Friday, September 28, 2007

Slightly overwhelmed

I've suddenly realised how much I have to get done before the party on the 27th.

Not to mention whatever I need to do before starting back at uni.

And I need to learn a whole piece of music (Dvořák's Stabat Mater) by 6th October, for the first rehearsal of the Midland Festival Chorus thing. It's the first time I've sung with MFC, and I'm really looking forward to it and I want to know what I'm doing. Unfortunately I've left it very late to start, so I'll need some serious work to get myself up to scratch. I do have a CD with my part played on keyboard which helps, and an actual recording, but I can't help but think that a recording of a single voice singing the alto part would be much more useful because it would help me place the words properly.

I've spent about an hour and a half on it tonight and familiarised myself with the first (long!) and the second movements which involve the choir. So far I'm liking the piece, it's rather fun (except that the altos have high Fs which I'm not so keen on), even though in general I'm biased against anything that has a lot of solos because I find that many voices sound much nicer than just one (and I get bored waiting until I can sing again).

I'm kind of ambivalent about this music-learning thing. It's the first time I'll have learned a piece entirely my myself, and while part of me is panicking about how much I'm struggling, another part is proud of the improvement I've made with my sight-reading. Pitching is much easier, as well as getting the "feel" for the direction of the music (which helps a lot with the pitching). I'm still struggling with rhythm, but it's better than it was. I guess these things come with work, and I can't expect to be great with only two years of "proper" singing behind me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's not like me to be pissed off, but I am

So my dad asked me yesterday how long I've got left at uni.

I hadn't actually told my parents about repeating, because I knew I'd get hassle.

I told him 2 years, as things had not gone well last year and I'm repeating year 2. His reply?

"Oh, here we go again..." (obviously referencing either my brother, who is repeating year 3 this year, or me dropping out of uni the first time round, and implying that this means I won't get a degree this time either.) "What do you mean, things didn't go well?"

I explained about the not sleeping and the being tired constantly and struggling with mornings, therefore not getting to lectures.

"You ought to have got out of that pattern years ago." Like I haven't tried? "You want to stop all that other stuff."

I asked what stuff he meant.


Oh, so that's the reason why I'm ill! All these years I've thought it was fibromyalgia, but obviously not. Obviously two evenings of choir practice a week stop me from getting to morning lectures. Also obviously that's what's been wrong with me for the past 10 years even though I wasn't even in a choir for 6 of those years. All I have to do is give up my ONE social activity and stay at home every evening studying and cleaning the house and tidying up the garden and all the other things he thinks I should be doing.

Okay. Thanks for the support Dad. Thanks for believing that I can do this, and being so constructive with your criticism. Thanks for constantly approving everything I do. Also thanks for having a clue what you're talking about, and listening to me when I explain how things are, and believing that I'm actually ill.

Of course, you're in complete control of my life, and that's the way it should be. You're always right, and I never am. I need positive people like you in my life.

Anyone detect any sarcasm there?

Winning the pub quiz every week does not make you the expert on Anna. Neither does it qualify you to be a doctor, or to tell me how to live, or how best to get my degree (btw he has no qualifications apart from a certificate in welding or something from about a hundred years ago).

Fuck you, Dad. Shut the fuck up already.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Apparently, new is good

I think I've finally found a good doctor.

Compare and contrast here.

At my previous surgery last year, I got the distinct impression that they were bored of me. I mean, with a chronic illness like fibromyalgia, you do have to keep going back if only to let them know if anything's changed. I kept being told that there isn't much they can do besides give me low-dose amitryptiline (Elavil) at night to help me sleep. They'd tell me to lose weight and exercise and that's about it. I was made to feel like I was wasting their time when I was essentially telling them I can't go on like this.

I mean, they're right. There's nothing much they can do. But still.

I needed a letter from a doctor last year to pass on to the psychology department and the assessment department at uni, confirming my diagnosis and explaining that I need extra time in exams, etc. It took the doc 2 weeks to write this, and they invoiced me £10. (I didn't pay it, but that's another story.)

I need another letter this year, for the psych department so they'll let me repeat 2nd year, and for Derbyshire County Council* so they'll fund me for an extra year. So I went to see my new doc today - I've seen her twice before and found that she'll listen to you and ask sensible questions which is surprisingly rare for a doctor. I told her what I needed, and she did it right there and then. She asked me loads of questions about my symptoms and how it affects my studies, and even asked about stuff I haven't mentioned, like my mood and problems with writing, and got everything into a letter, checked with me that it was okay (unheard of) then printed it and gave it to me. No 2 weeks to wait, no £10. No feeling like I was wasting her time. She even told me I was doing the right things, i.e. exercising and keeping an eye on my diet and trying to push myself a little bit further than is comfortable but not overdoing it.

Nice one doc.

In related news, I'm back in lectures next week. I'm sort of scared. And tired already. Not feeling at my most positive. I'd like a nice cup of redbush and vanilla tea (or maybe some of my "night time" herbal tea) and a nice warm bed and about 12 hours sleep.

*I mis-typed this as "Derbyshire Cunty Council". Strangely apt.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I'm just not in a good mood.

The sum total of my progress today has been grouting maybe 2 square feet of tiles. I fecking hate grouting, it hurts my wrists and it's dull and tedious and boring. I'm gonna leave it for Michael to do I think.

Michael's off to Edinburgh tomorrow with work, for the fourth time in three weeks. It's pretty bad timing, because I'd like him to be getting on with some house stuff here rather than sitting on his arse all night in a hotel on his own. And I'm so used to him doing certain jobs that I forget about them when he's not here, so the bins don't get emptied and the dishwasher doesn't get unloaded, simply because I don't think about it.

