Just Frances

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    My PKD story - Mar 11th, 2015
    As part of World Kidney Day and National Kidney Month, the PKD Foundation has asked people to share their PKD story. This is mine. [more...]

    Half a disappointment - Mar 9th, 2015
    Yesterday was my first race of the year, and was my slowest-ever half marathon. I am, to say the least, disappointed. Still, I finished the 31st annual Inverness Half Marathon and I feel good for having done so. [more...]

    The Wardlaw Mausoleum - Mar 7th, 2015
    I’m up in Kirkhill this weekend for tomorrow’s Inverness Half Marathon, and have managed to get a bit of sightseeing in—along with the obligatory pre-race carb training. And, of course, I’ve been enjoying the fabulous company of fabulous friends. (And some fabulous cooking, too.) [more...]

    Edinburgh’s Wild West - Mar 5th, 2015
    I finally got around to downloading the Geocaching app on my phone, which means I can do a bit of urban geocaching now. It also means that I get to learn about quirky little places I might otherwise never know about. Which is exactly what happened today when I found myself on what could be mistaken as a low-budget movie set. [more...]

    Looking for love - Mar 4th, 2015
    Dating is hard. Dating in your late 30s and early 40s is hard. Dating as a widow is hard. And trying to do all three at once is a massive challenge! (I imagine that had I been blessed with children, dating would be nearly impossible!) [more...]

    Just a widow burden - Mar 1st, 2015
    From time-to-time, I get emails from people reading my blog. And today was one of those days. It seems that a relatively new widow, Lucy, found Just Frances last week and has spent several days scouring old posts about widowhood—as well as posts from my old widowhood blog. [more...]

    Always the sun - Feb 22nd, 2015
    The weather forecast today was for sleet and snow. But I was enticed out for a walk with a friend, so bundled up to face the elements. I admit that part of me hesitated to go because I was in a mildly sulky mood. But then I remembered that spending time with dear friends always warms my soul. So when my friend arrived to pick me up, I happily went out into the sleet. [more...]

    Spa 41 - Feb 21st, 2015
    Astute Just Frances readers may know that today is my 41st birthday. And curious readers may wonder how I celebrated the day. So, that’s what this post is all about! [more...]

    Deconstructing 40 - Feb 20th, 2015
    Today is my last day as a 40-year-old woman. It’s the last day of what I had hoped would be an empowering and fabulous year of my life. But really, it’s just the last day of another year of my life. Nothing life-changing; nothing that will carry me through to the next year. It was, just a year. [more...]

    Lenten rice - Feb 18th, 2015
    Today is the first day of Lent, and also a fasting day in the Catholic Church. I’ve decided to observe several fasting days over the Lenten period and I’m oddly looking forward to it. [more...]

    Letters home - Feb 12th, 2015
    As part of February’s letter-writing challenge, I’ve decided that I need to think a little more about who I write to. Obviously, I can write to family and friends, but I want to spread the joy a little further afield. [more...]

    Stripy popcorn afghan - Feb 11th, 2015
    Way back in October 2012, I started to work on an afghan that was intended to resemble a faded flag. Only my Mum came to visit a couple of days later and then I was busy applying for PhDs and then I was busy sorting visas and starting my PhD and, well, you get the point. [more...]

    A month of letters - Feb 5th, 2015
    There’s a fabulous challenge taking place this month to write a letter for each day of postal service. (That’s 23 letters in America, as Sundays and Presidents’ Day don’t count.) I think it’s a great idea, though I acknowledge I’m not going to manage it. [more...]

    Random memories: Why green? - Feb 4th, 2015
    My favourite colour is green, and has been since I was a young child. I’m sure most people know that, but I doubt that anyone knows why. Well, today I’m going to tell you! [more...]

    Compliments and criticisms - Feb 3rd, 2015
    What do the words “you’re pretty” and “you’re wrong” have in common? I struggle to accept them! Compliments and criticisms are very similar to me in that way. Though I don’t suppose I’m alone. Especially among my fellow low-self-esteemers! [more...]

    Joyful pennies - Feb 2nd, 2015
    Things don’t always happen the way we’d like them to. In fact, I can fairly say that things seem to work against my desires the majority of the time. But I am blessed because I can still find those little moments of joy in along with the frustrations. (And those little moments keep me going!) [more...]

    Focused in February - Feb 1st, 2015
    I’ve decided to dedicate February to getting back into a good, healthy routine. The idea is this: If I can re-focus enough of my energies, I can spend more of my days feeling accomplished and less of them feeling scattered and lost. [more...]

    Life laughs - Jan 19th, 2015
    Sometimes I feel like the world is laughing at me; like life is laughing at me. Sometimes I feel like my entire life has been one failed attempt at happiness after another—though with short bursts of joy before tragedy strikes! [more...]

    A dress-down skirt - Jan 11th, 2015
    When I was back home in America on my holidays, I was offered a couple of dresses that didn’t fit just right. But as the previous owners were happy for me to experiment on them, I gladly brought the garments back to Scotland with me. [more...]

    Every penny counts - Jan 7th, 2015
    What’s a penny worth to you? Is it worth stopping what you’re doing so that you can bend over and pick it up? What if I told you that one penny could make a real difference in someone’s life? [more...]

