September 2010

these titles are starting to get boring…. i need some new ones!

Classes yesterday and Monday both went very well. the notetakers continue to do a sterling job; i am getting quite spoiled by this and it takes so much pressure off me with understanding what’s going on (especially as i am so tired at the moment, i’m not sleeping as well as i should, what with this horrible cough that a couple of times in class on monday i caught myself nodding off, and both Monday and Tuesday evening i ended up napping for an hour after i got home), i can just flake out and read the transcription rather than making an effort to understand exactly what the tutor is saying. The main tutor i can understand somewhat better, at this point, than the secondary tutor (who i see on Tuesdays for archaeology), but that’s primarily due to the secondary tutor’s tonsillitis (which she still hasn’t recovered from, poor thing), and i think once she’s completely up to speed i’ll be fine with her.

Monday saw my first tutorial. We covered the process of applying to university, he went through the whole UCAS thing (for non-brits – when applying to University, you don’t apply to each individual university. UCAS is a sort of clearing organisation – you list 6 courses that you want to go on, which they then forward to the universities in question, who decide whether to offer you an unconditional offer (i.e. they really really want you and even if you fail your exams, they want you anyway, and which is, frankly, rare) or a conditional offer (i.e. if you’re waiting on exam results, then they want you to achieve a specific grade) and at the end, when all the results come in, it all results in a few weeks of chaos where people confirm their places and where they’re going, and the ones that haven’t got their grades enter a process called clearing, where they try to get onto a course they vaguely like at a university they vaguely like and hope for the best. or they go get a job. The application is a long process – from basic info through to making a “personal statement”, which is often the only way that the unis can distinguish candidates, and can make or break your application, so its important to get right. The cut off date for application for Sept 2011 is January 2011, so it gives you some idea of just how important it is that they’re starting this process now. I expect once our UCAS applications are well underway tutorial subjects will turn to other areas, like essay writing. but for now, my homework in that arena is to get my UCAS application started (its all done online) and to think about the choices of degree subject that i want to cover [which is a whole big thing, because even if i stick to Manchester, there’s two universities and a whole lot of degrees that they offer, even in the history “sphere”].

the one thing that has happened which is a bit disturbing happened on Monday. One student in my class apparently approached the notetaker to ask her for a copy of what she’s typing out. She refused, saying that he would have to ask me (since technically, they’re my notes, even if the college pays for the notetaking process). I wasn’t there then, i found this out from her afterwards, but he did come up to me and asked if he could “have a look”. i initially said yes, cos my mind was elsewhere, but thinking about it overnight, was very uncomfortable with it – not so much with the concept of him cribbing from my notes (which, lets be honest, everyone does), but from the idea that he might ask for copies of ALL my notes (especially if he were to find out that they are emailed to me, which i don’t intend to tell him, or anyone). I managed to grab him before class yesterday, and i asked him why he wanted them. Turns out he’s new to making notes and he’s not entirely sure that he’s doing it right, plus his handwriting is awful and he can’t read his own writing! He just wants a fallback so if he has questions about his notes or needs something that he forgot to write down, he can find the information out. which is fair enough, and i don’t mind that. I did tell him, however, that i didn’t feel comfortable with him photocopying ALL my notes and i explained why, and he was cool with that. So that’s a situation averted.

[i feel quite strongly with the notes that no one should automatically get copies from me, because their ears work just fine, and they’re not suffering from the disadvantage that i have. I don’t mind sharing for one part or one lesson, or giving someone notes when they’ve missed part of a lesson for some reason (as is going to happen tomorrow, one student’s daughter is being bullied badly at school, and the student has to go in to talk to the school about the situation, making her late for the class, so i’ve said (she didn’t ask, i offered) that she can have my notes up to the point where she comes in so she knows what she missed), or if they’re ill. that’s part of being a good student and sharing – i hope that someone might cover for me if i’m ill. but automatically getting copies of them is just taking the mickey, and its not a route i want to go down – if nothing else, because it will rob the other students of a learning process of learning to make their own notes, to write down what’s relevant, and that could well actually hurt them when they get to uni and they don’t have a professional notetaker to back them up. This is part of why i’m taking notes from TV Programmes on history, so that i too learn that process, even if its not one that i can actually exercise inside class (where the pause button doesn’t exist!).]

