So winter in Scotland is hard enough, we don’t really get an autumn it just hits September and gets ridiculously cold, then October happens and the cold bites into your bones. Every year without fail, it happens and I think it can’t possibly get any colder… then November arrives and it does.
I’m a November baby, but not adjusted to deal with this kind of cold. When I first moved to Aberdeen I realised how tropical Glasgow was in comparison, to which those from even further north laughed at.
So how does it get worse? Well, my last few jobs have had serious issues with temperatures and dodgy germs offices where I kept getting ill. As I mentioned in my last post my new office is super cosy warm, comfortably so, except on Sunday where it was just so cold outside none of us could heat up properly on shift.
I guess I forgot to write this on submission day, but it’s been all over for more than a month and I’m just now feeling the relief that it’s all finished. My university career is over! Wtf?!
The last few weeks before October 3rd were awful and some of the worst in my life, and yet I somehow managed to pull together enough to still write, edit, and revise the most important text I’ve ever submitted. I don’t know if I can say it’s my best work given how ill I was, but perhaps it’s better than it would have been as I was able to give my inner editor/critic a swift vaffanculo because I just did not have time for that negativity.
I’m relieved but starting to grow a bit anxious, there’s still a month to go before we get our results back. I just hope it’s enough to get my solid pass mark, I don’t care where everyone else’s marks get them to, I’m just happy to pass well. One of my submissions this year, a shitty essay, really messed up my average and I’m well aware that my tutor doesn’t particularly like anything I’ve written though I had stellar feedback from others on my course. I never said I was James Joyce, I’m happy to be in Jim Butcher’s league.
Alas, I’ve been away from here thanks to real life swinging back into play. I started a new job on the 7th of October and it’s been non-stop since with training and then getting familiar with the new role. I’m enjoying it so far, there’s definitely been a steep learning curve with the material but everything else is all stuff I’ve done before. It’s a good environment, a good team, and supportive co-workers. Plus the office is toasty warm, great for those 8am starts when it’s dark and minus-one outside.
More updates to follow, now that I’m free from studying. I’ve been on edx and udemy again flexing my Italian, Latin and Classical muscles. And I bought a Korean grammar book!
I’m still not better. Last night I slept for ten hours, got up and went for a blood test, struggled to eat a single bagel then two hours after getting up I fell back asleep for four and a half hours! Plus I was shivering – even under two heavy quilts and three blankets. Gah!
I’m worried that the days are melting together. I’m caught between the, ‘I need to rest’ and ‘I need to write my fucking dissertation‘ emotions. In case you haven’t heard, I’m writing 15000 words of a novel that I’ve been working onahem well, started it when I was 15 and currently trying to write the best draft of it yet. But I’m doubting myself and had been all summer and now I’m ill and rapidly running out of time.
I am well aware that I’m not getting a distinction nor a merit for this degree, nothing I’ve submitted over the last two years came close to getting a thumbs up from my tutor. Even the stuff I worked ridiculously hard on still got worse marks than the stuff I ran out of time for. I get it, like any creative medium it’s subjective, the same happened when I took Photography and heck, even my HNC in Professional Writing. At least my work was always remembered for being weird. I’m good with that.
Anyway, the pain in my glands and ears and throat still feels like someone tried to shred my neck so I’ve been very quiet the last few days especially. Eating has been a chore and coffee hasn’t been very present (very odd for me). I’m trying. I know potentially I could get in touch with my tutor or student support and ask about extending the deadline due to extremely bad circumstances but honestly, I don’t want to postpone, defer, or delay this degree any longer – I just want it over with so I can go back to enjoying writing for myself again!
The novel is polyphonic where each chapter is in the 1st person POV of the main character of that scene. I have several main characters but two absolute main characters and all the chapters follow in a cycle. The chapter I’m working on just now is a journey with one of the absolute MCs and I’ve been writing it in a notebook gifted to me by a good friend for my birthday last year. I wanted to go back to handwriting things because as quick as writing on a computer can be, it’s often not as fulfilling as handwriting where you can see the strokes and scribbles of your own hand building something in front of your eyes. Plus, cute notebooks and pens. Alas, the chapter is getting quite long but will be split into several chapters to be spread between the happenings of the other characters. As much as I want to continue writing by hand, I’ve three weeks to the day to get it all done… plus I’ll be returning to work next week and won’t have nearly as much time to ponder. Though hopefully I will be on the road to recovery… eventually.
