Confuzzledom

Just a place for me to gather my thoughts


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Friday Letters & Daily Diaries: 5–11 April 2014

Work-wise, this week has been just as full as the two before it, but somehow it’s still managed to go by quickly – probably because of all the deadlines! I’ve spent a lot of time worrying that I wasn’t going to get things finished when I was meant to, but somehow everything was ready by it’s due date. Go me! Anyway, have some letters and some more detail about my week. Apologies for the huge blocks of text without photos – I’m typing this from work, so I only have access to those that are already uploaded.postbox

Dear temperature. How am I supposed to know what to wear when it’s 7°C in the morning and 22°C by the time I leave work? Sort it out!

Dear large groups of women on trains. You have your reserved seats, so please just sit in them and let the rest of us pass, instead of standing next to your seats clucking away!

Dear Easter. This time next week, you will be here! (Well, Good Friday will be). I’m sooo looking forward to my four-day weekend.

Dear stomach. I’m not sure whether the doctor’s pills are working or you would have got better now anyway, but I must say I’m thoroughly enjoying actually being hungry again!

And now for the week that was…

The weekend. As I mentioned in last week’s Friday letters, I wanted a fairly relaxing weekend after the stress of the week before, so on Saturday I actually slept in til 11 a.m! I then had a cup of tea and did some cross stitch before jumping in the shower and then heading out to do some shopping – I purposely decided not to watch the Newcastle United match and I’m very glad I didn’! When I came home, Jan and I made tea together (pumpkin and pasta) then watched an episode of Farscape before heading to bed, where we read aloud to each other from Terry Pratchett’s Snuff.
There was an Easter market going on in Karlsruhe at the weekend, so on Sunday we decided to go and have a look at it. As it turned out, there wasn’t much there… mostly food stands. It claimed to be an “Easter and Gastronomy Market”, but most of the stalls were just from local cafés or the sausage/langos/crepe vans that are at every single event in Karlsruhe ever. However, it was also a verkaufsoffener Sonntag (a Sunday on which the shops are open – towns are only allowed to do this about twice a year!), so we headed to T.K. Maxx because Jan had never been. I managed to get a wooden letter holder thingy, so it worked out pretty well. Instead of going straight home, we stopped off at Bratar for yummy burgers – at this point my stomach was actually feeling fine! Then, back at home, I made practice Easter nests just to make sure I still remembered how (I’ll be making more this weekend for my colleagues). I ate precisely one Easter nest, but by bedtime my stomach felt uncomfortably full and bloated, although not sore. Gah!

Monday. I woke up feeling okay, but by the time I arrived at work my stomach was blown up like a balloon (I honestly looked pregnant!) and I had no appetite. It was 11 o’clock by the time the bloating went down and I could actually eat my yoghurt. By 1:30 p.m., I was slightly hungry but afraid to eat what I’d brought with me (it was curry), so lunch ended up being three rice crackers. I also had a sensation of acid in my throat all afternoon, which wasn’t fun! I had promised Jan toad in the hole for tea, and by the time it was cooked I’d managed to get rid of the acid and feld quite hungry. I only managed a small portion though. Apart from cooking, all I did on Monday night was watch an episode of E.R and wash the dishes.

Tuesday.  The acid reflux and bloating were back when I woke up, so I decided it was time for a trip to the doctor.  I informed my colleagues that I would be working from home and called the docs for an appointment (Jan wouldn’t do it for me and I still have no idea what the receptionist actually wrote in the appointments book – I highly doibt it had anything to do with my actual name though!). I managed to get an appointment for 3:30, so I worked til just before 3 then headed out. The doctor’s verdict was hyperacidity of the stomach, probably caused by stress. So he gave me some stomach drops and some tablets to stop my stomach from producting as much acid then sent me on my way, telling me to eat light foods for a few days and come back in 14 days if I wasn’t feeling better. After picking up my prescription, I headed home to carry on working for a while. It was my grandpa’s 80th birthday on Tuesday, so in the evening I phoned by dad while he was at the hospital so I could talk to my grandpa. His voice was very weak, but I could just about hear him say “Thank you for calling” and “Love you”. Wishing him a happy birthday was bittersweet – he always said he would live to be 80, and now he’s achieved it. That night was pub quiz, in which my team came second. YAY!

