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    Beating Beethoven’s record - Oct 23rd, 2014
    I woke up at 6.30 on Sunday morning. The rain was dumping down like mad and I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to start the day. I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep. I was, to say the least, feeling a bit underwhelmed. [more...]

    It’s parliamentary, my dear - Oct 21st, 2014
    When I first arrived in Scotland in 2001, the new Scottish Parliament was quite new. In fact, they didn’t even have a permanent building! But finally, in 2004, the building was completed and the MSPs moved in. [more...]

    A flourish of hate - Oct 12th, 2014
    Today’s creative writing prompt was simple: Craft a story or a poem based on the metaphor “A flourish of hate”. Only it wasn’t actually simple at all. In fact, it was pretty harrowing. [more...]

    Shooing shoes - Oct 8th, 2014
    Well, I’ve done it. I’ve finally bought myself a new pair of black heels—nearly five and a half years after my last pair was purchased. I admit that this is something that should have been done a long time ago, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it until recently. [more...]

    A day at the Kelvingrove - Oct 5th, 2014
    I spent yesterday in Glasgow visiting the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It’s one of those places I can return to over and over again. In fact, I’ve probably been there a dozen times over the last 12 years. I kind of feel like that’s not often enough, but as the friend I was with has only been twice in the same time span, I guess I’m doing OK. [more...]

    Ness, again - Sep 29th, 2014
    Yesterday was the 2014 Loch Ness Marathon, with 2,478 people crossing the finish line at the end of the gruelling 26.2-mile course. I was one of them, crossing under goal time by more than five minutes. (Yay, me!) [more...]

    Pride to the power of 10 - Sep 24th, 2014
    My friend, LA, introduced me to The Bliss Scandal so I decided I’d sign up and see what it was all about. To be completely honest, I wasn’t interested in taking most of the challenges. But that’s OK because I think that’s part of finding your bliss: Knowing when to say “no”! Anyhow, today’s challenge was one I was excited about because it was one I needed. And I needed it because it gave me an opportunity to think positively about myself. (Something I’m struggling with right now.) [more...]

    ITP Awareness Month: My rituximab experience - Sep 24th, 2014
    [Guest post] I was diagnosed with ITP in July 2006. After four years on and off prednisolone, a quick round of nausea inducing azathioprine, and a memorable Christmas with shingles in 2009, I had rituximab treatment in August 2010. Until April 2013 I entered remission. However, in April my ITP returned so I had a further round of rituximab. In this article I relate my rituximab experience to give an insight into what happened to me, what I understand it does, and what the results have been so far. [more...]

    A silly challenge - Sep 23rd, 2014
    Confession: I am a bit of a silly person. And I enjoy being silly. I think being silly is loads of fun! OK, I suppose I didn’t really need to confess that, because I imagine that most people already knew that about me. But in case there were one or two people who didn’t know … it’s been said now. [more...]

    Bob and Dave’s 2014 review - Sep 18th, 2014
    Today was Bob and Dave’s annual check-up, to determine just how well they’re coping with life. Bob and Dave, if you don’t know, are my kidneys. They suffer from polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and have lived their entire lives working really hard to keep ahead of the disease. [more...]

    Perambulating in Perth - Sep 15th, 2014
    I had a wonderfully fun weekend in Perth, where I did a lot of perambulating. (But you could probably guess that from the title of this post.) A friend met me at the train station on Saturday, and then we made our way to St John’s Kirk before heading out for a nice meal. Then on Sunday, we wandered along the “William Souter Walk”. [more...]

    ITP Awareness Month: A brave child - Sep 13th, 2014
    [Guest post] It all started when we got back from our family vacation last year. I was getting my then-five-year-old daughter, Destiny, to bed one night when I noticed a bunch of red dots all over her stomach and legs. I asked my partner to come look at it and she said it looked like it could be heat rash, so we decided it was nothing to worry about. A couple days went by and we saw even more little red dots. [more...]

    ITP Awareness Month: ITP positive - Sep 11th, 2014
    [Guest post] My ITP adventures started on Friday, July 28th, 2006, and my life changed dramatically from that day. Probably like many other ITP sufferers, I had never before had any serious illness. The diagnosis of ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) was a complete shock. For ages I could not correctly pronounce it let alone understand what it was—but looking back I had probably been suffering from it for about a year before diagnosis. [more...]

    ITP Awareness Month: A sister’s view - Sep 9th, 2014
    [Guest post] Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. Try saying that three times fast. No? Okay, how about we just call it ITP for short. But what is ITP, you ask? It is a disorder that makes people bruise easily and means that when they get your average, every day, run of the mill cold, they could end up in the hospital because their immune system isn't quite up to the task of fighting off the cold on its own due to their low platelet count. [more...]

    Inaugural success - Sep 6th, 2014
    Today was another race day. This time, it was the inaugural Scottish Half Marathon near Edinburgh. The course follows part of the Edinburgh Marathon course, so I had some familiar views along the way. And I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed the entire experience. (Well, except for my slow time.) [more...]

