On going to bed early

If someone had told me 18months ago, that I would regularly go to bed at or before 10pm I wouldn’t have believed them….

These days I wonder how I survived on so little sleep!

On getting revenge without actually doing anything.

My DB told me I’m too fat the other day. I’m not sure what I’m too fat for, exactly, but it sucked. I am losing weight, slowly, and am at least 3kg down on May, which I have to admit is a long time ago. But at least there’s not much risk of the dreaded yo yo effect! Anyway, I don’t believe in being mean to people just because they were mean first, so I didn’t say much.

He went to the doctor’s today and was weighed and measured.

He is shorter than me which obviously isn’t news.

What IS news, is the fact that he weighs more than I do. BMI places me at the upper end of normal, and him at the lower end of overweight….

HA!

πŸ™‚

On the wonders of chewing gum

I don’t remember coming across chewing gum as a little kid. By about year 4 I’d discovered bubble gum, but wasn’t ever very good at blowing bubbles (glass is much better than bubblegum in that respect, even if it doesn’t taste as good ;)). A bit later, maybe in year 8 or 9, someone told me you produce digestive juices when chewing, and if you aren’t eating, you can end up digesting your stomach walls. That didn’t appeal much, so I stopped. It was probably a good thing, because I was a little bit of an addict. Once I decide on something, though, I’m usually pretty consequent about keeping to it. I must have gone 6 years without a single piece.
Then I did my stint as an aupair. I was offered some by one of the kids, and that was that – my chewing-gum-fast was broken. I stuck to sugar free, and only after meals as a way to clean my teeth without actually cleaning them.

It wasn’t until I cut myself in glassblowing school that I realised how awesome it is.
I’m not good at blood. I don’t watch violent films, I don’t watch documentaries about hospitals, I lie down when I have injections or when they have to take blood samples*.
When I cut myself, I’m usually fine until the cut is washed and bandaged (or at least wrapped in paper towels), and then I go all dizzy and fall over. This particular cut wasn’t even that severe. It wasn’t deep, but it did involve blood and a small flap of skin. The teacher noticed me go white and made me sit down at his desk. Everything sounded incredibly far away, and all the colours got mixed up. Then he gave me a piece of chewing gum. I concentrated on keeping it in my mouth, then on chewing. As I chewed, the world slowly came back into focus and regained it’s normal volume.
That was the first time.
I have used the chewing gum trick several times since then, mostly on myself, but occasionally on someone else. I try to carry a small packet with me at all times. If I don’t have chewing gum on hand, then gummi bears or boiled sweets will do, just not as well.

Even if I’m not hurt, and I’m not liable to black out, if I have to concentrate on something, I function better when chewing.

Maybe I was a goat in a former life – they chew cud while they think too.

* you can’t fall over if you’re already lying down.

On vacuuming stairs

What’s the best way to vacuum a staircase??

I’ve lived away from my parents for over 9 years and I still haven’t figured it out.

For a start why are the cables always that much too short – you can’t vacuum the whole staircase without changing plugsockets. Where are you supposed to balance the vacuum while you unplug it? Or are you supposed to lug it backwards and forwards (or up and down) with you? Do you use the thin nozzle which gets in the corners but takes forever to cover the steps, or the wide head which gets the steps but not the corners, and which bashes the walls. Do you use the carpet setting or the flat flooring setting (our steps each have a piece of carpet on)?

And how do you do all that without tripping over the cable?!

On letting balloons free – part 2

This is the part where I explain, in my own way, what I was doing (and why) last night.

***

For 3 days, a “wall of glowing balloons on sticks” was put up accross the city. They blocked roads, filled pavements and generally got in the way. People would probably normally have complained about the chaos, except this was different. Instead of getting annoyed about them, people stood next to them, took pictures of them, took pictures of themselves standing next to them, walked along beside them, looked them up on the net, or saw them on the news. It was more of a festival than a nuisance.

Crowds of people gathered on the night of the 9th to watch them being let loose. The wall disintergrated and floated off into the sky, carrying their message(s) with them.

There were certainly loads of tourists among the crowds, but these onlookers were mostly residents, people who live in Berlin, or ex-residents, who’d lived here 25 years ago and for whom the evening was more memory than reality.

It was a re-enactment of the past.

