Just Frances

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    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...]

    Defining happiness - Feb 16th, 2016
    As I (slowly) make my way through Tal Ben-Shahar’s book “Happier”, I am faced with questions of just what happiness is. I know that I want happiness; I hope for happiness; I pray for happiness. But what is happiness? Is it as simple as being happy for a moment in time? Is it a long-term state of happy emotion? Or is it something else altogether? [more...]

    Happy milestones [or not] - Jan 21st, 2016
    I have decided to finally read “Happier” by Tal Ben-Shahar. It’s a book I acquired nearly two years ago, but I’ve never quite got around to really reading it. Instead, I’ve just flipped through the pages from time-to-time. I think the reason I’ve never really read it is that I have always felt odd passing by the self-evaluations (called “time-ins”) and personal exercises. [more...]

    An idiosyncratic IPA - May 10th, 2014
    Back in February I had the enjoyment of participating in a beer tasting to help Hot Rum Cow pick a special brew. And two days ago, I got to attend the party that launched the winning brew into the public sphere. (Yay!) [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...]

    PhD dreams: Month 1 - Dec 18th, 2013
    Today marks one calendar month since I began my PhD. And since I promised an update, here I am to tell you about it. Well, about the highlights at least. [more...]

    For the love of books - Dec 4th, 2013
    On Monday, I became the proud owner of a National Library of Scotland membership card. It was one of life's enjoyable moments and brought me the same elation I recall from my first-ever library card for the Carpenter Memorial Library in my hometown many, many years ago. [more...]

    PhD dreams: Week 1 - Nov 22nd, 2013
    It’s been a calendar week since I formally matriculated as a PhD student and a “work” week since my first day as a PhD student. So—as promised—here’s a wee recap! [more...]

    The life of a character - Aug 30th, 2013
    A few weeks before Paul died I began the outline of a book. I was excited about it; Paul was excited about it. He was, after all, the inspiration for the story’s hero. But after he died I realised that I couldn’t write the book as planned. The central story was still there, but the characters would have to change—as would the path that would lead them to the end of the book. [more...]

    A Stirling opportunity - Jun 21st, 2013
    You may recall that I made an enquiry about a PhD studentship back in May, and that I was a bit uncertain about how it would fit with my research interests. But after reading up on the research outline and taking the counsel of some very wise people I know, I decided that it was, in fact, an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. [more...]

    The genius theory - May 10th, 2013
    I took a bit of a self-esteem stumble after being pushed by some hurtful words over the weekend. I really let the words get to me and I started to doubt my goals because of them. [more...]

    Before we blogged - Jan 11th, 2013
    Today I stumbled upon a new blog by the Stirling Library Archives. The blog will post highlights from the 1813 entries in Dr Thomas Lucas’ diaries, a Stirling-based surgeon. [more...]

    A first Friday tradition? - Jan 4th, 2013
    It’s the first Friday of January, therefore the first Friday of the New Year. And a new year is an opportunity for a new start. So, I’ve decided to take advantage of this fact and start a new tradition for myself, since my partner-in-crime has moved away, thus ending the Friday Night Cocktails tradition. [more...]

    A bloody Stirling day - Sep 16th, 2012
    Today was fabulous—even as I sit here with aching muscles and feel completely wrecked. The day started off well, after a fantastic night’s sleep in my new bed, and even though it’s only early evening, I think it’s going to end pretty well, too. [more...]

    Bloody Scotland; bloody fabulous - Sep 15th, 2012
    There is a fabulous literary festival in Stirling this weekend, and I’ve managed to catch a bit of it today. Bloody Scotland celebrates the amazing crime writers in Scotland and (for what little I’ve seen) it’s bloody fabulous! [more...]

    A poetic starter - Jul 25th, 2012
    Since I turned in my dissertation draft yesterday, I’ve decided that I am going to take a week’s holiday to rest and unwind before I have to start working on edits for the final version. So, in between now and July 31, I am on holiday! Which basically just means I’m going to go and do fun things for the next week. [more...]

    No more teachers; lots more books - May 7th, 2012
    Today was my last day of classes. And that means no more teachers. No more admissions-determined schedules. No more sitting through lectures and seminars. No more compulsory interaction with other students. [more...]

    Dusty books - Apr 28th, 2012
    A couple of years ago, a friend took me to Glasgow for a surprise that would really excite my ‘geeky side’. As we made our way to this secret place, I wondered what it could be. My friend knew of my love of books and printing and typography history, so I thought we might be going somewhere to see an old printing press or a collection of ancient manuscripts. [more...]

    Blackberries and bridges - Apr 17th, 2012
    I asked what you wanted me to write about, and the first request was to write about the emotions I’ve felt when engaging with different types of art—books, music, paintings, etc. It’s too much to cover in one post though, so I’m going to break it down into bits; starting with books. So, Jessica W., this is for you! [more...]

    Break-less spring break - Apr 5th, 2012
    It’s been nearly a week since spring break started, but it’s been anything but a break! Still, this is what I signed up for so I’m not complaining. [more...]

    Random thoughts: Simple pleasures - Feb 26th, 2012
    Random thoughts—Week 3: List 31 simple pleasures; pick one and write about it. Last year I was challenged to write a list of 30 things that made me smile and I imagine that this list may include a few duplicates, but I will try to keep those to a minimum. [more...]