Wednesday. I went into work on Wednesday, armed with my medicine. This week was our intern’s last week with us and we were having pizza for his leaving meal on Wednesday. I didn’t think pizza counted as 2light food”, so I ordered Pizzabrötchen instead – little bread rolls made from the same dough as the pizza. The ones I chose had spinach and a small amount of goat’s cheese on, and were apparantly plain enough for my stomach – at least it didn’t protest. I had wanted to get an early night on Wednesday, but I ended up coming home, watching E.R then getting back on the computer and working til 20 past 8 before finally getting round to cooking tea. We ate fishfingers with croquettes and frozen peas because it was quick, easy and at least fairly plain.

Thursday. I woke up feeling incredibly hungry and had to buy a couple of muesli bars for breakfast on the way to work – usually breakfast is a yoghurt, but I’m avoiding those til I’m sure my stomach has settled down. The morning was pretty stressful with deadlines galore, but by 3 p.m. I’d finished everything I had to do and was able to move on to a translation that I technically wouldn’t have needed to start til next week. I worked precisely 8 hours for the first time in ages, then went home to sort out the living room ready for Jan’s choir coming over to practice (they’re a double quartet  – so 8 people when everyone’s there, which they never are at my place because they only come to us when the person whose flat they normally practice at is away). I then quickly made us a meal of gnocchi with creamed spinach. Once the choir arrived, I retreated to the spare room where I worked on some cross stitch – it’s an Easter card so I really need to get it finished ready to send off! I also uploaded some photos ready to use in a blog post about Colmar. The choir finally left at just before 11 and, after taking my medicine, I basically went straight to bed.

Friday. And that brings us to today. So far, I have worked a bit on next week’s translation and entered the corrections from proofreaders for two jobs due today. Now I’m on my lunch break and as soon as I’ve posted this, I’ll be reading the news before getting back to work. It’s looking like I should be able to leave on time today, so I’ll be out of here by 5 p.m. Then tonight I’m off to watch my quiz master’s band perform – the first time I’ve seen them this year (although we saw him play solo on St. Patrick’s Day). As for the weekend, other than making Easter nests for mine and Jan’s colleagues, I have no real plans as yet…

And that’s what I’ve been up to. Why not join in with Kate’s link up on Diaries of an Essex Girl and tell us all about your week. Just click the button below…
Daily Diaries with Diaries of an Essex Girl


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35 Before 35: Progress report 2

Now that we’re approaching the fourth month of the year (eeeek!!), I thought it was time for another update on how I’m doing with my 35 before 35 list. My last update was in August 2013, just after my 30th birthday. Now, with 4 years and 4 months left to go, here’s how far I’ve got…

Number 3: Learn Spanish

After doing nothing for months and months and months, I recently started using Duolingo again. So far, all I’ve done is repeat the lessons I’d done previously to refresh my memory, but new words have been added since last time I logged on so it wasn’t all just refreshing. Better than nothing, anyway.

Number 13:  Read (or re-read) 50 non-fiction books

I’m really not good at reading non-fiction. No matter which book I choose to read, it takes me so much longer than reading a novel… I even read German fiction faster than non-fiction in my native language! Last time I updated, I had read 2 non-fiction books… now I’m up to three! I finally finished reading Crimea by Orlando Figes, a book about the events leading up to the Crimean War, the war itself and the aftermath. It ended up being quite relevant to current events… but I had started reading it some time last summer! Very interesting, but I’m so glad I’ve finished! Oh, and if anyone can recommend any books on Ukrainian history I’d be very grateful! The Crimea was the closest I found…

Number 15: Read 30 books in German

Last time I updated, the task was only to read 20 books in German, but I’ve been doing so well I decided to increase the number. I had read three German books in August 2013, and now I’m up to ten having recently finished Bis in den Tod hinein by Vincent Kliesch – a crime/thriller set in Berlin. You can see which other books I’ve read in German here.

