Fuelling the festive chasm

Let’s not beat around the bush here, I’m pretty sure WordPress hasn’t missed me complaining and I haven’t missed being here because too much urgency whirlwinded into 3D life again. There is, however, something about Christmas with someone else’s family that forces my hand back into typing. I had hoped this time it would be different, and I’d like to say the turning point wasn’t when a statement from the hostess to me began with the words ‘if you have a big poo..’ but I’d be lying. It is a veritable wonderland here. Those xmas things you see in the shops, singing dancing trees, flashing lights rudolf lights and the like appear to have sufficient appeal that some people buy and display them.  ho.ho.ho.indeedy! 

The culture shock is always somewhat stark for a snob like me when we come here. The welcome of someone having a pungent christmas morning piss in the shower so that everyone else can smell their urine while they try to wash under the weakly dribbling showerhead is not a custom with which I am familiar. When watching an ensemble performing Leonard Cohens hallelujah which reminds me of someone dear who is no longer with us (she used to sing along really badly!) my remembrance was interrupted by ‘eugh, is that a couple of pooftas?’..and giggling about the over the top costumes and apparently nauseating sentimentality. There is nothing nice to say in response to that really. 

Sigh. it’s going to be a long day and I’m waiting to see whether the current degeneration into teenage rebellion status will manifest in anyone’s attendance at the dinner table complete with headphones and ipod again; at least then I guess the claims that the wine (albeit very average to questionable quality) gifted from us was off and would make people ill, wouldn’t need to be heard. 

Merry yuletide with YOUR local weirdos, you lucky sods. I can feel some sparkly pompom earrings of allergenic origin calling…

Restricting for the good of my gut?

It’s been a while since I’ve felt the need for a sprawling rant about how everything is pissing me off, but such a mood has descended yet again.

The issue is my damned digestive system. So you know about the drama with the failed endoscopy, for which I have to go chat to a specialist on Monday, but that’s not the issue right now, the big problem is that for ‘ibs’ symptoms I have to do a low FODMAP elimination diet for 4 weeks. You probably don’t know what this diet is and I hope you never have to find out in detail. You have to cut out certain types of food including wheat, dairy, some fruits and veggies, plus onion and garlic. This on top of the no coffee, alcohol or citrus that my stomach requires. It’s basically a torturously strict set of dietary rules with the result that you can basically only eat potato and rice for 4 weeks. Maybe I’m exaggerating but today is day one and I’m utterly fed up. Being vegetarian plus low FODMAP and lactose free is a big challenge, and one that I do not relish. We went to the supermarket especially to stock up of special foods for me, only for me to realise today that a few of them I’m not actually allowed to eat because they have a banned ingredient hidden in them (no fair!!) the strawberry jam was a particular disappointment and I nearly smashed the damned jar right there and then for containing fructose syrup. The wheat-free cake (contains milk) and dairyfree icecream (contains lupin) are currently at risk of violence because I  chose them specifically, I want to eat them, but I can’t. I’ll have some vegan cola sweets instead and give my teeth and blood glucose a nice surprise. I’ve discovered that rice noodles are no substitute for wheat noodles and that gluten free bread is a whole other food group that appears to only contain dry, slightly sweet non-doughy produce. If I’m required to dine out this month I’ll be restricted to a gluten free pizza or a baked potato with a glass of water….how very exciting indeed. I have to attend a wedding and didnt tell them I was going to be wheat-free and onion and garlic-free so I’m going to have to just suck it up and eat what I’m served unless it’s literally onion soup with bread because, no, that really doesn’t sound very clever….and cue rolling around on the hotel room floor waiting for the abdominal pains to pass….

My belly already feels a bit better and this pisses me off because I don’t want to have to cut out any of these things indefinately. That and I’m hiccupping like a motherfucker so I guess it’s just a choice between reflux or ibs these days. 

If anyone is reading then please send moral fortification because it’s not yet been 24 hours and I want out from this restrictive hell hole! 

