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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm Still Here

It's been a while since I last posted. I guess the stress and responsibility of third year are getting to me. While I only have about 7 hours a week on campus for lectures and workshops, I'm doing background reading and the like for the classes, reports, and short essays that are do.

Speaking of reports and essays. I know that separate departments shouldn't be expected to coordinate their assignments and that sometimes you'll just end up with two papers due in the exact same week. I expect that when I'm taking classes from two different departments. But Psychology is all ONE department. You would think someone out there might have said, "Oh look! The third years have a practical report and a perception essay due on Thursday and Friday of the same week. We should probably push one of the back a couple days. Make one of them due on Monday of the next week." Of course that didn't happen and because my practical report advisor is so laid back my group is about a week behind the others. While they are getting their sections looked over and edited, we are just getting our data back. And I know that the perception thing is a max. of 600 words, but that's going to make it more difficult due to the word limit. *sigh*

Also, finding a computer on campus is so frustrating sometimes. Yesterday I decided to work on campus because I tend to get more writing done that way. I started off in the Hub and there was one free computer there except for the fact that someone was sitting at it reading. I mean really!? Couldn't she have been reading in the library or at one of the various tables and leave the computer to someone who needed to work on it? So I tried the library and as it always happens I spot a free computer on the first floor and start heading towards it. Just as I'm about three quarters of the way there someone who is standing a little closer and wasn't paying attention before turns around, spots it, and like runs to the seat. This always leaves me feeling like a small child or a teenage girl fighting over a cute boy; "It's mine! I saw it first!!" Usually after that it's an absolute miracle if I can find a computer in the library. I trek up the rest of the six flights of stairs and then trek back down feeling a little disheartened. Mostly because you see computers that have empty seats but have people's stuff at them. These computers can stand empty and logged out for sometimes over and hour as the person has decided to go take a smoke or eat some lunch or both and has just left their stuff to hold their computer and block all others' attempts at working. I did find one up on the fourth floor yesterday which was great. But still, I kinda wish there were library police or something. If someone has left their computer long enough for it to log itself out then they move their stuff to the front desk or something.

Anyway, my day today is filled with a 9am lecture (sleepy face), a hair appointment (I'm pretty darn shaggy), and then hours of working on the report and perception paper. I'm sure everything will get done, but I'm so ready for a short break. English always had a reading week where there wouldn't be any lectures or tutorials so that you could catch up on reading and work on essays. I wish that psychology had that too. It would be nice to sleep in all week for a change.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Tough Weekend

This last weekend before classes start was a tough one. I don't want to go into too much detail as there is a little bit of a wound there. What I will say is that I'm trying to learn from it and trying very hard to be a better person after everything that happened. It sucks when one weekend can turn the excitement for a new year into feeling like that scared Fresher again who just wants to go home, snuggle with my dog, and never look back to the adventure that could have been.

Of course I won't be doing that. I'll push myself to stay afloat this first week of classes and, come Friday night, I'll fall into bed for what will hopefully be my first full night's sleep in over a week. I feel a little shit right now, but time heals all doesn't it? One day at a time and eventually I'll feel better. That's all I can do for now.

Speaking of the first week of classes, my schedule isn't the best. I have a 9am lecture on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday it is my only class of the day. I figure what I'll do is get a gym membership and go do some "gyming" from 10am to noon. Two hours three days a week sounds like something that would both help me sleep at night and keep me from cursing the Psychology department for making me wake up at 9am almost everyday for only an hour of class.

This semester I am taking the methods course (as always) and as for theory I have Psychological Assessment, Perception, and Biological Psychology. Turns out, didn't have as much of a choice as I thought. Must have misunderstood when people were talking about it last time. Ah well. Happens sometimes I guess.

Anywho, my first class of the year is the first Methods lecture and then later this afternoon I have the SPSS tutorial. I should probably go and shower and get ready for my year to begin. I guess there's still one good thing about this year; I live so close to campus I can start getting ready an hour before I have to leave and be fine. It's something. Even if the rest of the year is seeming bleak right now.

One day at a time.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Advisor Appointment

Today was my advisor appointment. It was almost depressingly straight forward. These are your courses, you can't take any outside classes this year,here are the induction meeting times, and have a good third year. He did also say that he say that I got some good marks and some not good marks and that he hoped I would get those not so good marks up to good marks. In my defense, all of my not so good marks were in courses that were not applicable to my degree which I only took because the course description looked cool. Turns out that it wasn't and I stopped caring. Hey, if I can pass well (if not great) when not caring and putting no effort into the work then I think I can manage getting good grades on something that I actually care about.

I have four courses each semester each worth 15 credits. At this point, I have no idea what these courses involve since my class schedule is not up yet. I'm sort of hoping that it goes up before Monday...since, you know, that's when classes are suppose to start.

I'd also really like it up in the next day because guess what. That's right! The Dell repair guy never came yesterday which means that I can only schedule appointments on the days when I can be in from 9am-5pm (like that'll happen). But since they really screwed up this last appointment I'm thinking I could probably say that since there are no days that I can be in or arrange for someone to be in for that length of time and since it was your fault for not contacting me on Wednesday you should work around my schedule this time. I at least hope that can happen.

It really is beginning to look like term time again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Freshers Week

Well, Freshers Week started on Saturday when some of the freshers arrived and moved into their halls. This means that Aberdeen has come to life in the past couple of days. I totally forgot what a college town Aberdeen really is, but when the University isn't in session there are much less people walking the streets past nine. But this Saturday when we were walking back from the cinema we saw  group of freshers walking to the pub in their silly costumes. I guess we can't say they aren't organised as most of them had probably only arrived that afternoon.

The biggest part of Freshers Week for me since I'm a committee member of a society is the Societies Fayre. This is where all the societies set up stalls in a HUGE tent on the King's Pitch and try and get the new students to join. I think it's way more fun to work the fayre than to actually attend. But that's just me. Anyway, I got up at the ungodly hour of 7:45am to shower, dress, and get to campus by 9:00am to sign in our society so we didn't lose our stall. Then I spent the next hour and a half setting up the stall which actually involved a lot more sitting around than actual set up. Then the freshers slowly started to arrive and it was time to get to work in handing out my amazing fliers (not to toot my own horn or anything). We got a whole lot of people signed up to receive emails this week as reminders for our Freshers Events. I hope that many if not most of them decide to actually join.

The fayre ends at 3:00pm and even though it's only 2:00pm, I'm already home. Why? Because my new laptop broke and I'm waiting for the repair guy to come. I had a flatmate stay in this morning for me, but can't make them stay in all day and the repair technician can come any time from 9:00am to 5:00pm. *sigh* If they don't come there will be a long email written to Dell about scheduling appointments and not keeping them. Especially since the next one they'll probably make will be after classes start and I might not have a completely free day this year. They still have a few hours to get here and fix my brand new computer so we'll see.

Anyway, tonight will be Slains Castle Pub Quiz for the new people and I'm running on like four hours of sleep. Not by my own doing. I just haven't been able to sleep for the past few nights. There may be a nap in my future...or at least a gallon of coffee.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Tuition Fees and Advisor Appointment

So apparently my tuition has risen. *sigh* On Tuesday I went into campus to ask if this was correct and if it was why it had happened. The woman called the tuition department and they said that it had risen due to normal inflation and that I should have been notified when I accepted my place that this could happen. Only problem with that is that I was told I was on a fixed rate which means that I would pay the exact same thing through all four years of University. Man, someone screwed up big time there! And because I was told this I decided to check with my other Californian friend. Hers has gone up the same amount. So, I guess it's really true. But five hundred pounds seems like a lot when you think about it. I guess it's still cheaper than if I went to the University of my choice back in the states so it's really not that big of a deal. But what really gets me is that I did not receive any notification of this raise until I went into the online registration to change passwords, update personal information, and pay my tuition fees. You'd think that if they are going to raise tuition they would send out and email when it happened saying "We're sorry this has happened, but your fees have been raised." Just out of courtesy right?

