Just Frances

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All entries tagged with “lessons”

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    Mental Health Awareness week: Knowing my limits - May 8th, 2017
    It is Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK, so I thought I’d share a bit about my recent efforts to keep my mental health in check. As someone who does not live with mental illness, keeping things in check is a bit easier for me. But as someone who lives a largely isolated and lonely life, I am aware that if I do not make concerted efforts to maintain my mental health, I could well end up with mental illness. [more...]

    Broken ankle, Phase III: Getting back to normal - Oct 17th, 2016
    It has now been 12 weeks since I broke my ankle, and I’m pleased to say that I am well on the road to recovery. Though, sadly, I am not back to normal. Yet. However, I am now into the next phase of the healing process, so I expect to get back to normal… eventually. (Eventually, but not soon enough for my impatient nature. [more...]

    Twelve weeks broken - Oct 16th, 2016
    Twelve weeks ago, I broke my ankle whilst walking home from the shops. Twelve long, long weeks ago! And twelve is the magic number because that’s the number of weeks I was told it would take to go through the first bits of the healing process. And that means that today is the last day of Phase II: Learning to walk again. It also means that I am allowed to attempt running tomorrow. (Don’t worry, I’ll be careful!) [more...]

    Finding calm - Oct 10th, 2016
    My time at Serenity Lodge is coming to an end, and I am finding that the calming serenity I found here is starting to fade away, too. Not because this has become a less calming place, but rather because I know that the calm will (mostly) end when I re-enter my reality later tomorrow. [more...]

    No spleen to vent - Sep 10th, 2016
    Regular Just Frances readers will know that I have a rare bleeding disorder called idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP). But what they may not know is that I don’t have a spleen as a result of it. Not because there was something wrong with my spleen, but rather because (sometimes) a splenectomy is seen as a viable treatment for ITP. [more...]

    Broken ankle, Phase II: Learning to walk again - Sep 6th, 2016
    I broke my ankle a little over six weeks ago. At first, there was a bit of novelty to my first-ever broken bone. After a couple of days, I was becoming very unhappy with the lack of mobility—and the pain! However, there was very little I could do at the time other than let nature take its healing course. But now I’m ready for Phase II: Learning to walk again! [more...]

    Four weeks broken - Aug 21st, 2016
    It has now been four weeks since my fateful journey out for some salty snacks; a journey that left me with a broken ankle. I am now on the journey to recovery, but it’s a slow and unenjoyable process! [more...]

    Fostering love - Aug 14th, 2016
    My life was forever changed six years ago, when I opened up my home—and my heart—to a young girl who needed me. The year that followed was filled with the ups and downs of foster parenting, all while still adjusting to my life as a widow. [more...]

    Two weeks broken - Aug 7th, 2016
    Two weeks ago, I slipped on a kerb and broke my ankle. It’s my first-ever broken bone and has really been a learning experience! [more...]

    Will walk for whisky - Aug 6th, 2016
    Yesterday was my first proper outing since breaking my ankle nearly two weeks ago. I admit that I probably shouldn’t have gone out, and that I probably shouldn’t have done as much walking when I did, but it was a much-needed day away. After all, it included free whisky! [more...]

    I am broken - Jul 25th, 2016
    It is official: I have my first-ever broken bone. It's a wee avulsion fracture on my left ankle and it hurts like holy heck! And it’s all because I love salty snacks. [more...]

    Representations of me - Jun 22nd, 2016
    I attended a PhD workshop the other week. It was one of those touchy-feely things where they wanted to talk about coping strategies for balancing life and a PhD. About half-way through the day, we were all handed a lump of grey clay and asked to make a representation of ourselves out of it. And that’s when I realised I really didn’t want to be in this workshop! But I was there, so I had to play along. [more...]

    Dilapidated beauty - Feb 17th, 2016
    With my birthday just around the corner, I am more aware than normal that I am getting older. I am ageing; I am becoming more and more dilapidated as time goes by. I’m not upset about it, I’m just more aware. And, I suppose, I’m a bit wistful. [more...]