On an unrelated topic, my latest manuscript got accepted and the next edition of pickledsparklymooseprincess et al will appear soon In a biology journal near you. I will celebrate this weekend with some strong rooibos tea and oat biscuits maybe followed up with a gaviscon chaser. Living the dream. 

Don’t even think about eating apple pie in front of me right now, I won’t be held accountable for my actions.

I didn’t think Poland was too bad until I got cream in my juice and anchovies instead of artichoke

As you might guess, I’m in Poland.

Right now I’m not ecstatic to be here.

Upon arrival everything seemed fine. Flight, train and taxi stuff was fine, hotel is nice, I met up with some people. Then I lost my cardigan somewhere and we went to a dinner with host lab members that I was expecting to be tomorrow, but nevermind. I thought it would be fine as I’d breezed through the whole traveling bit without any panic or even strong anxiety, I was a-ok.

At the restarant (feeling a bit chilly from my absentee cardigan) I decided to tell people that I don’t drink alcohol so I wouldn’t get pressured to drink, and picked a ‘fruit cocktail’ which from the name,I understood would be fruit blended together….but what arrived was about 50% cream. I can’t digest lactose, so after a couple of tastes I decided I’d have to get another drink but as I wasn’t paying I felt guilty, so just had water….

Time to order food then, so i picked a pizza and listed off my four chosen toppings: spinach, black olives, pines nuts and artichoke.


Then the food arrives but this wasn’t any kind of artichoke ive ever seen…I mean, it looked fishy…so I enquired and yes it was anchovies…..so I politely said that I has asked for artichoke not anchovy (I’d even pointed to the word on the menu) ane the waitress just looked at me and and said ‘is that a problem?’ so I had to say, yes dear, yes it is…I am vegetarian, I don’t eat fish!

So grumpy faced off she went to fetch me a replacement…it turned up quite quickly and I had a quick scan and no, they hadn’t just taken off the fish and added artichoke because this one didn’t have pine nuts…OK close enough. It tasted fine even though it probably had someone’s spit in it. The problem was then that I’d got hungry waiting and was shivering, and making terrible conversation through my pained expressions of embarrassment and anxiety.

The afternoon started off so peacefully and degenerated into something monsterous thats going to give me a belly ache.

Wish me luck. I have to navigate breakfast without any surprise lactose or meat products and then give a presentation to an unknown sized crowd tomorrow (n>10) without meltdown. Maybe forgoing valium was a bad idea.

Sigh. Challenging anxieties isn’t always triumphant is it? :S

Symptoms, hanging tasks and collecting useless bunches of thoughts


Thank-you very much universe for bestowing upon me a migraine of duvet requiring proportions. I had today all planned out but you stole those hours and left me in the dark just hoping and waiting for the pain to ascend. I could have been more productive in my studious efforts to watch all of “the collector” TV show before it gets taken away from Amazon prime, and I could have taken out the rubbish and recycling that’s been glaring at me all week and has therefore spontaneously overflowed into numerous ominous looking bags.

I’ll thank you not to call me lazy.

No horses today as my friend is sick. This makes me sad on many levels.

It’s been a pretty tumultuous week, running the gamut of tears, anxiety, panic, fear, sadness, exhaustion, shoulder acne and night sweats. I gave my talk to 70 people during which I came this (squishes two fingers together) close to using the word “voodoo” to describe how a piece of equipment works. Yay Science!! Nonetheless I’ve made it to the weekend intact aside from the little part of me that was hiding the whole anxiety issue from the boss lady, buuut….I had to tell her what’s up because I’ve reached the top of the list for CBT. Sadly the offered the ONLY time that I could not make, due to weekly meetings. After filling in the blanks and enquiring, my boss was understanding and said I should just take the slot…but…of course the NHS is most efficient when you don’t want it to be and in the time it took me to blink and ring them back, I’d been irreversibly placed back on the waiting list. Thanks. That’s just awesome. I admitted frailty to my boss for nothing….OK…not nothing, I suppose it’s out of the way at least. She knows I’m a bit mental and let’s face it, there was no hiding that meltdown in the meeting that I described before.