All it means for me is that I have to be a little more frugal this year. I mean, I'm already very money conscious but I really don't think I can afford to have one of my fleeting and rare "spend money" moods. Especially since I'll have two or three big, expensive psychology books to buy this semester. So, it's a mild inconvenience for me and my wardrobe but I know for my friend it's a bit more. Since there was no notification she's gotta see if she can change her loan now. She's raised a little storm asking why they didn't notify he when they decided to raise the fees which is good. One of us should. Or both of us! Which is why I'm going in person today to pay the fees and tell them off a little.

But besides bitching and checking about tuition fees yesterday when I went to use the University Internet (our still wasn't set up in the afternoon but is working now!) I checked on my advisor appointment. It was finally scheduled. What a relief for me. I was beginning to get a little worried that they wouldn't give it to me until I paid my fees and I wasn't about to do that until I knew for sure that they were being raised for a legitimate reason. My advisor is the Social Psychology lecturer from first year and I remember liking his classes so I think I'll like my advisor appointment. Which is always a plus.

For the next week I am working on choosing my classes in preparation for the appointment and making posters and fliers for Fresher's Fayre!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Defnitely Back in Aberdeen

My trip home yesterday went smoothly and then not so smoothly. The first train my brother and I got on decided not to go all the way to Kastrup due to technical problems and it looked for a while we would have to wait around ten minutes or so for the next train. But they held a train there for five minutes while passengers from our train ran to get a spot on the waiting train. So, really we just lost a few minutes getting to the airport and we were able to find nice seats on the new train. And once we were there it took about five minutes to get my baggage checked and then another five or so minutes to get me through security. You know, it's funny. Every time I fly through Denmark the security people start speaking Danish to me. I could probably muddle along if they spoke Swedish to me, bu not Danish. Not at all. Of course, I knew what she was saying. They needed to re-run my bag without the Kindle in it. Happens sometimes. But I figured if I said, "Jag." and "Nej, det ar Kindle." she might get the wrong impression and start speaking more to me. So, I spoke in English. I should really wear a sign. "I may be blond, but I'm not from here." Haha!

Anyway, past security is when it started to go not so smooth. By this point I was super hungry. It was about half past one and all I could think about was food. Unfortunately for me, I had to get through passport control and there was a long line. I've decided something. I hate people when they're travelling. Why? Because they are inconsiderate to everyone else around them. I got into this line which was one line that broke into two smaller lines. And I was standing there when this couple comes up right next to me and starts pushing me out of the way. Kinda like, "We're gonna make sure that we get in the faster line before you!" I eventually just sort of gave up trying to hold my spot in the line because...well, everyone was doing something like that. After I resigned myself to being a doormat these two women came up behind me and started bumping into me. It was like they had never heard of personal space. So every time I moved a little further so they wouldn't be bumping into my bags they moved twice as much as me and were practically on top of me for the whole thing. They finally opened two more lines for EU passport holders and the lines went quicker after that. Unfortunately, I still made it through after both rude families. That's what it pays to be nice and considerate I guess.

At this point my plane was due to start boarding in twenty minutes and I still didn't have anything to eat. I figured that the flight was less that two hours so I could just wait and eat when I got home. You know what the Universe did to prove me wrong? They served a meal to those in business and economy extra class. So, this is how SAS designs their cabins. There are no curtains or anything between the cabins which I usually really like. I always hate being separated from the "rich" folk. It just feels so...classist. But yesterday I would have loved curtains instead of little signs above the seats saying, "in front of this seat economy extra". Everyone was eating and I'm sitting there with my tummy growling away. Then the guy next to me pays for a sandwich! So absolutely everyone around me was eating. I thought about ordering some tea to sort of trick my stomach into thinking it had some food. No tea on the plane. Water for Erin's grumbly tummy.

Instead of trying to read while my stomach growled in envy I slept. And when I woke up the captain said something about it not really being summer in Aberdeen because it was raining and only about 15 degrees. From what I saw of Swedish people this past week, they don't do rain really well. I figured it was only a little rain and some minor wind. Well, I was wrong. Landing was not a fun experience. But I'm very impressed with the pilots on SAS because he landed pretty smoothly all things considered.

I'm home now and all in one piece so I should be glad. But I have so much to do today. The joys of being an adult right? I might update about it tomorrow since what I'm doing today actually involves University. For now though, please enjoy some pictures of the animals I met in Sweden.
A white ostrich we met on the hike
These little, brown frogs were everywhere on the hike!
When we were passing by some one's field we met this pretty black and white horse
And this gorgeous brown horse with black legs, mane, and tale and a white stripe down his face. She was really curious about my brother and me.
Lucifer the kitten. Astrid's sister had kittens around and I got to play with them. They were grey tabby coloured but super fluffy!
Elvis the kitten with his arms stretched out like he's giving me a hug. He was my favourite and I would have bought him and taken him home if I could.
Chess the kitten. She pointing one paw to the camera.
James Bond the kitten. He's a chubby guy!
This is Parus the Momma cat. She was a kitten three years ago when I went to Sweden for Christmas.She was the kitty of Astrid's parents' cats Sirius and Sasha. I wanted to take her home with me if I remember correctly.
A Swedish sheep. I like sheep!
And Lyka the dog. I really like Lyka. She's big and furry and oh so sweet!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sweden in the Summer

Here I am in Sweden again. I got here last Monday and will leave this Monday. It's not a long visit, but getting to see Sweden in the summer was worth it! And, I gotta say, I really like living in a place where I can just pack up and go to Europe for a week and it not be a big deal. Flying all the way from California to Europe for only a week is kind of a waste and it causes a lot of sleep issues.

I'm sure you new readers out there (there are a few of you aren't there?) will wonder why I'm in Sweden again. Well, my brother lives here. One of my favourite things to do when I'm flying from Aberdeen to Sweden is to look at the face of the TSA agents as I tell them why I'm coming to Sweden. A typical conversation goes something like this;

Agent: Where are you travelling from?
Me: Aberdeen, Scotland
Agent: And why are you entering Denmark (I fly into Copenhagen since my brother lives in South Sweden) today?
Me: I'm visiting my brother.
Agent: *looks again at the American Passport with a confused look* ...
Me: Yes, we're both American, but I'm studying in Scotland and he's studying in Sweden
Agent: Ah, I see!

It's terribly funny. Well, at least my brother and I both get a kick out of it. I guess the rest of the world sees Americans as people who don't like to get out of their own little bubble. And, in some ways, I guess that's kind of true. But, I suppose that's a debate for another day.

This is the third time I've been to Sweden, but it's the first time I've been here over the summer. I have to say it's absolutely beautiful. I like snow and all that sort of thing, especially since I grew up in the desert, but it's lush and just brimming with life.

The plan was, since it's summer and lovely outside, for Greg and I to take a hiking trip for three days and two nights. Well, for a multiple of reasons, our backpacking trip ending up being two days and one night. I'm not complaining much as it was my first time backpacking and my hips were wondering what the hell I was doing to them. Even though we only did two days (well really about 7 hours the first day and 2 hours the second) we still walked close to 14 miles. I felt no guilt as I munched on a chocolate bar the day we got back to the apartment. And the scenery was beautiful! Just take a look!
Small trees opening up into a small clearing.
The beginning of the trail with evergreens on either side.
The remains of an old rock wall.
A little field with a rock wall. It's mostly yellowish here. This was actually someone's field. You know, with horses and cows and all that stuff.
The forest. You can see the remains of an old wall made from large rocks. Now they are covered with the greenist of mosses.
I'll be posting more pictures up tomorrow morning before I get on the plane. But the forest reminded me of something out of a fairy tale. I expected a small, gorgeous, winged humanoid to pop out behind the trees and take me away to Neverland. Or for a nasty troll to climb up from under the bridges. It was just like walking through the forests that you hear about in books like King Arthur. As we were walking through my brother said, "It makes you understand why they believed in things like dragons and trolls and fairies way back then. It's beautiful, but there's almost something sinister to it." And he's right.

