And just like that it’s December…

I don’t even know where to begin. That is what happens when you don’t blog for several months at a time :-/ /facepalm. Let’s start with the simple stuff; I’m now 28, I am just finishing my first term of my honours degree in English Literature at the University of Glasgow. My birthday was lovely with a great night out with friends and spoilt rotten as usual. The notable presents include a brand new gaming pc which is awesome – my last one was on it’s last legs and was dangerously overheating constantly. It has been great to be able to finally play games on high quality and see them all in their beauty. The downside was windows 8 which is slowly growing on me; the handy way to view pdfs while keeping other windows open is very useful for studying and essay writing. But the lack of a traditional start menu is just ick.. that got changed straight away thanks to an addon.

The other notable present was tickets to see Nickelback live at the new Glasgow hydro. I’m still a little annoyed at the level of sneakiness employed by my fiancé Chris to ensure I didn’t get the tickets for him. During a concert related discussion in the summer he swore blind that he really didn’t want to see them, even though they were one of his favourite bands. That’s how early he was planning this! Yes, I am a very lucky girl to have someone who puts so much effort into presents and knows me so well. The concert was on 27th November and we had amazing seats. Right in the middle of the first tier facing the stage. And the concert was fantastic!

University has been a mixture of good and bad, the bad mainly being health related. It has been a constant struggle with a lot of things going on but despite that the grades for assessments have not been too horrific. My first two assignments, an essay for Medieval Literature, and a mid-term for Victorian Literature, were rushed to say the least. I ended up with a C1 for the essay which was far far better than I imagined and a B3 for the mid term. The mid term was a mini-essay comparing two recent articles on one of the texts we had covered. The aim was to evaluate and summarise while showing our own voice and the later I did pretty well according to my tutor. I am currently working on the second essay for Victorian Literature which is due next week, and I’m really enjoying it because we got to create our own questions. It feels less stressful and more of a fun challenge compared to previous essays we have had. My question is “The emerging voice of the late Victorian ‘new woman’ in the work of Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle.”.

I have no exams for either modules until the spring, so that just leaves this final essay. I am supposed to have two and I have chosen not to do the second one for medieval literature. As much as I would like to refine my essay, to gain a better grade, I have realised that I would be mainly doing it to prove something. To prove that I am capable of better and that despite missing so many classes I can still do well. But who do I need to prove this to? By choosing not to do the second essay – the best grade of the two essays is chosen – I am saving myself a long period of stress before Christmas. A C1 for something worth 25% is pretty good and right now I would rather relax and get better. Next term is going to be as difficult, if not more, because I will be also doing a teaching placement. This time also gives me the chance to start looking for that placement and also preparing my reading for term 2 so I can get ahead.

My health has not been disastrous, and some of it has been improving. Primarily my hypermobility syndrome because I have been seeing a private physiotherapist who has worked wonders with me. I have begun to get better muscle strength and have been working my way up from the lowest weights to about the 3rd now. And I FEEL better. I am actually able to walk now without having to constantly use my asthma inhaler due to the pain, and I don’t have to stop every few minutes. After 8 years someone has finally been able to offer me hope and help to something I thought would never get better. It’s a long journey and the next step is to begin to loose some of this weight now that my body can actually handle exercise again.

Once that essay is finished that is me done for christmas and we’re going away for it this year. We’re visiting some relatives in Harrogate before spending the Christmas period with both families in London. I also get to see my best friend who is pregnant and expecting in January! I am so excited :D I’m taking part in three secret santa this year; the TFL one, one over at Obsidian Butterfly an RPG I’m in and the RPG secret Santa we’re running over at Distant Fantasies: RPG Resource. We’re also currently working on a massive move and overhaul of Distant Fantasies which should be ready for the new year.

This will probably be the last topic for 2013, I may sneak another one in after Christmas. But if I don’t; I hope you all have a wonderful holiday period and new year!

