Monday, December 6, 2010

House hunting and nervous breakdowns

I vaguely suspect that I may be losing my mind. After much debate, I decided to go see my therapist on Thursday. Most people dealing with their father being terminally ill, losing 4 pets in 1 year, having their bank card cloned, having a very dodgy knee and writing up a Masters would probably have gone to see a psychologist about 4 months ago. Given that the knee/ankle/back/low blood pressure has been quite a costly process and that my medical aid limit was exceeded by about September, I put off therapy for a while. After the way I have been feeling for the past couple of weeks though, I knew it was time to talk to someone.

I had forgotten how nervous therapy makes me. Despite wanting to be a psychologist, the process of laying all my issues on the table is somewhat frightening. The session itself went well and I felt a lot better for it - although I felt weirdly exposed and vulnerable afterwards, and a lot of "stuff" that I need to deal with surfaced. It was good though, and has made me realise that I need to start looking after my own interests a lot more and put myself first a little more often.

The post-therapy weekend was thus somewhat weird. Friday was quite nice, as I worked the morning shift at the vet and then had the afternoon off (I haven't had a proper Friday afternoon to myself in ages!). Sarah and I took her cat, Cassidy, to the vet for it's vaccinations - I went with to help carry the cat while Sarah held Joshua (who is really cute!). Cassidy was far from impressed with the whole thing, but Joshua seemed to relish every second of the outing! The strangest part of the afternoon was Cassidy sitting on my lap and purring - something that she's probably never done to a visitor before, as she used to be extremely shy! I suspect that she was trying to befriend me, so that I wouldn't take her to the vet ever again!

Saturday was a serious emotional rollercoaster. I went for a walk in the morning and found an injured dove which I took to the vet. On the way there, I just started sobbing about the poor dove (and all my other pets who I lost this year), and then had a long sob when I got home. HOMSI and I went out for lunch, and there was more sobbing in the afternoon. Then, all the post-crying endorphins kicked in and the rest of the afternoon was great! We played miniature golf, got pizza and went to see "Spud". I cried in that too, but I'm going to argue that it was a moving story and that crying was acceptable.

I was in a much better mood yesterday. HOMSI and I went to go look at townhouses and apartments, because he wants to buy a place and move off the Sand of Death (i.e. the evil dirt road to his current place, which may have somehow caused the 5 strokes he had this year). We found a really amazing place with 2 bedrooms and a loft area (games room, anyone?) and a thatched double-volume ceiling. The only thing that is making HOMSI think twice about it is that the complex apparently doesn't allow pets (weird because we saw someone walking a dog in the complex). We also saw a really beautiful 1 bedroom place, which had a gorgeous seaside cottage feel to it. I kind of went weak at the knees - everything was grey and white and light and airy and happy. I'm definitely inspired on the decor front - although not sure how I'll deal with white duvets and cats!

In any case, I'm feeling good today and hope that it continues (mostly because the serious mood seesawing is exhausting). Happy Monday!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

There will be days like this

Life really is a box of chocolates. I started off last week in a really bad mood, and have somehow ended up at the other end of the spectrum about 7 days later.

Last week was just incredibly tough for me. The cabin fever at home was just getting worse, and I was starting to panic about my research (or lack thereof). There was also a misunderstanding between myself and the morning receptionist about December leave, which meant that I ended up being asked to work the last 2 weeks of December, which was a little more than I had bargained for. My mom and I had a fight about the dishes, I got mild gastro and I was just tired, upset and hopeless about everything.

I have no idea what changed everything. I suspect that having a good sob and mini-therapy session at Kirstan's place on Tuesday helped. Playing with her Boston Terrier puppy probably helped too. Either way, I started feeling better and actually managed to get some work done, even though I had to work 2 extra shifts at the vet. And the vet and I just dissolved into insanity on Friday afternoon, which saw us trying to calculate the bill for my cat (who was in a fight with another cat) using a pair of red and black Wine Gums. It is probably best not to ask!

The weekend was utterly insane. As I'm working so much in December, I decided to try to get as much of my Chrismukkah shopping done as soon as possible. It also means I can avoid the huge crowds in December (at least that's the theory). So, I dragged HOMSI off to Eastgate on Saturday. This may sound cruel. but I was hoping to get him to start his shopping, because he usually does it on the 24th of December, amidst the last-minute panic. My efforts were unsuccessful though, as he only bought 1 thing the whole day. I was pretty successful though, and only need to buy gifts for the other receptionists at work now! Win!

Sunday was filled with food and people and more food. My work Christmas function was a breakfast buffet at 10:00, and I then raced off to HOMSI's mom's place for family lunch. After that, it was off to a braai at a friend's house. I got home after 19:00, having eaten dessert twice.

This week has been pretty mad so far. I worked both shifts at the vet yesterday, and my 15 year old dog had to be put down, which was really sad. And my car nearly got stolen - something that I've been strangely calm about. As the saying goes though, there will be days like this.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another crazy weekend

After last week's general inactivity, I was hoping for a calm weekend and some time to get my research in order. I don't know what it was about last week, but I was just overwhelmingly unproductive. I level some of the blame at John van der Ruit's book, "Spud", which I started reading last Sunday and which was so brilliant that everything in my life basically came to a standstill. Eventually, I gave in and decided to just finish the book so that I could get around to doing other stuff once it was done. My knee was also really bothering me last week. I think it had something to do with the cold, rainy weather. It just ached for about 3 days and made concentrating on things difficult. And in the midst of all this, I started going a bit mad from being at home with my parents all week. By the time I got to work on Thursday, I was rather glad to be out of the house and even printing accounts became strangely fun!

I woke up at 6:00 on Saturday morning and read for a bit before having breakfast. I wasn't in too much of a rush to do anything, especially since I had a terrible headache. Luckily, my headache disappeared, because I ended up rushing to work, because the other receptionist was sick and couldn't come in. I spent the morning at the vet, which was quiet because it's the middle of the month, and then rushed home to get changed before lunch with HOMSI. We had lunch at Sandton (mmmm.... Wraps...) and then spent most of the afternoon wandering around the mall and looking at the camping shops. We should probably start our Christmas shopping, but that just seems a little too scary right now! I have got some ideas for gifts for HOMSI at least (I'm now paying attention to what he eyes in the camping shops). After this, we headed off to his place and spent the rest of the evening looking through the property guide.

Sunday was completely frantic. HOMSI fetched me at 9:30, having navigated his way past the 94.7 Cycle Challenge. The race is fairly problematic for him, as it starts and finishes near where he lives, in Kyalami Estates. We manage to make our way to the Lifestyle Garden Centre to do some shopping though, and then some general wandering around, followed by the most amazing chocolate cake at the coffee shop in the nursery. It had Lindt chocolate icing. Need I say more?

