining, the sky was clear, and the bay was calmly excited.

There weren’t very many of us, and looking back on it, I’m quite glad for it. There was a close friend of the family who was kind enough to take us out into the bay on his sail boat, my mom, and me. There was Prosecco and wine and sun waves and islands.

We took the boat out along the usual race course, for “Mrs. T’s final race,” as friend put it. We made it around the buoy, something that I, myself, haven’t done in at least twenty years. As we came up alongside the island, under the watchful eye of the abandoned cabin, we sprinkled Granny in the sea.

I suppose this is the part where I reflect, but in all honesty, I don’t know what to say. I can say that she’s the closest person to me to have passed on, and that it’s a loss I regularly feel at random times. I feel it when I’m driving to Blaenau-Ffestiniog, somewhere I don’t think I went with her. I feel it when I’m making instant noodles. I feel it when I smell the plants after it’s rained.

And while those times I feel sad, and that I’m missing something now, I know I’m not. I know that I’ve had the chance to experience a really wonderful person, and that every time I miss her, I am breathing life into who she was, and I know that she still has a presence.

I suppose that would be my reflection on the matter. As for yesterday, it was an experience, but not something emotional. It was a beautiful day on a boat.

Being a better reader

While I’m working hard to get get my writing out there, trying to create more fiction for the world to read, trying to prove my professionalism, and just trying to get known as a blogger (ha!), I have to remind myself that it is a two-way street:

I have to read.

That’s not to say that I don’t like to read, because I absolutely do dig it. I’m posts of the past I’ve made vows to read x amount of books in x time because I just don’t do it enough. In fact, way back when I started this blog, in the before school times, I said that I wanted to go for an English degree in part because it would make me read more.

I wonder what it is that has deterred me for so long?

This is in part the reason why I’ve committed to writing bi-weekly book reviews. Not only am I now held accountable for reading, but I’m really looking into what I’m reading and I have to be kept to a schedule. It’s a good thing. I thrive on deadlines.

But there’s something more important that I should be doing that I’m not doing nearly as much: reading fellow writers’ blogs. I subscribe to so many of them, but I rarely actually go through my WordPress reader feed and click on the entries. How can I expect to learn and grow as a writer if I’m not reading the work of my blogging peers as well?

This is something I intend to work on. However, it’s finding te time that I’m struggling with. I’m so busy trying to be supportive on social media, the online writing groups, the newly published authors whose books are recently released, the news, and writing my own things and participating in self promotion, as well as working full time, entertaining family while they’re visiting, and the rest of life–where do I find time to read and support my fellow bloggers?

As I stand in the ice cream shack that I manage, scrolling numbly through my Facebook page, I wonder what on earth i can give up to make me a better reader.

There’s an obvious solution here, you know.

So! Instead of scrolling through Facebook while waiting for customers, I chose to write this post on my phone. See what I did there? An ample opportunity to be reading and instead I’m working on my own thing, complaining about how I’m promoting the work of others!

I promise I am going to change this, hopefully.

Hold me to it! Make me accountable!  A slacker, poke me with a hot stick and tell me to knock it off! You have my permission.

Impulse

I got a little weird earlier. Ok, not in a way that should be worried about, mind you. But just wait and hear the story, or read the story, rather, and then make the distinction of weirdness vs. good business choices.

As regular readers might have picked up on, I’m a little addicted to podcasts, especially as of recently. I mostly listen to philosophy and writing podcasts, but recently I’ve been trying to branch out, take recommendations of other people. And in doing this, I got the idea that my friend should do a podcast on tarot and that I would help her with it.

To help her design the podcast, i decided that I needed to research similar podcasts, which, of course, makes sense. I started listening to a few, but there’s on in particular that I’m fond of called “Rune Soup“, which a guy interviews authors and the like who are participants in the occult. The most recent one was interviewing a couple who started a publishing company in Northern England.

It was the weirdest thing: The more and more I listened to it, the more and more compelled I felt to get in touch with them. So I did. I just sent off the email, explaining to them exactly what I’ve explained here, and said that I was moving to Durham in less than a month, and that they should consider me for an internship. main-qimg-8fd7d9897448e44c84865aaa4dd64ee44

yep. that’s what I did. it is either weird or charming and bold. Either way, it’s an experimental first. I’ve never been so arrogant as to ask for an internship0–no, that’s not true. I asked for one when I was 14 at a local tea shop because I wanted to be an herbalist. They were rather rude about it.