On a platform strewn with confetti hearts

20160610_201037.jpgI missed what happened, I just saw the aftermath – a million (more or less) shiny red hearts.

I don’t know why they were there, but it made an otherwise unmemorable platform a little bit more special.

Do people get engaged on platforms of busy stations?
Married?
Set off on their honeymoon?
Are some people met by confetti throwers when they get back from wherever they’ve been?

I have no idea, but I hope each of those hearts – and there were a lot – stands for a handful of special moments for whoever was involved.

On how to travel by train without annoying everyone else

(A rant, please excuse me, I need to let off steam ;))

Travelling by train is quite easy, really, as is travelling by train without irritating your fellow passengers. At least I think it should be (although maybe I annoy everyone else without knowing it).

There are signs up everywhere telling people not to smoke, drink, eat, shout, put feet on the seats, listen to loud music and a few other things which aren’t particularly irritating.

These are a few as yet unwritten rules, which I would love to see implemented to save my teeth and my good temper:

(Please bear in mind that for the most part, I’m not aiming these rules at doddery old people, or people who are travelling by train for the first time in 35 years (for example) or people who can’t see, or are injured, or have some other legitimate reason for whatever they’re doing. I’m not even really talking to/about people travelling during the day when everything’s empty, they can probably do what they like without anyone caring. I’m talking to/about capable people using trains during morning or evening rush hour.)

  • if you are walking along a platform or across the flow of foot traffic in the station or in front of a lift or up/downstairs, DO NOT STOP WALKING (unless you know no one’s behind you and that’s unlikely). You will most likely cause a pile up, and if you don’t, it’s because of the split second reaction time of your fellow travellers. Find somewhere out-of-the-way instead. Looking for where people aren’t walking helps you find a suitable standing spot.
  • if the train or the lift is already stuffed full of people, DO NOT SQUISH THEM FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR BIKE! People don’t like being squished any more than necessary. Wait for the next one.
  • if you are wearing a [huge] backpack, CHECK YOU HAVE SPACE TO TURN ROUND – you are liable to wallop someone without realising it. Also, taking it off and putting it on the floor will make it easier for more people to squeeze themselves into the carriage.
  • if you get on the train and someone offers you a seat DON’T DITHER ABOUT – either sit down or decline (politely). If there are 2 (or more) of you, come to terms with the fact that you might not be able to sit together during rush hour. The chances of someone else jumping up and offering your travelling partner an adjacent seat is remote. Especially if there is a vacant seat in the next row. You might well be lucky, but it isn’t a right. Say thank you, even if you are facing the wrong way and you didn’t get a window seat.
  • if you need to sneeze, COVER YOUR NOSE, even if you don’t have a hanky or tissues, the chances ate pretty high that you still have a shoulder and/or hands. Use them.
  • if the train’s full and you need to get out at a central (or otherwise busy) station, the chances are huge that other people do too. DON’T BARGE PAST THEM ALL TO GET TO THE DOOR WHILE THE TRAIN’S STILL MOVING. They exist. They can’t disappear to satisfy your need to be the first off the train.
  • if you’re playing with the ticket machine to get prices for imaginary journeys while you’re waiting for your train, and someone is standing close by waiting to buy a ticket, cancel the imaginary journey and STAND BACK TO LET THEM BUY A TICKET. You can carry on when they’ve finished.
  • if you see a person with crutches or a white stick or even an ordinary walking stick, or a buggy, DON’T GET IN THE WAY. They probably need a little bit more room to manoeuvre than you do.
  • if someone gets off the train to make room for you to get out, SAY THANK YOU.

(I won’t continue, I’m cross enough as it is!)

Is it really that difficult?!

On momentary connection

Usually, when I get on the train in the morning, it’s full of other people who are all minding their own business, and presumably trying to wake up before they get to work. People read if they have space to hold a book or a phone, or stare out of the window if they don’t. We all squish up to each other, but try not to actually acknowledge anyone’s existence.

Occasionally something happens which breaks the spell, even if only momentarily. People catch each other’s eyes and smile. It lasts a couple of seconds, and then it’s gone. Except it’s not really gone, there’s still the faintest hint of connection in the air. The slightest remembrance of the smile on the faces of strangers.

It doesn’t happen nearly often enough, but it doesn’t take much, just something a little bit unexpected.