We were reluctant to try to get back to his place in Kyalami, so we decided to go to Cresta to see a movie. This didn't really work out, because the power went off in the centre as we arrived. We then decided to go to Brightwater Commons to see what movies were showing there, and by that time I was in need of lunch. After a toasted sandwich at a coffee shop, we gave up because it was so hot and drove back to Kyalami. We were quite lucky that we did go back to his place, because something strange had happened to the washing machine, which just kept filling with water - water which then ended up all over the kitchen floor. So, a large part of the afternoon was spent sweeping water out of the kitchen. After that, we went for a walk around HOMSI's area. Most of the land consists of equestrian estates, so we walked down to the lake at the bottom of a hill near where he lives and watched the birds which live in the reeds.

I'm now frantically busy with my research and really hoping to make some progress. And wishing that I could get it all done so that I could go on holiday, which is looking increasingly unlikely. Oh well... Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Procrastination and insanity

I'm back - from a neuro assignment, 2 exam equivalents, marking 50 tests and 50 essays, a 5 day hike and a semi-comatose post-hike sleep.

The end of October and the beginning of November were utterly mad. I had to write a critical analysis of a journal article for my neuropsychology course and ended up being 27% over the word limit and unable to edit anything out. Eventually I just handed it in out of sheer desperation - and was quite relieved when my lecturer took mercy on me and gave me a first, despite my blatant disregard for the word limit of the assignment. While doing the assignment, I also had to mark first year tests and essays, which resulted in quite a bit of insanity. This had a lot to do with a student who had written her essay as a story ("in 1999, lots of people knew about HIV..."), the complete lack of referencing, my inability to give students a first for writing a comprehensible essay and not suspect that the whole thing was plagiarised and the bizarre mention of people being used as "excape goats" in 1 test that I marked. HOMSI found the whole thing hilarious and really enjoyed reading some of the tests (or trying to, given the general bad handwriting trend). I also use him as a testing mechanism for spelling - i.e. if my dyslexic boyfriend can correctly spell a word used in an essay, when a student using MS Word and a spellchecker cannot, I feel entitled to make a comment about spelling in said essay.

After the marking it was onto my 2 exam equivalents. 1 was a mini research project. Luckily, I only needed to make minor corrections from my first draft and handed in a few days early. the neuro exam equivalent was far from friendly, however, and I ended up reading tons of journal articles until my mind was filled with information on the neuropsychological effects of HIV. Somehow, all the articles seemed to cite one another and it felt like I was going around and around in circles. I finished the exam at 10:25 on Friday, 5 November, and HOMSI arrived at 10:30 to repack my backpack and pick me up for the hike.

The hike itself was awesome and deserving of its own post, which will follow shortly, along with some of the 300 photos that I took. After 6 days away, it was bizarre to be back in Johannesburg and general civilisation and I've been having serious withdrawal from not being on top of a mountain or walking through a forest. I also ended up invigilating a 3 hour exam the day after we got back from the hike. After 5 days of walking, my feet were far from impressed about having to walk for another 3 hours!

The past few days have been fairly uneventful. HOMSI and I went to the zoo with Sarah, Graham and baby Joshua on Sunday, which was lovely, and then we had lunch with my parents for my mom's birthday. My work ethic seems to have died a slow and painful death, mostly thanks to John van de Ruit's book "Spud". In desperation, I stopped nagging myself about working and finished the book last night, just so that I'd no longer have any excuses about not working! I'm holding off buying the other books until my MA is done!

And now I'm off to sort out some stuff for my research, which really, really, really needs to get going! Happy Thursday!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wanted: Dog

"If your dog is overweight, you're not getting enough exercise!"
This was the rather amusing quote on my biokineticist's noticeboard last week. It has, however, been on my mind since then. I'm currently not allowed to run, because the knee is still a little dodgy. It hasn't dislocated itself again (thank goodness!), but it has felt a little tender and unstable, and I'm not willing to risk running until it's properly healed. The problem, however, is that I'm doing a 5 day hike between the 6th and 11th of November, and I'm rather worried about being horribly unfit. I also need to strengthen my legs, because that will stop the dislocation happening again. So, instead of running, I've resorted to walking 5km every day, and doing it at pace. It's been going well and the knee is feeling better (increased blood flow from the walking is obviously helping). Plus, I'm not feeling depressed and helpless anymore, which is great, because I was really upset that all my hard work to get fit had gone out the window because of my knee.
There's just 1 small problem. I really love running - the pace and feeling of the movement. So, I'm finding having to walk (despite walking as fast as I can), a little dull. I usually look at what it going on around me, say hello to people and look for interesting houses, but it's still a bit boring. Hence, I have concluded that I need a dog to walk. Unfortunately, my dog, Pixie, is a) antisocial and likely to try to eat people and b) very arthritic, so that option is out. I am seriously considering seeing whether anyone I know needs their dog walked - as long as the dog isn't enormous and likely to drag me along the ground (which will probably be bad for more than just my knees)! Weird, I know, but maybe it'll help keep me amused during my walk. Failing that, I might need to start looking for a human walking-buddy! In the meantime, if you have a dog that needs walking, let me know!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tea for Two

Following all the drama last week with my knee, I needed a bit of a break, especially from all the essays and tests that I was busy marking, so HOMSI and I headed off to the Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank for high tea on Saturday afternoon. I had gone to the morning tea which the hotel had hosted for Mother's Day a couple of months ago, and had won a gift voucher for 2 for tea. I hadn't really had a chance to go in the last few months, and I was debating whether to take my mom or HOMSI. The decision was kind of made for me in the last few weeks, as my dad has been ill and my mom is reluctant to leave him at home by himself.
So, on Saturday afternoon, at about 2:30, we arrived at the Hyatt. I had dressed up a little (smart pants, a pretty top and a pair of flat sandals which could accommodate the cankle that I'd ended up with from the knee incident - I had clearly bandaged the knee so tightly that my calf, ankle and foot had all swollen up enormously) and (much to my amazement), HOMSI had forgone his usual shorts+t-shirt+running shoes outfit for his nice jeans (the ones that don't have ink stains on from work) and a smartish shirt. Okay, I will admit that I threatened him before he arrived and told him that I would be very upset if he wore shorts!
We were seated inside, with a view of the patio and fountains, and ordered our drinks - tea for me and pineapple juice for HOMSI. We were just about the only people there, and sat and watched the buffet table being set up outside while we started on our drinks. My tea situation proved to be a little more challenging than the average cup of tea - this being high tea, there were tea leaves in the teapot which I had to strain out using a little strainer and then had to add more hot water as well. It was a bit like a science experiment! The buffet table was almost fully completed by this time, but we were a little too shy to be the first people to approach it (which is a problem when you're really the only people there!). We sat and watched, however, as a very naughty sparrow inched its way towards the table, broke off a piece of quiche, flew about 2m and then sat under the table to eat its prize. The elderly couple who were sitting nearby were just as amused by this. We did decide though that we should probably go and investigate the food because any more birds got any ideas! The pastry chef, Bastian, met us at the table and told us what each of the dishes were (Bastian is from Germany and very enthusiastic about his food - and should be, because it's all utterly delicious! My mom and I have been to 2 other events that he's catered, and if it's possible to be fans of a chef, we are!). There was the quiche, sandwiches, bruschetta, fruit kebabs, a blueberry and custard tart, homemade marshmallows, chocolate and fudge brownies, a strawberry and custard tart, creme brulee, biscuits, chocolate mousse squares, strawberry smoothies and a cheesecake. And, if you were still hungry, Bastian could make you a waffle! HOMSI and I just kind of stared in shock at all this food and wondered how we would ever be able to taste everything! We started with the chocolate mousse squares, the brownies and the strawberry tart (which HOMSI fell in love with). I tried a spoonful of HOMSI's creme brulee, which was about all I could manage after all that sweet stuff, and then we moved onto the savouries. Everything was absolutely delicious and perfectly made. We didn't even almost manage to try everything, and very much wished that we could go for a walk around Rosebank and then come back for seconds. Through all of this, the cellist from the JPO was playing in the background and it was just a beautiful setting.
My favourite part (aside from not having to pay for anything because of the gift voucher) was HOMSI, because as soon as his pineapple juice arrived and the cellist started playing, he immediately said "We should do this again sometime!". I always wondered if my mom and I made too big a fuss about the amazing food and that HOMSI would suffer through the whole thing, but he has clearly been converted to posh high tea - if only because we still have another 40% of the buffet table to try!
PS - the only downside to the whole experience was having tea and toast with cheesespread on for tea on Sunday and thinking about all the amazing food that was sitting on that table. Yes, I'm having trouble adjusting to non-hotel food.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Things not to do: kneecap dislocation

