December 01, 2023

Offbeat Offline: November 2023 (Plus Announcing a Short Hiatus)

Welcome to Offbeat Offline, where I bring you up-to-date with what went on in my life during the month just gone, give you a sneak peek of my next shenanigans, and share my favourite posts of late!

What happened last month to yours truly? A major health setback and the worst hair incident ever (now resolved though), plus I did nothing productive...nor did I read. I was constantly angry or tired or both, and I don't know where the time went...I felt like I was always busy without getting anything done, or too sapped (and, did I mention angry?) to accomplish anything even after doing the bare minimum (and to be honest, I ended up embracing the couldn't-care-less attitude as a defense mechanism, and spent most of my time vegetating in front of my computer...). Even blogging and blog-hopping were a strain, which is why I'm planning a short hiatus (I HATE the idea of going on a hiatus in December, so I'll grit my teeth and produce my usual end-of-the-year recap at the end of the month...). So...November sucked. BUT! at least I saw my man David Tennant in the first Doctor Who special for the show's 60th birthday (!!!!!), and that brought me SO MUCH JOY. Bless you David, I love you too much for words ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿงก.

(On a side note, I got my flu and Covid vaccines. How come the flu one is always painless while the Covid one always makes my arm hurt? Not terribly, but still. Is it the same with you?).

๐Ÿ“š TAKING A FAIL. As I said, this month was (also) a reading nightmare...I only (sort of) reread 2 books - 1 of them being a novella, too. I did want to read (though I was often too tired to), but having too many review books (a.k.a. ARCs) was giving me anxiety, since I would have had to write a review each time I finished one, and I SO didn't feel up to it...and I didn't want to read one without immediately reviewing it either, because then I would have had anxiety about the postponed review...and I couldn't even read a non-review book because well, ALL my books are for review, even if I didn't get them from the I spiraled into non-reading. Anyhow, here's a rundown of my bookish (in)activity for the month...

Approvals (1):
My only ARC this month is one that I got directly from the author, the aforementioned Ryan Leslie, whose debut novel The Between I reviewed in 2021. So, thanks to Ryan for sending me an eARC of Colossus, even before the publisher made it available on NetGalley!
Other than that, I got 0 review books from NG and EW. I mean, yikes, this hasn't happened for ages. To be honest, no ARCs on there seemed to appeal to me, not to mention my reviewer's block (see above), but there was ONE book that I did want and I failed to get approved for - Tidal Creatures by Seanan McGuire (the third installment in the Alchemical Journeys series). After getting all the latest McGuire ARCs I had requested, I didn't expect a rejection, and it stung a little...

Reads...or better, rereads (2):
I decided to skim-reread it (I wasn't feeling up to peruse its whole 400 pages again after only a few days...) to get my thoughts in order for review purposes...but afterwards, I've been avoiding to write one for days. As I said above, not my best month.
Another (non-skim) reread for review purposes (I did post a mini after my first read, but I want to continue writing full reviews for this series, so I'm planning to post one before pub date...).

Reviews (0 ๐Ÿ˜ฎ):

I wanted to review the books above...but, see my post's intro, and the "Empty Tank" paragraph in my "Living and Screaming" section below. I'll have to write those reviews next month, since I plan on posting them in January, which is publication month for both novels...

Also, as I said above, I have no reviews or posts whatsoever planned for THIS month...with the notable exception of my yearly recap on the 22nd. I wouldn't miss it for anything...

๐Ÿ’‡‍♀️ HAIRY NIGHTMARE. So I went to get a mid-year perm fix, originally intending to redo the bangs-and-top section (now almost out of curls because of the regrowth) and to apply a few curlers to the loosest long strands on the nape and on the left side - but my hairdresser suggested we redid the whole neck hairline, except for the parts that framed the face, in order to attain more homogeneity. Then she wrapped my head in plastic and we waited...Result:
  • the bangs and top took, but we had to cut a good bit of the ends because they were completely straight, and there was a part on the left (as usual) that didn't take properly;
  • the neck hairline lost the curls that were there already and failed to produce new ones where there weren't;
  • the sides (where curlers and curling solution had NOT been applied) apparently didn't like being wrapped in plastic alongside the permed hair, because the right one came out a mixed bag and the left one practically straight ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ.
My hairdresser was dismayed and said it was unprecedented in her experience...and at that point, I was despairing of ever having decent hair again...not to mention, I had to wait two weeks before trying to fix the nightmarish result because my hair needed to take a breath, and I was literally ashamed to be seen (but had to go to visits and stuff on top of everywhere else). Not to mention, you can't dye your hair right after a perm, so I had white roots and faded colouring to match the spectacle of my ruined hairdo. So, two weeks after, the hd redid my whole head (except for the bangs and top) using a stronger curling solution and applying a whole lot of neutraliser in the end (plus abstaining from wrapping up my hair in plastic), and phew! the curls finally manifested. They're not the same curls I used to have - but hey...they're also the next best thing to those since I had to part with my old hairdresser 7 years ago, and if we've found a way to make it work, I'm happy (though there's no guarantee that my hair won't act up again next time...).

