Living With Eating Disorders

A person who is an alcoholic, or a drug addict, can stay sober for 30 years, but that doesn’t mean they’re cured. They can’t just casually have a drink with everyone else, they can relapse at any moment in time, even though they’re sober and have been for a long time. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it illustrates the point.

Easter is coming up. Not yet, but soon. We do shopping once a week, and I was told to pick out which Easter Egg I want, it’ll be here tomorrow along with food for the next week. I have a hard time believing I’ll be able to leave it until Easter… Maybe that’s not a big deal to some, some people probably get a lot of eggs while they’re in shops and eats them like other sweets. But when I was young, we had a week off school, starting Friday before Good Friday, lasting through Easter Monday, and my brother and I wouldn’t usually get our Easter Eggs until the following weekend, because that’s when it really is Easter, not just Easter holiday from school. So I was brought up to enjoy my Easter egg during actual Easter, and I only got a small/medium sized one too.

You might think I’m overthinking this. That’s it’s not a big deal if I eat my egg before Easter, or that I can just leave it until Easter to eat it. I wish it were that simple.

I have super self-control when walking through a shop looking at all the good things. I have no issues walking down the candy aisle and smell all the chocolate in the air, I can just walk through and buy my things and leave, no biggie. But the moment I buy something, I have a really hard time not eating it once I get home. I’m just not wired to have a “snack drawer” or shelf or cupboard or whatever. It was fine when I was a child and my parents were in charge of handing out sweets to us (Saturday nights with TV, birthdays, Christmas, and Easter). But when I was, maybe around 10, my Mum started working away from home, that’s when the problems started.

I was fully aware of where to find cookies, sweets, and the chocolate spreads. And I was struggling in school, not with the material but with the social aspect. I’d come home and make myself two slices of bread with chocolate spread, a glass of chocolate milk, and a few pieces of chocolate, and watch 7th Heaven on TV while home alone. I was comfort eating. It made me feel better. This went on for several years.

The summer before I turned 15, I stopped eating meat. That’s a story for another time, if I haven’t already talked about it before, I actually don’t remember. My grandmother made a comment that I was gonna become skinny because of it. The same grandmother had earlier made comments on me being on the bigger side and asked whether I was the only one in my year in school who was. It stayed in my head. I’d already started working out a couple of years earlier, because my MP3 player broke, and my dad said he’d buy me a new one if I kept up my grades for summer term and started to exercise (he got me the 2nd generation iPod Nano, 2GB, which was a lot back then!). At some point, I started to notice the weight loss, and it drove me to keep going. I ate less and less. I exercised more and more. At the worst, I was down to one tiny bowl of cereal for breakfast, and a small portion of dinner that I couldn’t always finish, and I had dance class on Monday, PE on Tuesday and Thursday, aerobics on Wednesday, and I’d go running and biking on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I did strength exercises too, every evening before bed, which was what I’d started doing back when I wanted my MP3 player replaced (I still remember the first time: 10 push-ups, and 10 crunches, and I was aching a lot the next day. By the end I had a full hour’s worth of different exercises for my core, legs, and arms). I wasn’t healthy. I had headaches every day. I drank only water, and juice with dinner when the others had soda. I never ate sweets or crisps.

But here’s the thing. I never looked like someone with eating disorders. There weren’t any teachers or classmates who were worried about me. One teacher made a remark once, he’d seen me out running after school, said something about me being into jogging, when I rejected a Twist (which are like Celebrations) he offered me once (nothing creepy, I had to stop by school for a signature on something I’d forgotten, and he was in the teacher’s room). I never saw a doctor, I was never hospitalised or treated in any way. My parents knew something wasn’t right, I think, but we’ve never actually talked about it. Once when I’d been out jogging around mid-day on a weekend, and came home, I told my mum I wanted to go for a bike ride and she said absolutely not. And for several years after I got better, whenever I’d talk to my dad on the phone (when I’d just started uni), he’d ask me what I’ve eaten today. At this point, I was able to tell him the truth. A few years earlier (my first year of high school/upper secondary), I’d make up something about using my pocket money to buy something from the school cafeteria. That happened maybe twice during the year (other than ice coffee before science tests, which became a sort of ritual for me and a friend). So my parents were worried. But no one else had any reason to be. One girl made a comment on me becoming fit when high school started, but we were 15-16, a lot of people’s bodies changed over summer, she asked if I’d been working out and I said yes, but asked nothing further. I didn’t look like someone with eating disorders. But I had them. First one way, then the other.

eating disorder
noun
plural noun: eating disorders
  1. any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits

I’m well now. Mostly. I’ve been mostly well for several years. I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, most days. Sometimes I skip lunch, if I have a late breakfast and don’t want to have a late dinner. I don’t like eating late at night. I don’t like snacking, much. I try to eat mostly healthy. I still haven’t eaten meat since I stopped in the summer of 2007. The thing is, I know how easy it would be for me to relapse. With being unemployed, and away from my family and friends, with being located to mainly just one room in a small house, my mental health isn’t always doing so good. And a lot of the time I want to eat things I know I shouldn’t. Like yesterday, we had takeout pizza. We’re having Easter eggs being delivered tomorrow. And I’ve been craving sweets for hours, mainly due to talking about them with someone on twitter (really lovely conversation though!). I am able to not eat anything because I don’t have anything. I don’t even have cereal. But food is being delivered tomorrow, and I might go make tea in a bit, my hands are quite cold and I have a sleepy time tea. Sleep is another tool I use to control cravings and overeating; in writing moment it’s nearly 10pm and like I said earlier, I don’t like eating late, so I will have some water and/or some tea, and go to sleep, and breakfast will taste all the much better in the morning.

So you see which way I’m leaning at the moment. I want all the things I know I shouldn’t have. But then some days, I don’t want anything. Or I’ll be really healthy, those are the best days. But sometimes I feel like not eating anything at all, especially following a time of me eating things I know I shouldn’t. And I know I need to eat, and I do, and I have people around me who care about me and want me to stay healthy and well, who make sure I do, or at least that I don’t skip meals multiple days in a row, that’s really the danger I am in sometimes.

I’ve been mainly well for about 9 years now. Or at least 7, maybe 8. I started to get better around 9 years ago, but that too was a process that took some time. It took me more than 2 years to get back into eating lunch on a regular basis. And it’s always a process, it’s always going to be a process, it’s never going to end, I don’t think. And that’s really the point I wanted to get across here. I may never have been in any physical danger, or maybe I would have been if things hadn’t happened to change the course I was on, I don’t know. But I was never hospitalised or in danger of dying, and I never developed diabetes due to how I was living and eating. But even though I’m, for the most part, stable, for now, that doesn’t mean I couldn’t still spin one way or the other, it doesn’t mean I won’t relapse into comfort-eating or not eating at all. Every day, I work at making sure it doesn’t happen, by eating my meals, and getting the nutrients my body needs, but there are times when I feel bad and I eat a whole pack of Jaffa cakes, and there are days when I feel so bad about my weight or the shape of my body that I want to go on a water diet for a week, there’s no denying that. But for now, I’m fine, for the most part. Let’s hope this stupid Easter egg (that I cannot wait to eat, I got a Cadbury mini eggs one!!) doesn’t ruin any of that…

If you’ve made it this far, this is the end! Thank you so much for reading, I know this was a long piece; this is something that’s really personal to me, and that I haven’t really opened up about in the past. Please feel free to talk to me in the comments – but if you’re gonna be nasty, I’ll just delete you, so let’s keep it civil okay ūüôā

Xoxo

Julie

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When one door closes…

This is not a blog post with a metaphor for new beginnings and opportunities.