All Change

All Change

In the past few weeks I’ve had to change my class timetable several times, so the post I previously wrote about classes is now pretty much null and void. One of the changes I had expected; Creative Writing Dissertation is for 4th years or 3rd years doing a general humanities degree. Since I am neither it means that I don’t need to take it this year. The good news is that I don’t need to resubmit a portfolio next year; I just need to email to say I’m still interested. While I was looking forward to it, I have to admit I am a little glad of the delay. The last year has been very difficult and while I’ve been planning my novel out in my head, I’ve not actually touched it for months. So a year of getting involved with it again will really help :)

The other change is that I am no longer taking comparative literature courses. I received a very unprofessional and condescending email from one of the senior lecturers. There was a specific bit where my disabilities were mentioned and that is all I am saying. I felt extremely uncomfortable after this and have therefore chosen not to take the courses. I’m disappointed because I was looking forward to them, but the bad outweighed the good. It has actually worked out in my favour because it meant I was taking an extra course due to the weird 20 credits for comparative literature modules, where as english literature ones are 30 credits. That means two courses per semester, where as with the comparative literature I was doing 3-4 – the comparative literature ones lasted 2 semesters. Each english lit course is just one semester. It likewise has given me a much nicer timetable; I’m off both wednesday and thursday, with one 10am lecture on fridays.

So what am I actually taking now? I’m still taking Victorian Literature. This term it is accompanied by Medieval English Literature:

On this course Honours students will have the opportunity to explore texts from the period of Chaucer’s lifetime, when English literature exploded into life. The texts selected will be contextualised within the fourteenth-century cultures and societies within which they were produced and received. Themes and theories covered will be based on topics such as authorship, patronage, sexuality, gender, piety, personal identity, historicism, legend, medievalism, audience, manuscript production. At the end of the course, assessment will give students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability (1) to translate and comment on select passages of late medieval literary texts; (2) to discuss and locate select texts within the culture, society and linguistic and literary milieux in which they were produced; (3) to discuss the approaches and techniques available to and used by critics and commentators in the interpretation of these texts.

 

For those of you who don’t know; I did my history of art dissertation on manuscripts. Apocalyptic manuscripts to be precise. I also really enjoyed a manuscript based course I did in third year, so this is essentially looking at manuscripts from the opposite side; literature rather than art. I also took a previous medieval studies course during the same degree, so I figured this would be building up on knowledge I already have.

In term 2 I still have Humanities in the classroom, and now also Modern Literature 1945 to Present.

This course offers an opportunity to study the key writers, genres and movements of the immediate post-WWII period through to the contemporary moment. Through an extremely varied programme of lectures and seminars, students are introduced to a range of literary texts (poetry, drama, novels and graphic novels), placed in relevant historical and cultural contexts and critical debates. Students will be encouraged to read widely in order to understand the diversity and innovation that characterizes contemporary writing. Lectures will address the impact of a range of important cultural and political concerns (e.g. war, racial and ethnic diversity, national identities, changing attitudes to sex and sexuality, ecological crisis) as well as changes (and continuities) in the forms and genres through which writers have engaged with these issues.

I like my literature the opposite way to my art; I prefer modern literature, especially this time period. Plus getting to study Angela Carter, Neil Gaimen and graphic novels is just awesome.

The class changes are not the only changes. For the past month and a bit I have been working at my university as a part of the enrolment and registration support team. And as of today, that job is officially over :( I really enjoyed the job and met some amazing people who I intend to stay in contact with. It just feels so weird now that it is over!

I also had my assessment with the private physio and wow, just wow. I don’t remember ever not feeling some sort of pain or discomfort, and she did some nerve work on my arm/shoulder/neck where there is pressure on the nerve. I felt pain free for a while and it was blissful. She was lovely, so understanding and not at all judgemental. So I’m just starting a new period in my life; she’s the first person in 8 years to actually help me battle against my hypermobility syndrome. I have my first proper appointment on monday, and I just hope I can go. All that time around freshers has inevitably given me Freshers Flu. I’m due a new flu vaccine and it only covers the most popular forms of flu, so this one has managed to slip in under the radar and I feel terrible.