So the summer is drawing to a close and there’s not been much to speak of weather-wise. I’ve been working, studying, and beating myself up about all the other things I don’t have time or energy to do – including blogging.
I’m currently still in the process of recovering from the worst bout of Tonsilitis I’ve ever had. It’s been bad before but it’s the first time the doctor has given me a massive dose of antibiotics – although I went on the Friday and she stated I’d be fine for work on the Monday. Riiight. So here I am, a week later and still not back at work yet. My throat no longer looks like an alien laid eggs around my raw tonsils but everything else is still funky. My right ear, (a.k.a the bad one) has taken to gurgling every time I hear sound, my glands pulse every time I move, and my eyes are making my brain swim when I stare at the computer screen, but I’m in training for returning to work on Monday.
Other than when I’m having dietary issues I get sick around my head, usually the sinuses and ENT so it’s only the second time this year I’ve been so horrifically ill. At Christmas we were visited by plague-ridden guests who made Madre and I ill for two weeks and I lost my sense of smell and taste for six days. True fact, I ate from a jar of Jalapeños as if they were cucumber, nor could I smell the tub of Vicks.
Obviously with these types of sickness, you can’t do the normal things to pass the time like listening to music, watching tv, or playing video games… So I read, after a few days I could stand just to read from normal books. Some Dante, Homer, Mary Wollstonecraft and then my Latin grammar book. I find solace in my nerdy habits.
I’m behind on my dissertation, I’m gutted about the last mark I received but I finished it while battling an ear thing that was the lead up to the tonsillitis; but at least I passed. The dissertation is due in about a month and a half. But of course I signed up to another TEFL course for teaching young children and I have mere days to finish the assignments for that… Naturally, the stress has been piling on me and through lack of being able to do anything without suddenly being whomped by exhaustion or my head spinning, so the darkness/dementors has been moving in – hence distracting myself with Latin and that I’ve barely made a dent in my classics books.
Another recent habit when my ears aren’t acting up is listening to audiobooks and crocheting. I’ve ploughed through The Stand by Stephen King and the Scarlet Bernard books by Melissa F. Olsen and now I have several of the Great Courses lectures downloaded too. Right now listening to the Foundations of Western Civilization by Professor Thomas Noble, so amazing and in only thirty minute lectures I’ve been getting through them quite quickly.
I’m not back to my usual self yet, a lot of other stuff has happened that’s not helping how I’m feeling, but I know I can only take one day at a time, and right now I think it’s time for bed and some of the Iliad.
Meet Dippy the Diplodocus. He’s on tour around the UK having left the Natural History Museum in London for the first time since 1905. His show is on the road until 2020 and is next heading to Newcastle on 18th May, having just wrapped up a several month stint in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
Dippy is a beautiful big beastie who originally roamed the earth 150 million years ago, munching on leaves and hanging out with his dino friends. I can’t help but be reminded of The Land Before Time and Disney’s Dinosaur, so excuse me while I wipe away my tears.
If you are a paleo purist (ancient bones, not the diet) then maybe Dippy wasn’t your thing, he is a replica – plaster cast of the original Dippy in residence in Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History. However, I don’t care, because it’s thanks to Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist, that we over here have a Dippy to look at! Carnegie financed the excavation of Dippy in Wyoming in 1899 and they later discovered it was a new species, thus named the Diplodocus carnegii. As a favour to King Edward VII, Carnegie faithfully reproduced the bones of the original at the cost of $2000 back in 1902 and gifted them to the Natural History museum in London.
Most people know how much Kelvingrove means to me, it’s my hang out place when I can get there; where my interests in art, history and old buildings converges so for that to be the temporary home of Dippy’s Scottish visit, I couldn’t have asked for more. Picture it, me in all my 30 years turning up with my pater and the two of us nerding out worse than the kids swarming around.
