A Room with a View

Sunday, October 30, 2005

It's definitely time to get back to work...

I'd always intended to start work on my research again on 1st November. In the absence of a new flat, I'm going to camp out in my Mother's study during the daytimes. LLH and I had planned to get all of my papers and books out of the attic tomorrow night, so that I'm ready to start bright and early on Tuesday morning. I'm really happy to be getting back to it, and I feel even more compelled to since I had a dream about my supervisor last night. He wasn't telling me to get on with my research, but was saying how brilliant and ground-breaking my work is (I wish!). Is this some kind of reverse-guilt-trip from my subconscious? Does anyone else have these kind of dreams? I'm always struck by how vivid and distinct the image of my supervisor is - absolutely as in real life. God, I'm such a weirdo. I need to get out more. No, change that, I need to do some work. :)

Is Lovely Lawyer Husband Pregnant?!

We just finished dinner. A really nice dinner that wouldn't leave you hungry at all. But as LLH was doing the dishes, he couldn't stop going on about needing ice cream. Vanilla ice cream to be precise. This is weird for LLH. He's not hugely into sweet things, and would normally only eat ice cream in the summer. I changed the subject of conversation a few times, but still he kept coming back to vanilla ice cream. Vivid descriptions of all different types, almost drooling as he mentioned them. I couldn't work out what was up with him. He became so obsessed that he decided to walk to the local shop to buy some. I began to wonder whether he was having pregnancy food cravings...could he be a medical phenomenon?! It seems not. Apparently there is a very rational explanation to his behaviour...
Our new gel room fragrancer. In our continual efforts to sell our house (again), we like to make sure that it smells appealing to viewers. Today we bought a new Warming Vanilla Spice room fragrancer. It's really homely, and if you stand next to it for a few minutes it seems that you'll develop an unstoppable desire to eat vanilla ice cream. Hmmm. Is it a good idea to have this in my house? Sure, potential buyers will be welcomed by the aroma, but will they start running for the nearest ice cream parlour before they are wooed enough to buy?
Updated to add: LLH just returned from the shop with an assortment of mini Haagen-Dazs tubs. I was so excited about this, as I must be the only person I know that has never had Haagen-Dazs. LLH knew this and it was so sweet of him to get them (not that he didn't enjoy devouring his little tub!). I had Cookies & Cream. YUM! YUM ! YUM! I'm hooked. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Roast Chicken Flavour Crisps

Yes, we're in the business of random post titles here today, but actually it's very significant. A packet of roast chicken flavour crips (potato chips to any of my US bloggy-pals) was just about the best thing about my day. I don't mean to offend any vegetarians with this, and actually it shouldn't as the crisps were vegetarian. Although admittedly it's scary to think how many additives they used to make chicken flavour without even going near a chicken, but anyway, that's not the point...
I was stuck at the hospital for 8 hours. The staff were really kind (although my doctor was soooo young I thought she was Doogie Howserette), but I did spend most of that time just waiting around for stuff to happen, which meant I got to observe a lot of what is wrong with the National Health Service in this country. (I want to post about this, but I need to calm down and get my thoughts and ideas together first.)
As far as my own personal health dramas are concerned, we established that today the blood didn't want to come out (until its very last chance). I'm sitting here with cotton wool pads taped all over my body, looking a bit like a pin cushion. Fortunately it was worth it, all the blood tests were negative (although heaven knows what they were testing for!). The ultrasound scan and the ECG thing were also all clear. It was all a bit scary though, as I thought it would be over when they ruled out a clot in my leg, but then they freaked (because I have rib pain) that it had moved to my lungs (apparently more dangerous) so loads more tests and tons more waiting ensued. Thankfully it was fine, so whatever I have wrong with me I at least know my heart and blood is good. So it's back to the drawing board on the diagnosis...
But where did the roast chicken flavour crisps come into it? I had some cereal at 7.30am but couldn't get anything to eat in the hospital as I wasn't allowed to leave the ward, and they didn't offer me anything there (more cutbacks Mr Blair?). By 5pm, when I was still waiting for bloods, I was starving and this girl came into the waiting room eating...yes, you've guessed it...roast chicken flavour crisps. Normally I wouldn't even think about eating them, but my hunger pangs were so bad that the smell practically had me drooling over the room. So much so that as soon as they released me I went straight to the local store to buy some. Ahhhh....bliss. ;)
So yeah, roast chicken crips and pizza whilst watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart make me a content cupcake for now...Tomorrow it's back to the osteopath and next week the gynaecologist (I'll spare the details on that one), so it's all fun, fun, fun here...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Whinge. Whinge. Whinge.