As you may know, my boyfriend's nickname is He of Many Sports Injuries (HOMSI for short). This is pretty appropriate, since the first time that he and I spoke, he spent 2 hours recounting all his sports injuries to me (I was a captive audience at the time, having torn all the ligaments in my ankle and I was pretty drugged up and thus unable to escape - or walk, for that matter). He's dislocated both shoulders, broken his ankle, leg and arm (not simultaneously, thankfully) and spent a couple of weeks in traction for 3 slipped discs... Oh, and he also had 5 strokes at the beginning of the year, which seem to have been from a neck injury.
He and I are looking like a pretty good couple at the moment, since I'm currently recovering from having dislocated my kneecap in my sleep. Yes, in my sleep! I was fast asleep on Wednesday morning when I rolled onto my side and felt a pain in my right knee that was so intense that I woke up. I tried to straighten my leg and nearly screamed, as my knee was extremely unwilling to move. It felt like a really intense spasm at the back of my knee. I tried to straighten it again, and burst into tears from the pain. It was about 5:30 in the morning, and I was rather reluctant to wake up my mom, but I was somewhat stuck because I couldn't get out of bed. She actually heard me though - I think I swore as I tried to move my leg again - and she came to see what was going on. What followed was about 90 minutes of putting hot water bottles on it, calling my GP who thought it was a blood clot, me crying every time I tried to straighten or even move the leg, and my mom eventually calling an ambulance because she couldn't move me into the car (and my dad couldn't help, since he's in a wheelchair). In the midst of all of this, I was smsing HOMSI, who suggested that I see the biokineticists (problematic as I couldn't get out of bed), or stretch it (more problematic, as that was f&*king painful!). As we were waiting for the ambulance to arrive, I sat up and the pain suddenly lifted. I don't know what I did, since I'd sat up at least twice before, but it moved something and I could feel what had been out of place pop back into where it was supposed to be in my knee!
I went to go see the biokineticist that morning, since I had an appointment anyway. And I drove myself there, since my knee was feeling much better and since I thought it had just been a spasm. As it turns out, we discovered that my patella (i.e. the kneecap) has somehow slid off the knee and that was what the initial pain was from. The patella had somehow managed to make its way back into position though, which was clearly what had happened when it popped back into place. How I managed to subluxate (i.e dislocate) my kneecap in my sleep is a complete mystery though!
So, the last few days have been spent not running, putting ice on my knee, strapping it and taking anti-inflammatories. And getting increasingly annoyed by my lack of mobility. Grumble, grumble... Apparently it can happen again, which is why I'm being super careful, since the prospect of going through that pain again makes me feel sick. I can safely say that patella subluxation is not a good idea at all! And I'm clearly doing kung fu or something in my sleep, because I don't know how I managed to do this!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Transcribing Woes

I should not be typing this post. In fact, I shouldn't be on the Internet at all. I have about a billion things to do for varsity, and most of them are due for the end of October. This cartoon reflects my sentiments perfectly.

I'm busy transcribing interviews for my research project. Firstly, allow me to reveal that the interviews were, more or less, a flop. I was aiming for about 30 to 40 minutes with each of the 6 students and instead all my interviews (of which there were only 5) were between 5 minutes and 16 minutes. Epic fail. Transcribing is so painful though. It takes about an hour to do 10 minutes of audio, and I'm battling low blood pressure, tiredness and the heat. And boredom. Mostly boredom. It's so bad that I had to make a deal with HOMSI - we can only go out to dinner on Tuesday night if I have finished transcribing. HOMSI has been extremely supportive about all of this though - he treats my transcribing as free entertainment. He sits on the couch and looks through the property section and laughs when I get annoyed with not being able to hear exactly what my participant was saying in the interview or when I subvocalise when I'm trying to remember what to transcribe. Apparently I talk to myself a lot.

In favour of not having to make myself a toasted cheese tomorrow night - and instead being treated to a toasted cheese made by Nino's or Mugg 'n Bean - I will end this post and go back to transcribing. Begrudgingly.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Busyness and a quick blog post

Hello world. Yes, I am still here! I've just been swamped with work, sick, marking, applying for jobs, driving 86km for job interviews and making white chocolate cheesecake. It's been an interesting 6 weeks, to say the least.
I will hopefully get around to filling in more details about what's been going on lately, but in the meantime, here's a quick summary:
  • research... and lots of it. I'm doing a course called "Research in Context" which basically aims to give us, as Masters students, real-world research experience without too much scariness (or remuneration). So far, we've had to put together a Powerpoint and a proposal to meet the clients' brief and now we've got to do data collection. It's like doing a full-blown research project in 2 months. Panic and chaos have ensued. I now have to track down 6 people to interview and get another 50 to complete questionnaires.
  • other research... has taken a back seat. Drastically. We will not discuss how much work I have not done.
  • neuropsychology presentations. This actually went quite well. I had to put together a detailed presentation on epilepsy, and present to my class. It went really well and my lecturer has asked to borrow my presentation for her third years. Win!
  • running. Yes, I've finally started running again, as the ankle is MUCH better! The less said about today's session the better (nasty stitches and weird sinus attacks from all the dust), but I have to get fit, because I'm doing a 5 day hike in November.
  • MA interviews. These went relatively well. I got through both M.Clinical and M.Community and Counselling Psychology. There is 1 small snag - I got waiting-listed for both. Again. I think the department are playing silly buggers. Nonetheless, I'm hanging in there and hoping that someone drops out and that I get invited to be part of the class for 2011. Failing that, I'll apply again next year.
  • Job interviews. Since I didn't get into a Masters programme for next year, I've got to do my Research Internship. The prospect of earning money is quite nice, but the prospect of having to drive to Pretoria (100km round trip) or Lenasia (86km) everyday is a tad depressing. I'm now hoping to find something closer!
  • HOMSI and I are still doing well. It's been almost a year and we're going away for the long weekend in September. Yay!