I spent some time in the library yesterday afternoon. It quickly became clear that writing notes from books isn’t a good way to do it – it takes far too long, especially when i type far faster than i write! So I’ll be taking my netbook in next week to make notes, hopefully that will help. Can’t wait to get my student ID too so that i can use things like the photocopier and to actually borrow books that i’m going to want more from than just a single afternoon’s work – as it is, i’ve had to make a note of the books i want to take more from with the hope that they’ll still be there when i go back next week. Its not a huge problem if not, as my grade isn’t dependent on these books – as long as its clear in my essay that i have done *some* research other than the set books, i should get the grade i want (a distinction). We’ll see. I don’t know what the first essay title will be yet, i think the secondary tutor will be telling us hers next week.

Tomorrow is Near Eastern Archaeology: i’ve been boning up on civilisation this afternoon, looking at what defines a civilisation and when to tell it has become one, what makes one, and then after that, i’ve got lots to do cos we’re heading down to my parents’ new home for the weekend on friday evening, so i’ve got to try to get as much of the essential college work done as possible before we leave, so that i’m not having to work too much on Sunday evening (when we get back), cos i’ll probably be rather tired. I’m looking forward to it though – seeing my parents and my grandmother, their dog, and their new home. the last time i saw it it was still filled with all the items belonging to the previous owner (who had died) and had a very unlived in, neglected air to it, so it definitely wasn’t at its best. I know my parents have been working hard on getting the place looking good so it will be good to see it all better and looked after!!


now i’ve got my second and third classes under my belt, and my first full week out of the way.. how am i feeling now?

Well.. much better, for starters! Emotionally, anyway. Physically is another matter – starting college for the first time in a long time is NOT a good time to develop a wracking cough/sore throat! – so i feel rather out of it, but emotionally i actually feel pretty good. proud that i made it through week one, that i got up on time every day (even though most days i hadn’t had anywhere near enough sleep, between nerves and this cough waking me up) and that i’ve been consistently studying most days, in one way or another, even though i’m feeling really awful at times.

Having said all that though… week one is the easy bit. and i know it.

Tuesday was … well. the class was good. the stuff outside it, not so good. The weather turned out to be really awful on tuesday, absolutely bucketing down with rain. To get to the college i have to catch 2 buses – one into city centre from where i live, which is a pay bus, the other is a free bus which just goes round and round city centre, linking various important parts. Get to the bus stop on time and the first bus goes shooting past – its full. I grit my teeth and feel my stress levels rising, and try to remain calm. then a second goes past, which is out of service. The third (by which time i’ve been waiting 20+ minutes), very crowded bus finally stops and lets us on board. Then, when i get to town, and try to catch the “free” bus – the first two i see (that go every 5-10 minutes) are full and just go on by. at this point i’m about ready to scream with frustration, but i finally get on one and make it to college, just five minutes late to meet the notetaker. No biggie, but in terms of frustration and stress, it was something i could really have done without.

The notetaker turned out to be a lovely lady by the name of Eleanor. we walked up to the classroom – a different one to Monday’s (in fact, i’m in a different room for all my classes), and its normally a lab. The room is set up with three round tables set around a central column with gas taps and electrical power outlets, which makes group work a little hard (the other rooms are set up in a sort of horseshoe shape). if it turns out to be a real problem i may have to ask if the class can be switched to another room. This class – which is Archaeology – is also taught by a different teacher, a younger woman, who is studying for her PhD. I won’t say what here, as its a fairly identifiable PhD and i don’t want to cause problems, but suffice it to say its something i find really interesting and plan to ask her about at some point. I didn’t on Tuesday because she was suffering from Tonsillitis, so figured the last thing she needed was me asking her extra stuff! Her teaching style is one i personally like – a mixture of her talking and group work. She got to know us all by asking us questions about archaeology, going round and making us all answer the same questions. questions like what we think archaeology is, what we want to get out of the course, that kind of thing. I was quite glad of it, because it gave me an opportunity to get to know my fellow students, and they all seem pretty dedicated to the course, all fairly hard-core history geeks like i am. There doesn’t seem to be anyone there just hoping to use the course to go to do something else, which is good. But the range of interests that people have within the history discipline is quite amazing. From maritime archaeology through to the aztecs and the incas, one woman loves Egypt so much, she’s spent all her holidays all her life out there, asking to join digs as a volunteer, that kind of thing, going to lectures at her local society, and now she’s retired, she wants to do a proper qualification so that she can do the kind of thing she loves. another guy just wants to work outside on the digs, can’t be doing with the paperwork or the conservation, just wants to excavate. “I know some field directors who are going to love YOU”, he was told!!!