The title of this post is in Shrinky's honour. It could just as easily be whine, whine, whine. Yes, it's Wednesday, and if I'm in the mood for a whine I should go over to Phantom's place. But, hell, I'm gonna whine here. You know, it's my party and I'll whine if I want to...
Actually, I'm more than a little worried that my blog has been little more than a whine-fest of late. I've even avoided blogging at times because the only things that have been occupying my mind are my move-from-hell and my ongoing health sagas. I'm pig sick of both of these situations, and am desperate to blog (and think) about something else, but given that I'm still in pain and still trying to sell my damn house, it just ain't gonna happen...
Anyone still reading this post deserves a medal. You guys have been with me so much recently, and I really can't thank you enough for sticking with it. You're absolutely, totally and utterly the best, and I'm sorry I've been a bit lame at reading and commenting recently.
And so, here we have the next instalment of Pink Cupcake's dramas...
House-wise we're back on the market. We're cleaning like nutters. We're probably going to lose the flat. Yawn. Yawn. Yawn. Whatever.
My main gripe right now isn't with the house (except it hurts like heck to clean right now, and it's not fair for LLH to do everything when he's working long hours), but with my leg. My leg pain has been really bad for the past week or so, and the pain seems to be moving elsewhere around my body too (ribs, back etc. etc.). Plus, my leg has swollen pretty badly in a couple of places, and I'm just sick of feeling sick. So I decided I had to see a doctor again. Only problem, my doctor is on vacation, and I wasn't really feeling up to the 8-hour round trip to see her in OUE City anyway. Fortunately, my Mum, who is a pillar of the local community here in Sleepy Boringland, managed to blag me into an appointment with a local doc. So, I merrily went along to an appointment expecting him to say I had yet more weird muscular swellings. But. No. He totally freaked me out.
You know it's bad when the doctor says that he doesn't want you to panic before he tells you his prognosis, right? When he says you need to go to the hospital tomorrow morning (especially in this country where you have to wait months to get even the slightest whiff of a hospital)? Actually he said I should really have gone to hospital today, but that at 4.30pm I wouldn't get there in time to see the relevant doctors. He's worried that I might have Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clots). That hadn't even occurred to me. I have to have an ultrasound scan in the morning and then take it from there. It's apparently totally treatable (although unpleasant) if that's what the problem is, the big danger is if you don't get it checked out in time and the clot moves or something. I'm just hoping that (if that's what I've got) it'll stay still for the next twelve hours. Of course, if I don't have DVT we're back to the drawing board, but apparently we'll have ruled the worst thing out. I really hope so.
So, yeah, I really, really hope this blog will be full of happy, jolly posts very, very soon, but in the meantime I'm afraid you're stuck with the whinging of a scared little cupcake...

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Happy Birthday Lovely Lawyer Husband!

LLH is 32 today. I never did get around to doing the 100 Things meme, so instead I give you 32 Things about the most important person in my life...

  1. He once had purple waist-length hair, now he has just a little more than James Carville or Michael Stipe.
  2. He shoved a girl's dislocated shoulder back into its socket (at her request) during a New Model Army concert.
  3. He's the only commercial lawyer I know who has three Che Guevara t-shirts.
  4. He had a fascinating student job that involved sorting broken almonds from whole almonds.
  5. He's one of a rare breed of Atlanta Falcons fans in the UK.
  6. He once drove Anne Widdecombe the wrong way down a one-way street.
  7. He can't really dance, but does this funny little arm-wiggle thing very enthusiastically. So cute. ;)
  8. His ideal holiday destination is North Korea.
  9. He never cries, but he did during Life is Beautiful.
  10. His favourite books are Robert E Caro's series of biographies about LBJ.
  11. He's a foot taller than me.
  12. He remembers the kind of things that nobody else does, which makes him awesome at Pub Quizzes and Trivial Pursuit.
  13. He didn't like flowers until he met me. Now he's a convert.
  14. He protests everytime I re-watch the Legally Blonde movies, but secretly he loves them.
  15. He recently gave up caffeine for a year, but eventually saw the error of his ways and is making up for lost time by having an extra shot in everything.
  16. He's just about to start reading Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls.
  17. He bought me a stone gargoyle for my birthday the first year we were together. I liked it, my mother wasn't so sure.
  18. He's three years and four months older than me.
  19. He's always wanted to learn to play the guitar, but hasn't got around to it yet. Maybe this year...
  20. He's totally squeamish. He'd have to like you very, very much to even think about visiting you in hospital.
  21. He finds Christmas boring :( , but he likes tacky tinsel decorations way too much.
  22. He's totally soft over cute fluffy animals. He's so excited that we're going to get a cat soon.
  23. He can play God Save the Queen on a plastic ruler. (Don't even ask! I didn't know this until now. Apparently he learnt at school.)
  24. He's good at painting, but other than that his DIY skills are non-existent. He should never be let loose with a power tool!
  25. His ideal meal would be mussels to start, lobster with salad as a main course, all washed down with a very cold bottle of Sancerre and finished off with a double espresso.
  26. He's very into juicing and smoothies.
  27. His favourite song is REM's Country Feedback.
  28. He's scared of babies and little children, and I think the feeling's pretty mutual. ;)
  29. He's very rational, and very impatient. So a lawyer...
  30. He's convinced that he's still 23.
  31. He's looking forward to the day that we have a house big enough for him to have a den, though I dread to think how he would decorate it.
  32. He's kind, funny, incredibly smart and handsome, and I feel so fortunate to be sharing my life with him.

