Playing catch-up once again

The S807 exam is finally behind me and the exhaustion from the trip and the exam itself is fading. I wish I could just relax now for a few weeks, but alas no. I have two and a half weeks worth of material to catch up with on two seperate courses. Additionally, I'm thinking about doing NaNoWriMo this year. I know I don't really have the time, but that only makes it so much more interesting. I was never able to resist a challenge :-)

My fruit and veggie wholesaler search hasn't paid off yet. There was one with who I was corresponding with a few weeks back and things were looking rather promising, but all of a sudden, I'm not getting any replies to emails anymore. Strange, but they weren't very friendly in the first place, so maybe it is for the best.
B5 - Doom

Fruit, Food & Financial worries

The thing with the fruit wholesaler won't pan out, at least not in the way I had hoped it would. I called the guy and he was very nice, but it turns out that the minimum order for deliveries is more than I spend on food in an entire month. He did give me the name of a semi-local fruit shop he deliveries to though and said that if the shop owner agrees, he could deliver my orders along with those of the shop, and while I would still have to buy in bulk, there wouldn't be an issue with minimum order and I could simply pick up the orders at the shop. The shop is in town and the only time I have been to town since was yesterday morning to get some veggies from the weekly market and that was so early that the fruit shop was still closed. If I can find the time (and the energy) I'll go down there sometime next week.

Might manage to do that tomorrow as it looks like I'll be needing to get some ripe fruit as soon as shops open again (everything is closed here on Sundays). Lunch was positively nasty. I had a lot of freshly squeezed orange juice which was sour and a mango which was watery and unripe. Normally I have something like bananas and dates for lunch, but the unripe bananas from a mid-morning snack gave me a stomach ache and I wasn't too keen on repeating the experience.

Exam prep is progressing okay. About three and a half weeks left 'till the exam. Should be enough time to prepare. The only problem is that at the moment, we are too broke to afford all of my meds. It's not that I don't have insurance, I do and they reimburse all my med costs, but I have to pay upfront and only then I can file a claim for reimbursement. The script my psychiatrist handed me last Thursday comes to a total of almost $3000 and that is not the kind of money we have lying around :-/

News on the fruit front

Checked my email this morning to find a message from the fruit wholesaler I had contacted. He gave me his phone number and asked me to call him to discuss details. I guess that means that he does sell to individual households as well, not just to retailers or is it least considering doing so. I have no idea if his prices are indeed affordable for me at present, since as I think I mentioned, there was very little info on his website, but it can't hurt top give him a call. It can't go much worse than not panning out and me being stuck with the present situation. My mother drove me into town yesterday as she had some errants to run as well. I stocked up on bananas, 5kg (about half of them from the bargain bin where they ripe ones at a discount) worth of them hoping they would last until Friday. It's been less than 24 hours and almost half is gone already and will probably be gone by tonight.
I also received a 5kg box of dates this morning. They aren't very good, but the whole box only set me back €25, and that includes shipping. That's less than a third of what it would have cost me from a premium fruit dealer. Granted there is a difference in quality, but I think it's worth it. Although on the subject of dates, I must remember not to put too many into one smoothie as the ones I did for lunch today with 2 apples, 2 bananas and 100g of dates plus water was sickeningly sweet even for my extreme sweet tooth. I didn't even finish the lot of it, it was so sweet. Will try having the rest at tea time.
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Back to the usual routine

Parentals are back home and things are settling into their usual routine. There is a little too much drama going on for my taste, but that's normal, too. It was a good to have a break for a little over a week. Helped me recharge my batteries.

At uni, things are heating up what with the exam being in mid-October. I have yet to really start revising, as I don't know how much revision will be needed seeing as the bulk of the exam consists of questions on two papers, one we'll receive a few days before the exam and the other in the exam itself. The third section will be questions a smaller topic. On that we were allowed to chose out of a selection of three - diabetes, peptic ulcers and malaria were the choice. I picked malaria. So far so good and my poster presentation had a fairly good feel to it as well and the comments from my tutor on it were encouraging as well. Don't know the mark on that yet though.

Also signed up for my next two courses which will, unfortunately, start at the end of September already, that is before the current courses finishes. That means that will be no break for me this year. The next real break will be starting in early summer 2012.

