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25th-May-2010 12:52 pm - State of the Brat
I'm stressed.

You can tell I'm stressed because I lost about two days last week to depression after a full blown anxiety episode - the details of which I'm not going into because frankly, they'd probably be triggering.

You can tell I'm stressed because I woke up at 4.30 on Sunday morning in pain because eczema had flared up on my feet.

You can tell I'm stressed because of the large amounts of time I've spent playing flash games/solitaire just so my brain can have the white noise.

You can tell because my mindfulness has taken a huge hit. Socially, I've reverted to speaking before I think, snapping at people and allowing ill will to build up without passing through.

It shouldn't really surprise anyone that I'm stressed; I'm in the process not just of moving flat after living in the same place for five years, but moving country and lifestyle; of uprooting muyself completely and planting it in another country. I'm sorting out:
  • Money - I have it, but the amount of it I'm going to have to spend is scaring me shitless. Farewell, ever owning my own home. I'm seeing someone on Thursday about setting up a bank account in dollars.
  • Accommodation - I shall probably be living with rushin_doll in Brooklyn, which has me very excited indeed. You know, unless suddenly I acquire a relative in New York who can let me live with them for free (someone I've been speaking to keeps bringing this up like everyone has a relative in New York who'll let them live with them for free. Someone's been watching too much Friends.
  • Classes - sorted. It's a 36 credit degree, and I need to do 9 credits each for the fall and spring semester. In September I shall be going straight into my fieldwork in a school, a seminar series and a Museum studies intro course.
  • Registration - the registration fee has to be paid in dollars by cheque. I never realsied how much of a nightmare it was, dealing in foriegn currency. It's getting so that I'm worried I'll miss deadline by the time my banker's draft is delivered.
  • Health - College helpfully provides health insurance. I also need to dig out my vaccination dates to send off to them.
  • Visa - This is like pulling teeth and the cause of my mini breakdown last week. The paperwork requirements are quite ridiculous (guess what? UK banks don't produce statements in dollars because money doesn't work like that. It's not just a matter of different measurements  like inches and centimetres, here. Also, UK banks that charge £5 and take a week just to get a statement on actual paper can bite me) and that's just to satisfy college requirements and get an application for a visa. It was easier to go to China.
  • Stuff - I have a lot of it, and I can't take anywhere near all of it, so I'm getting rid of all the Camden-bought mass produced goth gear I haven't worn since I was an undergraduate, clearing out models and toys I've accumulated, and boxing up old books and comics to go to charity/bookcrossing/second hand comic shop. If you want any of my stuff, speak now or forever hold your peace. (Except my gemstone globe. You can prize that out of my cold, dead fingers.
Oh, and on top of all that, I have about two months to complete and write up and submit my PhD thesis. And yes, I'm behind even that schedule, and yes, I'm bricking myself there. Oh well.

I've been interested in the way the breakdown of my Buddhist practice has been tied to my recent rise in stress, just at the time when you'd think I might need it most. I've barely been meditating, I've been less mindful than normal about my speech, and ecven my loving kindness practice has taken a hit. I keep thinkign back to this story that Bing linked me to the other day, and the basic teahcing within it:
Mind is a mirror.
Defilement is the dust on the mirror.
It's not the best metpahor for what I'm trying to say right now, but it'll do. I'm so busy and so stressed, that I've been neglecting to keep my mirror clean. The dirt on the mirror then hinders my mindfulness and my Practice, and that causes more dust to accummulate. Like my bedroom, which has been an absolute tip in this very stressful spring I'm just coming out of, my mind is dirty and cluttered and I haven't spared the time to clean it.

I think I'm getting better now.
7th-Jan-2009 07:52 pm - Technology Hates Me
I already had a list of things I really need to buy myself when my budget stretches to more than 'food and bills'. It had previously consisted of 'shoes that don't have holes in', but has now stretched to a wireless router, because our wireless network is completely shot apparently, and a DVD player. the router's not a big deal, I guess, because we have ethernet, but the fact that my 4-year old multiregional £20 DVD player has finally decided to crap out, with my Blackadder II DVD therein, which incidentally is worth more than the player itself. Of course, Amazon now have no multiregionals for less than £35, and I'd really rather eat right now.

