rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I took my exam this afternoon, and unless I completely failed to understand the requirements, I should have passed comfortably.  So now it's all over bar the marking and formal graduation. 

Apart from the specific course content, I have learned:
  • I love to learn new things when I actually sit down and do so
  • I default to deadline-driven when it comes to other people's deadlines
  • but I can manage to do 'a little bit most days' and I'm happier when I manage that
  • blocking out specific times to get a little bit done most days works a bit more than 50% of the time
  • given the choice between producing 'good-enough' and 'truly excellent' work with 25% more effort ... I will do good-enough work and spend the 25% extra on something else
I have ceremonially deleted my recurring daily 'study' reminder.

Now for all the things I have been neglecting for the last few years, especially this last year ...
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
  • Emergency shopping for bread (for C's lunch), beguiled by Nico counting to 100 in 10s, 5s and 2s.
  • School run
  • Cast my vote at my local polling station
  • Last minute-revision
  • Cab to exam, to be kind to myself
  • Exam
  • Cast proxy vote 1 very near exam (with bonus meeting with [personal profile] dearheart & family!)
  • Cast proxy vote 2 on way home
J has offered to babysit so I could go to the pub this evening ... except I really don't think I'm up to it. Bah. Instead I think I will have a quiet wibble in a corner once the children are asleep, and then try to sleep before any exit polls are out.

I don't expect anything but disappointment from the election results, but I have work tomorrow, and a date in the evening with [personal profile] fanf to see Wonder Woman, and on Saturday I am Self-Indulgently Going To The Theatre In London with [personal profile] ses and [personal profile] wildeabandon .  And on Sunday I need to get back to my last remaining OU course ...


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)
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: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
  • I still have a cough.  I've progressed to the point where I am no longer stupid ill with it, I just ... cough a lot.  I'm not getting enough sleep as a result, but I'm definitely getting better.  Just slowly.
  • I went for my quarterly bone marrow sample on Wednesday; it was probably the least-unpleasant experience yet.  I got the doctor who is particularly skilled at taking them.  I'm pretty certain if there was anything to worry about I'd have had a phone call by now, so I am not worrying.
  • The children had half-term off school, and we sent them to holiday club for 3 days and took 2 days as family holiday to Sheffield where the newest and tiniest cousin is.  As usual, the highlights of Sheffield for the children were, in order: a) trams b) Ponds Forge swimming pool c) their family (especially tiny cousins).
  • I took the children swimming twice in Sheffield.  Charles's birthday party earlier in the month was the first time I've been swimming since getting ill, and I had almost forgotten how much I like it.  Taking them to Ponds Forge is more walking-around-in-water than swimming, especially as I was solely responsible for non-swimmer Nico, but it was fun anyway. 
  • Between cough and holiday and sleep deprivation I am behind on everything and have an assignment deadline on Thursday.  Essay crisis ahoy!
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I was expecting results for the last set of OU modules I took to come in at the end of next week but two modules came back this evening.  And I am very pleased.  (The rest is behind a cut for boasting.)
Read more... )


rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf)
Twenty years ago, I arrived in Cambridge with a carload of belongings to begin my (first) university degree.  I remember that partway down the M4 Mum & I realised that although we'd carefully put the bike rack on the car, we'd failed to also add my bike, which languished in Wiltshire for at least another year.[1]   I also managed to leave behind the welcome leaflet from the College with helpful driving directions, so we navigated through Cambridge on my optimism and hazy memory of walking around the place on two previous visits.  In retrospect I'm quite impressed Mum didn't drown me in the Cam.

Ten years ago I gave birth to Charles in the Rosie Maternity Hospital at Addenbrookes', by unplanned c-section after a day and a night in labour.

Today, shortly after 6am, Charles informed me he was ready for school and could he start opening his presents now?


[1] I ended up spending £65 with Chris the bike man on a 3-speed sit-up-and-beg bike with a good basket which I used for at least a year.  I can't remember what I did with it when I finally retrieved my own bike from home - my guess is I sold it back to Chris the bike man?