Last week, as the train doors closed and the train pulled away from the station, the driver, who usually says, “Train to Spandau, next stop ..XYZ..”, announced, “In case anyone wanted to know, it is exactly 7:10 am, NOW!….” There was a pause, we all looked round to see who might actually want to know what the time was. Eyebrows were raised slightly. “…And incidentally, have a fantastic morning!”. We smiled, grinned even, and went back to our books, our phones and our vacant gazes out of the windows.

The connection was short, but real.

At the next station we looked up, waited expectantly for the next announcement, “Train to Spandau, next stop XYZ.”

On not listening

A: “I like bananas, they have such nice yellow skin”.

B: “But tomatoes are red! And have seeds”.

A: “yes, I do love yellow bananas”.

B: “I hate it when I get the seeds stuck in my teeth!”

***

About 3 minutes ago, I was sitting in a bar, eavesdropping two people deeply involved in an discussion/argument. It wasn’t exactly the version above, but it was about as stupid. Most notably, neither of them cared what the other was saying, they just kept ploughing on with their opinion, often repeating their previous sentiments, without bothering to check whether the subject matter matched, and getting progressively more irate in the process.

I left them to it – I hope they stop before they explode!

On hurt feelings – part 2

I recently posted this:

“There’s a fine line between holding your tongue so as not to hurt other peoples’ feelings, and letting people hurt yours..

I’m too sleepy to be articulate right now, but I’m pretty sure I need to work on finding that line and learning to walk along it.”

I thought I’d written, albeit sleepily and inarticulately, about being fed up with letting people (= everyone who feels like it) trample on my feelings instead of putting up boundaries and telling them to be nice to me.

After a rough evening I had had enough, and had decided to start working out how to go about protecting myself from future verbal attacks.

Everyone who read and commented apparently took it to mean I regretted saying something mean to someone else….

***

Don’t get me wrong, I love that you commented, hey, I love that people read my posts at all! Thank you πŸ™‚ You’re awesome and you make my day – I love it when there’s that special ‘pling!’ noise and that small orange dot appears next to the bell on my WordPress app πŸ™‚ I love and appreciate that you tried to put yourselves in my position and help me. Really. I’m just a little bit confused about how I should’ve written what I meant, in order to be understood.

(St. Francis would tell me to aim to understand more than to be understood, but I like being understood too)

***

It’s not that I don’t have foot-in-mouth moments, because I do. I think everyone does. Sometimes I say mean things. Sometimes I’m cutting, sometimes I’m hurtful, sometimes it’s accidental, sometimes it’s on purpose. But it doesn’t happen often. At least not that often… I try not to let it happen at all.

More often, I hear people say mean things to me.

I am too polite to cover my ears when someone’s still talking.

I don’t even get up and leave when someone’s yelling at me.

Instead, I listen when people rant.

I very rarely rant back. I will probably argue if pushed and as long as no one’s actually shouted yet.

Usually I’m the one biting my tongue and not the one being bitchy. I’m the one crumpling up inside and trying not to cry in front of yet another person who believes that they ‘ate all the wisdom with a spoon’* and can tell me what I’m doing wrong. I end up on the receiving end of a lot of advice and back-handed compliments and bad-tempered yelling and condescending head-patting.

Some people are presumably self-confident enough to ignore the barrage, some people fire their own right back. Some people tell you you’ve gone too far. Everyone has their own survival strategy.

I make excuses and I let things slide.

Generally, I keep quiet. I tend not to say anything when things other people say and/or do hurt or annoy me. I stop functioning when people raise their voices. The natural response to stress is fight or flight. Mine is ‘roll up in a ball and hope it goes away’. It’s a strategy, but not a successful one. Hedgehogs aren’t known for winning battles with cars.

They are people and people are never perfect. I know that because I’m not perfect either. I tell myself they didn’t mean it, that they have too many other things going on, that they’re not good with words, that they’re having a bad day… and tell myself not toΒ make things worse for them.

After a while of having my own feelings battered, the frustration-dam bursts and floods everything.

At this point I might snap at someone.

I regret the [hopefully few] times I’ve hurt anyone. Knowingly or otherwise. (Really. If I’ve hurt you, please let me know and I’ll apologise profusely.)

I also regret not telling people to mind their own business. I regret taking people’s rants to heart. I regret believing that other people have their lives worked out and that they have the right to tell me I don’t. I regret permanently putting myself on the receiving end of other peoples’ bad tempers and mood swings. I regret letting other peoples’ insecurity place restrictions on my dreams. I regret taking the time to listen to people let out their frustration on my ears. I regret swapping my priorities for those of those who shout loudest. I regret putting people on pedestals at the cost of digging myself into a hole.

I regret not being strong enough to walk away before I’m too weak to stand upΒ  [by and for myself].

