Trying NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMo_2015

Why not right? So many of you are doing NaNoWriMo, I’m feeling like I am missing out. I can’t handle a novel at this point in time. I’ve got a grant deadline in early December, so that is where all my writing should be going. I don’t think I could write a novel anyway. Blog posts are more my speed and what better way to get back into the habit of writing, right?

Actually, I should have been a little less impulsive in signing up yesterday. Considering this is the 4th post since I went MIA 7 months ago, this may be too big a commitment. I want to be writing again, but I am still having trouble managing depression. I was really looking forward to doing A-Z last April. I even prepared ahead of time! It didn’t matter though. Depression took over and it was a spectacular flop. At least it was spectacular right?! Glass half full. 🙂

Since this whole thing started yesterday, Halloween (I must have been possessed), I have no idea what I am doing. I did sign up at BlogHer, so I will probably be using the prompts over there most of the time. Outside of that, I’ll babble about depression, grad school and life in general. Sometimes the scientist in me just has to share something cool I learned. That has been rare in the last while since I am mad at my Ph.D. and everything related to it. Maybe I’ll try to doodle again, no promises though!

NaBloPoMo is really hard to write without typos. Does anybody say that out loud? I keep messing it up when I try to say it.

I will leave you with Ewok’s discovery of the Lego Express.

Happy NaBloPoMo everybody!

If We Were Having Coffee….

If we were having coffee, we would be having it at my house this week because I am too exhausted to move. Thankfully the apartment it relatively spotless. By relatively, I mean we still have cat hair. There isn’t much I can do about that with Ewok being the powder puff that she is. I hope you aren’t allergic to cats. So far I’ve been lucky. Only one of my friends is dating a guy that is allergic…and there is my sister. She chooses to bury her face in Ewok’s tummy when she comes over though, so I don’t worry much about her. Yes, Ewok is THAT loveable.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask how your week went and what was new with you. I hope you have some good news to share. I am hopelessly behind in blogging, therapy, art journaling and my Ph.D. dissertation. I’m not letting it get to me though. It was a really hard and busy week. I am hoping to lay low and get caught up on things this weekend. I am caught up on all the little side projects my supervisor like to throw at me though! I have been paranoid about how she feels about me lately. I feel like she has lost faith in me since I took a step back from my involvement in the lab. As if this grant she is preparing is to make sure my research idea gets done because she doesn’t think I am going to do it myself. I talked to her about it and she said that my research is still my own and I should look at this grant as my supervisor investing in my research. It’s a very nice answer to my concerns, but I don’t believe it. I think she is avoiding talking about what she really thinks because it is negative. She does this a lot with other people. She tells me about it. If this is how she handles conflict with other people, no doubt, this is the way she handles it with me. It is frustrating. One of her best friends and former Ph.D. students told me that I treat her too much like my boss and I should treat her more like my friend. Maybe it is worth a try.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I am glad #1000Speak has evolved into a monthly event. I think it’s a great idea. The last event was yesterday and the theme was “Building from Bullying.” I knew about it well in advance and was debating whether or not I wanted to post about my experiences with bullying. It is something I am sorting through in therapy at the moment. I finally decided that I did want to write something, but I ran out of time with this past week being so crazy. I am looking forward to reading the other posts though. If you are interested in reading some posts on “Building from Bullying” check out the linky at the bottom of Gene’O’s post.

If we were having coffee, I’d want to tell you about another great idea I heard about this week. This one is from Nerd in the Brain. It is called “There is Beauty in All of Us”. Basically, you send in a selfie, she will post it to acquire comments from other people..positive ones!! Then, all the photos will be put into a video showing how diverse beauty is. It’s a really uplifting project. Visit her blog and participate, or at least check it out. I am actually thinking of sending in a real selfie…not a drawing. You’ll have to guess which one is me when you see the video! haha.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m still plugging along with the 30 Day Colouring Challenge. It has been a comfort this week, knowing that I can set aside 10 minutes from working to colour something. I did them mostly myself. I used my Steampunk colouring book from Dover one day. Dover Publishing colouring books rock! These are my entries from the past week.

If we were having coffee, I’d wish a happy and productive weekend. I am off to get caught up on all my projects. I think I will start with the colouring challenge. I always feel better getting something checked off my list. It gives me the motivation to tackle the bigger things.

This conversational post link-up is hosted by Part-Time Monster, join the fun!

Share Your World 2015 – Week 2

This is Share Your World, a blogging event hosted by Cee’s Photography. Thanks to Cee for all the effort she puts in to coming up with fun new questions every week. Here’s week 2!

Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?

