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2017-10-20 10:49 am
Entry tags:

Unscholarly

I have a lot of reading to do, having somehow kept busy but gotten nowhere so far this week. And I'm away this weekend (with good intentions of reading on the train, but also...I've met me). So I'm trying to catch up now.

Some of it's hard going, but luckily some of it's also written by Geoff Pullum (a name anyone who reads Language Log might recognize and someone I learned I liked from there).
"A silly, infuriatingly unscholarly piece, designed to mislead" is what one irate but anonymous senior scholar called this chapter when it was first published in NLLT. But this is not correct; rather, what I have written here is a silly, misleadingly unscholarly piece, designed to infuriate. There is a huge difference.
May more of my reading be silly and misleadingly unscholarly!
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2017-10-16 03:48 pm

One of Those Days

Been a strange, nerve-jangly sort of day.

I missed a lecture because there were no fucking buses for 40 minutes. I know I could've turned up late but I was all wound up by then, and I can catch up because the lectures and slides are recorded.

We got the orange sun around lunchtime, it's clear and sunny here now (though still with particles of dust in the air hurting my eyes) but it's gone down south where a million more people are tweeting about it, and a million freaked-out status updates on Facebook and bad-joke tweets haven't helped somehow. That we feel such a sense of impending doom at such a minor change in the quality of the light makes it easy to see why humans had to invent religion.

I didn't feel doomy but I was also pretty sure it was something to do with the hurricane, and the hurricane is because of climate change and that make terrified and so miserable. My anxious brain told me "One day we'll look back on these as the good old days, weather-wise," because my anxious brain hates me.

I slept awfully last night. Went to bed early, woke up after midnight and didnt get back to sleep until five in the morning.

Andrew emailed while I was out saying the washing machine is broken, he thinks he can fix it but I'll need to help. But when I got back home he's out, so I'm sitting here writing this instead. I hope the washing machine's okay, we can't afford it not to be. Don't know where he is, but I think he was going to buy food. And I thought of something on my way home that I wanted but I forgot to tell him to get.

The people next door are having building work done on their house, and the loud whine of the drills makes it hard to concentrate or relax.

I need a hug or a cry or a sleep or a vacation. But none of those things seem like they'd be enough really.
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2017-10-14 04:41 pm

It's fun to imagine where this year could take you

I'm weirdly delighted at this card my grandma got Andrew for his birthday.

He didn't bother punching out and assembling the paper airplane, but I did!

"Maybe it's because she thinks of us as going to visit on a plane?" Andrew said when he'd opened the card and was telling me about the paper airplane in it.

It certainly makes me think of that, now.

I miss my grandma. It was nice to see her handwriting again. She doesn't do e-mail or cell phones or anything, but she used to write occasionally -- it's harder now, because of her eyesight -- and I wrote back, never often enough.

This time of year is often the worst for me missing people. One of the unexpected upsides of university is how much better I've handled the changing of the seasons because of it: I've been too busy to be wistful. But there are moments.

I'll write her a nice letter, thanking her for such a great card.
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2017-10-13 09:45 pm
Entry tags:

c.f. Garrison Keillor's Norwegian Bachelor Farmers

"The world's quietest room is in Minnesota," Andrew just told me. "That seems appropriate, somehow."

I had to laugh. Andrew still thinks my dad is so quiet he doesn't even say all the words in his sentences, and just expects the people around him to be used to him enough to fill them in.

(After he said this I paid extra attention the next time I was around my dad, and I'm sure he says all the words. But the fact that I found this plausible enough to have to check? Probably says a lot.)
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2017-10-13 09:03 pm
Entry tags:

Achievement unlocked

First essay finished and submitted in time! Feels weird to be writing freshman essays again.

It has been a long day, at the end of a long week. Might go pour myself a drink. (That's certainly something I didn't do the last time I wrote my first freshman essay!)
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2017-10-12 05:15 pm

Uncharted, unstudied

[personal profile] lilysea shared a great article on accessibility, or more accurately the lack thereof, at the University of Sydney.

