Confuzzledom

Just a place for me to gather my thoughts


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Miscellany

The shopping is put away, tea is just about ready… all I need now is for the boyfriend to arrive so we can eat. In the meantime, I shall blog.

Things have been much better since the last time I blogged, thank goodness. Another day like Monday may just have driven me insane! I am very much looking forward to the weekend though, when I shall hopefully be buying my washing machine. (Yes, I did just say I was looking forward to buying a washing machine. My life is really is that exciting). If I can find one that’s cheap enough I may even see if I can pursuade Jan to take me to IKEA. I’ve been looking at their website and several things have caught my eye. Like this, and this. Can you tell I got paid yesterday?

Things had started to warm up a bit here last week, but now it’s gone cold again. It was -8°C here this morning! I had to wait 5 minutes for my tram to turn up and even in that short time I could feel my cheeks turning to ice. I’m just glad I don’t live in the north of Germany… up there -9 has been the highest temperature, with lows in the minus twenties. Brrr, just thinking about it makes me shiver!

Hmm, what else can I tell you? It’s my Grandma’s birthday today. The last of the (many!) January birthdays in my family. I hope her card got there on time… I’m not holding my breath though. Royal Mail have been annoying me lately… two things I sent my sister have not yet arrived (one of them was a Christmas card so you can imagine how long it’s been since I posted that) and my friend’s wedding present has only just arrived, 3 weeks after I sent it for the second time! The first time it came back to me over a month after I took it to the post office.  Not at all impressed! Oh, and I’ve also been invited to four hen parties today… all for the same person, and to a second one for someone who had already invited me to one of theirs. Is this he new thing now, having millions of hen nights? Any excuse for a party I suppose…

Right, I’m off to grate some cheese now. Hopefully Jan won’t take too much longer… lunch time was hours ago and my poor stomach is rumbling like mad!


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If I could turn back time…

Today was utterly, utterly pants. It’s not even like anything specific went wrong. Just every single thing I started to do seemed to take much longer than it should have (including a job that was actually fairly easy, but ended up taking half an hour longer than the planned time. Not good this close to the end of my probation period). Every single time I got started on something I had to stop and do something else… answer the phone, reply to an e-mail, install a random piece of software. Grr. If only I had a time machine so I could rewind to 7 o’clock this morning and start over…


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Listen to the choir sing

Jan’s choir performed at a little cafe/bar place in town yesterday, so naturally I went along. It’s the first time I’ve seen them perform (last time I was ill) and I’d only ever heard two out of the 8 of them sing before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I really enjoyed myself though, and I thought they were all very good. (I’m not entirely sure whether my opinion counts though seeing as I don’t have a musical bone in my body and can’t sing a note. It must be nice to have a talent…).

Other than that I didn’t do much this weekend. Most of Saturday afternoon was spent planning a trip around the UK in August with Jan and a friend. We’ll be starting in London then heading to the North East of England (via Wales) and finally to London, before coming back down to take the ferry back. Phew. It’s all very vague at the moment (the only part we have definite dates for is London) but I’m hoping to plan in a few meetings with friends along the way. And if anyone knows of any good, reasonably priced B&Bs in Salisbury, Cardiff or Edinburgh then please send the details my way. All recommendations gratefully received!

I was going to bake today, but I couldn’t decide whether to make cookies or cake, then Jan went home and told me he won’t be coming over again til Tuesday(!) so I ended up not bothering. No point in making an entire cake just for me! Instead I’m sitting here eating cheese flavoured tortilla chips while waiting for my salmon with spinach and tomatoes to finish cooking. Hurry up fish, I’m hungry!


