Hector’s Home, Prison Break, and PhD Braindeath


I wonder how Hector is getting on? You ask. I wonder if he is GROWING? You ask. Well, it turns out he is both growing and stretching… in a trick perhaps learned from Poppet he clearly has a ‘See this? This is ALL MINE’ streak a mile long down his back.

i’m too sexy for my super kingsized bed

Considering that when we first got him he slept on my neck, yep. I’d say he’s growing up to be quite the long leggedy hunk. I’m chuffed that Ryan chose to keep the name. He still looks very Hectory to me.


My current TV obsession is Prison Break. I don’t know who it was who turned me on to it, one of the Kirsties, perhaps? Anyway, it’s GREAT. It comprises of several series, it has a long story arc, it has eye candy and it has SCIENCEY ‘what have we learned?’ stuff.

“pretty” has to take his top off because, spoiler – his tattoo is a map!

…So that justifies his toplessness and we needn’t think of ourselves as OGLING. (Which we clearly are).

Like Breaking Bad, Prison Break involves problem solving. From BB we learn that some acids will corrode a body and metal but not plastic, and from PB we learn how good at problem solving engineers are. And sexy, clearly they are sexy.


I realize that I have been a bit AWOL. I’ve been a bit ill and a bit busy, and today I had my final important deadline – the resubmission of the PhD proposal. Because I’d been so ill and also dealing with the vile ESA paperwork (application for this year and appeal tribunal for last year both at once) I had failed to notice how quickly my PhD deadline was coming up. In the middle of a massive migraine yesterday I was looking it up and when I saw it was TODAY I thought I’d really messed up and that it would be impossible to do anything productive with it. Today, though, I  have spent all day reading the chapter the supervisor asked me to read, skitiching a reference to it into the proposal, looking at the proposal with fresh eyes and totally reorganizing it, murdering a few darlings, adding a bit of explanation, and finally sent it off.

I am now completely exhausted and await my dinner which is being crafted as we speak by Ten. Which is just as well, because I am ALL OUT of spoons.


OOh wait! Also, I made a tumblr the other day elaine4queen.tumblr.com/day/2013/5/03

Something Unsaid, and Poppet Kills a Rubber Cat


I know I said I’d tell you how the thing at Reed went today, but I am too ill and it was too awful.

On the way home Poppet found a rubber cat, so we let her bring it into the garden.

hello, i love you

It didn’t take her long to dispatch it to her satisfaction. She always starts with the face.

innards of foam

We won’t be getting her a feline companion animal any time soon.

HRT? No thanks, I’ll pass.


First of all, the last thing a migraineur needs is dosing with oestrogen and second of all the last thing a spoonie needs is a new slew of drugs and their side effects on top of whatever nest of medications they are already juggling. Woah – there’s a mixed metaphor for you, and as good an illustration as any of just how MESSY things can get with multiple medications.

Anthony Goicolea. Pathetic Fallacy Drawings. Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing II

A quick look, then, at what symptoms HRT attempts to address;

  • hot flushes
  • night sweats
  • vaginal dryness
  • loss of sex drive (libido)
  • stress incontinence: leaking urine when you cough or sneeze
  • thinning of the bones: this can lead to brittle bones (osteoporosis)

(from the NHS page on HRT)

I started getting night sweats a couple of years ago. What with my already multifarious symptoms I kind of put it down to more fibro crap. I’d wake up with wet hair and a soggy duvet. It’s worth sleeping alone if this is going to be exacerbated by a partner, or if they are in any way irritated with you – their irritation is something you can probably live without. It did pass, though. I don’t get it any more, so it wasn’t forever. I have a bath in the morning anyway, and really, that seems to me to be good enough. That is to say – not worth taking a drug for.

Hot flushes. Hard to say when this started since it overlapped with getting too hot taking the dog out, ending up sweating and then having cold sweat next to my body. By the time I had problem solved the dog walks the spontaneous hot sweats were only an addendum to my problem solving prowess. This is what I did – I bought merino wool thermal vests. These can be worn on their own in the summer, since they don’t look particularly like underwear, and can be worn for exercise as well. Like cashmere, merino wool is excellent at dealing with sweat AND it’s smell. Cotton tops just get wet and stay wet and are horrible. They also have to be washed after one wear. Not the merino or cashmere garment. The fibers wick away the wetness so you stay comfortable, and don’t stink up, so you can wear them for several days. They wear well, too. I bought my black long sleeve ones a few years ago now, and they are still going strong, and I have just bought a cami vest to try out, and if it is good I’ll be getting another couple. Because you don’t need to change them you don’t need to buy many.

My other thing is that rather than have my hair short I just always have a hair grabby thing handy. If I am hot I put my hair up, if not I let it down. I wash it most days. Evidently ‘late’ middle aged women seem to have taken to having short hair in droves. It’s up to you, it’s not the LAW.