It's fairly long, and all very good, but one paragraph from it particularly stood out for me. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.
For staff members, the situation isn’t much better. Dr Sheelagh Daniels-Mayes, a lecturer in Aboriginal education, is one of only eight blind and low vision academics in Australia. She estimates that she spends about 25 extra hours a week making up for inaccessibility. Turnitin and Grade Centre are both inaccessible for screen reading software, and PDF documents are “sheer hell”. And, unfailingly, the cobblestones. In order to avoid them, Sheelagh’s guide dog Nina insists on taking her on a roundabout route through the Law buildings.
Partly this is of course because I'm starting to navigate university life while partially sighted. PDFs are sheer hell and people think they're accessible because they're electronic like that's magic or something.

But what has stuck with me is the estimate of losing 25 hours a week to dealing with inaccessibility. I've said many times now I've spent more time and energy on dealing wiht the admin associated with being a student than I have on reading or writing or thinking or learning. It's not all directly related to inaccessibility for me, like in the article, but it all adds up to the feeling that like the feminist idea of women doing a "second shift" of work when they get home from the dayjob to cook and clean and look after children, I have a second shift of sighted-guide-wrangling, getting lost today on my way to a new building (not something I could wrangle a sighted guide for in time because I didn't have enough notice), being distracted in a meeting by an ankle that was sore because I'd just fallen up some stairs on the way to it, waiting for the next bus after one zoomed past me at a stop today which they're not supposed to do, deciding whether any individual thing is worth complaining about...

I don't know how many hours I spend dealing with inaccessibility a week, but this academic's phrase reminded me of a poem I adore, "Girl Hours", which is actually about a kind of Hidden-Figures set of women in the late 19th century. The director reckoned the difficulty of astronomical projects in "girl hours," the number of hours these human computers would need in order to do the work. There must be some equivalent in disabled hours.
Oh bright rain, brave clouds, oh stars,
oh stars.

Two thousand four hundred fires
and uncharted, unstudied,
the hours, the hours, the hours.
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2017-10-11 09:06 pm

DSA assessment

Wrote half an essay (only 500 words! I wrote an intro and a sentence for each point I want to make and that was almost 200 words itself! but still) tonight so I don't have a lot of energy left but I wanted to note that the DSA assessment went well. It took a really long time though, almost three hours (when your most knowledgeable friend says their eleventy billion wonky impairments only required two-hour DSA sessions, you know it's a long time!).

My biggest problem now is that I went home wanting all the kit right away. Can I have that software to work on my essay (no, it's due Friday). Can I have the biiiiiig monitor? Can I have the thing that only zooms the part of the screen you need it to (I actually found out today that Blackboard has "high contrast" and "text zoom" in its settings, but when you click on them all it says is "right, you need to use your browser/OS settings to do this"! thanks and all but that doesn't work very well you bag of dicks!)

The guy made some good points, like that he recommends screenreaders not just for blindy mcblindfaces like me but people who "just" have the anxiety/depression side of things because it affects their -- our -- ability to concentrate so much and for some people it's easier to listen than to read. I know this is certainly true for me (and I know it won't be for many other people! I know lots of neurodiverse people and that can include auditory processing issues as can lots of other things) but never thought it was anything more than my eyes causing that.

He generally talked about the anxiety and depression only in terms of disrupted sleep, poor concentration, things like that. Didn't insinuate that I didn't really had it or it isn't really real or any of that shit. It was the least stigamtizing experience I've ever had talking about my mental health, I think! Really refreshing. Especially because he's an older chap with a very northern accent and stereotypes mean I'm not used to such people talking about mental health; it'd be like hearing my dad say "anxiety" or "depression" which I don't think has ever happened! But he was really matter-of-fact about it, which of course you'd hope for in his job but I've met plenty of people whose jobs should have made them good at it who are not good at this, so I expect nothing and that means I got to be pleasantly surprised.