This is about actual doors.

After 26 years of life, I have realised that people are different. But I was always brought up to open and close doors quietly. Push the handle. Twist the knob. If we slammed a door in anger, one of our parents would come in after us. My brother and I had multiple talkings to because of slamming the front door, because it made the threads in the light bulbs close by break and my parents would need to buy more. Not to mention, it’s loud. Slamming doors was not a good habit to have. My parents furthermore have always been the kind of people to nap after dinner, for as long as I can remember. And if we as kids were going out to play, coming in for a glass of water, et cetera, door slamming was disturbing.

I’ve never understood people’s need to just push doors closed rather than actually close the door. It doesn’t save much time.

That’s not to say I haven’t done so myself. Sometimes it’s easier to push the door closed with my foot, if I’m carrying things in both hands for instance. But those times are few and far between. I’d rather put my stuff down and then go and close the door.

I guess I just don’t understand people’s need to make more noise than necessary…

Xoxo

Julie

April Fool’s Day

Today is April 1st. Or as may of us know it, April Fool’s Day. If you google April Fool’s Day, you might come across this definition:

April Fools’ Day¬†or¬†April Fool’s Day¬†(sometimes called¬†All Fools’ Day) is an annual celebration commemorated on April 1 by playing¬†practical jokes¬†and spreading¬†hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are called¬†April fools. People playing April Fool jokes often expose their prank by shouting “April fool(s)” at the unfortunate victim(s). Some newspapers, magazines and other published media report fake stories, which are usually explained the next day or below the news section in smaller letters. Although popular since the 19th century, the day is not a¬†public holiday¬†in every country. Little is known about the origins of this tradition.

Aside from April Fools’ Day, the custom of setting aside a day for the playing of harmless pranks upon one’s neighbour has historically been relatively common in the world.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† (Wikipedia)

I don’t like this day. I don’t believe anything I read on the internet today, especially Facebook status updates. There are a lot of tweets too. Someone just tweeted that they just stumbled through a street, way too drunk, and even wearing flats. I don’t believe it.

A few days ago, I came across this on Twitter:

april1st

The most common one I see is people announcing pregnancy and engagement. And it’s not like it’s harmful… I just think it’s incredibly pointless, not to mention unoriginal.

Sometimes I see some funny ones from the media, who have people trained to write and are able to come up with something witty or believable. BeautyBay posted on Instagram that they have a new palette out, the “Prima Doner” palette with “buttery, greasy texture” and “scented shades” with names such as Nuggets, Garlic Mayo, Pepperoni Pizza, and Extra Gravy. That was pretty funny. What’s funnier is people tagging their friends and asking about the price! I saw someone else posting about a unicorn lipstick too, although I can’t find that one on my feed at the moment. Superdrug sent out an e-mail advertising the new trend: Glitter ears, for festival season. A local newspaper back in Norway has an article out today with the 20 best pranks they’ve played throughout the years.

Personally, I just don’t think April Fools are funny. I don’t think it’s funny to pull pranks on people, and I don’t like it when people do it to me. I find the whole concept ridiculous. I wish we’d get rid of it. But I can’t change the mindset of the majority of the world, so for now, I guess I have no choice but to go through April 1st being suspicious of everything I read and everything people tell me; alternatively barricade myself in a room with books and movies all day for the rest of forever.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, there’s nothing harmful about trying to make people laugh by announcing ridiculous makeup palettes and fashion statements, but most of the stuff people do is ridiculous and some of it can be harmful towards others and my personal opinion is that not much good comes from this day and it’s really quite pointless.

I hope you have a good day and sorry for being so negative, it’s just my two cents on this day, that’s all.

Xoxo

Julie

App Review: ActionDash

Our cell or mobile phones are hugely important in this day and time, perhaps especially so to us millennials. I was born in the early 90s, so I’m kind of in the middle of the generation. I got my first phone for my 13th birthday, or a few days before actually. My brother, who is three years younger than me, was 11 or 12 when he got his first phone. Many millennials that I know are proud to belong to a generation that grew up playing outside, as am I, but we’re also proud that we encountered technology like phones and computers at a young enough age for it to become natural for us to use them, we’re not struggling in the same way as older generations, but we’ve also not been enslaved by technology from a really young age like the younger generations. When I was around 15, one of my grandmothers said that the mobile phone was the older children’s pacifier, and when I was 17 and on exchange (and got to experience unlimited texting for the first time) my host mother said that to teenagers the phone was like an extension to the arm. I know there are a lot of millennials who don’t use their phones a lot, but I am not one of them. I’m on my phone a lot. When I’m not on my phone, I’m on my tablet or PC, or in a movie theatre – I even have to put my phone away so I won’t get distracted when reading books. I know it’s bad.

I have seen Apple iPhone users talk on twitter about how their phones are notifying them of the amount of time they’ve spent on their phone. Philip DeFranco tweeted about how much time he’d spent on Twitter specifically, that he tried to justify it with needing to use Twitter for work, but then he said he couldn’t possibly justify spending that amount of time on social media because it’s not all for work. I don’t use iPhone, or any Apple products, and I have no desire to. My phone doesn’t have a built in function to track screen time, so I went looking through the Google Play store, and that’s where I found ActionDash, a free to use app with the option of purchasing a pro version that will remove ads, among other things. The free version lets you see all the info about your screen time over the past week, so of course I went ahead and tracked it for a week straight, not restricting myself, using my phone as I normally would, so in this post I want to take you on my journey of how I’ve been using my phone for the past week!

Introducing: ActionDash

Let’s start with Saturday, March 16th. When I open the app I get the picture you see below, and I can scroll back through the past week, the 16th being the earliest day I could view at the time I took these screenshots.

I made sure to take the screenshots not on the day but the following day, so the data would be complete. And this is what we see: A wheel showing the 4 most used apps of the day, as well as “others”, number of unlocks of the phone, and notifications received, and at the bottom, a graph showing how long each session in each app has been. In this first image, the bottom two lines are missing, but we can still get the gist of what the graph shows: 1 session lasted 20-30 minutes, another lasted 15-20, three sessions lasted 10-15 minutes, 23 lasted between 5 and 10 minutes, 17 3-5 minutes, and what the picture doesn’t show is 1-2 minutes and less than 1 minute, which has been the longest bar on every day that I’ve checked the app!

On this Saturday, the app I spend the most time in was Instagram, followed by Twitter, Google, and then Pokemon GO. From what I can remember, this was a very antisocial day for me, I stayed in bed the majority of the day with the TV playing shows and YouTube, and I was scrolling on my phone the majority of the time as well. I promise, most days I do not spend 8.5 hours actively on my phone!