The archaeology class is all about the methods of archaeology, as well as a little bit about the kind of things you can find. We won’t be getting to actually do any excavation ourselves (not arranged through the college, anyway) although i think we may be going up to Hadrian’s wall to Vindolanda, which is a large Roman fort that is currently being excavated (I say currently: its been under some form of excavation since the early 30s and probably has enough material there to excavate for the next 150 years!) as well as going to various museums to look at different finds and so on. But first, before we can do any of that, we’re covering the history of archeology. I’ve got my textbook (one of the two i have to get – the other one is a doorstop reference book, that every single archaeologist has, apparently, and new, costs £45!!! needless to say i won’t be getting THAT new), in fact, i have all four textbooks that i ordered from amazon on monday/tuesday afternoon now. One of them is a lovely 1939 hardback book that i may well keep after the course is over, just because its a lovely book. It smells like old books should, if you know what i mean! Anyway, the teacher is a good one, full of interesting anecdotes, and actually manages to keep on track (which the other one seems to have problems doing!), so i think i’m going to really enjoy this class. The notetaker for this class was absolutely essential as a lot of the time the teacher, great as she was, was talking really quietly (because of the tonsillitis), and i was struggling to hear her. I’m not overly worried, though, as at one point she seemed to almost shout – and then promptly apologised, saying she wasn’t shouting, but that was her normal teaching voice! To give you some idea though of the amount the notetakers are having to take down – the first set of notes came to 25 pages of A4 (when printed out), the second to 17 pages. that’s an almost verbatim account of everything that is said in class, as best as the notetaker can manage it.

The third class is on Near Eastern Archaeology (the first is on Ancient History – basically the romans and the greeks, in case you’ve forgoten). This is back with the primary tutor, who, like i said, has a problem staying with the subject. Its annoying, as there are one or two students who like to ask a lot of questions, not all of them pertinent to what we’re actually studying, and once the tutor is off on a track, he seems to take ages to come back to what we’re MEANT to be talking about. I keep thinking “SHUT UP!” to one particular student, which is a bit uncharitable of me, but honestly, he really does waffle. Even the notetaker agreed with me – another lovely lady by the name of Julia, who did medieval history for her degree, so not exactly someone with no experience of what a class at this level should be like.

I’m annoyed with the tutor for another reason too. Apparently there was an enrollment class on 3rd Sept which i should have been invited to. That class covered things like actual enrollment (i.e. all the paperwork) but also things like the structure of the Access course. I don’t mean the actual things we’re studying, but how the course works in terms of credits – how many credits you need in total, the breakdown of things like pass-merit-distinction, that kind of thing. These are all things i’m struggling to find out now. I don’t know why i wasn’t invited to the class – i do wonder, sometimes, if i hadn’t shown up that afternoon off my own bat to ask what was going on, if i’d ever find out that i had been accepted. Not only that, but my enrollment is now two weeks behind everyone else’s – and as a result, i won’t get my student ID card for several more weeks, at least, and without that, i can’t use some of the college facilities, like borrowing books from the library, or getting my notes printed out. I kicked up enough of a stink (nicely, though!) on thursday afternoon that someone on reception took pity on me, introduced me to the (very very nice) IT guy called Paul, who has promised to print out any notes that i need printing out (i’m referring now to the note taker’s notes, which get emailed to me after every class). i could do it at the local library, which is how i’ve done printing before, but when you think that the notes come to around 25 pages for each class, it gets expensive, really really fast, so i’m grateful to Paul for agreeing to print things out for me. (he even offered to find me a kindle, bless him, so that i could take the notes to class with me in an electronic form. I just said not to worry about it – i could take them in on my notebook, but sometimes, you want paper copies, don’t you?). Still, this whole situation could’ve been averted if the tutor had been a bit more on the ball.

