On automattic posting

This morning I found a notification of a new WordPress comment on my phone.

That’s generally a very cool thing. I love it when people write comments in response to things I’ve written.

This comment, however, was about a post I wrote in December, and which I, for some currently unknown reason, decided not to post.

When I woke up for real and looked properly, I found that 3 draft posts had been published, all at the same time (6am – when I was sleeping, but possibly when my phone finished charging… Or possibly when my landlady’s WiFi connection turns on?)

I might have been hacked I suppose, but I think posting random draft posts is a very strange thing to do with a newly hacked site.

I also had a whole pile of messages about pages that hadn’t been/couldn’t be updated, also from around the same time.

Very odd.

Then I checked the playstore for updates and found this:

WordPress is one of the apps I set to update automatically. It seems tonight was update night ;).

Is it possible that somewhere along the way, “upload it to the server” became “change draft to publish”??

Has anyone else had any random draft posts go online recently?

If that’s going to be normal, I don’t think it’s an improvement…

On taking an ice pack to bed

This was written in December.. This morning (June 22nd), several posts were published from my draft folder.. I didn’t press publish… Skybright commented on this one so I’m leaving it up. I’ve reconsigned the others to my draft folder where they belong. I will have to investigate what happened..

***

I am usually very much a hot water bottle person. VERY much. I think my thermostat’s broken – my normal temperature is several degrees lower than most of the people round me. When it’s cold I need extra heat to compensate.

Yesterday / this morning I took an ice pack to bed instead.

Sometimes the world is strange.

(..In this case, it’s mostly because..)

I fell off my bike and bashed various bits of myself – hands, knees, a hip/thigh, face, shoulder,…

On taking my unexpected guest to meet my expected guests and some peacocks

May 21st.

I took the photos off my phone in the middle of writing this.. I was planning to go back and add pictures of the peacocks before posting, but I haven’t taken the time to turn my computer on for a while and I’m unlikely to get the chance before my holiday. Just imagine the peacocks for now. 🙂 I’ll add them later.

***

The leech and I decided to meet up with M&M* for a walk round Peacock Island before one M (Mi) comes back to my flat for the night and the other M (Ma) goes back to his hotel.

***

The island is beautiful.

Apart from the trees and other plants, pretty much everywhere you look there’s a bridge or a fountain or a castle to admire.

And… Possibly more spectacularly, there were ‘flocks’ of peacocks to admire. Assuming the multiple pairs count as flocks..

Halfway round we found a mini waterfall and a boggy patch of grass. We weren’t sure what the leech thought but we were pretty sure he’d have a better life there than in my bath, so I persuaded him out of the damp tissue paper and shook him more or less gently out of the yoghurt tub onto the grass. He still wasn’t convinced that it was a good idea when I left him..

* Friend and colleague of friend

On not packing

It’s Thursday.

I leave on Saturday*.

Between now and then, I have 2 days of work and a session of afterschool maths to fit in, each with travel time.

Then there’s a balconyful of plants to water (it’s 30+ degrees here), an aquarium to replant, a flat to tidy up and lots of washing to do.

As a bonus there’s a friend’s locked phone to rescue.

Probably I should eat and sleep and shower too.

And as yet nothing is packed.

All the surfaces in my house are covered in things I might need.. But nothing is actually in my paniers.

Not packing until the last minute is the only way I know how to pack.

:/

* 2 ½ week cycling holiday across Sweden 🙂

On unexpected guests

Friday

A friend from a place I used to work is coming over for the weekend. She had some kind of conference during the week and added a few days holiday since she was here. We’d planned to meet in the city and do touristy things and were working out the details. And then she told me that she was planning to sleep here.

It’s a good thing shocked silences don’t show via text. 🙂

As is to be expected, I spent the next couple of days cleaning and tidying up, making space for the blow up bed and generally making the place presentable.

***

I picked my cleaning sponge up out of the bath to wipe the sink down..

I’m not a screamer, but I came close.

I’m not at all used to finding leeches in the bathtub. I’m not sure if it is definitely a leech, but I don’t know what else it could be. It’s black, about 7 cm long, kind of flat, maybe 5 mm across, has suction pads at both ends, can climb vertical flat surfaces and is very shy.