 

Memories are just a memory (Things are looking up)

Memories are just a memory (Things are looking up)

There! You see I did get to use the title after all… sort of ;)

I may be a little hyped up on coffee right about now. I had some after waking up from a nap feeling really yucky and while I do still feel sleepy, the coffee and food helped a lot. So instead of heading to bed here I am right now writing a pretty damn perky blog entry. The positive mood is not just down to the caffeine though; it’s a general feeling that hit me yesterday when I realised how much better I was feeling. Physically I’m not doing so good – ear/sinus infection & my dodgy knees playing up – but emotionally I’m good. It’s the first time since the start of this god forsaken year that I have felt happy and confident. I still feel guilty considering what happened to Az… how can I be happy when something so horrific has happened? I am still mourning him, I probably always will because the loss of a loved one – human or animal – never truly leaves us.

But you have to go on living, looking to the future rather than the past. That has been a very hard lesson for me to learn, especially as I have a photographic memory and can picture unhappy memories in a flash. It isn’t a flash back, it’s just a memory in great detail. I remember the first time I was bullied when a kid stuck pencils through the hole in the school chair when I was 5. I distinctly remember 5 years later when I stepped oddly on a stone while walking to Churchfields park and had my first hypermobility caused injury; a hairline fracture in my ankle. What I don’t remember is which ankle it was because that was the first of many ankle/foot related injuries that eventually stopped as my foot became strengthen through years of physiotherapy and wearing sports support bandages for years on end. My first day at St John Rigby and the years that followed, making crazy friends who are still with me to this day. The good memories and the bad memories. Then Hayes, Leeds and the last six years with my amazing fiance.

I’m tearing up as I think back over all this – but they aren’t tears of sadness. It isn’t my depression raising it’s ugly head. They are tears of joy, of understanding of being able to lay some demons to rest. Why has all this suddenly happened recently? It’s been a stepping stone of different stages, of long term and short term events that have built me back up from rock bottom. I’m far from perfect, far from healed and as I have always known, my depression will still be there. You can’t wash away all the bad things, you just have to learn to handle them with the help of others.

I’m probably feeling even more philosophical tonight because I just watched the first episode of the new Rizzoli & Isles series which starred the actor Lee Thompson Young. For those who don’t already know; the actor was found dead this week from apparent suicide. The details are still a mystery but it does seem that it was depression that led to his death. I know how it feels to feel that bad, that alone and that powerless. I am fortunate that people have been there to help me up, to support me and kiss away my tears. I will always be grateful to those people. When I hear that someone was unable to stop the pain and felt that their only option was death… it breaks my heart. It’s one of the reasons why I always offer people a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear and I speak openly about my problems. I’ve even heard someone crying before in a toliet at university and asked if they were ok. I know it sounds stupid but my hope was that the girl might register that even a stranger could care about her, that she wasn’t alone.

Since officially being accepted for honours I’ve had to sit and twiddle my thumbs, waiting for my academic profile to be progressed onto the next year. It has apparently been fixed, however, until mycampus (the system) has been updated after a major error happened, I won’t know for sure. It means I’m stuck waiting to find out what classes I actually have as no one has confirmed anything with me at all. I know I have creative writing both semesters and in semester 2 a course called “humanities in the classroom” which includes a work placement. I only know this because I had to apply separately for both of these. So I have no reading lists, which is a good and a bad thing. It means I get to read whatever I want to read – currently the Iron Druid Chronicles – but it also means less time to read stuff before the beginning of term. I’ve also heard that one course – the vampire literature one – may not even be happening this year *cries*. This means I may need to find another course from somewhere as well… but I will know nothing until mycampus is sorted. I am hoping – just like everyone else – that this will be the start of next week.

Wow.. this entry is going on for ages. I still have two more points to get through before I finish and head to bed. The first goes with the general feel of this entry; the future. Next wednesday I have my first physio appointment and I’m hoping praying that they can actually offer me something useful. This will be the third time having physio on my knees… having is actually the wrong term as the previous ones didn’t actually do much apart from show me how to do exercises and send me off to do them. The one in Leeds spent most of his time lecturing me on how I wasn’t standing/bending/moving correctly. Dude, you try having this condition and then tell me it’s easy to re-teach your entire body to stand/move/bend differently. Guilting someone into fixing their body when they cannot help it – my body thinks what it is doing is the natural normal behaviour of a body – doesn’t HELP. Anyway… rant over :P I was supposed to be talking about how I noticed this week my sudden vocabulary changes from “if I do creative writing, my novel/protagonist will be…” to “my novel/protagonist is going to be…”. No honours went losing out on the chance to start down the official creative writing road and while it is scary, it is damn exciting too. I can’t wait to get started!