๐Ÿฉธ BAD BLOOD. I got my routine bloodwork prior to my one of my bi-yearly hematologist appointments, and after a good streak in which my white cells and lymphocytes had remained stable (if high), they suddenly ramped up - from 51,000 to 81,000 and from 43,000 to 73,000 in six months. My peaks so far had been 69,000 and 64,000 respectively, because the numbers ebb and flow, so yeah - not a complete disaster, but still, a new high. The doctor said the spike could be temporary, and ordered a new bloodwork for January to see if that's the case. If yes, I'll go back to my routine check-ups (bloodwork in spring, followed by an ultrasound and a new visit); if yes...we'll have to start talking about therapy. Now, everyone has always told me it isn't invasive (the way the ones for malignant cancers are), but still...SO not the moment for this, on top of everything else ๐Ÿ˜ฅ.

๐Ÿ˜ซ EMPTY TANK. And I'm tired. And angry. And did I mention tired? I lack focus and motivation and can't seem to get anything done (not even blog posts), because I'm overwhelmed...and because when everything keeps going wrong, I resent having no choice but to cope and play good little soldier, so I end up rebelling and doing nothing productive, wasting my days away on online word games and Twitter hashtags. But for every day I do that, the pile of stuff I'll have to face eventually only gets higher and higher, and ultimately unconquerable (I mean, it will ALWAYS be unconquerable, no matter what, because I'm just one person and I have to work for two - so I guess that's one of the reasons why I keep pretending it doesn't exist). some point, I'll have to get my act together and try...but you know what? IT'S NOT FAIR, and I'm sick and tired to never have a good thing going for a change...

๐Ÿ˜ THE DOCTOR IS IN. ...albeit, I did have one good thing this month...the first of the three 60th anniversary episodes of Doctor Who, which see the return of David Tennant as the Doctor (and of Catherine Tate as his companion Donna Noble). Mind you...the face is old, but the Doctor is partially new - David plays the 14th incarnation of the character, who does have a lot in common with the 10th, but with some subtle differences. It's not a secret that I adore David, but maybe not all of you know that the Tennant-Tate duo was my absolute favourite, so I was doubly ecstatic. I laughed a lot, and I was just SO HAPPY to see MY Doctor again, with one of my favourite companions. Alas, this version of the character will be short-lived, since there are only two more episodes to go until David passes the torch - ahem, the sonic screwdriver - to Ncuti Gatwa...but I would never have thought it possible to see David wear the Doctor's coat again, and I'm just so grateful for three hours of pure joy in the middle of my ordeals. Also, David is a wonderful human being with his heart in the right place, bless him...especially given...*gestures at the state of the world*


None this month.


I didn't take any notes this month...another fail ๐Ÿ˜ณ.


That's it for now. Sorry for the hair ramblings...but the situation couldn't be explained in less words. Anyhow, I'm leaving you alone for a while at least ๐Ÿ˜‰. My next post will only be up on December 22nd, and it will be the 2023 recap I mentioned above. Also, I'm going to try to do a commenting round over the weekend, but I might be scarce after that (hiatus apart, I have so much to catch up with, life-wise...) - so, my apologies in advance...

So, what were your highs/lows in the past month?


  1. That's so cool about Dr. Who. I see episodes on Pluto TV but there are so MANY I feel like- where to start? And right why does the Covid vaccine have to be a major pain?

    Tidal creatures- that premise is wild.

    I'm sorry to hear about rhe bloodwork, but hopefully it's just a temporary spike and everythnig good in January. Sending lots of supportive vibes your way! And again- yay for the Doctor. Nice to find a little joy amidst the wreckage of life :)):)::))

    1. Yeah, I know the Doctor is on Pluto...or at least part of it is? Anyhow, since it isn't on demand, you can only see the episodes that are streaming at the moment (I think? I didn't see an episode menu). Good for watching reruns, but if you're new to the show, not so much. Especially the Matt Smith episodes - they have 3 bigger story arcs (one per season) and lots of time travel, so they can become confusing if seen out of orders or with gaps...

