I no longer get the hang of Thursdays

Sep. 21st, 2017 12:40 pm
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[personal profile] hollymath
Had my passport interview today. Everyone told me it was fine and normal but I thought it was weird and intrusive. How many of your bedrooms look onto your back garden? Where did your parents go on their honeymoon? But it was done quickly and kindly, by a big guy with amazing facial hair and who had actually heard of Minnesota because he's an American-football player.

The worst thing about it was that we had to go all the way to Salford for it, which took ages. I turned out to also need to go back to the university because you can't sign up for language classes online, you have to go in person to the place I was twice yesterday where no one told me this. (I presume it's because they need to check the level people are at if they want to do anything other than beginner's level in their language, because there was a lot of that happening. But surely abject beginners should be able to apply with the system we have to use to do everything else?) But I filled out the form so hopefully that's done.

Which means all my bureaucracy should be done that can be done for now, which is good as all of tomorrow will be taken up with volunteer training at Manchester Museum (which is just a different kind of in-person bureaucracy, as little or none of it will be relevant to my role).

And I had a smear test today, and that's all this morning, so frankly not only am I done with today, but I think I need a medal.

For future reference, though, having a lot of local friends means a lot of them share the same doctor's surgery, and I'd heard a lot of good things about the new nurse who frankly could hardly have been worse than the old one. And she lived up to everything I'd heard about her; she didn't mention my weight, even though she did mention my blood pressure a lot which is fair enough as it was high when she checked it. She even took my height and weight which I know will be for bullshit BMI things the NHS makes them do, but while she said "Five four" as she read my height off the thingy, she then looked at the scale and said "weight...[mumbly mumble]" like she was just reminding herself long enough to go write it down (which is exactly what she was doing) so far from making a big deal of it she ensured I didn't know it at all which is the best thing for my mental health.

And when she asked if I wanted a sexual health screening done at the same time I said it was a good idea because I have two partners but it's okay and they know about each other and etc., she actually said "Oh, so you're poly?" Which left me really taken aback! I've never had a health professional know the word before. And she asked me if the partners were "male, female or other" so didn't assume sexuality or binary gender, which made me happy.

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:58 pm
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[personal profile] judiff
So like we're allergic to autumn (assuming it's like mould in the air) so we've been snotty all day. Now we have a head-ache and feel really floomp. Really hoping it's just from like allergy-annoyingness and like NOT that we are going to be ill now...

Abbreviated freshers' week

Sep. 20th, 2017 03:48 pm
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[personal profile] hollymath
Somehow all my freshers' week stuff was mostly crammed into three days, which is kind of nice since I'm done with it now, which gives me time for volunteering orientation, a passport interview, a doctor's appointment, and a weekend of being in Yorkshire because of Thought Bubble.

Overall it's gone pretty well. I was nervous of feeling out of place but I really haven't. Everyone's been nice and neither I nor anyone else has called attention to me being twice their age (though I have felt it, especially since I keep coming home and taking naps, and they've been going out every night according to scraps of overheard conversation).

I've done all the bureaucracy: enrolled on everything (except my language, working on that), got my student card, met my advisor, peppered my department's admin with questions...I've been to welcome talks and figured out where some of the rooms in the rabbit warren that is the building I'll be spending most of my time in.

I've made a friend! I went to this divisional "party" thing on Monday, which is where you stand in an echoy room with a bunch of other people standing inexplicably close together. This was on Monday so I was at my most self-conscious and sure no one would talk to me, but she just walked right up and did. She's called Kitty...well, she's not because she's Chinese and can't expect people to say her name. But she told it to me, Weijia, and I said it back to her and she said my pronunciation was good but I can't remember it now! She turned up in the group meeting with our advisor today, and we were happy to see each other.

I had my introductory meeting with disability services yesterday, too. Which was great, but kind of weird. I left it convinced that if I'd had even half that support when I first went to college, I wouldn't have to be trying again now. At the time I was still firmly of the belief that I wasn't mentally ill, I was just rubbish. So much of that could have been different.

But then if it was I might not have written so much that Andrew saw on LiveJournal and he wouldn't have been able to identify with me as much as he did and maybe wouldn't have wanted to talk to me and I certainly wouldn't have visited him here if my life had stayed on the track it was supposed to be on. Things would be so different down the other leg of the trousers of time that it doesn't bear thinking about.
ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] ludy
i keep going splat - i have things to do and stuff i've said i'll write but the duvet keeps winning ...
This evening i've ended up having to reinstall stuff on my computer so i'm about to go splat again.

Anyway on Friday i met up with [personal profile] skibbley and we went to the Queer British Art exhibition at Tate Britain which was pretty cool. Other people have done proper write ups. My highlights were the surprising number of goats in the paintings, Gluck's amazingly textural flower painting (which i found even more compelling than their androgynous self portrait which is used as the main publicity image for the exhibition) and a 50's photograph of a dyke dressed up as a drag queen ...

