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    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    May madness - May 1st, 2017
    As I enter the lovely month of May, I am aware that it will be a manic month filled with mayhem and madness. There is so much to be done and I know that I risk becoming overwhelmed and stressed because of it. So, I’ve decided to embrace May’s madness from the start because I manage better when I know I’m entering a mentally challenging time. [more...]

    Broken ankle update: Broken running - Mar 14th, 2017
    There seems to be a bit of interest in my on-going ankle recovery, specifically around running. So, I thought I’d give a wee update for those who’ve already asked—and for those who’ve not asked but might care! This post will also serve as a general “my experiences running after a break” post, to address those specific questions. [more...]

    Thesis writing season - Feb 1st, 2017
    I am entering thesis writing season now and am really looking forward to the stress and excitement that it will bring. I am not sure how long this season will last, and I’m not sure how my well-being will survive it, but I am really looking forward to it. Not because I’m looking forward to experiencing the stress, but because getting through this season is a massive part of getting to the Doctor Ryan bit of these PhD Dreams of mine. [more...]

    The plastic planet predicament - Jan 15th, 2017
    Anyone paying attention should know by now that the gloriousness of plastic is less than glorious. And, in fact, our planet is in quite the predicament because of it all! Sadly, part of the predicament we’re in is that we can’t really live without plastic in the modern society. Not, at least, at the present. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try. Right? [more...]

    Just a wee half - Jan 8th, 2017
    Oops, I’ve done it again. After declaring that I would not be running any half (or full) marathons this year, to ease back into post-broken ankle running, I have officially signed up for the 2017 Scottish Half Marathon. I didn’t intend to do it, but my running partner has convinced me to do it. (He didn’t have to work hard for that. At all.) [more...]

    Dating disclosures - Jan 2nd, 2017
    Since (a few failed attempts at) re-entering the dating world post-widowhood, I have learned that there are many struggles to dating in the modern era. From the drama of online dating to the drama of just dating at all, I have learned a lot about how to navigate the dating world as a “young widow”. But I am realising that there are still things I have yet to figure out. (And maybe I’ll never figure them out!) [more...]

    Revamped running resolutions: Realised! - Dec 29th, 2016
    Thanks to this summer’s broken ankle, I had to make some changes to my 2016 resolutions. Today, those revamped running resolutions were realised! (Yay!) [more...]

    Just published - Dec 7th, 2016
    One of the cool things about having your own blog that is just about you (as Just Frances is) means that I get to shout from the keyboard when I’ve managed to reach a personal goal. So, here goes: This week, I had an academic paper published! (Yes, a successful academic career is a personal goal!) [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...]

    Getting less thin - Aug 21st, 2016
    I need to start this post by saying that I know I am not overweight and I don’t think that I am fat by any means. However, I am getting less and less thin. And whilst some of that is just the normal process of ageing and inevitable metabolic changes, most of it is 2016. Yes, I blame 2016 for the fact that I am getting less thin. [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...]

    Thesis summer - Jul 1st, 2016
    This summer is Thesis Summer for me. It’s the summer when I must, without excuses, get my head down and write, write, write! Luckily, July and August are two months devoid of conferences, training events, seminars, and other activities that take me away from my focus. So I’ve decided that I will devote them to my thesis; I will devote them to my PhD dreams. [more...]

    An Edinburgh non-starter - Apr 24th, 2016
    With five weeks to go until the Edinburgh Half Marathon, I’ve realised that it’s time for me to be honest about my ability to participate. And, if I’m honest with myself, I don’t think it would be wise for me to attempt it… even though there’s a stubborn voice in my head telling me to risk it. [more...]

    The answer to life, the universe, and everything - Feb 21st, 2016
    Today is a special day in my life. Today is the day I become the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Yes, today I am 42! [more...]

    Filters, finds, and falls - Jan 3rd, 2016
    I enjoyed a nice wee wander up to the filter beds near Glencorse Reservoir to find a geocache near a waterfall today. I even saw a filly along the way. As it happens, it was the first time I’ve left the house all year, and it really felt good to stretch my flexors! (I’ll leave the alliterations alone now.) [more...]