After getting back from the wilderness, we've been doing a grab bag of other things. I'm sure there'll be a post about our visit to Lund yesterday. But today is going to be a lazy day. It's Sunday and there isn't much to do in my brother's little town on Sundays.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Wet Walk Home

I've been pretty busy these past two weeks I've been back in my home of Aberdeen. Besides moving, which is a story all in itself, I had my home visit with Guide Dogs for the Blind and have been to the doctor's twice. My home visit included having a puppy stay with me for a few days and both doctor's appointments were pretty exhausting.

So, when I woke up yesterday morning at half past four in the morning and couldn't get back to sleep I decided to take the day off...from everything. There was no taking things to the charity shop, no errands to run, and no responsibilities. Yesterday's relaxation included seeing the film Brave, eating dinner out, and then going to the pub quiz. It was a pretty good day, but by the time the scores were announced I was so, so tired. Luckily, everyone wanted to leave then because the pub was so warm.

Now, in these past two weeks I have forgotten why I keep telling people that Aberdeen has horrible weather. There have been very few days where I actually have to wear a sweater of any kind and a few where I was uncomfortably warm in jeans. So, when we stepped out into the misting summer night my body was a little shocked. It wasn't particularly cold, but I was chilly. But at least it wasn't raining.

I really should have knocked on wood.

We were outside for about five minutes before the rain started coming down in ernest. I really, really hate wet feet and this is the one time that I didn't wear my boots. As I was slowly and cautiously manuevering my way around puddles the men fold decided to be about six years old again. They stomped in any puddle they could find and started splashing about with no other intention that to get themselves and everyone else as wet as they possibly could get. I was able to stay out of the way when the whole group was still walking because I hung out in back, but when we got closer to home I started feeling the splashing rage.

AND when someone kicks a puddle in my general direction is it any wonder that I would kick the puddle right back? So...I got home very, very wet. Peeling off your socks and shoes and jeans is never fun. We actually had to turn on the heaters for a little last night so that some of the soaked items would kinda sorta dry by morning. And I'm still trying to fix a book that, whilst being in the safest part of my bag that would not have normally gotten wet, got hit full force with puddle and rain water.

But at least I had fun right? Also, today is absolutely gorgeous.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I'm Done Moving!

I think I've decided that I'm not going to move again. Well, at least not while I am here in Scotland. This last one really took it out of me. I guess you don't really realize how much stuff you have until you have to move it all down hill. At least that's what made me finally realize how much useless stuff I had laying around. To make things a little more difficult for me, I didn't really have anyone in town that could help with their car. So, I trekked up and down the hill about six or seven times with fairly heavy bags in tow. Luckily for me, my roommate Lisa's friend who was helping move all of her stuff with his car offered to take the last bit for me. Which was really nice of him because it involved a box of clothes, the kennel, and the outdoor run. And due to their size they each would have needed a trip to their own if I had walked them by hand. I'm definitely grateful at how nice he was in my hour of need.

I say my hour of need because I picked up a stomach bug on the plane back from the states to here. I didn't get any sleep the night before we moved and decided it was probably a good idea not to eat anything the day of. To say the least, I was bushed when he offered to get the last few heavy items.

Then, of course, there was the organizing of my new room. If I hadn't realized how much stuff there was by the time all of it was toted down the hill I was definitely made aware of the fact when I started putting things away. I think it took me three days to get everything thrown away (something which I vow to do before packing from now on) and sorted. And I'm still unsure of this current arrangement. Within the next week I'll probably end up reorganizing.

It's such a bothersome task. Moving that is. I mean, I really like where we are now. There are so many pluses to it. But, it was tiring. It was probably made even more tiring because of the way the state the previous tenants left it. I won't go into too much detail on the internet, but I don't think we should have had to clean the baking trays the day we moved in. I keep thinking, "Gosh! I know we cleaned the flat before left. And we cleaned it pretty damn good too! But I really, really hope we didn't leave it in this kind of condition." I know we didn't leave our old flat in less than a wonderful condition, but it just keeps coming to me in my nightmares. Yes, I know. Cleanliness isn't something a normal person has nightmares about. Ask my roommates. I'm terrible sometimes.

I'll leave this post by saying that, while it is taking some work, we've lived in this house for a week tomorrow and I think this will be a great place to spend my next two years in Scotland.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bad Blogger

Gosh, it's been so long since I last posted. I guess I have a good reason for it, but I still always feel bad about leaving the blog alone for so long.

I got back into the US of A last Monday, July 2. And I've been mostly on the go since then. Last weekend I went to Philadelphia to visit a friend. I had a pretty good time checking out Philadelphia and seeing a few of the museums. We only had time for two, the Franklin Institute and the Art Museum. This lack of time was due to the fact that we spent four hours in the Franklin Institute. They really shouldn't have all of the fun interactive kid things...a person could get distracted. *wink* Of course, while in Philadelphia I did go and see the Liberty Bell.

I got back from Philadelphia on Monday and then yesterday Hilly (my career changed black lab) and I packed up the car and headed to LA. We're just chillin' in the apartment, but we're hoping to get to the beach at some point this week before heading back into the furnace that is the central valley.

That is pretty much all I've been doing for the past week and a half. It's super hard for me to believe that I only have another two weeks here before flying back to Scotland. I think next year I'll have to spend a little more time back in the States? What's that? Why didn't I spend more time here this summer? Well, we're moving again. We finally found a nice, four bedroom house that saves us time and money so we took it. I figured since I wasn't there to move last year I should be there this year to help out and move all of my stuff. Although...this year it is all downhill instead of uphill...nope! Gotta help this year! Gotta help.

Hopefully, I can post a few pictures when I get back to the valley. Like a dummy, I forgot my fire wire.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Mushrooms with Cream and Apple Cinnamon Cake

First off: HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! I have two dad's. My biological father and my step-father. No one could ever take the place of my daddy, but my step-dad is absolutely wonderful.

So, you all probably thought that I forgot about last week's dinner. Well that's just not so! Since I knew I was going to be in Luxembourg most of this week I left it off until this week since I knew I wouldn't have time to cook this week.
I got this new (well technically used) cooking book at the New Age store in town that is closing down. It's a Celtic Folklore cooking book. Think what you will, but I think our ancestors knew a thing or two about using a the ingredients at hand. This past week I baked apple cinnamon cake and cooked mushrooms with cream.

The apple cinnamon cake was great. Though our oven is a little sketchy so the middle wouldn't cook so the edges got slightly burnt. But I made it twice anyway and in both cases I took the cake to friends. In both cases I only got one slice. I guess that means it must have been good! *smiles* And it is soooo simple to make. I've already got the recipe memorized.
Top view of the whole cake; sliced apples are in a spiral on top
A bad picture of a slice of the cake
And the Mushrooms in Cream? Well...I'm not the biggest fan. First off, I like mushrooms OK, but they're not my favourite thing ever. I think I would have liked this dish better if the mushrooms were in a cream sauce instead. As the recipe stands now it really is just cooked mushrooms in warm cream. It was great on mashed potatoes, but I can see it getting boring. I might try and switch up the recipe a little and make a sauce to bake the mushrooms in.
Mushrooms in the cream

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Flight Failure

So, I thought that it would be a good idea to get some travelling in this summer. Nothing too big, but since I wasn't going to be getting a new puppy to raise for Guide Dogs for the Blind in the UK I thought I might as well see some of the world. I am in the middle of my first trip of the summer. This trip is to visit my flatmate Lisa in her natural habitat of Luxembourg.

Now, I wouldn't be too surprised if none of you out there have heard of Luxembourg. It's not too big. I can't give you the exact details of it right now seeing as I'm on a time limit, but I've seen pictures and it's pretty. So, why not go and see my friend?

