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    Thesis season: September update - Sep 1st, 2018
    As thesis season continues, I am starting to feel more and more confident that I will manage to complete my thesis without (too terribly much) stress. And as September begins, I am excited (and nervous) about the next 61 days. (Yikes! Only 61 days to finish writing. How scary!) [more...]

    The fewer; the prouder: 100 years later - Aug 13th, 2018
    One hundred years ago, in 1918, Opha May Johnson became the first woman to (officially*) enlist in the United States Marine Corps. Back then, women were only able to be in the reserves, but she helped to forge the way forward and 30 years later, women were able to enlist as “regular” Marines. Although, in my experience, women Marines are more than regular; women Marines are remarkable! [more...]

    Thesis season: August update - Aug 2nd, 2018
    With August now upon us, I am aware that there are only three months remaining for “thesis season”. And that is a scary realisation when I stop to think about how much work I have yet to do. And so, the next three months will be spent writing, writing, writing… and writing a bit more. [more...]

    Frustrations of the chronically ill - Jul 17th, 2018
    I have been thinking about illness a lot lately. Especially about the frustrations of being chronically ill. Even more about the frustrations of being chronically ill, yet also being relatively healthy. And, of course, I have been thinking about how being ill and healthy at (almost) the same time is, at times, soul-destroying. [more...]

    Thesis season - Jul 1st, 2018
    Wow! It is the 1st of July already. And that means that my PhD thesis is due in just four months’ time. Yikes! Of course, that means that the next four months will be all about my thesis. Thesis, thesis, thesis. And writing, writing, writing. And, most likely, stressing, stressing, stressing. [more...]

    No, that’s not breast cancer either - Jun 27th, 2018
    It was nearly five years ago that I first felt a lump in my breast and panicked about the possibility of cancer. At that time, a quick trip to my doctor’s office laid my fears to rest. But then I found another lump; a larger one that was very different from anything I’d felt before. [more...]

    All holidays must come to an end - Jun 19th, 2018
    And with that, my Homeland Holidays have come to an end. Yes, after two (and a bit) weeks in America, I am now back in Scotland; back to my reality. But I had a great holiday and created a lot of new memories to keep me going until my next visit. [more...]

    The spirit of wild horses - Jun 14th, 2018
    Today was another wonderful day of enjoying my Homeland Holiday. This time, it started out with a drive to Vantage to visit the Wild Horses Monument with my Daddy. Although, the monument is technically called “Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies”. But as all of the public signage calls it Wild Horses, that’s the name it’s best known by. [more...]

    Best friends, forever! - Jun 13th, 2018
    A Homeland Holiday is never complete without a visit with my best friend. And that means a trip to Portland for some bestie time! [more...]

    A mid-holiday holiday - Jun 11th, 2018
    As part of my Homeland Holidays, I took a short city-break to meet up with a friend from my academic life. It feels a little odd to have taken this break, as I have only been in The Homeland for a week. But as we were both due to be in Washington State, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to catch up and talk shop. [more...]

    Climbing Manastash - Jun 6th, 2018
    This morning started a bit earlier than normal, as it was an adventure day with my Daddy and my Goddaughter, Virginia. The adventure? Climbing Manastash Ridge. [more...]

    The Godmother - Jun 3rd, 2018
    Today, I became a Godmother. Again. This time, to my wee nephew, Cameron. And whilst all of my Godchildren—and indeed, all of my nieces and nephews—are very special to me, Cameron marks a special point in my Godmother status. That’s because Cameron is the first of my Godchildren to be baptised; he is the first of my Godchildren to be “bound” to me through a religious ceremony. [more...]

    Homeland holidays: 2018 - Jun 2nd, 2018
    I am in the states for my summer holidays. Two weeks of family, friends, and fun. And, hopefully, a bit of nice weather! [more...]

    Exploring Penicuik with Murphy - May 29th, 2018
    I spent the last few days in Penicuik dog sitting Murphy and exploring the local sites. Murphy is a nearly-2-year-old Golden Retriever. His people are my dear friend’s sister and her partner, which is how I got the gig. [more...]