And the last point finally; work and how well it has been going, and then that rant stole the show. Everyone is really friendly, and the only down side is the lack of stuff to do sometimes. However, the next few weeks will see that changing and I’ll probably find myself wishing for the good ole quiet days.

It’s official!

It's official!

I got my resit grade yesterday, a B3, but I wanted to wait until I got the official notification from my department. I don’t know if I got the classes I asked for yet, might need to wait a few more days for those. I should definitely have creative writing as that was a separate application. I worked so hard for this and I am just so happy to have done it. So to the dear anonymous who left me that nice message on tumblr; what have you got to say now? Clearly as the resit result has shown I am more than capable of getting the grade when “healthy” enough (it’s in quotation marks because my average level of healthy is well.. poor anyway).

I also got a job, it’s temporary and due to some people stalking me online I’m not going to be specific. I had the training for it this week and it seems good and they are very understanding about my disability too. It’s a bit scary, but it’s only temporary so if it ends up being that terrible at least it is only for a while. Despite being temporary it means I’ve gotten my foot in a door and a good amount of experience, both of which will help me in the future. And to be honest I think I needed this; it’s forced me to get some parts of my life sorted rather than letting me just sit back before classes start.

I had hoped that due to these pieces of news that the title of this entry would be something like “Things are getting better”. Instead yesterday’s joy was met with devastating news. Our first cat, Az, who Chris and I left in London as he was settled in, was hit by a car yesterday. He didn’t survive. I managed to get through today’s training, I don’t know how. I spent yesterday on a complete high – until I got this news last night – and now I just can’t even muster a smile at the good news. Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy, I’m relieved… but.. anyone who’s ever lost a cat so suddenly will know what I mean. He was only 5 and he is the second cat to die this year, third in less than a year. The other two who I still miss terribly, were 17 and it’s odd for a cat to live older than 15, so yeah… Az was so young and no one could have seen this happen.

 

Hypermobility, thy name is pain

Hypermobility, thy name is pain

As mentioned in my previous entry, my hyper mobility was one of the major health related problems that caused me so many problems in Term 2. In the past week I’ve been to see my doctor about it, had a physio assessment and had an asthma review by the nurse. All of these were steps in the direction of getting myself healthier in terms of pain, weight and mobility. My doctor examined my knees and straight away saw the problem; my left knee is very hyper extended. To quote a dictionary this means; “extend a joint beyond its normal range”. That is basically what my entire body does, but my left knee apparently just “looks wrong” :-/ The right knee I’m not sure about as it’s pretty banged up from me falling over the week before, so that may have obscured stuff or it may not be as bad as the left one.

I have admittedly been putting off seeing my doctor because as many hypermobile people know, there isn’t that much that can be done about this condition. Doctor’s don’t know what to do with chronic illnesses, and physios can’t solve every problem at once. I wasn’t hugely happy with the assessment I had for physio which involved a whole lot of talking and no actual assessment of the physical problems. I would have expected them to at least LOOK at the problem area. Plus as soon as I mentioned ‘weight gain’ it seemed as though everything else I said lost legitimacy. It’s at least a 4 week wait on the waiting list, so hoping that with my new diet and exercise that I can start to shift the weight before the actual physio begins.

My new diet – I hate diets. I feel that there is too much social pressure to be a certain weight and by saying you’re dieting you are enabling it. As highlighted by the physio’s tactless ‘well that won’t help’ comment, my weight needs to lower considerably. Not just for my HMS but to stop other health problems from arising. Plus I am not comfortable in my current form. This diet is unlike any I’ve had before, it’s very strict which I usually avoid as they are very salad and fruit heavy. I can’t eat either, however, the one we’ve put together for me is easily tailored to me, helps prevent cravings and got the thumbs up from my doctor. It’s called a low-GI (glycemic index) diet and if you google it, you’ll find more information. It aims to work with your body’s natural processes by maintaining your blood sugar levels so that food energy is released slowly. I’ve only been on it a week, but the cravings seem to have gone down and I’ve already vetoed some foods that I just cannot stomach. Namely cottage cheese (looks like vomit) and skimmed milk (looks and tastes like wee wee). The hardest part has been the lack of coffee and I’ve tried some stuff which I was surprised to find very yummy. Once I’ve gotten a settled meal plan I’ll post it up so people can be nosey.