I'm not quite done yet; the guy wants me to come back to talk to one of their suppliers about the particular kinds of software and some kind of OCR-machine that he is (and I am) sure I'll benefit from but there are different kinds and there's no way to know what will suit me without me trying them. That was going to happen tomorrow but now can't happen then; it should be on Friday, which suits me better anyway.
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2017-10-09 09:41 pm

Hold the newsreader's nose squarely, waiter, or friendly milk will countermand my trousers

A very long description of all the problems I've had with my 'mobility support' at school. )

I don't want a lot of earnest apologies like I got last Friday. I don't want the emotional labor of dealing with that. I just want to have energy to do more than one thing in a day, to not always feel overwhelmed, to not have this conviction that if I had only my homework to do my life would be a lot easier than with all this disability admin to do too.

And as if to prove that last point, I don't just have one seminar that I've done and enjoyed the reading for, I have DSA Study Needs Assessment tomorrow, which I am really not looking forward to because they're going to want to know why I don't use magnifciation (it doesn't help my eye condition, which no one believes even though its Wikipedia page even says so) and why I don't use a screenreader (I sometimes do but they suck more than not using them for a lot of things! c.f. all these books the library says are available electronically but with all the copy-protection, when you navigate to them the screenreader just says "graphic"). Magnifiers and screenreaders are supposed to fix all blindies' problems, so when I say they don't people usually think I'm the problem.

I've been so grumpy for at least a week that I don't feel like I'm a good advocate for myself or what I need at all, right now, and I really need to be.
hollymath: (Default)
2017-10-07 08:31 pm
Entry tags:

And tired. Mad and tired.

I have a sore bit of skin where my bra has rubbed on it because bras are terrible and all betray you eventually.

I realized in the familiar feeling of frustrated despair at this that I'm gonna have to wear a bra every day for the rest of my life and I'm so mad about this.
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2017-10-04 08:39 pm
Entry tags:

Space at the museum

Andrew found out last week that "Tim Peake's spacecraft" was going to be at the Media Museum and the museum had developed a Thursday "late" around it and the general concept of space and he thought I'd be interested. It did sound good.

Though not enough to stop me being grumpy that the Soyuz capsule wasn't brought to Manchester. It'd be a much better fit at MOSI, which not only has "science" in the name and concept of the thing without having to be wedged in with a crowbar, but actually has an Air and Space Hall. That hardly ever has any "space" stuff in it! But noooo, we had to trek all the way to Bradford for this, so it was a good thing the event was free because travel was about twenty quid and we were aware of how capricious the trains home could be.

I'd seen a Soyuz at the National Space Centtre in Leicester, but that was the full thing, all the modules looking if not pristine (it's fifty years old) at least clearly not having actually been to space. (You can see pictures and info about it at that link.) This thing, on the other hand, looked more like a sixties Doctor Who prop.


Which makes sense: it's of about the same vintage. Very little has changed for Soyuz, and the fact that it's still (and once again the only) way to get into space kind of blows my mind. The pictures I have here were all of side most blackened by heat when this particular capsule returned to the Earth. The other side of it was still burned, but a sort of rich brown color rather than charcoal black.

The ropes are to the parachute that was displayed with it, hung from the ceiling of the two-story high atrium where you first come into the museum. It was mostly draped and wrapped up and still ridiculously huge -- and of course only one of the parachutes Soyuz needs, but this was referred to as the "main" one and I think it is the biggest.

People kept trying to peer into the windows and I couldn't see a lot but Andrew told me it was nice and analogue in there: big buttons, well-labeled switches, luckily no touchscreens here! He also said there was a sign that said "help! man aboard" or something, and something he presumed was the same in Russian, visible through one of the windows I took these pictures through.

So we heard a little talk on that and while I was glad the museum was keeping the activities clearly meant for the school trips around for adults, who got their faces painted and made Mars rovers powered by balloons and stuff, the rest of what we happened to do was classic Media Museum stuff.

First we went to see the Moon landing on vintage TVs.

