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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Improbability drive leading to tardiness… (NOT Tardis…)

Nine-hundred seventy-four to one and falling….

Ok, I admit, I’m a bit of a Sci-Fi geek. Sometimes. (And yes, I’ve seen Star Trek in Imax already). Sometimes my ADHD -or maybe just me- is just a bunch of improbable crap going on. Infinite improbability drive, leading to what-the-hell situations… kind of like the Heart of Gold (Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy, I’m currently reading the trilogy of five) and it’s improbable situations. Minus the actual science fiction that is. Perhaps I should start carrying around a ‘book’ with DON’T PANIC on it?

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Quite often this improbability drive leads to chaotic situations and my carefully planned schedule going kaboom… and considering the mental effort that schedule required in the first place I sometimes wonder why I even bother. Considering that chaos management takes a few minutes, and contrary to the Heart of Gold I can’t time-travel these unlikely (small) events may lead to me running late. Again. And I can’t really explain myself either, because nobody really believes this shit happens to me that often. That’s probably the most improbable of all: the frequency. The less I need chaos, the more it will present itself. Regardless, I never have a week without several of these minor what-the-hell moments. Some days they’re just piling up. I think yesterday was rather uneventful, oh, no, wait… the night wasn’t.

A few examples of actual situations:
– Arriving on the train platform at 18 minutes past, only to see that the train due at 19 past is already pulling out of the station. Stare at the clock for almost a full minute to see it clicking to 19 past… These Dutch trains NEVER leave early, right? (And of course, the fact that I am now 20 minutes late is only met with ‘you should have been there earlier’. I was…I just didn’t consider that the 19 past train would leave at 17 past, if I did, I wouldn’t have stopped to grab a drink)

– I wore a blue coat for 5 years without a problem. I wore a green coat for 4 years without a problem. This year, I got a beige parka. I decided, given prior experience, that I would risk it. After trying on around 20 coats which didn’t fit (tallgirlproblem) this was also the only one that did. Less than a month’s wear later it has already been washed twice and been to the dry cleaners. First I got rubber marks on it, both from my handbag’s strap which apparently has rubbery finishes that decided to start to let go just as I started to wear my beige coat… and from failing to notice that the microwave I picked up has rubber ‘feet’.

– Then I managed to walk underneath a flying bird just as it was pooping. Of course, it didn’t land on my hair. That would be too easy to clean. It landed on my beige coat…

– My bedroom turns out to have heating tubes running underneath it. The building turns out to not have silent heating… this I didn’t notice nor thought of when I signed for the place in the middle of summer. The noise produced isn’t very loud, but it’s a high-pitched sound. I’m 27 and have good hearing, and it keeps me awake when the heating goes on… preferably very late at night when I do neet my sleep. I’ll need a dog to explain this to the janitor or the land lord. Dogs don’t talk.

– Guess what? The heating went on at 00:30 tonight and the night before. Why? Well, apparently the outside temperature at night can very well be 9 degrees celcius in the summer in Holland.

– Having 10 minutes to quickly grab a meal, I checked the queue at the store. There was none. I spent less than 3 mins grabbing a pre cooked meal at the organic shop, and turned around to see a queue. Worse still, when they opened a second till I was second in line, behind the elderly gent who needed 10 mins to figure out how to work the debit card machine… And two fat, obnoxious Americans who blocked my way and moved slowly to the other till to pay before me.

I rest my case.

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Posted by on June 29, 2013 in ADHD, Random, Rant

 

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Sunshine Theory

the sun

Cosmetic salesladies think I’m nuts. I walk in there, pale, and demand SPF-free day cream and make up. For some reason, everything has to have at least an SPF 15 in it. To prevent sun damage and skin cancer. Yesterday I downloaded 2 sun advisor apps, Lancomes and Niveas. Nivea had me on factor 15 in Holland, Lancome insisted I use factor 30. Factor 30 works really well, it prevents me from tanning further than a certain level on holiday in South-Africa in summer. In my own experience that is. Yes, the sun can be damaging, but I am convinced that this panic and over use of SPF is even more damaging… mostly to those of us who don’t have skin type 1 or 2.

The reason I started wondering about this was that the past winter, I used a BB cream with SPF 35 from Estee Lauder. I didn’t think about it too much. I had a sickly winter. And my skin suffered from lack of UV, it has never been as ‘fragile’ as it was at the end if the winter. My eczema, which I only have issues with during winter, was worse than normal. I was ghostly pale and sickly looking despite feeling just fine. I never had that little pigment in my face in my life, and suddenly I got freckles from short sun bed exposure. I never had freckles in my life! I grew up in South-Africa, had a strong skin that tanned easily and rarely got sunburnt despite only using SPF ‘when nessecary’, we considered SPF 30 to be reserved for extreme sun situations. I used the sun bed at the gym to get some relief from the eczema; it worked. Of course it does, I only have eczema when my skin is at it’s lightest. It took me 2 years out of South-Africa to get really pale. Depsite having dark blonde hair (brown if I’m off the pill) and dark blue eyes my skin doesn’t behave like Northern European skin. When I tan, I tan brown and not golden. My tan lasts for a long time. Interestingly, seemingly ‘rosacea’ symptoms also decrease when my skin has a pigmentation leven in which I don’t look anaemic or get freckles.