Classes and bureaucracy apart though… the studying i’ve been doing at home i’ve been really happy with. It feels wonderful to get my teeth into something intellectual. I’m not just doing the stuff the class requires – at this point, the various classes require very little (we’ve some reading to do of a handout booklet that the main tutor gave us on both ancient history and near eastern archaeology, and some research to do on what an antiquarian was for archaeology)  – so i’m really taking the opportunity to get stuff done now that i won’t have time for further down the line, but that i hope will help me then when i really need it. Things like making a chronology of the dates in ancient history – at the moment, i couldn’t tell you without looking it up online when the Romans invaded Britain, for example, or when the Old Kingdom was in Ancient Egypt, and that’s basic references i should really know. Making that kind of chronology will help to settle that into my mind. Also making notes on the various historians/archaeologists that we’re coming across in class, the authors of the books i’m reading. what degrees they took, where, where they worked, what their research fields were, what are their motivations. One historian, for example, E H Carr, was fascinated by Soviet Russia, not to the point where he was an active traitor to the United Kingdom, but certainly to the point where he felt there was a great deal we could learn from the Soviet Union and tried his best to make that come about, and made himself somewhat unpopular in the process. I’m also making notes on the many history programmes that we recorded while we were in Germany – “Digging for Britain” was a particularly timely series, given its all about archaeology! – but also “The Normans” and “Norman Walks” – even though that doesn’t touch on this year’s study, they may well come in useful in future studies. “Egypt’s Lost Queen” on Channel 5 is another – before we went away i saw a series where Zahi Hawass, the head of the Egyptian Anqtiquities Service, was using DNA testing techniques to try to find out who Tutankhamun’s family was and what he died from (scans show he had a broken leg and the presence of malaria in his system, and the current thinking is that it was a combination of both conditions that led to his death). Egyptologists are not always 100% sure who various mummies are, and using DNA testing to explore the various family relationships is a fairly new way of exploring the past – a fascinating series, that saw the identification of Akhenaton as Tutankhamen’s father, Amenhotep III as his grandfather, the identification of the mummy of Queen Tiye, that his half sister was also his wife, Ankhesenamun, and that the two small babies mummified with King Tut were his two small daughters, who were miscarried.  “Egypt’s Lost Queen” is from the same team and i’m really looking forward to it. And then there’s the reading i have to do of the books – taking notes from those, and so on.

so all in all it feels like everything i’m doing is to do with history, and my mind is really just gulping in all this knowledge. Michiel is being a star in terms of supporting me – getting me coffee every morning that i have to get up, not talking to me when he can see that i’m occupied with studying, getting me cups of tea, cooking dinner occasionally – he’s wonderful, and i think he can see how much i’m enjoying this. I was *ready* to do this, i think, in a way that i just wasn’t before. I just really really hope i can get onto the course i want for 2011, because the prospect of studying this year, then having a year’s break, then gearing myself up to start studying again in 2012 after a year off really doesn’t appeal. But i’ll cross that bridge when i come to it.

well.. the agony of day one is over with. It wasn’t as bad as i had feared, nowhere near as bad. Although it really really helped having a notetaker with me.. and not just because lipreading for 4+ hours was bloody hard work! I am shattered now. The notetaker was fab – i was able to read over her shoulder for some of it, which gave me a break from the pressure of lipreading. I should get a copy of my notes tonight sometime, i think – which would be great…. 🙂

Timetable is sorted. It seems i’m at college all day on monday, on tuesday morning and on thursday morning. Thankfully, I’ve been told i don’t have to do the English, Maths or IT elements to the Access course, because i have GCSE grade Cs, so that’s less work to do. How this affects the final grade, i don’t know – i know its a modular course and X number of points are required to pass.

I’ve been given a list of books, recommended reading, with one compulsory book. I tried to borrow the compulsory book from the library at the college, but no dice – i’m not officially a student yet as i don’t have my student card yet. Rats. so i came home and ordered it from Amazon instead. Thankfully, second hand. Picked up one book for 1p!! The other two (including the compulsory book) were £7. not too bad.

So, tomorrow morning is Archaeology, with a different tutor, and then Thursday morning is Middle Eastern Archaeology. Should be fun..! Today was a lecture, an informal one, on how the ancient world is still relevant today to us. Quite interesting, actually, and the tutor welcomed questions, which was good.

[speaking of which, the notetaker just emailed me the notes. Fantastic! all in microsoft word, so i can do whatever i like with them, which is really brilliant!]