***

Berlin used to be a city.
After the second world war the British, the French, the Americans and the Russians divided Germany, and Berlin, up into approximate quarters, or sectors, and each was in charge of their piece of country and city. Russia was communist, and wanted to enforce it’s communism, regardless of popular opinion.
Lots of the people who happened to live in the DDR, the part run by the Russians, didn’t appreciate what was going on, and left.
It didn’t take long for the DDR, the Russians, or the Soviet Union, to realise that they were losing inhabitants at a worrying rate and decided to do something about it.
They built first a barrier and then a wall accross Germany and around West Berlin.
The barrier went up so unexpectedly, some people got caught out. Unaware of what was going on, they went shopping, or to work, and never came home. Families were split up, streets were divided down the middle, houses situated on the border were considered no man’s land and the residents evicted and/or rehoused. In some cases, people escaped through the windows – until they were boarded up that is.

Over time, the borders were strengthened to the point where the guards were allowed to shoot anyone within a ‘safety’ distance and automatic shooting systems where set up to get the rest.

West Berlin was an island in the middle of East Germany. It wasn’t a deserted island though, despite efforts to cut it off – there were even times when planes dive bombed the City with food parcels. It wasn’t a forgotten island either. If you could get into West Berlin you were ‘safe’ and could get a new passport and travel to west Germany and wherever else you wanted to go. If you were caught, things didn’t look good for you.

Several years went by and far too many people died.

Then, in 1989, the people protested, and the wall was taken down. Or at least the gates were opened. (Some other stuff happened too, but that’s complicated)

THE PEOPLE WERE FREE AT LAST! πŸ™‚
Free to travel, free to do what they wanted, free to meet up with long lost relatives, free to say what they wanted without going to jail. Free for the first time in approximately 30 years.

That was 25 years ago.

***

Last night was a trip through memory city. 8000 lit up helium balloons were set up along the path of the original wall. 8000 people were each given a red jacket and the privilege of letting one of the balloons up into the air. I was one of those 8000 people.

The wall of balloons ‘fell’ the way a line of dominoes falls; one by one, each balloon free-er waited for their neighbour to release their balloon before releasing their own.

I have never seen the city so full!Β  πŸ˜‰

On balancing the books

I’ve just spent a very pleasant hour or so balancing our finances in a programme called YNAB. If you don’t know what it is, Google it. I’m not sure how useful it is yet, but it’s pretty coloured and congratulates me when I get the numbers to match up.

Shame I can’t get the rest of my life to balance out.

I probably won’t be commenting or reading anyone else’s blogs for a while, DB is jealous of/pissed off about the time I spend playing/writing on my phone*. I will try to complete NaBloPoMo though.

Much love peeps – please don’t feel abandoned in my absence.. πŸ˜‰

*which I have to admit has increased since the beginning of November…

On glass spirals

I have somehow earned the reputation for being good at making glass spirals.

It started when I was practising for the Meister exam. The man who would become my current boss, but who was back then my ‘coursework’ supervisor told the president of the German glassblowing society that I had a fascinating technique but produced good results.

He said he’d put me down to give a presentation during the seminar. I thought he was joking, but I was wrong..

I survived though, which is what counts I suppose.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the guys in our second company got a request for an apparatus involving spirals. The spirals consist of thin glass rods wrapped around (and melted onto) thickish glass tubes.

He asked me to make them for him.

The boss promised him I would, and then told me it was practically impossible to do, but that I should have a go because I’m “good at spirals “.

I spent a long time mostly avoiding the subject, besides, I had other things to do πŸ˜‰ Trouble is, jobs like that don’t just go away. I practised a bit last week, and asked for some advice from a colleague at the other place I work.

Today, the boss decided they needed to be finished. He is driving over there tomorrow, and wanted/needed to take them with him.

Today was the day. Today I had to practise and produce sellable pieces.

Talk about pressure.

This is what I made:

image

The first 7 or so were dire. Either the spiral part splittered off the tube melted and went wonky πŸ™

They aren’t perfect, but they’re sufficient.

I wrapped them up and the boss is going to take them to the other company tomorrow, where they will be tempered and built into a customer’s complicated project.

I hope they survive the night. Sometimes highly stressed pieces don’t and there’s not much more stressful than a melted on spiral…

On enforced relaxment

When I lived in a shared house, years ago, we only had a shower. The bath had been disconnected and was full of plants. I used to long for the chance to have a bath.

Now I live in a house with a bath, I wish we had a shower.

Between those houses I lived by myself in a flat with both a bath AND a shower. Obviously I love living with DB, but I do miss having the choice of bathing or showering..

