13 August 2014

Keeps on spinning

It looks like I actually wrote a few times towards the end of last year and then it looks like I haven't written anything this year at all.  So I suppose this will remedy that.  As per usual with such lapses it means that swathes of my life are going to be left to my own memory which I must admit gets spottier and spottier as I get older.  I used to have a fabulous memory.  In fact I would say an over-active memory.  Nowadays I suppose I just don't think things that are happening of worthy of such intense scrutiny and therefore remembrance.  Funny how things change.

It's my birthday this Saturday and I turn 40.  I, like most humans, like round numbers and things that suggest patterns so of course 40 seems like something meaningful when in fact it is simply the year between 39 and 41.  I've managed to pull together an exciting bunch of celebratory events.  Friday I'll be having dinner with a large group of friends at Bocca di Lupo which I have not yet eaten at but have wanted to for ages.  I expect this to be a lovely and delicious meal that will make me very happy.  The on Sunday I'm off to Corsica with a friend (and another who is coming along later on Wednesday night).  A real proper holiday in a holiday location.  I don't feel prepared for the trip, but then I have all Saturday to pack and sort things out.  I'm good at the last minute packing.

I've been seeing a guy for about a month now.  I feel very strongly that he's not a keeper, but we're having some fun at the moment.  I don't know how long it will last, but for now fun is good.  Although I'm fairly convinced he's been giving me strep throat and is some sort of carrier.  This is due to me getting a sore throat just after getting a horrible sore throat for which I took antibiotics which happened a couple of days after the first time we kissed. Then I finished the antibiotics course, we get together, and sore throat again.  It doesn't take a genius.

I've been working this past year at a good job but it is a sabbatical cover so it ends at the end of the year.  There had been some hope that there would be a way for me to stay on and a few months ago this led to all sorts of stress about the possibility of moving to Cambridge for real and how that would be.  But at the moment it looks like that will not be what happens.  So I'm looking elsewhere.  I've applied for 2 jobs in London, and 1 in Cardiff. I've also got a meeting in just under an hour for an industry job in London although it's not really a formal interview it's a 'conversation', but it is an interview sort of.


Back from that.  It was sort of an interview.  It was fine.  We'll see if anything comes out of it.

I'm exhausted.  This is probably from fighting off whatever infection I have.  At least I hope it sort of feels like it's not getting worse.  So that's good.  But I'm still exhausted.

And stressed. I have a lot to do.  Lots for work, lots for holiday.  Just lots to do.  And it's already Wednesday... I'm just not being particularly productive.  This is no good.

I'm sure there is more I could say and I was very motivated to write earlier but now I just feel tired.  The guy is coming over tonight and I'm not enthused about it.  I just want to sleep.  I really can't see him lasting super long at this rate.  Sort of a shame, but I guess the shame is he isn't what I hoped for, not that I want him in particular to last super long.

I don't even thing I'm making sense anymore. 

Until next time.

05 January 2014

2014 - All Change

With the new year having turned the corner, I feel like I'm just keeping up.  However, there is no denying that this is a big year for me, with a lot of change and contemplation needing to happen in the next 12 months.

The PhD is coming to the end.  It's not there yet, I'm completely sick of working on it.  But with almost 60,000 words and 250 pages, I'm definitely within sight of the light at the end of the tunnel, even though it still flickers in and out of my view, it's getting clearer, and closer, every day.

This means that this year will see the end of this 4+ year journey and my return to 'real' work.  Although I have no actual offers of any kind on the table, I have a couple of different leads and potential opportunities which are both exciting for different reasons.  The fact is, one does not negate the other, and I'm likely to pursue the one (if it comes through) and hold the other in my pocket.  But thinking about jobs leads me to also consider this next phase of my life.