I’ll post how its going.. probably another one tomorrow night after the first Archaeology lesson, and then another after the middle eastern archaeology unit. Tomorrow is another early start – 6.30am. I just hope i get better sleep tonight than i did last night – I woke up at about 2.30am, convinced it was nearly 6.30, waited for Michiel to come in and officially wake me, dozing on and off, then got fed up and turned the light on to see it was actually 2.30am. After that, slept intermittently, and finally gave up and got up at 6.18am. I’ve also got the start of a cold/cough developing – i’m just hoping, if i go to bed early tonight, that i can avoid it developing into something more…

anyway. i’m off to read my notes!

i gotta go back, back back to school again…Whoa whoa, i gotta go, back to schooooooolllll.. AGAIN!

not that i’m a pink lady or anything, but.. tomorrow i start back at school for the first time in a long time. I say school – i mean returning to education, of course, not literally going back with a bunch of 11 year olds. But i do have a lot of mixed feelings about this, and of course, when i’m feeling all mixed up i do what i do best – write it out.

I’ve been busy the last few days preparing for tomorrow, which is induction day. I really have no idea what to expect – whether we’re talking one hour and then the rest of the day is free, or whether i’ll be there all day, or what. I also have no idea at this point what my timetable is like, whether i’ll be there on tuesday as well, when i start properly. I hope i get my timetable tomorrow. The college seems to have been a little bad in terms of processing my application, but from what i’m reading online, this is about par for the course – you have to be on the ball about your stuff, don’t expect things to happen automatically, cos in education, they don’t.

i bought a folder – every student needs a folder, right? – which was rather plain and boring. hmm. I can do something about that, right? you betcha i can. 😀 I was going to cover it with some nice wrapping paper but i couldn’t find something i wanted so… ended up taking various off cuts from the xmas card work i’d done in previous years, turning it into strips, and then weaving a new cover. Once that was stuck to the folder, i covered the whole thing with sticky backed plastic to stop it getting dirty and protect it a bit, and… bob’s your uncle. One totally unique folder, very blingy…. and one which i love!

my new college folder - totally unique!

Michiel turned and looked at me when i was in the middle of making this. The trouble with this xmassy paper is its very glittery.. and said glitter gets everywhere, all over my clothes and hair and my face, and he burst out laughing.  “You really are going back to school, aren’t you?”, he said. “although i do wonder if that one is the right place for you.. maybe nursery would be more fun!” I had to laugh, cos he’s quite right – the thought of being turned loose in a room full of craft materials is a dream come true to me (although the thought of my precious work being ripped from my hands by a petulant toddler wanting to know what i was doing.. not so much!). But then it really got me thinking about college.

I think most people know that i had pretty bad experiences at school. And while i did do an Open University Foundation Course about 10 years ago, that was University. That was “Grown Up”. I guess in my mind, this equates more to school – like i’m going to be in a classroom with a bunch of 16 year olds. (although i’ve been repeatedly told i’m not, that its more mature students than 16 year olds – in fact, you have to be over a certain age to get onto this course, 19 being the minimum age, i think). I think this isn’t really helped by the fact that each time i’ve gone to the campus, for whatever reason its been full of youths from that age group.. and that’s what makes me so nervous. Its bringing back a lot of memories from when i was at school, and at the moment i’m handling this very much in one of two ways, swinging between the two.

the first is a very bullish, belligerent, cross-me-and-you’ll-get-hurt attitude. This is the attitude i had when i was making the folder: thinking that it would be totally unique, and this was a good thing! (also feeling very strongly that this time around i wouldn’t be held back from being ME, being unique, myself, and not one of the sheepy crowd – like i felt i had to be back in school, when i was afraid to be myself). Feeling that if someone dared laugh at my folder, they were going to get a real lecture about not being one of the crowd, and personal space, and so on.

The other, i’ve started to feel in the last 12 hours. I woke up this morning with a sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach, and its one that i took a while to identify, as i’d not felt it for so long. Its a feeling i used to feel going back to work (particularly the workplace ruled by the bad bosses, not sure i’ve ever blogged about that) after a holiday, or going back to school after a holiday/weekend at home. A sense of impending doom that would hang over the entire last day, tinge everything with a nasty taste, and generally just be unpleasant. I never wanted to go back – to school, to work, and i don’t want to go tomorrow either.

But at the same time, i do. I’m excited. Its going to be hard work – an Access course is the equivalent of A levels, done in 9 months, they hit the ground running and they really don’t let up – but i am really looking forward to having my mind stretched, to taking a step out of apathy. I’m ready for this, now, in a way that i wasn’t before, i think. I’m looking forward to making friends and expanding my universe as well.