I think the one nearer to me in the picture here was from the late fifties, and the smaller one (you can't really tell from this crappy picture but it was in color!) was from the mid-sixties, so both could have been used to watch the Moon landing -- though we saw it because these have been converted to take digital format video, and since the BBC did erase the video tapes of the Moon landing, we were just watching the raw NASA footage for a few minutes, which was kind of great in itself and honestly probably better than listening to Patrick Moore and James Burke burble on about it?

The curator for this was great, talking about what it would've been like as an experience: the Moon landing happened at something like four in the morning UK time, and since NASA had a couple of hours' worth of film sent with the astronauts they just let it play. It was a big deal to have video cameras recording for hours at that time (never mind in space!) and it was the first time British TV broadcast all night long. She set the scene really well, and got everyone to give Neil Armstrong a round of applause when he said his famous words. She was clearly used to school groups too, unable to hide her amazement when somebody (of course it was Andrew) could tell her which channel was the first to broadcast in color.

We also went to Insight, both thinking as we did that the last time we were there we saw Dracula's teeth, to see a bunch of photos and similar that at least vaguely related to space. As always with anything like this I was much more interested than I thought I would be when I first had it described. The media museum is great for displaying some of these items it has that it can't usually show the public, and again there were curators and other volunteers telling us about everything.

So we saw some magic lantern slides (a sort of very early slide projector)...

...some 3D pictures of the Moon and a Viewmaster-type thing for looking at them through, lots of pictures of everything from someone testing the beef cubes that will be made into astronauts' food to sixties- and seventies-era prototypes of space shuttles and space stations and so on, and a daguerreotype of the Moon!

Again, the enthusiasm of the volunteers and curator totally made this what it was, what this museum is best at.

Like all trips to the Science and Media Museum since it became such, it was bittersweet in that the place is a sad shadow of what it once was, but even the shadow is still pretty great. I'm still mad at what the Science Museum Group are doing to it, and in how that affects the way they share their resources with Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry too. But no matter how much they threaten to close one of their "northern museums," no matter how much they pilfer the Media Museum's unique collections and the relationships it's built around them...the people who work and volunteer there, who love the place, and the great things they're still allowed to display, make it a totally special place I am still so fond of.
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2017-10-02 02:35 pm
Entry tags:

Today

Plumber was here for two hours to sort out a complicated job. Andrew and Gary both find it really stressful, even though the plumber was nice and great this time.

I've spent most of the hour since on the phone with Student Finance England, the most inscrutable and arbitrary bastards I've dealt with since the Home Office.

Now I have to go talk to a bank where I don't remember the answers to my security questions. That's always fun. Put this off until tomorrow because I needed a nap.

Then I have to go to class! Via some ableist bullshit.

What a day.
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2017-10-02 01:22 am
Entry tags:

Crisis and all it drags up

As I was about to go to bed, around ten, I heard a tiny noise.

It sounded like a drop of water hitting the floor, a sadly familiar noise to me in this house, but usually it's hitting tiles because it's falling from the bathroom to the kitchen (we had a problem with the tub leaking for a while). This time it was hitting carpet.

But that was unheard of. I ignored it. Probably my imagination. It's rare for it to be so quiet in this house, no music or podcasts or Netflix playing. My ears were probably playing tricks on me.

But I kept hearing it. I ended up poking my bare toes at suspicious looking spots on the carpet (of which there are many; it's old and stained) and gazing open-mouthed at the ceiling like a bewildered tourist in a cathedral.

Eventually, I found a tiny wet patch, no bigger than the big toe I was prodding it with. I glared at the ceiling but it offered no explanation. Luckily the water wasn't coming from near the light fixture or anything. It was right in the middle of the hallway, though, not even near a wall or anything. So weird.

We have plumbing insurance because we have an old house and it's basically just an installment plan for all the bills we'd have otherwise. It's also pretty great because you can call them any time, even ten o'clock on a Sunday night. So Andrew did that and that would've been the end of it, except where the water was dripping from was underneath our bedroom. And the valve where we should be trying to turn off the radiator (not that they're being used, but it might stop the water leak though I don't thin so, because it'd be right over the door if it was the radiator leaking, not in the middle of the room), and the part of the room where it seemed like the water would be coming from, were blocked by our wardrobes.