I was pretty excited about the whole thing until I landed here in Amsterdam. The flight itself wasn't the best and we landed about 40 minutes before my next flight was to leave. Not only that, but the way the airport is set up I had to take a 10 minute transfer shuttle to the terminal. When I got to said terminal I looked for my flight on the board to check the departure gate (anyone remember the good old days where they printed the gate on your ticket?). Couldn't find my flight. It just wasn't there. So I tried to find another board. This all took about another 5 minutes but as soon as I found the other board I found my flight immediately and noticed it was in another terminal. Ran to the passport check. Ran to the security. Security ran my bag THREE seperate time. All of this taking 20 minutes. Those of you who are good at math will realise that this all took 35 out of my 40 minutes. And, when I got through security, I ran to my gate. But not fast enough.

Where does that leave me? 4 and a half hours in Amsterdam. URGH!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Bitter Chocolate and Satled Caramel Torte

I meant to post this up yesterday, but Marlene came over in the afternoon for a chat and then we went to see Prometheus in the evening. I do suggest seeing it if you haven't already and are a fan of the original Alien movies. There wasn't much in the way of character development or much dialogue at all, but it's fun and entertaining and good for a night out. The only thing that ruined last night was the stomach pain that started about half way through the movie. Ah well, I'm feeling better now and I think that's really what matters.
A slice of the Bitter Chocolate and Caramel Torte with pouring cream drizzled on it.
This week (well really two weeks ago) I made a Bitter Chocolate and Salted Caramel Torte. I know that this is suppose to help me be a better cook, not a better baker but when I saw this recipe I couldn't say no.

I don't remember too much of the experience anymore. What I do remember is that the caramel was such a pain. I think I made it fine, but it sunk to the bottom of the spring form pan so it stuck and made it difficult to get the pieces unstuck from the bottom. It also became liquidy in the oven and stayed that way when it got out of the oven. This means that some of the caramel leaked onto the counter where it was resting and made a big mess. I set it in the refrigerator on a plate after that the solidify the caramel. And our oven isn't the best. It's super old and sometimes it doesn't cook things the way they out to. So, actually making sure it was fully cooked was also a little annoying.

Despite the few obstacles, it came out great and tasted wonderfully! I got rid of about three quarters of it at a roleplaying game, but I had a whole quarter all to myself after that. The picture above isn't the best I could have taken, but it was the best out of the ones I took. I really should start taking pictures of the food on my purple plates instead of the white ones.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

De-Stressing

While I know I have been absent from the blogging world I think I have a good excuse. Both of my exams were last week so I decided to take a break from blogging for a week. I had a Sunday Dinner and a debate lined up for last week, but I thought that since my efforts would be in my revision that I wouldn't have time to cook or think of anything else. I was very right and wanted to post them up this week, but I'm just spending the week relaxing and totally forgot to post up the Sunday dinner on Sunday.

Since all of that happened, I think I'm going to hold off until this Sunday since I also don't think that I will have time to cook or bake again until next week.

I'm just relaxing and trying to de-stress at this point. It's...well, it's going. Not well, but I'm sure that the de-stressing will start soon. Hopefully my puppy friend that I have this week will help out a little.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Dumplings

Yes, again I realise that it is Monday. I just didn't have the will power to do anything yesterday. I starting studying in the library after the Roleplaying Society's committee meeting and then, of course, I got so nauseous. I didn't get much revising done, but I did get some planning and organizing done. I guess that's a good thing right? Today's been sort of the same way without the stomach ache, fever, and head ache. Trying very hard to get into this whole revising thing, but perception is not the most interesting thing. Well, at least not the way it's taught here. At least I have cooking to keep my spirits up.
This week was a two for. First, I cooked pot stickers (or dumplings, the recipe in the book doesn't seem to know). They were really fun to make, but definitely not the easiest thing. Second, I made Garlic Lemonade (I don't have any pictures of my lemonade).
The filling comprised of carrots, savoy cabbage, mushrooms, spring onions, with garlic and ginger
Unfortunately you can't see the wrapper, but I promise that I didn't just place the filling on the counter
Dumplings all wrapped and ready to start cooking
The dumplings cooking
The biggest problem I had with the pot stickers was folding the dough around the filling. I don't think I cut the savoy cabbage enough so I got some really long pieces that ended up being a hinder when folding. Cooking them was also pretty interesting. I think my second batch turned out much better. I still have another batch to cook though and I've had four a day since Thursday. Haha! At least they are tasty. *smiles* If anyone is interested, I got the recipe from the cookbook simply called Vegetarian by Alice Hart. It has some wonderful recipes for the herbivores among us. All pretty simple and so far very tasty.

And now on to the Garlic Lemonade. I know, I know. It's sounds awfully weird. But trust me, it's wonderful. Now, I love garlic. It's absolutely the most wonderful thing in this world (right there with sesame oil, salt, a chocolate with chili). And it's full of antioxidants and cleansing agents. Now, I got this recipe at Eating from the Ground Up. I know I've linked it, but I'm going to write up the recipe here so that you guys can go straight to the kitchen and make it. You'll absolutely love it.

Garlic Lemonade:

2 quarts water
8-10 garlic cloves, whole and peeled
the juice of one lemon
honey to taste (I use about 2 Tablespoons for 2 quarts)
optional: a chunk of peeled ginger

Combine the water and the garlic (and ginger, if using) in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for one hour. Remove from heat. Add the lemon and the honey.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Reflecting on Loss

A recent blog post by Becky on the blog Cruisin' with Cricket has made me ponder. I know that I've said it before, but I'm not sure if I've said it on this blog, but reading Becky's blog is always a pleasure and a pretty big source of inspiration for me. It isn't very often that you'll find a blog that will make stop and think about your own thoughts and behaviors, but this blog does it for me. Every blog post I can think of that has made me reevaluate the way I am handling a situation has come from Becky's blog. So...read it I guess. You won't be sorry that you started.

The most recent one (linked here) was short and at first I wasn't applying it to my own life, but after sitting down and thinking about it for a while I really started to see how it applied to my life at this particular moment. She said that she had heard someone explain their experience with loss as, "a million dollar experience that I wouldn't pay five cents for." My first thought was,

Yeah. Losing something or someone sucks, but it's not something you can just push to the back and forget about. You have to deal with it before you can get over it. It takes up a lot of your time and energy so, it makes sense to call it a million dollar experience. And I probably wouldn't pay a penny to go through the experience of loss again, so that too is an apt way of looking at it.

It was that last part that made me stop. Again....

This past week I have been irritable, sad, and easily annoyed and I honestly couldn't tell you why. Everything made me upset and I felt like I just couldn't deal. I was worried that I was relapsing back into depression which of course made me more upset and anxious and irritable. But, I don't think I am. I'm really tired, yes, but I account that to the fact that it gets sunny at five in the morning and remains that way until eleven at night. I think, instead of relapsing back into depression and anxiety I just haven't dealt with my feelings of loss yet (which could have subsequently turned into a relapse).

I have a pretty good life most of the time. I really can't complain much. I have enough money for food and shelter and the occasional toy, I'm living in Scotland which I know makes a lot of people back home jealous, and I have my health...well I have that most of the time. At the moment I am dealing with a hurt foot and strained elbow. But I think it's fair to say that I've had my fair share of loss these past few months that I just haven't been dealing with.

First off was the loss of Indie. Indie was suppose to be the puppy I was going to raise for GDB UK. He was suppose to come into my home and life a month ago today. But, a few days after Indie was assigned to me I got news that my skin surgery has been moved up to just a few days after he was suppose to arrive and I knew dealing with an eight week old puppy, stitches, and pain wouldn't mix so I told my supervisor that I would have to wait until after my exams in June. As it turns out, my surgery didn't need stitches and while I was a little woozy for a day, there was no pain unless I leaned directly on my back where the scab was. I don't think I've fully dealt with this yet purely because I had been told I would have stitches and this caused me to turn Indie down. I think it's fair to say that I was angry, but finally admitting to myself that I was angry will hopefully help me get over it.