I think that's about it! I hope to be a better blogger in the coming weeks...

Monday, July 19, 2010

To Do Lists and Monday Morning Rambling

I seem to have fallen off the edge of the earth in the last few weeks. It wasn't by choice though! I thought that I'd be able to enjoy my last week of holiday by getting all my work done and then being able to relax, but things didn't go quite as planned. The other receptionist at work got tickets to one of the World Cup semi-finals, which meant that she and her family drove down to Durban for 3 days, so I ended up working for a couple of extra mornings and didn't get as far in my work as I would've liked. I did some fairly productive stuff during the week, and decided to just give in completely and enjoy my last weekend before varsity started. He of Many Sports Injuries and I ended up spending most of Saturday helping friends of ours to paint their 2 bedroom flat which they're hoping to sell. That was pretty exhausting, especially since the blue paint in the lounge just refused to go away, even after multiple coats. HOMSI and I then spent the evening watching DVD's and eating pizza (the Greek pizza from Roman's is SO good!!). I was terribly amused by HOMSI's reaction to the Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn movie "The Break Up" - he thought that Vince Vaughn's character was such a moron and so painful to watch that he actually went to have a bath while I watched the rest of the film! Weird!
Sunday was spent shopping for my birthday gift. HOMSI - in typical He of Many Sports Injuries style - decided to buy me new running shoes. They're really pretty and shiny - and insanely comfortable, which is probably the most important part! I also finally got a throw for my study - it actually matches the curtains (who knew that there were so many shades of lime green?!?). On Sunday evening, we watched the World Cup finals with Sarah and Graham. I only actually watched the first half - by half time, I was asleep on the couch and totally over all of it! Besides, I had to be up at 6am on Monday morning to transcribe an exam for a student at Wits, which was quite an exhausting process!
Starting varsity again has been quite a shock to my system! I have to do an entire research project for a course, while also working on my current research project, and I'm juggling Masters interviews, working at the vet and tutoring at the same time! In the midst of all of this, HOMSI and I are planning on going away for a long weekend, which will be a welcome break! Let's just hope that I can get through all my work first! HOMSI is also looking to buy an apartment, so our Sundays are currently being spent driving around and looking at places that are on show. It's quite fun and really exciting - mostly because of the prospect of him moving away from the evil dirt road that you have to drive on to get to his current place!
In the hopes of having a productive week, here is my to-do list:
  • finish writing tutoring assessments
  • answer my emails
  • type up research instruments (yes, that one has been on the list for a while)
  • go for a run, despite the enormous amount of pain in my Achilles tendon (the biokineticist told me to do it!)
  • be pretzelled by said biokineticist
  • organise my diary with dates of interviews, marking, etc
  • s...t...r...e...t....c..........h!
  • find accommodation for the weekend away
  • start my neuropsychology assignments

I think that that's more than enough! Happy Monday everyone!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Of engineers, sleep-deprivation and sore ankles

This has been one of the stranger weekends that I've had in a while! I didn't do terribly much and it wasn't very exciting, but it's still flown by.
I didn't do anything on Friday night, as He of Many Sports Injuries was at work. 2 of the guys who usually work the night shift at his company were sick and so he's been working from 23:00 until 06:00, going home, sleeping for a couple of hours, going back to work at 11:00, going home at 18:00, getting some more sleep and then starting all over again at 23:00. Thankfully, this is all over now, and he's finally caught up on his sleep. Because I was worried about him having to drive all the way to my place and all the way back to his place (a 70km round-trip), sleep-deprived, on a Saturday night, I went to Al and Chantelle's engagement party by myself. It was a really lovely evening (even with everyone asking me where the plus-one was, to which I replied "At home, asleep.") and I got to catch up with all my old engineering friends, like Tom and Chris. Engineers are a strange breed (although I get along strangely well with them) and the girlfriends of Tom and Chris (Rachel and Katy) and I eventually ended up having a very intense discussion about our hair and styling products. It was obviously all that testosterone from the engineers which drove us to this point...
I left the party at about 23:00, mostly because I was exhausted. I ended up nearly being hit by some silly driver who clearly thought that stopping at red traffic lights is optional - never mind the fact that he was doing about 80km in a 60km/hour zone. I got into bed, read a bit and then tossed and turned for about 2 hours, unable to get to sleep. This meant that I was in the worst possible mood on Sunday. I was sleep-deprived, had no chance to have a nap, had to be sociable and I hadn't seen my boyfriend in ages (okay, it was 5 days, but it felt like more!). Luckily, I managed to pull myself together (with the help of a lot of caffeine) and made it through lunch with my mom and cousin. Seeing He of Many Sports Injuries definitely helped as well - we had supper and watched TV and spent most of the evening being nauseating and telling each other how much we had missed each other (you'd never know it had only been 5 days!).
I'm feeling a lot better today after a solid 8 hours of sleep. I also suspect that my less than delightful mood had a lot to do with my ankle having been very sore this last week, which has meant that I haven't been running and so my endorphin levels have dropped, leaving me grumpy and shouting at spoons (it's a long story). I hope to start running this week - we'll see what the biokineticist has to say this morning.
How was your weekend? Happy Monday!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thoughts while working on my research...

I have spent the morning sitting in front of my computer, with the intention of making some progress on my research (i.e. type-setting demographic questionnaires, scales about superstitious beliefs and personality tests). In between, my mind has gone wandering (or wondering, depending on your preference...):
  • why on earth did I decide to use a modified version of a scale which has changed items from "Do you think that the number 13 is unlucky?" to "Is seeing a lone dove or pigeon flying bad luck?"?!? Yes, I know my study was supposed to be appropriate to a South African population, but I'm not sure that these item changes are actually helping! Argh! *grumble grumble*
  • where is my mom? She went for an x-ray and ultrasound on her shoulder more than 2 hours ago. Is it time to send out a search party?
  • why is my other ankle now aching?
  • ooh... Just found a slab of chocolate in my desk drawer.
  • where am I going to find 50 people to participate in my research after having used pretty much all my friends last year? Oh dear.
  • why is the femur/hip currently the bone of choice to break or injure? I know 3 people who've had to have pins put in their leg/hip or are having operations on their hips - and none of them are older than 30! Strange!
  • why does it get cloudy and freezing cold when I decide to go for a run? I'm just saying...

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

To Do or Not To Do

I go back to university on the 12th of July, which leaves me with only 11 more days of holiday! As such, I've decided to work like a crazy person in the next few days and then have a proper holiday before term starts. As such, there are quite a few things that I need to do:
  • sort out my research. This basically involves organising and typing up the questionnaires that I plan to use. I also need to start finding participants (i.e. lab rats), which usually involves using and abusing friends and relatives. Having had no time for my research for the last 3 weeks, I now really need to get cracking, especially since my supervisor sent me an email yesterday (probably to check if I'm still alive!).
  • finish my application forms for Masters courses and get all the documentation together. Yes, I'm putting myself through the process again!
  • edit and put up photos from the World Cup and graduation.
  • finish decorating my study. This involves touching up some of the paint, finding my gran's collection of Buddha's, moving the TV set into a less annoying position and buying a thrown and matching cushion
  • sort out the chaos which is my bedroom cupboard (and maybe go for counselling afterwards - it's that bad!)
  • bake biscuits for He of Many Sports Injuries, who is having a really tough time at work at the moment.