I've also spent some time investigating cheaper sources for food, mainly fruit. I've started to eat way more fruit (and I was already eating rather a lot of it, being a raw vegan!). Trouble is, fruit is expensive and with doing two courses next year, there will already be quite a strain. I've contacted two local wholesalers. One doesn't do exotic fruit at all, but focuses mainly on regionally grown stuff. The other appears to do exotics as well, but their website is very bare-bones in terms of info, so I emailed them to find out more about what they offer etc. I've already tried the few delivery services we have here which focus on fruit (or at least have large fruit selections), but either the quality or the price isn't so that I both want to eat to and can actually afford to. From what I read on the internet re: produce wholesalers here in Germany wasn't too encouraging, but maybe I'll find on that works out for me and will do smaller orders. I do eat way more fruit than the average person, but as I'm the only raw foodist in the house, I still only go through so many kilos a week.
DW - thoughtful

Let's get the party started!

The parentals finally left on their vacation and I have the house all to myself. Originally they want to leave in early August, but things kept coming up, most importantly the family van not getting through the MOT. Some repairs and part replacements were needed, but the car repair place was way overbooked so it took them some time to get the repairs. Then the day after they'd gotten the car back and wanted to start for their trip, the car place calls and says they forgot some stuff and asked us to bring the cae by again. Then Sis caused some drama again which needed to be taken care of, but last Saturday, they finally got under way.

Having the house to myself has obvious advantages, such peace and quiet and less chance to get dragged into doing someone else's work when I should be studying. Sis still managed to keep me busy over the phone and via email so far, but other than that, I really got to enjoy some quiet time alone. My presentation that's due on Friday is nearly done as a result, just some references need fixing and the whole thing needs to be proof-reasd. I might get Bro to do help with that. His area of expertise is rather different, but at least he understands enough English to spot the most glaring mistakes.

The disadvantages to being along are less obvious, but somehow the empty house creeps me out, especially at night when the noise in my head is most pronounced. Normally, I can tell things apart fairly well and know what's real and what's in my head, but when I'm tired or stress, I can't do so very well. Luckily, my doc gave me some anti-anxiety pills which do help with the being creeped out. Still, I can't help but wonder what that'll mean for the future. I can't live with my parents forever and I can't really live alone (not just for the reasons just named, but also because I'm simply too tired/easily exhausted to do very much in terms of normal, everyday household chores. Going into town is a major project for me and something that will take up all energy available for a given day. I might have to look into assisted living one day, but to be honest, I like my (relative) freeedome here.

But as usual, I try not to think of the future too much. After it, it'll come soon enough ;-)
lemon bite

Better late than never...

It took a while, but TPTB have finally provided some more precise instruction regarding the poster presentation we have to do for our next assignment. I even managed to get some feedback on my plan/proposal. I'm mostly done with the revision based on said feedback and while I'm still fine-tuning my new outline, I have gotten started on an early draft of the actual text. Something, I'm still not clear on (and someone else asking the question in the forums hasn't gotten any useful reply yet) is the inclusion of pictures, diagrams and the like. Based on what the presentation guide says about referencing, we are allowed use pictures from other sources provided that they are properly referenced, but I'd love some confirmation nonetheless.

Right now, I don't feel overly motivated to tackle the work and my topic (Lithium as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's Disease), which seemed quite interesting when I picked it, suddenly seems to be a very complicated tangle of contradictory information and theories :-/ Maybe I have just been reading too many papers on too short a time. I guess I should just finish revising my outline and then work from there. Unfortunately, with every paper I read, different things appear to be important and I'm no longer sure what should be included in the poster and what shouldn't. It all doesn't make a terrible lot of sense. Somehow, the last poster I did (for an undergrad course several years back) was so much easier, even though I ended up with what equals to a C. But enough whining and complaining, at least I have an approved topic and was able to obtain most of the papers needed. Now all I'm going to need is a forest worth of paper to print them ;-)

