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My ideal man

Published June 11, 2013 by crazyinpink

What I would like my ideal man to be like

A list by crazyinpink expressed through the medium of Benedict Cumberbatch

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1. My ideal man is sweet and understanding.

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2. He shares my values and beliefs.

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3.  He has passions and interests that make him unique and accepts my passions too.

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4. He has get-up-and-go and pursues what he’s after, whether it’s a particular career, a crazy ambition or, you know, world domination.

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5. He makes me laugh.

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6. My ideal man, of course, wants children.

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7. He can be serious when he needs to be.

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8. He can also be unbelievably goofy.

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9. He has his flaws but they’re overshadowed by everything else.

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10. He is caring and will always take care of me.

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Why I should never be allowed to watch Benedict Cumberbatch in public

Published May 28, 2013 by crazyinpink

For those of you who live in a cave, Robinson Crusoe style, perhaps you haven’t noticed that a little movie called Star Trek Into Darkness came out recently.  Or, y’know, maybe you’re just normal and actually have a life. Unlike me.

I actually had the date of it’s release in my diary.

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I went to see it on that date. Obviously.  Since then I’ve seen it again and I’m working on finding a buddy for my third venture into deep space.

Although I’ve never been a true trekkie, I am aware of Star Trek tradition and the week before the movie came out, I watched the first reboot movie which was released in 2009.  I was quite shocked to find that I actually enjoyed it. My taste in movies has always been eclectic.  My Disney collection rests among rom-coms of the late 90s/early 00s, murder mysteries, gross-out Judd Apatow-esque selections, musicals and superhero epics. I wasn’t really expecting to like Star Trek as much as I did, never really been very into sci-fi as a genre. But an excellent moment came when Spock quoted a line from Sherlock Holmes “Whenever you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

But the new movie: Star Trek Into Darkness would be even better…because it featured this.

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So evil. So sexy..

The first moment his voice filled the cinema, I let out what my friends described as “an inappropriate moaning noise”.  Then his gorgeous chiselled face filled the screen and I thought I would die. Excepting the National Theatre Frankenstein I saw last year broadcast into a small independent cinema at uni, I’d never seen him on a big screen. It was heavenly.

The movie itself was pretty awesome but the Batch stole the show. Aside from my inappropriate moaning, I also let out a loud “awwww” when his character cried.  According to one of my friends, who was really only there ’cause we dragged her along, I shouldn’t have been sympathising with him since he was the villain. And a sexy, badass villain at that.  I know that logically I should be rooting for Kirk and Spock and all the rest of the good guys but I just couldn’t help siding with him and his gorgeous bass English accent.  I am such a sucker for an English accent these days.

I’d like to say I behaved more appropriately the second time round but that would be a lie. Even though I knew what was coming, I still couldn’t contain my excitement. I gasped and made involuntary squeaking noises the whole way through.  And, if I find someone willing to go see it with me again, I will no doubt do the same thing.

I can’t help it, he’s so beautiful.

What are your specialist subjects?

Published May 14, 2013 by crazyinpink

Six friends, one charity pub quiz, many discoveries of specialist subjects.

In the UK, there’s a tv show called Mastermind (I don’t know if they have it in other countries but it def started here).  Each contestant has to sit in the Big Black Chair of Knowledge (it is actually just a normal chair, I’ve made it sound more dramatic than it actually is) and answer questions in two rounds; General Knowledge and their chosen Specialist Subject.  They can pick literally ANYTHING in the WHOLE, ENTIRE WORLD OF THINGS to answer questions on.

I’ve often wondered, in that way you do when you’re trying to avoid doing anything remotely useful, what my specialist subject would be.  What would give me the competitive edge in a test of the mind.  Aside from minor historical episodes I’ve researched for dissertations and therefore know inside-out, back-to-front and from every possible angle, there are only a few things I think I know well enough to choose for my specialist subject.  These things mainly revolve around the many obsessions I have: Elvis songs, Disney movies, Benedict Cumberbatch, the tv show QI or Miss Marple.