I’ve been asked by a company to travel to Poland to give an academic talk (all expenses paid) and I’m umming and arring about it (that phrase looks wrong when you write it down). I want to because it’s good experience, I like the person who invited me and it’s a country I haven’t been to but….what if I make myself (more) ill over it? I mean…how many days of valium does a normal person need for that kind of thing? What if security alleviate them from me!! And is there enough bog roll at the airport to cope with my anxious tummy? What if I sweat so much that I shrivel up to a crooked husk because I’m afraid to ask for some water? These are very real considerations!!! Giving a talk=easy. The week or two building up to it=hellish corporeal rebellion.

I’ve thought about the divergent books a lot, and I’ve decided that I really didn’t like the character Tris very much. She might have been brave and kick-ass but she was actually quite selfish and irritating(especially in books 2 and 3). I’m not annoyed that she died per say, I’m just aggrieved about the way it happened. So there.

I should have completed a task at work this week but I put it off because that would mean interacting with someone who had been off with norovirus. No. Fucking. Way. I therefore have the mystery of the unfathomable blot problems to deal with on Monday. Plus explaining to the boss lady why I chose instead to obsessively reanalyse some old data instead (fucking good job I did because I discovered a fuckup). Mmm, Western blots: my favourite unsatisfactorily borderline artistic and non-reproducible technique

Ps. I have a note stuck on my mac at work saying “fix your moronic mistakes re: algebra” someone should almost certainly revoke my a-level maths…  strike that, I’m not worthy of GCSE.

Life lessons

Things that we learnt tonight:

1. I’m a fucking dickhead
2. You can’t fit your arm comfortably between two flip down seats EVEN IF you put your arm there before the other seat goes down.
3. I am perfectly capable of screaming in public

So….you can do the maths there. I’ll just find some paracetamol and arnica and wait for the embarrassment to pass. At least I didn’t break anything….except my pride.

I totally didn’t spend the whole concert freaking out about the horrors that I imagined were unfolding inside my jumper.

(runs and hides under duvet where you can’t mock me)


I just can’t hear you from here

Stand up and light that oilburner folks, let’s get out of here!


Action doesn’t happen of its own accord.
If everyone just rolled over, laid down and waited for someone else to deal with niggling or gargantuan issues, then we’d be forever stuck in a dark cave waiting for someone else to light the oilburner to find our way out.

Why are so many people so content to stand back and expect that regardless of what the problem is, or how closely it relates to them, they can just throw the reins to the winds of fate? It is someone else’s problem.

I wouldn’t mind so much but everyone seems to be so opinionated with it, so righteous, so quick to criticise. I wonder if they ever really think about how they would handle actually taking action and making a difference? Not just pontificating about what should be done, but genuinely doing something.

The world is so full of expectant spectators. They wait like TV audiences, waiting for the next episode so they can gripe about a show they couldn’t be bothered to vote for.

Next time you have the opportunity to be involved in shaping the outcome of something that will after your life, take it, or keep your criticisms to yourself.

As a distinctly apolotical beast, this rant may seem uncharacteristic, but I seem to be increasingly standing up and taking responsibility for whatever unpalatable roles there are at work that require someone to represent the murmering masses, that no-one else wants to do. They all want action, but they won’t do it. I know I’m not really the girl for these jobs, but I feel strongly that someone has to step up, so why not me.

You have to pick your battles, that’s what the say isn’t it? No one person can do everything, but if everyone did something, wouldn’t that lighten the load?

Precious little enough of our worlds are within our own control.
Why give up what opportunities you get?

I may have a utopian vision but come on folks. This isn’t 1984.


I spent all night drifting in that wasteland between conscious and unconsciousness. Feeling for every swathe of grey, every vicious muscular twinge, trying to figure out how the brain and body knew to switch off. Wondering when and if that point would come to me, then circling back to the start of the process. Grey on grey and no sign of the subconscious anywhere,just an empty room. It wasn’t until after the furious burst of someone else’s early morning obnoxion retreated that I finally regressed into sleep. Some 20. Mins of cruel and twisted reminders of why I couldn’t drift off before, and I awoke startled, drenched in sweat and wondering if the shine had finally worn off that favourite escape of mine.