Even though the photos show other people as scale, it still doesn’t do justice to how massive Dippy actually is. He towered over the adults, nevermind the kids and weighs in at a hefty 20,000kg (alive, I’m sure).
I had to zoom in to get his wee face, and felt so small and insignificant. Really makes me wonder about people who deny the existence of dinosaurs – we might mostly be top of the food chain these days, but we’re all fairly tiny and annoying.
It was a great day out to visit Dippy and I can only hope that there have been countless children inspired by seeing him. I may have ended up at the merch shop and may have acquired a Dippy soft toy for a small fortune…
Kelvingrove is a free-entry museum and is open nearly all year-round from 10/11-5pm everyday. There are accessible entry points from both the Argyle Street and car park entrance. There are two cafés serving hot and cold drinks and light foods, the basement café serving meals as well. The basement features different installations and the two gift shops sell the permanent and temporary merchandise. There is artwork from Dalí and the Dutch Masters to the exhibits of Ancient Egypt and Scottish Wildlife, so there is definitely something for all to see.
Things got a bit dark; dragons and ineffective coffee – I even stopped playing the Sims.
I couldn’t post on social media (not properly), everything I thought seemed to bland and uninteresting to tell anyone about.
Like I said, darkness and dragons.
But, I’ve slowly regained my spark, crocheting and audiobooks of all things helped serve as a distraction. Mass job applications drained me psychically so I binged on Bones and Lucifer for inspiration. I plotted gifts I could crochet for everyone’s birthdays this year since up until two weeks ago I was very, very broke. (Still skint but not very.)
Now I’m fairly settled into a new job, that while I’m still learning and it’s still new, it’s not as overwhelmingly terrifying as the beginnings of a new job usually is. Mostly because everyone wants to help and wants us all to succeed. Despite the ridiculously early mornings and long days, I’m coping well and not so mentally drained as with other jobs. Trying to be productive on the weekends is something I’m still wrestling with but I’m getting there.
I’ve a couple of days off just now to work on my next assessment, due on Thursday, but after some weeks of avoiding it, I have a pretty good grasp on what needs to be done and have lots of notes and drafts. I do need to start thinking of the bigger picture, i.e. the dissertation which will start to sook up all my free time and thoughts.
I’ve been to events and gone to new restaurants in the last months, so I definitely have plenty to blog about… just sitting down to do it is always the hardest part. However, see the picture above – that’s my new dedicated outdoor writing space in the garden. The weather has turned nice again so I want to make the most of it while I can. I need to write and study but there’s nothing wrong with being out soaking up some vitamins while I’m doing it.
Anyway, it’s past my bedtime but I’ll start writing more posts tomorrow to schedule. I promise not to abandon the blogosphere for so long again!
I didn’t get to post this before the new year started, but what the hell, better late than never.
My first resolution is to read more! There are so many times in the last year where I got too in-my-own-head about the future and things I can’t control which would have been alleviated at least, if I’d picked up a damn book and read something. So, for my goodreads challenge, I’ve set a target of 50 books for this year. I’ve already read 2 books.
My second resolution is to write more! For almost exactly the same reasons that I want to read more for, writing is my passion, writing gets me and I love doing it… except when I don’t because I’m stuck in my head worrying and wondering about what the point is of anything. Bad place to be in… just fucking write! (I’m writing this while struggling and procrastinating my assessment chapter). I have to write more as well to give myself the most practice, for all my assessments and that I’ll have my big 15,000 word dissertation to do over the summer. Plus the whole point is to be a writer, to publish (maybe this year) but I have to get on with it.
My third resolution is to work more on languages, Italian mostly since I’m taking the course from scratch and I want to make the absolute most of it. But I also want to fit in all my other languages, which sounds like a lot, but as mentioned above, all that wasted time worrying and rewatching the same tv shows over and over again is time when I could be improving the things I know I love.
My fourth resolution is to be more me. To do the things I love without feeling like I need to justify them or myself for doing them… or why I don’t do other things. I’m a batman-loving nerd and language geek, and I’m not sorry!