Which of course makes me think about the whole children issue.  If I want to have a child, then I think I want to start that not this year, but the year after.  That means I need a job which is secure, and where I will have support.  Particularly if I'm going to do this on my own.  I'm nervous about the whole kid thing.  It was a big year last year with all the egg freezing which made me think about it a lot.  I felt sure that I had come to a decision, but it's a scary decision and I still worry that maybe it's not the right choice.  Although when I think about why I think it might not be the right choice I think things like, 'it will be hard', or 'the child might hate me', or 'is it responsible to not have a father-figure'.  And none of these seem like very good reasons, because I think it's hard on everyone, and your child is always going to hate you at some point for something, and while not having a father-figure is certainly not ideal, it happens.  I also note that none of those reasons were, 'I don't really want to be a mother' which I think is probably more important.  Anyway, it's a lot to think about still.  And choices I make this year, will set up decisions for the next year.

In addition, I have 3 friends who will be welcoming new children into their families this year, that I know of, so far.  I suspect there will be more.

I also happen to turn 40 this year which seems like a milestone of some sort.  I haven't decided what I want to do to mark it.  I had some ideas but I've recently changed my mind. Maybe.  The real problem is, is that my mother's birthday is 8 days from mine and as she had me when she turned 30, is also a milestone for her.  My whole life my milestone birthdays have been somewhat overshadowed by hers and this is an instance where I'm not really in the mood to deal with the arguing.  On the other hand, that doesn't seem very nice or generous of me and you know, it's only a birthday.  But, if I wanted to, for example, go on a yoga retreat, I don't think my mom would be up for that.  So that's sort of annoying, but I'm sure in the end it will be fine.

Also this year I've had one friend return to London, and will maybe see the return of another, but I will also have the loss of one.  In fact over the next year and a little bit, I will lose two of my closest friends here (and possibly a third), to places far afield.  So the fact of the matter is, my life as I know it will change in many ways in the next year, across many different fronts. 

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit nervous about it all.  I mean yes, it's all very exciting in many ways.  But I get nervous about uncertainty.  I don't really embrace it, though I think I'm good at rolling with it.  And in the end, I will make the best of what the options are and life will continue on it's merry way.  One thing is for certain though, it's going to be a big year of change, and I can't even imagine what I'll be writing here next year.

29 October 2013


Because when I posted the last post, there were three shitty things that had happened and I figured that just about summed it up.

First, I had a paper that I submitted to a journal, that I had already had the abstract accepted for, that a number of people had proof read for me, rejected.

Then this morning I had the retrieval for my egg freezing and they got 3 eggs which was a low number and in fact the lowest of the 3 cycles I've done, and while three his better than one, it was still disappointing and upsetting, especially because I was expecting a minimum of 5.

And when I got home I had email from the guy saying that he just wasn't feeling a spark to date me but you know, he'd like to be friends because we have a good connection.  So let me paraphrase, we have a good mental connection because we've had great email and conversation but what it comes down to is after we met in person he wasn't attracted to me.  He didn't say that, but it's what he meant.

And so I thought I was having a pretty shitty day and a big fuck you to the day seemed appropriate.

But wait, there's more!

Because I was just on the phone with my mother this evening and she starts saying how I've obviously put on weight (I haven't).  And then she says, "Oh, because the most recent pictures of you on facebook made it look like you have."  Thanks.  "Well, I mean those pictures from the two weddings of you were really unflattering."  Thanks.  "I'm sorry, I mean your face just looked really heavy."  Thanks.  "No really I'm sorry, it's just those pictures were really unflattering."

It's 8:45 and I'm going to bed.  I've had enough of today.

How I feel about today

That is all.

28 October 2013

(Barely) Holding it together

I've finished the work I wanted to do today, and it's been a fairly tumultuous day, which included a long venting session to a friend but then more stuff happened and I figured I'd use this opportunity of my head being on the verge of exploding to write a blog post.

The most overwhelming thing in my life right now is that I am writing up my thesis.  I have 30,000 words so far which is probably about 33% of the thesis.  Most of that is the work I could do without analysis of data.  I've now taken a break from writing to focus on data analysis.  As that takes shape, I'll put it into the thesis, but the analysis needs to be done before I can write it, so that's what I'm doing just now.

