rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
First of all, I accidentally bought the wrong shiny new phone outright, but that's ok, I'm being sent a returns envelope and I'm being refunded, and that's a lesson to double-check the version number before hitting buy.

Then I bought the right shiny new phone on contract from my current mobile SIM provider. I had it delivered to a local store, because it was that or my house, and slogged into town yesterday to collect it.  I was under the impression that the local store staff could sort out moving my number - this isn't a PAC situation because it's same-company to same-company.  But no! They were powerless! If I had come into the store to buy the thing in the first place they could have helped me, but because I bought in online I had to ring up the helpline to sort out my number.

So I did that this morning. But apparently because I have Not Done Things The Expected Way, the only way the person on the phone could resolve things is to have the phone company ship me another phone, and separately ship me a prepaid envelope to send back the other one -the one I have already spent ages setting up, naturally.  The idea that they could just update the records on the database on which they can see the details of both my contracts is just not possible, and there was a definite flavour of them graciously helping me out of my own mistake because it was clearly stated on the website that I had to go into a store to upgrade. 

(I checked this morning, and the relevant page does say "you can upgrade by going into a [brand] store" - in a page that has a bunch of other stuff on it, and in definitely smaller print than the big banners saying "get special deal on our shiny new phones".  Were it me, I'd change it to say "to upgrade, you must go into a store".)

I mean, I think I'm not going to be out any money due to my Not Doing It Properly, just some tedious admin.  But it's annoying and I'm frustrated both by the weddedness to Going Into A Shop, and by the idea it's somehow better to ship two phones back and forth than to update a database.

The phone is very shiny and lovely though, and I'm sure its twin will be just as good.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From last weekend until 8th June is literally the busiest I will be all year: 2 OU courses with exams on 6th and 8th, and a third that just started and will run until September. I knew I was going to be stressed and overloaded and wrung out for about 8 weeks and had basically made my peace with it as the price for getting done this year rather than next.

And now 8th June is a general election, and I have no time to campaign, and have to fight the guilt gremlins that think I should surely be able to carve some time out magically, somehow, and funnily enough being even more stressed does not increase my productivity, or help me sleep.  This has not been the best week!

I've now logged out of Twitter and Facebook on my phone, so I can't take the stress with me everywhere.  I've devoted the weekend to resting and sorting out money (thus removing some other stress).  I'm behind on everything, but Facebook reminded me that I wrote this time last year about being behind on everything. While I'm still perpetually running too close to my limits, those limits have expanded in the last year.  I'm routinely working a 5-day rather than a 4-day week, I'm studying at a higher level, and my fitness has improved a little.

So I'm going to trust that if I take care of myself, I can get through this.  At least by 9th June some of my stressors are guaranteed to be gone.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I realised yesterday that it was the last of Nicholas's swimming lessons for the term and we hadn't been given a re-enrolment form at any point.  On further checking, we've completely missed his re-enrolment window, and the class he was in is completely full now.   These lessons are always oversubscribed, and the idea is that once you're in the system you get priority to stay in and progress up the classes, but that doesn't help if no-one (me) checks when the deadlines are. 

So I think by default I have to make a note to check for enrolment day at the end of next term, in hopes of getting him back into classes in the autumn term.  That seems ages away.  I suppose I can also look at the holiday "crash courses": four or five daily 30 minute lessons on weekday mornings.  Great for learning but a bit of a logistical challenge for us.

Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/677882.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
My last exam for the business degree will be on 11th September.  And then I am FREEEEE.

I am banning myself from making any more time-eating long-term commitments until at LEAST the end of the year.  A friend who has known me for over two decades outright laughed at me when I said this :-P  
rmc28: Charles facepalming eloquently (facepalm)
We are away for the long weekend, and I packed in something of a hurry yesterday, in the last hour before we left. Things I have so far discovered I unintentionally left behind:
  • The key to our accommodation
  • My laptop charger
  • My paperback copy of Watership Down
  • My hairbrush
  • The birthday gift for the party we are going to today
However, unlike a trip away earlier this year, I did remember underwear for both children.

(We sorted out the accommodation thanks to helpful landlord and very helpful family, but there may have been some swearing on the train when I realised. I can get a replacement gift and repurpose the original. I suppose at least I'm grateful to have enough hair again to need a hairbrush, and I can probably get a spare fairly easily.)

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
This is the first time I have done such a thing since I got ill last summer.