Add to that the fact that I can't seem to back up my LJ - the LJ export page gives an empty page. LJArchive tells me:
The server requires that you set your encoding setting before your journal can be downloaded. This setting can be found at your journal's web site, at the bottom of the 'Edit Personal Information' page in the 'Auto-convert older entries from:' box
- and I can't even find the 'Edit Personal Information' page. It's certainly not on the edit profile page. Lj-Sec tells me:
Error Message: Client error: Invalid text encoding: Cannot display this post. Please see http://www.livejournal.com/support/encodings.bml for more information

Oh yeah, and both my computers are so memory starved right now they can hardly do anything.

Technology hates me.

OK, enough ranting. I'm going to do the bills then knit.

I'm still pinning my hopes on the fact that my current virus will no longer be infectious by the time baby comes. I said yesterday that I thought it was peaking and was only going to get better from here. I was, obviously, wrong, and this morning could barely walk straight. Right in the middle of party season, too. Oh fun.

Last night I decided to give myself a panic attack, which might have had a number of factors:

  1. the new Gamesoc is fun and lively but the acoustics in the room are really echoey and I  became overwhelmed and panicky (I won War on Terror, though. That's a plus)
  2. I didn't eat well yesterday and have a cold.
  3. Presumably because of my high stress levels, I've been  indulging myself in storytelling about what people think of me, are saying about me, will say to me blah blah blah. None of this is based in fact, of course. Just me making stuff up.
I received a holiday card from thebratqueenTBQ this morning and went to find some ribbon or something to start putting them up, when I discovered a whole bunch of 87p Christmas stamps from years past. Excited by this discovery, I went to check last post dates, discovered it was today and was all ready to send out a limited selection of cards to prevent me from feeling too ungenerous this unemployed holiday. Then I checked postage.

Cards to the States are £1.22 this year. That's one dollar eighty, guys. Sorry, but I'm going to have to skip out on all monetary gestures this year.

Fortunately, I'm secure in my connections enough that this doesn't actually worry me anymore. One day I'll have a job again, you'll see.

So yeah, here I am feeling sorry for myself, trying to write my thesis, and intending any minute now to put clothes on and go buy myself some juice for the vitamin C. The hat, you'll be pleased to know, is all but finished (I need to get myself a darning needle) and I have found a nice easy pattern for boots. I'm working away from mental issues and taking a day. A day in which I am working on the thesis, but still a day to be comfortable in. No parties, no worrying about people saying things to me or about me, just a day. There may even be a bath later.

So I guess, what I'm saying is: I'm sick, and I'm grouchy and I'm prone to anxiety attacks, but really, I'm OK.
6th-Jul-2008 12:37 pm - Comics to get rid of
Iiiiit's time for me to clear some space in that small part of my tiny flat that is dedicated to storing comics. I usually let these go for about £1 a comic, but this time I'm eating myself up with guilt because I never have the time or money to help out with things like livelongnmarry, so this time I'm just going to ask for donations to Oxfam or Doctors without Borders *for every comic you save me having to pay eBay for.

Fables 53 - 72: (Sons of Empire minus one issue; The Good Prince)
Jack of Fables 1-21 (The (Nearly) Great Escape; Jack of Hearts; The Bad Prince; Americana)
Birds of Prey 112-117 (The Warrior Wake of Zinda Blake; Killer Shark & Platinum Flats; The Dark Side Club)
Robin 170-174 & the Robin/Spoiler special
Green Arrow/Black Canary 3-7
Serenity: Better Days 1-3
Runaways 22-30 (Live Fast; Dead End Kids)
1602: New World 1-3
Polly & the Pirates 1

I wonder if any of the comics shops in London would take them off my hand. Is it done to donate to charity shops?

*You guys know I feel very strongly for marriage equality and really want to get married, and passionately oppose any attempt to legislate love, right? Right. I just think these charities' work is more important.
29th-Feb-2008 02:25 pm - Stuff and thynges
So, is today the only day lesbians can get engaged? Or do arbitrary rules of crapness not apply to the gay? Because the Leap Day/Ladies Day thing has always seemed crap to me.

I'm feeling bloody good about things right now. This is partly because of things that have happened in the last few days:

Wednesday Afternoon was spent at a workshop about science communication organised for PhD students at the museum, for half of which I was the only attendant, so I spent most of the time talking to the organiser (who I knew through other routes) about my career and how to personally be a good communicator, and I came out with confidence and direction and more enthusiasm for my career I've had for months.