Second is the loss of puppy raising in general. Amy, Lisa, Marlene, and myself got the four bedroom house we were looking at. And, while I totally happy that we did, moving in there means that I have to give up puppy raising. Even though there was already a dog living in the house the landlord said he didn't want any pets of any kind and we wanted the house too much and couldn't find anywhere else so I really couldn't back out. Instead of focusing on the fact that I won't be welcoming a new puppy into my house in June I'm going to look on the positive side. I get to live with my friends next year, cheaper rent, a closer distance to Uni, and the landlord is allowing me to keep boarding which means that there may be a possibility later in the future for a puppy.

Finally, there is the loss of home. This is the big one. The other two have been slight annoyances, but this one, I think, is what is hitting me hard. I've been feeling it more this year than last year. I've been busy over the weekends so speaking to either set of my parents has been scattered. And I'm not as close to my friends from high school as I was nor am I nearly as close to the people in my puppy group. One of my really good friends won't be able to come home this summer break because he has a job now so I'm hoping I'll get to go and see him, but I know that my time in the states this summer is so short that it may not be possible. There have been so many changes in the puppy group and I feel so out of touch and...stranger-like. I know that sounds weird, but about half of the members don't really know me. All of this makes for a sad Erin. But, now that I know that's what's going on I can at least work on finding ways to hold on to a little piece of home.

I guess, really, the last thing I've lost is my dignity because I've been acting like a complete baby, bitch, cray-cray, etc, this past week. I wish I could turn back time and now what I do now. Then maybe I wouldn't have been such a chore. But I can't. The only thing I can do it make it better now.

And that's what brought me to my concluding thoughts on that phrase,

I'd pay the million dollars for the experience of loss. I'd do it in a heartbeat. Because, while it hurts for a long time, you are ultimately a better person when you come out of it. After it's all over you can step back and look at how you acted and handled it which can make you stronger and better at dealing the next time loss comes your way. Loss is imperative to life. You can't have one without the other. So yes, loss suck. But I don't think I would want to go through life without it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Weekly Debate

I know that this was suppose to go up on Wednesday, but my computer has been acting a little funny as of late and I wasn't able to post it up. Blogger has been acting up with so many different aspects, but I'm fairly certain it might be because my computer is about to die.

Anyway, this week's debate has to do with University. I have been asked many times why I chose to come to Scotland for University. I had, in fact, gotten into a few Universities in the states and it definitely would be easier to go home for breaks. The Universities weren't bad either. Wake Forest in North Carolina and Sarah Lawrence in New York were the two I was debating between before I got my acceptance letter from Aberdeen. As soon as I got that letter, I knew where I was going. So, why then did I choose Scotland so quickly and so easily?

Sexy Scottish men and their accents aside...seriously though, not only would going to Scotland be a great adventure (and trust me it has been!) it would also cost me much less in the way of tuition for very good education. I think I'll be spending about half as much on tuition here as I would have at Sarah Lawrence over the four years. And here, Scottish and English students do not pay tuition.

My question for you is:

Do you think there should be dramatic cuts to tuition so that even those who do not come from well off families have a chance a good education? Or should University be free?

Discuss

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Sweet Red Bean Buns

I am very aware of the fact that it is Monday morning. I had a Psychology report to finish up last night, so that was at the top of my priorities list. I'm just taking a quick break (while letting my hair dry) before scuttling off to campus to turn it in and meet with my Psychology poster group (yes, they're still making us do posters). But on to this week's Sunday Dinner.

The dish for this week is Steamed Sweet Red Bean Buns. These are something that I have had since I was young, but never homemade.
Red Bean Buns
I was recently introduced to an Asian store that's very near the flat. I think the expression, "like a kid in a candy store", applies aptly to this situation. I was running around looking sushi nori and mochi and rice crackers and lots of frozen goodies. I even went a little overboard and bought a wok and steaming baskets. What you have to understand is even though I'm as white as a snowflake, my childhood food memories include Indian curries, pad Thai, sushi, and other such ethic foods you would expect a child of three to turn their nose up to. I don't actually ever remember stepping foot into a TGI Fridays or Applebee's until I started to drive and go out with friends who wanted to go to such places (and let me tell you, I was not impressed).

My dad travelled a lot when I was a kid so he and my mom almost made sure that their kids would turn their noses up to places like TGI Fridays and Applebee's. Not to mention the fact that two of my childhood friends were Japanese. And when I have attended a few youth Buddhist meetings back home I had a few Japanese ladies comment on my skinniness and shove two or three rice balls into my hands.

Anyway, I got the recipe from a very cool blog which is linked here. It's a very fun blog and I'm sure I'll probably try more recipes from here in the future.

Making these buns were really fun. I've always enjoyed making bread (it's a good stress reliever) and getting to attempt to crease the dough and form them into a bun was a real challenge, but a fun one. However, I don't think that I'll use the canned red (azuki) bean paste anymore. The stuff I got from the shop was not at all good so I'm finding it difficult to scarf down all of them. Next time I make them I'll probably make the paste myself (which may end up on Sunday Dinner in the future). I'll probably also make the buns a little smaller so they fit in my medium baskets better...and because the ones I have now are pretty darn big.

That's all for Sunday Dinner this week. If you have any recipes you'd like me to try please post them as a comment. I'll eventually get around to making any recipe that is given to me and put them all on Sunday Dinner.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Some New Blog Ideas

Well, I know that I've been absolutely horrible about updating lately. I feel like I've been busy, but at the same time I don't feel like I haven't done anything at all in the last few weeks. I guess it's just the feeling that I can get when it's close to exam time.

So, obviously, trying to condense my Psychology notes every week on here hasn't motivated me. I guess it's because this semester's Psychology sections haven't been too interesting. I won't lie and say that I'm not nervous about the Psychology exam, because I am. Very much so. But I'm doing the best I can with reserach and studying so I think I'll do alright. At least I hope I do better than last semester...oh dear, I just got worried again. *nervous face*

Anyway, I've been thinking about ways to update more often and I'm going to start two weekly posts. Both weekly posts have a little something to do with life as a college student. I haven't really been able to find something that is specifically geared toward being a college student in Scotland. I guess all college students around the world deal mostly with the same issues. How 'bout that huh?

The first is a tribute to something we use to do at home a while ago. I call it: Sunday Dinner. Here's what Sunday Dinner is all about. When I was home, before my dad and step mom got married, we would have a big dinner every Sunday. I don't exactly remember the reason it fell apart and I won't say that I wanted to go to all of them or that I enjoyed all of them. But, I enjoyed a majority of them. Over the two years I've been here in Scotland I've gotten a little bored with dinners. Why? Becuase I don't really know how to cook. I'm a fairly accomplished baker (though I'm still working on decorated and frosting and such) but I've never been all that interested in cooking. I guess my giant sweet tooth always pulled me toward baking cakes and cookies rather than soups and stews. But, I got so bored with salads and pasta that I wanted to learn to cook different and better things. So, every week I shall be cooking something new and posting pictures. I'll be making the food at some point during the week, but always posting on Sunday.

The second is a weekly debate. Nothing too wild and crazy, but I figure it might be nice to get some discussion going on this blog. College is the age where we all become set in our traditions and really start to be comfortable with who we are. What better way to celebrate our individuality and difference in opinions than asking some hard questions? I'm planning for these debates to be posted every Wednesday. You can chime in whenever you see fit and, if I get some good comments, I'll tell everyone my opinion on the following Wednesday before I announce the new debate.

Well, those are the two things that will be starting on this blog this blog in the next week. I'll post updates whenever something interesting happens. Speaking of interesting turns of events, I have some pretty interesting updates which I shall post about tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Work Psychology: Condensed Version

Right, so I haven't done as much work as I would have like this spring break. My mom came to visit for about 5 days which did hinder the work a little. Not that I didn't enjoy the visit, but I didn't do any studying for those 5 days. And the other days? Only an hour or two and I mostly focused on Clinical Psychology so that I wouldn't have to worry about condensing those notes when exam time comes.