Happy 32nd Birthday LLH!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Back to work...

I really need to get back to work. When I moved away from OUE City in June, I agreed with my supervisor that I would take the summer off, and would also apply to suspend my status for the Winter term. This means that I have no formal commitment to be working on my research again until January, but the plan was always to start in October/November. I really needed the break, but there are some important funding deadlines coming up around March next year, so I need to get back up to speed and hit the ground running in January. I'd like to have quite substantial drafts ready by the time I meet my supervisor in early January, and given that I haven't worked for several months and a lot of the previous year passed in a blur, I need to get focused. I need to spend quite a bit of time bringing myself up-to-date with general developments in my field (which changes amazingly quickly), and then I need to get cosy with my research topic again. I'm looking forward to all of this, but the logistics of getting back to work aren't simple...
All of my research papers and books are in boxes in the attic, mixed with all our other possessions ready for our move. I intended to start work again once we had moved (this Friday, hah!), but the move-from-hell isn't going anywhere fast, so I'll now have to unpack all the boxes and trawl for my work. *sigh*. Plus, as we turned our study back into a second bedroom, I don't have anywhere to work right now (how much longer can I blame everything on the move-from-hell?!). Our house is very tiny, so there's no room anywhere else for a desk and a bookcase, and I really need at least a little space. I think I'm even more conscious of this than I would normally be, as I know it's going to take me a while to get to grips with my research again, and I don't want to be put off by my environment. My last desk in OUE City looked over a beautiful garden quad, I had lots of bookshelves and I was just minutes away from some of the world's best libraries, so I'm not surprised to be a little wistful as I sit here perched on the sofa with my laptop.
I'm going to try to resolve the situation a little by working at my Mum's house. She has a study which is very cluttered right now, but she's said I can clear it out a bit. It'll be really nice to have somewhere to work away from home. I'm going stir crazy here right now, and it's only going to get worse once we're back into tidy-mode for house viewings. The downside of my Mum's house is that there's no internet access, which means I'll have to be very organised about finding on-line resources ahead of time, plus (and this is the worst bit!) I won't be able to take blogging breaks during the day. :( Nevermind, productivity will reign!
So, from next Monday I should have the physical requirements of work sorted out, but I'm also worried about the emotional side. I'm used to having other grad students around and being in a university environment. Whether it's attending discussion groups and seminars, or just chatting over coffee, I'm used to the intellectual stimulation and companionship that comes with research. But now that I live several hours away from OUE City, I don't have the same access to intellectual and emotional support for my work. Sure, if there's a really important lecture or meeting I want to go to, I can make the journey, but I can't just do that to have a quick chat with a colleague or a mutual rant with a friend. I'm just worried that the lonely business of research is becoming even more isolated for me. When we eventually move to Trendy Seaside City (okay, I'm not going down that route again ;)), I'm determined to become involved locally, so that even if I don't have the academic support I used to have, I won't be alone so much. I think that will really help. For now, I'm in limbo and I've got to do my best to stay positive.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Feeling crafty...

