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Monday, January 28, 2013

All change!

Drugs and the Brain is now finished and (I think!) I somehow managed to end up with >90%! I await certificate! I dumped two courses last week. The nutrition course wanted too much work - all sorts of food diaries and mind maps, as well as quizzes etc. I took me 3 hours on day 1 to figure out the food diary website and find an American equivalent to a Cadbury's Mini Roll! The other course was the 'Science - superhero' one, which I think would have bored me silly as it was concerned with how we see science from the outside in - ie for people who have never really studied science at all. So now I am enrolled on the 'The Modern World: Global History since 1760' and 'Introduction to Philosophy'. Husband is most amused about the history, because he knows it's the subject I've spent a lifetime avoiding! But I am enjoying it!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

That's it :(

Today was the last day possible to register for an OU course which would keep my Transitional Arrangement payments alive. I've lapsed. So I will no longer be studying with the OU. This was a decision I didn't take lightly. But WHY would I need a third bachelor's degree, so why would I pay to take courses I didn't need? Gone are the old days of dabbling around with courses when you felt like it - the pressure with TA fees was too constricting, and I didn't like it. Fees for students are now ridiculous, especially now, with the OU as they have decided that courses will now be online only. WHAT NO WONDERFUL OU BOOKS? Forget it! Also, there's a load of kerfluffle on applying for OUSBA loans. It's all become far too 'business' orientated and, quite frankly, it doesn't taste all that good. I shall miss the OU a great deal, but it is time to move on.

So, what have I been doing and what do I intend to spend my time doing in the future? Well, I'm studying free courses with Coursera. OK, no books (apart from those you choose to buy) - but who minds that if the course is free? And, so far, the courses have been brilliant. I didn't complete the Fantasy course (forget why!), but intend to retake it another time. But I did complete the Greek and Roman Mytholody course, presented by Penn University - and it was amazingly good, with a wonderful tutor, Peter Struck, and fabulous video lectures. I never thought I would read the Odyssey! I got a certificate - and I received 97.5% and a distinction!!

I'm currently finishing off CalTech's 'Drugs and the Brain', which is REALLY HARD - all that neuroscience! But it is interesting, and I am managing to get half decent scores with the quizzes, so I might yet get a certificate! I will update this blog when I start the next course.

Apart from the Coursera courses, I have been planning a holiday to Crete (and, hopefully, Santorini) and also have written another novel (NaNo again!).

I wrote a fairly unsensible kind of sci fi thingie, called 'The Blips', which I might change to simply 'Blips' when I get it published for real - lol! I did get a few copies of the first draft printed and sent to friends and relatives, and have received little feedback (apart from that one friend said she loved it!), but will carry on editing regardless.

Oh, and I am dabbling with mapping Mars!

All for now. HAPPY NEW YEAR to one and all.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Having returned some weeks ago from Florida (hot, humid, thunderstorms, mozzies ... all as expected!) I was feeling a bit bored. I've registered for the OU's Human Biology course from October (cheap fees on TA) and have already bought and read the first book (LOTS of big words!) and, although I've been reading a whole load of Peter James books (love them!) and spending time planning for my friend's visit from Canada - I still felt a bit 'empty'. There's plenty of housework and cooking and stuff - but that's just as boring as doing nothing, imho - so, I bit a shiny bullet and enrolled on a free course offered by Coursera, from the University of Michigan: Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World. I'm doing a blog for this course, so that I can get all the details of timings sorted. Goodness only knows how I'm going to fit in all that reading!

Monday, February 13, 2012


How come I can build my own PC, but have extreme problems replacing the Ctrl key on the laptop? The cat jumped up and dislodged and destroyed the key - and I ordered a replacement (from Lithuania!), but I struggled for an hour to get the damned thing on!


HATE, HATE, HATE it! And everything seems to have gone wrong! We had a flood in the bathroom, so had to buy new flooring. I then left the tap on (senility) and re-flooded the new floor and drips came through the ceiling onto my laptop! Then some thugs threw a stone at our window late at night and broke it - so more money for new window. All this IS of course, covered by home insurance - but home insurance is worthless when there's a £100 excess! I can happily report that my laptop is 'better' if not totally cured (ie the water marks on screen are hardly visible now). The car now won't start - glow plugs or something! And I've had tennis elbow for the last 3 weeks and have been feeling very miserable. At least there are daffodils coming into bud.
So, because our overdraft was already looking dismal before all this extra spending, I've had to withdraw from AA100. I'm hoping to keep the Transitional fees arrangement thingie active by doing the science shorty S176: Living without oil: chemistry for a sustainable future - the book arrived today and I'm going to snuggle up with it this afternoon. I also need to thoroughly edit my novel (!!) - it's had favourable feedback from friends and family, so perhaps there's some life in it - but it does (IMO) need a LOT of work! I've also been following one of the free Open Yale courses - this one on American Literature since 1945. Great stuff! I've read half the books, but am now taking a break to get on with other stuff. I've got a blog on here.
Despite our financial shortcomings, the trip to Florida in June is going ahead, although I've changed some of the accommodation to try to save some money. We fly to Tampa, stay overnight - 3 nights in Kissimmee in a house rental (with pool), intending to visit Kennedy Space Center and St Augustine from there (NO DISNEY!) - 2 nights on the Florida Keys - 2 nights Miami - and 5 nights in a house rental (with pool!) in Bradenton near Anna Maria Island and St Petersburg. Looking forward to it - though not looking forward to the heat and humidity!
Our Canadian friend is coming to stay in September! REALLY looking forward to seeing her again and showing her the sights of Devon and Cornwall!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I passed SA188. I'd actually forgotten about it!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

RIP Gary Speed

Deeply shocked by this news - and deeply saddened that there was seemingly nothing that anybody could do to alleviate his pain.

Declared a winner!

Have printed out my certificate and had copies of my novel printed ready for distribution! :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

NaNoWriMo ...

I've signed up to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to write a 50000 word novel in 30 days ... haha! So there is a new blog - click HERE:

Oh and I finished SA188, the archaeology course - it didn't inspire me to want to continue with the subject. And I've changed the BSc Environmental Studies to BSc Natural Sciences, which will save me having to do U216, which I really didn't want to do ...