I think that's it. Probably not, but at least I'll be busy for a while - and still have enough time to relax a bit before term begins!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Time flies when you have deadlines

Where are my holidays going? Where?!? The lovely Department of Education gave us over a month off because of the World Cup and I have suddenly realised that I have just under 2 weeks left!

I'm not quite sure what I've been doing that the time has crept away from me so quickly. I certainly haven't been doing my research. In fact, I haven't done anything research-related in over a month - and I was hoping to have half my data collection done by now!

I have been going to my regular biokineticist sessions. It's actually been going very well. My back feels infinitely better and I'm not nearly as stiff and sore (or grumpy from being stiff and sore) as I was! I've also been given lots of exercises to do at home and this is really helping (and confusing my cat, who assumes that I'm lying on my bedroom floor because I want to pat her. Why else would I be down there? Duh!) The biokineticist is now also fixing my ankle (yes, the one that I hurt falling down that hill over a year ago!) and the torturous manipulation and feeling of my ligaments going in strange new directions is actually kind of nice. I'm praying that my medical aid actually pays for all of this though!

I've also been spending a lot of time baking! In the last 3 weeks, I've made 4 batches of cupcakes and 2 batches of brownies, for everything from a baby shower to my birthday picnic and for work. The brownies are a new recipe, and have little pieces of peppermint crisp in them. They are particularly lethal and He of Many Sports Injuries has grown rather fond of them, so I'll probably be making quite a few more batches.

Aside from baking, I've also been working at the vet a lot more than usual. The morning receptionist was away for a week, so I worked her shifts, and then the other receptionist fell ill, so I ended up working for her. This afternoon is pretty much my first afternoon off in a very long time and I'm quite enjoying not having to go to work, because it's freezing!

The other thing that has been a) very time-consuming and b) horrible was my bank card being cloned. Money has been disappearing out of my account for the last 3 months, and since it was only about R200 at a time and my bank statements arrive months late, I didn't really notice. I got a call from my bank's fraud department last week, asking whether I'd just bought something for R2000 and since I was sitting in my room, reading, and not doing any late-night shopping, I immediately asked for the card to be stopped. Since then, my days have been a blur of police statements and calls to the fraud department. Most of it is being sorted out and it looks like I may get at least some of the money back.

I'm now attempting to make some major progress on my to-do list, which includes some fairly important things, like MA applications, and some random things, like editing photos for Facebook and buying a throw for my study. I just hope it warms up a bit, because it is freezing! Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pretzelling - Session 1

Monday was an interesting day - and a rather painful one! Dashing from work to the biokineticist, I headed off to my first appointment. It was freezing cold (again), but the consultation rooms were lovely and warm, which I was really grateful for!

I was greeted by the squad of biokineticists, 2 of whom were busy torturing (sorry - I mean stretching) clients. My one seemed very excited to see me, and so the session began! I started by walking on the treadmill for 5 minutes, and having not fallen on my face while doing so clearly lulled me into a false sense of security! After the walking, I had to lie down on a mat (a really nice green squishy one) and the biokineticist proceeded to warn me that this would "probably hurt", and began stretching my legs towards my shoulders, across my body and into positions that they haven't really been in for a very long time! Some of the stretches were comfortable, some were uncomfortable, but not painful and some resulted in my eyes watering as some distant nerve or ligament in my knee or hamstring screamed in protest. I managed not to scream while I was being pretzelled, which the biokineticist herself viewed as fairly miraculous. She kept asking if I was okay. My feet kept going to sleep while she was manipulating my legs and hips, which made things somewhat awkward when she asked how things were feeling and I would reply "Numb!". It was painful, but in a good way - and at least she didn't ask me to smile while she was doing all the stretches (my yoga teacher always made us do an impossible pose, where you were about to fall over while stretching some muscle you never knew existed, and then she would tell you to smile. Sadly, she could tell the difference between a smile and a grimace!). She also gave me a whole bunch of exercises to do at home, which should help to speed up the process.
After all this torture, I decided that I would like a detailed explanation of what is actually wrong with me! Basically, the ligaments between my pelvis, specifically, the ilium, and my sacrum are stretched, which is making them moving around, and this is making the surrounding muscles move around, resulting in lots of lower back pain (see diagram below).
So, basically, I have to strengthen and tighten these muscles to fix the problem, hence the weekly biokineticist torture sessions for the next while! Let's hope that I survive!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stand on one leg...

I seem to spend more time going for X-rays, physiotherapy and podiatrist appointments than anyone else I know. I don't know what it is, but I seem to have seriously problematic feet. The most exciting foot problem in recent memory was, of course, my ankle injury last year, where I managed to tear all the ligaments in my ankle by falling down a hill on a hike (admittedly, this is how I met He of Many Sports Injuries, which is a good thing, but over a year down the line, my ankle is still slightly swollen and fairly dodgy at the best of times).
The saga appears to be continuing, because my podiatrist has noticed that my shoulders aren't the same height. She sent me for X-rays and referred me to a biokineticist in the hope of getting to the bottom of the problem. The X-rays have shown that my legs are fine and aren't different lengths and that the issue seems to involve my hips and sacrum.
I headed off to the biokineticist today with a fair amount of trepidation. Firstly, it was absolutely freezing and so I was wearing about 6 layers and secondly, I'm not particularly fit and not at all flexible at the moment, as the dodgy ankle has made balancing difficult and I've thus been avoiding yoga for about a year. So, I knew that at some point I would be asked to balance on one leg or something and end up falling over.
I met the biokineticist, Janine, about 2 weeks ago, and she was very bubbly and friendly. I arrived today to discover that she had multiplied and I thus spent the morning being stared at by 3 pretty blond ladies. It was rather intimidating. I had to stand (facing them, turned to the left, turned to the right and facing away from them) while they scrutinised me and used assorted words (mostly 'posterior' and anterior') to describe my shoulders, hips and, most likely, my collarbone. Then the complicated stuff started. I had to bend over and touch my toes. Now, for some bizarre reason, even after 16 years of ballet, I have never been able to comfortably touch my toes. I got fairly close today, and while doing so, the biokineticists got very excited and became fascinated by my lumber spine (particularly L10 to L12). I have no idea what was going on, but it was apparently a medical breakthrough and they were very interested in my vertebrae. I have to admit that I was too scared to ask what was actually going on. After the excitement caused by L10 to L12, we moved onto me standing on one leg (which wasn't that bad, actually) and then doing some squats (with the biokineticist squad encouraging/intimidating me by saying "Surely you can go lower than that?!"). The worst part was the "balance on one leg while doing a squat" part, because the scar tissue in my ankle simply will not allow this combination of movements.
After this, I had to lie on their examining table while they poked and prodded every muscle in my body, asking what hurt. Oddly enough, the things which I expected to hurt were fine and the things that I thought were fine nearly brought tears to my eyes when pressed. All the scrutiny about my muscle strength has made me really paranoid. I mean, I'm not a blob of jelly - I run and stretch and I've always been fairly active, but the way they were writing things down and muttering about 'posterior' and 'anterior' things made me wonder whether they thought that I just sat in front of the TV and ate chocolate and corn starch all day.
We then moved onto the treadmill. Now, I have never had a gym contract and so my exposure to treadmills has been rather limited. Even at a walking pace, I didn't trust myself to not fall on my face. Miraculously, I survived both the running and the walking while the committee observed me from behind and said things about my hips.
I am not entirely sure what's actually wrong with me. I think my sacrum is misaligned, which is affecting my hips, which is affecting my legs when I run. This explains the back pain and all the other symptoms and aches and pains. And despite the strange scrutiny process, I actually enjoyed the assessment and I'm looking forward to my appointment on Monday, where whatever is wrong 'anteriorally' or 'posteriorally' (in L10 to L12) will hopefully begin to be corrected.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Grease is the word
It's got groove, it's got meaning
Grease is the time, is the place, is the motion
Grease is the way we are feeling...