***

Now, if you’ve got this far (thank you :)) and have advice for building a protective shield around my feelings, I’d love to hear from you! πŸ™‚

‘Pling!’ πŸ˜‰

***

* fantastic German expression πŸ™‚

See also:
https://notthrowingstones.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/on-what-we-say-v-what-they-hear/
And
https://notthrowingstones.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/on-plans-mice-and-men/

On finally phoning

Why is it so hard to phone people?

Yesterday I phoned someone I’d been meaning to phone for more than a week. I got the number from a friend, and left it sitting in a message, instead of pasting it in to the phone part of my phone, the part which I probably use least, and pressing ‘call’.

When I finally got round to it, it took all of 5 minutes to say all that needed saying. I now have an appointment with a specialist who might hopefully be able to work out what’s going on in my stomach.

That was a medical call, but even personal calls are a bit problematic. I can reel off a list of more people than I care to admit, who I have been meaning to phone for much longer than the specialist…

…and the longer I leave it, the more awkward it’s going to be when I finally do…

…Maybe. Except if it isn’t. Maybe they’re waiting for the ‘perfect moment’ to phone me, and would be relieved if I phoned them instead.

Maybe they don’t care about the length of time I’ve wanted to call but didn’t. Maybe they’d just like to talk.

Maybe I should just make time for one person every couple of days – I could probably be done by Christmas!!

On friendship and ignoration

Friendship is one of those things that should be easier than it is. Sometimes I think I’ve figured it out, and then BAM! I’ve buggered it up. Or they have. Whichever. It still sucks. And just as we get over whatever problem there was, something else happens. Round and round and round (though not so merrily).

This time round, it was a friend I hadn’t spoken to in months. There had been a trust issue at the end of last year, and it took a while to sort out. Since then our paths hadn’t crossed much. When they had, we’d been civil, but not exactly friendly.

Until last Friday.

We ended up at a meeting together. It wasn’t entirely unforseen, it’s a mutual interest, but they hadn’t been to any of the previous meetings so I wasn’t expecting it.

Afterwards, they stopped to ask how things are, and to talk about the meeting.

So far so good.

On our separate ways home, a text conversation commenced.

Apparently they’d decided to stop ignoring me. I wasn’t even aware that they had been. I thought, naiively, that it was just the way things were.

I am so naiive.

On intolerance and trains

I would like to believe that I am a tolerant person.

However. Commuting seems to bring out my intolerant side.

Some things are especially infuriating.

Take, for example, bikers. People who ride bikes. Most of my life I held the opinion that cycling was generally a good thing to do. Environmentally friendly and all that. These days I think it depends on the definition of “environment”. If you mean trees and lakes and mountains you might still be right. Probably even. If you mean “whatever-happens-to-be-around-you” I’m not so sure. Especially if there are trains and other people involved. Even more especially if there are early mornings and lots of people involved. Extra especially if it’s 7 am on a Berlin weekday. Even more extra especially when there are several of them. Bikers I mean, not weekdays.

Why do people have to take bikes on the tube at 7 am?? Don’t they know how full the tube is?? And that’s before you add buggies, bikes and fat people into the mix. I can see that people with small children (and buggies) need to go places and don’t necessarily have cars. That’s fine. I can accept that fat people are entitled to ride on trains. Not a problem. What I don’t get is why the bikers find it appropriate or acceptable to make everyone squish together to make room for them and their bike and then stand in the way while half the passengers get off the train to let other people out/on at each and every stop.

ARGH.

I wouldn’t care if they spent all day on the train, really, as long as they stay off them during rush hour. Or pay for at least 5 tickets.

What also annoys me is the reluctance of certain people to sit by the windows. They prefer to sit on the edge, with one knee sticking out into the isle.

Assuming there are seats available, you can almost guarantee that they will be windowseats with an obstacle course between them and the door. It mostly isn’t worth fighting your way past all the ferocious people who are intent on staying exactly where they are and making it difficult for you to get past.

If everyone chose the windowseats first, then a whole lot more people would be able to sit down. That in turn would free up some space for the people who have to stand up.

Maybe then the bikers wouldn’t be such a problem……

On the usual suspects

So.

Here we are again.

My house and me.

Faced with a whole lot of chaos and a deadline and armed with only 14 hours, of which I plan to sleep through at least 8.

I’m going to yet another wedding tomorrow and won’t be home until AFTER my dearest BF arrives. I’ve told him where the key is, so that’s not a problem. The problem is the state of my house. One of the problems.