So, yesterday I started work on the 8 weeks we've had of Work Psychology (also known as Industrial Psychology and Organizational Psychology) and realised one thing; It's super boring. And the lecturer is terrible. I don't say this about many lecturers because I can usually focus on one redeeming quality. But I've realised that her notes on Blackboard are unorganized, her lectures are unorganized and repetitive, the learning outcomes she has come up with are unorganized and jumbled, and her voice is completely monotone. Seriously, one lecture sounded like this, "Why do some people like their jobs? Why do some people get stressed? Why do some people leave early everyday?" And it went on like that. I almost want to shout, "Yes! I get it! Some people get stressed at their jobs. Move on!" It is frustrating and not just because I have to study this woman's lectures. It's because Work Psychology is possibly to easiest branch and it's going to be the hardest for me to study and the hardest for me to answer on the exam.

Anyway, I've decided to give you all a little taste about what's to come in future posts as I have given up with previous lectures. So, without further complaints from me, here is Work Psychology: Condensed.

Bad supervisor = stress
High demands with Low Rewards = stress
Low demands with High Rewards = stress

If you don't like flying or heights, don't become a pilot. 

If you screw up in your job application then you won't get the job. Selection processes are far more complicated than they need to be. Some people are crazy enough to believe that a person's handwriting can determine whether or not they're suitable for the job (obviously in some jobs good handwriting is a necessity, but really people...). If your applicants don't like your selection process you won't get many applicants.

The culture of the work place determines many things like how they deal with safety issues. Culture can even be defined by the national culture (really!?).

If your workplace isn't safe, it'll be shut down.

Right, so that's pretty much what I learned from Work Psychology. I hate to say it, but fairly obvious stuff right there. I'm sure that there is a deeper meaning to all of it, but the lecturer is so bad that that is pretty much what she says. Back to the grindstone today, but this time I'm just going to read the book.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring Break

That's right people. My three weeks of relaxing has started! Well, alright, to be honest I'm going to put in 4 hours a day during the week on school work and 2 hours on weekends. But I can do those 4 hours whenever I choose to. Which means that I can wake up whenever I choose to. Lovely feeling really.

Also, my mother is coming for a visit. It should be fun even though I have absolutely no idea what to do with her. Here's a little secret; Aberdeen is not the most exciting of places. I'm sure I'll figure out something before she gets here. Here's hoping the weather stays nice. It looked not so pleasant today, but it's be so nice up until now. Hopefully by the time Mother gets here the sun will return because the few places I know I should take her to are the beach, the park, and the gardens. You might note that they are all outdoor activities.

My other plan for this break is to post all of the back log of posts! I have started a post for every Psychology lecture I went to. Just never got around to finishing all of them. I shall hopefully get one up on Monday. As for the rest of today and tomorrow, I am fully taking a break.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Multisensory Perception

Finally have gotten around to getting a Perception lecture down on this site. It's not that I don't find them interesting, because I find them really interesting. I think they're so cool! But a lot of does go over my head without doing some in depth studying and I'm on the waiting list for the book for the course so...anyway, I'll try and put down something of interest right now while it's still fresh in my mind.

The topic for today's lecture:
Multisensory Perception

This was Dr.M's last lecture for the module. I have to say...she scares the bijeezus out of me. But it's clear that she knows what she's talking about.

Let's see...the brain adapts to its environment. Because it is so able to adapt to different situations it utilizes many different sensory systems to assess its surroundings. And most humans respond better when more than one sensory system is used. For example, we are better able to understand a small flicker in the corner of our eye if there is also auditory information about it coming in as well. But to use this the senses must be localised together in the same receptive field.

I'm going to do more reading on it so I might have some more information for you when I get the book in a couple of days, but there was a study that I was particularly interested in. It's called the Rubber Hand experiment. Basically, you're sat down at a table with a rubber hand. Your arm is positioned and then covered with a blanket to where it looks like your arm ends in that rubber hand. You hide your real hand behind a small board right next to the rubber hand and try and put it in the same position the rubber hand is in. The experimenter then simultaneously strokes your real hand and the rubber hand with a small brush. During this stroking your brain almost "adopts" the rubber hand as a part of its body. The key part of this study is that the experimenter must stroke each hand with the same speed and pressure. But isn't it cool how your brain can do that?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Work Psychology Week 5

I wasn't able to attend Tuesday's lecture on account of a doctor's appointment. Gosh, don't get me started on that appointment. OK, I'll tell you anyway before I jump into today's Psychology lecture (I'll be posting about Tuesday's lecture tomorrow when I would normally post about today's).

Right, so I've got a rather large and, frankly, ugly mole right in the center of my back. I've had it for as long as I can remember and when I hit puberty it raised. When I first noticed it raised I've had checked out every couple of years. At every appointment they've said that it's completely normal and to come back in a couple of years or if I notice any change. At one appointment they even said they needed to remove a different mole because it looked cancerous. Anyway, I've started catching this mole on bra straps and my fingers when I put lotion on and if I toss and turn in the middle of the night I will sometimes wake up with blood on my sleep shirt. So, in December I went to my GP and asked for it to be removed. They said that since it wasn't cancerous they couldn't make it a priority but they would make an appointment for me in a couple of months for the dermatology clinic and they would remove it. Made the appointment for this past Tuesday and went in expecting for them to remove it. I took off the whole day. I went in and spent 5 minutes in the office where they went, "Oh it's not cancerous." Yes! I know that! Grr...they said that they couldn't get an appointment for me for another five months and that it would be quicker for my GP to do it! ARGH! Annoyed.

Anyway...on to today's Psychology lecture:

Occupational Stress

Occupational stress is focused on stress due to the conditions of the workplace instead of personal stress. Personal stress can add to occupational stress, but it shouldn't be the absolute cause. It is the emplyer's job to monitor the workplace and watch over the employees. There were three key terms that we discussed today.

Stressors: the physical or psychological demands that are responded to
Strains: the responses to these stressors
Stress: psychological reaction when there is a perceived imbalance between the task demands and the individual's capabilities

It is important to note that this is only a perceived imbalance. There might not actually be an imbalance but the individual believes that there is one. It is all about how an individual perceives themself.

Some people are more resilient to occupational stress than others. There is research to suggest that it has to do with the specific person's personality.

I would like to say that I have more, but I haven't had a chance to read the chapter yet and the lecturer isn't the best out there. She tends to put a lot on the slide show that she doesn't go into and doesn't really talk about. And then she goes on random rants of nothing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Behind

I know that I said that I would be writing up a post after each Psychology class so that I could get everything straight in my head. I also know that I haven't written up a post for the past week. All I can say to that is that I'm really still trying to get my head around what was said in the Perception lecture last Tuesday. I've been reading up in the book just to make sure that I understand, but it's all so dry and, frankly, sometimes pretty boring.

I'm hoping to start up again this Tuesday and just forget that I didn't post last week. Haha! Last week we talked about hearing and how we pay attention to different things at different times. These lectures are really focused around neuroscience and it goes over my head a lot of the time, but I'm really hoping to focus more this week and tell you all about the exciting world of perception. Ok, even I didn't believe that.

I'll probably combine two weeks into one post.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Anxiety Disorders

I've had time to mull over this past Friday's psychology lecture and am now ready to post all that I have learned.

For the first 6 weeks of term, Friday lectures are dedicated to Clinical Psychology. I'm really enjoying the lecturer. She's a double Doctor and she only looks 30! I feel way under accomplished now every time I'm in the same room as her because of the whole Dr. Dr. thing. She also reminds me of my psychologist from when I was younger. And with that, I move to the topic we discussed on Friday using myself as an example.

Anxiety Disorders

I have been diagnosed with a few anxiety disorders since I was in middle school. I believe it was sixth grade that I had my first appointment with Dr. Clara (note: my psychologist's name has been changed to protect privacy). First, let's recognize the difference between a normal amount of anxiety and fear to the amount that can be classified as a disorder.