At the pub quiz on Saturday night our team of six graduates with various careers and interests represented a lot of specialist subjects.  A primary school teacher knew about some French scientist and his experiments with gravity or something.  A geography graduate with a ridiculous penchant for pop music knew about the Italian version of the tour de France.  A fellow history geek who studies witches knew about the beginning of genetics.  And what, I hear you ask, did I bring to the team?

Well, in true crazyinpink style, my personal strengths lay in Disney-related trivia.

Except for one or two questions about local history I also knew. (It would have been extremely embarrassing if I didn’t since I’m studying the history of the city we were actually in.) But here are the ways in which my Disney-saturated mind came into its own.

1. Recognising a black and white photo of Walt Disney in the picture round.

2. Being able to recall the name of an obscure Greek god by replaying scenes from the Disney movie Hercules in my head.

3.  In a name that year question, the quizmaster showed a range of things that happened in one particular year. Some famous people died, somebody else won the Nobel prize. Nothing rang any bells. Until… Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was released this year.  I instantly whispered ‘2007’ to our designated scribe.  Greeted by blank looks, I proceeded to explain exactly when every Pirates of the Caribbean movie was released.

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So, I think I’ve inadvertently discovered my specialist subject.  What would yours be?

 

Conference adventures

Published May 9, 2013 by crazyinpink

As a PhD student, the weeks blend into each other. I sink lower and lower behind piles of books I need to read and lists of sources I need to find grow longer. It is a strange thing, a PhD. You lose any concept of time passing. You only figure out it’s no longer term time when you venture into the library and there is a conspicuous absence of undergrads. There are no weekly duties like lectures, there are no monthly goals like essays, there is little face-to-face time with your supervisor or, indeed, any other human being if you’re not careful.

I don’t cope well without something to work towards. I know I have differentiation at the end of the summer but that’s months away.

So I set myself short-term goals. Within one month I wrote a 7000 word lit review, created a poster about my research and presented it with a little talk and wrote a paper for a conference. In hindsight, that was probably too much in such a short period of time.

Presenting my PhD research for the first time at a conference was scary. With all the setbacks, taking a month off for my op, organising my own conference, I felt I needed a push to get something down on paper. It forced me to do some research and think about it properly so it made sense. My title for the paper was the vaguest one I could think of so I could do anything with the paper within that vague area. The conference programme showed that mine was definitely the vaguest title. *proud*
I wrote the paper based on what I know so far. That’s not much, it must be said. I haven’t done that much archival research yet. But I was kind of pleased that at least I understand what I’ve done so far. I found it relatively pain-free to write the paper, though it ended up veering into the realm of intellectual history which I’ve never ventured into before. Intellectual history is concerned with ideas, how they filter through society and what motivates and cultivates these ideas into action. When I sent it to Best Friend to read over, he pointed out the intellectual history nature of it. I nervously asked if he thought it was okay. I didn’t want to embarrass myself talking about these big ideas if I couldn’t fully express them properly.

Paper written, we set off for the conference. Of course, both Best Friend and I were presenting at the conference since we can’t seem to do anything independently these days. We arrived a day early to do some sight-seeing. Early morning flights are not my friends and I was flailing by mid-afternoon even with all the random touristy things we were doing. On that day we visited a monument (up a stupidly steep hill), a graveyard, a castle (at the top of another hill), a cathedral and an art gallery. Not too shabby. Then we checked into our hotel and I had a nap while Best Friend practised his paper for the next day. We met up with another student from our uni for dinner and eventually, finally got to go to sleep.

The conference itself was grand. Only a nine to five affair, all postgrads so a sympathetic audience and only about thirty or so people. My paper went well and I got some really interesting questions that I was able to provide at least some kind of answers to.

My bladder, which is causing me problems at the mo, started to protest by the end of the afternoon and I ended up sitting awkwardly trying hard not to make it look like I was in pain from out-of-control bladder spasms. A lovely middle-aged man was talking to Best Friend beside me. He noticed my yellow ribbon I had pinned to my dress and asked me what it was for. I told him it was for endometriosis and then, seeing the blank look on his face, explained that it was an incurable medical condition which caused chronic pain. He asked if I knew someone who suffered from it and I said that I did. Best Friend was throwing me telepathic messages of ‘Please do not start talking about your ovaries.’ I was too uncomfortable to really keep the conversation going but at least he has heard of it now.