I’ve been away a LOT recently (and have several posts stuck in my fingers waiting impatiently to get out) and working late when I’m home. In my head that ought to mean I’ve had less time to mess things up, but it doesn’t. It means I haven’t done any housework or washing (besides last night’s load) in weeks (/months??). Nor have I had the energy to unpack my suitcase. Or my backpack. Or deal with the mail. Or the dead flowers. Or any of the other things on my table for that matter.

In short, it looks worse than it has for a long time.

And it’s embarrassing.

I wouldn’t be quite so bothered if it was ‘just’ the DB and me. He knows me, and he’s only here for one night before we head off to Berlin in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The more major issue, is Studying-D. I don’t think I’ve mentioned him before, which I suppose goes to show how big a role he plays in my life. We go to the same parties, and know lots of the same people. Anyway. He lives just over an hour away (by public transport) and goes to uni near where I live. He’s currently researching/writing his dissertation and losing an extortionate amount of his ‘spare’ time travelling. His girlfriend asked me yesterday if he could live here while I’m away in return for watering the plants and his parents paying me rent. Travelling backwards and forwards to Berlin is pretty expensive, and he’s a decent sort of bloke and I get on with his girlfriend, so I agreed. Thing is, he’s moving in on Sunday. It’s half past 9 on Friday evening. I’ve just got in (okay, so 3/4 hour ago) and I haven’t eaten yet. I’d like to make the house not only presentable enough for a sleepover stop between the BF’s meeting and Berlin, but for a week of someone else living here. I should have started yesterday? Well, yes, probably. Except I got in at midnight and needed to be up at 7.

Time to stop waffling and make a start methinks.

This could be interesting.

Oh yeah. I also need to make a trifle*.

*and think of a way to get it to the wedding without spreading it all over the train.

 

[edit: you can read “What I did when” here]

On writing Revision Cards

I have decided to be super organised.

Not as organised as I said I would be in October, but still a good sight better than I sometimes am.

I have exams in the last week of July.

My last ‘block’ (46-50 hours of lessons) is the first week of July.

Usually I would finish the last block, realise I’m 2 weeks away from the exams and panic – locking myself away from the world and living on frozen (and baked) pizza.

This time I have decided to revise all the things I’ve learned in the last 3 blocks, so that I know ‘everything’ πŸ˜‰ by the end of June. That way I only have to revise the new stuff in the 2 middle July-weeks (thus locking myself away from the world for 2 months instead of 2 weeks ;)).

Having done a lot of exams to get this far, I know I revise best when I get to talk lots ;).

I’m not such a fan of talking to myself so I need people to help me.

I need people to find their way into a subject they most likely have less than no idea about.

I need people to ask me relevant questions and be patient with me while I squirm about on my seat working out what they want to know.

I need people who are willing to try and work out what I mean when I finally have an answer, and to decide if it fits the question.

Because most of my questioning-victims aren’t so well versed in Glass-Theory, and because my school-notes are a huge mess of brightly coloured scribbles and arrows, I’m going through them and writing the most important things onto A7 cards. I’m even making it easier for them by writing a question on one side and the condensed answer on the back.

Now they just have to be able to convert my squiggles into writing and add the correct grammar.. πŸ˜›

That’s the plan anyway.

The practice looks a little different.

I can’t concentrate enough to actually write the stoopid things..

Even knowing I have to finish writing by Tuesday doesn’t help me much.

It’s Sunday. That gives me the rest of today and 2 more days.

2 more evenings really, because I work until 5pm.

I have such a short deadline because I don’t actually want to lock myself away for 2 months. I want to continue to do all the things I love doing and be able to read the cards in the gaps. There aren’t many gaps as it is, but I want to be able to use the ones life throws at me, even if they’re short ones. It’s amazing how many A7 cards you can read in 5 minutes.

It’s also amazing how few you can WRITE in the same timeframe.

It’s practically the end of May already. Here are [some of] the things I want to get done round my revision:

A work colleague (a nice one) and I are going to visit a super-glassblower for a couple of days and be shown how to do clever things with glass. I want to bring him and his family a cake to thank him for his time and for organising the whole thing.

I’m going to spend 8-9 days on a boat with another glassblower. I will hopefully not only learn to drive a motorboat, get through [canal]locks, and sleep while bobbing about on the water, but also find time to learn the stuff I’ve written on the cards. I do have the added bonus of a questioner-with-background-knowledge though :).

2 lovely ladies from school are coming to see me and my town. I really want to have loads of time for them and show them all my favourite places and introduce them to my favourite people so I don’t want to be revising then.

