On hurting (and carrying on regardless)

Dear mind, dear body, dear soul,

Yes it sucks. Yes, it hurts. Yes it’s hard.

Know what though?

We’re carrying on. We’re not going to stop or give up or collapse or breakdown. We can go slower if you like. But we’re not stopping. There’s a long way to go yet.

Sometimes, like when hunting bears, you can’t go round it, over it or under it, you have to go through it. Guess where we’re going?! Yup. “The only way out is through” and all that jazz.

And we will get through it. Eventually.

Apparently the right kind of pain means you’re getting stronger. I have no idea which sort we’re working with, but let’s assume it’s the helpful sort and go from there.

It hurts more than before, but we’re better than before, so we can deal with more than before. We got through everything to get here, we can get through this to get further.

On the way, we’re going to keep smiling, keep cycling, keep rowing, keep walking and plodding and crawling. Keep talking and writing and listening and laughing and reading and building and trying. Especially trying.

Even when it’s hard. Maybe especially when it’s hard. Or raining or windy or snowy or silent or uphill.

We can do this.

Slowly.

With a million setbacks and a million and one restarts.

With tears and bruises and scars.

With stories and memories and pictures.

With late nights and early mornings and cake and hot chocolate and parsnips.

With barely-done-up trousers and worn out shoes and a brand new coat rack.

With good books and sunny days and amazing conversations.

With fish and fluffy slippers and freshly-put-up lights.

We’ve got this.

With lots of love,

Me xx

“And she never gives up…she just changes her mind!”

– Billy Joel

On rainbows and double ended candle burning

I’m trying to finish my ‘book’* before Saturday evening. Or at the very very latest by Sunday morning. That would mean I can send it off to be printed before I go on holiday. ‘Holiday’ is used in the loosest form here – it’s more a chance to revise ALL the things than a chance to relax.

But anyway.

Book.

It’s taking me considerably longer than I expected and I have been distracted considerably more than I’d hoped.

Most, but not all, of it self inflicted distraction [obviously]. Things like vacuuming the house or hanging out washing or putting up Christmas lights. Things like new fish and new filters and borrowed dogs and fish illnesses. Things like friends and Committee Meetings, and Forum-riots, and birthday travellings. Things like life.

I have written hideously long emails and forum entries instead of reading my course books, and spent time on the phone instead of on the computer.

I have started sorting my unruly collection of photos, instead of taking the ones I need and ignoring the rest.

I have even watched useless programmes on TV instead of revising or proof reading.

On the other hand, after several years of dossing**, my computer objects violently to having to work so hard, and crashes my writing programme every so often – just to make me appreciate its hard hard life. My brother helped pacify it, but it’s still not totally happy.

Rewriting or reformatting the same thing multiple times can make one mutter things like, “well isn’t that irritating”….

***

I have to work during the day and I have school every other evening during the week and at weekends, so when it comes to doing things I want to do, I’m left with lots of scraps of time squished between all the other things. Lots of those scraps are either too small to use, or occur when I’m nowhere near my computer.

Neither schools nor work is prepared to go away and let me write, so the answer is [obviously] to write at night when I would normally be asleep.

That’s not necessarily a problem – ​I work well, probably even my best, at night.

The problem is, I don’t work well at work if I’ve worked well at night.

I don’t even work well at getting up when I’ve worked well at night.

Not that getting up was ever easy. I’m not a morning person at the best of times, and when I’ve slept an average of 5 hours a night for a week or two, I am decidedly less so.

I can’t function at work without sleep and I can’t function at writing without work (to keep me in chocolate and heating). I can’t function at sleeping when I know I won’t finish writing in time.

Vicious circle?

Maybe. Maybe I’m just stretching the bow a little too far (German expression).

Maybe, hopefully, if I stretch it just right, it can be like a rainbow, and I’ll find there’s a pot of something sparkly at the end of it..

In the meantime, I’ll look more closely at all the colours emerging from the grey fog in my head.

Luckily DB is prepared to cook for me.