Thursday Lunchtime was a lunch meeting with the supervisors, who were as always supportive and encouraging and exactly what I need to stop stressing so much. I just have to stop getting anxious about this crap and get on with it. So more frequent meetings. Which, yeah, I should have sorted out long ago. NEVER MIND, eh?

Thursday Evening I didn't go to the blogging event, because dopplegl is more important, so there was pizza and chatting instead. I think he got the plane today, but we'll know when he lands, hmmmm?

Today I had a chat with the InnerRents and determined to try and volunteer for experience.

I may or not be working tonight - I'll find out soon enough, I guess. Otherwise Winchester?

What I've been blogging about picspam. Anti-choice images may be triggeringCollapse )
There is no wood at all in the entire Southgate branch of Nat West. I know this, because at lunchtime I had a financial review with a bank manager about what I'm doing, my plans for banking &s &s, and along with a lot of him being really impressed with how sensible I was (No, I'm living like this, yes I do plan to get a mortgage but not right now. Yes, I have savings, but my income is lower than my cost of living right now so I can't save regularly. So, what fees am I looking at? Can I reduce the overdraft?), there was a lot of talk about life insurance, financial buffer zones and what might happen if I lose my job or die horribly in a fire while visiting Bing.

And it turns out I'm crazy superstitious. And at the first mention of 'should the worst happen' I started looking around for some wood to touch.


Not even a wood veneer on the desk. Not even a wooden pencil.

NOTHING that might be used as a quick symbolic allusion to the Cross to ward off bad luck. And coincidentally, nothing that could be effectively driven through a banker's heart when he tried to attack me.

There's also a suspicious lack of natural light in there and I might also notice that all the banks in Southgate are a considerable distance from the Italian restaurants*. There aren't any French restaurants at all.

Vampires, I'm telling you.

*except Nationwhide, which is still a building society and thus staffed not by vampires but by zombies.
6th-Jan-2008 11:43 pm(no subject)
evil squee
Today the following exchange took place:

"So if you like working here so much, why are you interviewing for another job?"
"Because that job is teaching science to children."

The bad news is that the trying to balance PhD with coffee shop work with housework with social life is not going to let up any time soon.
The good news is I have a secure job until June/July at least.
The bad news is I expect to remain work-stressed during that time.
The good news is I can make rent, with a couple hundred leftover for food and bills OK., so I should stop being money-stressed.
The bad news is I will probably still be leaching off my friends a little.
The good news is my friends all rock.
The bad news is that I don't get to hang out enough with them, on or offline.
The good news is that apparently I rock, too. At least at my job.

So yay!

Oh yes, and about Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Amy? Not really a spoiler.Collapse )

It's been a What Katy Did "Horseshoe" day. A day in which a lot of little oversights and coincidences and fuckups have combined together to have Consequences. Not just mine, but pretty much everyone in my life today. I had to go into work early, and when my blood sugar began to dip, it turned out we were going to be understaffed all evening. So I worked through a crash, which was interesting.

It's a day of little fuckups, and not just mine. Of spilled milk and making the wrong drink. Of going upstairs and forgetting what you went for. Of choosing the moment when your gloved hands are covered in raw bleach to push your shirt sleeves back.

Yeah, that one was me.

I was fairly resigned about it when it happened, but it's more serious than I like to let on- I have to wear all black at work, you see, and this was one of the very very few black tops I own with January-suitable long sleeves that don't have big bat flaily-ness. It's partly that I'm a crap goth, partly that clothes rarely suit me,but mostly that I hate clothes shopping with a firey vengeance so don't have any clothes anyway, but now I'm stuck to layering tops over my cobweb longsleeve or wearing the very very little warp around shirt or - meh, trying the charity shops tomorrow. I just got paid. I don't want to spend the money I'll have left after rent on clothes. I was planning to spend it on food.

It's not the end of the world, and I'm not crying about it. But it's annoying and saddening at the same time. Apart from anything else, it's also one of my favourite tops. It fits well, covers my mushroom top, and my boobs look fabulous in it.

And on top of all that, going into work early means I missed Bing before she wandered fo to New York to hang out with the Boxed Set.

Overall. Meh.

The zip on my bra-S-lette has finally died. Given up the ghost. Ceased to be. It is an ex-supportive-garment.