    2016 half goals - Jan 2nd, 2016
    Right. It’s a New Year and therefore time to state my new running goal. And for the first time in a long time, my goal doesn’t include a full marathon. It’s hard to say that, but I know it’s the right decision at this point in time. Especially because training for a full marathon really impedes my ability to hit my half marathon goals. [more...]

    Gastropod grief - Dec 17th, 2015
    It started a little over a year ago. Every few days, I would wake up and there would be faint, shimmering lines on the carpet in my bedroom—always along the path of my laptop’s power cord. My first thought was that maybe there had been an electromagnetic something-or-other that interacted with the man-made fibres in the carpets. I didn’t really give it much thought, especially as it wasn’t a daily occurrence. [more...]

    Training month - Aug 1st, 2015
    As September is a month of races, I’ve decided that I should probably make August a month of training for races. And so, I’ve started the month off with a seven mile run and I’m looking forward to increasing my mileage throughout the month. [more...]

    Certifiably sane - Jul 3rd, 2015
    For nearly two years now, I’ve been experiencing an extreme amount of stress. Some days and weeks have been harder than others, but there hasn’t really been a period of un-stressed time. And a few months ago, the stress got so bad that I was struggling to function. [more...]

    Journaling July - Jul 1st, 2015
    Regular Just Frances readers may have noticed that I haven’t been writing on a regular basis lately. In fact, they may have noticed that I’ve had a couple of irregular writing periods over the last year or two. But I’m going to change that this month by journaling the entire month. (Subscribers, you can unsubscribe if daily posts are too much for you!) [more...]

    Coffee me happy - Jun 7th, 2015
    As part of my desire to create better, healthier routines for my physical and mental well-being, I decided I needed to get back into the habit of enjoying my morning routine. After all, I need something to entice me out of bed in the mornings. And since the only thing I’ve consistently done every morning for the majority of my adult life is to drink a cup of coffee, I decided that I would pin my morning routine on that. [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...]

    Alarming nightmares - May 6th, 2015
    For the last six years, I have experienced a wide variety of what I call “widow dreams”. Some are more upsetting than others, but they are rarely (and in fact, almost never!) panicked nightmares. And, for the most part, the dreams don’t impact my overall sleep patterns. [more...]

    Deletion therapy - May 3rd, 2015
    Clutter is everywhere. It’s in our closets. It’s in our kitchen cupboards. It’s in our bathroom cabinets. It’s in our desk drawers. It’s in our glove boxes, garden sheds, attics, and handbags. Clutter has taken over our physical space. And it has taken over our digital space, too. [more...]

    Resetting routines - Apr 13th, 2015
    I spoke the other day about the higher-than-normal levels of personal stress I’m experiencing, and that I feel I need a break from my current way of life to re-set my soul. Part of the problem is that I’ve been unable (unwilling? unmotivated?) to create a routine over the past 18 months. [more...]

    Breaking points - Apr 9th, 2015
    Life is hard these days and sometimes I wonder what my limits are. Sometimes I wonder how many more disappointments and frustrations I can manage before I reach my breaking point. And, to be completely honest, I’ve felt very close to finding out in recent weeks and months. [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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    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...]

    The dangers of counting calories - Mar 14th, 2014
    I am not fat, nor am I at risk of becoming fat—unless I drastically change my eating and exercise routines. At the same time, I am not (too) thin. But I can see how counting calories could make me too thin—or at least too obsessed about my calorie intake. [more...]

    Keep living until you feel alive again - Feb 23rd, 2014
    “You will feel better than this. Maybe not yet. But you will. You just keep living, until you’re alive again." I heard this quote the other day and it struck a chord with me. The words were spoken on an episode of Call the Midwife by one of the nuns who was offering comfort to a young woman who had just lost her boyfriend and was going away to grieve. [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...]

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