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All I want is to get my clothes clean…

Thanks to my Christmas bonus and the fact that people gave me money for Christmas, I’ve actually still got a fair amount of my wages left despite my spending spree at the weekend and the fact that the month is more than half over. So I’ve decided the time has come to buy a washing machine. I just can’t take much more handwashing, and since Jan so rarely gets round to taking stuff to his to be washed (mainly because he spends most of his time here) I do end up handwashing pretty much everything. Unfortunately I have to wait until Jan has time before I can actually go and buy one – him being the one that drives and all that – but not being able to purchase does not affect my ability to look, so after work today off I went to Media Markt, only to leave 20 minutes later feeling utterly dazed. The cheapest washing machine I saw was €499. That’s nearly five hundred Euros! Or, to put it antoher way, almost half of my wages (once the German government have taken most of it away from me for various taxes and insurances). Is it just me or is that a lot? I mean, I only want it to wash my clothes, not do tricks, cook tea or clean the toilet. I think tomorrow I’ll go to Saturn. Maybe they’ll have something more in my price range…


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Recent reads

I’ve been reading a lot lately. I got books for Christmas then I went and ordered some for myself from Amazon. There were three in particular that I found myself eagerly reaching for every time I had a spare minute (and it just so happened that all three of them were on The List. January has been a good month for crossing off books – and it’s not even over yet!). Since I enjoyed these so much and I’m sure none of you want to read about how I unblocked the shower all by myself I thought I’d make today book review day instead. Enjoy!

Emma and Me by Elizabeth Flock
Told from the point of view of Caroline, known a Cariie, an 8-year old girl living wih her family in Toast, North Carolina. For Carrie, life is divided into the time before her father was killed, when everything was good, and the present, where she has to put up with a drunken, abusive stepfather and a mother who doesn’t seem to care. The “Emma” of the title is Carrie’s little sister, who seems to be the only person who really cares about Carrie. When Richard announces that the family is moving across the state for his new job the two girls try to run away, but Richard finds them and after that they are treated worse than ever. In the new town Carrie befriends a neighbour, Mr. Wilson, who teaches her to shoot. From then on the book rapidly moves towards the crash that has been coming since the story started, and a surprising truth is revealed. I can’t say any more without ruining the ending, but the twist certainly came as a shock to me!

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
I’ve been meaning to read this one since it came out, but somehow never got round to buying it so I was very pleased when I received it as part of my Christmas present from Jan.
Nine-year old Oskar Schell, ameteur inventor, jewellery maker, tambourine player and pacifist, finds a mysterious key left by his father who was killed in the September 11th attacks. The key is in a container labelled with the word “Black”. Realising this must be a name, Oskar decides to go and talk to everyone in New York City with the surname Black, hoping to find out more about his father in the process. As Oskar searches New York, the story of his Grandfather, who survived the Dresden bombings, is woven into the book. Eventually the two stories come together and the story ends on a hopeful note. It’s a sad book, which is only natural considering the subject matter, but it’s also humorous in places with a lot of touching moments. Recommended.

Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland
17-year old Karen makes love to her boyfriend, Richard, for the first time at the top of a mountain. A few hours later she goes into a coma, which she stays in for 17 years. 9 months after falling uncious, she gives birth to a baby girl, Megan. Richard chooses to stay close to Karen, visiting her regularly in the nursing home and taking care of their daughter, with the help of Megan’s mother. Karen and Richarrd’s group of friends from high school drift in and out of the story, but eventually all end up back in the town where they were all born. Then, one night, when he entire group have ended up at the hospital for various reasons, Karen wakes up. To Karen, the world seems to have changed for the worse, while her friends have barely changed at all. Nobody seems to have time to relax any more and people are getting shallower and shallower. A short time later, a plague sweeps across the world until the group of friends (plus Megan) are the only ones left. They adapt, as humans tend to do, ending up sitting around watching TV and eating tinned food. Then they are told that there is a way for them to go back to before the world ended and stop it from happening…
I wasn’t too keen on the end of the book… the solution is a little too simple and the tone of the last few paragraphs doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest, but overall I thought this book was excellent and it certainly makes you think! (Karen definitely has a point with her remarks on technology and lack of leisure time!).


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Retail therapy

The sun came out today and melted most of the snow, so I decided to make the most of it and go shopping. I should have been finishing my progress report for uni and cleaning the flat, but shopping won. I don’t feel too guilty though – that stuff can wait til tomorrow and anyway, most of my purchases were for the flat. I bought:
◊ A tall glass jar for keeping spaghetti in
◊ 2 glass serving bowls for the bargainous price of €1.50 each
◊ A photo frame, which is now hanging on the wall with a photo of Jan and I at my Grandparent’s golden wedding anniversary in it
◊ A photo album… now the photos I took in Paris in April finally have a home!
◊ A cake tin
◊ New towels (2 hand towels, 2 bath towels)
◊ A plastic box with a lid to keep all my envelopes and writing paper and jiffy bags in.

