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    Death and cake - Aug 30th, 2019
    I attended my first “Death Café” last weekend. I had heard about these events in the past but had never had the time to attend, so when I saw that Marie Curie Hospice Edinburgh and Just Festival were hosting a Death Café at St John’s Church, I leapt at the chance to go. [more...]

    My 2019 Homeland Holidays - Aug 15th, 2019
    I have been off on my Homeland Holidays the last couple of weeks, and am now home in Scotland settling back into my daily routine. And, as always, I am already looking forward to my next trip home! (As I’ve said before, having two “homes” is hard!) [more...]

    Clearing out and moving on(ish) - Jul 25th, 2019
    I cleared out my PhD office at Edinburgh Napier University today. It was a bit of a strange feeling as I know that I will be back in the office a few more times before the end of the year as I finish up a project that I am working on with my colleague, Gemma. But at the same time, I’ve left. I am no longer a PhD student. I am no longer an associate lecturer. I am no longer a regular employee, although I am still listed as associate staff whilst I do some mop-up work. But mop-up work isn’t quite the same, and the paycheques have ceased! [more...]

    Gunpowder in the glen - Jul 15th, 2019
    Yesterday I enjoyed a gentle 6(ish)-mile walk to and from the old gunpowder mills in the Roslin Glen. It was a great way to stretch my legs at the end of the weekend, and the weather was more than cooperative for the adventure. [more...]

    The doctor is in: Frances Ryan, PhD - Jul 6th, 2019
    It has been a long time coming, but I am finally a doctor. Oh yes, I am now officially Dr Frances Ryan. The PhD kind of doctor, not the medical kind – just so that there is no doubt. [more...]

    My thesis shoes - Jul 1st, 2019
    Regular readers will know that my PhD Dreams have been an important part of my life for a few years now. And excitedly, my PhD Dreams will come true this week when I walk across the stage at Usher Hall to accept my degree from Edinburgh Napier University. Of course, an important walk like that deserves a very special pair of shoes. In fact, an important walk like that deserves a pair of one-of-a-kind thesis shoes! [more...]

    Lovely Ljubljana - Jun 22nd, 2019
    I am back home from my trip to Slovenia and am longing for the lovely Ljubljana already! The weather was wonderful. The city was wonderful. The entire adventure was wonderful! [more...]

    With love from Ljubljana - Jun 19th, 2019
    I am in Ljubljana, Slovenia at the moment for an academic conference, and I am falling in love! Why? Because much like my visit (and subsequent love affair) with Zadar, Croatia, a couple of years ago, I have found myself drawn to the countless graffiti hearts littered around the city. [more...]

    The doctor will be with you shortly - Jun 15th, 2019
    That’s my final thesis submitted and all of the paperwork completed for my PhD graduation on the 4th of July. Are you as excited as I am? [more...]

    14 years a Mrs - May 22nd, 2019
    It has been 14 years since I became Mrs Ryan, although most of that time has been spent as a widow rather than a wife. Yet despite the widowhood, I always feel the need to mark my anniversary in some way. [more...]

    Tolvaptan tales: Two years later - May 13th, 2019
    Wow! It has now been two years since I started taking tolvaptan, a drug that is meant to slow the progression of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). I can’t believe how my experiences with it have changed over these two years as I’ve grown accustomed to the side effects and the day-to-day routines I’ve developed. [more...]

    The border of Berwick and grief - Apr 28th, 2019
    On my way home from visiting my late husband’s grave, I stopped off in Berwick-Upon-Tweed for some adventuring. I thought that it would be a good way to shake off the tears and to make a few happy memories for myself. [more...]

    Ten years a widow - Apr 26th, 2019
    Today marks ten years of widowhood; ten years since my darling husband died so unexpectedly in the middle of the night. These past ten years have felt like a lifetime, yet they’ve gone by in a flash. Sometimes it feels like only yesterday that Paul and I were planning for our bright and happy future. But here I am moving forward into a future that doesn’t include my love walking by my side. [more...]

    Fife in ruins - Mar 31st, 2019
    I have enjoyed a lovely adventure day out to Fife with a friend today, which has left me both energised and exhausted all at once. But I do admit that I like the feeling of a well-earned exhaustion! [more...]

    Passed, with minor corrections - Mar 3rd, 2019
    I am very pleased and extremely relieved to be able to (finally!) announce that I have passed my PhD viva – and with only minor corrections! This good news comes after more than five years of hard work and emotional turmoil, and I am just so thankful that my PhD Dreams are almost a reality. [more...]