Luckily my colleagues understand  (a bit) when I’m unfocused.

Luckily I’m almost (!) finished with the book.

Luckily it’s almost Sunday.

Luckily I have ten days of recovery (and revision)*** in a warm country to look forward to.

Luckily I have the luxury of choice, even if things seem unchangeable.

* book = a project I’m working on for my grandparents

** nothing to do with MSDOS

*** R&R ??? 😉

On forgetting my own BlogDay :(

I didn’t write anything yesterday. I went to bed at 7:30 with a headache instead.

Yesterday was the 23rd of November 2016.

I started writing here on 23rd of November 2012.

That means the blog turned 4, and I didn’t even acknowledge it :(.

Luckily Claudette came to the rescue and congratulated it for me..

Thank you 🙂

***

4 years are a long time, but also not very long.

It’s gone fast, but also very slowly.

I am the same, but also very different.

My writing’s changed (a bit), but my subjects haven’t changed (much).

My blog hasn’t changed (much) since then, but my knowledge has (a lot). Since then I have made a very basic website for DB’s company, a very basic website for my molecules, and started to make one for a committee I’m part of, until they decided they didn’t think it was necessary to inform anyone about what they do. I have tested adding forums and making comment forms and polls and making page templates and even tried a tiny bit of code (which I have abandoned for some time in the future when I have more than a handful of spare minutes).

I am nowhere near close to being ‘good’ at making websites, but I am getting ‘better’. I noticed how much time I must’ve spent on here over the years when I was writing to a group of people yesterday who are trying to create a website, and having most of them think I was talking about flying to the moon when I used words like WordPress or themes or PlugIn or WordFence or multiple editors or posting-by-email.

Here’s to the next four(+) years and the next part of the learning curve :).

Incidentally, I wrote 444 posts in those 4 years.

On writing it out

– or “don’t write back in anger”

(Written yesterday; I fell asleep in the middle if the last sentence..)

Yesterday (Monday) I was mad at a situation involving several people and several opinions.

Today (Tuesday), I wrote them all an email. It took me a good part of the morning to get it into something that I could send, but work was out of the question as long as I was still cross. Glass, hard and brittle as it is, is very susceptible to feelings.

***

I took a copy to my favourite secretary to proof read for me. I needed to know if it was still too aggressive for posting. She asked lots of questions about the situation in general, and pronounced my email adequate for the circumstances.

I left it for a while, and when I came back to it and reread it, it made more sense read backwards, so I changed it round a bit, added a couple of new sentences, took out others and pressed send.

Finally it was gone, and with it, most of my anger.

***

I am now a whole lot calmer, and no longer feel the need for pointy instruments or punching bags.

I read the mail to DB when I got home. he said he wouldnt have been able to write it as well, and he’s German. 🙂

***

So far I have received two (or three if you count two from the same person separately) emails from people who support me, my plan, my ideas and my way of getting stroppy while staying mostly neutral.

I think this might be the way forward. (Loud music – sleep – writing)

Advanced warning

Baby-Essay is finished and handed in. Presentation has been presented.

I now have excess writing capacity and two months of repressed ideas – you have been warned  🙂

On writing my fingers to the boneskin

I have “Daumenknochenhautentzündung”.

“Thumb bone skin inflammation” sounds pretty impressive, but German is a whole lot cooler :). I think the Latin is periostitis but I may well be wrong.

I didn’t know that was even a thing until yesterday, I just knew my thumb hurt.

Apparently, all bones are covered with a very thin, very delicate layer of “skin” responsible for connecting them to the ligaments and nerves and blood supply and who knows what (ask someone medical). If you repeatedly bash a part of your body where the bone is close to the surface (like your shin, or your fingers) there’s not enough flesh to cushion the impact, and you run the risk of damaging the aforementioned boneskin (which presumeably has a fancy Latin name like periost).

According to the internet, this kind of damage is generally caused by running in the wrong shoes.