I LOVE hugs! I need several everyday. I guess that makes me a hugger? I don’t hug just anyone though. Most hugs are for/from Hubby, my parents or Ewok. Sometimes Ewok doesn’t want to hug me, I take them anyway, hehe. I guess thats one of the disadvantages of being so little. I usually hug friends and relatives on hellos and good-byes. That’s it for the real hugs. In Montreal, the traditional greeting is the double cheek kiss….or triple if you are from the Russian community. That sort of involves a hug, so I participate in that with people that I am less friendly with. They have to initiate it though.

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Above is Ewok with the annoyed face she gives me when I hug her without permission. In this pic, she was annoyed because we put on her Santa hat. Poor baby, haha!

What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?

That’s hard. It depends who made it I think. Lately, if I buy from the grocery store, it has been Chapman’s nanaimo bar frozen yogurt. It is relatively cheap and not too bad (for a frozen dessert) in terms of nutrition. If we’re talking Ben and Jerry’s then it’s Half-baked. That way I don’t have to choose between brownie chunks and cookie dough bits, it has both. There’s a new flavour, Peanut Butter Half-baked. That sounds even better! I’ll have to see if I can find that one here. The Haagen daz favourite is coffee, hands down! Baskin Robbins had a Birthday Cake flavour once. I loved it, but I haven’t seen it again. It was cake batter ice cream with cake bits, chocolate fudge, sprinkles and frosting swirled throughout. We also have an independent ice cream guy down the street. He makes his own flavours. He makes the best red velvet I’ve had yet!

Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either?

At the moment, I’m fed up with both. I just don’t have enough energy. I guess I prefer exercising my mind. I don’t handle being bored well. I need to be learning, I need to be challenged. I exercise my mind every day whether it be through research, reading, creative arts or crosswords and logic puzzles. I used to enjoy exercise so much, I don’t know what happened, but I started hating it a couple years ago. Now, I’m exercising a couple times a week. Usually walking or using an elliptical. I got a mini stepper for Christmas. I’m hoping being able to exercise while watching TV will encourage me!

Are you more of a dog person or a cat person? Why?

I am a cat person. My family got two cats just before I moved out. They still live with my folks. Maggie-Mae (above) is a really pretty girl. Her sister, Ruby-Tuesday refused to sit still long enough for a photo. Then, there’s Ewok, you all know her. Cats are adorable, especially my Ewok! No, I’m not being biased at all!

It’s not that I am not a dog person. I just don’t have much experience with dogs. I didn’t have pets growing up, but some of my friends and my aunt had cats. I didn’t know anyone who had a dog until I moved to Montreal when I was in university. My cousin had a huge golden retriever (Teddy Bear). I babysat for Teddy and her kids all the time. Teddy was a good dog, but he didn’t get along with other dogs, so I couldn’t handle him on a walk. He was also a little bit greasy, not so great for cuddles. My aunt (the one with cats) recently got a dog who is pretty sweet. Maybe I’ll start being a dog person too. Meet Kai!

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Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last Week: I got another week away from work. Psyc wasn’t back from his vacation yet, so I couldn’t get my work schedule approved like my supervisor wanted. I’ll see him this week. The thought of work is creating a huge knot in my stomach, so I was grateful for the extra time.

This Week: I’m looking forward to starting all the art journal challenge I signed up for. Maybe three was too many. I hope I’ll find time. This isn’t school though. It’s fun, I’m not being graded.

If We Were Having Coffee…..

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you the first week of the new year was a decent one, for me at least. It’s nice to not have to start off by hitting the ground running for a change. I wish this week was as smooth for the rest of the world. Here is hoping week two of 2015 is more peaceful on the international level.

If we were having coffee, it would probably be out of cardboard cups at a coffee shop and you wouldn’t get to see my awesome Jack Skellington mug in person. Good thing I took a picture with my phone! Adding my favourite geek characters into my day makes it more enjoyable!

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My Jack mug!!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my manuscript was finally accepted for publication! That sounds like good news and it is always good to add another first authorship to my CV, but it is also a big headache. The peer-reviewers want me to make some significant changes before they publish. This is the norm and wouldn’t be such a big deal if it were a current study. It’s an older study though and not related to what I am working on right now. When I wrote the paper, I read all the associated literature and knew our data inside out. I submitted the paper and went on to other things (sick leave and our current studies). Now, I am in a completely different head space! I’m going to have to change gears and re-read all the literature as well as go over all the data again before I can even attempt to make the changes they are asking of me. Ugh. I suppose I should just put my head down and keep my eye on the prize. First authorship. First authorship!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that it’s wedding season over here again! The reason I say “again” is because I still feel like mine just ended. It was in June of 2013. My little sister got engaged Christmas Day and is planning her big day for this September! I’m thrilled to say she has asked me to be the Maid of Honour! It’s been about two weeks since the engagement and most of it is planned already! No, it’s not magic, lol. During my own wedding process, I hooked up my sister, a then photography student, with my wedding photographer. They worked together for over a year, so now my sister has so much wedding experience (and valuable connections to wedding vendors) that she knows exactly what she wants. We are all so thankful for this because she lives in Thunder Bay and wants to have the wedding here in Montreal. I imagine long distance wedding planning can be difficult!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that Ewok (my cat) was in full-blown psycho kitty mode this morning. Thankfully, she has tuckered herself out and is now in her usual post-psycho position belly-up on the floor. She was darting all over the apartment with her ears flat against her head making those little tribble coo sounds. I keep telling her, being called “Ewok” she can’t go around making tribble noises. It’s not right. You can’t have a Star Wars cat making Star Trek sounds. She blatantly ignored me though.