Number 16: Spend New Year in Madeira and see the fireworks display

If you haven’t read about my trip to Madeira yet, you’re obviously very new to this blog ;-) For those who don’t know, the boyfriend and I spent New Year 2013/14 in Madeira… and yes, we saw the fireworks!

The famous Funchal fireworks

The famous Funchal fireworks

Number 18: Bake 10 different kinds of biscuits

Last time I’d baked one, now I’m up to three. Since August 2013, I’ve baked Honey Gingerbread Biscuits and Chocolate Brownie Biscuits. The latter went down very well with my colleagues!

Number 20: Attend a world cup rugby match

Not done yet, but the rugby union world cup is taking place in England next year, and I’ve already asked my dad to try and get us tickets once they go on sale.

Number 21: Read all the books from the BBC Big Read that I hadn’t before starting this challenge

In August 2013, I’d read six books. Now I’m up to 7… or technically six and two thirds. I’ve read 2 out of 3 books from the His Dark Materials trilogy! Currently I’m reading Middlemarch by George Eliot (also on the list) and not enjoying it at all! I’ve barely started though, so hopefully it will improve…

Number 31: Watch 15 films I haven’t seen before

I hadn’t even started this last time I did an update and now I’m up to a whole 5 films. Woo hoo! Two of them are thanks to my little brother (age 7), who forced me to watch Planes at Christmas and Thunderbirds when I went over in February. You can see what else I’ve watched here.

Aaaand that’s all I’ve done since my last update. I do have an idea about which biscuits to bake next, though. Stay tuned….

 


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Nothing, really

This seems to be becoming my default blog post recently… in the absence of any one thing worth writing a whole post on, it’s all about the little snippets from my every day life. Bullet points that say nothing, really…

  • More than a month after we were told my grandpa had days to live he’s still hanging on in there. He’s been moved to a different hospital in the town my grandma lives in (much more convenient!) and my dad said last week that he’s not really drinking any more, so he was going to get put on a drip so he doesn’t dehydrate.
  • I’m now halfway through my week of eating peanuts while the boyfriend is away and I’ve discovered that I don’t like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (too sickly!) but I could eat Reese’s Pieces all day. They are YUM! Maybe it’s a good thing I normally try to avoid peanut related foods…
  • I don’t know if it’s because the weather has turned cold again or how absolutely crazy work’s been lately, but this week I’ve been sooo tired. I was in bed by 9:30 last night and still didn’t want to get up this morning.
  • Once a month, I go out for a meal with my colleagues.  This month’s meal is tonight and we’re going for Asian food. Just thinking about it makes me drool. I see Peking Duck in my future!
  • I’ve just discovered that the TV channel SIXX shows an episode of ER at 6:30 p.m. every evening. The other day, I watched the one where Romano gets squished by a helicopter! It’s still weird watching it in Germany (I keep thinking “but that’s not his voice!”), but it’s still fun to watch it… a bit like visiting old friends. Sure, I could just watch my DVDs (I have the box sets of seasons 1-5) but watching it on TV is somehow a different experience… even if it is in the wrong language ;-)
  • My little brother is coming to visit me in July! I haven’t had a visitor since my sister and her boyfriend came in 2012 (for the Formula 1) so this is very exciting news.

And that’s all from me. I have a few plans this weekend, so hopefully after that I’ll have something more interesting to tell you. In the mean time, if you’re currently trying to learn a language (any language) go and read this absolutely fantastic post by Lady of the Cakes: Language Matters: Do You Sound Like Yourself?