On Sunday afternoon, He of Many Sports Injuries and I headed off to the Teatro at Montecasino to see Grease. As anyone who knows me is aware, I absolutely love musicals and Grease is no exception! If anything, it has a particularly special place in my heart because it was the major production which I took part in when I was in matric in high school, and, as well as knowing all the words in the script and all the songs, I also have a lot of very good memories associated with it!

It was fairly miraculous that the evening happened at all, since He of Many Sports Injuries has been completely overwhelmed with work and most of our Saturday and Sunday nights have been interrupted by phone calls from the office, with people asking him to come in and fix a printer at 7 o'clock at night. Luckily, he was just as tired of the constant phone calls as I was, so he left his phone in the car and we set off for the theatre.

Of all the places in Johannesburg that I like the least, Montecasino is fairly near the top of the list. I can't stand the faux Tuscan look, both inside and out (and I hate those wretched cobblestone walkways! I spend the entire night waiting to slip and fall on my face!). The Teatro is quite nice though - it's a magnificent theatre and the main seating area is great, even if the balcony is a bit far back to be able to see everything properly. The only problem that I have is the sound quality - the sound is just too "big" for the size of the theatre, and it means that vocals tend to get lost in the music.

The production itself was fantastic though! The costumes were gorgeous, the sets were really well-utilised and the acting, dancing and singing were excellent! I had my usual moment of envy during the performance - I would love to be involved in a musical again! The actors definitely got it right though and Jonathan Roxmouth was brilliant as Danny. I've seen him progress over the last couple of years, from the RAPS play festival to Cats and he really is ridiculously talented.

He of Many Sports Injuries and I followed up our very sophisticated trip to the theatre with some less sophisticated takeaway wraps from the fast food outlet, while watching the Japanese tourists taking photos of one another next to the fountain at Montecasino. We then nearly lost the car (why do all the entrances at Montecasino look identical?!?) and then drove around and around the traffic circles outside Montecasino, for no particular reason. As I discovered on Sunday night, letting my boyfriend eat a roll of Mentos, a packet of Jellytots and drink a Coke and a Coke Light is a very bad idea. He tends to become extremely hyperactive and we end up doing very silly things! It makes the evening very interesting though, so it's worth it!

Have you seen any good stage productions (or eaten too much sugar and had interesting experiences as a result of it) recently?

Monday, June 7, 2010

A long-awaited update and some changes...

Where is this year going? I can't believe that a) it's June (JUNE!?!?) and b) that I haven't blogged ... um... in a while.

In my defence, things have been somewhat crazy over the last few months. I find that craziness is best expressed in bullet-points, so here goes:

  • I had a research meltdown - the kind where your supervisor starts asking whether there's "anything else" that you're interested in researching. This is never good, especially when you've already written your literature review. Fortunately, the research was resucitated and I now have ethical approval. *sigh of relief*

  • I have marked 90-something essays written by second year psychology students, which has lead to be becoming increasingly concerned about the South African school system (or even just the general inability of most students to use a spell-checker). Apparently, "woman (yup, singular) are made of ovaries". True story.

  • I completed the Hike of Doom, complete with Chiara's death march, my own death march and the ladder of death. More details and photos will follow soon! I have to brag about how I didn't fall down and hurt myself!

  • I went on holiday to the beach, for 5 lovely days of sea and sun with Graham, Sarah and He of Many Sports Injuries. It happened to coincide with He of Many Sports Injuries and my six monthiversary. Lame, but lovely nonetheless. As usual, pics and details to follow!

  • Every second person I know is getting engaged. So, I've been going to lots of engagement party-type things. It's still somewhat unnerving to know that this is "the age" when everyone gets married. I may or may not be contemplating some major commitment-phobic issues at the moment.

  • I finally finished reading Jane Austen's "Emma". It only took 4 months - I think.

  • I wrote the stats test from hell. Blegh! And got 75%. Oops.

  • I wrote the 6 hour exam from hell... And I'm still waiting for the results.

  • I'm going to be tortured by a biokineticist on Thursday.

The biggest news of all - at least in terms of this blog - is that, in an effort to be able to blog more often, I'm going to be changing the format of my blog slightly. When I started writing, I tried to base each post on a movie title. While this has made me feel very clever when I've made a witty link between my writing and a suitably apt or ironic title, I've also written some very lame posts, with some cringe-worthy titles. I also have loads of things which I'd like to write about and which I don't write about because no one has ever made a movie about MA interviews or research projects or lasagne or... Well, you get the point. So, while the format of the blog will remain the same (i.e. my random ramblings), the titles will no longer be movie-based (unless, of course, I manage to come up with some brilliant link between my post and a title). I hope that this change will mean that my writing process will become easier - and my posts more frequent!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

It's been a crazy week and I can't believe that it's already Saturday! I'm not quite sure where the week went!

I really didn't have the most productive weekend. He of Many Sports Injuries was away, and so I had hoped to sort out my research and find sandals and a million other things. It didn't quite happen, because I spent Saturday morning at Makro, buying an office chair, and then spent most of Saturday afternoon constructing said chair. For the record, the guy at Makro said "It's really easy! Anyone can do it!". I'm pretty sure he lied. It was a mission! And I'm pretty good with screwdrivers and bolts and stuff! The chair is now in 1 piece though, and has yet to fall apart, which seems like a good sign!

I spent Saturday night at a Chinese New Year celebration in Cyrildene, with Sarah and Graham and Sarah's parents. It was really fun, and very interesting. All the Chinese restaurants along the road just put out tables into the street, and each restaurant has a set menu of 8 dishes. Everyone just sits around and watches the dragon making its way up and down the road and watching the fireworks. It took me ages to find the "fireworks" setting on my camera, and the finished products weren't too amazing, unless you look at them in a kind of "modern arty" sort of way...