I had three days of training (in Cambridge city centre, so pretty convenient) and then two in the office.  I am not actually meeting my criteria for trying to work full-time yet: my study hours are still less than they should be and my Regularly dashboard is still mostly in the red, but I failed to organise taking a day off in good time, and decided to treat it as a learning experience.

I learned that it was survivable but pretty exhausting. I must make sure I book a day off next week.  I also decided to drop T'ai Chi for the rest of the term as I have made it to half the classes so far, but too often by Friday lunchtime I am just too tired, and it's one less thing to worry about.

I have at least been keeping up my daily Duolingo habit much better in the last two weeks.  I decided to add Swedish, because while a Finnish course does not (yet?) exist on Duolingo, Swedish is an official language in Finland, so I will at least know something when we go there next year.  I also discovered a Welsh course has been added sometime in the last few months so I failed to resist adding that too.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
We just got back from a week in Llandudno, in this rather nice pair of holiday apartments, with my mum, stepdad and my younger two brothers.  It was spacious and nicely presented, a short walk from the station and almost next door to a well-equipped play area.  I know the area fairly well from many childhood visits to my grandmother, who lived in Rhos-on-Sea, and I'm enjoying introducing my own children in turn.

We originally planned and booked this holiday last July, when we were all at my mother's home for a long weekend, and not even the earliest signs of my cancer had appeared.  I've been looking forward to it ever since it became likely I would be well enough to still go.  It was a little experimental: we've not done a holiday in this mode with extended family before, and there was a bunch of admin and planning beforehand to make sure things went fairly smoothly, but I think it paid off well.  An adult:child ratio of 3:1 definitely made things easier!

Highlights for me were:
  • a trip on the Ffestiniog railway to Porthmadog, where we spent a few hours with my aunt and her partner, who'd driven over from Machynlleth
  • seeing Bill Bailey at Venue Cymru
  • spending several afternoons in bed resting/sleeping, knowing there were lots of other adults to play with the children, and feeling so much better as a result
  • discovering a little model railway on the West Shore
There were a whole load of other things I would have liked to do were I fully fit, but I am working on accepting my current limits and it was really very easy to rest and relax and sit around talking with my family and all that good stuff.

One less fun thing that happened was that Charles got temporarily lost while I was on the way to the seafront with him and Nicholas one day, but he did exactly the right thing once he realised he'd got separated from us.  He went up to the sales desk in a large shop and asked to use their phone, gave them my mobile number (which he memorised some years ago), and got through to me to tell me where he was.  The shop turned out to be signed up to a lost-child protocol for the whole town, which meant shortly after I arrived at the shop, so did the local police.  They noted our details and gave me some very polite but firm advice about keeping my children close in a busy tourist town, and agreed with me that Charles had been very sensible.  I was moderately embarrassed on my own account, but very proud of Charles and made sure he knew it.

The other less fun thing was that I had an OU exam in Cambridge on Friday morning.  I came home alone on Thursday evening to get a good night's sleep, and went straight from the exam to the railway station.  I left Cambridge yesterday lunchtime in grey gloom, and arrived back in Llandudno in glorious sunshine just in time for dinner.  Nico and Tony met me halfway back to the house - I heard a small voice shouting "Mummy! Mummy!" and was then obliged to carry an armful of excited three-year-old all the way back while he told me in detail and at volume all about his day.

(I also ended up getting into a really interesting and pleasant conversation with the person sitting opposite on the train from Chester to Llandudno; I love it when that happens, and the journey flew by.)

I'm quite tired now, after the third long train journey in as many days, but hopefully I'll be fine again after a good night's sleep.

rmc28: (glowy)
  1. Discovering my netbook, which has been a bit ropey for a while, is now literally falling apart and intermittently failing.
  2. Shopping for a new netbook.
  3. Going to an actual shop to get a new netbook:
    • advantage - got it today
    • disadvantage - had to deal with multiple salespeople (all men) who patronised me and tried to upsell me on lots of extras I don't want.  This is why I like shopping online.
    • call me naive but if I reserve a computer online to collect from your Collection Point, I kind of expect it to be there, not to have to wander around the store being handed off between salespeople and patronised etc for a good 15 minutes before getting the computer I wanted.
  4. Setting up Windows 10, creating a backup drive, and installing Ubuntu
  5. Restoring all my files from backup onto Ubuntu
  6. Getting things back the way I like them
(Currently still on step 4)
Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/632721.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
That Open University assignment I took two half-days off to finish so as to avoid an all-nighter?  I ended up needing both the time off and most of a night.  I got 2 hours sleep and was surprisingly functional on the next day, but it was pretty horrible.  Luckily this came just before a 4-day weekend, but it's been an instructive example of what happens when I try to "just push through" being tired all the time.  It is remarkably like what happens if I try to keep typing through an RSI flare-up without any mitigation: short-term goals can be achieved, but only at the expense of a much longer recovery period.