 


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Friday Letters

It’s Friday again… finally! Despite my day off on Wednesday this week has been ridiculously long and busy! Hence why I’ve been sort of absent in the blogging world. Again! Never mind, here are some Friday letters for you.

Letters

Dear weather. I can’t believe you’re turning bad just in time for the weekend again. It’s like you’re doing it on purpose…

Dear work. Apparantly you weren’t listening when I asked if you could maybe get a little less crazy. Four-day working weeks should not be this exhausting!

Dear red pandas. Seeing you on my way to the train station in the morning always makes me smile. ♥

Dear boyfriend. Tomorrow will be our last day together for a week. Please don’t go leaving any bits of you in Turkey this time ;-)

Dear everything peanut. I plan to take advantage of my boyfriend’s absence next week and eat you in abundance. You have been warned!

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend.


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A Day in My Life: 18 March 2014

When my work reopened after Christmas, I still had one day of last year’s holiday left over. My initial idea was to use it on a Friday or Monday and go away with Jan for a long weekend, but he ruined that idea by saying he wouldn’t have time for anything like that until at least April. The holiday had to be used by the end of March so that was no good, so instead I decided to take the day after St Patrick’s Day off, knowing it would be a late night at the pub. As it turned out, I had to go to England in February so I had none of last year’s holiday left after all, but by that time my day off had been put in for and approved so it seemed easier to still take it off anyway. And that was my very long-winded way of telling you why I had yesterday off.

Not long after I got up, I read this blog post by Manda of Break the Sky, which reminded me that it was the day of her Day in the Life linkup. I decided it was still early enough for me to join in, mostly because the alternative would have been to do a post about today instead, and honestly one post that follows a day in my working life is enough! So here’s how I spent my random day off work…

I had originally planned to get up at 10:30, but after checking Facebook on my phone for a while, I ended up falling back to sleep for half an hour. Ooops! It was 20 past 11 by the time I got up, then I headed straight for the computer to catch up on some blog reading (Manda’s being among them… which is the entire reason for this blog post). Not wanting to get dressed yet, I made sure to put on my nice fluffy socks to stay warm!

Socks

Before I could go for a shower, I obviously needed a cup of tea! While I drank it, I decided to put BBC News 24 on and see what was going on in the world. Unsurprisingly, all they could talk about was the Crimea. Even the disappeared Malaysia plane barely got a look in with Putin’s address going out live!

TV remote

At 5 past 1, I was considering going for a shower when I realised I was hungry… not surprising considering I hadn’t actually eaten anything yet! I shoved some potato croquets in the oven and did some cross stitch while they were cooking. I then ate the finished croquets with some yummy brown sauce.

Lunch eaten, I decided it was finally time to go for me shower. Then, once I had showered, dressed and briuhed my teeth, I had no more reason not to get on with what I’d been putting off all morning… the dishes!

Dishes

No sooner had I started washing up, than I was saved by the bell! The door bell, that is. A man from DHL had turned up bearing packages for me. Inside those packages, I found this:

Bridgewater

A long term blogging friend, the lovely Katyboo was recently selling off some Emma Bridgewater stuff and I couldn’t resist snapping up some Toast & Marmelade items to go with the things I already had. The above photo shows a gravy boat with plate and, behind that, two soup plates wrapped in bubble wrap.

Once the excitement of the parcel opening was over, it was back to dishes, kitchen cleaning, etc. No photos because housework just isn’t that interesting! 5 p.m.meant time for a tea break and some more TV though.

tea

After some more messing around on the computer, at 20 past 6 I decided it was about time I headed out to do some shopping. I wanted to make something similar to this for tea, which meant I needed chicken and potatoes. (My version is chicken, bacon and leek pie though and it’s delicious. Maybe I’ll post a recipe some time). On my way to the supermarket, I snapped this shot for you:

sunset

Back home, I unpacked the shopping then quickly logged on to my work’s system… yes, on my day off! I needed to check that something had been delivered ready for me to finish the job first thing this morning. At 7:45, I suddenly realised that if I wanted to get dinner ready for 8:30 I should really be getting on with it… somehow, I always seem to remember too late that meals involving mashed potatoes take ages!

potatoes

Jan arrived home early, at 10 past 8, which was surprising but nice. It also meant he could chop the leek for me while I continued to struggle with the potatoes! Our food was finally ready at 9 p.m., and we settled down to eat while watching a couple of episodes of Farscape.