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
  • Go away the weekend before the exam.
  • Have your train journey in both directions disrupted by cancellations and delays, so that instead of a smooth progression between sets of reserved seats at a table, both journeys are longer and punctuated with stressful searches for enough seats for your small group. 
  • Exhaust yourself talking with people at a party.  (Lovely people! Worth being tired for!)
  • Do approximately 25% of the revision you planned to do on the train.
  • Get woken multiple times the night before the exam by a small child, and then both of you oversleep.
  • Ruthlessly hand over the morning nursery run to the child's other parent and cycle off just in time to take it at a non-sweaty pace rather than a frantically-late one.

The cycle ride was pleasant though! The exam itself went well enough: I don't seem to find exams very stressful compared to twenty years ago, so it was just a matter of reading through the questions and deciding (where I had a choice) which ones to answer.  I would undoubtedly have done better if I had revised my management and economics units a bit harder, but I don't think I've embarrassed myself. 

I spent some time last week (when perhaps I should have been revising ...) working out my schedule for the next year, starting now.  I have one last assignment to do this week and this weekend I plan to make a start on the work for my October-starting courses.  My last exam is no more than a year away.  April & May will be a bit grim due to overlapping courses but June-September should be alright.  (Good, because we're going to Helsinki in the middle of it.)

Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/651551.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
0.5 days of the new school year, before Charles was sent home with a stomach bug.
36 more hours before he can go back (fingers-crossed he seems to be over it now).
12 hours today before my own stomach settled enough to eat something resembling a meal.
1 OU assignment submitted, 6 days before the deadline.
5.5 days to go until the exam in the other module.
1 day before the websites for the next two modules open. 
14 days before Nico also starts school.



rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Things achieved today:
  • evicting half a dozen wasps from the living room
  • soothing child terrified (but unstung) by wasps
  • getting [livejournal.com profile] fanf to locate wasp nest
  • booking wasp extermination for tomorrow
  • taking child to gymnastics, with bonus social time for me
  • booking child's birthday party sufficiently in advance to get desired date (unlike last year)
  • 4.5 hours of OU study

Things not achieved today:
  • attending OU tutorial
  • eating any vegetables at all

Things to do in the next nine days:
  • complete and submit final assessment for intro-to-engineering module
  • revise for and take exam for management accounting module
  • take N for visit 1 of 2 to school & after-school club
  • visit my mum and stepdad before their epic trip around the world (we will next see each other in Helsinki next year)

Also, [livejournal.com profile] fanf wrote about his rather-too-exciting trip to the supermarket last weekend, with bonus beard photos.



rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
(Because I know I'm not meeting any of my goals any time soon, but if I take the time to look up the earliest possible date I could, it stops my brain running in circles and me obsessively checking the fitbit history.)
numbers )

I am reaching feeling-overstretched again, and I really need to buckle down and be a study-hermit. (Exam in 13 days, EMA for a different course due in the same day, new course books arriving any minute for the officially-starting-1st-October courses.) I've had three migraines in 16 days, and it's a mixture of overdoing things, struggling in the summer heat, and the perennial favourite of Not Getting Enough Sleep.

The fitbit number I am paying most attention to at the moment is the hours of sleep. It's still too low.



Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/650312.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
These probably all deserve their own post, but it's highly unlikely they're going to get them.
  1. I loved the new Ghostbusters, which we finally saw last night. It is made of joy and friendship, and I was highly amused by the villain's motivation and the response to his monologue of justification. Chris Hemsworth was clearly having the time of his life.
  2. I am enjoying being sociable and enabling the children's social life so much that I have slightly overscheduled myself and had to ask Tony to take over something for me this afternoon so I can remember the pacing myself part of recovery.
  3. In October I am going to get very busy indeed with studying (it eases up in June next year) and expect to have essentially no spare time outside work, study, and family commitments.  I am currently in the glorious summer break between being a hermit for cancer & recovery reasons and being a hermit for study reasons.  (Some of the children's social life comes with social life for me, and I am declaring date night with Tony and a monthly pub visit as also essential family commitments.  So not a complete hermit, but a lot more hermit-y than the last couple of months.)
  4. I lost patience with trying to work out how to upgrade my cheap spare phone from Jelly Bean for purposes of enabling C's desire to play Pokemon Go, so I have an even cheaper PAYG smartphone preinstalled with Marshmallow arriving today.  I don't think I need two spare phones, so if anyone is more keen on navigating the thrilling world of rooting phones than I am (or just could use a phone and are willing to use an older android version) then let me know and you can have the older one for cost of postage. (Old phone now claimed.)
  5. My dad came for a short visit and I managed to schedule him most of a day each with each of his grandchildren, and they all seem to have enjoyed the experience. 
  6. Adventures in smoothie consumption continue: I have discovered that I do actually prefer yogurt + milk with my veggies, rather to my surprise. I have built up a little collection of frozen veg and fruit in the freezer to make prep easier / avoid wasting fresh veg that goes off before I eat it.  The little blender does struggle if more than half the content is frozen, so I've taken to making up a bottle of ingredients in advance and leaving it in the fridge to defrost overnight.
  7. I've managed to get my fitbit goal up to 7,900 steps; we walked both ways to the cinema yesterday (with a stop at Mee and I for dinner on the way out) as well as me taking children around earlier, so I hit double that.  My legs are letting me know this morning that they are Not Impressed.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I just got the result for my OU business studies module - this is the one I deferred two years ago because toddlers are demanding, rebooked last summer, and decided to continue with anyway last autumn to give me something to focus on other than cancer and chemo.

