Music and other things to be grateful for

Just wanted to share some music videos with you. The writing and editing is a slog but there are things to be thankful for. The weather for starters. Being able to sit in the sunshine in the garden, surrounded by flowers and insects, with gorgeous blue skies while I do work is a pleasure. I’m doubly grateful because it’s something I’ve not been able to do in a long time, not having a garden of my own in Cottonopolis.

My cat is another blessing. Being able to have lazy snuggles on the lawn is so nice and when I wake in the morning it’s usually to find him curled up by my feet.

My cat under the flowers, enjoying the sun

My cat under the flowers, enjoying the sun

I’m thankful for good food and vegetables and a bike that now works (thanks to my brother for fixing the gears!). I’ve also joined a gym as I want to get strong. I quit Jiu jitsu because of injuries but I still want to move and improve my fitness. Not gonna lie, loosing a bit of weight would be nice but I’m trying not to get hung up on it. I am all too aware that there are a lot of shitty messages regarding size and shape rattling around in the background of my brain, and when I’m stressed about other things they have a tendency to flare up. I’ve got half a draft on it but I’m not ready to go there yet. Anyway, things to be thankful for: being able to move, cycle, climb, lift weights and practise yoga.

I’m also thankful for our piano. Gosh, have I missed playing! Turns out when I’m playing for my own enjoyment and not for an exam, it’s actually fun and satisfying. I even taught myself a new piece this week: Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in C# Minor “Moonlight”: the Allegretto movement.

I’ve a long way to go until it sounds this good but I’ll get there. I’m also practising Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude, which I learned for a grade back in the day and still love to play:

For some utterly different music, here’s Julie Fowlis singing various Scottish Gaelic folk songs.

It’s suck in my head and makes me want to dance. I came across her from listening to the Brave Soundtrack, where she sings Touch the Sky, Into the Open Air and Learn Me Right.

The piece I have absolutely not been able to get out of my head however is A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal, Noble Maiden Fair.

Little baby, hear my voice
I’m beside you, O maiden fair
Our young Lady, grow and see
Your land, your own faithful land
Sun and moon, guide us
To the hour of our glory and honour
Little baby, our young Lady
Noble maiden fair

How to Recover from Critical Feedback

“… kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” – Stephen King

It’s been a while since I last blogged a long post and the mere thought of it has been nagging at me. Honestly though, I’m at a bit of a loss for what to say. The PhD writing is hard, as expected, but it’s thrown me for a loop and I’ve been procrastinating like a motherfucker. In fact, this very post is me procrastinating! How meta. You known those situations where you feel like you have a long list of excuses but no good reasons? This is one of those times.

I’m procrastinating because I’m trying to avoid something difficult: editing my “Shitty First Draft”. I was previously angry at my supervisors because they weren’t giving detailed or useful feedback. This time, when I submitted what I thought was a pretty good chapter, I got it back with devastating criticism. “Your writing is hard to read”. “It’s too waffly”. “I couldn’t follow what was going on”. Some of the comments were useful but mostly they just cut me to the bone. It felt personal, ya know? It’s my writing, an embodiment of my thoughts, and now you’re telling me it’s shit and I need to cut it down by half?! They’re my words! They made sense to me! How can they be that hard to follow?

Editting while defensive is not an easy task, it turns out. Continue reading

Hello and Welcome!

Hello and Welcome, Visitors from the Land of Awkward! Make yourself comfortable. Pull up a chair and have a cup of tea/caffeinated beverage of choice. This is my tiny little corner of the internet where I blog about PhD-ness, feminism, mild mental health things and general life grumbles.

I moved house on Friday, and finished unpacking on Monday. Yesterday I went to a Med Comms careers networking event. Today, in a little bit, I will write a bit more of my next  thesis chapter – I have a plan and everything!

Moving house was interesting this time because I moved 200 miles from Cottonopolis where I have lived the last three years, back home to the Big Smoke aka London. I grew up here and I have moved back to the family home, having been away for SEVEN YEARS. To say that there were FEELINGS would be a bit of an understatement. However, I did the helpful things – letting myself cry about it – reaching out to my best friend – doing a small social thing – and am generally trying to remind myself that it is okay to feel this way, as well as reminding myself that feeling this way doesn’t have to stop me doing the things I want to do.

Elodie’s Low Mood post was truly a gift at an opportune moment.

As such, I am now going to go do the necessary things, rather than loose another hour to the internet. I just wanted to say “hi” and let you know where I’m at. Much love, Nessie

No more lab work – ever again!!! Thoughts on being a scientist.

Let’s just take a moment to savour the fact that I never *have* to do another science experiment ever again. No more Western blots, no more qPCR, no more tissue culture, and best of all, no more effing microscope experiments! I’ve cleared my lab bench, my shelves and drawers and my write up desk, and I’ve condensed my freezer space into one -20 drawer, two racks in the -80, and two boxes of cells in the liquid nitrogen store. I am so very glad that’s over with, so very glad. I never have to do another experiment again!!! :-D :-D :-D

Okay, so maybe it’s a little sad, I mean I have spent the last three and half years doing bench science, and I have no clue what I’ll be doing next, which is a little scary. On the other hand, no more frustration at doing everything perfectly and still have it fuck up for no discernible reason. Never again Continue reading