We wandered around the city, popping into the library (of course) and then back for dinner again. It was an intensely academic trip, even our dinners were spent with the two boys talking about history or theory (or football) and me absent-mindedly checking my phone or sipping juice, thinking longingly of sleep. But it was nice to have a little break from the routine for a few days.

Best Friend was on his best behaviour too. I was slightly anxious about us going away together again, especially since we couldn’t afford separate rooms. (Or, really, I couldn’t afford) But I needn’t have worried. He was a perfect gentleman and seemed to be looking out for me when he could tell I was getting sore or tired. He kept mentioning Bristol Boy as he isn’t entirely sure about what’s going on there. Neither am I really but Best Friend has a very basic understanding of relationships and in his head, I’m taken now so there are much clearer boundaries in our friendship than there were before. All in all, the trip went well, even though it did involve incredibly early mornings and a lot of walking.

But now…back to the books.

Uh…shouldn’t I be completely pain-free and saving the world by now? Or, what it’s really like adjusting to post-surgery life

Published April 29, 2013 by crazyinpink

When I had my op in January and my doc removed 99% of the nasty endo monsters inside, I figured it’d take me a while to recover and then I’d be the new and improved me. I’d be wearing jeans every day, eating whatever I wanted, able to do a million things a day, maybe I’d even save the planet.

untitled (13)It would be AMAZING being pain-free, right?

 

 

Well…it hasn’t exactly turned out like that. For one thing, I’m nowhere near saving the world. I still haven’t had even a single slice of pizza. I certainly cannot wear jeans every day.

In reality, I can’t even say that I am pain-free.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not in pain the way I was before, nowhere near that in fact. If my previous pain levels were around 9 or 10 (which they were towards the end of 2012) my current levels average around 3 or 4.  I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the dramatic reduction of pain in my life because I do. So much.  Pain doesn’t consume my every waking thought now.  It’s more like an annoying half-remembered task in the back of my mind that I have to get around to eventually.  Since my surgery I’ve had complications which are probably stopping me from being the kick-ass superhero I want to be.  My triumphant return to the world post-recovery was marred by a Bartholin’s cyst.  The antibiotics gave me thrush and made me sick.  Returning to my studies brought consistent back pain.  The last month or so I’ve been having problems with my bladder which I’m starting new antibiotics for today.

So yeah.  I haven’t really progressed as much as I’d have hoped.  Perhaps it was naïve of me to hope at all.  I know endo is an incurable condition yet still I prayed that my op would bring relief.  I dreamed of living like other 20-somethings, having spontaneous fun, wearing jeans that actually fitted me, being able to do things all day without the need for a nap or rest, not having my schedule dictated by my medication. I’m an optimist I guess.

I’m not complaining though. My op has dramatically improved my quality of life. I don’t need as many painkillers now so my head isn’t as fuzzy as once it was. I’m able to do things that would have proved impossible before Christmas. I was able to go and have my little English adventure. Since February I’ve only had 2 days when I literally couldn’t get out of bed.  I’ve dusted off jeans my size and worn them cautiously for a few hours at a time.

I’m not exactly Superwoman yet. And maybe I never will be. Being perfectly healthy doesn’t sound like something that will ever happen to me. I know that. I know that my future health is uncertain. I know I’ll worry about having sex and how much pain it’ll cause. I know it will probably be difficult for me to conceive naturally. I know that more treatments and procedures are in my future. I know that I’ll need a Dish to understand what my spoonie life is life.  I know I’ll keep trying to raise awareness of this condition that changes so many women’s lives.

Maybe that’s all I can hope for.  A life not perfect or pain-free but having the strength and the right tools to face whatever life throws at me.

Getting cocky

Published March 21, 2013 by crazyinpink

After my last post about wearing jeans, I got a little bit too cocky with my rediscovered denim abilities.

I spent Saturday morning at a dorky history thing (which was actually pretty interesting) and topped and tailed it with a bit of retail therapy and lunch with a friend.  I wore jeans all day.