    Castles and hillforts - Jan 4th, 2015
    Between yesterday and today, I’ve managed to get a bit of walking and sightseeing in. It’s been a great way to spend my first weekend of 2015—and my last weekend before heading back to the office tomorrow after two weeks’ holiday. [more...]

    I am sad and lonely - Jan 3rd, 2015
    I took myself into town today for some sightseeing and struggled over how I felt about the day. I had originally planned to spend the day with a friend, but our plans were cancelled so I found myself alone. But alone isn’t always a bad thing, and I was determined to enjoy myself. And I think I did, mostly. [more...]

    10 to-dos for 2015 - Jan 2nd, 2015
    I really do love the start of the New Year, because it’s a great opportunity to start fresh. To that, I generally love the end of the year, too, as it’s a great motivator to finish one year’s tasks before moving on to the next. [more...]

    20 and 15 in 2015 - Jan 1st, 2015
    In addition to my general New Year’s resolution to be more optimistic and hopeful, I have set myself a few goals to reach over the year. I’ll talk about some of them from time-to-time, some might never be talked about but will be written down, and some will remain within my own mind, known only to me. [more...]

    A hope-filled start - Jan 1st, 2015
    Welcome to 2015! It’s a new day; a new year; a new opportunity for happiness and joy! And as always, I’m choosing to start the year off with hope! [more...]

    Reflections of 2014 - Dec 31st, 2014
    The end of a year can only mean one thing: An obligatory end-of-the-year reflections post! At the start of the year, I had grand visions of joy and laughter. Things were going rather well and I felt confident that it would be a year of mostly good and happy things. [more...]

    The charity exchange - Dec 30th, 2014
    I like to start the New Year with a fresh, clean start (as much as possible), which means doing a bit of de-cluttering and organising. I’ve spent the last couple of days clearing through various cupboards and dressers to help with that fresh start. [more...]

    Berry nice; bargain price - Dec 28th, 2014
    There’s something berry nice about a wee nip of flavoured vodka on a cold winter’s evening. Only if you’re a starving PhD student who is working hard to trim her budget, it’s difficult to justify the extra costs. [more...]

    Groovy new shoes - Dec 27th, 2014
    As any runner knows, shoes are an important part of the kit, but I’ve always been a shoe-deny-er, hating to part with my hard-earned money for something as silly as a foot cover. Which probably explains why my two pairs of running shoes are six and seven years old, and each have hundreds and hundreds of miles on them—far more than their recommended distances. [more...]

    Christmas wishes - Dec 25th, 2014
    Christmas is a special time in my world, because it is the celebration of my saviour’s birth. And as it’s a birthday celebration, birthday wishes are a must! So these are my Christmas wishes for you, for me, and for humankind. [more...]

    Remembering Murray - Dec 20th, 2014
    Today was the funeral service for my dear friend, Murray. It was a hard day, but I am so pleased I was able to go and pay my respects to a man I had nothing but respect for. [more...]

    Hand-me-downs - Dec 13th, 2014
    Growing up in a large family, hand-me-down clothing was a regular part of life. It wasn’t necessarily something I hated (after all, I really wanted some of them!) but it certainly wasn’t something I was immensely excited about. I mean, everyone else got brand-new clothes all the time. Everyone. All the time. [more...]

    Vintage smiles - Dec 2nd, 2014
    Some of you may know that I am really a big fan of vintage clothing. And that I have slowly been acquiring my Mum’s old wardrobe over the years. From old handbags to jewellery—and even my wedding dress—I’ve enjoyed taking over her vintage rags. [more...]

    Birthday reunions - Nov 27th, 2014
    Today is Paul’s birthday and I am a mess. No matter how many steps I take forward, there are some moments in time that send me sliding back to the raw grief I felt in those early weeks and months. Birthdays and anniversaries are a couple of the major culprits. [more...]

    Surprise! - Nov 24th, 2014
    Greetings from America! Are you surprised to read that? Well, you should be since very few people knew about my trip. I mean, even my parents didn’t know! Which was the plan, as I was trying to surprise my Daddy for his 70th birthday. [more...]

    A year of PhD dreams - Nov 16th, 2014
    Yesterday marked one calendar year since I matriculated as a research student in the Institute for Informatics and Digital Innovation at Edinburgh Napier University. It’s hard to believe that more than 15 years after first thinking about a PhD, I’m finally making progress on one! [more...]

    The harm of not running - Nov 13th, 2014
    Today’s journaling prompt was to write down five things I do to harm myself, and to talk about what I can do to take better care of myself. It was, like many of these “self-reflection” prompts, a bit hard to look at myself critically. But I did, and what I realised is that one of those harmful things is most damaging of all—even though the harmful thing is based on non-activity. [more...]

    I am; I want - Oct 26th, 2014
    Yesterday’s writing prompt was to write “I am” ten times, then fill in the rest of the sentence. Today’s was to write “I want” ten times, then again returning to fill in the rest of the sentence. I decided to combine the two prompts into one post, as they are ever-so-slightly related. [more...]

    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...]

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