So, I reasearched the matter a bit.

WHO
http://www.who.int/uv/publications/solaradgbd/en/index.html
Apparently… it seems like I’m right.
Melanoma risk increases with sun exposure, in those already susceptable. There is no news on what actually is associated with UV-exposure, the relation with UV exposure and eye problems are not clear. Solar keratosis, squamous cell skin cancer (SCC) and basal cell skin cancer (BCC) are related to sun damage, not sun exposure. Sun damage increases with susceptible skin types (light) and intermittent sun exposure (tourists?).

Getting too little sun, due to absolute or relative lack of exposure, is a factor contributing to vitamin D deficiency, leading to a number of health issues. Vitamin D is vital for bones (osteoporosis, rickets). Furthermore, lack of vitamin D has been associated with hyperparathyreoidism, risk of TB,some types of cancer and some immune disorders. UV exposure (but, not to damage-level) seems to work relatively protective against Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colorectal, ovarian, bladder and a few other cancers. Please take into account a certain level of incertainty in these results, but the evidence seem strong enough to estimate that insufficient UVB doses is costing America 10-15 billion dollars per year. Getting too little sunlight and thus too little vitamin D has also been related to higher blood pressure, ischaemic vascular disease (heart attacks and stroke), diabetes, and theoretically maternal vitamin D deficiency can be linked to an increased risk of schizophrenia in the child. Sun exposure has a positive influence on mood.

I do not believe cosmetic industries’ claim that sunscreen does not interfere with UV absorbion and subsequent vitamin D production: the whole idea of sunscreen is to keep the UV rays off your skin. Not all of these issues seem to be directly related to vitamin D, some have only been linked to UV exposure. Supplements don’t supplement sun.

Interestingly, Euro Africans are considered medium-skinned by the WHO! Fair enough, not all of them… I could also find no data supporting the claim that South-Africa has the highest rate of skin cancer after Australia. Supposedly 20 000 new cases of skin cancer (including AIDS-related) are diagnosed in South-Africa per year, on a population of 50 million. Holland has 35 000 diagnoses per year, on a population of 17 million, the US has 3.5million new cancers in 2 million people (out of 316million inhabitants). Now this is not a statistically brilliant calculation but… A South African has a chance of 0.0004% of getting skin cancer this year. A Dutchman has a chance of 0.002%. An American? 0.006%. Even if ALL of South-Africa’s skin cancer patients are part of the roughly 10% of South Africans identifying themselves as white, the risk is still lower than for an American. Roughly.

All in all, this seems to carefully support my vision that UV exposure is like many other things: you NEED it, but too much is damaging. Darker skin needs more sunlight than fair skin, as the higher melanin levels in darker skin (the pigment) works as an SPF. And the whole SPF craze is just that: a panic reaction to increased skin cancer rates, most likely caused by stupidity rather than the sun itself. Get enough sun to be healthy, but take care not to overdo it, this causes damage. And I will continue with what works wonders for my own skin: using sunscreen to prevent sunburn, not to prevent UV rays from touching my skin.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2013 in Health

 

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Summer bits

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We had nice warm weather today, almost 30 degrees. I went to the beach for a bit this afternoon. Just, to feel like summer. I’m from a sunshine country, and I just feel more like me when I’m tanned, have bare legs and bare arms and need sunglasses. Dutch climate doesn’t allow for that.

Dutch people call 15 degrees Celsius and clear weather in June ‘great weather’. I call that cold. Great weather in my mind requires sandals.

I suppose living here has left me with an even greater appreciation of great weather.

Yesterday morning was sunny, and not too cold. I went to the gym, and bought my sunglasses afterwards. It was sunny when I walked into the store, it was cloudy when I walked out, 15 mins later. It stayed cloudy.

Today it was lovely for the most part. I had breakfast on my balcony, went to an appointment and went to the beach afterward. It was sunny, but then came some clouds. I stayed there because it was comfy and warm enough and they say the sun shines through the clouds, and it literally did at times. I put on some sunscreen, factor 6, like the good girl I am. I even took a dip in the sea just for the hell of it and it was warmer than I expected. It was nice.