Let’s have a look at the following few days of the week:

If we’re being honest, I don’t remember everything about all of these days, as I’m not writing it as we go, but I do remember some things so let’s see… As we can see from Sunday the 17th, I spent less than three hours on my phone that day, which was a better day for me emotionally than the 16th, I do remember that. I spent nearly half that time on Instagram, which I can easily see, as a lot of the time I’ll be scrolling on Instagram while watching stuff, it requires little to no concentration as I just take in the pictures and I don’t have to actually read the words like I do on Twitter. But still, we can see the same few apps repeated almost daily, Twitter and Instagram are on daily, which was no surprise. WordPress was on the wheel on the 19th, because I was reading a rather lengthy article, and I kept putting my phone down, and got distracted a lot, so I probably wasn’t actually reading the whole time, I just left the screen on when I put my phone down and the screen doesn’t black out right away. Let’s see, what else… Oh, Friday the 22nd – Google was my most used app! That was a bit surprising, but I know exactly why: I fell down a rabbit hole of wikipedia articles, which happens on occasion, this time it was reading up on Russian history, starting with Stalin, then Lenin, and then the Tsars that ruled the country up until the revolution in 1917. And because it’s wikipedia, every article contains links to other articles so I end up getting side tracked and yeah, that’s how that happened! I also spent quite a lot of time on YouTube that day – I usually watch YouTube on the TV, but we had to have repair people come by and then set up a new TV, so to stay out of the way I watched YouTube on my phone in another room. Saturday the 23rd was Community Day, so that’s why Pokemon GO won first place on screen time then, as the event lasted for 3 hours, although I wasn’t actually playing it the full time…

Now let’s have a closer look at the app itself:

This picture is from Sunday the 24th, if I’m not mistaken. Either way, it doesn’t matter, what I wanted to show you was the graph where you can see the app session length breakdown for the day. Out of 271 app sessions, 203 of them lasted less than a minute! Thinking about how that works in reality… one of two things happened: I got a notification, clicked on it, and went out of the app again, or I opened the app out of boredom and closed it again almost immediately. The first one isn’t that bad, in my opinion. The second one however, that’s the kind of stuff I want to avoid, a habit I really want to work on breaking. All those little one minute sessions, I really want to stop them.

You can also view the whole week in the same way you can each day:

Over the course of one week, I spent 33 hours and 4 minutes on my phone.

168 hours to a week.

56 hours spent sleeping, if I sleep 8 hours a day.

Sleeping and phone stuff comes to 89 hours, so let’s just say 90 hours of the week.

168-90=78. I’ve spent more than half my time sleeping and on my phone. 53%. For only 47% of my week have I been awake and not on my phone. That’s kind of scary.

Let’s have a look at some other ways you can track your screen activity using the app ActionDash.

If you click on the icons in the circle of the opening screen, you can view the stats for that app daily, showing the time spent in it over the past week, and hourly, showing the stats for the day:

At the top of the home screen, you have some icons you can click on and it shows you different things as well:

The first icon, the cake diagram, is the start screen, which we’ve already covered. Next to it you can view the stats for screen time. The next icon shows the stats for app launches. Next to that, you can view notification stats. Lastly, the padlock symbolises unlocks, and you can view the stats for that as well.

So as you can see, there is a LOT of things you can view and track in the free version of this app, which is what I’ve been doing. Like I mentioned at the start, it is also possible to purchase a pro version, which gives you the additional benefits of stats beyond 7 days, enhanced usage graphs, no ads, dark theme, advanced customisation, and the possibility of restoring manual backups. It’s a one time upgrade which will cost you about ¬£5 (my app store which is in Norwegian Kroner says it’s 45,-). Is it necessary? I don’t think so. I don’t feel the need to track more than the past 7 days, and if I were to I’d probably do it manually every day as it goes by in my bullet journal.

Just to show you, this is what days beyond the past 7 look like:

I don’t know if these are accurate, or if they just show that I’ve spent some time in these apps. One of them shows six apps in addition to “other”, while the other one only shows three – it could be that you need to spend over a specific amount of time in the app before it shows in the pie chart, I don’t know. I just wanted to show you what it looks like if you don’t upgrade to the pro version.

Final Thoughts

Is an app like this worth it? Is there a point to tracking your screen time like this?

I think it can be useful, yes. By using an app that tracks your time, you can become more aware of how you’re ACTUALLY spending your time, and that’s not a bad thing.

When I first downloaded the app, I was a bit obsessed with checking in multiple times a day and see how the pie chart and time change. In writing moment, it’s 2.40pm, I’ve unlocked my phone 53 times, had 192 notifications, and spent 1 hour and 17 minutes on my phone. It would probably have been more if I hadn’t spent the past couple of hours working on this blog post. The obsession wore off over time, but the first couple of days… I spent a lot of time checking in on the app to see how I was spending my time!

Have I learned anything? Yes. I’ve learned that I am way too guilty of the crime of unlocking my phone for no reason, and checking in on apps for less than a minute.

Will I change anything going forward? Eventually, I would like to. I’d like to eventually blacklist a lot of the apps in Forest that I’ve had whitelisted for a few months now, to stay off my phone completely when I have a tree or a bush growing, and to spend time on my phone on purpose, not just picking it up out of boredom. Eventually, I would like to change the bars on the stats, so that the “less than 1 minute” bar goes way down, and some of the higher ones go up. I’d like to plan out that I can spend the next 10 minutes on Twitter, that I can go on Instagram in the morning and at night. That I can play Pokemon GO when I’m out on walks. Those kinds of things. I’d like to be more mindful when it comes to how I spend time on my phone, and this app helped me to see that.

Have to  ever tracked your screen time?

What do you think of it, is it useful?

Related posts: SleepTown App (stay off your phone at night) // 2018 in Trees (Forest: Stay Focused app) // A Very Satisfying Forest (Forest: Stay Focused app)

Xoxo

Julie

ALL THE MIDANDRY MAKES ME SICK.

I need to say something, and it requires more than the 280 character limit in a tweet (do you remember when it was 140? And before the option to thread multiple tweets together before posting? How did we live?!).

Women. Recently I’ve unfollowed several of you on twitter for posting things along the lines of “all men are trash”. ALL MEN ARE NOT TRASH. Maybe you’ve had some bad experiences with some trashy ones, – cheaters, or men being dicks because you didn’t wanna sleep with them… They definitely exist. BUT SO DO GOOD ONES! But you know what? You’re never gonna meet them if you keep generalising and assuming everyone is gonna be like your ex or those men you meet on a night out or whatever.

And speaking of things we need to stop doing, as women, because we’re not doing ourselves any favours here. STOP CRYING RAPE WHEN THERE WAS NO RAPE. Yes you’re allowed to change your mind. If you’ve said you’ll sleep with someone, you can change your mind. You can change your mind at any point up until or during the act. If you’re going home with someone from the club and cjsnge your mind and you don’t want to sleep with them, LEAVE. If you’re in the middle of foreplay and you don’t want to continue, SPEAK UP. If you’re in the middle of having sex and you want to stop, SAY SOMETHING. What you CAN’T do, is go through with it, and then say you were raped when you regret your actions in retrospect!! Men and women, none of us are mind readers, and if you change your mind you need to SAY IT. You can use body language too, to signal that you’re not into doing it anymore, but unless you SPECIFICALLY SPEAK UP, you can’t expect the other person to know what you’re thinking or feeling because humans don’t work that way!

You have to realise, that if you go through the act without saying anything, and then accuse them of raping you, you’re hurting other people, people who weren’t involved in this at all, people who were ACTUALLY raped. It’s hard enough to be believed as a victim of rape, male or female, as it is, without other people hurting the cause and accusing people of rape when they didn’t say anything about it at the time. REGRETTING HAVING SEX WITH SOMEONE DOESN’T MEAN THEY RAPED YOU. Rape is someone forcing you against your will at the time, not stopping when you ask them to, not respecting that you no longer wish to continue what the two of you were doing. If you went into it willingly and you didn’t say stop or no or that you’ve changed your mind, IF YOU DIDN’T WITHDRAW CONSENT at any point BEFORE OR DURING, YOU CAN’T WITHDRAW IT AFTER! You’re perfectly within your right as a human to regret doing what you did, but you have to deal with it like a fucking adult, you don’t go out and accuse the person of raping you – it hurts them, their life can be ruined by an accusation like this, and it hurts everyone else who is struggling to be believed that they were raped in the first place.

