Monday, July 06, 2015

Itchy neck

It seems like I might be having a bit of a reaction to something but I'm not sure what. Yesterday evening I had a shower and headed off to the Irish pub for the Sunday night quiz. I wasn't there long when the back of my neck started to feel a bit sore and then itchy. I kind of thought it was just sweat making it itch but it also felt slightly bumpy. Not really bumpy but just not as smooth as normal.

It was much the same this morning when I got to work and I asked the woman I share an office with (K., poor thing, she has to put up with an awful lot from me!) if there was a rash. She said yes, that it looked a bit like a heat rash or something perhaps. It was a bit irritating on and off all day and definitely worse after I was out during lunchtime and the sun would have been shining on it. And again when I got home this evening. I contorted myself with a couple of mirrors to try and get a look and it's definitely something not normal going on back there. And it seems to have migrated to my face a little bit, too.
Not loving my neck/shoulder from the front. And this is after giving the cream time to work, when the rash has actually gone down a lot.
Luckily I remembered that I still had some cream left from a couple of years ago when I ended up feeling diseased like this for the first time. And unbelievably it's still in date - only two months to go but I'll take it. Even checked to make sure it wasn't one of those that's supposed to be used up within a certain amount of time after opening. I slathered it on about half an hour ago and the relief is palpable. Now I just need to figure out what caused it.
And really not loving it from the back. 'Cos yeah, that ain't pretty. And it feels worse to the touch than it looks. Also it is, once more, really hard to take photos of skin/a rash(especially from the back) and I'm sure ye could all do without seeing it but you know, my blog, my record of my life and all that. 
I did have a few strawberries yesterday and Saturday but honestly, they really weren't nice and, apart from the ones I froze yesterday, I ended up dumping the rest. Even having been left to macerate with tons of sugar and even after mixing that with yoghurt, they still didn't taste good. Not even good enough to force myself to eat. K. tried one and agreed they were beyond being worth the effort. So although strawberries are often a culprit for this kind of thing, I'm not sure I ate enough for that to really be it.

Otherwise, not long before it started yesterday I had dinner, which was salad (organic from veg box), a tomato (organic from market) and pork chops (not organic, from market). Dressing was olive oil (about half full bottle so not terribly old), mustard and blueberry vinegar (that was pretty old, just wanted to use up the last of it). Sauce for the pork chops was just some mustard mixed with a bit of yoghurt (fresh jar, only bought last week). And I drank nothing but tap water yesterday while I was at home.

I did use a new bottle of cider vinegar when I was washing my hair but otherwise the Weleda shower gel that I often use. And I did use some of the very small amount remaining in an old bottle of hemp oil. Since the rash came up on my neck and I used the oil mostly on my face and neck, I'm inclined to think it might have been that (very old bottle) and will dump the rest of it just in case. Would really hate to be allergic to strawberries although I might try and make more of an effort to only get organic ones from now on. And hopefully this cream will get rid of this rash very quickly. Not fun at all.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Bits and pieces

I spent nearly two hours soaking in a cold bath yesterday evening and it was bliss. I didn't even read or anything, just dozed a little bit and felt the relief of cool seeping into my way to overheated body. And the temperatures cooled down enough to have the windows open and get a decent night's sleep, too. It has nearly reached 30 degrees again by now but I've gotten a few things done this morning before it got too hot.

I got one wash into the machine last night before going to bed and when a short summer storm (lasted about 10 minutes, rain and thunder and lightning and then it was gone) woke me at about six o'clock I had to get up to close over the window anyway and thought of it. So I just went ahead and hung up that washing and got the second lot into the machine. Glad now that I did because I wouldn't have felt like it later in the heat. Went back to bed after that and slept until nearly half-ten. A few nights of not great sleep catch up quickly. I got up then, hung up the second lot of washing to dry (half of the first lot was dry already) and then headed into the kitchen.