Distinction.

I did not expect that.  I expected to get a solidly good result but I didn't think I'd been working well enough to get a Distinction.  That has absolutely made my day.  Go me.



Bird of the day: Grey Wagtail



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: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
The ongoing return to work
Two more 4-day weeks at work have gone quite well - this is the Tue+Thu afternoons off model.  I have got quite a lot done, some of it urgent and important, without getting especially stressed.  I'm not as fast or as good as I'm "used" to being [as in, pre-cancer], but I'm being good enough, I think.   I have another two 4-day weeks booked, next week with Friday off, and the following week with Monday off.  This will let me find out which pattern is easier. 

I expect I will book another run of 4-day weeks after that though.  I'm still spending large chunks of my weekend days in bed, and rather more of my weekday evenings falling asleep early or sleepily hitting refresh on things without getting either OU study or Duolingo done, or even much reading.  I am really fed up of slow-motion OU essay crises, but I'm in the middle of another one, basically because I was too tired to study for too much of the last fortnight month.  Also, I use the app Regularly to track various self-care and housework tasks (which all need doing at some point - we're not talking make-work here) and I'm in the red on an awful lot there. 

So I'm regarding that as great honking warning signs that I'm running too close to my limits.  I plan to keep on doing 4-day weeks until I get my study hours back where they should be, and my Regularly dashboard back to mostly yellow and green.  I have enough leave left, together with things already booked, to do this until September, so I may as well take advantage.


Physical fitness
I had my second session of beginner's T'ai Chi today, and I'm really enjoying it.  It feels very gentle but focused; I've learned I can do it in a comfortable tunic and leggings, which is what I wear a lot of the time at the moment, and it's gentle enough I don't need to change.

I'm managing the cycling to work via nursery, and walking home via school okay at the moment.  I still get out of breath but no longer as boiling hot; I think I'm gradually getting faster, and it's becoming more routine.  On Monday I cycled to the hospital and back from work for an appointment, and on Wednesday from nursery to Hills Road and back on top of everything else, and wasn't completely flattened as a result.  Even so, like work, I think I'm doing enough right now, and shouldn't look to add anything else until study/Regularly tasks are under control.


Medical
Monday's test was a bone marrow sample.  It was moderately painful and I needed longer to recover before I felt able to go back to work than I would have predicted.  On the good side, they told me they got a good sample without apparently having to work too hard for it, unlike certain of the previous samples I've had taken.  I see the consultant on 10th May (it got moved back, I think because my test was later than originally planned) and as far as I know I won't hear anything before then.  All the external evidence is reassuring though.