My mum, my gran, my [parents’] house and my [parents’] garden are celebrating assorted birthdays and anniversaries so I’m going home to celebrate them. None of them speak German so the cards would be useless even if I found willing victims.

And then it’s the beginning of July and I’m back in school.

I’d better get back to the books/cards I guess…

OH YEAH!!

On turning down, turning off and turning up

Okay, so I’m [most probably] going to sound either incredibly stuck up or incredibly naiive for the next paragraph or two.. please bear with me.

***

I got a phonecall from my skiing teacher a couple of weeks ago.

He said he’d just got in from a day of skiing and asked if I wanted to go for a couple of days the weekend after next (= this one ;)). He figured I was the only one crazy enough to want to go skiing enough to put up with MORE snow/winter.

I thought that was a fantastic idea and said we should invite D (my ski-partner) because he was bound to be interested (and crazy) too. I was being given a lift into town by a friend I don’t see often and who I wanted to talk to, so we agreed to plan the skiing later.

In the meantime I sent D an email. He was as enthusiastic as I’d imagined.

Last weekend we talked about skiing.

Turns out my SkiTeacher wasn’t just thinking about skiing when he invited me. A happy threesome wasn’t what he’d pictured either (thankfully, I suppose…).

He was jealous of D, unhappy with me automatically inviting other people to what he’d hoped would be a chance to “get to know me better” (his words). He suggested (stroppily) that we (D and I) go together because he didn’t just want to be our chauffeur. That I really just wanted to ski and thought D might too wasn’t a possibility in his mind.

He’s a great teacher, and also one of those people I really like spending time with off the piste, but I couldn’t imagine having a relationship with him. Especially since he’s one of my ex’s best friends, and has just about (more-or-less) finished breaking up with his girlfriend of 4 years (very messy, been going on since about July).

A couple of strained conversations later, we decided to abandon the whole skiing idea, freeing him up to go to a birthday party he would otherwise have passed on. I didn’t exactly turn down the skiing, so much as him as a person.

When D asked what the plan was, I bent the truth a little and told him the SkiTeacher was busy. He suggested we go by ourselves instead….

Oh man.

Because that obviously wouldn’t cause further complications.

Besides, I figured I don’t have the time or the money to go skiing anyway..

***

It’s May.

It’s supposed to be well into spring and fast approaching summer.

Instead it’s cold, wet, cloudy and making me want to hibernate or at least turn the heating back on.

I turned it off back in March when we had a strangely warm fortnight or so. 24 degrees is nice enough to convince me I really don’t need to continue to finance the electricity company’s boss’s next holiday.

On Friday it didn’t get above 10 degrees.

Yesterday it reached the dizzy heights of 15 degrees.

Today it’s back down to 8.

It’s May.

This time next week it’s already several hours into June.

The radio told me that it’s supposed to be warm on Tuesday. The presenter told him to stop there and not say anything about the rest of the week.

Starting on Thursday I’m going to be away a lot for the next couple of months. Given that my heating takes about a week to start to have an effect, it seems a bit pointless turning it on.

I guess I’d better pull out a jumper and my blanket and get through the next few days.

***

I finished school in June 2005. That means I’ve been out of school for almost exactly 8 years (also, that I did my GCSEs 10 years ago, but since the rest of my year are having a reunion party without even inviting me, I don’t think it really warrants much attention…). I moved to Germany the following autumn and apart from a few months here and there have been living here ever since.

After a 5 year ‘struggle’ to make, and more importantly keep, friends during year 7 to GCSEs, it came as a major surprise to be so wholely and immediately welcomed into a group of the loveliest people in the 6th Form (I changed schools). There were enough of us to fill the ‘Small Common Room’ but the core group was practically inseperable, eating, walking, revising, partying, just generally spending time together. I especially spent time with two lovely ladies.

My group of A-Level-ites kind of broke up when everyone went off to uni (and I went to Germany) but we continued to meet up when we were all home for the holidays.These group meetings were drastically reduced when we all broke up with our respective partners and getting together became awkward. Since then we’ve all moved on, changed jobs, houses and boyfriends a couple of times..

However.

I still keep in touch with my lovely ladies. Not especially regularly, but still enough for it to not be forced when we DO make it into the same place at the same time.

And now it’s finally time for them to come and see me in Germany.

Finally.

They plan to turn up at the end of June πŸ™‚

Looking forward to it so much I’ve even started making plans a month in advance!!

πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

πŸ™‚

Skiing, skiing, more skiing and the perils of saunas and after-skiing-parties

Yes.

I realise this post is months overdue. Naja, I suppose weeks is more accurate, but for some parts it’s enough weeks to be more than a month…

***

I can’t ski without hobbling about for days afterwards.

I asked my teacher back in February how long it takes to train your muscles to cope with walking after skiing. He said if I keep it up (ski every weekend) I’d be okay by about June.

Thanks buddy.

It’s not even as if it’s just my legs either. I would understand if it was. I mean, I ski with my legs.. Why my ribs, shoulders, bum, arms and hands of all things should join in the hurting party beats me.

***

I went skiing with D (my Ski-partner) and some of the luffly peeps from my Hauskreis on the 23rd Feb – another brilliant day πŸ™‚ – practised jumping some more, this time over much bigger ramps, and got more (occasionally unexpected) airtime. In case anyone’s interested, I’m getting better at it. By jumping I obviously still mean riding over big lumps of snow, Only these lumps were bigger and steeper and scarier. And sometimes there were several in a row. I only fell over a couple of times, and 2 of those were while getting off the lifts πŸ˜‰ We still haven’t quite got the hang of that yet.. But we’ll get there :).

I woke up more crippled (muscle ache due to skiing) than after any other ski-day this year.

The weekend after that I was ill, which was incredibly annoying, because the weather was beautiful, and cold enough for the snow to stay where it was.

Once I’d recovered, the snow was gone. Or at least too melted to ski on.

***

On the weekend of the 8th – 10th March I went as part of a group of 12 to some ‘real’ mountains – the Bavarian alps – for a couple more days of craziness πŸ™‚ Some of the crowd hadn’t ever skiied before, others had been once (last year), D and I had been practising lots, and the others were almost professionals ;). My teacher came too, which was very cool, even though he was too busy with the beginners to teach me much until the second day. A couple of snowboarders tagged along for the ride, but I didn’t see much of them over the weekend.

I practised jumping, and teaching, and skiing on one foot, and skiing backwards, and skiing with ‘bigfoots’ (which are very short, very fat skis, and pretty scary, but also good fun),Β  and skiing on ‘Neuschnee’ (virgin snow? the deep stuff no one’s prepared or skiied on yet) and riding on chair lifts.

= more brilliant days πŸ™‚

***

We were staying in chalets – very swish, makes the whole thing incredibly refined – with a sauna in the cellar. I’m not a big sauna-fan, but occasionally I give in to peer pressure πŸ˜‰ There was only one other girl (F) and she didn’t want to go by herself. Who am I to spoil her evening?? So I joined her and 5 or 6 of the others for an evening of being baked alive.

After roasting for 15 minutes or until golden brown (go with the 15 minutes, I don’t do brown, golden or otherwise, I go from white to red and back to white ;)) one is supposed to shower with cold water. That seemed like a very silly idea, but everyone was agreed it was the thing to do, and since I was doing the done thing, I figured I could at least try it out. I’m not thrilled at the idea of cold showers at the best of times, and after figuring out that the shower was directly in front of the sauna’s glass door I was even less taken by the idea. There’s something incredibly offputting about showering in full view of a group of guys you can neither see nor hear. While the others laughed at us, F and I made extensive plans for leaving the oven and showering without exposing ourselves: I’d leave the oven first, she’d follow directly behind me, one of us would hold a spare towel over the glass in the door while the other showered. Then we’d change roles. Only once we’d both finished, would we let the others out of the oven. They’d got in after us, so they were due a few minutes longer anyway. A perfect plan.

I’m not sure quite what it is about perfect plans that make them entirely useless and more open to sabotage than any other sort of plan, but there it is..

The door wasn’t very willing to be opened, despite me pushing as hard as possible. Admittedly, ‘as hard as possible’ wasn’t very hard, but what do you expect when I’m dizzy from standing up after spending 15 mins sitting in a box of 70 degree hot steam, and while holding my towel with the other hand? Honestly. Anyway, as unwilling to open as it had been seconds before, when it finally did agree to open, it sprung outwards, with me heading out faster than could be considered genteel. The floor outside, having been completely soaked by the previous showerers, was still wet. I slipped and went flying and landed on my back, losing my towel and stubbing my toe* on/under the wooden bathmat a couple of metres further into the room in the process.

YEAH.

That was exactly how I’d always wanted to get out of a sauna…

…not.

F followed me out and after we’d mopped up the blood, the rest of the plan went exaxctly as we’d planned it to.