I had no idea what to do with it but I didn’t want to kill it or wash it down the plug hole so I put it in a plant pot with a splash of water.

Vermicious knidish question mark

It didn’t approve of the water.

Within seconds, it had climbed out of the pot and was hiding underneath it.

I went to work, leaving it hiding under the flowerpot.

***

My colleague thought it was hilarious when I told him about it. Our lunch break was immediately filled with stories about leech infested jungles and “would you rather..?” questions. (‘bungee’ jumping in Vanuatu* is generally our baseline. In this case I think it’s a close call, I really really don’t fancy either option, but I would probably be ok with letting leeches bite me if I was in some kind of medical emergency, whereas I can’t imagine any situation when I would want to jump).

Even the pressing explanation of how to get photos off his phone and onto the computer was willingly postponed because “bathroom leeches are more important, the photos can wait. You can tell me about them on Monday…unless you have more stories about leeches – they obviously have priority!”

* YouTube is only sometimes your friend..

On perfect partners and other dance teacher wisdom

9th May

“There aren’t any perfect partners. If you spend the evening looking and waiting for one you will go home without having danced at all. Also, don’t try to force your dance partner to dance exactly the way you want to dance. They won’t enjoy themselves and you’ll be frustrated when it doesn’t work. Instead, when you dance, focus on offering yourself and your style and asking the other person for theirs, both of you will change your dance to fit both of you and it will be a fantastic experience. If you do that, it won’t be long before you can dance with everyone, and everyone will want to dance with you. Just like life. Dancing is like living. Life is like dancing. It’s all the same thing really.”

After a week or so of people deciding to remove themselves from my life, this is a good thing to hear.

On being a Jesstrich

My latest health tests resulted in me being handed two mostly conflicting sheets of what to eat and what to avoid. I think once I strip my diet of everything on both avoid sheets I’m left with brown rice and possibly carrots*.

When I got home, hungry after a breakfast-free morning, I opened a packet of chocolate digestives and buried my head in the crumbs. Or rather, the crumbs in my head. When I was finished I washed them down with half a pint of milk.

Wheat? Check.

Big oats? Check.

Sugar? Check.

Chocolate? Check.

Milk? Check.

Things I enjoy eating? Check.

Carrots? Not a trace.

Hmm.

But anyway, digestive biscuits are good for digestion, right?

🙂

* Yes, I’m exaggerating. But not as much as I’d like to..

On winning at life (or at least on the train)

April 24th.

I had a train to catch this afternoon and I caught it.

The end.

🙂

***

The truth is, as usual, somewhat lengthier and involves a confrontation with a couple of officious ticket collectors, but I still won. And winning is what it’s all about, right?

***

Take 2.

I had a train to catch this afternoon. The sort of long distance train that you book in advance to make the journey affordable. The sort that you shouldn’t really miss because getting the next one is not just an unnecessary nuisance, it’s a really expensive unnecessary nuisance (and in this case would probably also mean getting in really late and not being fit for tomorrow’s meeting).

That meant leaving work early and catching two other local trains to get to the station. I started looking at train timetables a few days ago. I checked again this morning and decided on a connection that left me quite a lot of contingency time (more orderly people would probably have left double..)

I occasionally have an urge to be more organised. Part of that involved spending the Easter we finding the bottom of my washing baskets so that I would have a wardrobe full of clean, dry clothes to choose from. It didn’t stretch as far as actually packing..

I got involved in a late-night discussion instead of packing and had to pack this morning instead. By the time I’d agonised over the weather and what I was going to wear when, and watered all the plants, I ended up leaving ridiculously late.

Anyway.

I got to the station and remembered that I needed a ticket for the journey to work but didn’t think about what I was doing and bought a ticket for the whole of Berlin instead of just the area I need.

Doh.

The tickets are valid for travel in one direction for up to 2 hours. You can get off the train as often as you like during those hours, but you can’t go back in the direction you came from.

Work lies almost directly between my house and the station I was leaving from later. If I left work a few minutes earlier than I’d planned, I could get to the station using the same ticket I’d come in with. I figured it was a lucky mistake after all.

Whee!

***

As is probably obvious to anyone who either knows me or has read more than three of my posts, I left work a couple of minutes later than I should have done. I got to the station half a minute or so later than the train should have left.