I didn’t tan as much as I hoped. My legs are hardly any browner, and there is some difference in my top half but the only bit that does seem tanned is the bit of shoulder I missed when applying my factor 6! My skin has no problem dealing with Northern European sun at all, but better safe than painfully sorry. Especially on the bits that don’t normally see sun at all.

I hope there are more sunny days ahead!

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
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Time for tea

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Home made rooibos chai, anyone?

I’m trying to think of my future over a cup of tea. I just don’t know what I want… All I know is I want a life worth living. A story to tell.

Doubting my career choice is nothing new for me anymore… I concluded that it wasn’t worth it three months into my career. When I say it wasn’t worth it, I mean that being a doctor isn’t worth the battle I had fought to become one. It wasn’t just about med school, it was about having the odds against me. It’s about life, not just the stupid diploma.

Now I’m here, I’ve fought and learned and I graduated. And I feel as if I’m trapped in someone else’s pumps -a size too small. I can’t be who I am -and I could not know this in advance because I didn’t know who I was when I was 17 and decided to apply. I have to constantly play a role. There was no room for me to be me as a child, and as an adult apparently nothing much has changed. The thing is, I don’t know what else to do. I do love part of what I do, it’s just that the price is too high.

But now I’m going to sleep, I have another work day to survive tomorrow. I just hope I don’t make a fool out of myself again. And I hope that I can win the battle against the clock for once, I’m already panicking about it.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in ADHD, Dear Diary, Work

 

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Snob.

I am deliberately becoming a snob .Well, when it comes to stuff that is. 

Let me explain. 

Over the past few months I’ve been learning more and more to go for quality over quantity. To over think before buying. And not to settle for less, because going for less skips the satisfaction… in the long run, it does save money. I think. In the short run it brings more small moments of enjoyment into my day. I suppose it’s just the material (and nutritional) equivalent of making conscious, weighed choices staying true to oneself. 

I’m not good with money, or, well, my impulsiveness is. Part is ADHD, part also is just me trying to satisfy some ‘craving’. I want to look and feel great. At some point, I decided to stop buying anything that isn’t ‘perfect’; AKA exactly what I want. At the same time, I’m also learning to think before I act, and to remind myself that I don’t NEED everything I think I do. It’s basically the same thing expanded: do I want this dress, or do I want the opportunity to have or do something better later on? It’s a slow learning process, but I’m getting there. I think. 

When trying to save money, the first response would be buy the cheaper stuff, right? So I did. And I was not satisfied. The mascara ran, the jeans were uncomfortable and became only more uncomfortable with wear, the nail polish chipped, the body lotion made me itch. And I kept on thinking about better products, controlling impulses.

And I learned to be critical; I learned to decide for myself if something is worth it. And if it’s worth it, it’s worth it. If it isn’t, and I am not in some crucial need for something that would at least sort of work, I’m not getting it. Not even if it’s free. And that’s what it’s about: quality over quantity. And you can feel special every day! A few examples:

Ray Ban Aviators

I got myself a pair of Ray Ban aviators when I first started working. Before that, I had tons of cheap sunglasses, and only one pair of about 20 over a few years time was suitable to drive with, given my latent strabismus. Most sunglasses gave me a headache sooner or later, and the others impaired my ability to see depth due to poor lenses causing minor deformities in the way you see. This can actually also happen with some expensive designer eyewear, my mum’s Chanel sunglasses did that too. My choice for Ray Ban simply had to do with the aviators, and the price range at that time. Turns out, Ray ban also makes smaller frames which work better on my -apparently- small head. And then they got lost in the drama of transporting a bicycle by train. I was heartbroken. I had been wearing those for over a year, enjoying every wear, even looking forward to days on which I could wear them. I’ve taken care of them. I never had a pair of sunglasses that just worked that well. They were heaven when driving. 
But, they were expensive. So, I resorted to cheaper ones. A next pair of drug store sunglasses got tossed after one wear: headache. Then there were the ’emergency’ Polaroids, large and black and too polarised to read your iPhone screen. Gives a pretty rainbow though. And ugly. Then, there were the ’60s style Polaroids, bought only because the other pair was visually annoying me. These looked better, but they were still too big on my face, and too polarised for me to enjoy them. They were a utility. And now they’re scratched in such a way that it kind of defeats the purpose: why put sunglasses on to see if you can’t see through them. No idea how it happened; but it had something to do with me not loving them enough to always keep them in a massive case. They didn’t fit in the smaller cases. Massive case defeats it’s purpose, I don’t like dragging around too much crap. The total cost of sunglasses over the past year was half the price of the Ray Bans, and I would have gotten three times the joy out of them. I’m kind of bummed, the idea was to sort out some long-term issues and then rewarding myself with a new pair of Ray Bans, but to me it’s just simply not worth getting another pair of Polaroids (headache free lenses). So I decided to get myself the Ray Bans again. The Sunglass Hut will be getting ‘mine’ in this week. Some good things are worth the wait. 

