On cross pollination

Someone out there appears to have been meddling.

I haven’t found out who they are, but I’ve found the result of their work.

What exactly they were trying to achieve is a little bit unclear, and how they got there is beyond mind-boggling, but there you go.

I present you….

…the leopard-slug!


(or in this case leopard-slugs, since they were playing monkey-tag at the time of the photo)

Habitat: damp pavements and steps

Hobbies: monkey-tag

Size: 10 – 15cm long, 1 – 2cm thick

I’ve seen them a couple of times now, and meant to publish them earlier, but better late that never…

On Kindergarten Windows

I love how creative kids are. I love the different interpretations of a task, “draw a butterfly, colour it in and cut it out”. All the butterflies are different and that’s fantastic. I think it’s brilliant when the stuff the kids make gets put up on the walls or the windows.

Today the train I was on went past a kindergarten.

I was appalled.

The windows were obviously supposed to be chic.*

The butterflies were arranged by the colour of the paper they’d been cut out of. Each window was a different colour.. red butterflies, yellow butterflies, green, blue, purple… That wouldn’t’ve been so bad, and might even have been very effective, if the butterflies had all been individual and facing in different directions. Instead, each window had 7 identical butterflies** in the exact same “random” pattern.

5 identical windows.

And that in a kindergarten.


* Or the Kindergarten ‘teacher’ had OCD…

** okay, to be fair, I couldn’t see the other side of the window. Maybe they were beautiful. Maybe they were very small children and had been given the pre-cut butterflies to colour in…

Who knows..

On Pidgeons

Today my workshop was invaded by 2 pidgeons.

I left for 10-15 minutes to print something in a different room, when I got back, there they were.

Apparently they mate for life. I was told that by most of the people who found out about my predicament.

Not that it really helped me much.

But anyway.

The main problem with having pidgeons in the workshop is not knowing how to get them out.

The obvious solution would be to open the windows.

The main problem with that, is that the windows in my workshop are old and the hinges are apparently dodgey or broken. I’m not allowed to open them.

German windows can open from one side (like any other windows) or tip ca 10 degrees to vertical. 2 of the 6 windows in my workshop can be tipped.

I like fresh air, so I’d tipped both of them.

That’s how they got in in the first place. There wasn’t much chance of them finding their way out by themselves.

Not knowing much else about pidgeons exept that they breed for life and shouldn’t be in my workshop, I went to find the Hausmeister (that’s something like a caretaker I guess. The guy who’s responsible for EVERYTHING no one else wants to be responsible for. Things like catching pidgeons. Not that he personally does anything about the things he’s responsible for. His job is to get hold of the person who is better able to deal with the responsibility and make sure good things happen).

He wrote my name down on a piece of paper and said he’d get in touch when he’d finished thinking. A little while later, he came to look at the pidgeons and confirm that they were indeed loose in my workshop.

Something like 4 hours later, 2 men appeared in my workshop – one for each pidgeon I suppose. One was short and round, the other tall and thin, the men I mean – the pidgeons looked remarkably similar to each other.

In the meantime, my colleague had come back from his doctors appointment. I told him the story so far, that the pidgeon-catchers had been summoned, and pointed to the air condtioning tubing where they were perched. He told anyone who’d listen the story of how he’d chased a pidgeon out of the workshop 30 years ago. He didn’t say anything about these pidgeons, or make any attempt to get rid of them.

When the pidgeon-catchers arrived they said we should normally open a window, but since ours don’t open, they’d brought nets on long sticks. They wanted to look at the room then they’d go and get them. My dear colleague then kindly cleared the things off his windowsill and opened the window. The pidgeons were gently nudged in the right direction with the broom while the pidgeon catchers looked on. They left before they had a chance to get their nets.

Still, I guess watching people waving brooms in the air beats sitting in an office waiting for the phone to ring…

On baby chickens and other Mystery Guests

I found the skeleton of a baby bird in my bathroom vent (see Day 14). It was well and truely dead (as in, only the bones were left) but it still made me queasy. It’s snowed here so I couldn’t really bury it properly. I dropped it off my balcony into the bushes instead. As a compromise for the heartless burial, I walked through the snow on my balcony barefoot. Apparently it’s good for the circulation. And I was already barefoot from cleaning the vent.

I hope it wasn’t the baby chicken my landlord heard. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. I would have smelled it if it was.. Right? I hope it was already there before I moved in. That somehow makes it less my fault, even though falling down the shaft was something the bird did by itself.