    My 2018 running goal: Met and re-set - May 22nd, 2018
    At the start of the year, I set myself a gentle running goal: A simple sub-30 5K. I chose the goal because I knew it was manageable with a bit of work—but not so much work that I was pushing myself too hard to meet the goal. After all, I only needed to shave 2-2.5 minutes from my slow times. [more...]

    Tolvaptan tales: A one-year review - May 14th, 2018
    This past weekend marked one year since I started taking tolvaptan. In that year, I have learned quite a bit about how to manage the medication as I go about my day-to-day life. This post is intended to share my experiences for my own personal reflections, but I hope that it will serve as an information starting point for others. However, please remember that your experiences may vary. [more...]

    A sunny climb up Arthur’s Seat - Apr 21st, 2018
    Part of my plan to climb Arthur’s Seat (at least) once a month in 2018 is to explore different parts of the hill. So whilst I generally take the route past St Anthony’s Chapel on the north side of the hill, today I wandered around to the south side to make my ascent. I have taken the route before, but today was the first time I’ve taken the route on my own, with the luxury of enjoying the experience at my leisure. [more...]

    Applying for the next phase - Apr 20th, 2018
    I submitted my first post-PhD life job application today, which I am counting as a milestone moment (hence the celebratory bubbles illustrating this post). [more...]

    Crossing the causeway at Cramond - Mar 24th, 2018
    I spent today adventuring around Cramond and Cramond Island. I have wanted to explore the village and the island for some time now, but have never managed to make plans. So when I saw that the safe crossing times worked with my schedule, I decided to make the trip a reality! [more...]

    Accepted: “Blurred reputations: Managing professional and private information online” - Mar 16th, 2018
    Note: This post was originally shared on my PhD blog, www.FrancesRyanPhD.com. Last month, I was notified that a journal paper I wrote has been accepted for publication. The paper, “Blurred reputations: Managing professional and private information online”, was co-authored with my PhD supervisors, Peter Cruickshank, Professor Hazel Hall, and Alistair Lawson. It began life as a peer-reviewed conference paper at the Information: Interactions and Impact Conference (i3) in Aberdeen, Scotland and has since been expanded and refined for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. [more...]

    My PKD liver (or PKD-associated PLD) - Mar 12th, 2018
    Regular readers will know that I have polycystic kidney disease (PKD). What they might not know is that I also have PKD-associated PLD (that’s polycystic liver disease). In fact, 75-90% of people with PKD also have PKD-associated PLD. [more...]

    Walking around Caerketton - Feb 27th, 2018
    I took the weekend off from my PhD studies to re-focus my brain with some healthy fresh air. On Saturday, I did that by exploring St Anthony’s Chapel and climbing Arthur’s Seat. And yesterday, I climbed Caerketton Hill to further my weekend of self-caer. [more...]

    A wee pilgrimage to St Anthony’s Chapel - Feb 24th, 2018
    Today was another climb up Arthur’s Seat, as part of my goal to climb the hill at least once a month for the whole of 2018. It was also my first solo climb to the top and my first time exploring the ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel. [more...]

    PKD information and support day: A recap - Feb 15th, 2018
    Last weekend, I attended the ADPKD Information & Support Conference in Edinburgh. The event was hosted by Professor Neil Turner and the PKD Charity UK, supported by the Edinburgh and Lothian Health Foundation Renal Endowment Fund. The event marked the 10th year since the first information day was held in Edinburgh. The post to follow is a recap of my experiences and learnings from the day. (With links to further information, should you be interested.) [more...]

    Arthur’s inspiration - Jan 16th, 2018
    I found myself at the top of Arthur’s Seat this past weekend, which means I’ve reached the summit two months in a row—after not having climbed the hill in about a year. My December climb was with my nieces and a friend from my university and this weekend’s trip to the top was with a friend who was visiting from out of town. Each climb was a different experience and combined they gave me a bit of inspiration for the year ahead. [more...]

    The travelling girls - Jan 12th, 2018
    My lovely nieces, Virginia and Krystyne, returned to America last Friday after their first-ever international adventure—and I think I am just about recovered from the non-stop excitement of their visit. And so, it’s time I share some photographic evidence of their time here in Scotland (along with a wee recap of their visit). [more...]