... and this has taken me long enough to write and I need to do another chapter of study before I fall asleep.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Last week: 1 Bank Holiday, 1 intended half day that I took off because of migraine, 2 half days and then a full day to finish the week.
This week: 2 half days and 3 full days.  This is the first week I have actually worked 3 full days since returning to work, and it was more bearable than I'd feared.  I could track the cumulative toll by the effect on my after-work achievements:

Monday: made supper, did my Duolingo, did lots of studying
Tuesday: made supper, did my Duolingo, did some studying
Wednesday: made supper, did my Duolingo
Thursday: made supper, wrote a blog post in bed

Today was the second half day, and I spent the afternoon resting in bed, with a pleasant interlude catching up with my mother on our ~weekly phone call, before doing the evening nursery run.  I then made supper but have returned to bed shortly afterward. I may yet manage my Duolingo. Tomorrow is busy, with multiple things for the children, and a date with [livejournal.com profile] fanf in the evening, so I am deliberately taking it easy this evening and Sunday.

Next four weeks:
w/b 11/4 & 18/4: Tuesday and Thursday afternoons off
w/b 25/4: Friday off
w/b 2/5: Bank Holiday off

They're all four-day weeks but I expect the 4 consecutive days to be harder.  I'm going to review again on 4/5, or sooner if I get another migraine or other indication I'm overdoing things.


Other notes
I have my first follow-up bone marrow test on 18/4 and my review with my consultant on 26/4, so I will probably be extra-twitchy between the two.  Objectively I am continuing to improve steadily, there is no plateau or reversal of progress, and I've even stopped needing to change my clothes on arrival at work.  But I'm extra-aware at the moment of every time I get out of breath when cycling or walking or climbing stairs; I am 99.9% certain it's because I'm pushing just hard enough to keep improving my fitness, but the 0.1% is fixated on "breathlessness means cancer".   Charting my progress in these posts is one way of keeping that 0.1% in check.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
This is articulating a lot of stuff I've been thinking over, especially the last month or so, about my priorities as I start getting "back to normal".


1. Health and fitness
(content note: exercise, weight, mental health)
Read more... )

2. Immediate family

The children have coped admirably with all the disruption and uncertainty, but they're both showing reaction in different ways. I want to give them lots of security and support and attention and stability. I plan to take a good look at our daily and weekly and seasonal routines with that in mind. 

I suspect some additional goals and tasks will come out of couples counselling.


3. Work

The cliché is that a brush with death provides revelation and motivation to chuck in the job and go follow a long-held dream etc.  My revelation from being ill so long is that I really like my work and I miss my job and my colleagues very much, and I want to go back as soon as I feel able.  Probably in a phased-return way so I don't go from zero to full time immediately.  Anyway, the time to start that conversation with work is probably a week or two into next year when this chemo cycle should be finished.


4. Studying

I'm studying with the OU under transitional fees and the qualification I'm working towards will be discontinued at the end of 2017. It is just possible for me to finish on time if I work hard from now until September 2017, and especially hard for the nine months Sep 16 - Jun 17. I've decided to give that plan a try but drop the workload if it's too much.   If I don't manage to complete by September 2017 much of my course credit is transferable to the replacement qualification anyway.


5. Family, friends and community

The care and support I've received while ill has been amazing and much appreciated.    I've found it too easy to let connections slide, especially when busy.  So I'm going to put some time and effort into maintaining connections (socialising, letters, emails, calls, blogs, even dratted Facebook), and into making that work part of my daily and weekly routines.



Two things notably absent from the list above:

1. Reading.

I won't stop reading entirely, it's too much part of me to read whenever I can. But studying will take up much of the time and effort I'd otherwise spend reading, and that seems a fair trade-off for now.


2. Politics

I'm finding it very hard to engage with politics at the moment: anything more than the most superficial attention to current events leaves me emotionally drained and exhausted.  Maybe that'll improve as I recover, but I don't think the five things I am choosing to prioritise will leave me much time over anyway.
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: (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: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Everybody was out of quarantine by Monday morning, and if we all had to be ill, at least it was over the bank holiday where we could get away with being lazy taking the time to rest and fully recover.

I briefly had inbox zero, but it hasn't lasted.

I got the mark back for the assignment that I fought so hard with to submit last Tuesday.  I had resigned myself to a mediocre mark and was wondering if I ought to think about replanning my choice of remaining modules.  But it turns out I did significantly better than expected, and from a quick read, got some really helpful feedback as to what I thought I was getting wrong.    Now, if only I can do as well in the exam ....

I have a post-it-note pile countdown, which is proving very helpful for keeping up a steady-ish flow of studying little and often most days.  42 days to my exam now.

