Posts tagged ‘Rambles’

Time out

I have been very very quiet ever since I got back from Hanoi and continued the rest of my leave at home. As I told Camellia when I met her yesterday to visit the National Museum (the Musee D’Orsay exhibition is there and I simply had to go after having had the bad fortune to try and visit on a strike day last year), she was the first person I’d talked to, other than Mr. Manx, in the past four days.

Not to worry, Dear Reader, it is no bout of despondancy that I am falling into. I don’t know if you are anything like this, but there are times when I need to be by myself and keep social interaction to a bare minimum. It may be a side-effect of being a shrink, but I think that it is primarily due to my personality. Sometimes I allow myself the guilty pleasure of trying those online quizzes that promise to Find Your Hidden Personality, and I have since discovered that I am the opposite of folks who Feel Energized By Frequent Social Contact. I have actually been quite happy and at peace during this period of hermit existence, and, if you will excuse the Austenish manner of saying so, do feel myself in a more agreeable disposition because of it. 

(Obviously, I have been spending a fair chunk of the past few days with my nose in books.)

I will continue writing, most probably about Hanoi, in due course, but I’d also like to show you a tiny glimpse of what I’ve been occupied with while I haven’t been talking:

The first two pages of what I hope will be an album of my trip to Melbourne. This is the first time I'm experimenting with a program named Album Stories. It lets you compile your pictures into an album and prints it out for you.

I am finally getting around to editing my hundreds of photos from previous trips to put in albums! Whether or not I eventually succeed is pretty much up in the air, but I shall take as much advantage while I can of the impetus to continue.

(The sunrise picture on the left, by the way, is also featured on my other blog, Manx Pictures.)

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December 10, 2011 at 14:45 Leave a comment

I have been waiting…

… for a certain opportunity for some time. Like all true and truly big opportunities, this one is a mixed bag that has been bunging around the inside of my head and and is being the cause of much inexpressible anxiety. This is the first chance that I’ve had to sit down and try to put it into words.

If it works out, I will be headed to the UK for a year. I realize that in the big picture of modern technology that’s kinda like strolling out for next week’s groceries (no, wait, sorry, nowadays people order next week’s groceries online, right? I am so behind), but to this dinosauress it is a big deal. I have never lived abroad or alone before, unless you count things like conferences, in which case then yeah, I have a great track record of fending for myself in various Hilton hotels for up to five days at a stretch.

<Waaaaaaahhhh!!!>

So why do I want to go? Because it will mean a year’s experience in aspects of psychiatry that are little-known to Singapore. I would learn stuff that could help my tiny department-to-be (it’s technically not even one yet) grow. In that process I would also have to learn to be more independent. Lug my own groceries home. Make new friends. Figure out appliances. Fill my fridge with nine different brands of cider. Cook more than instant noodles (or maybe not; I have been told that I eat worse than a bachelor). The prospect of these things fills me with frickin’ dread… and then I think, but I can go to London and see a musical – maybe even Shrek. To Paris again, where they have the best salted caramel chocolate in the world. To visit my friends living in Cambridge.

To have the adventure of a lifetime, basically.

And then I hear a snarky little internal voice going, yeah, but what if you hate it after the first week? Or get homesick? Or just plain sick? What if you decide that you can’t stand the cold? Or the accents? And ooh… what about the fact that KFC IN THE UK DOESN”T DO HOT N’ CRISPY CHICKEN?

<Waaaaaaahhhh!!!>

Welcome to the inside of my head, Dear Reader.

This internal cacophony has been going on for something like ten months now, and I am hoping for some direction in a couple of weeks, when the result of my application should come out. If it fails then I will cheer myself up with the bunch of activities I can only put on hold now, like helping out in various dear folks’ weddings, or continuing my yoga classes. If it succeeds then I will… well, go.

Now I need me some fried chicken and beer for dinner tonight.

November 15, 2011 at 17:06 6 comments

Settling in

It’s the third week into my new position at the Buffalo Farm and I’m settling in all right. It normally takes me about two months in any new posting to adjust out of the funk of unfamiliarity, so this is really good.

Much of this has to do with the work environment – I’m no longer run into the ground churning out numbers, but can take enough time with my patients so that I know them more as human beings and less as hateful statistics to chew through (when you’re scheduled to see twenty patients in two and a half hours, believe me, hate is not too strong a word for how you begin to feel toward the human race). I’m getting involved in research and media interviews, and even a play produced in conjunction with a local professional stage group, to increase awareness of the subspecialty I’m in. Work is actually pleasantly exciting for a change.

And I get alone time. This is really important to me. Part of this is due to the fact that the colleague I’m sharing office space with is abroad (confession: I actually made a typo here and typed “a broad” – something which is totally unnecessary to confess, but I thought it was funny because said colleague is really a dude) till next month, so the whole room is mine for a while. It’s wonderful. I’ve been colonizing my space slowly. I’m not done yet, but I have my super-strong Japanese-meal-set and four-leaf-clover magnets up on my cubicle walls, and my self-painted mirror on my table, and John Mortimer cheek-to-cheek with Michael Chabon and Milan Kundera on my bookshelf. There are old photographs and cheery notes on display. One photo especially, of Dreying and me, stands out because neither of us particularly wanted to have our picture taken at that moment, being busy discussing something serious. But we had no choice in the matter, and so the picture consists of two big and very painful grins… which I find quite funny on hindsight.