    2018: Just a PhD - Jan 1st, 2018
    A new year means a new resolution. And this year, I have just one resolution: To finish my PhD. Yes, that’s it: My 2018 New Year resolution is just a PhD. [more...]

    2017: Undone, indeed - Dec 31st, 2017
    2017 is over. It was meant to be my “year of doing” but, alas, it would seem that it was a year undone. Undone, indeed*. [more...]

    Deck the halls - Dec 19th, 2017
    Christmas is coming—as are two of my nieces—so I have decked the halls! But the boughs of holly will have to wait for a couple of days, because the girls will need to collect them from grounds of the estate after they arrive. After all, it’s only fair that they do at least some of the decorating, since if they weren’t coming I probably wouldn’t have done any decorating! [more...]

    Holiday favourites - Dec 7th, 2017
    Today’s post is brought to you by a writing prompt. The prompt is to “write a list of your favourite holiday activities”. I wanted to pick a different prompt, but as it’s the prompt I was given, I feel that I need to tackle it. But in my own way. Because it’s my blog so I get to make (and alter) the rules as I see fit. [more...]

    DC in a nutshell - Nov 7th, 2017
    I spent last week in Washington, DC for an academic conference. But as luck would have it, I was able to catch up with several friends whilst I was there, too. This post is about that week, in a nutshell. [more...]

    Grief and the art of “moving forward” - Oct 15th, 2017
    I am a widow. I was widowed when I was a young woman of 35 and my life has never been the same since. In the blink of an eye, I went from eagerly awaiting becoming an adoptive parent with my amazing husband to being a grieving widow. [more...]

    An ambitious October - Oct 1st, 2017
    After returning from my Homeland Holidays at the end of August, I had great hopes for a spectacular September for my PhD. Only I got sick that first week and spent the whole of the month recovering from my visit to my deathbed. Sadly, that less-than-spectacular September means that I need to have an overly ambitious October to catch up. [more...]

    Exploring the past: Greenwood Cemetery - Sep 29th, 2017
    I spent a bit of time exploring the “old” Cle Elum cemetery when I was in the Homeland this summer. And in doing so (and talking about it with others on Facebook) I realised that not many people know about the place. So I’ve decided to share as much information as I can—with a hope that others will chime in to share any information they have. The abandoned graveyard, Greenwood Cemetery, was an active burial place for people in the Upper Kittitas County area from 1903 until 1923 when Laurel Hill Memorial Park became the main cemetery. When Greenwood closed, most of the inhabitants of the graves were moved to Laurel Hill. Most, but not all. [more...]

    Tolvaptan tales: A four-month reflection - Sep 16th, 2017
    It has been about four months since I started taking tolvaptan, which is a great opportunity for an update. As with the post I shared about my experiences in the first month, the information shared here is meant as an information starting point. It is not medical advice; it is simply one woman’s experiences. Your own experiences may vary. [more...]

    The holiday ends here - Aug 29th, 2017
    After three wonderful weeks in the Homeland, I am heading home to my Heartland of Scotland. My bags are packed, I’ve checked in at the airport, and I’m waiting for my flight to board. And I am crying. As I always do when I say goodbye to my parents. [more...]

    Summer reunions in the Homeland - Aug 27th, 2017
    One of the great things about my American holidays this year has been the reunions. Each of my three weekends has brought another group together, which means that I have been able to catch up with a lot of people with ease. [more...]

    Caching up with Parker and Haden - Aug 26th, 2017
    Holidays to the Homeland means time with my nieces and nephews. I treasure that time as it allows me to catch up with what everyone is doing—especially as they’re all growing up and starting to live their lives as adults. My catching up time with Parker and Haden was especially treasured, as I got to introduce both of them to geocaching. So in addition to catching up, we got to cache up! (I am so punny!) [more...]

    Caching up on the Old Highway - Aug 24th, 2017
    Before my trip to the Homeland, I checked out the local geocaches to see what new adventures I could enjoy. That’s when I found that there was a trail of 24 caches along the Old Highway that links Upper and Lower Counties. But as my holiday has progressed, I began to wonder if I would have time to enjoy the trail. [more...]