    ITP Awareness Month: An iceless challenge - Sep 1st, 2014
    Right! It’s ITP Awareness Month again so let’s start raising some awareness! I decided to tackle awareness month differently this year, because I think we need to start shouting a bit louder. After all, sometimes you have to raise your voice to raise awareness. [more...]

    Random memories: Three dates and you’re out! - Aug 22nd, 2014
    I was 25 years old when Rupert asked me out on a date. He was a “local boy” a few years older than me and had just returned to town after working a few seasons on the fishing boats in Alaska. [more...]

    London girl - Aug 20th, 2014
    I’ve been quiet here on Just Frances once again, but if you ask my friends, they’ll tell you I haven’t been quiet in reality! That’s because I’ve been away to London. (And busy giving my first-ever public talk!) [more...]

    Random memories: Airless nights - Aug 7th, 2014
    I was in my mid-20s, and still rather unsure about how the dating world worked. I couldn’t always tell if a guy was flirting with me, mostly because I always just assumed he wasn’t. (Years of being told I was the “least attractive” Cook Girl had destroyed my self-confidence.) [more...]

    Ancient blogs - Jul 31st, 2014
    In preparing for a talk I’m giving next month about online reputation management, I went back and reviewed some of my old accounts. And that’s when I re-found one of my early (though short-lived) blogs. [more...]

    Will work for beer - Jul 27th, 2014
    I love beer, I really do. So when one of my favourite local breweries—Stewart Brewing—needed some extra hands bottling a large batch of their award-winning Hollyrood pale ale this weekend, I happily jumped at the opportunity. I mean, one day’s work for a bit of cash and a few bottles of freshly bottled beer? That’s every students’ dream come true! [more...]

    Poster parcel pizzazz - Jul 19th, 2014
    I’m heading to the iFutures: Research into Practice Conference in Sheffield early next week to present a poster. It’s the same poster I presented at the SICSA Conference in St Andrews in June, but I’m pretty excited about the opportunity to share my research plans once again. [more...]

    Running with PKD - Jul 16th, 2014
    Several times a week, people find my blog by searching terms related to running with PKD, which prompted me to do a wee Google search to see what others have written on the subject. I was surprised to see so little on the topic, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about it. After all, I am a runner with PKD so I have a little something to add to the (limited) conversation. [more...]

    Training brews - Jul 13th, 2014
    The annual Scottish Real Ale Festival is taking place in Edinburgh right now so I spent yesterday afternoon there with a couple of friends. We used it as a wee “training session” for next month’s Great British Beer Festival—though I acknowledge that was just our flimsy excuse for drinking beer all afternoon. [more...]

    Dating downtime - Jul 12th, 2014
    No one said that dating was going to be easy, but I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it’s been. Part of that, I suppose, is because I had this naïve notion that I’d just meet someone, sparks would fly, and the rest would be a lovely little fairy-tale. After all, that’s how it happened last time. [more...]

    Spectacular jousting - Jul 6th, 2014
    Oh, what a wonderful day I’ve had! It was fun! It was exciting! It was filled with laughter! It was, simply, spectacular! Yes, I spent the day in Linlithgow enjoying Historic Scotland’s Spectacular Jousting on the grounds of the palace. [more...]

    Abracadabra - Jul 4th, 2014
    I’ve never been much of a magic fan (I’m far too sceptical) so when a friend asked if I wanted to catch a show during the Edinburgh International Magic Festival I was a little bit meh about the idea. Still, it was a good excuse to have some friend-time—and I was given the privilege of picking which show we’d see, so I figured I was pretty safe. [more...]

    Exhilarating sadness - Jul 3rd, 2014
    I was so excited when I saw the Saw Doctors were on tour in Scotland. Well, Anto and Leo, at least. I was even more excited when I found a couple of friends who wanted to go with me last night. [more...]

    A change of course: Loch Ness, again - Jul 1st, 2014
    After two failed attempts to run a full marathon in 2013, I decided that I would run only half marathons in 2014 to work on my time for “shorter races”. Yes, I was adamant that 2014 would be a year of halfs and that I wouldn’t run another full until 2015. [more...]

    Quietness - Jun 29th, 2014
    I’ve been quiet lately and I’ve found it hard to get back into the swing of things because I don’t know how to move past the silence. It’s like when you don’t call someone for a few days then feel guilty for ignoring them so you continue the silence rather than face the embarrassment of apologising for not being in touch. (Certainly I’m not the only one that happens to?) [more...]

    I joined the gym, and God laughed - May 28th, 2014
    I hate running in the rain. It sucks. It’s wet and miserable and icky and yucky and extremely unpleasant. So, inevitably, I make excuses for why I can’t do a training run if it looks like rain. [more...]

    Another half done - May 26th, 2014
    Well, that’s another half marathon done and dusted. Sadly it wasn’t my best showing, but I showed up—and I finished!—so it counts! [more...]