There are two of them, identical and right next to each other. They were left here by the previous owners. I have actually always hated them -- modular Ikea jobs that don't solve the problems we have very well, but they were free and they were there and we didn't have the finances or the energy to argue with that when we moved in. Or at any time since.

But getting them unbolted from the wall, emptied enough to move them, unbolted from each other which we didn't even know they had been and which involved more screws than should physically fit into that space (this is the part where Andrew was nearly in tears, having had to help me crawl around and reach for awkward things and try to unscrew screws that didn't seem to unscrew, but I recognized this as an unavoidable part of DIY) and then when the wardrobes were finally moved I got to vacuum up enough of the dust around where they'd been that I didn't feel like I getting black lung, find new homes for all the stuff that been in or on the wardrobe that we'd foolishly thrown on the bed at first...which ended up moving stuff not just into the spare room but moving some stuff into the loft that should've been there long ago...

It's been nagging at me in the back of my mind that I need to tidy and get rid of stuff anyway. I actually have a few bags of clothes that need donating to charity that I've been amassing for a while. But of course doing this past my bedtime on a Sunday night so a plumber can see how bad a problem we have is hardly ideal. Still I did manage to bin some things beyond donating and add more to the bags for the charity shop and even find a thing or two I'd forgotten I have.

But between enough physical work to work up a sweat, making all the decisions I had been deferring because I didn't have the energy to deal with them before, having Emotions about feeling out of control because of being surrounded by a level of untidiness that makes things inaccessible to me and feeling ashamed and restless in my house because there's so much that needs repairing or just replacing with things more suited to us, and not having the money for any of it...I can't remember when I was last so tired.

I hate those wardrobes. I hate most of my clothes and the other things in the wardrobes. I hate not knowing where anything is. Andrew hates the carpet; it's bad for his feet. And yet here we are.

The bed is clear enough to get into it, so I'm going to try to sleep. The plumber will be here in a time window that starts in only six hours so at least one of us will have to be awake then, and somehow I don't think it'll be Andrew!
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2017-10-01 09:02 pm

The Weekly Call with my parents

Skype with parents My mom emailed to ask if I was around to talk to (I've trained them to do this because they don't understand that unlike them I don't have it running all the time) when she was talking on the phone with her mom and bored and wanting an excuse to get off the phone.

My mom using me as an excuse because she's tired of talking to her mom on the phone is the kind of thing that convinces me my parents have an impermeable irony shield.

Like this week they also sent Andrew his birthday present with a card that basically said vegetarians make shit cakes. When their daughter, the person who'd be making Andrew a cake if he was going to have one, is a vegetarian. And...you'd really have to struggle to make a cake not vegetarian? I told Twitter about this and Twitter thought my parents were mean but they're not, they just...don't think about things like this. Plus they sent him chocolate, which is nice but since he's Not Eating Sugar I, the vegetarian, had all the sugar-filled chocolate-covered aspects of the birthday the card wished for.

My dad asked what my classes are so I told them and predictably they didn't care about the others but when I got to Arabic they were stunned and I think my mom is probably a bit nervous of this. My dad came around to it pretty quickly, making the point I'd guessed one of them would in an attempt to normalize this new fact: "You could probably get a job doing that!" because learning Arabic became such A Thing in the U.S. after 9/11; the government needed a lot more people who could speak it. Whereas I really don't think the UK is going to give me a job involving Arabic that could go to any one of thousands of native or otherwise more fluent speakers, but whatever.

Dad also asked "which one?" and knew there were different kinds of spoken Arabic, which honestly I was kind of surprised by (though the only places that he could name that he thought spoke it were Iraq and Iran, oh dear, see also previous point re Arabic being The Language of Terrorists).

So I expect that'll be all kinds of fun conversations at Christmas, though it's sounding like my aunt's partner is expressing no enthusiasm about visiting us for the holiday this year, so now I have reason to hope it'll be a lot less overtly racist as he's the Trump troll of the family. There are plenty who voted for the guy but he's the only one who seems to delight in talking about it, or at least did last year and since my parents have just been to visit them and said "We didn't agree about a lot of things" I can only presume that continued. Though then I think she was talking about who got to pick what they watched on TV so it could've just been about that!