By the time I got home, in the snow I might add, I was feeling the pressure. I immediately had to change into pyjama bottoms as soon as I got into the house. I then spent about an hour curled up on the sofa watching some Barbra Streisand movie about two professors who get married for companionship, then she falls for him but he isn’t attracted to her.  I have no idea what the movie was called or how it ended cause I had to force myself upstairs to make a fancy dress costume.

My friend had a Middle Earth themed birthday party. As someone who has never read or even watched the Hobbit or any Lord of the Rings, I was pretty clueless. I decided to go with Legolas so I googled a picture, borrowed a bow and arrow from a friend and tried to recreate Orlando Bloom.  It didn’t actually go too badly, I put in more effort than some people.  It was definitely fun traipsing down to my friend’s house in the snow holding a bow and arrow!

Having just walked with nothing but my phone and keys (and bow and arrow) I didn’t have my pills on me and thought I could do without them.  It had slipped my mind that I’d thought the exact same thing the night before.

On Sunday morning, my body was not amused. The jeans and the no drugs brought back pain I hadn’t felt in weeks. I spend Sunday and Monday in bed, unable to do much.

I’ve learnt my lesson and have been diligently taking all my drugs at the right time. I haven’t gone back into jeans, I’ll leave them for shorter outings and not try to wear them all day for a while. I don’t want to jeopardise recovery by being stupid and getting cocky…

Wardrobes and wearing jeans

Published March 15, 2013 by crazyinpink

I’m writing this while wearing jeans that actually fit me!  In the grand scheme of things, I know that it isn’t such a big deal, people wear jeans all the time.  But I haven’t worn jeans in four years. Jeans that actually fit me and aren’t my old ‘fat’ jeans which are two sizes too big and just hang around my hips. Every time I walk past the mirror, I stop to look at myself. I’m nothing special to look at but wearing clothes that fit me properly makes me look totally different from my usual wardrobe of loose, comfortable skirts and dresses. I can’t help but smile.

I ventured into a clothes shop the other day after picking up a mouth guard from the dentist at a ridiculously early time (turns out I’m a teeth grinder, who knew?).  Not surprisingly, there are few people in shops at 9.15am. I didn’t go in for anything in particular, I just figured that I’d got up and dressed so early, I may as well do something else before going home again. Immediately I found myself looking at long, floaty dresses, automatically testing the fabric to see how giving it was.

Then I stopped myself. Maybe I didn’t need to continue to buy the same kind of clothes. I’m not in as much pain now after the op, I even wore jeans for eight hours straight last week. I ventured into a section of the shop I don’t think I’d ever visited before. Shirts, tops, even *gasp* trousers!! Having lived with pelvic and abdominal pain for so long, I had forgotten that these clothes were an option. Most of my wardrobe, about 90%, consists of dresses of varying styles and fabrics which I wear with ever-forgiving leggings. Last week when I decided to give the jeans a whirl, jeans which I bought in a mad bought of optimism before last July’s operation, I realised how few tops I own. I have t-shirts, mostly novelty ones I wear around the house or with the afore-mentioned ‘fat’ jeans. I had two nice tops which come out about twice a year or so for special occasions.

Don’t get me wrong, my wardrobe is far from boring.  It might be restrictive compared to normal people but I still use clothes to express myself. I wear impossibly bright colours and quirky prints.  I accessorize like Gok Wan and have a shoe collection that would rival Carrie Bradshaw’s. But walking around that shop the other day, I felt a little thrill I haven’t felt in a long time. I could buy clothes based on how they looked on me, I didn’t need to obsess as much about how clingy the fabric was, how loose it would be around my tummy, whether it would be comfortable enough for long days working in libraries. It was oddly freeing. And terrifying. Would I be tempting fate if I bought myself a new, healthy wardrobe instead of the chronic one I’ve been sporting for years?

In the end, I compromised. I bought a dress which had a 1920s vibe with a gorgeous flowing skirt and a pink and orange check fitted shirt. I can’t wait for the weather to get a little warmer so I can wear it with my jeans and shock everyone with clothes that actually show my shape!