We need to do better, to be better. All of us. It’s not feminist to say that all men are trash. It’s misandrist. That’s the flip side of misogynist, which I also can’t stand. And I’m sick of seeing it everywhere, especially on twitter. Men are not better than women. Women are not better than men. We are all people, all of us are capable of being horrible, or being good. And I’m seeing way too much of people being horrible. It’s sickening. I wish we’d all stop and focus on what’s good in the world, what we can do to be good people, to be better, to do better.

Thank you for coming to my rant post.

Xoxo

Julie

20 Questions With Myself (x2…)

For today’s blog post, I wanted to do something light, something fun. I had a job interview earlier today, so it’s taken a lot of energy from me the last few days, as I get nervous and overthink things, and I was sat here thinking, since I’ve not prepared a post over the weekend, what can I do that I’ll enjoy doing? And as I was scrolling on Twitter, I came across one of those “for every like, I will answer one question” posts. I’ve re-posted those a few times, sometimes I’ve got two or three likes, most of the time I haven’t gotten any likes at all. But I enjoy answering questions, so I thought why not turn it into a blog post! Those who want to read and learn some things about me can do that, and even if no one reads it, I’ll have fun filling it out! So, here we go!

1. Who was your last text from?

On messenger, my friend Charlotte. On WhatsApp, my boyfriend Matt. Actual phone text message, a Norwegian grocery shop called Kiwi.

2. Who was your last call from?

The man who interviewed me earlier today. I sadly don’t remember his name…

3. What is your worst habit?

Probably the amount of time I spend on my phone, when doing other things like watching TV, movies, or YouTube. I can prevent it by using Forest and blacklisting all the apps again, but I get very bored and fidgety, I want to be doing mindless things like playing games or scrolling on Instagram.

4. How many people have you dated?

I’ve had 5 boyfriends, plus 2 that I knew online but I never got to meet them in person before we stopped talking, plus 3 or 4 that didn’t turn into relationships.

5. What is your favourite TV series that you have watched?

Grey’s Anatomy and Criminal Minds. I never get tired of re-watching them, and they’ve been with me literally half my life (I was 13-14 when I started watching them, I’m 26 now, turning 27 later this year).

6. What is the last song you listened to?

I actually have no clue. I mainly listen to music on Spotify on my phone, and I have Spotify Free, so I can only skip 6 songs per hour, so I make a point of finishing a song and pausing right at the start of the next one, so that next time I want music I don’t have to start in the middle of a song (or waste a skip). The next song up though, is Otherside by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

7. Do you want to get married? 

Someday, yes. I’m in no rush. But I also want to be married before I have kids, so I guess biologically I am in a little bit of a rush!

8. Does talking about sex make you uncomfortable?

Not at all.

9. Would you ever share a bath with someone?

I don’t know, to be honest. It’s one of those things that looks romantic in films, but I imagine it would be awkward in real life. Most tubs are not made for two adults! It’s the same as with showering with someone – sounds like a good idea until you’re actually doing it, and you have to keep walking around each other to get to the water…

10. What is your favourite animal?

Owls, but I’ve never hung out with one so I don’t know what they’d be like as pets. I’m currently living with 3 cats, and I adore them to bits!

11. Would you ever smoke weed?

I’m not opposed to weed where it’s legal, but I don’t particularly want to inhale things that aren’t fresh air…

12. What is your favourite way to wear your hair?

All the ways. Straight, curly, braided, bun, ponytail, french twist… It really depends on my mood for the day! Most of the time if I don’t wear it down, I put it in a high ponytail though.

13. Who was the last person you had a deep conversation with?

My boyfriend.

14. What are your favourite bands/singers?

Oh god that’s a hard one… I don’t listen to a lot of music at the moment, and it’s mainly just random songs here and there, not complete albums or anything. According to the Spotify Wrapped 2018, I think All Time Low and Ed Sheeran were the two most played bands/artists, I also really love Simple Plan, they’re like an all-time favourite, same with Breathe Carolina… Taylor Swift is also pretty high, but I haven’t listened to anything after her 1989 Album.

15. What is your relationship status?

I’ve been in one since late 2015.

16. What is your sexuality?

Straight.

17. What are your initials (including middle names?)

J. K. V. I always thought the K name was my middle name, until my mum gave me my birth certificate last year and it turned out I have two first names, no middle name!

18. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?

Person, or cat? Yes to both! (I kiss the cats on top of their heads a lot eheh).

19. Who is the most attractive celeb?

Oh fuck if I know. I don’t really have a celebrity crush, haven’t had one for years…

20. Do you/would you ever drink alcohol?

I’m gonna answer this with a quote from Game of Thrones: “That’s what I do. I drink, and I know things.” – Tyrion Lannister

21. What makes you happy?

So many things! Cats, my support system of people, cute animal pictures and videos online, some TV shows, an essential oil called “Joy”, reading, playing games like Two Point Hospital and Anno, doing my makeup…

22. What are you like when you’re drunk?

It depends. Most of the time, giddy, happy, cute. A couple of times I’ve had the alcohol hit me the wrong way and I’ve become mean or upset, but those aren’t the majority of times fortunately!

23. Would you rather live without music or TV?

TV, easy. Even though I don’t listen to a lot of music right now, and I am watching quite a bit of TV, I can totally live without it. I have done for some stretches of time, like when my family went camping, or on school trips. With music and good company, I didn’t miss having a TV at all.

24. Do you like people playing with your hair?

YES.

25. What traits do you find attractive in someone?

Altruism. Being passionate about something. Treating people kindly, even strangers. The ability to make people around them feel good.

26. Would you kiss someone of the opposite gender?

We already covered this when I said I’m straight, didn’t we? But yeah the answer is yes :’)

27. Do you feel awkward during silences when with someone?

That really depends on the person and the context. But just the fact that it’s silent doesn’t bother me. Comfortable silences exist. But yeah sometimes it can be awkward too, of course…

28. How long did your longest relationship last?

3 years, 5 months, 8 days, and counting.

29. Would you ever become a vegetarian?

I haven’t eaten meat since July 13th, 2007. I never gave up fish, but I could really easily do that do be honest, I don’t enjoy it much, apart from sushi, but vegan sushi can be really good too!

30. Do you think aliens exist?

I believe we are the aliens to others… The word literally just means foreigner, whether we’re talking country or planet. Do I believe we’re the only life in the universe? Hell no. If our planet can sustain life, surely there must be others. I don’t particularly believe they’re green tentacled monsters, that’s a human imagination, but I think it’s highly likely life like our own exists somewhere else. Maybe at a different developmental stage from us, either behind or beyond… Or maybe life forms our human brains are incapable of imagining. Maybe it’s like in The Guardians of the Galaxy, with people and creatures in all shapes and colours. Who knows!

31. How many people have you kissed?

Oh god. Uhm… Nine or ten, I think?

32. Favourite school subject?

It changed a lot throughout school, but I went on to study English in university, mainly because of the amazing teachers I had in the subject in secondary school!

33. Do you have a lot of friends?

I’ve never had a lot of friends. At this point in my life, I probably have more than I ever have, because I’ve become more secure in who I am and who I want to have in my life. I have two really good friends from university, a couple of friends from school that I talk to sometimes, a handful of really close friends online, and there are people I’m friendly with, that I would probably still hang out with if we were in the same physical place… But no, I wouldn’t say a lot, but I’m very happy with the ones I have! ‚̧

34. Where in the world would you like to visit?

My dad once said, “there isn’t a place invented that you don’t want to visit, Julie” and he’s right. Very high on the list right now, of places I haven’t visited, are New York, Tokyo, and Bali.