With tomorrow being an induction day it will almost certainly involve the horrible icebreaker exercises. I have been in touch with the Deaf Access Team at the college – i was assessed by a lovely lady, a teacher of the deaf, and there’s a lot of help available to me, if i want it (and we’ve agreed on the kind of things that i need – from a note taker to more technical help with hearing), and there will be a notetaker ready to meet me tomorrow morning. This is a professional notetaker – she comes equipped with a laptop and a netbook, which are linked – i get to look at her notes as she types them, via the netbook, and then they’re emailed to me afterwards, which is pretty cool. I may get spoiled by this – i doubt i’d get that level of support at university (where notetakers tend to be other students, doing this for a bit of extra cash – or they used to be, things might’ve changed). I’m also getting to meet a tech guy, who will walk me through the various types of technical help, which is cool too.

Either way, i hope.. i think.. i will come home tomorrow night absolutely buzzing. I’ll try to blog about it – but i have a lot to do over the next few weeks, not including college. We’re visiting my parents at their new home in a couple weeks, to take mom’s new computer down to them, and i’m looking forward to seeing them and showing them all the photos from holiday, as well as telling them all about college, and i need to get quite a lot of stuff sorted for that. And there’s the holiday photos/videos  too, which i still have to get off my netbook onto my desktop so that i can process them to get them onto flickr and then this blog.

Something else i did last week was to make a bookmark out of parchment paper. This was for one of Michiel’s Aunts – a birthday present – which i duly sent off to the Netherlands. I just hope she likes it. She’s a teacher, so i think it’ll probably get used! Got a few more to make – her husband’s birthday is at the end of Sept, so i’ll probably make another, more masculine one for him, and i know Michiel wants one as well, featuring a celtic cross. not sure how that one’s going to work just yet.

parchment craft bookmark made for an aunt of Michiel's, a birthday present.

a close up. This wasn't a parchment craft pattern. The pattern came from a book of whitework needlework patterns, many of which i also find suitable for parchment craft - its one reason i love the art, inspiration and patterns can come from lots of places.

lets hope she likes it!

So.. as of tomorrow, i’ll be a student again. still with a lot of misgivings, but 24 hours should sort that, i hope. So i’ll leave you with that Grease 2 song, which, if you’re like me, is now stuck in your head… 😀 << link to the video, if you want to see the original…!

Spendin’ my vacation in the summer sun
Gettin’ lots of action, havin’ lots of fun
Scorin’ like a bandit till the bubble burst
Suddenly it got to be September first!
Woe is me….all summer long I was happy and free
Save my soul, the board of education took away my parole

I gotta go back, back, back to school again
You won’t find me, till the clock strikes three
I’m gonna be there till then
I gotta go back, back, back to school again
Whoa whoa, I gotta go, Back to School……AGAIN!

Geometry and History it’s just a pain
Biology and Chemistry destroys my brain
don’t they know that I deserve a better fate
I’m really much too young to matriculate
Mama please, your child’s come down with a fatal disease
mama said: “C’mon you lazy bum and get your butt outta bed!”

You gotta go back, back, back to school again
It’s bye bye fun, get your homework done, and better be in by ten
I gotta go back, back back to school again
Whoa whoa, I gotta go…Back to School…..AGAIN!

I got my books together and I dragged my feet
And then I saw this angel boppin’ down the street
I said hey pretty baby, “How’s about a date?”
She said “I’m goin to school and I can’t be late!”
I could see, the look in her eyes was sayin’ follow me
And I was caught…I thought of playin’ hooky but on second thought

I gotta go back, back, back to school again
You won’t find me, till the clock strikes three
I’m gonna be there till then
I gotta go back, back, back to school again…
Whoa whoa, I gotta go….Back to School….AGAIN!

Since i’ve started losing weight, i’ve been hesitant about getting rid of my old clothes, the ones that no longer fit me.

I guess i was scared – that if i took the step of getting rid of them, and then put weight back on, i’d have to buy all these clothes all over again. It just felt.. scary, too scary, to look at these clothes and admit that i’d never wear them again. Scary to admit that i’m changing, that i’m not the old, fat keth. its a bit like when i tried the black dress on, and felt surprisingly sad, when it was too big for me.