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Jeans

To stay in the mood: I’ve had similar experiences with clothes. It’s not about expensive brands really; it’s about the stuff that works best for me. I mean, my ‘perfect’ tekkies for this summer cost me 20 euros at H&M, same goes for a lose knit jumper from C&A and that maxi dress I just LOVE wearing. I am wary of spending a lot of money on something that’s obviously a trend item; if I can’t find it cheaply I’ll have to do without. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit. Basics are worth ‘investing’ in. Sure, I can find seemingly fitting jeans for 30 euros. The pair of ONLY jeans I got 2 years ago only fit worse, rather than better with wear. I was getting impatient for it to ‘wear out’. Which doesn’t happen, because I avoid wearing it. And not to mention the annoyance I get from the gaping backs. Recently I tried Levi’s Curve ID. I’m somewhere between a Bold and a Demi curve, and I ended up getting a skinny one in Demi Curve. I needed half an inch extra to close the button on the Bold, thanks to my high-sitting hip bones. I’m a bit dissapointed, because the Bold made my bum look marvellous, but in this specific one in the Demi my bum looks great too. Anyway. I want to wear those jeans every day. They’re comfortable. They wear in to fit me, rather than become uncomfortable. I don’t have to wear a belt! MY JEANS STAY PUT!! I’d rather have 1 pair of these than all those other half-fits I own!
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Food

I’m a funny one. I went to the Burger King, right before roaming through the organic supermarket. While I’m all for being eco friendly and organic and such, I’m not going over the top. I went to the Burger King, because I didn’t want to cook. I didn’t finish the burger, because it was horrible. I went to the eco supermarket, because I wanted Tony’s Chocolonely salted caramel chocolate. Got some other stuff as well. I’ve been eating healthier lately, and I’m noticing that I’m eating less crap. Quality over quantity! I actually didn’t even consider getting a BK smoothie, because I was planning a home-made smoothie in my head! The Tony’s chocolate may be more expensive, but it lasts longer because it’s exactly what I want. My chocolate cravings are satisfied with one or two (depending on the size..) squares… whilst I’m capable of eating an entire bar of something else. Win on all fronts, right? Now I wonder if coconut goes with berries in that smoothie…

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Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Euros

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…. Can be machine washed!

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Weekly adventure: electronic rescue

So, my weekly ‘adventure’ was more of a practical kind, attempting to fix prior mistakes. I fixed my iPod and attempted to fix my headphones.

See, a while ago I had this little mishap involving my iPod nano landing on the corner of the port where you stick your earphones in. Word of advice: do not attempt to insert iPod into armband sleeve while walking. Result: dent. Wise ass me decided to try to fix said dent using the jack (?) of my earbuds. Result: dent + broken off tip of earbud jack being stuck in port.
Really nice (and sort of handsome but not as handsome as TDH) guy tried to it it at the icentre, couldn’t. Told me to go to a shop where they could fix it, but to talk to Apple first, but to add myself falling with the iPod to my story. Apple can fix it for 100 euros. And the fixing shop works with appointments only.

And I randomly decided that I could fix it. I used a pair of round pliers to restore the dent. I tried using my normal tweezers to remove the earbud tip. Won’t fit. Using superglue-tipped toothpick resulted in the tip clicking into place. (Ah, now I understand how that bit of portable music equipment works! Those tiny silver lumps are both place holders and transmitters!!) Following a guy on YouTube’s fool proof advice using a pen cartridge – cutting right into ink of course- resulted in a tiny tube filled with superglue and a port with superglue but not the magical removal of the tip. Should have known better than to listen to a guy when it comes to these kind of things!
Brainwave! I have some tiny tweezers somewhere, which should be in my crafts supplies somewhere. Search for tiny tweezers, find them in my nail art kit. Remove superglue from port, remove tip from port.
Finish fixing dent.
Voila! It works! (Well, after replacing ear buds)

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Then, as I was doing so well, I decided to fix my earphones which I’ve had for 4 years or so. They’re kind of vital when travelling but a wire seemed to be a bit lose somewhere where it goes into the ear bit. Result: now you have music, now you don’t! I did manage to remove the annoying piece of broken off plastic from the one earpiece, but when I opened up the other I found a red wire, attached, a common copper wire, attached and a but of paper tape (huh?) on the blue wire, which was not attached to anything at all. Apparently I’m the only one who tries to fix that problem, because google could only tell me how to fix it if it broke near the jack. Still don’t know where the blue wire goes!!!

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Posted by on June 7, 2013 in ADHD, Adventure a week

 

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