Bummer.

There are trains scheduled every 10 minutes, so it wasn’t really a problem

I say ‘should have left’, because it turned out it was running late so it arrived before the next timetabled train.

Wheee!

In a different universe I would have got to the station without further incident.. However. This isn’t that universe. This is the universe where “maximal nerve-wracking” is my automatic setting.

In this universe the ticket controller got on the train at the exact moment the time on my ticket ran out.

Bummer.

By the time he got to me.. “Your ticket ran out 4 minutes ago”

“Oh…”

“Where are you getting off?”

“Uh..here.” I pointed at the next station. I wasn’t planning to get off there, but it seemed like a good idea to not be on a train with an invalid ticket at the same time as the controller. (Not having a valid ticket in Germany carries a 60€ fine). From that station the trains go approximately every 3 minutes, so it shouldn’t matter too much if I waited for the next one. Especially seeing as the train-timetable-app said the next train was running a few minutes late…

“Ok.” (That’s the abrieviated version. He was very grumpy but jobsworthily pleased to have someone to rant at).

He watched as I got off the train..

..and then got off too.

He sat on the bench with his controller friend and looked as if he was content to stay for the duration.

Hmm.

Bummer.

I was only three stops away from where I wanted/needed to be, two from where I needed to change, but there was no chance I could walk there and still catch my train.

I went back to the ticket controllers.

“I’m sorry, I made a mistake. I wasn’t supposed to get off here after all. I need Other Station instead. Can I get the next train with this ticket? It’s only two stops… Please?”

They weren’t very happy, but they did rather dourly allow me to get on the next train.

Whee!

More accurately, they made sure I knew just how much I wasn’t allowed to use tickets past their use-by time, then escorted me onto the next train and watched me to make sure I got out where I said I would…

I luckily had to change platforms to change trains, and they got back on the train to check the tickets in a different wagon, so they didn’t see the last 3 and half minutes of my illicit journey.

Whee!

I arrived exactly 15 minutes before the train left, exactly as instructed by the ticket :).

Whee!

There were major building works at the long-distance station. And rather confusing signposts. And I was trying to catch a train that doesn’t exist on the timetable, rather like the Hogwarts Express, except that I didn’t know which platform to aim for.

Bummer.

My ticket said check the boards and the board said check your ticket.

Sigh.

I found the right platform by chance and after going up and down escalators more or less at random and checking all the platform displays. Some of which said check the display..

Whee? I guess..

When the train arrived it was full and the thermostat was broken

Bummer.

But I was on the right train train at the right time and I did get a seat and there were openable windows and we all got there safely.

Whee!

And that was the end of another successful travelling day.

***

(Yup, I’m off gallavanting again – there are meetings tomorrow and Friday that I want to go to, followed by people I want to visit for the weekend)

On being early, late and on time all at once

April 17th, somehow delayed publication..

Yesterday, my colleague announced that due to unforseen private circumstances he was extending his Easter holiday and having today off as well. No problem. He asked me to water the plants. No problem. He told me which bits of glass to give various customers. Again, no problem. And then this:

“..The company XYZ is coming to do some work on ABC. They’re due to be here around 8 so you should be in the workshop from 7:30 in case they’re early…”*

Eek.

I’m barely awake at 7:30 on a normal day.

I have a problem with mornings. I don’t often function properly before most people are starting their first coffee break at work.

I luckily have flexible working hours. I roll in well after my colleague and stay later in the evening. That means not only can I sleep that much longer in the mornings, the workshop is also open for more hours per day and keeps our owl-customers happy.

***

This morning I awoke to the sound of a band being run over by a reversing lorry**

I stumbled in and out of the shower in a blurry haze and decided to take breakfast with me. My fish got less attention than usual and I didn’t pay any attention at all to things like plants or airing and squeegeeing the bathroom.. When my landlord caught me on the way out, wanting to talk to me about dustbins I excused myself as soon as it was polite to (or possibly earlier). I even cycled slightly faster than usual.

Despite my best efforts, I didn’t get to work until almost 7:40.

That turned out to be ok through, because despite visions of eager workers having to wait for me to open the door and let them get on with whatever needed doing, they didn’t actually arrive until gone 8..

