On 1337 likes and 13-to-30 request

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I’m not sure why 1337 is considered a cool number, but WordPress has just congratulated me, so I’m guessing it must be.

I am a bit of a lot bewildered that so many of you luffly people read what I write, and a lot of a lot more amazed that you like it enough to say so (with all your comments as well as “like-stars”).

Thank you.

***

If I ever finish this stupid essay (and corresponding presentation) I will post something post-y to celebrate you all, in the meantime, it’s almost 13 weeks til my birthday. Approximately 20 weeks ago, I realised it was 30+ weeks to go, but I wanted to wait until it was exactly 30-weeks-to-go, and missed it, and now I’ve pretty much missed 13-weeks-to-go, but that’s probably the way I roll bestest and I suppose I’d miss me if I was less like me…My excuse is that I’m still reeling from the realisation that I really and truely turn 30 this year.

Considering it doesn’t really feel that long ago that I went to an older friend’s 16th birthday party and thought 16 was Very Old, I don’t know how that happened.

Anyway.

I turn 30 this year.

 

So. I’m looking for 13 (smallish) things to do which will push my boundaries and help me make the most of the last few weeks of being 29 and/or make me a better adult when I get to 30 (since I still don’t feel like one).

Send your ideas this way (baring in mind I work full time and go to school 5 or 6 times a fortnight)

I will consider all suggestions, but I most definitely reserve every right to veto your ideas 🙂

On German invitations

If you ever happen to find yourself invited to a German party, remember to turn up at least half an hour before the time on the invite.

It doesn’t matter what kind of event it is. Birthday, Barbecue, Leaving do.

In the last couple of weeks, I have been late to 3 different “occasions” despite actually being on time or early according to the invite.

Exhibit A – a prime example of what not to do (as demonstrated by yours truly):

A colleague’s leaving do: Invite said 12:30, I duely arrived at 12:29. Okay, I was cutting it fine, but I figured it was being held in a large hall so I could sneak in at the back if necessary and noone would notice. I though it was odd that there were people coming down the main stairs as I was going up, but I ignored them and carried on. When I reached the top, it became apparent that it was all over. The speeches were spoken, the colleague had been handed his certificates and bouquet and everyone was already halfway through their champagne.

Exhibit B – how to do it properly (German style):

A birthday party: DB wanted to give the birthday guest his present without everyone else looking, so he demanded we go early. I said he was crazy, but it was mostly his invite, so I tagged along on his terms. Leaving on his terms meant arriving over half an hour before the invite said we were invited. That turned out to be the opportune moment because we’d barely got through the “hellos and thankyous” before the next couple arrived – ca. 25 minutes early. The next guest weren’t far behind, and the last couple (who arrived one or 2 minutes “late”) practically had to fight for seats…

***

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

On growing up (and getting old)

The girl I looked after when I first moved to Germany has just finished school. Not for good – she’s going back after the summer to do the German equivalent of A-Levels – but the compulsory part.

When I first met her she’d just turned 6, and wasn’t due to start school for almost a year. Now, she’s almost 17 and ready to spend the summer celebrating before heading back to get yet more certificates to line her walls or stuff under her belt bed or whatever people do with them these days.

I feel so old! 😉

I regret missing big chunks of her growing up (distance mainly, and time. Germany’s a big country and I have chronic time-deficiency) but I’m glad we’re still in touch, almost 11 years on.

I look at the stream of photos that cone my way and have to smile. Her parents say I influenced her fashion sense and her ability to do her own thing regardless of what other people say. I only wish it were true! I was never that well dressed, and I have probably 20% of her self-respect and determination, but even if I served as a negative example (which I’m certain isn’t what they were implying), I’m happy to have played a part in her life, even a small one. My life’s certainly better for it.

She’s such an amazing kid, woman I suppose I should say now, and I am so proud to know her, despite all the difficulties we had at the beginning. 

She’s had (and has) her share of things go wrong one way or another (who hasn’t?), as well as lots of things go right. She picks her own battles and fights her way through them, and still cares enough to go back and pick up the pieces afterwards.

Here’s to an awesome future, dearest Ex-AuPair-daughter! 🙂

Happy New Year! :)

Here’s to the year 2016.