It's petty. It's stupid. It's unbelievably shallow.

But I'm leaking out of every orifice I have on my face. I just can't breathe.

(OK, this might have to do with the fact that bills happened today and my flatmate is charging me £70 for t'other flatmate's birthday meal.)

I just can't do this. My cost of living isn't going down. I fail at grown up.

Right now, it feels like I fail at everything.
27th-Oct-2007 11:13 am - Still waving. Not drowning yet.
Happy Birthday Rami!

Dear Brain:

Zombie nightmares FOR THE LOSE.Stoppit.

Whenever I have flying dreams (and flying is the only power I ever have in dreams. I can fight zombies unless I'm stabbing them in the head from above: I have to run), it;s always really really hard work. It's luck whether I'll get off the ground at all and then it's really really hard work to propel, like swimming or harder. I can usually only go at a running pace, maximum

I'm sure this is symbollic for being able to achieve anything, but only if I work.

In other news, this morning I've already cried over money. I'm not in danger yet; but my cost of living is so damn high and my flatmates keep spending money and it's my fault for being so damn suggestible and damn, people.

But pintofbovril? The arm bands arrived this morning. <3.

People sending me things through the post makes my day.

As do these ten things, tagged by lienne: Write ten things off the top of your head that make you happy. Tag ten people to do the same.

La!Collapse )

I tag - everyone I mentioned. That's more than  10. I don't care.

Now, I'm off to spend even more money on underwear (of the thermal variety) and apply for a job I won't get at Coffee, Cake & Kink.

*fucking nuts.
20th-Sep-2007 03:15 pm - The long awaited whiny post
I'm not doing so well with the coping right now. This entry sort of helped. TL; DR and all that.

Everything and Anything I could think ofCollapse )

Now, who wants to buy me a book?
23rd-Nov-2006 08:49 am - There are no words for my stupidity

Yesterday I booked my train tickets for Eurostar to go to Brussels, and sent of an email with the dates to my contact.

Today I get an email saying: "uh, that's two weeks. You're only coming for one week this month."

Then I check the booking. It's utterly and completely non changeable and non-refundable.

I've just thrown away £100 on misreading one line in an email.

How the hell can someone so moronically incapable expect to pass a PhD?

31st-Oct-2006 11:30 am - Money. We likes money
holy crap
Came into the museum this morning to find two grant approval letters waiting for me, which is nice.

This means that not only do I get most of my money back for going to Paris, but I also get to go to Brussels. Neither of which are Japan, but still, they're places.

All I have to do is write a 2-page report on how the symposium in Paris benefited me, and...

...present a seminar on my project to a bunch of Belgians.

It's too late to say I don't want to be a scientist anymore, isn't it?
29th-Sep-2006 12:18 pm - Post I got today.
Dental Invoice
Not for the operation, but for the initial consultation. *sigh* Private healthcare is expensive.
Quality compared to NHS, but expensive.

NHM Travel allowance
Money for the year. Hooray

Cheque from Oystercard
For £21.
For those of you playing along at home, this is the difference between what I paid in paper tickets while waiting for my card, and what the refunds department decided I was entitled to.
Now I'm just waiting for that actual refund.

Student Oystercard
Oh yes, I didn't tell you about this, did I?
I applied online for a student oystercard, to enjoy a discount of 33% or such about. They then contacted UCL to check I was a real student. Trouble is, they then returned an email telling me that "University Administration Office has checked your details and has been unable to confirm your eligibility for the scheme".

This is almost certainly related to The Saga of IB's studenthoodCollapse )

Anyway, so I was pleased to get the Student photocard, even though I thought I wasn't being allowed to be a student this year. So I  went online to register it.
More Saga of OystercardCollapse )

from our downstairs neighbour complaining about Tuesday night, when drakhen and I locked ourselves out. Drakh's since gone to them and explained, so hopefully we're not on the neighbour blacklist.

OK, Now I'm going to go back to the Parentals' for an opticians' appointment. bye!
11th-Sep-2006 11:07 am - Brief stay in London
So. Die Schwester is only a year away from being 30. S'up wi' dat?

Friday night was a party at her place. Which was nice. Didn't get too conflict-y with her friends (The BIL has friends closer to my own age and inclinations and don't patronise me like Die Schwester's friends tend to do). Came home early because the girl I was sharing a cab with got drunk.

