Annnnnnd it’s gone

My last post here looks utterly hilarious in retrospect.

Last week I got a notification from Student Loans that — after I had spent many hours of my time doing my application and filling out the paperwork that would let them send me money, and started preparing my appeal for the full amount of money — I was no longer eligible for loans and wouldn’t be getting any.

Ever.

Ok, not ever; I have a flair for the dramatic. BUT not until my principal of 50K is paid down, which fuck me, may as well be ever.

There is a bright side to this news — the reason I’m no longer eligible to receive funding is because my RAP (Repayment Assistance Plan) has gone into Stage 2. What does Stage 2 mean? It means the government has started paying off my interest AND principal at about half the rate I would be expected to pay it off if I actually made any money.

However, this long-run bright side is hard to see with such BLOODY SHITTY TIMING.

Couldn’t they have like, I don’t know, messaged me a year ago and said “Hey in a year your RAP will go into Stage 2, here’s what that means, just a heads up”? Would have meant I would have gotten off my ass sooner and gone back to school, which would have meant at least ONE semester funded, and preparation for the lack of funding for the rest.

Instead, nope, middle of first semester, NO warning: “Oh by the way? That $1,300 you were really counting on to pay March/April rent? HAHAH NO.”

Needless to say I’ve been in a bit of a depressive episode since Thursday. That day actually saw me sobbing on a bench at campus, which was…totally fun and not at all embarrassing. And now Mom, Mr. Katje, and I are struggling to find a way to come up with the money to survive this semester.

I’m visiting Mom right now and we’re going to have a small private party-slash-fundraising thing here, which should help, and she’ll also be doing a Scholarship Sale at her bookshop Tea & Talk. I’ve also put together a note on FB detailing ways to help — it’s public for now, so you should be able to see it.

I’m also trying to get paid hours in as much as I can, even though that’s almost impossible with school. Most of my time these days is spent studying or working on homework, and when I’m not doing that, I’m in class, and when I’m not doing THAT I’m cleaning the house or sleeping. Study Break was MUCH NEEDED this week, and my trip to PR to see my mom has already resulted in many naps.

Anyway, that’s the State of the Katje. I haven’t let it break my streak of writing every day this year, though. Still going strong on that.

Will see you all again soon, if I can figure out something to talk about.

Loonily yours,

Katje

End of Year Reflection: Go Fuck Yourself, 2017

I feel like I’m saying that a lot these days. Every New Year’s I turn to the past year and scream BURN IN HELL YOU ASSHOLE and then turn to the next year like it’s going to be better. And then it’s not. Or it is in some ways, but worse in other ways.

Anyway, this year is no exception. 2017 was long and hard and yet surprisingly short, and while I’m glad it’s over I also want to hit Pause for a few days because I am so not ready for 2018, y’all.

Continue reading “End of Year Reflection: Go Fuck Yourself, 2017”

victory, followed by “fuck you”

I was going to write this post last night and I kinda wish I had because I would have been able to end on a lighter note, but I didn’t, so now I just get to complain more about how shitty this week has been overall.

I went and yelled at the pharmacy. Actually I didn’t yell. I was super calm and polite. I explained what happened. *Multiple times.* I explained so many times I turned blue in the face.

When I first got there and someone came to the window I said “Are you someone in charge that I can yell at? Because I don’t want to yell at someone who’s not in charge.” And the person responded “You cannot yell at anyone.” And I did not respond *You fuckers fucked up and made me crazier for the past few days so don’t tell me what I can do,* but I really really wanted to.

So then I get the person who’s in charge, the pharmacist, and I explain about a thousand times what happened. I do not yell, but I let her know I’m livid.

Throughout it all she sort of acts like I’m the one at fault, that I didn’t understand what the person a few days ago told me, that I’m the crazy one…not once did anyone at the pharmacy admit fault, or even get *close* to saying “Maybe we did fuck up.”

I’ve spent most of the week fixing their fuck up and they didn’t acknowledge that it was their fuck up.

So I wasn’t really happy about that. Finally she tries to put it through and goes “Oh well it’s working now, so I don’t know what the problem was,” and I say “Well it’s probably working now because I called Greenshield yesterday and told them about this whole kerfuffle and they likely put a note on my profile.” IE, it’s working now *because of work I did*.

In the end, though, they comped my co-pay of the dispensing fee (ten dollars total for both scrips), so I got them free. Which is about 1/2 a victory, so I’ll take it.

AND A GOOD THING TOO.

Because today, on my way home from my typing assessment at the college I’ll be starting up at in January, a typing assessment I *aced* and I know I aced it because the person monitoring the assessment came over, saw my results, and said “Oh wow, you did excellent!”   — on my way home from this assessment that left me feeling so happy, and also feeling great that I didn’t get a parking ticket, my car tried to kill me.

A huge strip of rubber went flying off my tire and broke my bumper. I didn’t know this happened; all I knew was suddenly there was this jerk to my side and then a horrific rattling sound. I had to quickly change lanes and get into the shoulder to investigate; of course as soon as this happened the person who’d been behind me decided to move into the right lane, blocking me, and shake his fists wildly at me while yelling.