I visited a very cute little craft centre with my Mum today, and it was lots of fun to look at all the different items people had made. All manner of crafts were on display...paper items, hand-made cards, decorated wood, needlework, fabrics of all sorts, beads and lots of knitted items. Whilst I've always loved browsing at craft centres, I've never really got into crafts myself. I don't think it's because I'd be hopeless, but because I've always seen it as something I don't have time for. I was really happy with the invites and other stationery that I made for our wedding, but aside from that, I've never really made anything. Maybe I've never recovered from the trauma of my sewing teacher at school making me unpick and re-sew a pencil case way too many times! But now seems like a good time to do something a bit creative...something to provide me with a little distraction from everything else that's going on. But what??? I want to start with something simple enough that I won't get frustrated and throw it in the bin. Maybe make something Christmassy...cards? Maybe a simple knitting project? If so, what?
Any ideas and advice from crafty bloggers would be much appreciated...I promise to blog photos of my efforts, however pathetic... :)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

What's been happening...

  • I'm relieved to say that I've finally made some progress health-wise, and am feeling a lot more positive that things are moving in the right direction. I've had tons of pain in my left leg and also down the left side of my back and ribcage, which became pretty swollen. Despite three 8 hour round-trip visits to my doctor in OUE City over the past couple of weeks (and, geez, travelling that far with back pain is so not fun), she really didn't offer any advice or possible explanation. She just told me to take pain medication and see how things were in a few weeks. Great. I understand that my doctor thinks that a lot of my physical symptoms are just lingering niggles from the past couple of years which will disappear as I gradually get better, but honestly, pain that stops you from sitting, laying down and walking normally can't be good, right?
  • And so, I decided to go see my osteopath. He'd been amazing in the past when I had neck/shoulder trouble, but I really thought that the pain I'm suffering from now was not bone/muscle related, but something that he wouldn't be able to help with. I was nervous about the appointment, not because I'd be pulled and prodded about, but because I was worried that he couldn't help and I'd be no nearer to getting better. Fortunately, that didn't happen. He immediately (and literally) put his finger on the problem. I apparently have two ribs that are partly trapped and my pelvis and lower back are not properly aligned right now. Sounds horrid, but I'm just so glad to finally know what's wrong. I'll need a series of appointments to get things back in place, but I can already feel things freeing up a little. Yay for my osteopath...he's my hero of the week!
  • If I can have an inanimate hero of the week, it has to be this. I'm totally in love with my fleecy microwavable wheat bag. Actually, I have 2 small ones, plus the larger hot-water bottle shaped one. They definitely helped ease my discomfort this week, and I know that they'll also be great to snuggle with when I have cramps or just need something warming in winter. They're awesome and smell wonderful too (the small ones are citrus and eucalyptus and the larger one is lavender)...I'm definintely going to be buying some for Christmas gifts.
  • I also started back with therapy the week before last. It had been quite a long break, as the OUE Therapy Service only opens during term time, so I hadn't been since late June. I was a little reticent about going back again, as I'd been working through quite a few tough issues before the summer break, and there was part of me that just wanted to put off dealing with it all again. But I did go, and I'm glad I did. I've had the same therapist for nearly two years, and although it's now a long journey to see her, I don't think I'm ready to stop therapy yet or to see a different therapist nearer to home. Actually, I find the journey home very helpful as it gives me the space to go over the session in my own mind. There are definitely some things that I've been talking about in therapy that I want to blog about, but I need to get my thoughts clearer first.
  • What else? Oh yes, your very favourite Pink Cupcake blogging topic...my impending move. Well, it's all gone to hell in a handbasket. To cut a very long saga short, we won't be moving anywhere anytime soon and I couldn't be more p*ssed off about it. There are some major legal problems with Dream Flat, which our oh-so-unobservant lawyers didn't even notice. Were it not for LLH and some of his colleagues in the Commercial department, we'd probably still be completely unaware of all of these difficulties which are so bad as to make the property unmortgageable right now. Sorting all of this out is potentially very complex and costly, and may not even be possible, but after much hand-wringing we decided to go for it and try to resolve the problems. However, as we wouldn't be able to move into the flat next week as planned, our most immediate problem was that we'd soon be homeless. Fortunately, my Mum said we could stay with her (which has its own issues - it's not easy to stay with someone who has lived alone for 12 years and who has a completely perfect house with not one thing out of place, but that's another story), and I began to arrange storage.
  • I wasn' t happy about any of this, especially as I still wouldn't have a permanent base and somewhere to finally unpack all of my research, but we resigned ourselves to the fact that at least we'd sold our house. Houses aren't selling particularly quickly around here right now, so homeless or not, Dream Flat or not, at least we weren't still going through the house-selling nightmare. Or so we thought...
  • Our perfect house-buyers (first-timers with no property to sell and a pre-approved mortgage loan) who were all but ready to exchange contracts are no longer able to proceed. One of them has lost her job and they now can't get the mortgage. They may be able to sort things out if she finds another suitably stable job, but who knows how long that could take. I just can't believe the entire catalogue of disasters that our (non) move has been. And now we're back where we started from in June. It looks like I'll be calling real estage agents again on Monday and starting the endless cycle of cleaning and fretting. Not sure I can face it, but there's no other option. Plus, with the slowness of the property market here right now, it's very unlikely that we'll be able to buy Dream Flat, even if we sort out the legal problems. *sigh*. Okay, so I didn't manage to cut the long house saga very short, but I honestly could have gone on much longer, and did need to get it off my chest. It's really made me a grumpy cupcake. :(
  • Not wanting to end this long post with doom and gloom, here's a few positive things that have happened too...
  • I had my bi-annual eye test and apparently my eyesight has improved! I didn't even know it could improve. I'd always thought that it only deteriorated with age, but apparently not. My sight was pretty good anyway, but my optician recommended that I wear my glasses even less...yay! Although I do think they make me look more intelligent and studious. ;)
  • I caught up with one of my best friends in OUE City. As I don't really see many people since I've been living back in Sleepy Boring Village, I'd forgotten how much I just enjoyed hanging out for coffee with my grad school friends. It was fun to have a really good conversation about all sorts of important and unimportant stuff (which I haven't really done with anyone but LLH for ages).
  • To compensate for the fact that it will be a bit longer before we get our own cat, LLH bought me this. I love its sparkly eyes.
  • I've been reading The Return of the Timewaster Letters. I'm not sure that it's quite as funny as The Timewaster Letters, but it's still very good and well worth a chunk of anyone's procrastination time. Be wary of reading it in public though, it's the kind of thing that makes you spontaneously laugh out loud.
  • Oh, and I got the Sixth Season of the West Wing on DVD. Woo hoo! I think it's possibly moving from idealistic to fantastical in parts, but whatever, LLH and I both love it. We're already up to episode 15 out of 22. No prizes for how I'll be spending my Saturday evening...