    45, yet only 21 - Feb 21st, 2019
    Today is Thursday, 21 February. I was born on Thursday, 21 February. And on this very Thursday, 21 February, I am 21 in Scrabble tiles. [more...]

    A buried church - Feb 16th, 2019
    I enjoyed a quick mini-adventure to uncover treasures at a buried church today. Which probably sounds more mysterious an adventurous than the reality of the adventure! [more...]

    A letter a day - Feb 1st, 2019
    February is letter-writing month, which means I will be writing a letter a day for the whole of February. Regular readers will know that I am an avid letter-writer and that I’ve taken part in “Letter Month” for a few years now (in addition to the letters I write throughout the year). [more...]

    Another Rosslyn day out - Jan 27th, 2019
    One of the lovely things about living so near to the Rosslyn Chapel and the Roslin Glen is that I can explore them whenever I want. And as the weather is a bit too wet and windy for climbing in the even-nearer Pentland Hills, that is just what I did yesterday when my friend came to visit. [more...]

    A mindful 2019 - Jan 1st, 2019
    As is tradition, a new year means a new resolution. Generally, my resolutions are set as a way to focus on self-improvement in realistic terms. Although they are also a bit vague and are rarely measurable (with the exception of my running goals). And this year is no different! [more...]

    Reflecting on 2018 - Dec 31st, 2018
    As 2018 winds to a close, I find myself reflecting on the year and how I’ve fared over the last 12 months. And, as always, I am trying to focus on the positives. Well, I say I am focusing on the positives, but I am also thinking about the negatives. Although to keep the upbeat tone of my annual reflection, I am concentrating on the positive outcomes of any negative bits of the year. [more...]

    A cross in the Pentlands - Dec 28th, 2018
    Tucked away in the Pentland Hills is a memorial to the Tytler family of Woodhouselee. It is so very near to my cottage, yet I have only just now learned of its existence. And so, today’s adventure was a short walk to visit the site. [more...]

    Climbing Castlelaw - Dec 26th, 2018
    For my Boxing Day adventure, I decided to revisit one of my favourite “quick” walks: Castlelaw Hill, in the Pentland Hills by way of the Castlelaw hill fort and souterrain. The walk is nice because I can knock it out in about two hours (including time to stop for photos) and it doesn’t kill my energy for the rest of the day. [more...]

    Rambling through Rullion Green - Dec 24th, 2018
    This afternoon I enjoyed a Christmas Eve walk into Pentland Hills to visit the Battle of Rullion Green memorial with my housemate. The weather was a bit colder than ideal, but at least the frozen ground provided a bit of stability as I made my way across the fields of frost-hardened mud and muck! [more...]

    Half a Marcothon - Dec 18th, 2018
    And with that, my Marcothon days are over. Yes, I have failed in my attempt to run every day throughout December. But at least my attempt means that I ran more days in December than I ordinarily would have. [more...]

    My Marcothon madness - Dec 1st, 2018
    I ran today. And I will run tomorrow. And the next day. And, if all goes well, I will be running every day in December. Yes, I have signed up for Marcothon 2018 and all of the madness that entails. [more...]

    An adventure to the anatomical museum - Nov 25th, 2018
    Yesterday’s adventure day out was a trip to the Anatomical Museum at The University of Edinburgh. The museum was never really on my radar, but I learned through last weekend’s Bloodscape adventure that it would be open this weekend. So, it just seemed that visiting was “meant to be”. And to further the kismet-ness of the day, as I waited for my bus into town, I visited the museum’s Twitter feed and learned that there was a lecture about William Burke that was due to start shortly after my planned arrival time. [more...]

    Bloodscape: An adventure - Nov 18th, 2018
    I took part in a fun, blood-themed scavenger hunt yesterday. The event, Bloodscape, was designed to explore changing blood trends as part of the 2018 Being Human Festival. As someone who has a rare blood disease, and who loves geeky learning adventures, I was thrilled to be able to participate! [more...]

    November down - Nov 15th, 2018
    Remember when I talked about the frustrations of the chronically ill? Well, my failed plans for an active November are a part of that frustration! Yes, I am half-way through my planned super-productive, super-active, and super-plugged-in November, and I've accomplished nothing. There's nothing like a bit of chronic illness to remind you that you're not actually in charge of your own health! [more...]

    Thesis = Submitted! - Nov 1st, 2018
    As any regular Just Frances reader will know, my PhD Dreams began a few years ago. And my actual PhD studies began nearly five years ago. And now, I have finally submitted my PhD thesis for examination. (Yay!) [more...]

    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...]

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