Because I caused the rubber to fly off with my mind, obviously. YES I DID THIS ON PURPOSE, random man in car.

After checking it out and calling my husband to yell HALPS, I drove incredibly slowly down the shoulder with my flashers on until I could actually get off the highway. (Highway is such a misnomer for most of the Canadian roads called that. It has fucking traffic lights on it.)

I then proceeded to sit in the car for about an hour waiting for my husband to arrive (I’d waked him up with my call so he had to shower, get dressed, etc while half-asleep), which is SO FUN in 30 degree, smokey hazy weather, let me tell you. (My lungs hate me for going out at all today.)

He arrived, we changed the tire together, and then I managed to get home. The bumper no longer made that horrific rattling noise if I went above 20 KM, because we’d removed the tire with the huge flap of rubber sticking out from it that was playing my bumper like a mbira.

Tomorrow we’re going to see about getting a new tire for the back (Mr Katje has already called a scrap yard and they just got one in; my car has an odd tire size) and also replace the one opposite it, because it needs it.

But our wallets really didn’t need this at all. Especially not with me planning on going with my mom to the Festival of the Written Arts in Sechelt this month. (We’ll be in with the local authors selling our books, assuming I make it.) So it’s a good thing my scrips were free huh! (Like 10 dollars will make a difference, hah.)

I’m so fried. Any happiness I felt earlier after acing my typing assessment is gone. I’m just depressed and too fucking warm. I tried to take a cold shower when I got home and couldn’t even manage that because the water warmed up when it hit my skin.

Yup, so, stick a fork in me. This week has made me *DONE*.

-Katje

Auditory Processing Deficit: It’s not a hearing problem, but…sorry, what did you say?

So few people are aware of auditory processing deficit as an actual thing that when explaining it I often just default to “It’s a hearing problem,” but that’s not accurate.

I have Auditory Processing Deficit. I’ve had it for most of my life — the test that shows the age level one’s auditory processing is at starts at age 5 and goes to age 18, but we are fairly certain my deficit started when I was 2 years old. Trauma can often be the cause of these sorts of deficits, and there was a doozy of one directly associated with hearing and listening when I was two. (I’m not getting into the story right now. I might at some point in the future.)

Before I took the test, mom thought I was just being a teenager with selective hearing. She’d have to repeat herself several times before I would remember what she said. I explained that I wasn’t forgetting or mishearing things on purpose; it was just that I literally had no memory of her saying certain things.

When I took the test she realized it was an actual problem, so we took steps to fix it. The test, called the Gibson Cognitive Test Battery, is part of a program called PACE — Processing And Cognitive Enhancement. It tests several areas of processing and function in the brain — the framework upon which you put content learning. Auditory processing, memory, visual processing, and other areas are tested. Often people who bottom out in one area will max out in another, because it’s their brain’s way of coping. I had maxed out on visual processor and a few other areas.

It’s a program my mom does, and she’s damn good at it. I did the program with her, though I didn’t get the full benefit. Ideally PACE is done quickly — the 36 hours within a few weeks — because this ensures the most advancement for the brain. Because mom had other students and I was in theatre we were both so busy we rarely had time for PACE sessions. We did the program over 2 years, often sitting for several hours in a session, determined to get as much done in one sitting as possible. For the longest time I held the record for levels passed in a session — not hard when your sessions are 7 hours long.

Still, even though it took us 2 years to do the program, I came up several ages in the areas I was lacking. When we were done I was age 16 in auditory processing — that was an advancement of 11 years (14 if we accept that the deficit was lower than 5 and likely at 2 years of age).

We tested me again recently and I have somehow made it up to age 18. However, I still struggle with remembering things that are said, and when I’m stressed or tired my processing goes down the tubes. (It also does not help that Mr. Katje is an avowed mumbler.)

It’s important to note that auditory processing is not a hearing problem. It is not a physical problem with the mechanisms for hearing things — my ears work fine (with the exception of the constant tinnitus). It is a problem with my brain — specifically the area used to process sounds.

However, so few people are even aware of auditory processing deficit as an actual thing that when explaining why I don’t listen to podcasts or why someone has to repeat something to me a few times to make sure I remember I often default to saying “I have a hearing problem,” even though I don’t. I can hear you just fine. Unfortunately, my ears don’t always give my brain the memo — especially when I’m stressed, or when the words are said in certain tones (because said tones stress me out). And these days I’m pretty much always stressed.

It’s honestly pretty shitty having this. School has been a struggle since high school, and last time I asked a teacher to slow down because he was speaking a mile a minute and I needed extra time to process, he said “Why don’t you try just listening?” (As if I wasn’t.) I explained the processing deficit and he and the entire class laughed in my face. That was in University, by the way, but this wasn’t the first time I was treated like that for having learning disabilities. (I was in Special Ed throughout high school and I swear, the fact that my mom kept fighting for me to get certain help in school was the only reason I graduated. If it weren’t for my mom I would have dropped out.)