There is a lot of pressure on me to try and get a full first draft by the end of the year.  This is very stressful because while it is two months away, you could also say, it is only two months away.  I've been working on the thesis properly from the beginning of September.  By that standard, it took two months to write 1/3 so another two months will only result in another 1/3 and not a complete draft.  On the other hand, once I get the analysis done and start writing up the results, most of that isn't referenced so the writing can go a lot faster.

There are other pressures about the end of the year in regards to the thesis.  Mainly that it's the four-year mark for my work and that comes with a number of problems.  The main one being you aren't supposed to go over four years.  Although it doesn't really affect me too badly, it's just additional pressure and may come with some minor problems that are mostly paperwork.  It's annoying for any number of reasons that I'm behind and late as I really strongly dislike being either to a level that I don't think I can adequately express.  It's not normal.  I feel panicked- like a tightness in my chest, when I think about it.  I really don't like being behind or late.  It stresses me out more than I think it does other people.  And obviously it's not helping my general situation.

But lets leave the thesis aside for a moment and concentrate on other issues.

I'm doing some teaching, which is great, because I love teaching, and also I could use some extra money.  But teaching requires time and I don't have time because any time I do anything else is time away from the thesis.  Most of the teaching is okay at this point in that, I don't need to do too much prep for it.  But I just got a new teaching thing that I do need to do some prep for and it's taking time and so it's making me stressed.

Continuing down the list, I got an email today from the director of one of the courses I teach on to say that his sabbatical for next year has been approved.   This is good news because they want me to fill in for the associate director who would fill in for him.  This is bad news because the job would start in January and so we're back to the thesis problem.  This creates huge pressure on me for getting a full draft done by the end of the year.  People don't like to hire you unless you can prove you have a good working draft, especially if you're at the 4-year mark.  I don't want to lose this job because I haven't finished the thesis, but there is nothing I can do about it except work my ass off trying to get the thesis done.  Oh, but to apply for this job, I need to stop working on my thesis and update my CV which is hopelessly out of date just now.  So that's not entirely helpful either.

Although this is important of course because I have no job and no income and so I'm starting in on my savings.  To be fair, I have enough savings to last me at least next year if I had to, but the whole 'don't have a job' thing is actually a pressing problem and one I can't entirely put off either just because I'm working on my thesis.

During the past month I've also been doing another cycle of egg freezing.  I suppose I could have put that off for a time when I was less stressed but that process comes with it's own stress.  I'm 39 now and every month I let go past is a month my fertility is disappearing.  So it wouldn't stress me out less to wait.  So I just went ahead with it.  The retrieval procedure is tomorrow morning, so that's good because then that will pretty much be it, but it's been stressful, adding to my general stress levels, and oh yeah, that means I'm not really working tomorrow. 

Today I also got an email from the journal where I had previously had an abstract accepted for a special issue.  I worked for months getting that article ready and submitted and today I found out that it was rejected.  That was deeply disappointing for any number of reasons.  While it's not adding to my stress in the sense that, I'm so busy there's nothing I can do about it right now (like submit it to another journal after trying to address some of the reviewers points).  It is stressful because if it has been published it would have given a certain level of authority to my thesis.  So what this has done is knock my confidence completely that my thesis is even worthwhile.  I know part of this is not good thinking.  The thesis has a lot more justification and information than I could squeeze into an article and I know that a number of the reviewer points are addressed in the larger thesis.  Still, it's worrisome.  And disappointing.  And really a bit upsetting.  Which isn't what I needed at the moment.

And if all this work stuff wasn't enough going on, I'm having mental gymnastics over a guy I've had a date with and been emailing.  I think this guy has potential.  And I'm interested in him, which to be honest, I'm really not interested in most people I meet.  But what has this done?  It's made me entirely insecure.  He's been away for the week for work where he didn't have internet access and was supposed to come back yesterday.  I know he teaches all day on Monday, so I suspect I'll get an email from him tonight as he's supposed to email me to arrange to meet up this week.  But, as I'm feeling insecure, I now am wearing a groove in my mental dialogue about how he's going to say he's not interested, and he wasn't attracted to me, and he doesn't see a possibility for us to date which will be an unpleasant sort of rejection.  I know I"m projecting slightly, but I can't entirely keep those thoughts out at the moment.