According to my doctor, it can also be caused by writing too much. The repeated pressure of holding a pen, when you aren’t used to it, is enough to disturb the boneskin. Seems there was a reason behind my year 2 teacher’s constant critisism of how tightly I held (and still hold) “writing implements”.

My thumb, the one that hurt when I wrote all those revision cards, is suffering from accute Daumenknochenhautentzündung. That basically means it really hurts and I shouldn’t use it for a week or so.

Be warned.

🙂

 

On “re: vision”

I have an exam on Saturday.

Actually. That’s not true.

I have 2 exams* on Saturday.

The date’s been set for several months, but somehow I managed to ignore how fast time slips away when you’re not looking properly.

A month ago I made a list of topics we’d covered, and topics we still needed to cover in class.

A couple of weeks ago I started going over my notes and flicking through the text books.

At some point last week I realised I hadn’t really got a clue about any of the things that were going to come up in the exam. A mild panic later, and I made up my mind to get down to revising “properly”.

I revise best when people ask me to tell them about whatever I’m learning. People ask better questions (and can check if I’m talking rubbish) when they can read them off revision cards. As a bonus, writing things down helps me remember them too.

It seems revision in general, and writing cards in particular, is something that needs practising. 😛

I’ve written masses of notes in class without any problems, but writing revision cards seems to be a different kind of stress. My hands ache. My wrists are sore. My fingers are tired. My thumb’s so tired it’s almost gone to sleep completely (I hope it wakes up soon – I need them both!).

Today is the umpteenth day of staring at the heap of ex-forest on my desk (and ignoring the heaps invading the surrounding vicinity, and the dining room table, and the sofa ….). I am thoroughly bored of writing revision cards. I can’t stop though, because I have no time. I don’t remember ever starting to revise this late before, and I can’t remember it taking so much time up, but I think that’s just selective memory loss ;).

***

I was originally planning to write a post about how it must be a sign you’ve done too much revison when getting-up-to-clean-the-toilet-because-the-cleaner’s-been-on-for-10-minutes becomes a highlight of the afternoon. Then I thought about writing about how tragic it is to run out of whichever coloured cards you were using for Topic A and have to use Topic B’s colour, just when you were starting to think you were actually the slightest little bit organised. Then I thought about how dangerous coffee is, and how fizzy you get when you drink the first full cups ever, and how I am going to have to stop as soon as the exams are over before I can’t imagine a life without it.

I say “planning”, but I really mean the ideas were swirling around the back of my head because I wasn’t going to give myself time away from the revision cards to write any of them down.

This is what you’re getting instead.

***

This morning I got up with DB, prepared to sit at my desk and inflict more pain on my writing-thumb.

And then I had to go to the doctor’s.

Nothing like a good adrenalin kick first thing in the morning.

***

I am a glassblower. I am trained to look at reflections in shiny objects. Especially round shiny objects. You can tell a lot about how round things are when you look at the patterns the reflections make.

This morning, once DB had roared off on his motorbike (leaving me in a bleary sleepy haze, to have a bath and get dressed and write lots) I innocently looked in the mirror.

I shall have to make a mental note not to do that anymore. It’s dangerous.

You know why?

I don’t either.

***

My eye had a dent in it.

<insert silent swearing here>

After blinking and looking again didn’t make it go away, I put eyedrops in and phoned my optician. She said I was welcome to come in and see her, but that she’d rather I went to see a doctor.

So I did.

I sat in the overcroweded waiting rooom and wrote revision cards in front of shuffly old people and loud, wriggly, small children. It’s got to be good for me though – Kate says one should learn in as many places as possible….

***

It seems there’s a hole in my <insert germanised latin name for front-of-eye here>.

Apparently it’s not visible unless you dye the surface yellow and shine very bright lights at it.

Maybe eyedoctors should do glassblowing training before going to doctor-school? 😉

Anyway. I don’t know how it got there, and neither does the doctor, but at least when you know it’s there you can do something about it. I have a new sort of eyedrops and a gel. WHOO!

***

And now, after a very pleasant interlude I’m going to get back to those revision cards – I have an exam to learn for afterall!