Pie

time the second episode of Farscape was finished, it was time for bed. Jan actually decided to join me for a change (usually he stays up much later!) so we spent some time reading to one another before going to sleep. Yes… we read aloud to each other. Currently we’re on Terry Pratchett’s Snuff. Once we reached the end of the current paragraph, it was time to switch off the light ready for my 6 a.m. start this morning.

And there you have it, another day in the life of me. You can join in with Manda’s linkup too… it’s open until the end of March. Just click on the picture below!

A Day in the Life: A Linkup by Break the Sky


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Reinstating Friday letters

I haven’t done this in a while for various reasons – spontaneous trip to England, nothing to say, being too busy to post… but now I think it’s time to reinstate Friday letters!

Eye'm watching you...

Dear Deutsche Bahn. I really don’t appreciate you suddenly reversing the order of my train after I’ve been taking it for nearly 5 years! Now, instead of going straight into  carriage and taking a seat, I have to walk through half the train to find one that’s free. And when I arrive at my destination, I’m so far down the train that I have to walk half the length of the platform to reach the stairs – previously, the door I got out of was right next to them so I could go straight down and out of the train station. It may seem trivial to you, but it’s greatly annoying to me. Not cool, DB, not cool.

Dear weather. So, you’ve been beautiful all week while I was working, and now the forecast for tomorrow is cloudy with a chance of rain. I was planning on taking my March trip for the 12 trips challenge, but I’m not sure I’ll bother now. Thanks so much, weather gods!

Dear Sunday morning. I’m very much looking forward to you. Full Irish breakfast at the pub? Yes please!

Dear work. I would much rather be busy than have nothing to do, but I would appreciate it if next week could be just a little less full! The last few days have been crazy.

Dear tea. Once again, you have been my saviour this week. I ♥ tea!

Dear readers. Have a fabulous weekend… and I hope the weather where you are is better than ours is forecast to be!


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The difference a day makes

Last night Jan came home early. So early that I hadn’t even thought about what to cook for tea yet! Then, instead of working some more, he washed the dishes while I made eggy bread and we sat down together to watch two episodes of Farscape, snuggled up on the sofa. I don’t know whether he figured out for himself that I was feeling lonely and neglected or if somebody told him (he never reads my blog, so that can’t be it), but however he figured it out he acted on it, and it was lovely. It’s amazing the difference that a few hours of quality with my boyfriend can make! Now he just needs to hurry up and finish his thesis so we can have regular couple time again…


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The latest from my life

In between recipes and throwbacks to when I was cute, I thought I’d give you a few updates on how my life looks right now…

  • I logged on to Facebook this morning to find that my dad’s cousin has become the father of a little girl and one of my cousins has got engaged. Meanwhile, I’m over the moon that my boyfriend managed to make time to come to a party with me at the weekend…  How does this committed, long-term relationship thing work again? Cos I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong.
  • My grandpa was moved to a different hospital just over a week ago – one in the same town where my grandma lives, so it’s much more convenient.  The doctor there has said the way he’s looking now, it could be weeks rather than days but nobody can really say for sure. He could still go at any time… or he could hang on until after his birthday (he will turn 80 if he does).
  • I’ve actually been given a  “nice” (i.e. interesting and challenging) text to translate thanks to my colleague being on maternity leave and everyone else being busy. Now I’m terrified I won’t do as good a job as said colleague and will have to spend the rest of my life translating only technical and financial texts. Aaargh, the pressure! (I am a good translator, but my colleague is an amazing translator, so she usually gets all the texts that have even a chance of reaching an audience other than IT support people.)
  • I’ve been cross stitching lots of cards recently. I’ve just finished one for my grandma and started on a Mother’s Day card for my mam.  I’m actually quite enjoying stitching the smaller designs – it means I get to finish them before I get bored!