Be careful if you get vaginal dryness. I haven’t had a problem with this so far, but having worked at Sh! I happen to know that lubricants have different properties so it’s worth getting a bit of advice on which brand to go for. Some people’s bodies are a bit trigger happy with thrush, and I know that some lubricants are more advisable than others for this. You can get a basic one on prescription, but it’s not a medication as such, so has no systemic effect. Also, again with the cotton, or even worse, man made fibres. Silk knickers are the most breatheable.

Sex drive? Meh – it’s not brilliant, but I’m alright once I get going. Not being very sexually driven is a bit of a relief actually. I wouldn’t medicate for it. In any case the female version of Viagra is a massive dose of hormones – which for the migraineur, again a no no.

Stress incontinence is not something I have a problem with, but then I’ve never given birth. Kegels. I guess? And those disposable gussets? Develop a no sense of humour rule? And no sneezing. Definitely no sneezing.

Brittle bones. This is something women can be prone to. The answer is weight bearing exercise. If you want to, or you are too posh to do your own housework then go to the gym. Personally, I’m doing what I can within the limitations of my spoons.



I do use one hormone. And it’s a good one. Because of the migraines, and the really AWFULNESS of hormonal ones I have used  progesterone based contraception for many years. I have had injections and pills over the years, but eventually I started getting some side effects so I was offered the Mirena coil. I’d never fancied coils much, since I always imagined they would stab you to death from the inside. This despite there NEVER being any headlines about women being stabbed to death by their coils. Regular coils are, again, a no no for the migraineur, since they actually make periods heavier (and with endometriosis in my picture, too, any blood is too much blood, so too much blood is WAY too much blood). The Mirena coil, however, has a tiny release of progesterone which near enough stops periods entirely. This genius piece of engineering is staying in until it is ALL OVER. It’s quite new, and maybe it’s a bit expensive, because it was slightly tricky to get, but you know, they actually use it instead of hysterectomy, so good it is at it’s job. And this, bubs, can also be good for seeing off any cheeky little womb cancers that think they might like living in your pouch.

So that’s my plan, anyway, and so far it is working for me. It’s up to you what you want to do, but HRT is not the only game in town. It’s an option, but not for everyone.

Goodbye to All That, New Year Navel Gazing, and PhD or Poundland


Okay, Christmas is over, people, lets get on.

Diane Arbus, Xmas Tree in a Living Room, Levittown, L.I., 1963

It’s December 29th! Lets do a little Navel Gazing!

Year on year I don’t really seem to make many advances migraine wise. Yet I wouldn’t go back. So… something is good. Or better. Maybe increased insight is worth having even if the net result on migraines is actually nil. I do feel like I am getting somewhere. And little things matter to me. And if you can take pleasure in small things then life is a LOT sweeter. Frinstance, yesterday I blogged about Die Antwoord which is something I have been meaning to do for weeks, and changed up my tumblr theme – again something long overdue. AND I changed all my links on this blog, twitter, and tumblr to #2c749e which is a lovely blue – replacing a hot orange (so last year, my dear). I haven’t done a tumblr post for a long while – I should rectify that – but I am pleased to say that at some point wordpress decided to Xpost to tumblr, and my wp posts have been reblogged several times, which means possibly new readers – fingers crossed!

I also hoovered and mopped, which left me with a bad back, a difficult night and a migraine in the  morning, but with Ten gone the sitting room is READY for me to do stuff. The stuff I have to or want to do includes boring paperwork (urgent), painting (haven’t done any in a little while, need to get into a rhythm with that) and AND and a PhD application.

That’s right, you read it here first. Or second, I’m pretty sure I have mentioned it somewhere already. Anyway, I was in conversation with someone on twitter, and he was promoting a funded PhD. I said it wasn’t quite my thing, but I’d share and he ended up encouraging me to apply. The deadline is end of January, so I will have to look sharp. Thing is, that I had really given up the idea of doing such a thing some time ago but in practical terms it could be the very get out of jail free card that I need. At any rate, I will write a proposal and see if it flies.

So, the way they put it was about ‘Creating the Sustainable Digital City’ which, from the blurb looked like it would be rather about politics and hardware.

It’s being hosted by the department of “The Built Environment” at Heriot Watt university. Not somewhere I would naturally think of applying. I like that I have a month to get it together, though. Plenty time, but a short enough deadline to get me moving on it. If what I come up with loses steam quickly I will know it’s not for me – and same goes if they reject it. If, however, I got in, not only would I not have to live in Edinburgh, but I wouldn’t need to stay put at all, and I could go all global and travelly. Always assuming I got through the next firey hoop – applying for AHRC funding for a grant. It wouldn’t be do-able otherwise, and the great thing about being on a grant for three years is I could get out of this hell hole of being on benefits during a Tory hate campaign against the disabled.

Whether I would be up to the job is a whole other question. PhDs seem to make people ill and mental, but given that I am starting from that point things could either be just fine or go horribly wrong quite quickly. A better option than waiting to be sent to work at Poundland, anyway.

Reading and Writing, a Stylish Granddad, and My Slow Day


Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Where is your favourite place to read?

