by Catriona Mills

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Seventy-Four

Posted 2331 days ago in by Catriona

ME: This episode of Farscape is so Rashōmon-y.
NICK: But it doesn’t seem to be for any purpose. Or to make any sense.
ME: Yeah. I don’t mind a Rashōmon episode, as long as there’s some kind of Rashōmon-ale behind it.

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Seventy-Three

Posted 2334 days ago in by Catriona

ME: The Google+ mobile version is running really slowly at the moment. I wonder if it’s because they’ve launched the app version?
NICK: I don’t know. They’re pretty keen on the Web.
(Pause)
ME: Google are “pretty keen” on the Web, eh?
NICK: I’m too tired for more complex thoughts.
ME: Honey, if you’re too tired for a more complex thought than “Google are pretty keen on the Web”, I think you’re technically dead.
NICK: That’s harsh.

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Seventy-Two

Posted 2337 days ago in by Catriona

In the DVD section:

ME: Oh, Highlander!
NICK: There can only be one of those DVDs. Oh, no: there’s two. What a disappointment.
ME: Don’t be silly, honey. One of them will behead the other shortly. But they can’t do it while we mundane people are watching.

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Seventy-One

Posted 2337 days ago in by Catriona

ME: On a scale of one to ten, how much like a pineapple do I look?
NICK: Zero.
ME: Really?
NICK: You look fine.
ME: You know I’m talking about my hair, right? Because you seem to be looking at my shoes.

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Seventy

Posted 2337 days ago in by Catriona

NICK: Sweet!
ME: What now?
NICK: I just levelled up!
ME: Oh, good. Now my life is complete.
NICK: Is it? Oh dear.
ME: Well, I assume you now have special powers with which you can make my life easier.
NICK: I may have some, yes.
ME: Such as?
NICK: Well, nothing, really.

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Sixty-Nine

Posted 2342 days ago in by Catriona

NICK: A watched pot never boils.
ME: Yes, it does. It’s a simple chemical reaction.
NICK: It’s a physical reaction. There’s no chemistry involved.
ME: Physical. Chemical. Whatever.
MY FATHER: It’s a physical reaction. Nothing to do with chemistry.
ME: Be quiet. Both of you. My point is that a watched pot will boil as long as heat is applied.
MY FATHER: Not necessarily.
ME: As long as sufficient heat is applied. As long as sufficient heat is applied, a watched pot will boil.
MY FATHER: Oh, yes.
NICK: Well, as long as you’re at sea level.
ME: Go to hell. Seriously.

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Sixty-Eight

Posted 2343 days ago in by Catriona

ME: Honey, you should try not to tread on your Transformers quilt. It’s getting a bit old for that.
NICK: It’s been a faithful man-servant.
ME: That quilt is a faithful man-servant?
NICK: Yes.
ME: For the past three months, I’ve been sleeping under a faithful man-servant?
NICK: Well, when in Rome …
ME: We’re not in Rome.
NICK: True. I can’t really back that up.

Strange Conversations: Part Three Hundred and Sixty-Seven

Posted 2349 days ago in by Catriona

ME: I want my parcel to arrive!
NICK: I know! It should be soon.
ME: You say that, but it could be any time.
NICK: Yes, but it’s more likely than not to be soon. This morning, anyway.
ME: You don’t know that. You’re never home for deliveries.
NICK: I know, but I track them on my phone!

Oxygen-Rich Environment

Posted 2356 days ago in by Catriona

I’ve been debating about whether or not to write this blog post, for a variety of reasons.

Partly because this is yet another in my intermittent series of “why I haven’t blogged lately” posts, and I’m sure there’s a saturation point to be reached in those.

But more than that, I just haven’t been sure I’ve wanted to talk about why I haven’t been blogging.

Don’t worry: it’s not as bad as I just made it sound. Though each time I’ve said to someone in person, “I should tell you this, but I don’t want to talk about it”, they say, “You’re not pregnant, are you?”

I’m not pregnant.

But I have quit smoking.

Big deal, right? I’ve done that before, and never successfully. But this time, it’s a bit different:

That’s the number of days since I last had a cigarette. Sort of: I’m over onto the next leaf of the calendar now. (And yes: that’s a Doctor Who calendar with a Dungeons & Dragons character sheet stuck under it, but that can’t come as a shock.)

So: three weeks. Nearly. Nearly three weeks.

And if I’d known that I’d feel this awful, I don’t think I could have ever done it, even though it was entirely my choice.

Luckily, and against all advice, I quit at a moment when I was insanely busy. So what with the nearly three-hundred first years whose final exams I had to either mark or moderate, the final grades for those students, and the Animal Farm manuscript (which came back from the structural edit right at the moment the exam was being sat), it wasn’t until last Thursday that I had a moment to notice the symptoms.

Oh, I noticed that I was a bit short-tempered and craving cigarettes. But I had no idea what a plethora of symptoms the quitting process would bring.

I can’t regulate my body temperature, so I’m either flushed or shaking uncontrollably, regardless of what I’m wearing or what the ambient temperature is.

Because I can’t control my body temperature, I can’t sleep through the night. I wake up boiling hot, but can’t throw off the bed clothes because it’s 3 am and freezing. So I can’t get back to sleep, and I lie there and fret.

And fretting has a whole new meaning, since quitting smoking messes with your adrenaline and cortisol levels, so my anxiety levels are through the roof, and I can’t control them.

My appetite has changed radically, and not in the direction I intended: I was expecting to be eating more, but instead I can force myself to eat during the day, but can’t stomach anything after about 6pm.

(Of course, it’s not as though missing a few meals would do me any harm. Quite the contrary.)

And—and this is the relevant one—I can’t concentrate.

I can’t concentrate on anything.

I can’t even read. After about half a page, I just can’t concentrate any more, even if it’s a book I’ve read before.

Can you imagine what not being able to read does to someone like me? Not to mention that I certainly can’t work, when I can’t even re-read a Charlaine Harris novel.

And one of the casualties of not being able to concentrate on anything for more than about five minutes at a time is this blog.

Before this blog post starts to sound like a particularly dangerous public-service announcement, I should say that I don’t regret quitting and I have no intention of starting again. My breathing is easier, even now. And my skin is brighter, too, even though I do look like a ghost. I’m sure it’s only going to get easier from this point.

It can’t get harder.

At least, I hope not.

But until I can get my brain (and body) back under control, I don’t think the blog will be updated as often as I like.

As I said to Nick, it’s like living at high altitude for fifteen years, and then coming down into an oxygen-rich environment. I just have to stop and sit down until my head stops spinning.

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