    Still classy - Feb 20th, 2012
    OK, since I bored you with descriptions of my modules last semester, I think it’s only fair I do the same for my spring semester modules. After all, I’m sure that you care about these things. And if you don’t well, you should! [more...]

    Booked up - Dec 1st, 2011
    I returned a stack of six books to the library today. And I left with another seven. All to be read and reviewed over the next week. And I’m sure there will be dozens and dozens more in between now and the completion of my master’s dissertation. [more...]

    One man’s junk - Oct 29th, 2011
    We’ve heard it a million times before: “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” Well, let me just say that I’ve found a treasure in amidst the junk—The Junk Rooms, that is. And now, it’s become a Cocktail Mecca for me and my friend, Rebecca, who introduced me to the place. [more...]

    For the grade - Oct 11th, 2011
    I now have less than two weeks to complete my first assignment as a postgraduate student. It’s a bit strange doing school work again, but I am really enjoying it. [more...]

    On a positive note - Jun 27th, 2011
    Yesterday’s post was a bit sad and whilst I’d love to say that I’m over it and that the world is all unicorns and rainbows and shiny things now, it’s not. It’s going to take a while to get to that point because I have a lot of stuff to go through (mentally, emotionally, and physically) to prepare for my happy future. [more...]

    I’ve been Kindled! - May 16th, 2011
    I did it! I purchased a Kindle today. The 3G one. Yay me! I opted to purchase it from Staples in Moscow because I didn’t want to wait a week for it to arrive from Amazon and because it was $3.40 cheaper because of the sales tax savings. [more...]

    Selling swords - May 9th, 2011
    I’ve sold all of Paul’s old swords—finally. I’d gone through them with a co-worker back in February but hadn’t gotten around to doing much more. I think I was worried that it would be a long and drawn out process, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. [more...]

    A light bulb moment - Mar 24th, 2011
    One of the things on the ‘to-do list’ before Paul died was to purchase new bedroom furniture—including bedside tables and lamps. We had everything picked out; it was just a matter of going to get them. But all of the sudden, it didn’t seem important. [more...]

    National Grammar Day - Mar 4th, 2011
    It’s National Grammar Day here in the fantastic United States of America. Are you as excited about that as I am? No? Well, I suppose I didn’t expect you to be. But I am super-duper excited! [more...]

    100 random things - Feb 17th, 2011
    My friend posted a list of 100 random things her daughter wrote about herself out of boredom and I thought I’d give it a shot and create my own list. So, if you’re not already bored, this should help… [more...]

    2010 Christmas card and letter - Dec 16th, 2010
    I sent out my Christmas cards on Monday and, as promised, am sharing the card and letter with all of you. After all, just because you’re not on my mailing list doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the fun of a Christmas card and letter. Right? So, without further ado … [more...]

    Crafty chick - Sep 26th, 2010
    I’d like to tell you that I’m completely over my blue mood, but that would be a lie. I have, however, been having an enjoyable weekend despite it. [more...]

    Lessons of a new foster mommy; Part 1 - Sep 1st, 2010
    It’s been nearly three weeks since the kid arrived and there’ve been loads of little lessons learned. [more...]

    A lunch break rant - Aug 26th, 2010
    So I’m reading the Puget Sound Business Journal whilst eating my lunch and there’s a section called “Online This Week” which shares selected news items* that were posted on their online edition in between weekly print editions. [more...]

    No “E” - Aug 5th, 2010
    Q: What does a geeky word-enthusiast who’s just cancelled her cable do for entertainment? A: She re-reads one of her favorite lipograms, of course! [more...]

    Cutting the cord - Jul 26th, 2010
    I am cutting the cord. Or rather, I am cutting the cable. I’m not replacing cable with satellite and in my rural neck of the woods there is no such thing as aerial reception. So, basically, no more television for this gal! [more...]

    I’m [not] stupid - Jul 22nd, 2010
    Plinky asked me to describe the worst teacher I’ve ever had. I figured that since two teachers instantly came to mind, it was a big enough deal to actually blog about. [more...]

    Whatifs - Jul 6th, 2010
    Whatifs are terrible little things. They hold us back from doing all of the important things in life. They feed on fear and worry and self-doubt. But Whatifs are silly and inconsequential things; they are a manifestation of our insecurities from the dark depths of our imaginations. [more...]

    A lazy day - Jun 27th, 2010
    I started the day off thinking I’d do some weeding in the garden. Maybe work on my tan a bit. So, I broke out the gardening tools and poured a glass of cheap-and-cheerful white wine. Then Schrodie came by to visit and reminded me it was a Sunday. [more...]

    If God used sticky notes - Jun 26th, 2010
    A woman I’ve never met gave me a small book a few days after Paul died. “If God Used Sticky Notes” is just a little picture book but I’ve probably read it 30 times in the last year. [more...]

    Ranking Rankin - Jun 7th, 2010
    I’ve finally read the first book in Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus series, Knots and Crosses. Paul had told me about the series when I was living in Edinburgh—the setting for most of the series—then a couple of years later, we watched a BBC documentary called Ian Rankin’s Hidden Edinburgh after which Paul reminded me again that I needed to read the books. [more...]