I am just now beginning to get over that nearly-all-nighter, after a lot more time in bed over the last two weeks than I'd like.  Fatigue is cumulative, and I was pushing up against my limits even before the essay crisis.  So, I'm pacing myself very carefully, and I'm ignoring everything that doesn't have to be done now and doesn't have to be done by me.  I've booked another tranche of 4-day weeks at work (I'm definitely sure now that 3x full + 2x half is the right pattern for that) and am just hoping I can recover enough to think about working full time before my leave runs out.

Things I haven't the time to write about:
  • I saw Captain America: Civil War and on the whole liked it.  Not as much as Winter Soldier, but a lot more than Avengers: Age of Ultron.
  • Our weekend routine is now pretty settled, with activities for both children over both days.
  • My mother and stepfather came for a visit :-)
  • We took Charles to his first theatre production that wasn't aimed at children (A Winters Tale at the ADC, by the ADC) and we will probably take him to some of this summer's Cambridge Shakespeare Festival as a result.
  • This article about how it's not possible to see/read/listen to all the good things, and different approaches to coping with that.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Things I have achieved in the last few days:
  • Helsinki 2017 memberships for the family (and continued associated nerdery about travel plans)
  • caught up accounts / paid bills
  • Maggie's Wallace visit and course bookings
  • supermarket delivery on Tuesday to cover this week and not-Christmas meal with mum and stepdad
  • contacted favourite plumber re collection of little jobs that need doing
  • researched patio awnings / canopies
  • opportunistically signed up next-door's window cleaner (OMG we can SEE through the windows)
  • thoroughly culled worn-out, ill-fitting, or not-quite-my-taste clothes (4 bags for charity shop, 3 for textile recycling)
  • ordered experimental new pillows
Things I have not achieved in the last few days:
  • any OU study at all, argh
  • wrapping presents
  • writing/sending Christmas cards

(Yes, after a rough few days at the start of the chemo cycle, I am feeling pleasantly more energetic, please please let this last.)
rmc28: (smile)
Continuing my recent habit of buying/supporting more short fiction than I can read, this lovely Kickstarter for Uncanny Magazine Year 2 drew me in with an amazing list of authors/artists. I'm boosting in case it also appeals to you (and to increase the chances of getting the stretch goals).
Creator list under cut )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
In the last day and a half I've gone from it being incredibly painful to swallow water, to being able to eat solids with only mild discomfort.  Yay penicillin!    And cheap manufacture of generic painkillers, and a doctor who says "can you take ibuprofen? and paracetamol? and codeine?  Good, take all of them."

I'm assuming that pre-penicillin (and in the awful future of antibiotic-resistant bacteria), I would basically hope to keep getting enough fluids in to survive while my immune system eventually got around to dealing with the bugs?

Between the penicillin, the painkillers and the baseline level of supplements and antihistamines I already take, I'm taking over 20 pills a day, and I had to write out a schedule today because I was losing the ability to track what should go in when.  Not sure whether to blame the drugs, the other drugs, or the battle for supremacy in my throat, but I'm quite spaced out and falling asleep at no notice.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I had three piles of paper on my desk, things accumulating mostly for me to Do Something with or file.   These piles were approximately 30cm, 20cm and 10cm deep.  Somewhere in these piles I knew there was a piece of paper I needed to find in order to complete my tax return.  I'd already cost myself £100 by not finding the piece of paper before 31st January, and I was rapidly approaching the point where it was going to cost me £10 a day not to find it.

A while ago I read [livejournal.com profile] siderea 's post about filing, and realised her system was not far from what I was trying to do, and that getting things filed was the most useful thing I could do, and so I starting doing short bursts of filing the stacks, nibbles at the elephant, and managed to get rid of the smallest pile, quite a lot of which was no longer relevant and could be filed in the recycling bin.  But then I kept finding more interesting things to do than nibbling the paperwork elephant, and so progress stalled.