I've been cooking very little over the last couple of weeks so my veg delivery has been building up. And the fridge needed to be cleared out anyway, I knew there were two old jars of yoghurt sitting in the back that had been there for months so I had done part of it yesterday and wanted to do the rest today. I also wanted to make sure to wash the lettuce I got in my veg box last Thursday because otherwise I'd end up not using it at all. I ended up having to simply throw out one or two things that just were past saving. I hate doing that so will need to pull my socks up, so to speak, and just get better again at actually cooking and using up what I have.

I bought three punnets of strawberries yesterday (it's costing 2.50 for one, 6 for three at the moment) and was really looking forward to eating them over the weekend. I washed a large bowlful yesterday and sat down to enjoy them in the evening and was so disappointed. They just weren't terribly nice nor particularly sweet. Any strawberries I've had this year have been fabulous, which somehow made it even more disappointing. I sprinkled them with sugar and left them in the fridge overnight and will have them with some yoghurt today. And I'm going to just freeze the remainder I think. I can use them in smoothies then.

As for veg, once I'd gotten rid of most of what was past saving I have three kohlrabi, about half of a Chinese cabbage and half of another type of cabbage called Spitzkohl (like a pointy white cabbage), some young garlic and a few tomatoes. So I'm going to chop all of that now and saute it. I'll add in the rest of a jar of passata that I opened during the week and will use that during the week with some pasta. Might freeze half of it. Actually, I think I'll do the cabbage separately and freeze that. That'll work.

I also have a couple of aubergines, courgettes and some more tomatoes that I bought at the market yesterday. Will be using some of that in a sweet potato curry that I'm thinking of doing in the slow cooker. Have had two large sweet potatoes hanging around for the longest time and it's time to use them. The delicious curry I had at a Laotian restaurant last week reminded me how much I love it so might as well use what I have to make some, even if most of it goes into the freezer.

So, so far today has been fairly productive. I may treat myself to another cold bath when I'm finished in the kitchen.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Hot again today

The promised 42 degrees has not materialised although the last time I looked at the thermometer (about two hours ago) it was nearly 37. Where I come from five consecutive days of temperatures reaching 25 degrees is considered to be a heatwave so the past few days have involved me mostly trying not to move and very glad that work does have a form of climate control. It's not quite air conditioning but it usually stays in the low 20s so along with a fan on my desk from time to time, it's possible to stay cool enough to still work properly.

Today, I woke up at eight o'clock after a very bad night's sleep (it was very warm all night). Instead of rolling over to try and get another hour's sleep I checked the temperature. It was 26 already so I dragged myself out of bed, tidied out the fridge a bit, brought the rubbish down and went off to do a bit of shopping. Got home just before ten and closed the windows and I haven't been back outside yet. Although maybe I should try it for an hour - there was a nice breeze down by the river yesterday. The thought of putting clothes on is kind of unbearable though. I may just run myself a cold bath instead.

Managed to eat some tomato and mozzarella salad though so at least that's something. Trying to just keep drinking water - food is not too interesting at the moment. Still, at least it's not raining.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Panoramic sunset

I just discovered the panorama function on my smartphone camera. How cool!



And this is another one where I swung round on the bench even further so it goes all the way from one bridge to the next.


posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Moving on

Things have settled down a bit and I've been able to sort out last week's happenings, at least to the extent that I can move on and see what happens. I do want to start trying to blog again more regularly but, hey, I've definitely said that before and I'm sure I'll say it again. So shall I try a list of sorts?