It has been hard starting a diet while concentrating on my resit, but I think it has also helped though. It’s helped me remain positive, by sticking to the diet I’ve been able to feel like I’m succeeding at something difficult and I’ve funnelled that into my academic work. I handed in the resit essay yesterday and I actually feel pretty confident about it. I put everything into that essay and if I don’t get a good mark then I don’t deserve to be studying honours. I also went to an exam workshop yesterday which was very very helpful and explained a lot about what I did wrong last time. I basically regurgitated every fact, scared of all the big fancy names and techniques and thinking that I needed to prove what I knew. I do a bit, however, the markers are looking for our own ingenuity and view point. What we notice and can put together. We went through a lot of questions and themes as well so that helped me to understand the last exam better.

 

The exam is next week and then that’s it. I’ve either done it or I’ve not. It’s a scary prospect and also a bit relief as I’ll have my summer back again. I can’t think of anything else right now except this resit and I feel guilty if I spend my time doing something else worth while. So I’ve primarily been watching tv, reading and playing little games on facebook during my study breaks.

Hello 2013

Hello 2013

The post Christmas and new years entry is always a pain to write, and even worse when hindered with illness. I have (or my body does, I’m beginning to think it is it’s own person) an annual habit/date/whatever you want to call it of being ill. By being ill I mean more so than the normal health issues because they’re part of every day life. For the past 3-4 months I’ve had sinus problems on and off;  antibiotics sooner would have probably helped nip that in the bud but I’ve ranted about that before, I’m sure. What I haven’t said is that a cough came along with this and has stayed with me. I’m on my third bottle of cough mixture and the little bugger will not give up. My doctor is pretty concerned that it’s been going on since she saw me at the beginning of December – I didn’t see the point in saying it’s probably been longer – and has given me antibiotics to shift it. I have some sort of other virus/infection in my throat so two birds with one stone.

Anyway; why is this entry so hard for me to write? For one it can be quite depressing. While my life is moving on and I am moving closer to my goals, I am also in another year of being constantly ill. Every year is going to be like that and the start of a new year just tends to hammer it home. It wasn’t helped by reading a news article that said that the Disability Living Allowance is being completely scrapped. I think this is old news, but I tend to keep my head buried in the sand – I have to, I don’t have the energy to deal with everything else in the world. I’d love to solve the worlds wrongs, help everyone that needs help, or save the tigers… I just can’t right now. That’s one of the reasons I want to become an author and/or a teacher; to be in a position to make a difference.

I’ve written more than I intended; this entry was supposed to concentrate on my online projects. Before Christmas my muse decided to pop back from it’s long vacation and it has been singing to me ever since. The result was my personal site finally up and running at Ruby-Wings.net as well as my online portfolio HLTrend.com. I also changed the joinables directory to Ruby Wings Listings and created a plug site, Ruby Plugs. There is also the Great Gift Exchange which is a gift exchange site similar to Secret Santa but all year round. On top of all this I have gone back to role playing finally, although I am not running them which takes a lot of stress out of it and I am taking it slowly.

 

Future Projects and Associated Tasks

Ruby-Wings.net

  • Affiliates
  • Take photos of collections
  • Switch coding to php includes

Blog

  • Finish exit page
  • Create link back buttons
  • Join listings
  • Affiliates

Ruby Plugs

  • Affiliates
  • Join Listings/directories
  • Switch coding to php includes

The Great Gift Exchange

  • Create website front/portal
  • Contact people to spread the word
  • Offer featured spots on my Deviant Art account
  • Affiliates
  • Advertising

Queldorei.net

  • Switch coding to php includes and affiliates to script
  • Affiliates
  • Join Listings
  • Check for dead links
  • Add note to remind people it is a video games listings, not an RPG listing.