The cold shower didn’t seem cold, and because we’re very strange people we went back for more baking once we’d stopped steaming and my head had stopped spinning.

We went out to look at the stars while trying to cool off the second time.

I didn’t even complain much when one of the guys trod on my stubbed toe and said it was my fault for putting my foot where he wanted to stand.

***

After the second full day of skiing, because it was a ‘proper’ (ish) ski-resort, we didn’t go inside to fall asleep with a hot chocolate and a cake like usual, we chose to jump about like mad things while someone sang, very loudly, with a microphone and a back-up CD but without knowing all the words. The someone wasn’t one of us, although I suppose I ought to admit we helped out… It’s rather amazing to dance about in a group of 12 people (amongst another 2 hundred or so) who are all high on mountain air and adrenalin and sing silly songs together, loudly, without anyone minding. Besides the singing there was tea, and gluehwein, and chocolate, and salami, and a lot of laughter.

At some point in the proceedings, it was decided that it would be remarkably cool to learn to spin people round 360 degrees and carry on dancing. I was ‘elected’ to be the willing victim (don’t ask why, I’m not sure either. I didn’t have any part in the discussion leading up to the decision and I think ‘willing’ is a little different, but it is true that I didn’t actually object very much).

The next thing I knew, I was flying through the air…

..until I wasn’t..

…and was lying on the ground instead.

Or more accurately, half on the ground.

The spinner had very kindly thrown himself underneath the other half of me, so I hadn’t actually broken anything. I also hadn’t been dropped on my head, which is apparently what most of the onlookers thought was going to happen halfway through.

His wrist and my elbow were bandaged up by the helpful fireman we’d brought with us, and once we’d driven back to the chalet, I was allowed (or forced, depending on how you look at these things) to lie on my back and rest while everyone else took it in turns to pack and tidy up or bring me grapes and sympathy ;).

In all, it was a great weekend, and I’m still mourning the end of the ski-season πŸ™

And as I said, I can’t ski without hobbling about for days afterwards…

 

*the kind of stubbing, which breaks the nail and makes a mess of the floor…

On unexpected happy endings

There are at least 2 that spring to mind instantly.

1) The people I was going to go skating with phoned me afterwards to see if I was feeling good enough to let them come over anyway. The meat had apparently defrosted and it’d be a shame to waste it, especially if I’d tidied up πŸ˜›

So they came and there was space for them (and the barbecue) and I think a good time was had by all. It was almost 11pm by the time they arrived, the last coming at almost 2am because of working late. We ate in 2 sittings because we didn’t want to wait so long before starting. I think I fell asleep while they were eating the second time but it didn’t matter too much, thankfully my guests are used to entertaining themselves ;). I was woken up to yet another glass of Baileys and a foot massage – can’t be bad. I (and all who wanted to stay) eventually went to bed at about 5am. Not quite the early night I was expecting, but I don’t regret it. It makes me more certain planning’s not my thing though!

2) The ‘other guy‘ from work came to my workshop to apologise.

He’d thought about it and decided that despite not really changing his mind about what he’d said, it was none of his business and that he was going to keep out of it from now on :). It’s amazing what an apology can do to straighten things out between people.

On plans, mice and men

On Plans (especially the best-laid ones):

I was up really early today. I guess it ‘helped’ that I hadn’t slept so well, and that I’d got a text in the middle of the night so my phone flashed all night (which it also does just before the alarm rings). I got up, dressed, had breakfast…and had 15 minutes left…. So I got back into bed πŸ™‚ Hey! What else is an option when you’re tired, it’s cold and you have 15 minutes to kill?! Naja, I got back out, put my coat on, put my shoes on (and laced them up πŸ˜‰ go me!) packed my lunch, turned all the lights off, figured I needed a hair tie, turned them back on, fetched one, turned them off again. Pure and simple faffing about.

I got to work 5 minutes late.

How stupid is that??!

Anyway. I’m alone in the workshop til Monday so it didn’t really matter and I stayed on after so I’m all caught up πŸ™‚

Of Mice:

Uh, nothing specific.. Just thinking of J.Steinbeck

Of Men*:

Why do they have to go about telling me how to live??? I’m sure they mean well… (I hope, otherwise it’s more stupid than I thought) but WHY must they assume I have no ability to think by myself? If the answer to my problem really was the one staring-you-in-the-face idea, is it not vaguely possible that I might have thought of it too? Just quickly, in passing..??

Argh.

Also my dear colleague apparently moaned/stressed/unloaded his issues-about-having-to-work-with-me to another guy from work about me while I was away before Christmas. And ‘the other guy’ agrees with him (and spent nearly an hour telling me why and what I should do about it and ugh – see above).