 

*on the content of 4 Textbooks

On commuting, phones and free time

I’m back on the train.

I have joined the commuting classes – as if there were such a thing – and I’m quite glad about it.

Not especially about the ride, but it creates a small space in my day where no one can complain about me ‘playing’ with my phone. No one can be jealous or upset that they don’t have my full attention, no one can make me feel guilty for not unpacking/tidying/washing the floor/working/whatever. No one can try and convince me that writing is a waste of time or that no one wants to read what I want to write. Continue reading “On commuting, phones and free time”

On becoming a famous writer…

( – or being praised and proud of it – )

As most of you know, I made a very complicated, old-fashioned, obsolete pump for my Masterpiece.

A couple of months ago the editor of the German Glassblowers Quarterly* appeared at work and asked me to send him a report of how I made it, as well as some photos and a technical drawing.

I duly wrote**, drew*** and sent.

A couple of weeks later (1st April) the article was duly published.

So far I’ve heard good things from all the people who’ve read it****.

One guy wants to make the same thing for his masterpiece and my boss (who supervised the making of the pump) delights in shoving the magazine under peoples’ noses and demanding that they read it ;).

Oh yeah!

The best ‘review’ so far, however, was written to me by a glassblowing acquaintance this morning:

“…the article was typical Jesska…. 🙂 🙂 🙂 I could picture you laughing and/or grinning all the way through it 😉 …”.

Apparently he also spoke to the head of the German Glassblowers Association who said there’d “never been such a good article in the magazine”.

That’s pretty cool too, right? :p

* not the real name. The real name is VDG Nachrichten.

** after moving house, building a couple of shelves and generally not sleeping enough

*** ‘corrected’ – I’d already drawn it for the exam, but there were lots of little mistakes I’d only noticed after getting it printed on huge paper the day before it was due in.

**** Shh!! The fact that most of them know me obviously doesn’t count 😉

On decorating

My new room’s* usable!! 🙂

After weeks of shopping, drawing, discussing, clearing out, cutting, painting, and washing every flat surface numerous times, my new “creative corner” is usable 🙂

Notice how I didn’t say finished… There’s still a whole lot to be done. Things like putting pictures up, buying a rug, putting up (read: sweet talking the DB into putting up) some shelving for my stuff, joining the extension lead(/power strip??) to the wall etc etc etc…

But it’s usable.

I’m sitting on my new second hand chair at my new desk, writing my meister projekt this post on my laptop with a huge new second hand screen that you can turn sideways (if you can figure out how to make it talk to your laptop). Behind me is the standing lantern and in front of me is an original retro bendy lamp. My desk has a hole for the cables and there are amazing wonky shelf-boxes on the wall.

Today is another good day.

 

*I’m moving house soon, which is upsetting because it means leaving my amazing old house behind, but cool because I’m moving in with DB and because new things are just generally cool 🙂

On being informed v being ignored

I have a boyfriend 🙂

This happened at some indecipherable point between the beginning of May and the middle of June. I don’t think it’s all that important to have a date, but he does so we’re going to have to think of one.

It’s now August.

I’ve told most people the news.

I’ve also been incredibly busy*.

Being busy not only translates into not-being-at-home, not-being-online, not-making-time-to-phone-people-I-haven’t-spoken-to-for-months-to-tell-them-the-news…..but also into writing-blog-posts-on-my-phone-and-saving-them-as-rough-draft-emails-instead-of-finishing-or-posting-them.

Some people are decidedly not amused at not being told sooner.

Other people are decidedly not amused that I’ve stopped writing.

The second group of people includes myself.

So I’m going to start again.

Writing on the computer that is.

And posting.

And phoning people up.

And maybe being online more often….

Maybe.

Being online isn’t good for my sleep-account.

Then again, not being online doesn’t seem to be so good for my friendships.

Maybe I can get online and still get enough sleep. That would be a first. And firsts are exciting.

 

Watch this space.