Let’s hope it’s a good one, not only with plenty of cheer, but also a whole lot of:

  • laughter (the ‘with’ kind rather than the ‘at’ kind),
  • good conversations with interesting (and interested) people,
  • love,
  • time for the things that are important to you,
  • clothes that fit well, and look good, especially when you’re in a hurry (and/or are prone to those dreaded “fat days” ;)),
  • motivation and sticking power to get closer to the best kind of destinations,
  • tables that stay empty enough to use for the fun stuff,
  • chocolate (fair trade?),
  • thankfulness,
  • energy,
  • partners and family who understand how therapeutic/addictive/necessary writing is,
  • generosity,
  • hugs (real, as well as virtual),

and, extra present in my mind atm;

  • health (good health, both physical and mental ;))

 

*****

That’s not anywhere near a comprehensive list, but apparently staring at my phone is antisocial so I’m going to stop, for the next few hours anyway ;), and schedule this to go out at midnight.

Happy partying, luffly people!

Please add your wishes (for yourselves, for me, for everyone) in the comments 🙂

On bright lights and hospital beds – part 2

Thank you for all your prayers and good wishes – please keep them up 🙂

Here are the most important updates:

– My eye is responding well to all the eye drops (4 different sorts last count)

– I am going to be released in the morning, assuming the head doctor says things are ok.

– I have to promise to come back for a check-up on Friday, and can go on holiday as long as I go to see an eye-doctor while I’m there. (:))

– I am allowed to sleep through the night (WHOO!!!)

Sleep well people!

*****

(And now for the rambling back-story I promised yesterday but didn’t finish earlier…)

Monday.
The first day of the busy week. DB and I slept in until half past 10 in the morning, which is a little bit later than I’d planned, but next to unheard of for him… I lazed about on the sofa until I finished my jigsaw and only half-heartedly started sorting out the first couple of boxes in my corner before a friend of DB’s came over. We all chatted for an hour or two and before I knew it, it was dinner-time, followed by walk-round-the-housing-estate-time, followed by crash-out-on-the-sofa-time.

My eye itched for most of the day, and I mostly ignored it. It was a bit dry and a bit red, so I dropped eye drops in every so often, but I get itchy, dry eyes fairly regularly anyway, so I didn’t really think too much about it until we were out walking and the street lights made my eyes hurt. I thought I must have got dust in them while cleaning.

When I peeled myself off the sofa, I took my contact lenses out, washed them carefully and went to bed reasonably early.

1 day down, 4 to go.

***

Monday night.
On an average night, I wake up at least once to go for a pee. On Monday, I was up several times, to put more eye drops in. My eyes (especially the right one) felt gritty. They wavered between feeling too dry, and feeling like I was crying.

Between loo-trips and eye-drop-trips and tossing-and-turning and fighting with the duvet, I didn’t get a lot of sleep.

***

Tuesday.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, I discovered that I couldn’t open my eyes. Or rather, I could, but it hurt. A lot. A very lot as we used to say in my family :).

The light hurt, the movement involved in opening them hurt, the movement involved in looking anywhere but straight ahead hurt. Everything hurt.

We live on a road with streetlights, so even when the curtains are closed, a little bit of light comes in. That was enough to make me hide back under the duvet and scrunch my eyes closed.

At some point DB’s dad phoned and DB got up to help him. I stayed in bed. There was no way I could go anywhere or do anything useful. Looking at things is pretty impossible through closed eyes.

I slept for a while instead.

When I woke up, opening my right eye was still excruciating. Opening my left eye was ok, as long as I didn’t move it or look at anything remotely light. (Not because my left eye hurt, but because they’re synchronised and when left moves, right moves too. When left pupil dilates or closes, right does too). Even with my eyes shut I wasn’t totally pain-free. Just moving my eyes was like prodding a bruise or putting pressure on a sprained ankle.

I went back to sleep. Or at least tried to.

In the time it took DB and his dad to remove and replace the exhaust pipe on the van, I managed to sleep a bit more. I also managed to fumble my way to the cake tin in the kitchen. 😉 Opening my eyes without wincing (too much), came later. Something like 20 mostly-blind eye-drop trips later.

I was able to fully open the curtains at about half past 3, as the sun was starting to go down and I’d had a bath in the near-dark.