Saturday went shopping in Windsor and spent extortionate amounts on chocolate. Then off to a posh restaurant where the food was very nearly orgasmic. Unfortunately the vegetarian special was off, so I ordered the brie-and -leek puss pastry tart thing, and changed my starter order, which had been goats cheese-and-leek filo pastry tart thing, so something that wasn't cheese and leek and pastry. But when the goats cheese arrived five minutes later, it was too delicious to turn away, so I ate it.

Yesterday I baked, because I was in the mood to do so. Ran into a snag though. Two snags if you count the fact that the treacle was FIVE YEARS OUT OF DATE. I didn't, though. I just lumped it in the mix and threw away the tin.

But then the butter-and-treacle mix wasn't enough to make a dough with the flour. I wailed, I gnashed my teeth. I added a whole can of evaporated milk and some water to make a dough. The resultant cookies were nice, if dry and not very ginger-y.

"I don't understand," I told the maternal unit later while we ate them. "I exactly halved the recipe. I mean, it was asking for a whole pound of... flour"

Die paternal unit, who had been there for the wailing and teeth-gnashing, eyed me somewhat. "You put half a kilo in, didn't you?"


BUT they are quite nice, if dry and not very ginger-y. So there.

Tomorrow I am going to Paris. Won't be back til Saturday. Tonight I'm going to see if I can't persuade the flatmates to do something flatmatey, because they'll be in Greece when I get back.

I have to:
  • get currency ( I have a commission free voucher for use at a Travelex Paris branch).
  • pack.
  • get my Student Conference Grant in, at least to the head of department.
  • If I don't have a cheque for money when I get home, phone the Oystercard bitches.
  • download some of the stuff I want to download before links expire while I'm away.
  • pay in cheques from Oystercard and Paul1
4th-Sep-2006 11:39 am - Mondays. Huh.
heart + stomach
avariel_wings? I'm not apping John this month. But fret not. Because I did send in That Other App. You know the one.

Weekend was weekendy and relaxing in a good way. I didn't make it out Friday night, but as I was asleep by 11, I think it's fair to say that it was a good thing. I did get some damn good sleep as well.

Met up with the birthday girl corchen on Saturday for Thai, malt shakes, geek window shopping and the meeting of her friends who are... rather very much similar to my friends really, so that was nice.

Apart from that, I tidied, played around with fandom stuff, read comics. Moped because I wasn't at Dragoncon, and finished off a grant application.

And now I'm at college to talk grant applications with the supervisor who isn't here. Le sigh. Instead I am trying to find a paper to use for Journal Club in Friday.
30th-Aug-2006 03:30 pm(no subject)
I have my first appointment with my new orthodontist today. This could go one of two ways:
1) "Hmmmm. You never brush, do you, woman?"
2) "Ahahahaha you are kidding? You're going private to have that tooth slightly less wonky? Well, your wallet"

Probably both. Oh well. Sad club afterwards.

Travel StatusCollapse )
14th-Aug-2006 03:58 pm - Out of the frying pan...
See, what happens when you don't work because you're depressed? Or when you only do things like measuring, because you're depressed and can't find the motivation to sort out what you need to do, you start posts like this:--

The original title for this post was 'travel plans again'Collapse )

-- and end up in the middle of a panic attack about everything you need to do. OMG I can't breathe kind of PANIC. I can't do this

But now I've spent most of the day going through this list, checking stuff and doing stuff. It's OK. I can do this. Kind of. Maybe.

So don't worry? Uh.
25th-Jul-2006 04:12 pm(no subject)
Deadline for early registration to SVP, at which I am presenting a poster: 6 September.
Deadline for applications for funding, which can't be retrospective (no funding for expenses already incurred) 27 October.

4th-Apr-2006 03:40 pm - To-Do Lists Vol. One: Dinosaurs!
1. Claim money for China - receipts are all sorted through, and credit card statement downloaded for printing ou tin the museum tomorrow. Then just submit it to college.

2. Write up the structure plan-y thing. Should have done this months ago. Heh.

3. Establish email contact with Matt Carrano re: the work I've been doing on his data and the possibility of heading up to the Smithsonian before the Millicon.

4. Data work. Y'know, the actual PhD thing I'm supposed to be doing?

Um... think that's it. Maybe get more.
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