    Running excuses - May 23rd, 2014
    It’s time once again for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, which means it’s time once again for me to make some lousy excuse for why I will have a horrible time. (Running time, not emotional time.) [more...]

    Nine years on - May 21st, 2014
    Nine years ago today, I stood in front of God and my family and friends to profess my love and devotion to the man I expected to spend the rest of my life with. As it turns out, we had a little less than four years before he went ahead to meet God without me. [more...]

    Inch by inch - May 18th, 2014
    I spent a wonderful day on Inchcolm Island, exploring the abbey and surrounding grounds. It was one of those happy days, despite there being a slight tug on my emotional heart strings. But I knew that would happen as the first (and last) time I was there was nearly 12 years ago with Paul. [more...]

    Where blooms the sweet bluebell - May 17th, 2014
    Today is the start of a four-day weekend for me so I’ve made a concerted effort to get out of the house so that I don’t spend the whole time hidden away in my room. So I asked my housemate if he was up for a wee walk somewhere. [more...]

    The reward system - May 14th, 2014
    I decided a while ago that I would start rewarding myself for various milestones along my PhD adventure. In part because treats make things a bit more special, and in part because I would never treat myself to something otherwise. [more...]

    My anxiety story - May 13th, 2014
    It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, with a focus on anxiety, so I thought I’d share my personal story on the topic. Please know this is a hard thing for me to write because I’m opening up and sharing something that is upsetting and embarrassing to admit. But if sharing my pain can help someone else who isn’t able to share their own story, it’s worth it. [more...]

    An idiosyncratic IPA - May 10th, 2014
    Back in February I had the enjoyment of participating in a beer tasting to help Hot Rum Cow pick a special brew. And two days ago, I got to attend the party that launched the winning brew into the public sphere. (Yay!) [more...]

    Retreating to nature - May 7th, 2014
    On the second day of the retreat, we had the morning free for activities before an afternoon of presentations. Once again, I was left solo on my activity choice because I didn’t fancy sailing or mountain biking, and it seemed no one else fancied a wee nature walk and exploration of an old burial ground. [more...]

    Retreat to the castle! - May 7th, 2014
    The first day at the retreat centre began just after lunch, and we were all given opportunities to participate in an activity prior to a short presentation before dinner. I wasn’t keen on the idea of playing on the water, so opted to take one of the bikes into town to check out the old ruins of Finlarig Castle. [more...]

    Stopping for the (Mel)roses - Apr 27th, 2014
    On my way to England yesterday, I made a stop at Melrose Abbey in the Scottish borders. It had been about a dozen years since my last visit but as that was part of a bus tour stopping at three abbeys in a day, I hadn’t been able to fully explore the ancient building and its grounds. [more...]

    Although the storm still rages - Apr 26th, 2014
    Today marks five years since I lost my beloved husband so suddenly; so unexpectedly. You’d think that after five years it would feel like a distant memory, but there are still days when it feels like it was only yesterday. [more...]

    Talisker 10: A random memory - Apr 24th, 2014
    I bought a bottle of Talisker 10 today, and it reminded me of the last bottle I bought exactly one year ago. It was a happy memory marking a not-happy event, and I found myself laughing about it when I remembered today, so I’ll share the story. (Are you excited?!) [more...]

    Escaping the comfort zone - Apr 23rd, 2014
    Life begins where your comfort zone ends. The magic happens outside of your comfort zone. Success, happiness, excitement, love … it’s all found outside of our comfort zone. [more...]

    An unexpectedly sweet day - Apr 17th, 2014
    For the last few weeks, I have been struggling to overcome my desire to eat loads of candy and sweets as part of my Lenten sacrifice. If you’re a regular Just Frances reader—or if you know me at all—you will know that giving up sweeties is a fairly major undertaking. [more...]

    Dating data - Apr 14th, 2014
    As part of my decision to be a bit more proactive about my return to the dating world, I’ve enlisted the help of a couple of friends who’ve assisted with (gulp!) online dating profiles as well as a few “old fashioned” introductions. [more...]

    Hungry girl - Apr 4th, 2014
    I am almost finished with my Lenten sacrifice (only 15 days to go!) and I’m starting to feel hungry. Really, really hungry. But I don’t know if it’s a real, physical hunger or a psychological response to my self-denial. Either way, I’m hungry and I don’t like feeling hungry! [more...]

    Appreciating St Giles’ - Mar 29th, 2014
    It’s been more than 12 years since I first stepped through the doors of St Giles’ Cathedral along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, and I’ve probably been through the doors a dozen times since then. Admittedly, not much has changed since that first visit other than me. [more...]

    Your challenge: Build up, don’t knock down! - Mar 27th, 2014
    I woke up this morning and checked my Facebook feed whilst waiting for my snooze-cycle to end. Only what I read angered me so much that I couldn’t stay still for the full 10-minute “bonus rest” and I found myself getting up and pounding out a quick-and-angry reply to the poster. But the anger and rage remained as I went to the kitchen to make my coffee. So today, you get to read a rant. (Yay!!) [more...]

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