Diary of a madwoman

I have a very good excuse for the lack of posts recently. I’m in the last few days -days!- before submitting my thesis and I’ve been dedicating almost every waking moment to it. The last couple of weeks have been very tiring and monotonous: I simply work all day, every day. It’s been driving me a bit mad! So on Saturday, I decided to give myself a little side-project, something that would take very little time but would make yet another day of writing up a bit more fun, so I kept a picture diary of my day. This is what I got up to…

I got up at 6:45. Outside it was grey and drizzly. This didn’t help with my mood: I had planned to get up at 6 am but overslept so I was grumpy. I really hate starting the day with a feeling of failure. I made a cup of coffee and read my book for about 20 minutes. I’m loving this book about walking along the Pennine Way in the English countryside. It really makes me want to give everything up and go walking for a few weeks. Aside from the fact that it would be a thoroughly silly thing to do just days before finishing my phd, I don’t know what’s stopping me.

By half seven, the laptop was on. Oh hello there thesis, long time no see! I was still a bit sleepy so I stayed and worked under my blanket on the sofa. I’ve been doing this a lot over the past few weeks and I know it’s really bad for my posture and it makes my lower back ache. But it’s cosy and warm. Most scientific papers and dissertations are written using LaTeX, because it makes writing long equations and inserting graphics far easier than any other editor. Anyway, I’ve been using it so much recently, I even caught myself using LaTeX commands in emails. Not good.

At nine, I got dressed for my yoga class. This felt like quite the luxury! It was warm but raining, so I put on my hoodie which is bright pink, like my mat. It made me smile. I also had my Gilmore Girls t-shirt on that says “Life’s short, talk fast”. I love it! I cycled to the class, it felt so wonderful to stretch after so many days of only sitting and typing.

On my way home I cycled through the town centre to pop into Boots for a few necessities. Not surprisingly, I got sidetracked by a few non-necessities. It seems to be the law to wander around the make-up aisles whenever DSC07240pI go to Boots. I really liked these Bourjois lip glosses, they came in really fresh, vibrant colours. I almost put this one in my basket but then changed my mind. I thought it would be better if I got myself a treat after I achieve my goal, not before. This exhibition of sensibleness made me feel very virtuous.

I also picked up some things for my lunch from the shop and then cycled home.

Our garden roses are having quite the season this year! They are just to the side of our gate and they make for a very welcoming and fragrant sight. I stopped to smell them and thought they looked so pretty with raindrops on their petals.
I got back home and someone, ahem, was still in bed! I showered and changed and by the time I made myself my second cup of coffee of the day The Boy was up and “volunteered” to take a picture of me being very happy because both my shirt and my mug were polka dot. It’s the little things, right?

I got back to work. I started a run of my code because I needed some final results to add to my thesis. As I was doing that I got a deja vu feeling and it made me feel anxious and worried that something bad was going to happen. Like, that maybe all my previous results would prove to be wrong or something. I told you I’ve been going a bit crazy. The Boy told me a story about the ducklings on the river near his work which calmed me down and brought me back to sanity (or near it anyway).

I continued with my work occasionally sneaking peeks at the tv because the trooping of the colour was on, for the celebration of The Queen’s official birthday. I love these grand ceremonies, all the fanfare, the carriages, and the horses, it makes me feel like I live in some medieval fairytale!

At around 1pm I stopped for lunch. I had a slice of toast with some baked beans and two poached eggs. Yummy!
After lunch, I was dreading returning to work. Not so much because I felt tired but I was worried this latest run would produce bogus results and I would have to spend the next few days scrambling to redo everything and come up with actual physical explanations for my results. I probably don’t need to mention here that I am particularly good at thinking about the worst possible scenario and I often re-enact mini Greek tragedies not always having a good reason to do so. By some kind of miracle, the first code run of the day completed without a glitch, and the results were perfectly consistent with what I previously obtained. I was very very happy about this!

The Boy was supposed to be going to a bbq at a friends house in the afternoon. However, as is often the case, the weather was stubbornly sticking to grey and wet, so he ended up staying at home. I was sorry that his plans fell through but I must say, I was glad to have someone around to talk to, other than myself that is. Working alone from home every day can get really lonely.
After dinner, which was sticky ribs and sweet potato chips and disappeared before I could remember to take a picture, Maisie the cat dropped by for a short visit. It’s always so nice to see her! She stayed only for a little while, just long enough for a couple of cuddles and a vicious attack on my phone charger.
By around 9 pm I was fading fast. I managed to check everything off my thesis to-do list for the day. So I joined The Boy on the sofa where he was watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He had bought a super amazing dessert, it was a quite ponsey-looking jaffa chocolate mouse thing. Chocolate and orange is one of my favourite combinations so I was very very happy! Floating on a chocolate high I then proceeded to fall asleep on the sofa, just when Lupin began howling at the full moon.


8 thoughts on “Diary of a madwoman

  1. Lisa says:

    What a lovely post, even though you were working. I think your lunch sounds perfect, wish it were a thing here to have beans on toast without being weird.

  2. Iris says:

    What a lovely post. This format is absolutely wonderful and I kind of want to steal it and use it someday if I may? Good luck on these final days of thesis writing. Oh, to be done! I have 1,5 years to go but I can imagine that this is a weird combination of doing all the work, nerves, and just wanting to be done already! Hopefully there is something to enjoy in these activities as well (I can imagine there hardly being time to step back and let it all sink in right now). Anyway, best of luck and I’m sure w’ll hear from you soon πŸ™‚

    • Maria says:

      Thank you Iris! I’m really looking forward to being done, but I must say, looking back I think the whole PhD went by so quickly. Although it really didn’t feel like this at the time…
      Can’t wait to see your picture diary if you decide to do it!

  3. Lucia says:

    This is such a lovely post!! I’ve had a rough couple of weeks and reading this has cheered me up.
    Seems like your posts have a positive effect my mood. πŸ™‚

    I understand your feeling, I’m the same and I tend to picture the worst scenarios in my head.
    I wrote a code as part of my thesis (for my Master degree) this Winter and I often had such moments of anxiety, when I was worried that I’d get inconsistent results (or no results at all…). It actually happened once, but it was just a mistake in a line of code and not the great disaster I had imagined in my head.
    Good luck, Maria! I’m sure you’ll do a great job!

    ps: I love polka dots and cats. πŸ™‚ Maisie is beautiful!

  4. Emily @ Books, the Universe & Everything says:

    Lovely post! It’s so wonderful that you’re able to find moments of happiness and calm in your days despite the pressure & busy-ness – that’s so important!

    I bought a copy of Walking Home when I was in England a few years ago – I still need to read it! I have a feeling it’s going to make me want to do the same thing. πŸ™‚

    Big congrats on being nearly done with your thesis, and good luck in the final stretch!!

    • Maria says:

      Thanks Emily! I must say, taking the few extra minutes to take pictures of my day helped me notice the little moments of happiness more, I’m not sure I would have paid attention to them otherwise.
      I just finished Walking Home this morning, I loved it!

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