35. Do you have trust issues?

Sometimes. I guess my main one is trusting people to do their part/do what they’ve said they will, due to a lot of bad experiences with that in the past, and I’d much rather prepare for them to fail just in case, so that all doesn’t go to hell, than blindly trust¬† everyone to not let me down. When it comes to personal things like secrets and confiding, I don’t really have a lot of those things, and depending on the situation I have different people in my life to talk to that I trust wouldn’t blabber or judge me, that I trust would help me if I needed it, or just let me vent at them should that be what I require.

36. What is your favourite season?

Any that isn’t cold. But for the most part, early autumn. I don’t like really hot summers, I don’t like undressing really, I’m most comfortable in jeans, but late spring and early autumn are really good, when the temperature is nice and I can pretty much wear whatever I want! Winter is too cold, and I’m really sensitive to it. It’s currently about 10 degrees Celsius, and I’m wearing a wool tank-top underneath my fluffy Primark knitted jumper, and three pairs of socks on my feet… And my hands are so SO cold right now!

37. Would you ever have kids?

Someday, yes. A few years ago I couldn’t imagine it. I’m a lot closer to being able to picture myself as a mum now, but I’m not quite there yet…

38. Twitter or Facebook?

Twitter. For sure. I spend hours on there a day, probably, but I might drop by Facebook once a week or so. I mainly use that for messenger, but you don’t even need to have an active Facebook account for that anymore. I did deactivate it for a couple of months about a year ago… It was so nice, once I’d “detoxed” from it!

39. Do you still speak to your first crush?

That was in like year 6 of school so no. I don’t even know where in the world he is now.

40. Do you believe in luck/miracles?

Luck, definitely, yes. I don’t have a lot of it… Miracles… I’m not sure. I’ve not had one happen to me. I guess they could be kinda tied, for example if there is a car crash, it can be a miracle that no one died, but it’s also really lucky/fortunate… So I guess yeah, I do! I just don’t have much experience with it!

 

That’s all for this time! What have you been up to lately?

xoxo

Julie

 

Similar posts: 20 questions the book tag  //  15 facts about me

Two Point Hospital

As some of you may know, especially if you follow me on twitter, I got slightly addicted to this game when it came out last year. Since then, new DLC has been made available – The Bigfoot DLC which came out in December, and Pebberley Island which will be out later this month! In writing moment, I’ve spent 260 hours in the game; it’s fair to say I love it. So with the new DLC coming out, I wanted to write a little bit about this game, why I love it, and why I think you should give it a try! There may be spoilers – consider yourself warned!

What is Two Point Hospital?

It is a strategy and building game set in a fictional world, where you build and manage a hospital. You have to build and decorate the rooms and hallways, hire staff, train staff, research treatment for new diseases, market your hospital, and ideally try to not go into debt while doing it.

Don’t worry though, you start off easy. If someone who doesn’t identify with the term “gamer” can do it, anyone can! Once you get a star, (the first out of three for each hospital), you unlock one or two new hospitals you can go play in. Personally I prefer getting all three stars before moving on to the next. You get some objectives you need to complete in order to get the stars, such as curing X number of patients, increase your hospital attractiveness to Y %, or get an overall hospital value of Z. Sometimes the objectives to get the next star change completely, other times they are an increase of the previous ones.

Here’s the initial trailer for the game, so you can see for yourself:

Why do I love this game so much?

The simple answer: It’s a lot of fun! The names of the illnesses, treatment rooms, and machines are hilarious, for starters. The intercom has a lot of amusing comments (“There’s a fire. There shouldn’t be a fire,” and “Please, try not to slip in the sick,” to mention a couple), as does the radio host! The music is so addictive you will not be able to get it out of your head. Each new hospital gets increasingly more difficult in my experience, and therefore you kind of get addicted to completing the next one, as you’ve already done the previous ones! There are more illnesses, patients will come in faster demanding more rooms to be built more quickly, the staff is less qualified so you have to train them up, you might start out in debt or with less money, or you might get less money because you’re in a poor area, or you might need to remember to either put down radiators or air conditioners everywhere, depending on the climate! So: it’s fun, and it’s addictive, and it’s the first video game I’ve really loved as an adult! As a child, one of my absolute favourite games was Legoland, where you’d build a Lego theme park and you’d get new rides for each park and you had to decorate and make paths and achieve objectives – basically a lot like this game, so it’s really no wonder why I like it so much!

I do want to write a little bit about what I’ve learned and some tips and tricks, but before that, I want to include the trailer for the first DLC that came out, that you can buy and play right now in addition to the original game: Bigfoot!