Is this new? No. Was it kind? I doubt it. It doesn’t feel kind anyway. Did it help (anyone)? Probably not. Did it change anything? Only that I will have to be more careful about what I say to ‘the other guy’ if they’re gunna talk about me. Do I care? Yes. It would seem so. Is that logical? No.

More Argh.

On the plus side, getting mad made me get creative. I have a plan. Not a plan of revenge or anything mean -I don’t do that- it’s a plan to save my sanity. Or what little’s left of it. I will hopefully put it into practise on Monday. Until then I will carry on scheming and cackling.

Lesson to learn from today? Assuming that conversations are like busses, I really need to learn when to tell people to get off.

Anyway. Flying.

I haven’t checked what I supposed to have done today… *checks*

“Today you are doing what we have already done:

  • Getting up and dressing to lace-up shoes
  • Keeping your sink shining

Now is the time to start exploring the Flylady BigTent Group. Be sure to read the β€œNews” section. This is where you will find the Daily Flight Plan, the essays, and the testimonials.”

Well that was tough… Like I said, I even put my lace-up shoes on to go to work with πŸ˜›

I stopped writing just now to see if there was anything worth reading in the BigTent news thing.. I found this (dated today):

“Don’t allow anyone to steal your peace:
We often find that the ones we are closest to are the ones that will say things to us that are not meant to hurt (or sometimes they are) but yet you feel the hurt. There are several ways to not allow yourself to get caught in that downward spiral of hurting.

Remember that you are Special!! No matter what anyone says to you or how they say it, you are a very special person because you are YOU! You are a smart, capable, loving individual that is FLYing!

Remember that you can’t change how people behave — you can only change your reaction to their behavior. This means if your cousin Millie always looks down her nose at you and has a tendency to treat you poorly — feel pity for her because most likely she is a very insecure person that can only feel good about herself when she is hurting others to make herself feel good. People like this do not know what it is like to FLY!

Remember that “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” (Eleanor Roosevelt) This means that you need to keep things in perspective and not give permission to yourself to get caught up in feeling inferior to anyone!!! Do not give anyone the power to hurt you, keep the power of FLYing around you as a shield and wear it proudly.

Keep in mind an old saying “those who anger you conquer you”. This means that if you give someone the power to hurt you or make you angry than they have won. They have managed to beat you up without straining themselves because you gave them the ability to do so!

Keep in mind that unhappy people have a need to ridicule or talk behind your back and yet some “helpful” family member will want to make sure you know about it, sometimes to protect you and sometimes to be the gossiping middleman. I have experienced this in many ways and I promise you that truly the best way to handle this is with grace and dignity. Do not respond to mean and unhappy people. It is not worth getting dragged into a family nightmare. The unhappy ones always have a way of twisting things so that they will always be someone else’s fault. Do not bother getting down in the gutter of misery with these kinds of people. Remind yourself that you are FLYing and that loving yourself is far more important than what unhappy and miserable people think or say about you. YOU know you are worthy and deserving of love not hurt.

When you feel that you can no longer let things slide or roll off your back, it is perfectly acceptable to say in a low quiet voice “I am sure that you did not intentionally mean to hurt my feelings, but you have. Excuse me I see someone I need to speak with” and WALK AWAY! See, you did not cause a scene or publicly embarrass the sad person that was trying to get your goat, you were polite, firm and left them alone without them getting the last word. Leave them with the words that you spoke not tears or anger. You are FLYing, this means taking care of you!! Finally Loving YOURSELF!!!!

You are entitled to a fun, loving, joyful, and peaceful new year. Do not let anyone take that away from you! FLY through the New Year!!! Do this for YOU!”

Ho-hum. Why do all the ‘mean and unhappy people’ have to work with me??? And what a bummer I work in a room with an opaque door. I tend not to randomly ‘see people I need to speak to’… Maybe I should try saying it anyway. Perhaps they’ll think madness is catching.

Normal task:
“Today you are to sweep your front porch area around your front door. Shake out your welcome mats and wipe down your front door. This makes a huge difference in how your home looks. We have a tendency to neglect this area and yet it is the first thing that people see when they come to your home.”

Hmm.. Okaaaay… Best jump to it then..

The focus was ‘Errands’. I suppose shopping is an errand.

 

*[edit] Okay. Not all men. Just the specific men who feel it necessary to instruct me on living MY life instead of living their own. Sorry for offending all the ones who don’t.