I've spent enormous amounts of time at the vet where I work, because I had to organise stock-take. It actually went pretty well, all things considered - I think it had something to do with the cup of coffee that Kath bought me. I don't drink coffee, but I woke up on Tuesday morning with a huge headache and I had to be at work by 7:30am. I figured that the coffee probably couldn't make me feel any worse, and I was pretty amazed by how quickly the headache disappeared and how productive I became! I didn't even mind counting out whole bottles of tiny, tiny pills!

I am relieved to announce that I do still have a job. It was all a little touch and go in the last few weeks, because the other receptionist who works afternoons wasn't sure which afternoons she could work, and my hours aren't as flexible as they used to be now that all 2 of my lectures are in the afternoon. It's all been sorted out though, and I'm breathing a sigh of relief!

Finally, my research is coming along slowly - better slowly than not at all, I suppose. I'm look at the neuropsychological aspects of superstitions, which should be really interesting, given the diversity of cultures in South Africa. Before I can go any further with it though, I need to read 6 chapters for a meeting tomorrow, where I'm getting the 50 second year psychology essays that I have to mark! The topic is related to gender, and I have a sneaky suspicion that I'm going to be marking at least 45 essays on Caster Semenya...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Valentine's Day

****WARNING: This post may induce nausea. But you probably want to read it anyway. C'mon - you know that you do! Just don't say that I didn't warn you!****

I know that it's a week after Valentine's Day, but I thought that I'd write this post anyway, for 2 main reasons: a) I was too busy during the week and b) He of Many Sports Injuries is away for the weekend on a work-meeting-thing near the Kruger National Park. I'm coping pretty well with him being away - I've been insanely productive, which has been awesome! And my airtime isn't taking too much of a knock either, because there only seems to be 1 tree which he can stand under and get cellphone signal, so contact has been somewhat limited.

I've never had a boyfriend on Valentine's Day. I met Justin on Valentine's Day and ended up dating him a couple of months later, but I've somehow never had a boyfriend when the 14th of February rolls around. I don't really mind. In fact, this year I was planning on having a dinner party with all my single friends to celebrate our "singletude". With He of Many Sports Injuries being in the picture though, the idea was obviously put on hold. Oddly enough, He of Many Sports Injuries has never had a girlfriend on Valentine's Day and that seems to be the reason why we both went a **little** over the top last weekend. In our defence, it was also a mini-celebration of him coming home from hospital and getting the all-clear from his neurologist after the strokes.

We started talking about what we wanted to do about 2 weeks before, and were both amused (and surprised) that we had had EXACTLY the same idea - i.e. romantic candle-lit dinner on He of Many Sports Injuries' patio. We thus opted to divide the labour - I would make dinner, and he would make dessert and set the table. I really got the easy part - I made a salad and an alfredo pasta dish which I know he loves. He, however, decided to be creative with the dessert and wanted to make creme caramel - a dish which is pretty advanced, by most baking standards! He did 4 practice runs - and ended up with exploded creme caramel all over his oven at one point. We eventually ended up at Pick 'n Pay on Valentine's Day, buying fruit salad and custard, just to avoid any more baking disasters.

Despite the dessert failure, he really did a good job with the table (he even bought candles!) and managed to keep the frogs and mosquitoes at bay (the frogs were cute though!). And he definitely out-did himself of the giftage front. ****WARNING: extreme nausea may follow!!!**** I got 40 red roses and 2 necklaces (because he couldn't choose between them. I love having an indecisive boyfriend!). And I got him... Wait for it... Bath towels. In my defence, he is a bachelor who owns nothing but towels with "Energade" written on them, and the new ones match his bath mats.

On the non-nauseating front, varsity is finally starting to pick up. I have a really nice supervisor and I'm getting started on my research, I will have 50 essays to mark next week (which will likely provide endless amusement!) and I'm getting into stats again. Aside from that, I'm swimming and running again (the evil cough is finally gone!) and the study is almost, almost done. And I'm considering starting a photo-blog, because I don't think I use my camera enough.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hope Floats

I'm in a really strange mood today - and I'm not sure that it's a good thing. Despite going to bed early, I haven't been sleeping well - between the attack of the killer mosquitoes and the nocturnal prowling of my cat, I just seem to toss and turn for an hour or so before falling asleep. So, I'm feeling rather tired, and a little stiff and sore too, because I spent about 3 hours vacuuming the extremely dirty study carpet yesterday. The good news is that I now have a newly-painted study, with a very clean carpet, but the bad news is that I still have no research topic and I have to submit my ideas by Friday. I don't know why I just didn't get round to thinking about my research a little more. In between recovering from Honours, hay-fever, 'flu and then all the worrying about He of Many Sports Injuries and the strokes, research has kind of been put on the back-burner.

That is why I'm resorting to bribery this morning. I'm determined to come up with a potential research topic before my lecture this afternoon, and email potential supervisors as well. I'm also hoping to keep myself distracted until I hear from He of Many Sports Injuries, who has gone for a follow-up appointment with the neurologist. I have no idea why I'm feeling so bleak and uninspired today, but I suspect that it has something to do with me not sleeping well and being worried about my boyfriend and his near-death experiences. So, in an attempt to motivate myself, and feel a little better, here are 10 things that I'm looking forward to in 2010:

1) doing my Masters!
2) having Claire back in South Africa, even if it's just for the year
3) an April holiday at the beach with He of Many Sports Injuries
4) starting swimming and running again (especially now that my 'flu is gone)
5) my Masters neuropsychology course. Yes, I still like brains.
6) Valentine's Day. Yes, as lame and nauseating as it sounds. In my defence, I've never had a
boyfriend over Valentine's Day, which is why I'm looking forward to it.
7) going indieing and souping with Helen and her hat - and my new mascara!
8) graduation.
9) some sort of holiday in June or July. Please? Pretty please?
10) finishing my study - it's nearly done, and photos will follow soon!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Strong Medicine

Since my last post, I haven't been doing much. In fact, I really haven't done anything. I've been battling the evil germy-bug things that appear to have originated from He of Many Sports Injuries' nephew, Kael. Kael is 2 and a half, and adores me. I suspect that this is because I don't like children and they can smell fear. Because of this, Kael usually drags me off into the garden to play golf or catches or to throw a ball at me (I try to throw it back - he's a bit useless when it comes to catching things). Ignoring him is pointless - he'll wander into the lounge and say "Candice?!". Because I know where the whole situation is going, I'll say "Kael!". This will go back and forth for about a minute, until he grabs my hand and drags me outside, while I mutter things under my breath about how "Uncle Garrith" should be teaching him to play golf!

In any case, I spent the night at Garrith's brother and his sister-in-law's place on Saturday night, after Richard and Kath's wedding, which was in the north of Johannesburg. Since He of Many Sports Injuries isn't allowed to drive at night at the moment because of the mini-strokes, we figured that staying at his brother's place was the easiest option. I was greeted in the living room on Sunday morning by Kael, in all his snotty-nosedness. I was more than half asleep, and so I was quite relieved that he seemed preoccupied with cleaning the living room (mostly by moving the TV and DVD remotes from 1 coffee table to another). I was exhausted for most of Sunday, which I attributed to getting no sleep on Saturday night because of a very sore throat, but by the time I woke up on Monday morning though, I was well and truly sick.