Julie’s Top 20 Tips and Tricks for Two Point Hospital

  1. Start slowly. Don’t build everything at once. Don’t build rooms until they are requested, and even then, it’s okay to send home patients you don’t have treatment rooms for. It’s better to start off with one or two treatment rooms and get patients treated there, before you start building all the others.
  2. Double function rooms: Remember that rooms such as the Ward, Psychiatry, and later the DNA lab, function BOTH as diagnosis rooms AND as treatment rooms! I usually build one of these next, when GP and General Diagnosis fail to provide sufficient diagnoses (I often forget about the Cardiology, oops!).
  3. Turn up your prices. It’s okay to have a bad reputation at first. Increasing the price of everything in your hospital will bring you more cash per patient that’s willing to pay (in my experience most of them will). Additionally, it will lower your reputation which means your hospital won’t be flooded with patients while you’re training your doctors and nurses.
  4. Research cash.¬†As soon as I can hire a doctor with one research qualification, I invest in a research lab, even if it only has one or two items in it, and start researching cash. It costs 1000 to start, but you get 20.000 back at the end! That’s enough to build several of the smaller diagnosis rooms and GP offices, or almost enough to build the starter treatment rooms!
  5. Go back to your old hospitals with built up research labs and highly qualified staff, and research the new illnesses there! Especially the upgrades and advanced upgrades of the machines Рit will save you so much time, and you can keep your one lowly qualified researcher focused on getting us more money!
  6. Keep an eye on your staff,¬†especially when hiring new ones. You want to look at what they’re qualified to do sure, but also look at their traits – you want to avoid “nasty” and “unhygienic” at all cost. I’d rather hire someone with fewer qualifications and train them up, than hire people with those traits, because you cannot change the traits.
  7. Hire – Train – Fire.¬†Especially in the beginning of a new hospital, you hire who you can get. A lot of the time, that will mean doctors and nurses with many different skills. Nurses, for example, might have 1 ward, 1 diagnostics, 1 treatment, 1 happiness, and a blank slot. I generally try to avoid hiring these, but sometimes you have to. They’re also great to use to teach these skills to other nurses, but once I start getting ones specialised in ward only, diagnosis only, treatment only, I tend to get rid of these multi-purpose ones, because they take longer to diagnose patients, don’t reach as high of a diagnosis certainty, and more often fail at treating patients, bringing your death ratio up.
  8. Circling back – make sure your specialised staff only works in those rooms – you can manage this in the “staff” tab – you don’t want someone with level 5 diagnosis working in a treatment room! Also invest in specialising your staff – the higher level they are, the faster they work, and more accurately do they diagnose patients, and the more successful they are at treating them.
  9. The overview tab. I had no clue what to do with this for the longest time. But one thing that is useful, if you go to overview, and then to patients Рyou can tell them to go immediately to treatment when they reach a certain percentage of diagnosis certainty Рso 90% or 85% or whatever you choose really. I recommend doing that, because the patients go back to GP between every diagnosis room, even when they reach 100%, just for the GP to tell them where to go, and that generates longer queues. In this tab you can also select how often/long your staff breaks are and how many can go on a break at one, which might be handy to manage!
  10. Keep queues down. This is kind of obvious, really, but your patients are generally healthy when they arrive at the hospital. The longer they have to wait for GP, diagnosis, and treatment, the lower their health gets, and the more dead people you’ll have. Another way to help them not to lose their health so fast, is make sure there is seating and entertainment near all the rooms – if they are bored, they will wander, and whoever is number 1 in queue for the Pans Lab, for instance, might be on the other side of the hospital reading a magazine when the room becomes free, and then they have to walk all the way back to the treatment room, losing time and health in the process.
  11. Keep patients happy! Make sure they always have access to food, drink, toilet, and entertainment. If they get too upset, they will storm out of the hospital and you will not get money from them, and your reputation will go down. This also ties in with queues Рif they are kept waiting too long, they will also leave in protest. This will affect your cure rate negatively, if that is one of the objectives to get the next star.
  12. Accept emergencies¬†–¬†if you have the room and staff for it. Even if you don’t complete it in time, you still get money for curing each patient. And if there is a queue for that room, pay attention when they arrive and bump them up to the front of the queue. More often that not this will make you succeed and you get some extra cash.
  13. Send patients home¬†– I don’t like doing this, but it has proven effective when struggling to achieve a cure rate of a specific percentage. I’ll sort them by health, and send the lowest ones home. If you send them home before they rage quit, it doesn’t affect your stats. If they die or storm out, it does.
  14. Promote your staff!¬†Even if you are in debt, always promote your staff. If you can afford to give them a raise higher than what they ask for, do it. It’ll keep them happy, working harder and better, and that’ll keep your hospital running smoothly. Sometimes you’ll get a letter that a specific staff member is threatening to leave – usually sending them on a break and giving them a raise helps the issue. Sometimes you’ll get a popup that “some of our staff are unhappy” – then go to the staff tab, click the $ button, give them raises and send them on break. You can see a little smiley face next to each person’s salary that indicates how happy they are, and you want to keep it neutral (yellow) or happy (green). Avoid the red by raising the salaries!
  15. Avoid loans! There are some times when loans are necessary. For example (SPOILER) there is one hospital that is in debt when you start out, and you HAVE to take out a loan, and another where you don’t earn any money from patients, and a loan might be necessary in the beginning. However, a lot of the time, you can work your way out of debt again without a loan. And the loans have interest so you have to keep paying them more and more money. What I recommend instead, is sit back with a cup of your favourite hot beverage, speed up the game, and pay attention to the monthly income and expenses for a bit! Specifically, you want to make sure that the expenses go down, so you might be -50K in revenue one month, but the next one you’re only -35K, and that means you’re headed in the right direction. Ideally you want it to get back up to positive numbers, and voila, you’ll be out of debt with no loans necessary! Once you hit -250K though, you do get a bankruptcy warning, that your hospital will go bankrupt if you reach… either -300K or -500K, I don’t remember. I’ve never actually gone bankrupt, but I have restarted hospitals because I kept going more and more into debt every month and I got really close.
  16. Use staff to train staff.¬†The outside teachers are good, they don’t remove any additional staff from your workforce, but they’re also expensive. I recommend using them to train a qualification no other staff member has, and then using that staff member to train others. This way, you can also keep training your staff even when you’re in debt, because it isn’t costing you anything. And even if queues grow a bit while your staff is in training, once they’re done they’ll be so much faster and better at their job it’ll be worth it! Another thing to note is that training is necessary to keep staff happy, so make sure you balance out and get everyone trained, not just the doctors and nurses!
  17. Decorate!¬†Wherever possible, you should aim to put up posters, art, and plants for you staff and patients to enjoy. This will keep them happier! Also make sure to place bins everywhere, especially near the vending machines, but also in random places – ill patients throw up in them instead of on the floor, etc. This means less work for your janitors and the other patients aren’t affected by it the way they are if it’s on the floor. This will also help when you get reporters or visitors to your hospital! If they are impressed, you get money and reputation points, but if they are not impressed, they give us a bad reputation, which is bad.
  18. Keep tabs on treatments – you’re likely to find that some rooms perform much better than others. Recurvery, for example, has a very high success rate if the nurse/doctor (I can’t remember which) has at least 2 treatment qualifications (and even more so once the machine is upgraded to the top level). However, I find that the Fracture Ward usually kills a lot of my patients in some hospitals, and I tend to postpone building one until I have highly qualified staff. And then I’ll set the top ward nurses to work in fracture ward only, since the regular ward does better even with less qualified staff. Also, don’t forget you can set more than one person to work in these rooms at a time! This is true for ward, fracture ward, research, marketing… Anyway, you can check the statistics for individual rooms by selecting the room and you get a popup on the right-hand side of the screen!
  19. Spread things out.¬†It might be tempting, especially when you’re further into the game and you’ve purchased more plots and you have more space, to reorganise your entire hospital. One mistake I’ve made, is to have ALL my GP offices in one place, right next to the reception. This created a lot of chaos, as everyone coming into the hospital stayed in one place, and everyone coming back from diagnosis to see the GP again also returned to this one building. Bad idea! The janitors were unable to pick up trash or clean because there were too many people! Instead, what I recommend is to space things out. Have a couple of GP offices, some diagnosis, some treatment, and then some more GPs. I like to put reception desks in every new plot I purchase, and some GPs nearby, and then spread out the treatment and diagnosis rooms after that. It might be more chaotic, and maybe a little less realistic than a real life hospital, but I find it makes the game run much smoother as people are more evenly spread out. If the plot is huge, however, like the Castle one, it pays to have multiple of the rooms (and enough staff, of course), as the patients won’t have to walk as far to get to the nearest one, and it keeps them from losing health by walking all over your hospital as well. Oh and lastly, I find that putting staff break rooms, research, marketing, and toilets all in-between the diagnosis and treatment rooms also helps keep people from clogging the halls too much! (Please remember that staff rooms and toilets only NEED to be 2×3, so you CAN make many tiny ones rather than huge ones here and there, it’ll help a lot, especially in small areas!).
  20. Don’t be afraid to restart if things go south. I already kind of mentioned this in tip number 15, but it doesn’t just apply to loans. If you’re not happy with how you’ve laid out your hospital or you feel like you made a mistake, or just that you can do better, there’s no shame in restarting the level. Remember that it’s only a game. You don’t lose anything from restarting. It’s a lot better to restart and have fun than to keep playing in a hospital you’re unhappy with! I’ve restarted about half of the hospitals, at least 3 of them because I ran into debt I couldn’t get out of. One of them was because I kept playing long after I got the 3rd star, and I just ran it into the ground. I didn’t want to keep having a hospital that was in debt on my map, even though I had all the others to play, so I spent a day or a weekend redoing that one!

Lastly, let’s have a look at the new DLC coming out in one week from today: Pebberley Island!

 

I personally am so excited for this, and I might write an update/review at a later point in time!

I’m off to play some more Two Point Hospital now, I might start a new save from scratch so I can use my skills and knowledge to make better hospitals from the start… Or I might play sandbox mode! I don’t know yet. What I do know is I’m gonna have fun!

Let’s talk in the comment section below!

xoxo

Julie

 

Human BEINGs

We are called “human beings”. Not “human doings”. This has been pointed out in at least one movie/TV show I’ve watched, although I cannot remember which, as well as on those kind of accounts on instagram that post inspirational quotes and tell you not to be so hard on yourself, etc etc. It can be kind of annoying, and kind of clich√©. But it’s also kind of true.