Never let it be said that it couldn't get any worse

Well, I didn't exactly say it, but I sure was thinking it when I was working on the 'cancer' assignment for my current course! However, it sure got worse with the neuropharmacology assignment (we can chose either depression, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's as a topic for the assignment). It's not that it's so difficult (or if it is, nobody knows for sure!), it's that what we have to do is so vague and the resources that are supposed to help us are unavailable, that no one can tell for sure what it is that we have to do. All we know for sure is that it's a poster presentation and defence done, most likely, via web-conference. But what all this entails and what guidelines there are, is extremely foggy and not just to me. The whole thing is due in early September and the plan/proposal was either due two days ago or next Friday, nobody knows for sure. I'm going with next Friday, because I have only gotten serious about it today, hoping that some real info would become available. Not that submitting the propsoal is likely to do any good as someone assigned to the same tutor as me submitted their plan two weeks ago and still hasn't gotten any feedback on it. Where the whole management and flow of information is concerned, this is by far the worst course I have ever done! I'm still waiting for the marks on a piece that was due in mid-June and since which another assignment was due.
However, despite only starting to make a focused effort today, I decided on a topic for my presentation, got a bunch of papers from the internet to read and mentally started to outline it. I have no idea whether what I'm doing goes even in the right direction, but I figure I've got to start at some point.

In other news, the parental vacation seems cancelled or at least on hold for the moment due to bad weather and disagreement over where to go. That means both of them have plenty of time to come up with stuff I could help with such as reading knitting patterns to my mother or typing emails for my father. Even Bro and Sis manage to find things for me to do even though they don't actually live here. Somehow, I was looking forward to the parentals going on vacation ;-)

Assignment from hell: a minor rant

The next uni assignment for my S807 course is due in a week it is turning out to be the assignment from hell :-/ First of all, none of the questions have any bearing on the material we've studied for this topic (anti-cancer drugs), they are all on completely different aspects of this rather vast topic. To be fair, there are a whole lot of reading suggestions attached to the questions, bu I've found most of those papers to be extremely complicated and/or not very relevant to the questions.) So, I've spend a lot of time in the (virtual) library and on the internet in general, looking at other resources. Also, many of the questions are phrased ambiguously and some simply don't make any sense. Not just to me, it appears, based on what is being written in the forums.
Additionally, I spent two whole days trying to get a particular software to work. We had been sent an installation DVD at the beginning of the course, but no hints whatever on what exactly it does or how to use it. I finally got the software to do most of what I needed it to do (at least if I have the right idea about that particular question), but those were two days I should have been working on answering the questions instead of fiddling around with badly documented software. I do enjoy this course a lot, but this assignment is really quite frustrating.
SGA - Rodney & Laura

Stargate Novel (Fandemonium) Ebooks up for grabs

In working through my to-read pile, I have come across a bunch of Fandemonium Stargate Novels, both SG-1 and SGA in ebook (epub and mobi) format. Since it's hard (though not impossible) to legally get them in ebook format from say, if you are outside the US, I thought I'd make them available for old times sake ;-)

Go here to download them from Megaupload.
Jordan - pink

Little daily dramas and mysteries

Well, as it turns out the parentals lasted less than a week on their planned 10 day vacation and returned on Monday evening. Since then, the drama has been in high gear once again. The last few weeks had been fairly quiet on that front, but right now, it's worse than high-school every was (and I hated high-school). The one silver lining is Bro's planned visit this weekend. Although should Sis be here at the same time, the arguments are already a foregone conclusion. He gets along with Sis even less than I do. But normally, I enjoy his visits.

The week wasn't all bad though. I took it easy with the studying, and spend quite a bit of time gardening instead. The tomatoes and the peas are growing nicely, so are the raspberries and black currants. There was one thing though that puzzled me considerably: I found a half of a dead fish on the patio one morning. Looked like a larger goldfish. No idea where it came from though, I don't even know where the nearest lake is. There is small stream, not too far away, but it barely carries any water at the best of times and is usuallly completely dry in summertime. I doubt there have ever been fish in there. The only explanation I can think of that one of the many cats around the neighbourhood pulled it out of someone's garden pond. Not sure who has a pond around here, but it seems like the most plausible possibility by far.

Far more revealing than the dead fish affair has been the clean-up of my closets. I finally got started having a look through all the clothes and deciding which ones to keep, which ones to donate and which ones to just throw away. It's alarming what kind of stuff has accumulated there over the years. I found some stuff I haven't worn in over a decade and, although they say that trends are cyclical, I doubt I'll ever wear again. Some of it even dates back to the time I had blue and purple hair which most have been around the time I was about fifteen. What can I say, punk used to be in, even though the hair was about the extend of my rebellious phase. I remember that the homemade dye-job gave me endless trouble because the colour wasn't entirely waterproof and ended up staining quite a few towels and bedclothes.

I'm so glad I'm not a teenager anymore LOL