 

 

*not always boyfriend related 😉

On Perfect days

(Anyone who read my earlier posts – or spoke to me during May – knows I was invited to spend a week “messing about on a river” (and connecting lakes). This post should have been posted directly after getting back (mid June) but somehow wasn’t. I’m going to post it now anyway)

________________________________________________________________________________

Some days are just so perfect nothing could make them better. They’re even perfect in the moment you’re living them, not just in your memory afterwards.

They’re pretty few-and-far-between, but they do exist.

The first Saturday of the boat trip was one of them. The rest of the boat trip was fantastic too, but there’s something about doing things for the first time that makes them special.

This post won’t do it justice, but I’m going to write about it anyway in the hope I can convey a fraction of the amazingness to screen-paper.

______________________________________________________________________________

I arrived on Friday, was picked up from the station, fed, watered and sent to bed.

I woke to the promise of warm breadbuns for breakfast. By the time I was up and dressed the promise was reallife and waiting for me on the table.

We packed the car and after a brief detour to the workshop to do some last-minute finishing off, we found ourselves parked in a playground on the banks of a huge lake on the outskirts of the city looking at a row of motor and sailing boats, one of which was to be our home for the next week-and-a-bit.

We unloaded the contents of the car into a heap on the pier and I misused a kid’s trampoline while R parked the car where it wouldn’t disturb anyone. I love trampolining, even if the sign forbids anyone over 14 the pleasure of bouncing. Luckily the trampoline police were on duty elsewhere and I got off with being laughed at by R as he came back to start loading the boat.

The only way onto the boat was a thin wooden plank leading off the wooden pier and across the water.

The plank wobbled.

Also the boat rocked if you touched it. I don’t balance better when holding onto something unstable.

I’m not particularly scared of walking on curbstones, and the plank was considerably wider than a curbstone. However. Something in the knowledge that the plank was at least a metre above the water, whereas the curbstone is a maximum of maybe 10cm above the road, made walking along it that much more nervewracking.

Having made it to the boat carrying considerably less than I could carry along a curbstone, R wisely decided I ought to stay inside the boat. He fetched the rest of our stuff while I stowed it somewhere it’d be out-of-the-way yet accessible for the rest of the week.

As soon as the pier was empty we were off 🙂

R’s friend A and A’s nephew D were already onboard A’s boat and waiting for us to get our butts in gear and catch them up.

The first port-of-call was the filling-station.

Filling a boat is very strange. For starters you have to pull up alongside the fuel pump in your boat and then tie it up before you can fill it. I don’t drive, but I’ve never seen anyone tie their car up, and I don’t remember ever tying my motorbike up. I clambered out of the boat and stood on the ‘bank’ out of the way.

When the tanks were full, we untied the boats, moved 50yards up the river and ‘parked’ (involving more tying up) so we could go shopping. We didn’t want to leave the boats unattended, so A and D went shopping first, then it was our turn. The shop was a good 5 minute walk from the river so they brought the shopping trolley back with them. We laughed, took photos 🙂 and walked the empty trolley back to the shop. R refused to walk the trolley back after we’d shopped, so we left it in its trolley shed and carried our shopping back to the boat.

We now had food for the boat and food for us. We needed water. We stopped at a very small port, where a man threw the end of a hosepipe at us and wished us a good day when we threw it back to him.

All things being sorted, we were finally ready to go.

 

It didn’t take long before R suggested I drive. Drive? Steer? Whatever one does to boats to make them go where you want them to go.

As I said above, I don’t drive, but I was curious and 8km/h is a speed even I can handle, so I agreed and he set about telling me how it works. I slid onto his side of the ‘sofa’ and took the wheel. A drove in front of us setting both the speed and the direction, so I just had to follow him without ramming him, the banks of the river, the other boats, or anything else really. There’s also a guage to tell you how deep the water is. Running aground does you no favours.

It seems I am surprisingly good at steering a boat :).

