Unexpected Feels: Safety, Failure, and Loss

Let’s start with the good news.

First, I have completely unpacked all my belongings and found homes for everything. The dining room is no longer a mountain of boxes and it has a dining table which is doubling up as my desk at the moment. I also found curtains for the living room. Second, with the help of Mum, I’ve finished digging up the weeds in the garden and sown my flower seeds. She also identified all the mystery shrubs. There’s a Weigela, a Ceanothus and a Hydrangea. There’s also a Himalayan Honeysuckle which is in bud. Very exciting!

In the interesting news category, this coming week is my last at the RCN. I am sad to be leaving but also grateful as I had reached the limits of the interesting bits of the job and have spent the last two weeks bored out of my skull with not quite enough to do. I am however going to miss my paycheck, especially as I don’t have anything lined up for when I get back from sailing.

Speaking of which, I’m going sailing on the Stavros in a week’s time! Much Excite! Southampton to Cardiff with a sea shanty group! Hopefully the weather will have the correct amount of wind, in the right direction. The bad news is that we are currently lacking enough Watch Leaders and Deckhands. I hope to Neptune they fill the volunteer crew positions in time else I am going to be VERY busy.

Pink weigela flowers

Flowering Weigela – very pretty!

In between all the things I’ve been doing lately, I’ve been having some interesting emotional outbursts. I’ll just start feeling sad for what seems like no reason and then tears follow. Continue reading

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Settling In to my New Home

This weekend was our first proper weekend in mine and Squishy’s new house! i.e. we were actually at home and not galivanting off to other parts of the country. We’re cohabiting for the first time so this is a major life milestone for us both. We got things done! For example, replacing the overflow pipe for the bath, replacing the shower head and doing all the laundry. Well, all my laundry at any rate.

We arranged the living room furniture so we have a sofa to sit on, a TV to watch and a HiFi to listen to. All our DVDs, computer games and CDs are on the shelves. We haven’t merged CD or book collections because I have OPINIONS on how they should be ordered, as does he. He thinks they MUST be alphabetical whereas I like mine to be ordered thematically and then by artist/author. In the case of books it’s doubly complicated because they must also be pleasing to the eye, and that means accounting for spine height. Srsly, nothing gets me more than having books in the same series by the same author from different print editions. Who thought changing the book dimensions was a good idea?!! The Terry Pratchett (may he find what he hopes for across the desert) books are particularly bad for this, especially once you start mixing hardback and paperback. ANYWAY. Continue reading

Still alive!

Just a quick post to say Hi!

I’m moving house today – moving in with Squishy for the first time! No more long distance for us! Finally!

I’ve been busy with work and packing and that sort of thing. I should also be starting on my corrections next week and I really, really need to sort out my CV/resumé.

I will also admit that I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to write about here. I’ve spent two long years hating on the PhD process and what it’s done to my mental health but it’s not actively an issue right now. The sources of pressure are significantly reduced and at a distance. I’m still a bit anxious about working through my corrections and working on the paper with my collaborators but these tasks feel eminently achieveable. Finding the time to focus on them while also job hunting and moving house has been difficult but I’m sure I can figure it out.

Red dahlia against a brick wall

Red Dahlia – CC NessieMonster

I’m burned out on the whole feminist ranting about sexism thing too. I haven’t read anything recently that’s shattered my world view and it all seems a bit samey topic-wise. Reading about how women get screwed over in career advancement, in the home, in politics and in health matters is just depressing. Yes, I am well aware the world is full of shocking, hurtful things and that many people really suffer from it, thanks. Just reading the word “r*pe” in a headline is enough to make my stomach sink and frankly, I don’t need to put myself through that anymore. I’m much more at peace with my own trauma history than I was a few years ago. It still affects me from time to time but I mostly know where those tripwires are and for the most part I can talk it through with Squishy if it’s actively affecting our sex life in the moment. Continue reading

Exciting Life Updates!

So I started my part-time job this week working for the Royal College of Nursing! It’s for 3 months, which is pretty much ideal whilst I hunt for permanent work in sci comms/med comms and get through my viva (and do post-viva corrections/paper writing). I’m arranging travel so it’s not overly exciting but it pays all right, and hot damn, if it isn’t a good feeling to be off jobseekers. Everyone’s been really friendly so far and the office and building are really nice. Also the food in the canteen is yummy. Always a bonus. 🙂 Continue reading

Pleasant Updates and a Film Review

Good news everyone, I’m not going to be homeless in two weeks time! I’ve found a flat with my good friend that’s a stone’s throw from Uni, and if everything goes to plan this week, I should have keys by Friday.

Other good news is that the mathematical modelling of my novel data is going well. I will have a decent poster in time for the International Systems Biology Conference in Copenhagen in early September, which is fantastic all on it’s own, but even better is that I get to visit Copenhagen! Prior to June this year, my travelling experience consisted of three trips to Germany, several to northern France and one to Amsterdam (ruined by my catching Swine ‘Flu, I kid you not). The only time I’d ever flown was London to Glasgow for a weekend when I was seventeen. This year however, I completed a skydive, flew to the Algarve, Portugal for a week’s holiday and flew to Barcelona for a work trip. I expect Copenhagen will be completely different to anywhere I’ve been before, and it’s a huge conference with over a thousand attendees from the world over, so it should be an experience… What’s your most memorable/disastrous flying trip?

Waiting at the Airport - Best Exotic Marigold Hotel style.

Waiting at the Airport – Best Exotic Marigold Hotel style.

The final thing is to recommend watching the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It’s a film about seven English retirees who, for various reasons end up in a Hotel in Jaipur. It’s most definitely not what they were led to expect from the brochure! Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy all star in it and the rest of the cast are most excellent too. I’d say the film deals with how we cope with change and how we make the best of what we’ve got. Maggie Smith plays Muriel Donnelly, a elderly spinster who needs a hip replacement and happens to be horribly racist, but who has a sad backstory of being in service for all her life before being got rid of by the family she served due to old age. I think hers is a fascinating arc and I’d say she undergoes the most change of all the characters, although I shall say no more in order not to spoil it! Judi Dench, as lead Evelyn Greenslade, has lost her husband to ill health, only to find that he’s squandered their life saving leaving her in so much debt she must sell her home.

Meanwhile, Tom Wilkinson, as Graham Dashwood, gives a heart-rending performance of a retired judge returning to his childhood home to find his male lover, who was his first and only love. I think it’s absolutely amazing that a film aimed at middle-aged and retirement-age people would put in such a well-thought-out character who happens to be gay. I mean, it’s not so surprising, given that people in their sixties and seventies now were in their teens, twenties and thirties during the sexual revolution of the 60’s, and were fully adults during the emergence of HIV. But, there’s such a reputation of the generation one up from my parents, of being stuck in their ways, being racist, homophobic, anti-immigration, anti-feminist conservatives, that I almost wouldn’t expect it to appeal. On the other hand, there was no clue in the blurb that this would be dealt with in the subject matter, so I hope it maybe nudged some people to reconsider. It also served as a reminder to me, a young twenty-something, not to write off older people. It should certainly serve to remind society that just because someone got old and retired that we shouldn’t just write them off. Loneliness was probably the most important theme theme in the movie, with each of the characters being lonely in their own way for some reason or other, and what made it so good was seeing how each of them responded to it and used it, for better or worse.