Who we are is more important than what we do. And that’s easy to forget in a society where, when you meet new people, one of the first questions asked are “so what do you do (for a living)?” This question being asked early in conversation, makes us feel like this is of huge importance. Our answer to this question forms the person’s opinion of us. How stupid is that? People literally form opinions about us based on our answer to the question “what do you do for a living?”. They needn’t know much about us at all, perhaps you were just introduced, you say hi, your name, and they ask “so, what is it you do?” and that can colour their opinion of you forever.

Many people have impressive things to say. I’m a surgeon. I’m a lawyer. I’m working on my PhD in __. Many more people have answers such as hair dresses, mail man, I work in a food shop. These are professions that are essential to society, but they rarely make people go “wow, impressive!” in a conversation. And then there are people like me. I haven’t had to answer that question recently, but for the past six months, I would have had to say nothing. I don’t do anything. I don’t have a job. I’m unemployed. And that doesn’t feel so great.

Just over two years ago, I wrote this post, about how I felt like I’d done nothing all day, and that I needed to give myself more credit for the things I did do, and not beat myself up about all the things I didn’t do. I’m still struggling with this. Since the start of the year, I’ve started to write down almost everything I do in my bullet journal, just so that I don’t feel like I’ve done nothing all day. There’s a huge focus in our world about doing things. My mum will always ask “so what have you been doing today then?” when we talk on the phone. My friends ask it in group chats. They mean nothing bad about it, it’s never anyone’s attention to make me feel bad about not doing anything. But that’s often the focus, the starting point of a conversation, what have we been up to.

But we are called human beings. The first question should therefore be “how are you today?” or “how have you been?”. I try to ask this first, especially when I talk to someone I haven’t spoken to in a while. But “what have you been doing?” or “done anything fun lately?” or questions along those lines quickly follow. It can’t be helped. But as much as I can, I try to focus on the being part over the doing part, because who we are is ultimately so much more important than what we do, for a living or otherwise.

The things I do don’t reflect who I am as a person. What do I do? To mention a few, I read books, I binge watch TV shows, I play video games, I go for walks, I play with makeup. These say very little about who I am as a person – as a daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, cousin, god-mother, acquaintance, colleague… I am not the things I do to entertain myself. I am not the thing I do to make money, even though that’s nothing at the moment, and I am not that either.

Maybe we should all try to focus a little bit less on everything we’re supposed to be doing, and a little more and just being, in the world, existing, and enjoying it. Maybe we should stop and smell flowers, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the crispness of it that is so typical for this time of year. Maybe we should focus on what we can be, who we can be, and who we can be there for, rather than all the things we think we ought to be doing?

xoxo

Julie

The rat the cat the dog chased caught died

There’s a sentence I learned in the second class of a course I took the first semester of my second year of studying English in university. The class was called “Theoretical Approaches to English Grammar”.

I don’t remember everything from every lesson in every course I took in uni. I think that applies to most people. But I do remember some things from this class and this course. Among others: It was a hard one. I struggled so hard to pay attention in class, I’d zone out because I couldn’t understand what the professor was talking about, because I struggled with the material, which he would always assume we had read and understood before class, not really explaining anything. I struggled with the assignments, and not being able to understand what I’d done wrong, all I knew was my work wasn’t right. It was also the first course in which I got an A. I couldn’t believe how that had happened. I remember studying in uni with a friend all day before the exam, and I spent the entire evening and night rewriting notes from the main textbook, until about 2am, the exam started at 9, I felt like a nervous zombie, certain I was going to fail.

But we’re getting off topic here now. What I wanted to write about was this sentence, the headline of this entry: The rat the cat the dog chased caught died.¬†Our professor for this class was a rather old man, English, teaching English to mainly Norwegian students at a university in Norway. I disagreed with him on a few things actually. For one, he claimed that as non-native speakers we could not have intuition about the language. He also tried to claim this to a student who was raised bilingual or trilingual with English as one of the languages, without knowing anything about her outside of the fact that she looked very Nordic with her white blonde hair and blue eyes. Another thing we disagreed on was this sentence.

The purpose of this class was to teach us that sentences can be grammatically correct but still make no sense. A very famous example from Noam Chomsky: Colourless green ideas sleep furiously. It doesn’t make any sense. Yet the grammatical structure is completely correct. Adjective, adjective, noun, verb, adverb. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died. Determiner, noun, determiner, noun, determiner, noun, verb, verb, verb. It’s still a grammatical sentence. The only requirements for something to be a sentence is a verb and a subject.¬† Everything else is optional. There’s really no discussion to be had when it comes to this. What I disagreed with the professor on, was the fact that he said the sentence was nonsensical, but it made sense to me.

It’s not structured like any kind of utterance I would make in conversation, but but I spent a few minutes looking at it, alongside other sentences on a sheet of paper we’d been given for homework. We were supposed to pick out which ones were grammatical, ungrammatical, which ones made sense, and which ones didn’t. There were all sorts of combinations on there. Grammatical and understandable. Grammatical and nonsensical. Ungrammatical and understandable. Ungrammatical and nonsensical. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died, according to my professor, was grammatical but nonsensical, because no one could possibly find any kind of meaning in those words put together in that order. The problem, though, is that I did.

I exchanged about 2 sentences with the professor about this. I’d been taught by him before, he’d given a couple of lectures I attended my first year. He was not the kind of man who would change his mind because a 20-year-old girl told him she disagreed. He told me to just accept it as a nonsensical sentence. I didn’t push any further. But here’s the thing: That was five and a half years ago, and I haven’t forgotten about this sentence since, and as time has gone on, I haven’t changed my mind, either. I can’t put the sentence into a tree structure, the way we were taught to analyse sentences. Not for lack of trying; I tried, multiple times. But it doesn’t work out the way they want the structures to work out. I can put it into my own kind of structure, but it doesn’t look like what they wanted our binary tree structures to look like. But it doesn’t matter, the sentence was never brought up again past this one 10am lecture that particular Friday morning in early September 2013.

I said I haven’t changed my mind. I said the sentence makes sense to me. And now I will attempt to explain it to you. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died.

The sentence has three nouns: rat, cat, dog.

The sentence has three verbs: chased, caught, died.

My proposition to you, is that each of these verbs belongs to a separate noun. And not in any random order: In reverse order. The first noun gets the last verb. The middle noun gets the middle verb. The last noun gets the first verb. The sentence is about three events: a rat dying, a cat catching, and a dog chasing.

The rat died. Which rat? It was the rat that the cat caught. But which cat? It was the cat that the dog was chasing. There was a dog that was chasing a cat which was catching a rat, which died. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died. All this sentence does, is specify which rat, and which cat. Ultimately, the sentence is about what happened to a very specific rat. The rat the cat caught. But maybe there were multiple cats catching rats, at that specific moment. To specify which rat it was that died, we need to specify which cat that was doing the catching. It was the cat that the dog was chasing. And if there was only one dog present in the scenario, then we know which rat that died. The rat that was caught by the cat that was chased by the dog. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died.