First day

Sep. 17th, 2017 07:45 pm
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[personal profile] hollymath
Grumpy that I've got no better recourse for finding the room my "Welcome Talk" will be in tomorrow morning than turning up early and hoping there's someone to ask.

Andrew offered to come with me to help me find it but that's not going to be easy for someone who woke up at three this afternoon; it's basically an accessibility issue for him too. And it costs money in bus fare. And it's just not fair because that shouldn't be his responsibility and I hate feeling dependent on him.

I booked my Disability Services meeting a month ago for as soon as I could get it, but that turns out to be Tuesday. I know this will be a busy and nightmarish time for them, but argh. Hopefully I will be a bit less confused for the rest of the week. There are a bunch of other rooms I have to find after these first ones tomorrow!

Plan

Sep. 16th, 2017 08:23 pm
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[personal profile] hollymath
Google says the thing making my feet horrible is probably... eczema! "Often caused by stress." Well, that explains why it first arrived when my parents visited! (Yes I know that was a long time ago. It's been flaring up and then almost-going-away ever since and every time it goes away I think it'll stay away and at least I'm doing something about it now.)

Can't even really make a GP appointment until I have a better idea of what my schedule will be like. Nnnrgh.

Plus I already have a follow-up appointment about my new meds, a smear test, and my first meeting with the Disabled Students Office this week, which is quite enough Health Work to be getting on with right now.

By the end of the week I will definitely know my class schedule (since it starts the week after that!) and will be able to make an appointment about my horrible feet. So at least I have a plan.

Cassini's grand finale

Sep. 15th, 2017 07:04 pm
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[personal profile] hollymath



I wrote about Cassini when it got to Saturn, musing on what a long time it had been traveling. So much had happened to me; I'd gone from a high school freshman to living in a country I hadn't thought much about before.

And then I happened to notice Cassini's seventh anniversary at Saturn, and thought how quickly and how slowly the years were going by.

Time piles up so quickly in space, where seven years is nothing compared to the uncountable vastness of the universe. But one of the great things about spaceships is that they connect the universe to the humans: its twenty years now Cassini has been in space. And I don't even know how many years in development to get it that far. A good chunk of a person's working life could have been spent on this one little thing, anyway, that flew through space and burnt up today.
I've seen dramatic words about Cassini "plunging to its death" and some twee cartoons about how it's going home because Saturn is its home, but all I'm interested in is how much we love this little spaceship. We've made it a person, we've given it a lot of time and attention. We've followed it on twitter. My phone's background pictures aren't of my partners or even my dog; they're ones taken by Cassini. (This one and this one, in case you're interested.) Of course we'll miss it now it's gone.
Here's a video with lots of pictures and nice music.

Haptics and other awesomeness

Sep. 15th, 2017 07:14 am
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[personal profile] hollymath
I said I'd try to get around to writing up some details of the museum thing before I forget them all, and I've got a little bit of time and energy before my day starts getting hectic, so!

This is very long. )

Luna

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:19 am
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[personal profile] hollymath
My friends' new tiny kitten

My friend Katie rang me yesterday morning, unexpectedly. She said "I'm off work sick, and we have a kitten! Dn you want to come and see her? She's been sleeping on my lap all morning, and she's tiny, and she's called Luna. And she's adorable. And she's tiny." Katie was using that soft voice people do around new babies.

I was free so I went over and she was right. I'd never seen a cat as small as Luna away from its mother. Katie and her partner were told she was eight weeks old but she looked smaller. (For all her tininess, she eats well and she's even litter-trained already.)

Still, they were told her mother hadn't shown much interest in looking after her, which might explain how tiny she is.

And how bold! Knowing my friends had only gotten this kitten the night before, I wasn't expecting to see much of her at all, but almost as soon as I sat down Katie went to make us tea, and when she was out of the room Luna came over so I could take this picture. She jumped up onto my lap after that! All still in the time it took Katie to make tea.

Of course she's just been separated from her mother and her littermates, so she may not always be this snuggly, but it was very cute that she curled up in my oversized hoodie in between bouts of exploring the living room. I am of course more a dog person than a cat person, but I do like cats too and this one is Irresistible.

Katie is absolutely smitten with her and also lives near a posh shop full of cat things, and it sounds like she wasn't in a good place before whereas she will definitely be doted on here, so I'm happy for Luna.

We're at the point of the year now...

Sep. 13th, 2017 10:04 pm
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[personal profile] hollymath
...where I go to bed because I'm cold rather than because I'm sleepy.

And pull the covers over my head and wait for my breath to warm me up.

Internet, validate my experience!

Sep. 11th, 2017 03:46 pm
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[personal profile] hollymath
I mailed off my passport application first thing this morning, which was stressful because again being me I can't do anything in quite the standard way so I was a nuisance at the post office this morning. And I had to run through a torrential downpour to get there; some of the things inside my bag were soaked (though my application/passport/naturalization certificate seemed okay thankfully).

Then I went to the first proper meeting of my new volunteering gig, which is basically being a consultant on some new tech for accessibility to visually impaired people. I met the fellow blind girl they have doing this, too, who's 22 and honestly reminds me a lot of myself at 22. Which is awesome but makes me feel old. We had a great time but when I checked the time not long before we left I couldn't believe I'd been there almost three hours.