      "The wreckage of life" - oh, you're such a writer ๐Ÿ˜€.

      Thank you!

  2. *HUGS* I'm glad there were some positives in the month, including your hair... I know it's been a struggle, and it sucks you had to wait to get it fixed, but yeah for it being good now!

    November went by in a flash. Most of my reading was re-reads, and it was a lot of fun. I am going to really try to not take on as many review books next year so I can just pick and choose. We ended the month with the US Thanksgiving Holiday, and my son was home from college. Yea!

    1. ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿงก

      "Good" is a bit of a stretch, if you compare it with the way it used to be, but yeah...pretty decent LOL.

      I love it when people reread old favourites. So nice to have the time to do so! And yay for family reunions ๐Ÿ™‚.

  3. I saw the Dr. Who news and thought of you! Glad there is something to smile about in these tough months :)

    1. Exactly...and I had to smile when you said "thought of you". My DW/David Tennant obsession is viral by now ๐Ÿ˜‚.

  4. I see nothing wrong in spending some times in front of the computer or tv. We all need time to just do nothing. You sounded so stressed out. I hope things get sorted out or at least, make you less stress out.

    I think if I were in your shoes, I think would rebelling and doing nothing productive as well. I'm glad you got one good thing happened. I'm not much of Doctor Who but I did thing Tennant was one of the best doctors although I have a few glances of the other doctors but I like his energy on screen. It was seemed like he had some hidden meaning to his movements and the way he speak.

    My November was okay but i didn't enjoy hanging out with cockroaches. I didn't get much done but at least, I enjoyed being lazy.

    I hope you have a lovely, relaxing December.

    1. "I see nothing wrong in spending some times in front of the computer or tv."
      Yep, but it should be temporary, until you recharge...or all the rest will crumble around you, and you'll never be able to take back control of your life...

      David is indeed a very energetic Doctor! though Matt Smith is as well, but in a different manner. I'm glad to hear that David's energy spread, even to a casual watcher.

      Yuck. Cockroaches? I'm heading to your blog to know more...

  5. Isn't the Covid one worse because it's so cold? The flu shot is pretty painless (and that's coming from a wimp). Wow! Dr Who is 60. That's crazy! I hope the hiatus gets your batteries recharged.

    1. I didn't particularly notice the cold, but the Covid one IS painful when it starts to activate. The first time I couldn't lift my arm for two days...

      "I hope the hiatus gets your batteries recharged."
      Thank you - I'd need far more than a blog hiatus for that, but it's a start...

  6. I am sorry to hear of the bloodwork results but hopefully the next blood test results are better.

  7. I'm so sorry to hear of the health setbacks! Definitely take the time you need to both mentally and physically heal. As for the shots, I got both of mine this morning. So far, the flu arm hurts much worse than the COVID.

    1. Thank you! Alas, healing is not an option - I have chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, so it's only a matter of buying myself more time until I have to start treatments (though to be fair, in 18 years since I was diagnosed my only problem has been with the blood itself, while organs and general health are still unaffected).

      It's funny, because from what I hear, the flu shot seems to be better tolerated than the COVID one...

  8. I've hardly been reading either. I still have the same amount of time, since I listen to books while doing other things, but emotional state really affects reading. If I'm too stressed or angry or sad, my brain just completely wanders. So we've been in the same boat there. I'm sorry about the book you wanted but didn't get :-/ I'm glad your hair got fixed in the end, what a mess that all is. And fingers crossed about the health stuff. I'm glad at least Doctor Who is bringing you some joy!

    1. For one reason or the other, we can't seem to enjoy the small things that give us a little happiness in peace (though yeah, at least I got my Doctor ๐Ÿ˜). I hope you can dive into books again soon! And thank you for always caring ๐Ÿ’š.

  9. Just stopping by to say hey. I was at a holiday party the other day and someone told me to start with the 9th doctor... ??!?

    1. Well, yeah, he's the first of the modern Doctors, so of course it would be the perfect starting point. Personally, I never warmed to him that much (and be warned - his first episode was quite silly, though in an endearing way), though he had his moments...but then Tennant came along...and I was hooked ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜‚. I SO hope I convinced you to try DW with my relentless gushing...๐Ÿ˜…


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