It worries me a bit that I don't really miss him. I seem to just get on with it. I think I'm just not in emotion mode right now, as I'm not feeling anything very much, like just emotionally beige or something. I guess it's better than being depressed, and it's probably a result of me not doing anything fun for ages.

Another thing that's winding me up is my left wrist. I had a ganglion removed from it 5 or 6 years ago and I have a lovely little scar and a lump there now, which swells up and hurts a bit occasionally. Basically it's not the same wrist as it used to be, but it's pretty much okay. Took me months to be able to use it properly after the op though. It was bothering me last night, and I noticed another ganglion has popped up to the left of the op scar. It's quite tender and achy and annoying. I don't know whether I want to have it treated or not because of the pain and inconvenience of the op - maybe I'll wait to see how bad it's going to be. And if anyone else tells me to hit it with a Bible I'll scream! First, I'm an atheist. I don't have a Bible. And second... I have no desire to be hit hard on the wrist with a heavy book. Call me weird.

So yeah. I'll try to be productive tomorrow. I certainly feel better when I'm doing stuff. Or am I doing stuff because I feel better? Either way - I'm not happy today. Just frustrated and tired and blergh.

I was going to post this in Pirate-speak, considering what day it is. But I really can't be arsed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Okay, so here's what's been happening.
  • Living room painted
  • Living room carpet cleaned twice
  • New cupboards assembled in living room, with 26 white cardboard storage boxes which had to be put together
  • CD/DVD/video collections organised and stored in said cupboards
  • New curtains hung in living room
  • Living room fireplace re-grouted
  • Kitchen and utility tiled
  • Half of kitchen tiles grouted
  • New bookcase assembled in study
  • Roleplaying books, my uni notes and loads of magazines (mostly New Scientist) stored in new bookcase
  • Clothes which were littering the main bedroom stored in folding boxes, until we get new wardrobes
Now I come to write it, it doesn't sound like much. But we're getting there. Next on the list is getting a new sofa, disposing of the old sofas, decorating the kitchen/dining room/utility and some general tidying and clearing and sorting stuff out.

I'm tired. And I'm back at uni in two weeks. And my scalp, behind my ears and the back of my neck are all flaky and scabby as my eczema's playing up. On the plus side though, I've lost another inch from bust and hips, and an inch and a half from my waist.

I've also created a new blog, where I'll keep track of all my uni stuff. I plan to post my lecture notes there, and my timetable (newly created in Google Calendars and almost completed), and any other stuff related to uni, or psychology.

And on a completely unrelated note, I've recently started stitching again. I found a 3/4 finished tapestry of two dolphins when I cleared out the living room, which I'd actually forgotten I started, and I'm determined to get it finished. I used to do a lot of cross stitch and tapestry and the like, but haven't done any for years. I also ordered a sampler of British tits (that should get me a few dodgy searches over here!) which looks great, and I'd definitely recommend the site if you like cross stitch because they have some lovely bird ones - mostly UK but some American too.

And now I'm off to exercise.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Exercise is sort of working, I guess

I haven't lost any actual weight, but I'm definitely more toned.

I've lost an inch from my bust and waist, 2 inches from my hips and 1/2 an inch from my thighs.

And I'm fitter, as my scores on Kinetic are showing.

I'm not trying too hard with my diet - it's basically healthy with sensible meals and snacks, but I'm still having treats. As I said in chat the other night, if you can't have a treat every now and then you might as well be dead.

So yeah. Progress.

I don't know if it's just coincidence, but I'm generally in less pain recently too.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sorry for the silence!

I've been so busy the last week, haven't had time to blog. And I haven't been reading blogs either - hopefully I'll catch up in the next week or so.

The source of the busyness? Decorating.

Mostly because I'm having a party at Hallowe'en and I'd like my house to look like someone owns it, but also because I'm sick of it. So far we've managed to decorate precisely 3 rooms in the 3.5 years we've lived here, one of which is the bathroom.

Although we have a new kitchen, it looks a mess because there's no floor (bare concrete) and no wall tiles. The dining room needs the wallpaper stripping and decorating, the hallway is a horrible yellow with an orange border (I hate it), our bedroom is the messiest room in the world and consequently is filthy because there isn't room to clean. The whole house is full of stuff that doesn't have a home and needs sorting out and storing. Oh, and dog hair.

Mostly I just put up with the fact that I hate it, because I'm too lazy/tired to actually do anything about it.

But not now. The exercise thing is working I think, I actually feel like I have energy. Some energy at least.

So I cleared out the living room. I planned what it will look like - the colours, the furniture, everything. It was decorated with wallpaper - okay wallpaper I guess, but not what I'd have chosen. A beige-ish background with green patterns above the mahogany-coloured dado rail, and green stripes below - to be fair, it looks like a council house living room. The sofas (one two-seater, one three-seater) came with the house, they are a kind of tapestry effect of mostly yellowy-beige with greens and pinks mixed in.

But not any more. I've painted over the wallpaper, a creamy colour on the top and a pinky-brown underneath. All the woodwork's now white. I've bought new fake suede curtains which are a similar colour to the lower walls, and we're giving the sofas away to an organisation which redistributes unwanted furniture to those in need (e.g. families rehoused because of domestic violence). In their place we'll get a nice new two-seater in brown or camel or similar, and two chairs like the comfy wooden ones they sell at Ikea, as most of the time there's only the two of us here anyway and two sofas take up too much room. We're getting some cupboards as well, to hold all our videos and DVDs. And when it's all done I might have a nice calming grown-up room that I'm not ashamed to invite people back to.