That changed, as of yesterday. I went through my wardrobe, and was ruthless. Gok would’ve been proud of me! i got rid of almost half my wardrobe, keeping only the things that fit me, things that i wanted to keep for sentimental reasons (like that black dress), or things i knew could be reused/reworked to make something that would fit me. Scary, still so very scary, and i so wanted to get things out of the bags and keep them, but i tried them on, and was finally forced to admit – even the things that were only marginally too big.. just looked plain awful.

I can see now that I’ve been dressing wrong for years. baggy shirts and jumpers, to try to cover up the flab. It doesn’t work – i just look like the side of a house. Still, i know better now.

But more importantly is the recognition of what this step means. It means i’ve accepted the new, thinner keth, in my mind. I’ve accepted that this is here to stay, that i’m never going to go back to the old, fat keth. I’ve still some to lose, but i’m thinking like a thinner person now, holding myself with pride, and liking the way i look. I looked at myself in the mirror on holiday a few times and didn’t recognise myself. I looked PRETTY. Beautiful, almost. most definitely a new keth.

and that was a huge step forward for me too. liking the way i look.. i’ve felt that very very few times before in my life. i like that feeling, and i want to keep it.

In other news.. I had the first of 5 Vitamin B12 injections today. it hurt, but not as badly as i had feared. another one in a couple of days. I weighed myself this morning. Major milestone! I broke through the 200 pound barrier! I’ve been hovering on it for so long, that it felt like i would never manage to break through it! I’m now 198 pounds – or 14 stone 2 – and the next barrier to break will be the 14 stone mark. But the big one i’m aiming for at the moment is to get my waist size down to less than 88 cm. If i can do that, then my fat cells stop producing a certain hormone which is what makes me insulin resistant.. and this will enable my body to cope with my diabetes *much* more easily. I’m hoping to have hit that 88cm mark by Christmas… fingers crossed, i can do it!!

I’ve had a bit of a break from blogging again – not because of depression, though, this time! I simply ran out of time to update the blog how i wanted to before i went on holiday to Germany (with details of dresses and skirts i’d made) .. and then i was on holiday – we only got back a few days ago.

We had a great time in Germany – visited Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, which was an extremely interesting place to visit, and well worth the long drive – and spent time with family, of course – and i had my first ever Dutch-style birthday! It involves lots of singing.. !!! I took lots of photos, of course, which i will be posting on flickr (especially now i have a new computer which is much faster than my old one)

however, that’s not the news i’m so excited about.

I had confirmation earlier today that i am officially now a student! I start my Access to Higher Education course on 13th September, studying History, and, if i get the grades (and the funding sorted out), will be going on to University to study some kind of History degree in Sept 2011. Exactly what kind of history degree i don’t yet know – the university have several degrees within the general area of history, and then there’s the option of combined degree courses, but i have about 6-9 months to decide that.

For now, though, i’m just really really excited about this – its probably the last chance i have to get to study at this higher level, and its a subject i also find really really interesting. I can’t wait!

In terms of my diabetes, i had a check up at the beginning of August. My Hb1Ac is at the same level, and the cholesterol ranges have moved in the right directions, so Cathy (diabetes nurse) is absolutely over the moon with my progress. So am i – i’m now a size 18, heading downwards, and i’ve started running as well – just running/walking on and off at the moment, with Jess, as i build up my stamina, but its all exercise and its all good for me.. 🙂 the only negative thing with regard to my diabetes is my vitamin levels. Apparently Metformin, the drug i take to help stabilise my blood sugar levels, can also inhibit the absorption of Vitamin B12, and that’s what’s happening with me. Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the more unpleasant ones – affecting memory and concentration, can cause dizziness and various other problems, none of which i need right now. Unfortunately the remedy in this case is injections, intramuscular injections, five times over the next two weeks, starting on monday, which is going to bloody well HURT. *sighs*. that starts on Monday…

ah well. its necessary. *wince*. Unfortunately.

and finally, spotted on a bus today: Stagecoach is no longer issuing free tickets with concessionary bus passes. FINALLY. Two and a half years after i wrote to them pointing out that they didn’t NEED to print the damn things, that they just wind up littering the floor of the bus and are very bad, environmentally speaking. Two and a half years after they said, in a reply to me, that they were “reviewing the need for the production of a ticket”. Jeeze. they move fast, don’t they?