I still love baths. Really. Especially this one because it blows bubbles πŸ˜‰ I just can’t bring myself to run all that water for 10 minutes’ washing, so I lie back and relax, and before I know it, an hour’s gone past and I still haven’t washed my hair!

One day, when we’re rich and famous, we’ll turn the upstairs loo into a shower. Until then, I will continue to lie back and enjoy the hot water.  πŸ™‚

On unfinished business

They’ve been working on the corridor where I work for months – at least 6, maybe longer. They bashed a hole in the wall and took out a door or two. Apparently they joined a couple of rooms together. Whatever. It was noisy and dusty and I hope they’re nearly finished.

Today, they painted over the damage.

Because they’d only made holes in one wall, they didn’t bother painting the other wall.

The corridor was last painted about 30 years ago and looks awful. I wasn’t actually aware just how awful it looked until I had the newly painted wall to compare it to. Now it looks worse than awful.

I might have to complain to the management.

On swans and water policemen

When I think of November weather, my first thought is “grey” followed by cold, fog, drizzle, wind and rain.

Today is the 2nd of November. It was 17 degrees (C ). The sky was blue and practically cloud free. DB and I went out in the boat.

image
View from the shore

There aren’t many more enjoyable ways to spend a Sunday than going out on a lake at the beginning of November. In shirt sleaves.

Just as we were leaving one lake and heading for the next, we were called to a halt by a policeman. Our number plates are at home in the garage, not on the boat. He charged us 35€ for the privilege  and we were free to carry on with the trip.

We met up with DB’s parents in their boat for lunch. This swan came to join us. We fed her the last half breadbun. DB’s mum told us off for wasting the breadbun and said we should have fed her the biscuits instead..

image
"Let her eat biscuits"

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who would rather feed swans biscuits than bread.

As it turned out, she hung around long enough to get the biscuits as well πŸ™‚

On returning, having never left…

Hello strangers, long time no speak – where have you you been?!

This post is dedicated to Anon from random life (and anyone else who might have been wondering about me).

*******

Hey! Yeah, it’s been ages.. πŸ™

I think I’m pretty much back* now though.

I didn’t exactly go anywhere, but I wasn’t really here.

By ‘here’, I mean everywhere I usually am.

I’ve been practicing living like a modern day hermit. Hermit because of the cut-off-ness, modern because of the house as opposed to a cave.

I haven’t exactly been ill, I just haven’t felt up to doing anything more than absolutely necessary.

I’ve been looking after myself by staying away from people. Ok, that’s not quite true. I still had contact with DB and work people. I just haven’t phoned any one else up, nor have I written to them. I haven’t been out anywhere. I haven’t invited anyone over. I haven’t written here though I have occasionally read other people’s blogs.

I think /hope /wish I’ΔΊl be here for a while now. Over the last few weeks I’ve started breaking out of my self imposed isolation.

I want to attempt NaNoBloPoMo.

NaNoWriMo, with it’s crazy word counts, is a little bit lot hard to imagine. However. I haven’t written in ages and my head is full of things that want to be written down. I ought to manage a post every day, even if it’s a very short post.

Maybe I’ll aim for 3000 words. That’s 100 per day. That ought to be doable. I don’t usually like the word ought, but I can’t think of a better one right now.

My [multiple] previous attempts at NaNoWriMo all failed miserably. Things happen in November which don’t happen during the rest of the year; computers break, I (and about half my family) celebrate still being alive, I travel, I have exams etc.

This year, as far as I can see**, is a little bit different. It’s the most simultaneously planned and unplanned November I can remember. On the one hand I have never started thinking about Christmas so far in advance (DB is a planner) but on the other hand I’m not flying home, I’m not travelling backwards and forwards across Germany, I’m not moving house, I’m not involved in a messy break-up. I don’t have an idiot colleague to fight.

I ought to be home in the evenings and able to write. Ok, so I’m still working, celebrating and revising/learning (road theory – car and motorbike), helping let balloons fly, dog sitting and designing and making new cupboards for our bedroom. But it should be possible. Oh yeah, I have 2 articles approaching their respective deadlines too.

Theoretically I can write on the train for 10 of the 30 days. And there are weekends πŸ™‚

I’m going to bed now, but I’m glad to be back to writing.

*No, I’m not sure how ‘pretty much back’ works either πŸ˜‰

**not very far πŸ˜‰