Twi-lek.net

  • Switch coding to php includes and affiliates to script
  • Affiliates
  • Join Listings
  • Check for dead links

Distant Fantasies

  • Catch up with RPG Reviews
  • Trouble Check directories

Bookworm Clique

  • Finish link back buttons
  • Code website
  • Open – find affiliates, join listings

Fighting Everyday Clique

  • Find old members list
  • Create website layout
  • Create content
  • Create link back buttons
  • Code website
  • Open – find affiliates, join listings

Secret Project – Webmaster Links @ Mind-Blast.net (clickie!)

  • Create website layout
  • Create/find content
  • Create link back buttons
  • Code website
  • Open – find affiliates, join listings

It seems like an awful lot but most of them are pretty quick jobs and all of the new sites won’t take that much time once completed. Everything is automated and all I’ll need to do is click a button somewhere.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The year so far…

I was never particularly speedy on updating this blog before, but I have become shockingly bad at keeping it updated. I’m two weeks away from the end of Term 1 and this is my first post about my second year so far. Well I guess it is at least being written before the end of the term!

That does sum up my year so far for two of my courses. I have to take English Language level 1 to qualify for honours, otherwise I would have saved myself the boredom of the majority of it. I’m sure there are some people out there who find it very interesting, I’m just not one of them. I did find the old English, runes and generally anything historical fascinating. It’s just a shame that some of it crossed over with the stuff I learned in Celtic yesterday or my previous degree.

English Literature is the second course and it just feels like it is just going to slow and dawdling this year. That may be because it’s about Ideology, which isn’t the most exciting topic ever. It just feels like some of the lectures just drone on, or maybe we just don’t have great lecturers this year.

I have to admit though that I have not been there for a whole lot of the lectures. My sinuses again. Lots of pain, not fun, you get the idea. I was very fortunate that this term I only had two essays instead of the four I had this time last year. And one presentation which I got an A4, so feeling pretty damn happy about that right now. It might be only worth 10% but I worked hard for it and achieved a good grade. I get the two essays back this week and just like normal I am of course dreading it. I wrote these two essays while very unwell with the sinus infections, which tend to make my brain think wonky. I actually spent a whole class thinking one classmate was someone else; until she politely corrected me at the end!

I have an online test for English Language due on 25th November and I got 7/10 in the practise test so a bit more studying and I’ll be ready to tackle the real thing. I’m supposed to have the exam for that subject in class but there is also a date up for an actual exam, so not sure what’s happening with that just yet. I had heard that it’s multiple choice from those who did it last year. My other two exams, both lit subjects are back to back; 7th and 8th of December. And yes the 8th is a Saturday *sigh*. In all my time studying I have never had one on a Saturday before so I guess it was due to happen sometime. I’m more worried about having to study for both rather than being able to study for one and then study for the second after the first is over.

The worst part about December exams is how quickly they sneak up on you; so I need to start studying this week. I don’t want to damnit! :( I am determined not to miss them this year though, I never want to resit exams in August unless it’s for a better grade.

I started writing this entry a few weeks ago and now here I am writing it from London. We came down just for the weekend for my cousin’s wedding (which was lovely), although of course my body has had it’s after event meltdown today which has consisted of a migraine alll day. If I’m like this after someone else’s wedding, how am I gonna be after my own? :P I’ll need like three days to recuperate!

In other news; my next update will probably include my brand new personal site (ruby-wings.net) and my online portfolio. I have, after a very long time, got my creativity back and have been pulling website ideas out of thin air. I am also semi-participating in National Novel Writing Month and have therefore officially started writing my own novel. I probably won’t have it finished by the end of November but ideas are flowing and for the first time being written down so it is a massive step for me :D

No Rest for the Wicked

No Rest for the Wicked

One of the dreaded things about writing a blog post after so long is that guilty explanation about where you’ve been, why you’ve not posted. I’m terribly for falling into this trap and this time the only explanation I’m giving is that I didn’t want to write. I’ve been enjoying my summer after returning from a lovely holiday in Benalmadena, Spain. The university term ended at the end of May and a week later I’d had all my final grades for Term 2. Normally this would be a cause for celebration and hello summer. Not for me because I have my exam resits in August for Term 1, so while I managed to pass Term 2 with flying colours (2 B’s and an A) despite being so ill with migraines, I can’t relax just yet. So I’ve been having my own mini summer of doing absolutely nothing. Now’s the time to start doing stuff again, revising, blogging and other bits and bobs.