Everyone will experience anxiety or fear in their lifetime. This is completely normal. In fact, anxiety and fear or evolutionary and have helped the human race to survive and thrive over the past however many years it's been since we climbed out of the ooze and took our first steps and sapiens. A healthy, moderate amount of anxiety can improve performance and creates a motivation to complete the task at hand. Fear triggers the 'flight or fight' response which has saved many lives in the past. So, anxiety and fear are normal reactions. What isn't normal is when you have a tremendous amount of either of them. Too much anxiety and/or fear can be seriously detrimental.

In most cases, to be classified as a type of anxiety disorder the anxiety or fear must  be persistent and constant for at least 6 months (if not longer).

Now, let's look at the different kind of Anxiety Disorders.

1. Specific Phobia: specific phobia is exactly what is sounds like. Fear of a specific thing. Specific phobias can be put into five different categories; Animal, Natural Environment, Blood/Injection/Injury, Situational, and Other. The fear or anxiety experienced must be triggered by a specific object and the reaction must happen the same way every time. People with specific phobias will try to avoid situations that will result in coming into contact with the trigger object. The reaction will generally be extreme and there might be a feeling of loss of control. Now, I used to have two Specific Phobias and have slowly worked past one of them. They fell into Natural Environment and Other. Natural Environment used to be spiders. They use to trigger panic attacks, sometimes I couldn't breathe, I tended to avoid going certain places where I had previously encountered a spider, and if a spider wound up in my room I would either sleep in the living room that night or stay up all night worrying. I can now handle seeing spiders without running and screaming. But I still have a very severe reaction towards vomiting. I know everyone thinks it's gross, but it's something that I've never been able to get past. I see someone vomit or hear it and I go into complete shut down mode. Eyes covered, hands covering ears, fetal position...the whole shabangbang. I also avoid situations with vomiting.

I'll breeze by these next few...

2. Social Phobia: Social phobia is a lot like Specific Phobia except that it deals with social situations. Specific fears of certain social situation like singing in public, acting, public speeches, etc. Reactions and anxiety must persist for 6 or more months and the person will actively try to avoid situations where they may have to do the social phobia.

3. General Anxiety Disorder: Basically is over worrying. Feelings must persist for more than 6 months. I have also been diagnosed with this and I know that it sounds really stupid but I'll try to explain it as uncomplicated as possible. I often worry about the future. And I don't mean just the whole, "What am I going to do with my life?" I mean I will be walking along to University or the pub or something and all of a sudden I'll start crying because I've just played out a scenario in my head that a family member or someone really important has died. This is a daily occurrence . I know it sounds like nothing or really natural but when you spend most of your time worrying and/or anxious it kinda sucks.

4. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Person experiences a really traumatic experience and relives it through flashbacks or dreams. Reactions must be extreme and the person will avoid situations where they had the flashback and it must persist for more than 6 months (you seeing the pattern?).

5. Panic Disorder: Frequent panic attacks for 6 or more months. Person will try to avoid the place where a panic attack occurred. Though, you must be sure that the panic attacks are not caused by a phobia.

6. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Person has intrusive thoughts at strange times that cause anxiety and/or fear. The person then creates a ritual that helps deal with the anxiety or fear.

That's the basic run down. There's obviously a lot more to all of them, but I didn't want to bore you all with all of the details. I think the most important thing to realize is that Anxiety Disorders are debilitating. They make it...hard. I remember sleepless nights on the couch or in my room worried about spiders, feeling them on my body. That's not to say that living is impossible. In fact, I'm fine now that I know how to deal with everything. People with anxiety disorders are just like everyone else. We just need to sit down and chill sometimes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Exam Results

My exam results are in and the consensus is...

I need to try harder this semester.

That's not saying that I did horribly. I did fairly well. I just didn't do well enough. That's the long and the short of it. So, this semester I'm going to be a busy bee. Done and done. I'm going to start revising for the exam way ahead of time and make little notes as I go along. The only thing that would make this all easier if there were only three sections to the Psychology course. Instead there are five. This means that four of the sections will only be running for six weeks and I can't justify spending money on a really big, really expensive Psychology book if I'm only using it for six weeks. Ah, well. At least they have them in the library.

I'm also going to try and think of ways to use this blog as a study space. It won't be anything boring (I hope). What I'm thinking about doing is this; after each Psychology lecture I'm going to write a post about what I learned and what the main points of the lecture were. I'll make it as fun and interesting and exciting as possible.

As for right now. I'm either going to read a few chapters in my borrowed library books or start planning for my essay that's due in next Friday.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Springyness

Aberdeen had a slightly Spring-ish feel to it today. It was partly cloudy and the sun was shining and everything was more green that usual.

I guess that's what happens around this time of year. I just wasn't really expecting it to happen so soon. I like Aberdeen in the spring. Everything feels better and less...gloomy. Aberdeen is just really, really grey. But in the spring, sometimes, even the grey looks kinda green.

Now if only it would get warmer...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

First Week of Second Semester

Well, the first week of classes went as well as I could have expected them to.

This past week's book for English was:

"Prometheus Bound and Other Plays" by Aeschylus

I read most of it then got bored near the end. I'll finish reading it by my tutorial this Friday as I'm only 10 pages from the end. At least I'll know exactly what's going on when the tutorial happens but I don't think it'll be one of the texts I choose to write about. Though, if I have a good tutor like last semester I could probably be persuaded to change my mind. It's based on a Greek myth and I love Greek myths.

For those of you who don't know the myth of Prometheus I do suggest googling it. It's actually quite interesting. In some versions he's the male counterpart to Pandora which leads me to say, "HA! It's not only the females who bring great misery to this world." Anyway, it is quite interesting. I just don't like reading about it in play version.

There was one interesting part about Psychology this week. This semester's three lecture topics are Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, and Work Psychology. At the beginning of the first lecture of Work Psychology the lecturer showed a computer simulation of how Captain Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger landed his plane on the Hudson. Known fact about Capt. Sully Sullenberger: he's a breeder custodian for Guide Dogs for the Blind. We're all great people at GDB.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Very Merry Unbirthday

This year, my birthday fell on a Monday. Unfortunately this past Monday was a day where most of us (including me) were very busy. I decided to postpone my birthday until yesterday. At first I thought I would ok with no body really celebrating my birthday until Thursday, but I was a little sad that I had to wait a few days to feel special. But, yesterday I did feel special. Which is always nice.

Eight of us went out yesterday afternoon for a meal. It was a lot of fun as I don't really see two of my friends much any more and it was great to catch up. Then after the meal we went to buy snacks for boardgames. We headed over to the designated house of gaming and played a few board games. I didn't win any and, to be honest, I got quite annoyed at one game. (Can I just say, "Stupid Thief card in Dominion!! I will beat you!)

I also got to watch an Irish comedy called "Mrs. Brown's Boys". It was interesting and really did feel like I was watching my Irish friend, Ryan, up on TV. 'Twas interesting and very enjoyable.

I also got a package from my parents (admittedly I did have to pay for the import tax and had to collect it this morning since it didn't come until after I had left for lunch). I'm thinking about buying myself a game. I always like buying myself a little something because I'm sure to love it. Oh, I know that sounds shallow, but let's be honest people. How many times have you gotten a birthday gift that you had to pretend not to laugh at or put on a happy face even though it's not exactly what you wanted? We've all done it which is why I have installed my "one birthday gift for myself" rule. But, let's not misunderstand what I say. I'm appreciative of every gift I receive no matter if I want it or not. They usually show that people have been thinking of you and that's always a nice, warm feeling.

Seriously though, I had an enjoyable unbirthday yesterday.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sigh of Relief?

Dress for success as I always say. Well, dress in a baggy shirt and an over sized hoodie at least. These past two days of exams have been...hell. I mean, not to put too fine a point on anything.

But it's all over now and that's the most important part. Yesterday afternoon was the English exam and I wouldn't say that I did fantastically but I don't think I failed either. Always a plus. And this morning something happened that was amazing. I looked at the first questions of the Psychology exam and I actually knew the stuff! I knew all 6 questions for developmental and all 3 questions for language and I could have gotten the full 5 points on each.  Too bad that I was only allowed to answer 4 from developmental and 2 from language. Also unfortunately, that's where my uber confidence stopped. I answered the rest of the questions, but I don't think that I got the full marks for the rest of them. But...and this is a BIG but...I think I might have gotten the grade I needed to get the 16 overall in the course. That'd be swell.