I barely have the mental capacity to do anything just now.  I honesty don't know how I'm getting anything done except I get up every day, and just put one foot in front of the other metaphorically speaking and am just getting on with things.  Because I don't see not doing that as an option.  And anyway, there isn't anything else I can do. 

However, it's incredibly stressful.  I'm not sure I have ever been quite so stressed before.  Earlier this year it manifest itself as depression.  I don't think I have the capacity to even be depressed just now.  My flatmate came home and I told her about the paper and she asked me if I cried about it and I was a bit startled by the question because I don't think I have the capacity to stop and have any emotions about much of anything right now.  Except of course, raging insecurity about internet guy.  I think I am just barely holding things together.  I don't know what it's going to be that shoves me over the edge, but I feel hyper alert, because it could be anything.  I mean how many things can one person bloody deal with at once?  I really don't want to be the person who tests this question.

Anyway.  I haven't even read this as I've written it.  It's come out as a massive torrent of words.  Usually when I do this sort of purging writing I feel better.  Right now, I don't feel anything.  Except maybe a slight headache.  And I need to go make some dinner.  And maybe I'll do some knitting to try and relax. And not check my email wondering why internet guy hasn't gotten in touch yet.

28 August 2013

Not Defunct

For the possibly 3 people who read this blog, I would like to point out it is hardly defunct.  I've been posting a lot on my fertility related blog.  And on my naughty tumblr.  It would probably be useful and good for me to write things down here but I am, as ever these days, stressed and busy.  I just stare at the screen and the words won't come. I  feel boring and empty sometimes.  And I don't really feel like complaining about not having a boyfriend or worrying about the PhD writing up process or getting a job afterwards or thinking about motherhood.  None of which is helped by a lot of friends getting married, my funding running out, trying to work out where I can get a job and who provides good maternity cover because it's obvious I'm never going to have sex again and if I want a child it's going to be through some sort of donation and this is a lot of crap to be thinking about when I really need to be finishing up the PhD.

You see how it goes.

I don't want to be that person but right now that's all I feel I can offer.  I would give anything to be able to post amusing stories of post coital humor.  The thrill of watching bruises turn that came from vigorous sexual adventures.  Or, you know, having enough cash to get gadgets and toys that I want or to go on holidays that I want.

Although I did just go camping in Norfolk which was really good.  I enjoy making and staying in a tent, going to the beach, and I also did a 22 mile cross country bicycle trip which was a bit hardcore and I'm still suffering from.

I would also point out, those in the blossom of youth, experiencing all the joys of the sown oats should hardly be throwing stones, don't you think? ;) :P

01 June 2013

Ho Hum

And the mood persists.  I feel very emotional.  Been tearing up for no reason.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I've been tearing up when thinking about things that upset me which are valid to have upset me but maybe aren't worthy of tears.

I was trying to think to myself, what is it I need?  What can I do to change how things are?  What is it that I want someone else to do to help me snap out of it and can I not find a way to do that for myself?  But I honestly couldn't work it out.  The best I could come up with was, "Stop acting like a twat." and we all know that's not very helpful.

T and I went to the textile museum today to check out the Kaffe Fassett exhibit which was pretty cool.  Glad we went, glad we got to spend some time together.  Got to check out the engagement ring.  I could have, at any point, expressed to her what I'm going through but as it was all that happened was I touched up on how things had gone with S while in the States and how much it upset me and I teared up and then that was it.  I didn't say any more about it.  Didn't say how stressed I felt.  Mainly because I couldn't justify simply complaining without being able to ask for something.  Which brings me back to where I started.  I don't know what it is I need to snap out of this.  I don't know what someone else can do for me to make me feel better.