 

Now that I have completed one set of exams I know that my revising tactics worked and exactly what is required in the exams. After my first exam I said it went ‘ok’, the second I’d done badly and only the third I felt I’d done well. So from that I know that even doing badly was a good grade, so I’m worried but not planning on getting too stressed about my resits – easier said than done of course! My exams aren’t the only busy part of my summer; my best friend Haley is getting married at the end of July and I’m one of her bridesmaids! I’ve been working on losing weight since March by using a combination of the Slim Fast diet, walking and wii fit exercise. I’ve done well and there is a noticeable difference, just need to work harder for the next month to lose some more before the wedding.

 

All that’s left now is to review the past year, my first year at University. Did I achieve everything I wanted to? Life is never straight forward as I found out more than ever this year so of course things went well and things went badly. I was more social than my previous university experience, however, I didn’t join any societies this year. I’m planning to join two at the start of next year. I also had to let a lot of friends down for social occasions, especially birthdays, so hoping to remedy this next year. I’m fortunate that they are all very understanding. Health wise I learned some things, good and bad. My hypermobility syndrome has gotten worse in my hands and back; I can no longer write with a pen for long periods of time and have had to considerably lighten my bag. So I now have a net book for classes and rely on e-books instead of actual books. The sinus issues turned out to be migraines so after switching to a preventative migraine medication my life has been less painful.

 

Class wise? I enjoyed them and didn’t enjoy them. I took Celtic Civ and Scottish Lit to gain a better understanding of those subjects and I did get that. I also found that was as far as I really wanted to go with those subjects. I also found myself unhappy with some of the teaching staff, especially Scottish Lit where I was ‘reported’ to the head of the course for poor attendance when my health issues are on file and I had spoke to the tutor numerous times about them. When I told the head as much I didn’t even get an email back with a confirmation or an apology. Since I wasn’t that enamored with the subject this was the deciding factor in me dropping it.

 

Second year continues with English Literature and I’m really happy with the reading list for Term 1. It includes some interesting books that I want to read (Paradise Lost, Redgauntlet) and Shakespeare’s The Tempest which I love. As I didn’t so English Language in year 1 I have to take it in year 2 as it’s a requirement for honors, so I’ll be taking that. The final subject is Comparative Lit which I was interested with from the beginning. I didn’t sign up for it originally because it said there was a requirement, but it turns out this was a bit buggy! Comparative Lit is more my kind of lit; there’s a vampire course in year 4 which I am dying to do. So as long as I start taking Comparative Lit in year 2 I am ok to take it in 4th year :D I had a meeting with my advisor to discuss this and to discuss the creative writing possibilities. You can only take one course in undergraduate for creative writing and I don’t need to worry about a portfolio for another year or so, so that was a relief. So just need to concentrate on these resits and then I have a September of awesomeness with loads of stuff happening ;)

 

Invisible people don’t just exist in Africa

Invisible people don't just exist in Africa

This is probably one of the most controversial topics I’ll ever write about, so before I continue let us get one thing straight. I am not a racist or a bigot, nor do I believe that we shouldn’t help third world countries. I am just realistic and feel that quite often this topic is ignored. Not many people will probably read this but if even a few people take something away from this then I’ll be satisfied.

 

As of me writing this there is a video going around, a viral campaign called ‘Stop Kony’. Within 24 hours of this thing going viral I have been invited to things on facebook and seen a bazillion tweets on the topic. I’ve also seen some criticism regarding the truth of the video, comments about the methods of the charity behind it and other skepticism. I am keeping out of the way of it, not because I don’t care but because I always feel such an internet sensation is hypocritical and ignorant. In the Western world there seems to be a plague of ignorance spreading, it’s main symptom pushing the problems of it’s own people under the carpet. Don’t worry, this isn’t a political rant about the economy or the government. It’s about every day people, like me and many other people I know.

 

The invisible people of the western world.