Thus, this week I have:

  • slept
  • gone to work twice
  • finished Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons"
  • started Sarah Addison Allen's "The Sugar Queen"
  • gone to the GP twice and Dischem once
  • Facebooked
  • slept
  • watched a lot of South African soap operas

I am now also taking:

  • antibiotics
  • an expectorant
  • more antibiotics
  • cortisone (for my chest)
  • some probiotics
  • a nasal spray
  • antihistamines.

I'm pretty frustrated - I had wanted to finish the study and start my research project, but instead I've been keeping my cat company in bed(although she's definitely not complaining!). At least I'm getting better though - and I've managed to update my blog twice in one week! The part that has kept me the most amused though was the episode of "The Big Bang Theory" which I watched on Monday night. Sheldon got sick and proved to be the worst patient ever - so much so that all his roommates and friends abandoned him for 48 hours, while he wandered around his apartment shouting "Leonard! I'm sick! I want soup!". I love it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

3 lbs.

You know that you're a neuropsychology student when your concern for your boyfriend's wellbeing is momentarily distracted because of the pretty, shiny machines which are being used to run an angiogram on his brain. Um... Yes, this is true.

I have spent far more time in hospitals in the last 2 weeks than I have ever wanted to. My boyfriend (a.k.a. He of Many Sports Injuries) was feeling a little weird at work on a Monday morning 2 weeks ago. So, he walked to the shops and still felt weird. So, he bought and ate a chocolate and walked back to the office and then decided to call his brother to take him to the GP. The GP sent to him to another doctor to have some blood tests done, but his brother decided to take him to the hospital. It was only when he couldn't walk properly that they decided to have him examined by a neurologist. A lot of x-rays and blood tests, an fMRI, a lumbar puncture and an angiogram later, they discovered that he'd had 4 minor strokes in the space of 2 months. This is spectacularly strange, considering that he is 35, doesn't drink or smoke (and never has), plays loads of sport, has low cholesterol and eats more salad than I do (and I'm vegetarian!)! The general consensus seems to be that the blood clots in the artery in his neck are the result of trauma, which could be the result of anything from too much volleyball, golf, squash or even just the way he drives down the dirt road to his house. He's now on medication to thin his blood to dissolve the clots, because surgery isn't really an option because of their location.

In the midst of all of this, I have spent a stupendous amount of money on petrol and have become rather adept at driving across Johannesburg to places that I could barely find on a map! I've also gotten to know his family rather well! His mom even flew up from Cape Town, and so I finally got to meet her. Granted, our meeting took place in fairly unusual circumstances - she came with me to his house to help clean up and sort things out for when he moved back home. Vacuuming your boyfriend's house while meeting your potential mother-in-law is a slightly nerve-wracking process!

He is at least out of hospital now, and stayed with his brother and his sister-in-law for a couple of nights before going home. He's in good spirits and has gone back to work - although he's only allowed to be there part-time at the moment (doctor's orders). He even came with me to Richard and Kath's wedding over the weekend! The only downside is that I now have the 'flu, thanks to his 2 and a half year old nephew, who absolutely adores me (the feeling isn't completely mutual). Alas, my immune system is no match for Kael's bugs, and I have thus spent the entire day in bed, reading Dan Brown and getting up only to find chocolate or watch yet another South African soap opera. Pathetic, I know! It's also the last way that I want to be spending my last week of holiday!

And in case you're wondering about the title of this post, "3 lbs." is a mini-series about a group of neurosurgeons - sadly it was cancelled because it was deemed to be too similar to "House". That said, it's a really good show - all 3 episodes! It's also how much the human brain weighs.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Christmas Carol

I really had good intentions of relaxing this December. Relaxing and being vaguely productive, if that combination makes any sense! With my first year of Masters looming, I was hoping to get the chance to recharge my batteries, preferably on a remote beach somewhere, reading Marian Keyes novels and taking amazing photos, and be suitably enthusiastic about starting my Masters. Somehow, none of this has really happened, although I am at least enthusiastic about studying this year!

December has been one long month of Christmas shopping, baking, late nights, lots of DVD's and a fair amount of socialising. And kittens - lots of kittens! Christmas shopping wasn't too bad, although He of Many Sports Injuries proved to be both a help and a hindrance to the process. It is very useful to have someone to carry loads of heavy things across shopping malls for you. It is also very annoying when said person decides that every single homeware shop must be examined before a gift can be bought (even though the ideal salad bowl was found at the first shop)! Nonetheless, Christmas shopping was mostly painless (although my bank account doesn't quite agree). On the receiving front, I got loads and loads of chocolate, a CD voucher, some cute t-shirts and DVD's. The best gift, however, has got to be the Chocolate Kittens that I got. Yes, Chocolate Kittens.
Despite being Jewish, I got into the Christmas spirit, mostly by forcing He of Many Sports Injuries to watch "Love, Actually", which is the most lovely movie. He got to inflict a fair amount of revenge though, because I was roped into the festivities and had Christmas lunch with his sister and her husband and kids and an assortment of other relatives. I also met his father and step-mother - an experience of such mind-numbing pain that it deserves its own post (which I will write, just as soon as some of the pain has passed). My Christmas highlight was undoubtedly He of Many Sports Injuries receiving a smoothie maker from his brother and sister-in-law. I think he is terrified of it and has locked it away until further notice.

New Year's Eve was rather fun. We actually closed the veterinary practice at 17:30, which is pretty miraculous, and He of Many Sports Injuries and I spent the evening at Paul the Frog's amazing house, which overlooks Johannesburg. His sister and her boyfriend and a whole bunch of other friends were also there (most were of the barefoot hippie variety - these are obviously the people Paul feels most comfortable with) and we spent the evening playing "Cranium" and throwing vegetables at one another (okay, mostly at me). We saw the New Year in by standing on Paul's balcony, watching the moon and the fireworks display and playing with glowsticks.

So far, 2010 has been off to a fairly slow start. It's been difficult to do anything because I've been working most afternoons and Saturdays, endeavouring to see He of Many Sports Injuries (boyfriends are strangely time-consuming) and I've been out of action for about a week because of a bizarre neck spasm which was so painful that it reduced me to tears (and not even torn ligaments make me cry). I'm slowly getting back into running, and I'm going to university tomorrow for my Masters orientation day. It seems a bit weird to be doing Masters, and I haven't quite got used to the idea yet. I was chatting to a client at the vet and he asked what I did aside from being a receptionist and I told him that I was doing my Masters in Research Psychology. He was utterly amazed and gave me the same look of awe that I know that I've given to people doing their MA's or MSc's or PhD's. It was kind of cool - and very surreal! I'm getting a little panicky though, because I have no idea what I want to do my research on this year. Updates will follow though...

Finally, I have to mention my resolution for the year, which is to blog more consistently! I've been really bad at it, but I'm hoping to get better and have a little bit more to say in 2010!