And that’s it for today. I hope you weren’t expecting more. If anything truly interesting had happened I would have blogged about it before now…

 


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Thoughts and stuff

I currently don’t have the energy to write a coherent blog post on a single topic, so instead here are some thoughts/musings and little snippets that I wanted to get out there but that aren’t long enough for a post of their very own. Yes, it’s another bullet point-y list. And no, I do not apologise ;-)

  • Yesterday I had to stop at the baker’s for breakfast because we’d run out of yoghurts. I bought something called a Crossy Donut, which I assume to be this particular cheap bakery’s take on the cronut. I can’t say I was impressed! Once I got past the sugar on the outside, all I could taste was grease, and by the time I’d eaten it all I actually felt a bit sick. Not the best way to start the day! I certainly won’t be subjecting myself to one of those again.
  • What happens to nail files? I swear I must have bought at least 50 emery boards since we moved in to our flat, but when I need one there are never any to be found! I swear The Borrowers are real and one day I’m going to discover one living in a little house made of emery boards!
  • sheepI don’t understand how counting sheep is supposed to help with falling asleep. Picturing sheep I can sort of understand, as long as you picture them doing something monotonous, like streaming through a gate. Watch that for long enough and you’ll soon be hypnotised to sleep. But the minute I start trying to count sheep (or anything else for that matter), my brain switches back on and I’m more awake than before. Does this happen to anyone else or am I just weird?
  • One of the flats in my building is occupied by some (I presume) first year students. I bumped into one of them by the mailboxes the other day and he said “Sie” to me (the formal version of “you”). I feel old!
  • I forgot to put my hat on when I left for work yesterday, so of course it was the first time in months that I’d seen frost on the ground. Today I remembered said hat and it was back up to 6°C. *Sigh*
  • I gave Jan his anniversary present last night, and no it wasn’t a tin of anything. ;-) I bought him tickets to see Pearl Jam in Vienna this June, so provided he doesn’t end up having a conference or anything that week I’ll be going back to Austria this year :-D Also, thanks for the many congratulations. If you commented and I haven’t replied yet, I promise to get round to you soon.

That’s it for today. I have loads of work to do (again!), and it’s about time I got started.


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A decade is a long time…

This is where most people wpuld insert a photo of themselves with their significant other... but I'm pretty sure Jan wouldn't like that, so here's a heart instead.

This is where most people would insert a photo of themselves with their significant other… but I’m pretty sure Jan wouldn’t like that, so here’s a heart instead.

So, the boyfriend and I have been together ten years today!! If we’d been married for that many years, we’d be celebrating our tin anniversary (you’d think the first round anniversary would be something a bit more exciting than tin!). I’m pretty sure one of us deserves a medal for managing to stay in a relationship for this long… although I’m not entirely sure which of us ;-)

Jan has a paper due first thing tomorrow, and it’s an important one because the conference it’s for actually bears some relation to his dissertation (unusual… most of the time he’s forced to work on the projects that actually bring in the money at the expense of his own work), so we won’t really be celebrating. He did say this morning that he doesn’t think he’ll have enough time to finish it – which really sucks – but I suspect he will try anyway. Also, I woke up this morning with what feels like the beginnings of a cold, so I’ll probably end up in bed with my water bottle and a pile of tissues by 9 pm! Jan is planning on working on his paper from home though, so we should at least be able to eat together.

Ten years! Double figures! Who ever could have guessed that something as a year abroad romance could have lasted this long? I certainly didn’t expect this. But I’m glad we are still together.

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