She resuscitates the hopeless

Ah, lovely fate with your twisted sense of humour. How I, on occasion, despise thee.

I’m totally putting everything that goes wrong at fate’s door because the only other possibility is that some pixies snuck in and lobotomised me while I was sleeping, and I don’t particularly like the idea of unsolicited trepanning, so yes, let us give fate a single raised eyebrow and disappointed look, rather than turning all that anger inwards.

It started off with a juice in the cereal bowl incident. This always upsets me because it doesn’t take that much effort to focus on the size, shape, weight and colour of the bottle in hand, buuuuut, my muesli finally got to taste that apple juice it’s been lusting after all week, and I can only imagine that it made the museli feel sick because, knowing that I was at least in part responsible for this situation, I tried to eat said cereal and juice combo but with no avail. And so it was, with a screwed up ‘yuck’ face, I started over with my breakfast making. The second pre-caffeine attempt at juice met with an even worse fate…a trip to see the deep pile rug. Now that’s going to smell lovely if I didn’t get it all out. I should come with strict instruction not to let me get out of bed until I’ve had a cup of tea, its just too dangerous for fruit juice and carpets the world over.

Work seemed to be trooping along just fine, even though I was neck deep in someone else’s soup of data that I had to polish into a gem. I was just seeing some headway when something didn’t fit and a penny dropped. The world stopped spinning for a second, I double checked and then ALL the pennies dropped, I mean, we are talking a veritable monsoon of pennies here. Not only had I spent days dragging myself through the unbearable tedium of this task, but, it would seem, I had overlooked one minor but very crucial aspect.

I forgot that I reanalysed the samples and got data that was a bazillion times better than the original, or, I forgot to check that I was really using the right files (with admittedly almost identical names). Just. Brain? Remember that thing you are meant to do? No? Yeah, exactly, I thought so….you’ve lost the ability to remember haven’t you? This is deeply frustrating because now I have to do all that bullshite processing again. It practically killed me through boredom the first time, how can I think about doing it again? Oh I see, you remember the pain of the data processing just fine, typical! At times like this a temporary lamobotomy might be useful. I’d be far less pissed off about the whole thing and less prone to chewing off my fingers or stabbing myself in the neck with a biro (somehow I did that today by mistake, put on a cardigan while forgetting I was holding a pen. Now I think I may have inadvertently tattooed my neck in a not so cool kind of way).

And another thing. Where the hell did my (insert whatever item I want or need right now) go? I remember having it, and picking it up and planning to put it some place safe and then nothing. Just a black void in my head where the vital information should be. A void that is quickly filled by worrying about whether that cupcake I ate yesterday had been sitting around too long in the wide open world. For fuck’s sake! I spent the entire cycle journwy to work repeating to myself that I needed to charge my bike light as soon as I got in so I wouldn’t forget. I remembered right up until I got to the plug socket and then boof, gone into the void and at 8pm, of course the light was still predictably dead. On the cycle home I repeated to myself that I needed to phone someone to say happy birthday as soon as I got home…then I walked through the door and boof, gone, and I spent a good deal of the day reminding myself about this one, did I do it. No, of course not. And I feel shitty as hell about it.

Past PSMP really tries to be helpful, but sadly has zero logical skills, and refuses to write things down to remind Future PSMP because clearly she’ll totally remember because 1. It’s OBVIOUS and 2. It’s important.

So, as I opened by blaming fate, I’d like to close on that note too. Rather than take responsibility for my ridiculous neuronal spaghetti, I’m going to say, this is what I was served and I shall simply have to tolerate these fatalistic flights of fancy. Or, i’ll have to start fashioning dresses for myself from post-it notes.

Please don’t hate me when I forget, erm, like, everything. I promise you it’s much more frustrating for me than it is for you.

“I’m not that medieval, sometimes, I write my thoughts down
I can never remember, who I am
Who I am, where I am, what on earth, I’m doing here”

  ~idlewild, everyone says that you’re so fragile