Because the test that shows the deficit isn’t considered an official source by most schools I often can’t get any concessions for classes. This, combined with my other learning disabilities, depression, anxiety, and more recently physical disability, ensured that it took me 10 years to get my Bachelors instead of 4.

There are tons of podcasts I’d really like to listen to regularly, but I can’t because podcast listening for me entails sitting stock still and concentrating very hard on everything being said. It’s exhausting, and soon my mind starts to wander and then I need to rewind and find my place again.

Also it contributes to lack of communication with people I love, which creates fights. Just the other day I thought Mr. Katje said something that he didn’t, and we fought for over an hour over it. I misheard a sentence because I was really tired and my processing skills weren’t up to par, and he was mumbling more than usual that day. We made up, and talked it out, and all is forgiven — but I hate fighting with him and for that hour we were both miserable.

But, like with all things I have to live with, I learn to cope. I’ve done what I can to bring up my auditory processing to a manageable level, and I’m planning on doing PACE again with mom — maybe it’ll improve some more. In the meantime, I accept that I might always have problems processing what people say, and I work harder to keep it from adversely affecting my life too much.

In return, I only ask for a little patience from my loved ones.

So next time I need to ask you to repeat yourself, or I don’t remember what you say, please don’t take it personally. It’s just my super fucked up brain making my life a little more difficult. (So original, brain. I applaud your creativity. /sarcasm)

-Katje

Predictions

On July 30th, 2014, I will be…

There are 344 days remaining in the year. Describe what you’d like to be doing on day 211. (Hint: that’s July 30th.)

-The Daily Post

I have my whole year planned out for writing, editing, and publishing. I really hope things go according to plan (in my personal life, too). If they do, on July 30th I will be…

…penning word 50,000 on Anala, third book in The Third Age.

…continuing work on my outline for book 4 in The Third Age (as of yet untitled).

…working on the ebook for From the Ashes, book 2 in The Borderlands Saga.

…preparing for an epic Long Weekend. (August 4th is B.C. Day.)

…playing Guild Wars 2 (I assume that by the time July rolls around I will actually own a real copy, not the free trial account I played once in August that made me immediately fall in love with the game).

…engaging in ongoing preparation for my classes, which will start up in September. I’m going in for my Master’s, and I’m also applying for a diploma program at a different school.

…doing what I hope will be daily habits by then: cooking, cleaning, knitting/crocheting, and reading. (Writing, too, but that’s mentioned above.)

To make those things happen, I need to stay on track with my goals now, in January, and in each month between now and July. I need to finish my plot outlines, and my first drafts, and second and third drafts; I need to put together story bibles. I need to work every day.

It’ll be tough. I hope I can do it.

The Face of Insomnia

I posted on Google+ the other day (or perhaps it was yesterday) that I’m so stressed this week I’m taking a step back from online life.

This was apparently a lie, because now the stress has snuck into my brain and prevented me from sleeping — the activity I’d slotted into my “online time”.

I am exhausted right now. I would do anything to sleep. It is 4:22 am and I’m supposed to be awake and getting ready for my day in 2 hours.

So, what to do?

  1. Write a blog post complaining about my insomnia, complete with ridiculous picture of myself.
  2. Work on The Jade Star of Athering.
  3. Drink ALL the coffee.

I know that in about two hours my body will go “Oh, hey, time for SLEEP!” and knock me out if I’m not vigilant about it. Any other day — any other summer — I’d let it, but tomorrow/this morning is class. I have to go to class. This is the very last class I need to be in for my degree and I’ll be damned if a little insomnia is going to get in my way now.

I just have to get through the next two days. Wednesday my group presents, and then I can stop stressing.

Wednesday. That’s it.

*prays for a Timelord and a Tardis*

 

“Toffee”: the adventures of Deadbrain

In the class I’m taking — First Nations Studies 400: Applied Community Research Institute — we have a coffee hour in the first hour of class for our groups to discuss project outcomes, outputs, and inputs. The class is twice a week, 9am to 3pm, so we have that sort of time.

Today I slept in, because my body hates me, that’s why, and so didn’t arrive until coffee hour was over. It’s only the second day of class, so I missed our discussion of the introductions we would make after coffee hour (which I didn’t miss). After introductions, I went to fill my coffee cup cause damn was I tired. There were two Tim Hortons coffee boxes, one near-empty and one near-full, so I poured the remainder from one into my coffee mug and then filled it up with the other, fuller box.

And drank some delicious “toffee” — or a mix of tea and coffee.

I had completely missed the big signs on the chalkboard saying “TEA” and “COFFEE” with arrows pointing down.

Proving yet again that I am no where near human before caffeine has been inserted.

PS: Don’t try this combo of drinks. It’s disgusting. As this blog post will tell you.

PPS: I did end up getting a real coffee at break time, so I was human for the rest of class.