My Mystery Guest went home today. He left the first message in my 2013 Guestbook. He wrote:

Dear Jesska,

One seldom finds such open and nice people as you in life. Therefore I thank you for your sincere/hearty hospitality during the festival and wish you lots of pleasure/enjoyment with your Couchsurfing Project.

P. [his name]

P.S. I ate 2 eggs for breakfast, I hope you weren’t planning on making Omelette this evening 😉

It sounded better in German, but it’s still pretty good in English 🙂 I like having good “written-down-comments” – they cheer me up on the days when I don’t get good “spoken-comments”.


I think I declare the CouchSurfingProjekt 2013 officially started 🙂 I still have to register, but I think it could be fun 🙂

On polishing plant leaves

– Or ‘what I do with my free time’ –


Planning is overrated, pointless and a waste of time.

I think I’ll give it up.

I haven’t yet, but I might. It would save me a lot of bother and probably time and effort as well.

Someone’s bound to ask how I’ll notice the difference since I don’t plan much or often anyway. I expect they have a point. The actual objective difference is probably indeed minimal. However. I imagine the subjective difference from my perspective would be huge. Imagine life without let downs…

Sometimes I see organised people who make detailed plans and then proceed to follow said plans precisely and in the exact manner they expected to. I have to wonder how they do it. Is it a matter of training? Do I need to practise more and it’ll be ok? Do they plan the sorts of things that just work? What do they know that I don’t? In my experience life doesn’t work like that.

On Wednesday we (a group of people I know) decided to go iceskating. Yesterday I spontaneously agreed to have them all over here for a barbecue afterwards. So far so good. Okay, so my house was a bit disorganised but that’s no big deal. They know me and I there was time between work and going out.

The Glass Thing I was working on took longer than expected so I got home at just gone 4 instead of 20 past 3. Hey! Still no big deal. I needed to be out at just before 7 to catch the various busses and trains to get me to the ice-rink so I still had approximately 3 hours to sort things (and myself) out. So far still all good.

Trying to sort an entire house before people come over is what Flylady calls ‘crisis cleaning’. As Crisis Cleaning goes I’m almost a professional 😉 Sometime I even invite people over especially as motivation.

I clean houses in a manner which vaguely resembled those lawnmowers that mow by themselves; I don’t start in one corner and work my way around. From an onlooker’s point of view it probably looks crazy – I know I’d love to see a bird’s eye video in highspeed…until I cringe and turn it off that is 😉 – I dart about, moving everything to one side, washing the bit of floor that shows, tidying elsewhere until it’s dry so I can move things onto the dry clean bit and wash the next section, all the while going back and forth to the bathroom to wash the mop head. It’s probably not the best system but it works for me and I was in my element doing it with a fairly tight schedule.

I cleared and washed my balcony -breaking and mending my rubber-broom in the process-, wiped down the plastic chairs and table, put things away, moved furniture, washed the floors, ate a bowl of cereal to tide me over until after skating, emptied the table, … Basically, I was on a roll. I was sure I was going to be as finished as I needed to be by the time I had to leave. I had my shoes on, my skates were in a bag by the door, my jacket was hanging on it’s hook (my purse with money and my buspass in the pocket), the key in the door. As soon as my cleaning-time was up I’d be off like, well, if not like a rocket, then at least like a person on a mission. The house wasn’t going to be perfect, but I wasn’t aiming for perfection and who needs perfection to grill a steak anyway?

And then whooosh! I was hit full on by a severe stomach cramp and a 5 second toilet-warning (remember what I said about rockets?).

I shall spare you all other details, cause I’m nice like that 😉  Suffice to say half an hour later I was on the phone to the others to say I wouldn’t be going skating after all.


How is that fair?!


I know no-one said life was going to be fair. But still. I didn’t think I was asking too much to want to go out occasionally… It’s bad enough being ill over both Christmas and New Year. Why does my body not want me to do ANYthing more exciting than wash doors at midnight? Why can I not stay well long enough to do anything fun? If anyone asks what I did with my Friday evening, I will have to tell them I spent it dusting and polishing the leaves of my houseplants. Which is true but not really tell-worthy.


But hey. I should be more grateful. At least the house looks good and the plants are shiny. (Also, a good friend of mine has been wheel-chair bound for ages and paraplegic (sp??) for almost a year, so, in comparison, I really have nothing to mope about…(ever :S) Prayers for her recovery obviously always hugely welcome)


AmaryllisAnd that’s before it started… (I’d left it in its box until today, because I was going away for Christmas and didn’t want it to die due to lack of love (and water). It seems it doesn’t need much (of either)… *grins*