  • Have decided to not do any preserving this year. Of course now that the season has hit and I'm starting to see gorgeous fruit and veg appearing all over the place, I'm wavering on that decision. So I might do one batch of bread and butter pickles. And some tomato ketchup. Maybe just one or two batches of tomatoes. But I know doing nothing is the right decision really if for no other reason than that it will be far cheaper. 
  • Not spending money is important now given that I will be finishing up work at the end of October. Having a major wobble (to the tune of €90) last week when I was being all emotional hasn't helped matters. And nor has having to pay to get bike checked (€43), new glasses (€60) and new helmet (€69). 
  • And just now I was interrupted by a phone call from my brother. I commissioned a piece to be made for him by a woodworker I met last year at the craft fair. It was to be something similar to a piece we had at home when we were kids, that one of my cousins made for my dad, kind of related to our name. My brother has talked about that piece a couple of times over the years, wondering where it was and even saying he wished he had it. So I thought I'd had a great idea. But he sort of just sounded a bit mystified and not terribly impressed. It apparently doesn't even look like what it's supposed to be (although I saw a photo of it and thought it looked good - different and not as nice as what we had at home as kids but still nice. I had it sent directly to him since it didn't seem to make sense to have it sent here only to post it back to Ireland for his birthday). I didn't know what to say so just said a kind of lame "oh well, it's the thought that counts". The conversation did not exactly take off to be honest, I was fighting to hold back tears and not let him realise I was upset but he'd had a long day, was hungry and tired and thirsty so when I said, half-jokingly, half - well it was probably a bit passive aggressive really - that he could just hold on to it until it was someone's else's birthday and pass it on to someone else he just answered "yeah". That hurt more than the rest I think somehow. He said I was obviously not in the mood for talking so he'd go and I just about managed to get out a "right" (and really more of a grunt than a word) before hanging up. Couldn't stop myself from bursting into tears. He rang back and then started giving out and wanting to know why I was crying and I just couldn't seem to make him understand that I was just trying to do something nice. He said to me that I should know that he doesn't attach any importance whatsoever to our name. I couldn't think of anything to say to that except that he should just box it up and post it to me and I'd pay him for the postage, to which he responded that I shouldn't be so silly. We just don't really seem to be able to communicate that well anymore, which upsets me more than anything and add to my general feeling at the moment that I can't do anything right. . We've kind of sorted it out now but mostly by me just saying that I've been having a tough week and it was kind of the last straw that broke my camel's back and then us basically moving on to chatting about what's for dinner. I'm feeling very alone now and so stupid that instead of something he'd be really surprised and pleased by, I've gotten him something that annoyed him more than anything else and that he doesn't even find beautiful in its own right. At least it came in a bit under budget so I do actually have some money leftover that I was going to use to get him something else small, too. I might just send him the money, though, as this rate I don't think I'd trust myself to choose anything good for him. Just the kind of few weeks I've been having and just like that I'm back to using the blog as somewhere to just dump some of the chaotic thoughts out of my head to.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tumult of emotions

Not going to go into why but just need to try and get some of this out of my head. I'm feeling hurt, humiliated, rejected, foolish, angry (not really, but kind of wishing this is where I was), confused, embarrassed, ugly, stupid, worthless, uncertain, mistrustful, numb. And I am tired. Four hours sleep is not enough.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Stiff and sore again

But this time it's because I was out dancing until five o'clock this morning. Wow, my knees are killing me now. Really need to get rid of this weight once and for all. That's the main goal for the next few months. I handed in my notice at work a few weeks ago so I do also need to look for a new job but somehow I'm not bothered about that and do trust that I'll get something in plenty of time (will probably be working until end of October, definitely until end of September). The reduction of stress simply by knowing I'll be out of there relatively soon is noticeable so I'm feeling good about being able to focus on other things for the next while.