***

I’d originally asked DB to take me to see an eye-doctor when he got back.

When he got home, my eye was still bloodshot, but it didn’t hurt neatly as much and I was able to read (and write) one-eyed (hence the quote posts), and felt things were much improved. I wavered against going anywhere. We settled for going to a chemists and asking for more eye drops and a second opinion.

The chemist-lady said she had eye drops, but the good ones were all prescription-only. She said it looked pretty bad (totally bloodshot and a little bit puffy), and recommended going to the specialist eye-clinic.

***

4 and a half hours and a lot of bright lights later, we left the clinic and drove home with enough time to eat quickly, and to pack an overnight bag for an indefinite hospital stay.

It’s amazing how rationally I think when I should be panicking, and how much I panic when there’s no reason for it.

This was rational packing. My bag was packed with far less hassle than when I go on holiday. I thought about my wash kit, dug out a string of fairy lights from a box in the furthest corner of the bedroom (if I’m going to be stuck in hospital, then I want it to be pretty), counted socks and underwear and chose a variety of different books to read. I packed a phone charger, and earphones, and an MP3 player. DB cooked, then packed the tablet and some chocolate for me :).

Just over an hour later, at exactly 10pm, we were met by the porter (/whatever the men who escort you to the right ward are called).

The night nurse was amazing, the morning nurse not so much.

Considering they were both responsible for squirting drops in my eyes every hour or so through the night, they couldn’t have done it more differently. It seems some people are more suited to the job than others. In the middle of the night I want to sleep. I don’t want to be woken up more than necessary. Given the choice, I will always favour someone who appears by the bed silently, gently lays a hand on my shoulder until I roll over and open my eye and gets the drops in and mopped up and is out of the room before I have time to become properly conscious, over someone who feels the need to open the door loudly, trample across the room and boom in a ultra-chirpy manner that it’s ‘time for more eye drops!’. Also, if the fairy lights I’m sleeping under provide enough light to see by, why turn all the ward lights on?!

Rant over.

***

Without lenses I turn into a mole. I can see things but they don’t have defined edges. The world looks more like a Monet painting than a Litchenstein cartoon. I can read ok, but I can’t see your features if you stand across the room from me.

I haven’t worn glasses in years. I don’t even own a current pair of glasses – contact lenses are so much more practical, and since my eyes kept changing strength (or weakness in my case), I decided to wait until they’d settled down before ordering glasses.
They’ve been stable for a year now, so buying a pair of glasses was on the list of Things-to-do-in-2016.

Ho-hum.

I’m not allowed to wear contact lenses for the best part of a month. That’s a lot of time to be blind.

It’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow. Everything shuts at midday. Nothing opens at all on New Years Day, and we fly to Lanzarote early on the 2nd (Saturday). Then it’s Sunday and nothing will be open there either. There’s a slight chance something might open on the Monday, but there’s a lot of chance it won’t, because the Spanish celebrate Christmas up to the 6th of January. I hope I can get someone to make me a pair of glasses after that at the very latest. That’s more than a week of mole-dom.

ARGH.

On bright lights (and hospital beds)

Sometimes, I think I should just stop making plans.

I mean, I know they never work out the way I intended them to, so I could save myself the bother of making them in the first place.

Also, maybe God would stop laughing at them/me.

***

This year, the company I work for closes between Christmas and New Year. This means I have ‘ZwangsUrlaub’ or compulsory holiday.

I was planning to relax until Sunday, doing jigsaws and folding stars and making Gingerbread houses (which I still have to post, sorry) and other Christmas Things, and then spend the compulsory week off work (Mo-Fr) tidying up my corner, finding the bottom of the washing box, hopefully finally getting some paintings finished, maybe even getting some pictures on the wall, before flying away with DB on Saturday for 2 weeks of sunshine and more relaxing (dear theoretical burglars, please note – we have housesitters with a dog).

We were also going to visit a couple of DB’s friends and celebrate the new year with fireworks and copious amounts of food (me) and alcohol (DB).

What I wasn’t planning on doing, was spending time in hospital. Not as a visitor, not as an outpatient and most certainly not as an inpatient.