Having discovered this, R relaxed and lay back in the sun. I can’t watch people being lazy if I’m not 😉 and I was supposed to be revising for my upcoming Glass-Theory-Exam, so I dug my 400 painstakingly written 13×7 cards out and handed them to R with the request to go through and ask me the questions. The rest of the day was spent with me behind the wheel and R behind the cards.

Turns out R is dyslexic and, apparently, my handwriting is appalling. Reading is something that came pretty naturally to me, so I don’t really understand how it must feel not to be able to, even if I can understand not making out other peoples’ handwriting. He stumbled through the question while I tried to work out what I might have written, then I answered and he tried to work out what I might have written and whether it coincided with what I answered.

R knows loads – often more than the teacher – and can [usually] explain it in a way that makes me want to listen, so each card became the starting point for a mini-lesson.

 

After a while we arrived at the lake. A threw the anchors out and R and D attached our boat to theirs and we all went swimming (very cold, but okay once you were in).

I lay on deck “to dry” ;). R brought me a Thermarest which meant I lay there a lot longer than strictly necessary.. 🙂

A started washing his boat, I can’t watch people being lazy when I can’t, but I can’t watch people being quite so active while I’m laying around doing nothing (actively watching them be busy doesn’t count) so I washed ‘our’ windows. I’d been irritated by all the dead flies and gunk on the windscreen while driving but hadn’t wanted to say anything… This was a fantastic opportunity to do something about it – and prove my year of washing school windows was good for something.

R sunbathed – apparently watching people clean stuff helps him sleep ;).

As soon as everything on A’s boat and the windows on ours gleamed and glistened (wonderful words :)) we settled down for a BBQ and an evening in. Our boats were joined together so that we were practically all in one ‘room’. The BBQ was on theirs, so we were able to relax (even more) and wait to be served :).

In our supermarket dash it seems R and I had stumbled across the best lamb ever. I wouldn’t recognise the packaging if I was looking for it, and I don’t even remember what the shop was called, which is a bummer, but maybe its bestness wasn’t entirely due to the sheep…

 

D is clumsier than I am 🙂 He was our dinner-entertainment, dropping and spilling things to the amusement of all (and he laughed with the rest of us, so either he’s a fantastic actor or he really didn’t care).

A washed up, R lit the oil lamps and anti-fly-candles and I sat with a Baileys-and-milk listening to the Irish country band giving a concert on the far side of the lake (even if I didn’t believe R had booked them especially) and watching the stars come out.

 

I don’t think anything could have added to the “idylle” (idyllic-ness).

Quote: dreams

“Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you”

Marsha Norman

(If this is true, mine’s going to be a very odd book..)

On priorities

I have a problem with priorities.

Take today for example.

I came home cold, tired and hungry. Also my hair was skanky and my house was a mess.

The Mental To-Do List said:

  • Sleep
  • hot bath (+wash hair)
  • cook+eat
  • tidy up.

However.

The main problem with this list was the order. If I went directly to bed, I would not only forfeit £200, I would also not achieve any of the other things on the list. The same risk hung over the bath.

Besides. I was hungry.

So I braved the kitchen.

Actually that’s a lie. First of all I sat in a heap on the sofa for almost an hour until I could work up the energy to brave the kitchen. If I’d had any milk I would have eaten muesli and ignored the rest, probably falling asleep on the sofa. As it was I emptied and filled the dishwasher and made the best easy-dinner I’ve made for a long time – not that I’ve really cooked anything in ages: Onions, Mince, Vap* and Fresh Tagliatelle. Frying onions has to be one of the best smells ever :).

Now that I’ve eaten (at the computer :S) I suppose I’d better tackle the rest of the things on my list.

But I don’t wanna.

I have 37 ideas for interesting writings in my head. And the computer’s on, and the keyboard’s warmed up. And my computer-blanket is good for snuggling into. And tidying up is dull.

Except I know I’ll regret not-doing-it tomorrow.

So I’d better peel myself off my rocking stool and get my cleaning hat on.

ARGH.

No.

I don’t really have a cleaning hat.

Sorry.

* short for ‘evaporated milk’