On certifiable safety

I don’t really understand what goes on behind the screen, so when I got the second message from a reader who couldn’t open my website without immense risk, I asked the experts.

They did something, and now it works again.

I think.

If it doesn’t, please let me know..

On magic-crushing photos

I went out to dinner tonight, wearing my new dress*.

It’s made of flowing material that swirls around my knees when I walk.

It’s neither tight nor sack-like and it hangs well,

I felt good, good enough to think I might look good too.

When I got back, I still felt good so I asked H to take some photos. He obliged, but afterwards, when he handed the camera back and I clicked through the pictures, all the magic was broken.

Moral of the story?

I don’t know. Maybe you should just enjoy the fantasy world inside your head without trying to capture it.

***

* Yup. I bought a dress at the weekend! No panic involved.

On buying and selling dresses

I bought a dress at the weekend!

People who know me or have been reading for a while know that doesn’t happen very regularly, and that it is usually a fraught experience when it happens.

Not so this time.

I bought it from my favourite sales lady at the market in the next town. She’s enthusiastic about everything she sells and she exudes happy, bouncy thoughts while she looks after her customers. She remembers things people tell her and asks about them the next time she sees them which could be months later. She has that rare ability to talk to several people at once,without ever being rude. She never stops moving, bustling about, rehanging clothes on their hangers, giving advice and opinions, handing over different sizes and colours and waving at acquaintances across the marketplace. She’s tremendously good at her job, and she would rather let you go home empty handed than sell something that doesn’t work for you. I think she’s brilliant.

I tried on a couple of dresses and she shook her head. “Nope. That’s not your colour. That one’s not at all flattering. That one, hmm, I don’t know, no, it’s not right. Try this one. No.. What about this one? Yes! That one’s good! You can buy that one!” 🙂

I came away with a dress, a skirt and a pocket on a kind of belt (for wearing over pocketless skirts or trousers).

Yay!

On movement (DTW)

“No movement is thought of as sexual or embarrassing when you’re little.. It’s just movement. Just an experiment. Little kids are still discovering themselves. Dancing is also self discovery. No brain required, just you and your body and the music……and the other people”

On education and psychological words

Today’s dance teacher wisdom:

“Without primary schools, there would be no universities. Unis don’t teach you anything really new, they just build on what you already know. Primary school is where you really learn new things.”

And also:

“When you say, ‘I can’t do that’ you take a step back. When you ask, ‘how can I do this?’ you take a step forward. Not just physically, but psychologically.”

And also:

“No one looks at the foundations when they go to see Gaudi’s house. The foundations are absolutely necessary, but no one looks at them. They all look at the building.”

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)