 

I’ll be more specific; I’m talking about your neighbour, your teacher, your best friend and most likely even some of your own family who suffer from an invisible illness. An invisible illness is exactly that, it’s invisible. There are thousands of people living in first world countries who suffer daily from pain, discomfort and a variety of symptoms, and no one has a clue they even exist. The children of third world countries get more attention and aid than these people do – even from their own governments. At present in the UK the Disability Living Allowance is aimed at people who need a full time carer or who cannot walk – it doesn’t matter if walking is painful, or you have other problems that seriously hinder your life or stop you working. The government in the UK doesn’t care. If you can walk you’re fine.

 

I said that this wasn’t about the government, and so I’m moving on. The government isn’t the only issue in the everyday battle for Invisible Illness sufferers. Every day people like you the person reading this right now, only view disability as something you can physically see. If someone has all their limbs, has no walking aid or wheelchair, or any obvious physical disfigurement then you assume they are healthy. So, what can you do? Educate yourself! Here are some useful links to get you started:

If you like this entry then please share it and spread the word. Or if you want to help someone consider helping one of the smaller charities out there. That’s not to say that the bigger charities don’t need support but think how many thousands of people know about that charity in comparison to the smaller ones? Every charity helps someone. There are small things you can do such as helping people if they fall, helping someone with an injury carry something or open a door. If you know someone who has an invisible illness be supportive and don’t be one of those people who say ‘but you don’t look sick’ – pain doesn’t always have a big neon light to guide you!

Essays, Visits & Noses

Essays, Visits & Noses

A strange subject line I know, although very accurate. That pretty much sums up the major parts of life recently and all three happened at the same time. My reading week was the 13th – 17th February and during that week my best friend Haley came up from London for a visit. The week of her visit I had my Celtic Civ essay due, then the following monday my Scottish Lit essay and then later that week my English Lit essay. How do I think they came out? I’m not sure. I was proud of myself in being able to manage my time properly for one of them. I know, I know, at 26 I should be able to manage my time much better but still this is a small improvement. And one I hope to repeat with my final two essays for the semester; my second Celtic civ one and the second one for Scottish Lit. I think my first Scottish Lit one went better than last term’s first essay. Both were context essays which means that we’re given a section of a novel and asked to perform a close reading. I feel more confident this time than I did last time, I think in part that was due to it being an easier text. Just need to wait and see how I did.

 

Haley’s visit was awesome, it was so nice to just spend a week where I put aside all my deadlines and just had fun. She also helped teach me how to use my new camera better. I’d not really had a chance to use it until that week so I got a lot of practice done at our local nature reserve and then at Loch Lomond which is such a beautiful place. We went in the late afternoon so we saw sunset and twilight, it was just magical. Haley was also kind enough to come with me to my hospital appointment with the ear, nose and throat surgeon as my fiance Chris has injured his back. We’d barely sat down before I was called in and we were early. The appointment was swift, the examination less painful than it was when I was a teenager. I found out an interesting random fact about the cartilage in my nose and was told the entrances to my sinuses seemed healthy. The doctor immediately noticed that I have Rhinitis though and next Tuesday I have a follow up skin test to check for allergies – something I’m a little nervous about. If it helps treat my sinus problems then brilliant, but what if it tells me I’m allergic to x, y and z? Not looking forward to that part. Especially if it turns out to be animals. An animal lover allergic to animals? That would just suck monkey balls.

 

Onto more happier topics. Chris and I don’t do much for Valentines day, especially this year as we were both pretty ill. I was spoilt – again – although not as much as he had hoped to spoil me. I’m the sort of girl who likes to be spoiled a little, but gets shy when I get really spoilt. I’m a libra after all, I love pretty things especially given in love. He got me a gorgeous amethyst necklace that I had been eyeing up, and had intended to get a matching bangle and a ring. The reason I’m mentioning this is just how much the poor guy went through trying to find a ring in my size. Apparently I have a very awkward ring size and he couldn’t find a suitable ring in that size. He went through about 10 rings before admitting defeat which is adorable. He’s not one for giving in and I know it bugged him to do so. The bangle was out of stock so he couldn’t get that either. I’m just glad for having him and that he loved the bracelet I got him.