Anyway, the rest of today I've spent calming down a little. I'm a worrier so the relieve of stress after exams is actually more like spontaneously combustion. I might be the only person in the world who doesn't want exams to end. I just hate the feeling afterward. I've always been this way...ask my dad. After opening night of plays when I was younger I couldn't sleep and was prone to cry. Excitement he called it.

What's on the agenda for tomorrow? Cleaning my room. Pre-exam Erin's room looks a bit like a paper monster threw up everywhere.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Revision Week: Day 9

Well it's been a long, stressful 9 days of studying. That's not to say that I've only been studying for the past 9 days, but these 9 days were the "study only" days. Anyway, tomorrow is my first exam and I've worked it out. I've already passed the course. It's a barely pass, but if I were to not show up tomorrow I could still wouldn't have to take the makeup exam. It's a nice feeling really seeing as I know that I'm going to get more than a 0% on the exam. Less stressed? Yes.

Now...the problem is that my second exam is Thursday. I've also worked that out. I have to get at least a 17 on that to get the 16 overall in the course I need. It's my Psychology exam and that's the one that
I've been studying for mostly these past few days. I know I'll pass the exam...but pulling off a 17 is going to be hard. *sigh*

English exam is tomorrow
1 day until the Psychology exam

"There are different parts of the brain that deal with different parts of movement. There is logic to our movements and that's where the frontal lobe comes in. The frontal lobe plans/selects our movements. It co-ordinates our body and executes precise movements. The brain stem produces our basic or primitive movements such as eating, drinking, and sexual behaviour. The spinal cord is responsible for our reflex movements such at blinking and breathing. The cerebrum produces our voluntary movements. We cannot have voluntary control over our movements if our brain is disconnected from the spinal cord."

The Neuroscience bit of Psychology sometimes really goes over my head.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Revision Week: Day 8

2 days until the English exam
3 days until the Psychology exam

What I learned today: I'm done for. These exams will be the death of me. That is all. Good night.

And thus begins the exam freak out. Tune in tomorrow to see how everything goes.

Revision Week: Day 7

Well, my laptop decided that it had had enough studying for the revision week and decided to take a break yesterday morning. I was filling out some flashcard to help commit researchers' and psychologists' names (my true weakness) when all of a sudden the mouse pad stopped responding. I closed him all up and let him take a break for a little before opening him back up. The mouse still wasn't responding so I decided to try and shut it down. But the keys were also taking a short break. That left me with a manual shut down. I don't like doing those, but there was no way to turn Harry off. After the shut down and a five minute rest I turned Harry back on and he started doing a routine drive check. At this point, I was thinking, "Alright Harry, you do what you need to do."

Well he found a problem, something that has never happened. A little screen popped up asking if I would like the computer to automatically fix it. Of course I pressed the "yes" button. Too bad Harry couldn't figure out how to fix his problem. *sigh* So for the whole morning Harry kept saying that there was a problem and it couldn't be fixed, "press finish to shut down."

Now, I started freaking out a little. As a child of the technology age I don't really know how to function without my laptop. The first thought that popped into my head was, "How am I suppose to study!?!?!?" That's when I thought that perhaps I rely a little too much on technology and if my parents and their parents could study without the Internet at home then so could I.

I went to the library and checked out five very heavy books. Then I found a computer and printed off all the SAQs I had answered and written up so that I would have a guided study with my books. Retro right? Anyway, while online I took the opportunity to ask my friend if he could help Harry. He agreed and I spent the rest of the day worried about how I would study. I mean, who uses books anymore right? Haha!

Anyway, that evening I went over to his house and he fixed Harry in about an hour. I'm keeping the books though. It might be interesting to see what happens when I have to read a few chapter from each. Might even get a better mark on my exam because I didn't just listen to the lectures and review notes. I did extra stuff. *smile*

What I learned yesterday: You can study even when you don't have access to the Internet 24/7.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Revision Week: Day 6

Today was again a pretty relaxing morning. It was very lovely just to lounge in bed for a while before having to get up around half past nine. Then I wondered around town with a friend for a while. Which was also nice...but gotta admit, not as much as I liked sleeping in this morning.

But then it was back to work this afternoon for a few hours. Today I decided to try and study a little Shakespeare. Now, I love watching Shakespeare plays but reading them is a little hard for me. Not because I don't understand them but because it takes me forever. Why? I act them out in my head. And then I get bored of doing all the voices.  It's a tiresome activity.

4 days until the English exam
5 days until the Psychology exam

What I learned today. In Shakespeare's play "Richard III" Shakespeare depicts Richard as a real bastard. Apparently though...he was an ok King. But, he wasn't part of the Tudor family and since Shakespeare's main backer was the Tudors he had to make out the other monarchy families out as bad guys.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Revision Week: Day 5

Well, I had a very relaxing morning. It was quite nice. I woke up at half past eight (which is sleeping in for those of you who know me) then answered some emails, went for a jog, and had a late breakfast. I didn't do any studying really until I got to campus about 2 hours ago. Unfortunately, I've gotten into cognition. Now, I'm sure that cognition is interesting...actually, it is interesting. Too bad my lecturer for this part of the course was pretty boring. I mean, he was a nice enough guy but his voice puts me to sleep and his lectures aren't that well organized. So, it's like double work for me to try and get anything out of them. *sigh* Oh well, it happens right? Just means that I actually have to work to understand what he's saying.

5 days until the English exam
6 days until the Psychology exam

What I learned today. We have no idea how our mind works. Absolutely none. Anyone who says differently is crazy. Umm...yeah. That's kind of all I got from these two lectures that I've listened to this afternoon. Oh gosh, I'm pretty much done for aren't I?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Revision Week: Day 4

So, today is big brother's birthday! We're getting so old. Haha!
Happy Birthday Big Brother GREG!!!!

Over the course of the day I have knocked my bowl of cereal onto my carpeted floor (which led to the discovery that wet Wheetabix is really hard to get off of the floor), fell off of the stair leading up to my flat, ran into a doorway, and fell asleep at the computer while studying. What has all of this led me to do? Take a long break.

I think I've discovered something. There is such a thing as over studying and not giving yourself enough down time. Now, I've been giving myself down time after studying in the afternoon. But I've been up at 7am every morning since Monday and have been studying for 6 hours a day. I guess I never fully understood "over studying". Did you know that you can do it before the night right before the exam?! But today, I just studying for 4 hours and I'm going to let myself sleep for as long as I need tonight. *smile*

Right well...
6 days until the English exam
7 days until the Psychology exam

Let's go to spoken speech recognition. "There are a few models which try to explain how humans can process and understand speech. One of these theories is called the Cohort Model. A "cohort" is a group of possible words a word can be before you figure out what the word is. Let me try to explain that a little better. Within the Cohort Model model there is something called the "uniqueness point." The uniqueness point is the point where that word can only be that word. Some words have early uniqueness points and others have late uniqueness points. Words with early uniqueness point are easier to identify if speech gets distorted in any way. This uniqueness point is what the Cohort Model is based around. Basically, if you hear the sound /c/ your mind thinks of a million words that start with the sound /c/ (like cat, cabbage, carrot, crate, crab, etc.) Then you hear the /ca/ sound, so your mind eliminates the words that don't fit with that sound and you're left with those words that do. Then you finally hear /cat/ and you're left with only one word that can be. The word "cat" has a late uniqueness point. There are early and late models. The main difference between these two models is that early versions believe that we use top-down processing (we use the context to help in word recognition) and later versions believe we use bottom-up processing (it's all data driven)."

Odd question to ask...does that make any sense? I'm trying to figure out how I would explain the Cohort Model if it came up in a Short Answer Question in the exam.