Monday, April 09, 2018

House and home

Before I came down with the lurgy last week I did make some more progress on fixing up my home. Clearing out the boxes definitely helped. Still have a couple here full of papers and bits and pieces that need to be sorted but my bedroom is feeling so spacious.

After my guests left yesterday, I was putting the sofabed back to sofa mode and decided to turn it around to sit against the long wall instead of the window. I've been considering doing that for a while and although I'm not sure it actually looks or works better, for now I'm going to leave it that way. It feels like there's a little bit more space freed up that I can use to actually exercise in. Although the room does perhaps end up looking a bit narrower.

Much as I love the wooden armchair, I have admitted to myself that it really is just too big for my apartment. I need to clear it off and take a good picture to send to my sister. I think it would match her existing furniture really well but am not sure if she'd like it or want it. Since it was a gift to me from a good friend who was downsizing a few years ago, I'd like to pass it on to someone I know rather than just sell it or give it away to any old person.

Yesterday evening, I bestirred myself for long enough to hang the insect-proof netting curtain thing that I actually bought about a year ago and then never got around to putting up. Need to do some work on getting the side bits properly secured but at least it's up. Another baby step towards creating a home for myself. 

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Fernsehturm at Fairytale Paradise and Guests

Came down with a bad tummy bug yesterday so posting was beyond me. Today I have guests staying so no time.

Thursday, April 05, 2018


Have had a long and exhausting day and have nothing to write about (had been considering doing something on eating - knew it wouldn't be hard to bring the A to Z back to losing weight, in fact suspect I might be able to use every letter to somehow get to the topic). So here's a link to Sammy Davis Jr. singing EO11, from the original Ocean's Eleven film.
If you haven't seen it, I'd definitely recommend it. The "high tech" effects are very dated but the twist at the end is just spectacular.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018


As anyone who has been reading this blog for a while will know, I am very overweight. My attempts to lose weight have gotten less and less successful over the years in the sense that even when I start all over again, I don’t seem to be able to keep it up for more than a week or two, if even that. 

Last May, when I was visiting my sister in France, I spoke briefly with my sister about this, telling her about an article I had read about this luxury fasting clinic (sounds like a contradiction in terms but I think it sounds absolutely heavenly, you can read that article here "Enemas, laxatives and one nut: my ten days at a German fasting clinic") and how I’d actually like to go there. She asked me why I didn’t go to the doctor and ask if there was any equivalent for less-well-off people covered by health insurance. I kind of brushed her off but inside could feel myself getting very defensive just even from her really quite innocuous question. As these things go, I firmly pushed the thought out of my head but by the time summer was drawing to a close and my own attempts had never made it past a day or two, the idea of going to the doctor had worked its way sufficiently through my subconscious. It took me a couple of weeks of thinking about it to actually screw up the courage to go to the doctor and ask for help but I did it. And he was on holidays. Typical. 

Rather than traipse across town (my town is small, it would have been about a ten-minute walk) to the doctor who was covering for him, I sort of heaved a sigh of relief and told myself I’d go and see him when he was back from holidays. Of course by then I had lost my nerve again and it took me another while to actually go to him. Then it was a month or so of sorting stuff out with the health insurance place, getting all the right forms filled, stamped and signed correctly and all that kind of thing. And then, it sort of seemed to happen very quickly and all of a sudden I had my first appointment with a dietician.*

That was on 7th February and today I had my third appointment. I thought it was great that it was working out so well to blog about it today but as it turns out, today’s appointment ended up being incredibly emotional for me and I’m still feeling a bit vulnerable and not wanting to talk about it. Perhaps I’ll find a way to come back to the topic during this A to Z and be able to write something a bit more positive. :)

On the whole, she is being a big help and I have made some progress. I’m a bit caught between knowing how much better I could be doing if I were just a bit better organised and trying to learn how to deal with the situations that my disorganisation lands me in time and again. And, as has been the issue for the last year or two, it’s the keeping at it that is the hard part. I have not managed to keep at it consistently by any means but knowing that there’s another appointment coming up in a few weeks is helping me to at least always keep coming back to trying to do better. I’ve lost 2.6kg (just over 5.5lbs), which to me, is really not a lot to have lost in eight weeks but at least it’s going in the right direction and I know that it’s changing habits and improving my overall eating which is the most important thing for now. If I can get that stuff sorted a bit better, then the weightloss will happen one way or the other.