On a sun lounger.

photograph by martin parr – source magnum photos. click through to see more

At home I listen to audio books mostly, and radio plays, but on holiday I read. I deliberately minimize contact with the interwebs when I go away so that I have a complete change of scenery including screen time and the sorts of things I  read here. I listen to audio books then too, but on holiday I will actually read print on paper & with my eyes.

Up until recently my eyes hurt a lot and I have had trouble concentrating, so with one thing and another I avoided reading anything long. A change of medication seems to have helped the eye problem a fair bit, but I haven’t got back into the habit of reading books at home. Too much internet to tidy up. With limited spoons I have to prioritize dog, food, self care, housework, paperwork and then blogging and being online for fun, and lately a little painting, so books don’t really get a look in.

I am not a professional writer, but I do write most days, so  I love articles like this one from Brain Pickings.

click through for margaret atwood’s 10 rules of writing


So, this is refreshing;

click through to the article on jezebel

It’s a Chinese man modeling his granddaughter’s clothing line.


Considering today is the day I *might* be taking on Watson we are having a very slow day indeed. When I took Poppet out this morning she was unimpressed by the rainy weather and preferred to snoof around the estate after bread left for foxes or birds, cats hiding under cars, and her other ‘urban’ interests. We got back and I toweled her off, and she’s spent the past few hours under a blanket. Meanwhile, I have been trying to manage my pain without taking pain killers, and am still not really dressed…

The sitting room needs tidying if it is going to be new dog proof. Problem is that although I moved here over a year ago, things do not have proper places to go yet, and it’s all still a bit experimental, so there is always an excess of things. I spent the previous couple of years steadily de-cluttering in my old place, so it could all be a lot worse. Still, with limited spoons…

Right! I’m off to feed myself and the beast and do my best at tidying.

Wish me luck!

Lovely hyenas, No sleeps til Ken visits! and Spoonie Springcleaning in Autumn


Following a discussion on facebook where an evil friend posted this picture;

this photo, without the caption, is by one piet hugo, who has a whole exhibition of pictures of men with tame hyenas. click on the pic to see more of his work.

Which made me want a hyena SOOO BADLY!!!

(for Poppet, you understand, not *me*). And then anotherfriend cruelly posted THIS picture;

look at the smiley face! also, even poppet wouldn’t ignore cats like that boo boo.

which just makes me want one even MOAR! Aaargh! The taunting!

Can you imagine how proud Poppet would be to be seen around the Riviera with a boyfriend like THAT? Also, it would really shut up the naysayers who like to criticize staffies!

check out *my* teeth, yo!

If you click on that little cutie you can read how hyenas laugh at mealtimes because they are nervous! Not the horrid beasts of our Disneyfied imaginations, then.


NO more sleeps til Ken visits! He arrives on the Riviera around 7pm by my reckoning. He’s requested vegetables for dinner, so we are having stir fry.

Well, he’s mostly going to a tea convention but whatever, we will be conferencing nevertheless. IF lucy’s football had a searchy thing on her blog, or a tag cloud or SOMETHING! I could link you to her exciting pieces where she writes about ken’s (fictional) bon vivanting. However, failing that, lets take a look at the time when Ken stowed us away in his rucksack when he went to Berlin and visited the zoo. Here’s the storify he wrote. Or collated from our twitter clamourings.


So what else is going on in the elaine4queen house? Well, I have mostly been sick as a dawg. BUT, recently there has been a little bit of housework going on. Oddly, I discovered that another spoonie had been doing the same. (Two is not really a sample size, but it’s all I could rustle up, so bear with.) We  wondered whether it’s because it takes us 6 months to get around to doing what other people do in the spring time.

While that may be true, since it takes me a living age to get around to anything that isn’t a total emergency, but I’ve also come up with an alternative explanation (based on a sample size of one – me) because this is the time of year when I still have a bit of summer in me, so I like to tackle things before hibernation season comes upon us.

On the other hand, it could just be that I’ve got Ken coming, closely followed by Wills and Grant all the way from Scotland for a few days, and on one of those days/evenings we are having PEOPLE over. I know, not something I do lightly, but, Gentle Reader, yet another of my friends died this summer. This is obviously something that happens now. I don’t like it. Anyway, I made it to the funeral but a lot of people didn’t – it was rather sudden and in August, so people were away or just couldn’t come. So we are going to have a little remembrance here  next week. I will certainly be putting the hoover round. I also need to source nibbles and whatnot.

spoons and a tumblr post


Migraine Awareness Month #14:  “Live Long, and Prosper.” Come up with a short, simple phrase or sentence that could be used when saying “Hello” or “Good-bye” that expresses your wishes for fellow Migraineurs.


(along with some sort of physical touch, ideally) you can read about spoon theory here.
migraine certainly takes it out of you, and the less energy you have the more likely the triggers will get you. so having enough spoons for my day is pretty important to me as a chronic migraineur. i wish ALL THE SPOONS to everyone.

“National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.”


little tumblr collection elaine4queen.tumblr.com/day/2012/06/14 in which i post a noodly collection of images… clothes, fashion, body, sewing, patchwork…