Not very exciting, I know, but the perfect cure for a week like the one I’ve just had. And I don’t even have to feel guilty because I only purchased things I actually need (well, apart from the photo album and frame, but those were cheap enough not to count…)

I’m going to open a beer now and eat some crisps and dip.The only thing missing to make this evening perfect is Jan. Stupid work sending him to stupid Hamburg to sort out stupid software. You can’t have everything though, I suppose.


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Please can it be the weekend now?

Today has been a looong day, or at least it seemed that way. Actually, I only worked for half an hour longer than I should have, but I’ve wanted it today to be over pretty much since I got up so time just seemed to go on forever.

We went to the cinema last night to see The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassius (the film Heath Ledger was making when he died). It was a little bizarre – which I guess is to be expected seeing as Terry Gilliam wrote and directed it – but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The showing we saw didn’t start til 9pm though, so it was late to bed and early to rise for me. After having a terrible night’s sleep the night before I was already ready for my bed before we even went to the cinema so you can imagine how I felt when it was time to get up this morning! I would have loved to have closed my eyes for a bit on the train to work but instead of my ICE they sent an IC (smaller and slower!), meaning not everybody was able to get a seat. Of course I was not one of the lucky few. Then I arrived at work to find that one of our customers had sent a complaint about part of a huge job that my colleague and I are working on, so I’ve spent most of today trying to sort that out in between finishing my other translation and squeezing in a rush job that had to be translated, proofread and sent out within the space of 6 hours. You can see why I want this week to be over (although the weekend is not looking much better from where I’m standing – Jan’s away and I really, really need to get something done for my dissertation. It’s hardly an opportunity to rest and recover…)


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Snow is falling…

It’s difficult to know how to continue after a post like yesterday’s. Do I act like it never happened, go back to telling you all the mundane, everyday stuff that nobody really wants to hear about. Or do I comment on it again, try to explain myself better. Answer your questions, defend my boyfriend (I don’t mean to make him out to be the bad guy in this!). I just don’t know. So we’ll have a bit of both. I would like to thank those who commented on yesterday’s self-indulgent rant anyway. I know it’s something that needs to be sorted out between Jan and I, and it’s not like we don’t talk about it, but it seems we always go in circles while standing in one spot. Or else we take a few steps forward only to gradually slip and slide right back to where we were as soon as we stop paying attention. I don’t want to sound too dispairing though because mostly things betwen us are pretty good.

So, it’s been snowing non-stop today. It doesn’t seem to cause much of a problem around here though – despite the BBC’s claim that German households have been advised to keep three or four days worth of provisions and only travel if they really have to. I don’t know which part of Germany they’re talking about, but I certainly haven’t been told anything like that! So I went to work as usual this morning. My train was only delayed by 15 minutes (and the one coming home by 10) Pretty good considering other trains had delays of up to 85 minutes due to adverse weather conditions (Deutsche Bahn really don’t like to use the word ‘hour’ in their announcements – as if informing us of a 75 minute delays makes it sound any better!).

I saw a mouse while I was waiting for my train home. I guess he’s living under the vending machine at the train station. He kept popping out, sniffing the ground then scurrying back in. A threw him a piece of crisp and was perhaps a little more pleased than necessary when he came out and fetched it. I tried to take a picture, but Mr. Mouse was speedy and I didn’t want to scare him by getting too close so the best I could do was a blurry brown blob with a tail. I know what it is though and that, I guess, is what matters.


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I wish it were simple but we give up easily*

long-distance-relationshipJan and I will have been together six years next month. Six whole years! I was practically still a kid when we got together. In those six years we’ve gone from being “in a relationship” to “in a long distance relationship” and then back to where we started. While every other relationship I was aware of has either moved on or ended we seem to have come to a complete standstill. Of course there have been changes in both of our lives, but they seem to have only happened to us as individuals, at different times as if we were two entirely separate entities who just happen to know one another (well, obviously we are two separate entities but you’d think there would be some mutual stuff in a relationship as well, right?)