* I’m using the word dietician partly because it fits nicely into my A to Z. The literal translation of the German word would be “nutrition advisor”. Feel free to substitute whatever word is the appropriate word for the profession that is actually regulated by the government in your country.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018


Forgot to write a post today. Mainly cos I couldn't think of anything good to write of starting with c. Now I'm in bed and thoughts are wandering and I realise I could have written something about the constitution. Or compassion. Or the cinema. Or carrots. Or clocks changing. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, April 02, 2018


Almost a year ago, I wrote a post about how I was going to perhaps move some of the still unpacked boxes out from the bedroom so that I could paint the cupboard and rearrange some stuff before unpacking those boxes. And, that still hasn't happened. It has been bothering me more and more the last while but I couldn't face actually doing anything about it. In the end, I've come up with a throw-money-at-it solution. I need to be careful on this kind of thing. Now that I'm working full-time again, I can loosen the pursestrings a bit but honestly, not all that much.

However, in at attempt to try and create enough physical space to create enough mental space for me to actually get on with things, I've decided to rent a storage space for a while. I'd like to think that it's only for a couple of months but then decided to be realistic and signed up for a year (taking the corresponding discount). It's just a 1 square metre (1.2x1x2.2) space and it'll be costing me €33/month. If I want to switch to a smaller cube (1x1x1) during the year, I can do that, too.

So I hired a car for the weekend, and set to dragging out the (I thought) 12 boxes of cloth and wool and crafty stuff that were piled in my bedroom. Except there were actually 15. And at least five of them had kitchen stuff, documents, books and all sorts. I had totally blocked that out but now that I've looked at them I remember adding them to that pile because I just wasn't ready to deal with them. They were among the last boxes I packed before moving, when it was three o'clock in the morning and just a few hours before the movers were due to arrive and I thought I'd never finish. Even yesterday, nearly two years later, I could nearly feel that panicky feeling coming back. Still, I'm only sending boxes with the crafty stuff to storage, and I'm keeping the other boxes to deal with now.

I do have friends coming to stay next weekend, which is partly what gave me the push to finally tackle this so I think I may end up putting a lot of stuff into that cupboard, just to get it out of the way (which is exactly what I didn't want to do the whole time). But I'm setting myself the challenge to deal with one shelf/large pile every weekend from now until the end of may in an attempt to deal with it once and for all.

The other thing I've squeezed into the storage space is my barbeque. It was the cheapest one available at Argos when I bought it about, well, it must be more about 18 years ago now. I was so looking forward to be able to using it here on the balcony and then a couple of months after I moved in, the house rules changed to state that open flame barbeques are no longer allowed. Very frustrating. I've at least freed up the space on the balcony now and when it comes time to emptying out the storage space, I'll have to think long and hard about whether to keep the barbeque or not. I know the sensible thing is to not keep it and just get another barbeque if I ever have a space again that I can use one in. But I also know that the quality of cheap barbeques today is nothing like the one I have (I'm not the only one who thinks that - have had lots of compliements on what a great barbeque it is from lots of people who have used it, even if it is just a basic round one). Anyway, that decision is being pushed down the road for now.

And in the meantime, I need to get back to the boxes. There are at least two more that can go into storage and then I need to deep clean the space they've all been living in for the last two years. To say it's dusty in there would be an understatement.

Sunday, April 01, 2018


When I was about fifteen or sixteen my dad bought a picture at a charity auction. I remember him telling me at the time that it didn't really matter if a picture was "good" or not. The only important thing is whether or not you like it. If you like it, it's a good picture.

In terms of appreciating art, I've always kept that as my guiding thought. Sometimes though, I really would like to just know more about art. I feel sometimes like I live at a very superficial level, never really doing more than barely scratching the surface. And not must in relation to art but in relation to literature, music and so many other things.

A few years ago I decided to at least try and expand my knowledge of some of the most famous painters' work so now every year, I buy a calendar with a particular artist's work in it. The ones I like are a particular sqaure format (with an equally-sized page underneath with the dates on it in squares that actually have space to write in) and they're not terribly expensive.It has been a good way to expand my knowledge a bit beyond just the most famous paintings of some artists. For example, after a friend was talking about Munch and I had said I didn't like The Scream at all it got me thinking that maybe I should check out what else he had ever painted. Coincidentally, at the end of that year, I happened to see a calendar for Munch in the format I like and I got it. Turns out, he did a lot of stuff that I really do like. But any of his iterations of The Scream or similar? Well, I can easily leave them

This year, I decided to push the boundaries a little bit more and instead of a traditional European master, I chose a calendar of work by Hiroshige. I have to admit I do quite like some of it and it is interesting to look at it and see how different it is to Van Gogh, Monet, or Rothko (some of the others I've had).

Now all I need to do is to find more time to be able to just sit and quietly contemplate what's hanging on the wall!