Ho hum.

Still, at least I know I can get to work early(ish) if I need to…

*As ridiculous as that sounds, this is Germany. They could legitimately come early.

** My alarm clock: A CD plays for a few minutes until it’s interru…BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Just like that. Hideous noise. I keep it at the other side of my room, which guarantees that I at least get out of bed to turn it off. I’m still working on not going back to bed once it’s quiet again.

On being blasted by the past (and loving it)

Last night I went dancing. I’ve only been once since I moved north to Berlin. Way back when I lived in the south, I used to go regularly, sometimes twice a week. I had visions of still being as good as I once was.. In reality I was hopeless. At least until I stopped thinking and just danced. My feet know what they’re supposed to be doing far better than my head does. Still rusty, but more-or-less in working order. There will probably be a post about it soon. The teacher said dancing wasn’t so much about leading and following, as about inviting and accepting. Like a host and their guests. Sometimes the guests request things, sometimes the host suggests.

***

Last week I phoned a glass joining expert. We write occasionally but we don’t yak – just the things we need to know condensed into a few sentences. This time we talked. That makes a huge difference. We talked about the glass project I might be taking on, and also about his new self-employed status. We discussed all kinds of things and I’ve been invited to go and see his new workshop after Easter. He’s so happy to be his own boss – his voice is full of smiles and non stuck-up pride. I am so thankful it all worked out for him.

***

I’ve been having quite a lot of health issues lately. Nothing serious, just persistent and annoying. I’ve decided to take all woes to a lady who deals with people as a whole instead of a heap of parts. She asked me for my medical history. I have a memory like a sieve – almost everything pours through leaving me with a mess of song lyrics and little-kid book plots. I phoned my various doctors asking them to send me a copy of their notes and test results and x rays etc. Most of them need me to pick up in person, the only one willing to give it to a person of my choosing was the one furthest away, but within walking distance of a friend’s house – a friend who moved there after I’d left, and who I see once a year, tops. The secretary was fantastic, as was (/is) my friend. He picked up my notes and posted them on. Heroic really, considering he was on holiday with his partner and probably had better things to do. Reading through my notes was horrifying – I didn’t remember most of the things I’d needed treatment for until I read about them..

***

On Wednesday I got an email from a colleague from the place I used to work. We were friendly but not especially close. I left 5 years ago and I haven’t seen, heard from or even thought about her more than a couple of times since. She’s going to be in Berlin soon and wants to meet up. I’m quite excited about seeing her and finding out what’s been happening in her life. It seems there’s been quite a lot of change.

***

I am going to a glassblowing thing soon and it’s being held near (= within a radius of less than 100km) where a couple of friends from glassblowing school now live. I’ve kept in contact with both of them but due to distance and various clashing calendars I haven’t seen one of them in years and the other possibly once a year on average. I wrote to both to say that I’d be in the area and we’re all going to get together for the afternoon after the do. I can’t say how much I’m looking forward to that. I have no words.

***

I logged onto Facebook today for the first time in forever. I had a handful of messages from people I haven’t spoken to in a long time, including one from a glassblower I look up to immensely, asking when I’ll be where, and which meetings I’m attending because there are so much glass-related things to talk about (and so little time)…I’d promised to phone about a hundred years ago and hadn’t. If you’re the least bit creative there are always a million reasons not to phone and I am pretty good at making up stories/excuses. I apologised and he forgave and I feel much better about seeing him in person at the meeting after next. All the awkward is out of the way – we can get on with the interesting stuff.

There were also a few messages from a school friend I haven’t seen or heard from in close to 16 years. We quickly migrated onto a chat program and conversation flowed effortlessly, despite, or maybe because of, the time we have to catch up on.

***

None of these things are technically related.. And yet, they kind of all are. I feel loved and appreciated and like there is a life not only beyond work and my house, but also wrapped up in the day-to-day stuff you don’t always pay attention to. Some things require you to ask for something, some need you to accept something. Sometimes you’re the host and sometimes the guest. Almost all the things were easier to do than to think about.

***

On top of all that, it’s sunny and getting warmer and my mood is mostly a lot better than it’s been in ages and it feels like time to come out of hibernation.

I think I like spring 🙂