I did have a lovely day yesterday. Slept till I woke, got up and went to the market (which I rarely do anymore since I get a vegetable box delivered now). Stopped and returned all my empty bottles to the supermarket on the way and brought the non-deposit ones to the recycle bins. Just bought one or two things at the market, treated myself to some turkey salami and strawberries and got the tomatoes and bread I wanted to bring to the gathering in the evening. Stopped by the optician to pick up my repaired glasses (lenses got scratched when they flew off my head after I flew off my bike) and get the new set slightly adjusted. My eyesight is back to where it was before, the half a dioptre my eyesight improved by before seems to have gone away again and I'm back to the prescription I had for years and years (-3.25 and -3.75 in case you're curious) so I got new lenses for my sunglasses, too. All covered by the insurance - the new lenses for the sunglasses and a new pair of ordinary glasses. Since it seemed like it might be handy to have two pairs of glasses to use I went ahead and paid for the replacement lenses for my old frames. So in total, I've paid 60 euro and now have three pairs of glasses (two ordinary and one sunglasses). Funnily, the new frames I chose (I make things easy on myself by only selecting from the frames that have no extra cost involved, no designer surcharges for me thank you very much) are almost exactly the same as my sunglasses, which I got a year ago. So I may have found the frames I'm most happy with, I think.

After the optician I was actually starting to feel a bit tired - silly really but there's a bit of hayfever happening at the moment again and my eyes are getting very tired very quickly. Also, I really missed my holiday afternoon naps during this past week back at work. But I sucked it up for just a little while longer and brought my bike to be repaired. Need to make sure the accident didn't knock anything out and at the same time they're going to move the front headlamp down so that the basket my sister sent me will actually clip into place. I brought the bike to a place I haven't been to before but a friend recommended it and it's just at the end of my road. My first impressions were really favourable. We'll see what kind of job they do when I pick it up next week. That was one thing I liked though: when he said he'd have it ready by Wednesday and I asked if it would be okay if I didn't pick it up until Saturday, he was fine with it. One of the other local places I've used in the past charges you storage fees if you don't pick your bike up on the day they tell you.

After all of that I did actually manage to get home, grab a quick bite of lunch and have an afternoon nap. I slept solidly for over an hour, so it seems I did need it. Once I got up I rushed around preparing the chickpea and tomato salad I was bringing with me and then heading off to the summer solstice ritual. It was really lovely this year. Mostly meditation, which I was able to really relax and enjoy because I was well-rested enough that I didn't feel like I was just going to fall asleep. All about looking back on the spring and what you achieved during that season and then opening your heart to summer and divining what your wishes for the coming season are. We also danced and sang (in case any of you wondering what kind of music we end up hearing, this was one of the first songs that had been chosen - feel good music all the way):

After that and after some more meditation we had a crafty activity. Each of us got an A4 size sheet of coloured paper and there were markers and pens to draw or write about what your wishes for the summer are. Once we had done that we did a kind of origami type folding of that sheet of paper and ended up with a little boat. The idea is that we each take our boat in the next week or so and set it sailing on a body of water (so most of us will end up at the Rhine) - sending your wishes out into the world as it were.

After some more singing and dancing:

we finished up the ritual part of the evening and got down to the other important ritual: dinner. Everybody brings something and we sit and eat and chat and laugh for an hour or so. After that was done at about ten o'clock, I headed into town, where the girls had been enjoying themselves at the "Long Table". They set up tables all along the promenade and there are various stalls where you can buy food and drink. It's good fun and it has been a while since everyone was out together so there were laughs aplenty and conversation flowed easily. At midnight, when they closed up, we adjourned to the Irish pub and although the music was really too loud one of the girls talked/terrified the DJ into playing good music, i.e. music we remember from when we were younger. So it was a bit of a 90's fest but we all spent hours on the dancefloor (well, it's not so much a dancefloor as a small section of the floor that the tables have been pushed back from). Great fun. Even when the music stopped because then we started to head out of the pub and realised one of the owners had arrived so we joined him and his girlfriend and went across the road to a cocktail bar. The rest of the staff joined us shortly afterwards. The music there, to be honest, was pretty bad and too loud but we still managed to keep ourselves amused for another couple of hours. And then I topped off the evening/morning by walking home, stopping on the way to sit by the river and read my book. All in all, not a bad day yesterday even if I am tired now and feeling like my knees night never be the same!