But it caught up with me, trying out a whole new-to-me haptic interface, giving feedback on it to sighted people, and then running a turned-out-to-be-futile errand across the street (the benefits of volunteering with a museum that's part of your new university! well, it'd feel more like a benefit if it hadn't ended up being futile, but never mind) meant I was so tired by the time I got home that Andrew worried something was wrong with me.

I'll try to write more about the details later, because it's super-interesting, but have I done enough to justify a nap first?

That's some dog, that Wonder Dog

Sep. 10th, 2017 10:04 pm
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[personal profile] hollymath
I stood up from the table with my empty bowl*, and before I'd even reached the kitchen, before I had made any discernable noise, I heard the soft thundering that indicated the dog was running down the stairs.

He scampers over if he's in the room and sees me standing up after a meal, having been taught to expect scraps then (though these are more common from Andrew than me, since he eats meat and somehow more things that can be scraped off the plate onto a little dog's food), but I'd never known him to run downstairs for them. This might partly be explained by the fact that he's not usually upstairs when we're both home, to be fair, though it was about the time he's been heading for bed lately.

But even so, how could he possibly know I was heading for the kitchen with an empty bowl?! I'd only taken a couple of quiet steps.

Then we're also talking, here, about a dog who has been known to hear the noise of me setting a block of cheese on the kitchen counter and come running down the stairs from where he'd been asleep. Cheese is his favorite, and somehow he can tell from another floor of the house, while asleep, that it's that thing and no other I've just gotten out of the fridge.

* Previously full of noodles and carrots and "chicken" and a miso ginger sauce I made from a recipe and found rather disappointing: even with lots more ginger than it called for it wasn't enough ginger, and too much miso for my tastes, but it was edible and I'll try it again with some tweaks.

Immigrant bureaucracy

Sep. 9th, 2017 03:13 pm
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[personal profile] hollymath
Dealing with immigration bureaucracy is still exhausting. Maybe first thing in the morning wasn't the best idea. But the passport and naturalization certificate I'd sent to the student loans people arrived soon after I woke up (the certificate in one of those "do not bend" envelopes, so in better shape than they got it!) and since I had to go to the post office anyway I figured I'd ask if they had passport applications and they did. So when I got home I thought I might as well start in in it.

And it's fine, but it's occasioned a big discussion on Facebook where I said
Applying for a British passport as a foreign-born person with foreign parents is like a test in How Much Do You Love Your Family.

Not only do I need to remember what town my parents were born in (which I only know because I needed that for citizenship), I need to find out my GRANDPARENTS' place of birth, date of birth, and date of marriage?! Good thing my parents were going to Skype me today anyway because I could only guess at most of those! Three of my grandparents aren't even around to ask!

And I can't remember how to spell my mom's middle name. Worst daughter. Well, I think I do but there's nothing like a form to make you second-guess yourself!
The comments are sympathetic and thoughtful because I know good people, but also reminded me of new ways this could be fraught.

Then I had to get new passport photos taken, because none of the money I've spent on passport-size passport-style photographs in the last year or so will do for the current set of restrictions. I hate that they now require glasses wearers not to wear their glasses, because the only way to get me to be facing the right away without them ends up being to have a man, a stranger, put his hands on my face.

It wasn't too bad today, but it reminded me of the time I had to get biometric data collected for my citizenship application, when the photos were done by some horrible automated computer process in a claustrophobic booth. And I kept getting told off for the photo coming up wrong. I was there with my white cane and everything but the staff were busy and I guess just didn't notice or didn't know what to do with me. It took ages and still ended up with a man touching my face and I felt really shitty afterward.

I went to Levy market afterward, because it's near the photo shop and because I had the vague sense that I had been Good and deserved a treat. I ran into a couple of people I know which was nice but the market just seemed overpriced rubbish which is probably at least as much a reflection on me as on it! I usually enjoy it.

I went to the Asian supermarket on the way home because I wanted some halloumi but they didn't have any! I asked Andrew to see if there was a film or concert or anything we fancied going to tonight, but there really isn't.

And now I'm sitting here thinking I should make some food but needing to do dishes first and that's all I get for a treat today, it looks like!

Bedtime for dogs

Sep. 8th, 2017 09:35 pm
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[personal profile] hollymath
You know it's been a low-spoon week fortnight in this household when it gets to be about eight o'clock in the evening and the dog runs upstairs thinking it must be time to cuddle up to at least one of his humans in bed (usually me, but yesterday it was Andrew napping at six).

I started getting ready for bed about nine-thirty, partly because I felt sorry for his confusion and restlessness. He's curled up on my feet now, seeming very content.

I accidentally elbowed him (not too hard!) in the head as I was settling into bed. But since as I did he recognized I was getting into position for him to settle on, he bounded over to his usual spot and in his cheerfulness about this didn't seem to hold my mistake against me. He's such a good example for how great and important it is to go to bed.
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