So while all my friends are moving in together, buying houses, getting engaged, exchanging vows and having babies the two of us have moved out of our student residence and got our first flats separately, attended engagement parties and weddings as “boyfriend and girlfriend” (in what seems to me is the same sense of boyfriend and girlfriend that is uttered by 15 year olds) and bought dozens of gifts for other people’s children.

It’s not like I even want to get married and have babies at this stage in my life. I don’t even particularly want to get engaged yet. But it would be nice to feel like some day it might be my turn. What I would like is for us to get a flat together. I mean, I adore my flat, it’s the first place I’ve ever lived that was truly mine and it really is a nice place but only being able to have my boyfriend with my for some of the time… well, it gets a little lonely sometimes. I want to be able to wake up beside him every day (not just when he happens to be staying at mine). I want to know I’ll see him in the evening without having to ask. I want a bed that’s not mine, but ours. Is that really too much to ask?

quarto-desarrumado

Would he want to live with me if I cleaned up more often? (Photo: nanquimvirtual)

Sometimes I’ll find myself trying to work out reasons why he might not want to live with me, despite the fact that he tells me he dosn’t even know why. But it’s as if I need to have a cause so I can start trying to fix it. A while ago I got the idea into my head that once I had a proper job he would want to stay with me. Except then I found a proper job, moved into a flat (by myself), lost my proper job again and found a new one… and I’m still living alone. Now I occasionally think that maybe once I’ve got through my probation period things might start to happen. Then there was the time that I decided I needed to give him a reason to come home to me every night, so I started making sure tea was ready when he came home and he always had something clean to wear. He tells me he likes cooking with me though, so I guess that one’s backfired. A recurring theme (and something that I guess is always is that back of my mind) is thinking that he doesn’t want to live with me because he’s seen the state that my flat gets into, so every few months I’ll make a vow to myself to keep on top of the housework. Unfortunately, as I keep telling you (I am the proverbial stuck record!) my housewifely skills leave much to be desired. So I’ll clean and tidy the entire flat once and manage to wash the dishes immediately after we eat for maybe three days in a row, but then I get bored and the thought of the dishes waiting for me in the kitchen just makes me want to cry, and so I stop and once again Jan has to come home to a messy kitchen once again.

In my more logical moments I realise that whether he wants to live with me or not doesn’t depend on my job or my cooking or how tidy I am, but my logical moments are few and far between. Before long the crazy catches up with me again and I start obsessively cleaning the kitchen and dreaming up new and interesting dishes to win over my man’s heart (because we all know the way to that is through the stomach). And so it goes on, over and over again.

Sigh I know nobody said relationships were easy, but I wish someone had warned me it would be this hard…

*Title blatantly stolen from the song The Other Side of the World by KT Tunstall


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The bringer of tea and toast

We survived our day at Castle Frankenstein. I didn’t catch sight of any Igors and no evil scientists seemed to be hanging around waiting to steal my brain. I did have to act as official interpreter for the civil ceremony with only about 20 minutes to prepare, but I was mostly translating for my family and I managed pretty well (despite the lack of dictionaries). Although I’m still annoyed with myself for forgetting the German word for ‘difficulties’ when translating the groom’s father’s speech into German (such a simple word and I’ve used it a million times…). Luckily the bride was able to help though.

We were both tired last night after getting up so early, so we were in bed by 10:30pm. Jan informs me that he caught a cold yesterday, so he’s still in bed even as I type despite the fact that it’s now 2:30pm. I went in at 1:30 to find out whether he wanted any lunch and he complained of a headache and asked for Erkältungstee (herbal tea for the curing of colds). So I fetched tea, I fetched cheese on toast and earlier I did some washing so that he would have something clean to put on in case he ever does decide to get up. And all that despite the fact that when I was ill he spent the entire week at his flat, leaving me to fend for myself. So much for gender equality…

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