School restarts in the middle of next week.  I've just remembered that I was going to get more uniform for Charles.  Luckily we did shoe shopping a few weeks ago, and his tops are all fine, and he'll be ok with slightly draughty ankles in the existing trousers if delivery on longer ones takes a while.  His bookbag is a disaster though, and I should have ordered that at the start of the holidays.
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
Summary:

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)
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)
I decided to set myself a month-goal of "getting to bed before 11pm on schoolnights", as an attempt to address chronic mild sleep deprivation and a sleeping pattern that had gone "stay up late and do all the things" or "collapse asleep with the baby at 8pm".

At first I wasn't doing too badly, an occasional 10:30pm and quite a few approx 11:10pm, and generally I was getting to sleep before midnight.  But the last fortnight, whenever I haven't had something taking me out of the house in the evening, I've fallen asleep about 8-9pm with the baby, woken about 1am and been awake for an hour or two, then back to sleep until 6ish.  Which is great because I'm actually getting at least the 7 hours I seem to need to function well, but sucks because "after the baby is in bed" is when I was doing my studying, and I've been sleeping through that for the last fortnight. 

Perhaps I should study for an hour at 1am instead of writing blog posts.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I got my first TMA in with 14 hours to spare: approximately 3 hours of typing up notes, 5 hours of moving notes around and expanding until I had a coherent essay, 1 hour of tracking down all my references (done over the weekend) and 2 hours on Monday evening of inserting references, formatting, and similar "administrative" editing.

I've just got the mark back: 75% which is a high pass, but well below the 85% threshold for a distinction. I'm pretty pleased but I'm taking note of the areas for improvement highlighted by the tutor (missed some references, included one area very sketchily when I could have left it out entirely and expanded another that was a bit weak). I want to do better for the second TMA.

Last week's study topic was the Welsh language and the associated nationalism movements. I found myself wondering how silly it would be to use some of my optional course credits on the OU beginner's Welsh course, to get beyond the road-signs-and-greetings level I've got to with family living in Wales. Who else do I know who I could talk with if I did?

The next module (DB123 - Personal Finance in context) starts soon, and the website opens on Thursday, which will give me access to the course timetable so I can plan my study for that too. Meanwhile it's half-term-at-home for me, Tony & Charles and I'm planning to take advantage of the extra free time.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
School's closed for teacher-training, so I've taken the day off to do the childcare

Done:
1. Lie-in (8am before I woke: luxury!)
2. Go into town and look at queue for the University Chancellorship election
2a. Vote if queue is not too long
3. Go to St Ives on the guided bus, as Charles loves buses and now that we have the white elephant it would be a pity to waste the millions spent on it. Also I have never been to St Ives in my 15 years living here so it'll be an adventure.
4. Routine doctor appointment
5. Meet up with the lovely [livejournal.com profile] emperor in the Carlton for supper.
6a. Drink and gossip all evening while Charles snoozes on a comfy seat

To-do:
6b. Go home after supper, put Charles to bed, and get more OU done.

I'm indebted to [livejournal.com profile] atreic for her thoughtful post on the Chancellorship, and the discussion she hosted there (now including contributions from one of the nomination committee). Also to Ian Jackson for discussion in the pub last night; without either of those I would not have made time to go and read all the candidate statements and come to a decision on how to vote.

Also I have a mild essay crisis looming for my first Open University TMA: the deadline is not until Tuesday but my job is pretty tiring and exhausting at this peak time of year so I need to submit the TMA by Sunday night or it won't be done. I've done most of the reading, but I need to write up my notes and structure them into something approximating an essay. Tony's going to take Charles out doing fun stuff tomorrow so I can focus on getting it done: my personal preferred deadline is to submit it by tomorrow evening so I can go and socialise with a clear conscience. Let's see how that works out ...
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I just paid the last nursery invoice for Charles and cancelled their direct debit. He starts school full-time on Monday week, with two half-day sessions next week. We bought All The Uniform the weekend before last, trekking around ASDA, John Lewis & M&S to get it all. He's looking forward to it, I think.

Tomorrow I start my first OU course (D172, Contemporary Wales). I'm pretty excited about it: got my study book, got my timetable, got some pretty new notebooks and pens, got my learning head on.

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

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