Hope you're all having a great weekend, and thanks, as ever, for of the supportive comments you've left recently, they really did mean a lot to me. :)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Back soon...

Just checking in to say that whilst I haven't posted much recently, I'm not deserting my blog forever. I miss posting a lot, but right now I just don't feel up to it. I'm still not feeling well and I don't really want to blog about that, but I can't really focus on writing about much else either. I could blog about being achy and miserable, but even if anyone else could suffer reading that kind of stuff, writing it won't make me feel a lot better. I just need to ride this out. I hope I'll be back on track very soon...in the meantime I'll be reading all of your blogs.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Barely porcupines...

In keeping with the property obsession in the Pink Cupcake House, LLH and I were just watching a TV show where people go house-hunting. Tonight's couple insisted that they wanted a property with character and period features, but they clearly didn't. They wanted to rip the beautiful victorian fireplaces and all manner of beautiful, original features out of every single property they looked at. They were really beginning to piss me off and I commented to LLH that they were cultural philistines. He retorted, 'Philistines. No, Pink Cupcake, they're barely porcupines'.
Yes, it's very silly, but it totally cracked me up. I love that I'm married to someone who can make me smile and laugh at the smallest of things...the kind of things that wouldn't necessarily be funny if anyone else said them.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

You probably all knew this already...

...but I love that the White House Biography of President George W Bush is the top search result if you google 'miserable failure'.

The Surprising Seven...

I must be the last person to do this, but here's 7 things that might surprise you about me:

1. I met my husband in a monastery. No, he didn't run away from the brotherhood to marry me and become a corporate lawyer...It is a pretty amusing story though, so I'll definitely blog about it soon.

2. My first serious boyfriend came out during our relationship. At the time it didn't make me feel any better when he said 'I just felt that if I could have been straight with anyone, it would have been you'. I can laugh about it now, but how I wish that Will and Grace had been on TV back then...

3. I know way more than anyone would ever need to know about Champagne. Of course, with grad student finances this knowledge is pretty much wasted, but hopefully not forever. :)

4. My wedding dress was a replica of the dress worn by Audrey Hepburn for the ball in My Fair Lady (below).

5. I've seen two stuffed dictators - Mao and Lenin. Next up, Ho Chi Minh and Kim Il Sung...

6. I once played Bloody Mary in South Pacific. It took weeks for my pale skin and blonde hair to recover from the masses of black spray on dye and thick brown make-up. All in the name of art... ;)

7. It took me three years to learn to drive and I've only driven once since I passed my test (first time!) three years ago.