    A historic half and half - Nov 15th, 2015
    I spent yesterday at the Holyrood Park Education Centre, getting educated on whisky and beer pairings as part of Historic Scotland’s inaugural “Half and Half” event. The afternoon’s class was put together by The Scotch Whisky Experience and Stewart’s Brewing, and was absolutely fantastic! [more...]

    Time for new routines - May 10th, 2015
    I mentioned a while back that my life was suffering because I was unable (and in some ways, unwilling) to set a few routines for myself. So I’ve been kind of floating around for the last couple of years. And it’s had a very negative impact on my overall physical and mental well-being. [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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    Aprons, fabric, and love - Feb 15th, 2014
    I started off Valentine’s Day yesterday by opening up a lovely box that was filled to the brim with love. It wasn’t a box of chocolate from a romantic interest; it wasn’t even from a romantic interest at all. (There isn’t one yet. But who knows what tomorrow will bring!) In fact, it wasn’t even a Valentine’s gift. Still, I could feel the love flowing out of the box before I even opened it! [more...]

    Just four years - Feb 15th, 2014
    Just Frances is four years old. Wow! Can you believe that I’ve been spewing this utter nonsense for that long? And if you thought I might be nearing the end of rubbish things to talk about, you’re wrong. (No apologies. If you don’t like it, you can just stop reading!) [more...]

    Picking beer - Feb 14th, 2014
    When I learned that Stewart Brewing was having a special beer tasting night, I knew it was a great excuse to make my way to the brewery. And that’s exactly what I did last night. (Despite suffering from a cold. That’s how dedicated I am to good beer!) [more...]

    Prioritising me - Jan 31st, 2014
    When I wake up tomorrow it will be February; the shortest month in the calendar year and my birthday month. Yes, by the end of the month I will finally be a 40-year-old woman. I’m not freaked out about that (yet!) because age is only a number, but I do admit that my birthdays have been (in general) times of personal reflection in recent years. Only this year, the reflection has begun a bit early. [more...]

    Sew what? - Jan 25th, 2014
    After several weeks of mulling the idea of purchasing a sewing machine—but hesitating because my meagre budget wouldn’t allow for anything decent—I lucked out and sourced a used Toyota 8002 through FreeCycle. [more...]

    Stretching budgets by un-stretching skirts - Jan 14th, 2014
    About two years ago, I bought a lovely skirt for about £5 at a charity shop. It was ever-so-slightly too large, but it was pretty and I was certain that it would be OK. Sadly, after a few wears and washes, the elasticised waistband lost its remaining stretch and the skirt became un-wearable. [more...]

    Am I an imposter? - Dec 4th, 2013
    Last night I went to my first Connect talk, and I was left feeling that I certainly need to connect with Connect a bit more! Connect is for women studying computing, engineering, and the built environment at Edinburgh Napier University and, as I am doing my PhD in the School of Computing, I get to be a part of it. [more...]

    Education is Central - Sep 20th, 2013
    I spent a lovely day on the Central Washington University campus today with my lovely niece, Virginia. It was so wonderful seeing the campus all spruced up and ready for the new crop of students (classes begin next week) but it was also wonderful walking around my alma mater more than a decade after graduation. [more...]

    Gel-less - Sep 16th, 2013
    I decided to treat myself to a manicure before the Edinburgh Whisky Fringe more than five weeks ago, and was talked into trying out the gel manicure for an additional £10. I was intrigued by the idea of a manicure lasting two weeks or more and was happy to pay the extra money to have pretty hooker-red nails without worrying about chips. [more...]

    Holes in my head - Aug 12th, 2013
    I was 14-years-old when I got my ears pierced. One hole per ear as an 8th grade graduation gift from my parents. And I knew that it was strictly against the rules to have any further holes added until I was 18. [more...]

    Please, ma’am, I want s’mores… - Aug 4th, 2013
    By the time I was six years old, I had consumed countless s’mores. They’ve been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember and I can’t really imagine having a campfire without them. But then, I am an American girl—born and bred! And, in America, we do love our s’mores! [more...]