On Saturday afternoon I made myself start tidying up the filing again.  And for whatever reason, I found myself getting into the flow of it, and going back to it after interruptions for food and child-bedtimes, and just Not Stopping.   At about 2am, most of the way down the last and biggest stack of paper, I found the vital piece of paper.  And because it was already very late for me, and my sleep was already messed up, I decided to put it on one side and finish the filing job.  And then I was still awake when that was done so I finished and submitted the tax return.  Then I went to bed, leaving one full filing cabinet, one much-emptier desk, and one giant drift of paper on the floor destined for the recycling.

The oldest bits of paper in the piles were from August 2012, i.e. one month after Nico was born.  So that's how long I've not been keeping up with the paperwork (there were odd runs where I had clearly kept-current for a few months but not caught up the backlog.)  It is such a weight off my mind to not have the teetering piles of doom looking at me any more.   The desk is by no means empty or even tidy, but what's left is things like photo albums and bundles of letters from my grandmothers and Charles's schoolwork from two years ago and so on, not financial paperwork.

It worked, but I can't say I recommend the binge-eating approach.  I was exhausted all of Sunday, got very little done and only got dressed because [livejournal.com profile] nassus was arriving.   Today when another Thing arrived in the post, I made a point of reading it and then filing it straight into the relevant folder in the filing cabinet, not onto the newly-clear space on the desk.  Long may this last.


2015-03-01 15:25
rmc28: (glowy)
I have registered for OU study again after stopping for a year.  I'm going to be doing B292: Management Accounting from next month until September.  If it goes well, in October I will retake the business studies module I deferred last year.

It is going to be hard to fit the study time in around work and children and running, but I think I'm convinced it will be possible.  The children are that bit more self-sufficient, and I am that bit less tired, and I really want to do it.

In the meantime, it's about 18 months since I finished studying Financial Accounting and I'm going to spend a bit of time in the next couple of weeks reviewing that course and reminding myself of the basic concepts.
rmc28: (wedding)
... and supervising nap time.

It's the first wedding I've been to with the new wording, about how in this country, marriage is "a union between two people". I was already feeling emotional but teared up at that. (And then they did the reading from Captain Corelli's Mandolin about roots growing together and I just gave in and cried.) 

I forgot to pack my smart shoes so given a choice between my (bright yellow) trainers or bare feet I'm going barefoot indoors and soaked a pair of socks for the mandatory family photos outdoors. (I remembered spare socks, of course).

Nico decided to read "Room on the Broom" aloud during the ceremony and Charles couldn't sit still and had a small meltdown about taking photos (lesson identified: more effort by us required in walking through formal events in advance). So I'm a bit embarrassed all round, oh well.

Bride and groom are beautiful and look very happy, and it's lovely to see the family and especially my niblings.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I've had two of my ten evening classes on this course at Cambridge Regional College, and so far I'm enjoying it.  I'm very grateful to the friend who pointed me at it and is also on the course.

Week 1: lots of talking, mostly about How To Avoid Injuring Yourself Doing DIY - ladders and electrical safety and so on.  Then we finally got to hands on stuff, and did some simple wood sawing and began preparing baby's first wood joint.

Week 2: continuing baby's first wood joint, and adding chiselling to sawing in our range of skills.

The class is quite small, about 10-12 students.  About half of them are women, and I'd guess the age range at about 20-60.  The setting is a workshop with all the tools, equipment etc that we need, so it's a good place to practice with tools I don't have at home.  I did have some difficulty with the chiselling which I was relieved to find were likely down to the chisel not being sharp enough, and physically shown the indications to look for.

Week 3 is apparently going to be hanging doors and I have got ridiculously excited because I basically hate all the internal doors in my house.  They are that nasty hollow fake-panelling which seems to have been designed to create the maximum number of surfaces and grooves to catch dust.  So I find myself browsing DIY store websites for doors and door handles, and may have to drag Tony around the local ones to choose a couple of doors for me to start with (probably to replace doors we mostly keep open anyway, in case I cock it up - I'll save the bedrooms and bathrooms until I'm a bit more confident).

In later weeks we do some glazing, some tiling, some very  basic plumbing, some making holes in things (and patching holes we didn't mean to make), and some bricklaying.  Right now I'm full of New Enthusiasm Energy and thinking of practical applications around the house once I've had a chance to try stuff out in class.   I suspect the projects I'll feel able to tackle after it's over will keep me busy for rather more than ten weeks.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
The rest of yesterday went pleasantly: the children seemed to mostly like their presents, with a few real successes and nothing really disliked.  I had failed to track just how many clothes I'd bought for each child though, and there are drifts of new clothes in the living room which need sorting out.