Let us go back to Chomsky’s sentence, colourless green ideas sleep furiously;¬†if we google that and go to pictures, we get multiple variations of this:

colourless green ideas sleep furiously

It’s a tree structure that proves that even though the sentence is nonsensical it is, in fact, grammatically correct. If we google the rat the cat the dog chased caught died, we get pictures of cats and dogs and rats, and a fox, and a crocodile (or alligator, I can’t tell them apart). I did, after some scrolling however, come across this:

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Read the first sentence of the abstract. “Why is it impossible to process The rat the cat the dog chased ate died?” Impossible to process. Impossible. To process. That’s what they say it is. I have no doubt that this is a proper scientific study. I’ve read many of them, just not on this subject. Richard Hudson is a proper linguist. Not one I’ve heard of until now, but still. I’m sure he’s contributed to his field in his 79 years. And he’s not the only one to claim that the sentence is difficult to process, that it doesn’t make sense. But the problem here is that it makes sense to me. It isn’t impossible to process for me.¬†Yes, one of the verbs is different, but I don’t think it makes much difference here; the paper is about self-embedded structures, and my professor used “caught”, not “ate”, and to most people I don’t think the sentence would make much more sense with one verb over the other.

I don’t think I’m anything special. I often put myself down. I’ve been put down by others for as long as I can remember. For my clothes, my body, my looks, my choices regarding makeup, music… and also for my brain, because I was good in school and the teachers liked me. Do I think I am smart? Yes. I’ve been a bookworm my entire life. I love to learn things. Am I, at times, socially inept and awkward (sorry, Amelie, I just love this expression so much, I just had to use it, but you said it first!)? Also yes. But I don’t think there’s anything about me that makes me any more special than anyone else. But I don’t find this sentence impossible to process. If it had been impossible to process, how was I able to make sense of it?

Or was I wrong in stating that it does not make a difference whether the second verb is “caught” or “ate” like the article does? Is that what makes all the difference in whether the sentence is possible to process? Is the rat the cat the dog chased caught died processable, while the rat the cat the dog chased ate died is not, because it is impossible for the cat to eat the rat at the same time as the rat stays alive? My explanation would not work with the verb being “ate”, because if multiple cats were eating rats, you cannot use the dog chasing one of the cats to pinpoint which rat died, because presumably they all did… In which case, does the fault (dear Brutus… no, I won’t get started) lie with my professor, who presented us with a sentence using the incorrect verb in the first place?

So many questions, so few answers! Let’s talk in the comments below!

Xoxo

Julie

Spring

I love a good storm, with thunder and lightning and intense, insane rain. But there’s something about winter turning into spring, the sun feeling warm, flowers appearing in the grass, birds chirping, the smell in the air… It fills me with life in a way that very few other things do.

In writing moment, it is Monday morning and overcast. The temperature is okay though. Someone said we’re expected to have good weather until about mid-week, Thursday or so, so I’m excited to see how this week will be. In the meantime, I want to talk about last week, and the weekend before, which were just amazing.

Let me start from the beginning. Weekend before last, so the weekend before valentine’s, I was in London. A friend from Norway came over, and it was a good weekend away from the stress of unemployment, looking for houses, and generally feeling stressed about the situation I’m currently in. It was very relaxing, to walk around in streets and shops, I visited both Westfield shopping centres, bought some things, ate a lot of good food… It was good. I stayed there until Monday evening one week ago.

I was prepared for the relaxed feeling to leave and the stress to come back, but Tuesday was a very relaxing day for me as well. I watched Grey’s Anatomy and Hawaii Five-0 from the last two and three weeks respectively, did some bullet journaling, and went for a walk because the weather was nice, despite doing a lot of walking Friday-Monday as well. I went to bed thinking surely tomorrow I’ll start to feel more like normal.

Spoiler alert: I did not. The good feeling of happy relaxation, of being content, stayed with me through Wednesday as well. Wednesday was the last day of a Pokemon Go event with double XP for catching and evolving pokemon, so I used a lucky egg to double the doubles, giving me 4x more XP than I normally would, and I’d saved a lot of pokemon to evolve for this purpose, so I got a good amount, which was nice. I was waiting for the evening’s Nintendo Direct, when the pokemon app told me a new event would start that day as well, a one week long valentine’s day event with double candy and increased appearance of pink pokemon. Cool! I love it when they do events back to back like that! Also, the Direct was good, some say one of the best they’ve ever done, others I know didn’t like it at all, but I enjoyed it.

Thursday, February 14th, Valentine’s Day… Not a day I particularly care to celebrate, if I’m being honest with you. I find it commercial, it’s just a way for businesses to guilt couples into spending money on each other, and more so, because it’s the universal day for showing your loved ones that you love them, when you should be doing that every day of the year. I find it stupid. Nevertheless, as I’d been feeling good for nearly a week now, which is unusual for me, I was hoping the feeling would last through this day as well. And surprise surprise, it did! Our shopping was delivered early, and we went for a walk after, the weather was so nice we were out for probably an hour and a half, it was lovely. Spring was definitely in the air by now, with sunshine and blue sky, a little bit of a breeze, flowers poking through the grass, birds singing… it was a really beautiful morning. In the evening we got Chinese take-away, and watched three movies. I also received a letter from a pen pal this day, which was nice, I haven’t heard from her in months, apart from a Christmas card!

Friday morning started off a bit stressful – I suddenly remembered my first student loan bill was due, and I’d forgotten to apply for the extension. Thankfully, it was a quick process, all I needed was to tick the boxes of the months I wanted to extend and confirm, and it was granted within the next half hour. A shower later, and I felt good again. Friday was another beautiful day with sunshine and blue skies, so I went for another walk. I love walking during the day in the spring!

On Saturday, it was Community Day on pokemon go, where one specific, previously announced, pokemon appears more frequently for 3 hours, with shiny versions as well. This month it was Swinub, which I was not particularly excited for, but the double candy event was on and I didn’t want to miss out on my opportunity to get another shiny, and furthermore, the evolution, Piloswine, can now be evolved to Mamoswine with a sinnoh stone! What was more exciting was the possibility of getting 10 sinnoh stones from trainer battles and person v person battles during the three hours as well, which I got, as I was only out for about two of the three hours. It was another super beautiful day though, very sunny, lovely and warm outside!

Sunday – last day of the week, for me, as I count Monday as the first day of the week. It was a little bit less sunny, and our Google Home said it was supposed to be cloudy, but the sun was still out a little, and we did still go for a walk, although a shorter one this time. I’d started the day by helping my friend read through parts of her Master’s thesis, so I spent about 2.5 hours on that, which gave me a headache towards the end – I think it was mainly reading intensely on the computer screen, which I’m not used to doing anymore… Food, a shower, a walk, and more food, neither of which helped, so just before 3pm I laid down and had a¬† nap. It lasted nearly¬† two hours, so when I woke up it was time for another meal! I made us vegetarian risotto and halloumi cubes (from ASDA), with salad and string beans, which was delicious although not quite as filling. Thankfully, my headache had gone after the nap, but I felt a bit drowsy for the rest of the evening nevertheless. I didn’t write and schedule a Monday blog post, which is what I’m doing right now, and I didn’t set up the upcoming week in my bullet journal either, which is what I’ll be doing immediately after this. But it was still a good day, apart from the headache!

Today is grey and not very lovely, although it’s not raining and it’s not that cold either, so it could still be nice. I might go for a walk later, or I might take a day off, I’ve been walking every day for 10 days straight now, and from Monday through Sunday I walked something like 28 kilometres, based on Pokemon Go Adventure Sync, where it gives you rewards for walking 5k, 25k, and 50k in one week. This was my first week getting past 25k, and as my reward I got pokeballs, great balls, silver pinapp berries, and stardust. My boyfriend got a 5k egg, but I have no room in my storage so I couldn’t get one. Previously I’ve only ever reached the 5k one, which only gives pokeballs in my experience. I’d love to get to 50k one week, but that would require a lot more walking every day for a week… maybe sometime this spring if the weather is really nice!

Have you been enjoying a nice early spring this February?

xoxo

Julie