Amazing, by the way, how a picture can recall a thousand words.

Thus soothed, I find myself looking at Christmas with unusual enthusiasm. For the first time in years, I’m thinking of appropriate gifts and even of writing cards a full month before the day. My twelve-year-old self would no doubt have been horrified at this lukewarmness (lukewarmth?), but, hey, kid, you haven’t been through the mill of working life yet. It’s nice to look forward to Christmas again.

November 25, 2010 at 17:53 4 comments

A day in the life of a blitzed-out Katie

I’ve had such an eventful day that my brain is fagged out and I can’t do anything more that can be truthfully called work. Let me download a little here.

0830 – 0845: Photoshopped mugshot  – taken half an hour previously – for staff pass.

0850 – 0930: Saw a lady with such awful family problems, it would put almost anybody off men.

0940 – 0942: Peed.

0945 – 1000: Took a cab.

1010 – 1025: Waited.

1030 – 1100: MY FIRST RADIO INTERVIEW. Exciting that. I’d never even been to a radio station before, and there I was, all goggle-eyed and swivel-necked. I had to suppress a disastrous urge to burst into giggles when I was introduced as someone with “many years of experience” in my field. The worst was over the moment I opened my mouth, though, because I could stop being nervous. I think… hope… it went OK. Was less than grammatically impeccable in many spots.

1115 – 1130: Got a lift back to the Buffalo Farm from the local celeb who was interviewed with me (woot!). Found self talking about mutton brain soup. Scolded self for having no idea how to make a good impression on people.

1140 – 1150: Wrote up notes on lady with awful family problems.

1200 – 1220: Took another cab.

1228 – 1230: Peed.

1230 – 1410: Lunch talk at Nut Farm on child abuse. Argh.

1420 – 1450: Took another cab. Note to self: buy Comfort stocks. 

1500 – 1530: Handed in staff pass photo and HR forms to HR lady. Looked innocent when asked for forms that was supposed to have, but did not have.

1545 – 1550: Obtained Kopitiam staff card.

1550 – 1555: Activated new ATM card.

1555 – 1600: Paid credit card bill.

1600 – 1610: Hunted for new-baby gift for S&C. Bought Mothercare vouchers after nosing into three shops.

1615 – 1620: Composed official name card.

1620 – 1625: Answered emails as politely as possible.

1625 – 1630: Tidied desk.

1630 – 1700: Worked on presentation due Thursday.

1700: Threw in the towel. Peed.

So now I’m just waiting for Mr. Manx to finish his day so he can pick me up to go visit S&C and their new infant J. I don’t even know what J stands for yet. I’m terribly tired but it’s a different kind of tiredness than the one I get on the Fruit Farm. It’s better.

November 9, 2010 at 18:16 4 comments

The hunt for spectacle frames

I finally made it to an optician to choose a new pair of spectacles this morning. Feeling in a bit of an atas mood, I became today’s first customer at Integrated Eyecare Centre in Vivocity. My main motive, really, was to check out the featherweight Swissflex frames, because anything remotely heavy turns my skin a noxiously bright cherry red at the pressure points. But even though I did pick out three Swissflex frames with geeky-cool vibes (note to self: full-frame green, cream and amethyst good; light pink and peach very bad with my sort of colouring), I found that they sat a tad too close to the eyes for comfort. After going through a couple dozen more frames from Gucci (meh), DKNY (meh), Lafont (French, boudoir-funky, metal lace and rich colours, but heavy), Police (angular industrial-cool, but bigger than I’d like), and Parasite (completely futuristic with four legs, would have looked right at home in the Matrix trilogy, imagine what the examiners would think if I took my specialist exams wearing those), my heart was moved by a little beauty in two of my favourite colours – wine and cream – in a lightweight, flexible structure that I’d never seen before. I won’t attempt to describe it because I wouldn’t do it justice, but I will do a reveal when I get it sometime next week.

But my absolute favourite part of the process was when I’d just finished testing my eyes, and the optician told me that my degree had gone down. I was like, no kidding, because my degree has blissfully gone up every. Single. Bloody. Time. I have had my eyes tested in my life, leading to deep chagrin at each encounter. So much so that, in the spirit of enthusiastic denial, I’ve stubbornly maintained my contact lens prescription at 550 degrees per eye, even though at the time, that would have just suited my right eye and undercompensated my left by maybe 50 degrees. The rimless pair that just broke went even higher than that, and so I was confidently expecting both eyes to have landed solidly in the 600 – 700 range.  But today’s results: right eye 425, left eye 500. Some astigmatism, but not absolutely horrible. So yayness! I’m not going blind.