The adults had a few gifts each which meant we didn't feel left out, food was tasty and plentiful and everybody ate to repletion.  We had lots of fun opening crackers together, and then started an impromptu Wallace & Gromit marathon, and I had a burst of getting-things-tidied doing-laundry changing-sheets while that was happening.

[it's not that housework is especially fun, but it always needs to be done, and doing it essentially on my own schedule rather than under external time pressure can be its own kind of relaxing]

Unfortunately, from about midnight until 4am either one child or the other kept me awake, which means I am less than cheery this morning.  Better now I have breakfasted.  The most annoying point was a fat-finger moment while reading while cuddling Nico.  Instead of deleting an individual ebook I'd finished, I managed to delete all the ebooks on my phone.  Most of them are backed up to Calibre on the family computer, but not the 200+ yuletide fics I downloaded to the phone yesterday.

So tasks for today (in no particular order):
- redownload yuletide fics, this time to Calibre, and then reload phone with 1400+ ebooks
- go for a run and have a nap afterward to catch up on sleep
- get the children to help me put their new clothes away, and almost certainly cull some of the existing ones

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Poll #16126 Reading guilt
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 27

I feel guilty about not finishing a book I

View Answers

12 (46.2%)

borrowed from a friend
12 (46.2%)

borrowed from the library
7 (26.9%)

started reading on recommendation from a friend
15 (57.7%)

started reading on recommendation from a more formal review (whether by friend or not)
5 (19.2%)

was given to review
11 (42.3%)

was assigned for study
10 (38.5%)

5 (19.2%)

I feel no guilt
8 (30.8%)

I feel guilty about not even starting to read a book I

View Answers

was lent by a friend
16 (61.5%)

was lent by a friend who wants it back soon
19 (73.1%)

borrowed from the library
4 (15.4%)

borrowed from the library and renewed once
5 (19.2%)

borrowed from the library and renewed the maximum number of times allowed
12 (46.2%)

8 (30.8%)

bought more than a month ago
3 (11.5%)

bought more than three months ago
2 (7.7%)

bought more than six months ago
2 (7.7%)

bought more than a year ago
6 (23.1%)

bought more than five years ago
6 (23.1%)

bought more than ten years ago
6 (23.1%)

7 (26.9%)

I feel no guilt
5 (19.2%)

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
What I should have been reading over the last few weeks:
  • Library books due back this week that I've already renewed the max number of times
  • Canon for yuletide assignments
  • Leaflets on sensory processing
  • Books on autism (to be fair, this group is more like "the last few months")
What I have been reading over the last few weeks:
  • Fanfic
  • Assorted romances, mostly from reviews at Smart Bitches Trashy Books (still calibrating my taste against that of the reviewers there but only one Did Not Finish, so not bad so far)

I did take myself to the doctor this week with the sense that actually this isn't my usual "busy life, children, etc" tiredness but has been getting gradually worse recently and is now substantially affecting my ability to get much done.  In particular I haven't run regularly in months now and I miss it.  He did refer me for some blood tests for the most obvious causes but opined that "it probably isn't anything simple, you've got too much to juggle, you should try to get more rest and rebuild your level of physical exercise".

I was nice. I didn't say "yes, that's what I've been trying to tell you" or "thank you genius", I just agreed that these were important goals and I'd get right on them and we'd review again in a month or so.

(I did then take this as guidance to go home for the rest of the day and I did get an extra 3 hours of sleep as a result, which did make me feel a lot better.  So that was good, but I can't do that regularly without radical changes to my work and lifestyle, and thus the family.  Which, argh, if I knew what to change to make things better, I would, but I don't want to make serious changes without a bit more to go on.)

I did have a bunch of things I was going to do this weekend.  I'm shelving them in favour of
a) sorting out replacing my fitbit; it mysteriously stopped working a few weeks ago but before then it was giving me some useful sleep data
b) returning my library books
c) doing a gentle run
d) napping

Never let it be said I ignore medical advice.
rmc28: (OMG)
I found an unpaid invoice for repair to our bakfiets, which has been lurking in my too-full-to-cope-with inbox.  It's now paid ... SIX MONTHS late.