    A quiet reflection - Jul 11th, 2013
    I’ve been a little quiet lately, and it seems that my absence from the digital world has been noticed. I guess that when people expect to keep up with your life through your website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, they get a little antsy when you cease using all of them at once. [more...]

    Snail lessons - Jun 2nd, 2013
    I’ve spent the weekend out in the garden which has turned into quite the snail lesson for me. [more...]

    How to peel a banana - May 18th, 2013
    For years, I have secretly (or maybe not-so secretly) been annoyed by the way people open their bananas. I would watch people do it the wrong way and I would cringe at their sloppy ignorance because—obviously—my way was the right way. [more...]

    Homeless for a cause - Mar 23rd, 2013
    Last night, I found myself sleeping on the cold streets of Edinburgh in the howling winds and forbidding temperatures. It was miserable weather for being outdoors at all—let alone for sleeping in. But still, I chose to do it. [more...]

    Tasty tortillas - Aug 11th, 2012
    Today we’re going to have a wee cooking lesson. But it’s also a lesson in budgeting and in ridding ourselves of un-needed preservatives. And as the topic of tortillas has come up a few times in the last week, that’s what we’re going to play with today. [more...]

    Words about me - Jul 5th, 2012
    I am participating in an online thing where a few people are getting together to chat through a moderated forum run by a grief counsellor. It’s kind of an experimental thing run by the niece of a woman I used to know, and when the moderator went looking for participants, this woman suggested me. [more...]

    Say no to bunny boilers! - Apr 18th, 2012
    There is a new campaign against stalking starting in the UK today and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to talk about stalking on Just Frances. The National Campaign Against Stalking aims to talk about stalking and to educate people on what stalking is and the rights that victims of this (in my view) act of psychological terror. [more...]

    Paper bird of happiness - Apr 4th, 2012
    When I boarded the bus today, I was met by a pretty little Origami crane that was perched on the seat next to me. It had been made with someone’s bus ticket and it looked very much like it was there for someone to find. [more...]

    My shattered ego - Mar 8th, 2012
    I’ve gone back and forth over if I would share a specific sliver of my life with you or not. And I almost chose not. But the issue came to light again over the past couple of days and I suppose I feel a bit compelled to share it now. (I don’t know why, because it’s rather humiliating.) [more...]

    Got milk? - Jan 17th, 2012
    If you’re American, you may not realise that milk is a very important part of British culture. From the 1946 School Milk Act (an addendum to the Education Act 1944) to Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher and from breast milk ice cream to the order in which one adds tea and milk to a mug, milk seems to be more than just another beverage. [more...]

    A lesson in carols - Dec 24th, 2011
    Being a guest in someone’s home at Christmas means the joy of participating in the traditions of the family. It’s a chance to experience new things and to learn new lessons. In fact, today’s tradition shared was a lesson, indeed. A lesson in carols, that is. [more...]

    Good ol’ goulash - Nov 8th, 2011
    I love goulash. Growing up, I was always happy to see it on the dinner table. Later, as a grown-up, I loved going to my folks’ house and seeing leftover goulash in the fridge—and eating it! But I realised that I’ve never actually made it myself. [more...]

    Budgeting - Oct 15th, 2011
    Before I graduated from university money was tight. My adult life, until shortly before I got married, was spent not spending money. No, really. Money was so tight that a $5 banking error could have meant complete destruction. [more...]

    The proof is in the pudding - Apr 2nd, 2011
    A few weeks after we got married, Paul asked me to make rice pudding. I’d never made it before but found an American recipe and got to cooking. The end result was a happy me—because it turned out just as I would expect an American version of rice pudding to turn out—and an unhappy Paul—because it was nothing like he expected. [more...]

    Laughter from above - Mar 14th, 2011
    I think Paul laughed at me today. No, I’m certain he rolled on the floors of Heaven with extreme belly laughs. I think that he did some tisking under his breath and all. Why? Well let me tell you a little story… [more...]

    A public service announcement - Mar 8th, 2011
    This will be a short post—or rather, a short public service announcement—because I am using my Dad’s netbook as I am unable to get online with my own awesome laptop. [more...]

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