There. At least one rock-solid reason why my old glasses broke – they weren’t good for me anymore, and indeed I had been having more headaches than usual in the past few months. My hypothesis that everything happens for a reason has gained more evidence.

But it does look like I’ll need to give my eyes some time to stabilize before seriously thinking about Lasik. That’s OK. All the better for building my Lasik fund.  

February 6, 2010 at 18:41 2 comments

Five things off the top of my head

I haven’t felt like writing for some time, but the urge is reasserting itself (yes, I the temperamental female). I can’t decide whether much or little has happened (yes, I the indecisive female… but these things are relative, aren’t they?) in the past month, so why don’t I simply lay it down here, albeit with more breadth than depth.

1) I seriously sang at a karaoke for the first time. Not that I hadn’t been to a karaoke place before, but I either didn’t feel like singing or had a sore throat, and hence never did anything more than mumble noncommittal nernerners into the mike. But seriously singing was actually fun! And would you believe, I mean that over songs like Hey Jude and Mamma Mia? Hmm, should there be that many M’s in there?

2) The Force Room was disbanded. The Force Room is my blog-name for the medium-rank-doctors’ office, or, rather, the ex-medium-rank-doctors’ office (or do I mean the medium-rank-doctors’ ex-office? Argh). Now, instead of seating us by rank, They (i.e. Powers That Be) have decided to seat us by department. That doesn’t sound like much of a big deal, unless you know that the Force Room was Our (i.e. Miscellaneous Subjects) place for alliances, secrets, roast pork, fish tanks, too much testosterone,  and transient objects of negotiable licitness. Maybe you have a Force Room. We don’t anymore. With luck, we might possibly strive for Force Cubicles.

3) My spectacles broke. I had taken them off, and was just starting to wipe them, when there was suddenly a quiet, sad, piak kind of sound. One of the soldered metal bits had snapped, leaving the left lens wiggling. The best part? It happened while I was on call at 10p.m. Thank goodness I have a white knight in a blue chariot.

4) I had to listen to Junglelord say “tactile hallucinations in the family jewels”, not less than three, and quite possibly four, times in the space of an hour. Don’t ask.

5) Tomorrow’s my fourth call in two weeks. The only upside to this is some alleviation of my guilt over buying bags. Speaking of which, my latest crush is the Rebecca Minkoff Dream bag. It’s no longer being made – which is part of its attraction – but there’s a nice black one on eBay. Glazed leather and suede, at less than half its original price… mmm…

January 30, 2010 at 22:58 8 comments

From runny to gluey

The antihistamine and toddy ODs have done their work well – the infernal itch in my nasal plumbing has stopped and my temperature has stopped fluctuating, yayness. On the flip side, everything seems to have congealed to a semi-solid consistency in there, which makes breathing a drag and has brought on a cough. Dang the frailty of the human condition.

January 12, 2010 at 22:26 4 comments

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Welcome to my blog!


My blog-name is Katie but I will not respond if you call me that in real life because it's not my real name. Yes, I do practise virtual-world paranoia. No, I do not enjoy stalkers. But I do enjoy writing and having folks reading said writing, so welcome to my world. It's nice to meet you.

Playing in my head over and over again argh

I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song (Jim Croce)

Book(s) of the moment

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

Books read in 2010 and 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) - 'cos the movie's coming out!
Frankenstein: Lost Souls (Dean Koontz) - ah, bugger, it's part of a series! Now I hafta find all the books...
Dismantled (Jennifer McMahon) - oh, good one
Tigerlily's Orchids (Ruth Rendell)
Shutter Island (Dennis LeHane) - reminds me too much of work
Holy Fools (Joanne Harris) - it's official: I prefer her scary books
A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Unauthorized Autobiography; The Beatrice Letters (Lemony Snicket)
The Little Friend (Donna Tartt)
The main books - 11 so far - of the Southern Vampire series; the Aurora Teagarden series except for A Fool & His Honey - that makes it 7; Sweet & Deadly (Charlaine Harris)
The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King)
Room: A Novel (Emma Donaghue)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
The Bachman Books (Stephen King)
Men At Arms (Terry Pratchett)
Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)
The Fifth Elephant (Terry Pratchett)
Beauty (Robin McKinley)
The Sandman, Vol 1 (Neil Gaiman)
The Burden (Agatha Christie) - her crime novels are waaay better
Snuff (Terry Pratchett)

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I started my first photoblog on 3 May, 2009. Each post features one picture, with a little story of how it came about. Do take a look by clicking on: Manx Pictures
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Disclaimers: 1) I cannot help but bitch about work sometimes, but everything here comes under the realm of personal remarks, and nothing here is said in my professional capacity. Nor does anything here reflect the opinion of the institutions that employ me. This is just me shooting off. 2) Most identities have been anonymized, particularly those of folks I know on a personal basis. Same goes for my workplaces. However, commercial and public places and figures remain named. Otherwise some things just wouldn't make sense. 3) Links and sources have been provided where appropriate and possible. They are not meant to challenge anyone's ownership. If this causes any discomfort or offence, please let me know.

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