At least it is now paid.  And I paid the plumber just now, the same week they invoiced, so that's much better.
rmc28: (destructive)
I've spent most of the last week doing the sort of thing that, if it were being done by one of my colleagues, would have me telling them fairly bluntly to Stop And Go Home.  That is:
  • coming back from sick leave too soon
  • dragging round the office looking and feeling awful
  • getting stuff done but not really enough/good enough to justify being in the office rather than at home
  • coughing, omg the coughing, I am driving myself mad with the coughing never mind the rest of the office
I conclude that not only is my ability to function impaired, that includes my ability to judge my ability to function.  Today I kept just-one-more-thinging myself from lunchtime to hometime when I should have been going home already.

The Lesson Identified from copious empirical experience is if I feel borderline, stay home. Yes, even if there is important stuff to do.  Yes, even that. Stay Home.

Maybe one day it will become a Lesson Learned.

rmc28: Rachel, in running tshirt and leggings, holding phone and smiling into mirror (runner5)
Finished my first half-marathon. Forgot to stop tracking when I finished but it was about 3 hours. I had the dubious distinction of being the last one in.

I feel utterly shattered and utterly amazing.
rmc28: (wonderfrown)
On Monday I finally took the step of deferring my current study module with the Open University.    I'm simply not managing to get the necessary study hours in, and faced with another approaching deadline, I could see only another horribly stressful ten days for the whole family (like the last essay crisis), resulting in another probably-mediocre mark.  I decided the trade wasn't worth it.

By formally deferring I get a fee credit against a re-enrolment on the same module in the next two years (in practice, either Oct 2014 or Oct 2015).  I need to study something in each academic year to stay on transitional fees until 2017, but apparently this deferred module counts for the current academic year, so I have a breathing space.

The qualification I'm on formally expires at the end of 2017, and not all the modules I have studied may be eligible for its replacement.  So although I have made things easier for myself now, I will need to study much harder later, or spend rather more money.  Or both.   Or change my goals.

My plan is to work on incremental improvements to my / the family weekly routines over the next few months, and make an assessment at the end of June as to whether I can realistically sign up to studying again or not.    I'm feeling a mixture of really relieved I don't have any more deadlines for a whiile, and really gutted.  During 2013 I cut back on a lot of things in order to keep studying and now I've stopped studying too.  

I think the fact it's taken me from Monday to today just to have time to write about this indicates some of the problem.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I managed to submit the latest OU assignment at 1am today, a whole 11 hours ahead of the deadline, and am feeling only mildly sleep-deprived.  It's still eaten all my spare time for the last ten days, with associated stress on everyone.   It was still an improvement (in both time management and output) on the previous assignment, so hopefully I can continue improving in block 3, which starts on Saturday.  Tony has been immensely supportive, but I think we would both prefer I didn't inflict essay crises on the family every 5-6 weeks. 

Amusingly, a chunk of work in the assignment was on the concept of continuous incremental improvement.  The point has been taken.

Anyway, I skipped my run yesterday to finish the assignment.  Today I took the time to find and pack up my running kit for work, but managed to leave it behind.  There isn't time to go get it AND run at lunchtime, and that was my last chance if I wanted to run 3 times this week.  Bah.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Next one is in June next year.  Next one I will actually have done a reasonable amount of study each week, and more than a half-assed go at revision, and will have a stronger grasp of the material (rather than writing "it's the one with the snail" about a certain case).

My hand is really not happy about writing near-continuously for 3 hours.  Handwriting was noticeably worse at the end.

Time to take a look at the next module (it formally started last Saturday).

rmc28: (BRAINS)
My Financial Accounting exam is a week tomorrow; it's 14 years since the last time I took an exam.

I am not (yet) panicking.  Nor am I doing enough studying / revision.

I won't fail, but if I don't get a bit more urgency into the exam preparation I have no hope of matching my marks on the continuous assessment portion.  My memory is much worse than it was in 1999 & I suspect my handwriting is too.
rmc28: (bat-funny)
 So my current study unit is on business ethics, and just covered a six-point conceptual framework for working through ethical dilemmas. My brain is trying to turn it into a fanfic. The Stark Industries accountant recording weapons sales to the Ten Rings, for example.

If I can get ahead of my study schedule I can totally justify writing this as revision, right?
rmc28: (reading)
By my log, I have spent >17 hours on the OU assignment since Sunday morning. I am short of sleep and short-tempered but it is done and submitted now. I really regret not doing more earlier, especially when we were on holiday.