    Casting shadows as the sun disappears - Aug 21st, 2017
    Today was one of those “once in a lifetime” moments that I hope (and expect!) will happen more than once in my lifetime: A total eclipse of the sun! It’s something that happens fairly often in the grand scheme of things, but it’s not all too often that it happens at a time and place that allows me to enjoy the wonderment. Of course, if it weren’t for the fact that I am in my Homeland for a holiday, I would have missed this year’s Spectacular Event! [more...]

    A Sunday hike to Pete Lake - Aug 13th, 2017
    I always knew how lucky I was to grow up in the beauty of Upper Kittitas County. I loved that I could escape into the woods around town during the summer. I loved that I could relax in the quiet bliss of nature. I loved knowing that my backyard was the whole of the Cle Elum Ridge and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. I loved that I could just hike in the great wilderness that surrounded me. Anywhere, anytime. [more...]

    Child at play - Aug 9th, 2017
    I’m in my Homeland for three weeks and that means I’m ready for some playtime! This is my first visit home since my Daddy’s 70th birthday party and my first visit home in nice weather. And that means that my beloved bike, Sarafina, gets to come out to play with me! [more...]

    The holiday starts here - Aug 7th, 2017
    After nearly three years, I am finally heading home to America for a holiday. My bags are packed, my tickets are printed, and my excitement levels are high. And, apparently, there is a cold root beer waiting for me on the other side of the customs and immigration barriers. (Along with hugs from my parents.) Yay! [more...]

    Back to Blackness - Jul 22nd, 2017
    I was invited out for a mini-adventure with a friend and her kids. And as you know, I can rarely turn down an offer for an adventure! So, it was off to Blackness Castle we went. It was the first visit for my adventure partners, but I was going back to someplace I’ve been before. [more...]

    Falkirk for a fortnight - Jul 20th, 2017
    I have just returned home after two weeks in Falkirk where I was house sitting (whilst taking orders from the resident cat, Phoebe). It was a nice little break away from my typical routine and gave me the opportunity to “live alone” for a short time. It was also a great way to focus my brain on a grant proposal I’m working on. Importantly, it was also an opportunity to finally see a bit of Falkirk. [more...]

    Busy presenting - Jul 3rd, 2017
    In recent weeks, I have been busy presenting work related to my PhD. The first two of these presentations were as workshops designed to help others understand how to manage their online information. The second two presentations were sharing the findings from my empirical work as an academic poster and a conference paper. I think that Just Frances readers might enjoy some of the materials I sent, so I’ve decided to share a bit about it here. [more...]

    It was his loss, too - Jun 16th, 2017
    When we think about the grieving that happens after the death of a loved one, we often think about the suffering those left behind are left to face. And certainly, that is what’s talked about most. We talk about our pain; we talk about our changed paths; we talk about what we lost and we’ll miss out on. Because when we grieve, we’re not just grieving the loss of our loved one; we’re grieving the loss of the life we had; the life we planned. [more...]

    Tolvaptan tales: The beginning - Jun 10th, 2017
    Last month I shared that I was getting ready to start a new medication called tolvaptan. The drug is meant to slow the progression of my kidney disease (polycystic kidney disease, or PKD) which is the best I can hope for as there is no cure for it (yet). I struggled to find any good, in-depth reviews before starting the drug, so I decided to share my experiences here. [more...]

    Toasting twelve years - May 22nd, 2017
    Yesterday was (would have been?) my 12th wedding anniversary. And much like last year, I spent the day distracting myself with my PhD before taking some time to reflect and remember my happy days as a happy wife. This year was a bit different, however, as I didn’t spend the day alone. Instead, I travelled to Falkirk in the afternoon after spending the morning in my office. [more...]

    Talkin’ tolvaptan - May 11th, 2017
    Tomorrow morning, I will start taking a new drug called tolvaptan, which is meant to slow the progression of my kidney disease. When I was first recommended for the drug, I went in search of some user experiences online. But my search didn’t bring up any blog posts or laypersons’ stories and testimonials. So I’ve decided I would get my experiences out there for the next person Googling about tolvaptan and PKD! I will try to share a couple (maybe a few) progress updates, too. All posts related to my experience with tolvaptan will be tagged as such, in addition to my general PKD tag. [more...]

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