ewok belly up

This pic is from a little while ago. She is looking a lot smaller now since we gave her a bit of a hair cut.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve signed up for a few online art workshops; Journal52, The 2015 Art Project and The Documented Life Project – The Journal. I’m a little nervous about sharing my work, but I think it’ll be fun to meet some new people and maybe grow as an artist.

What’s on your mind? What would you say if we were having coffee?

(This conversational coffee post is part of a weekend link-up hosted by Part-Time Monster. Join in the fun!)

Current Plan of Action and a Bit of Ewok

It is a really cold day! I’m in bed with a hot tea right now. Why am I in bed in the middle of the afternoon? Well, for one, it is THAT cold!! Second, it’s because I wanted to hang out with my cat, Ewok. Within the last few days, Ewok has discovered how comfortable it is to nap on soft cozy surfaces. Her spot of choice has been at the end of the bed burrowed into blankets. No matter how many times I bring her in the other room to spend some time with me…she ends up back in her burrow. So I have given up and decided to do things her way. So here we are in bed in the middle of the afternoon.

This may not sound strange to a lot of you, but it is definitely strange behaviour for Ewok. She normally doesn’t like soft spots, she likes to lie on hard surfaces. Even as a kitten, she would usually fall asleep on the floor or the coffee table, never the couch. We later found out this was because she was peeing on the couch. Poor confused kitten. Don’t worry, we were able to clean it! Eventually, we moved and got different furniture, but she still preferred hard surfaces. Her napping spots were usually the coffee table, a stiff carpet or on top of the printer. When she got older, she started sleeping by my head in bed, but only if I moved the pillow and blanket to make room for her. So finding her the last few days lying on the bed, sinking into the mattress surrounded by blankets has been a weird sight. I hope everything is ok with her. I think she’s fine, she’s eating and drinking and happily snorting away over there.

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The reason I want to be around Ewok is because she is a great comfort to me. I’m not sure how to describe how I am feeling right now and listening to her snorting or purring or seeing her cute little smooshy face makes me feel better. I am definitely feeling better than I was in the fall. I’m not overwhelmed and not having the suicidal ideation, but I’m not great either. My sleep is so-so and I feel sort of paralyzed. I have to force myself to do everything, otherwise, I just get lost in my head. Thinking about work. During the holidays I was preoccupied with the dread of going back to grad school full time. Now that I know I’m going to start back part time, I’m not feeling panicky and having nightmares about it. I’m still dreading it though.

The plan is to go back two days a week. I’m going to make a detailed schedule for the next two months and have it approved by psych. When the two months are up, we’ll evaluate and see if I should continue as is or take on more. I think that is fair. Hubby does too. He thinks I always jump into things and take on too much. Maybe he is right.

I hope I can finish my Ph.D. I’m not sure if it’s the depression talking or not, but I think I hate it. I like parts of it. My supervisor is great, I’m learning a lot. I like reading, brainstorming, gathering information, sorting it, teaching it and writing about what I learn. I don’t mind managing students and volunteers either. It’s the constant trouble-shooting, working around barriers, asking for money, trying to find people who qualify to participate and then begging them to participate. When working with human subjects, research depends a lot on the cooperation of other people. It’s not that others don’t want to cooperate, they just don’t want to take on extra work (no matter how minute) or disrupt their routines. I don’t just mean potential participants, I mean doctors, receptionists, technicians, volunteers and other hospital staff. I am always friendly and polite with these people. I even bring them treats, but they are never happy to see me. I am a symbol extra work, change or disruption to their routine. It’s not a pleasant work environment for me. Research is also a lot of rejection and a lot of work for very little success or progress.

Now that I have gotten all these studies through ethics, all I am doing are the things I hate. Thinking of going in fills me with dread. I really hope I can get through it. As a more senior researcher (someone with a Ph.D.), I wont have to do this part anymore. I can send students (like me now), research associates and volunteers off to do it for me. I just don’t think I’ll ever get there. If there were an end in sight, I could probably force myself through, but there is no end. I have lost faith in my project and it feels like I will be a student forever.

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