My exam for this module (B291 Financial Accounting) is 7 weeks tomorrow. I think I might start a little countdown with post-its by my bed to help me stay focused between now and then. The textbooks for the next module (B203 Business Studies in Context) have already arrived, but I'm cordially ignoring them until After The Exam - there's over two weeks between the exam and the due date for the first assignment in B203.

Late last night I was really cheered to get a lovely positive comment on my Rare Pair story from its recipient, only about an hour or so after notifications went out. I saved my own gift story for this evening, after submitting, and it made a really pleasant reward.

Drawing A Slow Circle (1815 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Dragonriders of Pern - Anne McCaffrey
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Mirrim/T'gellan
Characters: Mirrim, T'gellan, F'nor, Brekke
Additional Tags: Friendship, Unresolved Sexual Tension

Mirrim knows entirely too much about what's going on in the weyr; and nothing about what's going on in T'gellan's mind.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Oh yeah, what we're getting in today's messed about delivery: the most energy-efficient tumble-dryer I could find - a Bosch with a heat pump.  I feel a bit guilty about the extra energy use, but we have been finding it really hard to hang up the bedding to dry inside, especially last winter, which means we don't wash our bedding anywhere near as much as we'd like.  (Guest bedding is of course always fresh!)

The dryer is a condensing one that doesn't need a vent fitted anywhere, and it's going to live in the garage as a mild deterrent to using it routinely.  But on suspicion we might start using it routinely anyway, I decided to get the most efficient I could, even if it was more expensive.

(This is the last bit of cat-related admin, as the money came from the self-insurance pot of savings for covering vet fees, which we no longer need.  I cancelled the monthly payment into that pot last week.  I am still finding it strange not to be tripped up on the corridor, and not having to shut the kitchen to defend against intrusion.)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I've just uploaded my RarePairFest story, a whole two days early.  This is to give me more time to finish the next OU assignment, due in next Tuesday.  I have in-laws visiting on Friday-Saturday, and I haven't done all the reading yet.

What could possibly go wrong?
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
On Thursday I have my last in an epic series of dental appointments, which have basically consisted of her fixing All The Things and working with my general fear of things hurting or making me sick to get the job done, rather than making me feel stupid about them.  Some of the jobs have clearly been difficult and shes done them all carefully, kept me informed about what she's doing, and I want to give a small token of appreciation before I say goodbye until my six-month checkup.

I'm assuming box of chocolates is a bad move.  Wine? Gift voucher?

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Kate suggested the hole might be the rotten remains of a tree stump that had been turfed over. As it happens, my ex-housemate Keith did indeed hack away at a tree stump until it was below-ground and then turfed it over, nearly 8 years ago.

I did a bit of digging this evening and the sinking bit is really only approx 0.5m x 0.5m and looks like rich soil. I chucked half a recycling box of spare soil from the messy end of the garden and stamped it down and it started to feel more solid so that's looking hopeful.

I picked up the Eglu Go last week, and after chatting to the nice woman at Cambridge Poultry, I also ordered a 1m extension to the run. Tony & I assembled the henhouse part and the first bit of the run together that evening. It was fairly straightforward as flatpack goes and we were still talking when it was finished, which is a good sign. (Flatpack assembly is one of those things where we usually don't play well together, because we have very different approaches.) The extension arrived on Thursday but we had family commitments from then until today.

I got an email over the weekend that the hens were ready to collect, so this evening I stopped playing with soil as soon as possible and excitedly finished the run off. Straightforward but a bit tricky alone and I am very tired of bending the little plastic clips together. Then I ran into a bit of a problem: the very last piece of the run is missing. And yes, if I had checked all the pieces before we started last Tuesday I'd have known then, and it would have been sorted out by now. Normally I do an inventory check first; perhaps I shall blame getting carried away with Tony's enthusiasm last week.

So I now have a lovely hen house and run with a great big gap easily big enough for a fox. Jonny has seen a fox a couple of times in the garden, so the hens are staying on the farm for now.

I have been considering names for the hens, mostly dignified women's names that are not completely out of fashion. I am trying not to name them after any particularly close friends or family members, or anything too "funny". My plan is to have half a dozen names in mind and then match them to the hens as we get to know them. Charles thinks we should call one of them Toothless, which would at least be accurate, unlike his other suggestion, Spot.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

October 2017

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