***

Turns out I have Keratitis and have the dubious privilege of at least one, probably two, possibly more, overnight stay(s) in hospital where the night-nurse has the dubious pleasure of waking me up every couple of hours to drop eye-drops into my sleep-deprived eyes.

***

This is my bed:

Hospital bed with fairy lights
“I want to see the [fairy] lights tonight” – adapted from Richard Thompson’s ‘Bright lights’ lyrics
Apparently I’m the first patient to bring fairy lights with them.

However, it appears to be a Good Thing because it means I can leave them on and the nurse doesn’t have to turn the main lights on and wake everyone up.

***

According to the doctor I saw after 4 and a half hours in the waiting room, and who shined multiple very shiny lights in my eyes, it (Keratitis) can be a dangerous thing to have.

Mine doesn’t seem too bad, but I could use any spare prayers you have…

(Eyesight is crazily important, and I’m going to do all they say I need to do to get better, but they’re contemplating cancelling my holiday – to ensure that I can be monitored – and that would suck big time. DB needs a break, and we chose not to book cancellation-insurance, so the money would be gone too…)

***

Thank you 🙂

***

P.S. I’ll write some of the background story tomorrow..

On Boxing Day bowling with the boys

…or the second day of Christmas for anyone who doesn’t know what boxing day is…

Once upon a time, about 20 years ago,  DB and a crowd of friends decided to go [10-pin] bowling on the 26th of December.

Since then it’s become a tradition.

This year was the first time I went with them.

Unlike them, I think I’ve been bowling 4 times in my entire life.

I didn’t do too badly though, all things considered. I even got a couple of strikes. A lot of balls rolled off to the sides, completely missing all the pins, but I wasn’t the only one throwing them, so it wasn’t all that embarrassing 🙂

We played 4 rounds, all the others improved over time. Despite getting weaker and weaker and even dropping a ball before I could throw it, I scored 60-70 each round (of 10×2 throws).

3 hours of good company and left over Christmas chocolate, cakes and biscuits is something I could agree to repeat – it was a good way to spend an evening.

***

Yesterday, my fingers hurt.
Today, my whole arm hurts.

This proves that I do have muscles.
Muscles that I rudely woke up in the middle of their hibernation.

On Christmas Jigsaws – day 1

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Every Christmas, my family does a jigsaw puzzle.

This year they’re doing one without me, so I’m doing one without them… 🙂

DB is helping, but hasn’t had nearly as much practice…

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On Birthdays and Blorthdays

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Go and visit Claudette.
She’s one of my bestest blog-friends, and it’s her birthday today (HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLAUDETTE! :)).

Also, my blog is 3 years old.

And it was my birthday on Friday.

So.

Everything points to having a Blorthday Party.

I’m not really sure how Blorthday Parties work, so you’ll have to help me out. All ideas welcome (although I reserve the right to declare them ridiculous as I see fit…).

As a start, I suggest you post me a blog url you think I might like, before heading off to see Claudette.

***

If it’s YOUR birthday too, tell us so. It won’t necessarily make anything happen, but at least we’ll know 😉

On making mincemeat of it – part 1

Every year, I make a load of mincemeat, for myself, my family, and anyone else who wants some.

Every year, I make it up as I go along, and no one’s complained yet.

This is part 1 of the recipe – insofar as it can be called a recipe – for 2015.

***

A word of caution to anyone who wants to actually use this recipe:
Please wait until I’ve finished and got it into jars, BEFORE starting. I tweak recipes as I go, and that’s probably annoying for people who follow instructions… (or who live further away from shops than I do).

***

Take one huge saucepan…

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…the rind and juice from 8 oranges (ca 2kg) and 8 lemons (ca. 1kg)…

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…16 grated apples (or half grated, half chopped) (ca.3kg). I took the cores out, but I suppose you could leave them in…

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…6-8 packets (ca.1,5kg) of raisins/sultanas, checking for bits of twig first…

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….a tub of chopped prunes/dried plums…

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…a tray of dried figs…

…4/3 cup of soft light brown sugar and 4/3 cup of soft dark brown sugar. (It probably doesn’t matter what kind of sugar, and I might add more tomorrow)…

…and a lot of allspice (2-3 tablespoons).

Stir well, and leave to sit overnight.
(A couple of pictures are missing – I’ll add them later)