And I can always hope Trump is impeached by Christmas, anyway.
hollymath: (Default)
2017-09-29 01:08 am

Yep. Exactly that.

Andrew noticed how bushy his mustache was looking in his reflection today and said "if I had white hair I could say things like 'well, bless my whiskers!' and tell the kids magic wasn't real but with a twinkle in his eye while he was saying it."
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2017-09-28 11:23 am
Entry tags:

Fresher

Today I'm thinking about how weirdly well I fit in with the "freshers." No one seems particularly interested that I'm American because they're from all over the world too. So I get no follow-up inappropriate small-talk questions I am sick of answering about why I'm here or how long I have been, or whatever.

They're all confused about everything too so I'm not the only one who can't find the room our class is in or isn't sure if "tutorial" and "seminar" are being used interchangeably or not (spoiler: they are).
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2017-09-26 11:08 am

Brain dump

Went shopping for the bits of groceries I can't send Andrew for (he's been pretty good about asking me nearly every day if I want anything from the shops while he's going, but sometimes that doesn't work) and am on my second load of laundry today. It feels like a lot when I've been so busy! But both were sorely overdue.

But I've done my reading and my little "just to check you did the reading" quiz after my first lecture yesterday. I was supposed to have a tutorial for that this morning but the timetable was screwed up (the timetable is so screwed up I've got at least four things this week but only one turning up on the timetable) so have just got to read about the essay prep we were going to cover. I enjoyed the lecture, on the more sciencey, brain/mind-related aspects of linguistics, and feel like it and the reading are things I get to do rather than things I have to do. If it just stayed that way for the rest of the semester, this'd be easy!

Gary seems to be doing a bit better now the antibiotics are kicking in. When we were gone over the weekend [personal profile] mother_bones noticed he had a loose tooth and rang me up to ask him if it'd be overstepping for them to take him to the vet. Of course I said absolutely not, please do, and told her which vet we've taken him to before. Turns out he's got a couple other bad teeth as well so is going to have an operation on Friday to take them out and catch up on a couple of niggly things like clip his nails (which he hates when he's awake!) and get him microchipped.

[personal profile] mother_bones was also very good at managing my utter misery about this, because of course I immediately panicked that she'd spotted something that I hadn't ages ago because I couldn't see it. She and the vet both said these things can happen (or at least reach a critical mass) quite quickly and I hadn't missed anything or been a bad dog owner. In a funny way I was almost glad that Gary did seem a little subdued when I came to pick him up again after we got back from our weekend away: he clearly was acting differently from the dog I'd dropped off on Friday so I could be more confident that he hadn't been suffering for ages with oblivious humans around. But like I say the vet gave him an injection and we've been giving him oral antibiotics since yesterday and then and today he seems to be much more his old self, still eating and barking at things and sitting in the sun and being his Wonder Dog self. A few friends-of-friends have had unwell or missing or otherwise fraught dogs and it's been a bit much for me because I keep fretting about Gary but I am getting better too.

There's actually enough sun to warm my back as I sit with a big window behind me! I hung the laundry out for the first time in weeks! It's very welcome. But makes me sleepy. I had a lot of sleep last night but could totally have a nap now...
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2017-09-26 12:06 am
Entry tags:

Please can I be done with the hostile bureaucracy of immigration now?

Andrew has (extremely carefully and only after I said it was okay, having learned from last week's debacle!) opened the post from the Home Office and can confirm that it's my UK passport.

I'm not even happy or relieved yet. I'm so ground-down by the whole process that it still hasn't sunk in yet, even as I look at it with the lettering all shiny, next to me on the table, waiting to be taken upstairs and filed away into unobtrusive normality.
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2017-09-21 12:40 pm

I no longer get the hang of Thursdays

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.
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2017-09-20 03:48 pm
Entry tags:

Abbreviated freshers' week

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.