November 2018…

Wow, I seem to have stopped posting for a couple of weeks there. But don’t worry, I aten’t ded (If you don’t get that reference I’m not sure we can be friends.) (Just kidding.) (Or am I?). I am aware that I’m starting to sound like a stuck record, but how is it December already? I’m so not prepared for this! Although I do kind of want this year to be over, so there is that. Still have to actually get through December though and I have no idea how I’m going to get everything done. We’re not even going away for Christmas so I don’t know how things are so stressful. Work is crazy busy again, I have at least three more packages to take to the post office (and really need to do it soon before I miss the last chance for them to reach their destinations before Christmas), I still have almost all my Christmas cards to make/send – which admittedly is self-inflicted but it still needs doing. Then I always try to give the whole flat a thorough clean before Christmas so that a) I don’t have to do anything on Christmas apart from cook and b) we can start the year with the place looking decent for once (which admittedly lasts all of two weeks, but oh well). Other people spring clean, I Christmas clean. But I am supposed to be talking about November right now, so let’s do that. Usually I do a “currently” type post for these monthly recaps, but that doesn’t really seem appropriate this time so I’m just kind of going to ramble on. Feel free to stop reading at any point 😉

Of course, I am linking up with Kristen.

whats new with you

Jan finished his old job on 31st October and wasn’t starting his new one until 12th November (which involved flying to the US on the 11th for three weeks of “orientation”), so before I lost the babies I had applied for a few days off so we could spend some time together and go and look at some baby furniture. Needless to say, the latter didn’t happen, but I decided to still take the time off anyway. On 1st November (which was a holiday for me anyway – All Saints’ Day), we had an appointment with the fertility specialist. We were basically told the same as at the hospital: they advise waiting two cycles  to physically recover then we can try again as soon as we feel emotionally prepared. He also wanted me to come in for an ultrasound on day 12 of my next cycle to check that the curettage hadn’t damaged my uterus in any way (pregnancy makes everything more sensitive anyway, and then the infection on top of that increased the risk of damage, apparently), so I did that and luckily everything was fine. At least one bit of good news! He also said it would be 6+ weeks before my period came back, but luckily it was closer to 5. The doctor’s advice was basically to go ahead and use our remaining two IUI cycles… while the pregnancy may have reset my hormones he still thought that if I managed to fall pregnant naturally it wouldn’t happen for at least six months… and I haven’t exactly got any younger in the five months since I conceived! Also, based on when I actually ended up ovulating in the cycle after my period came back it doesn’t look like anything’s changed. We’re officially “unexplained” but the one theory any doctor did manage to come up with is that my body doesn’t respond properly to the hormones, meaning my follicles grow too slow and by the time I ovulate my eggs are old and low quality and thus fail to fertilise. I ovulated on day 17, which admittedly is quite early for me (almost normal, in fact) but seems to suggest that nothing has changed. So it looks like I still need the help. Not looking forward to giving myself daily injections again, but that’s just how it has to be.

Candles

Jan managed to speak to a funeral director and then get an appointment with the person at the local council who deals with bereavement for the first Monday in November, so we decided to go away for the weekend before that, just for a change of scenery and to not have to think about everything that had happened. We went to Yverdon les Bains, where I was very disappointed to discover that the Museum of science fiction, utopia and extraordinary voyages was closed that weekend! I will definitely be going back just for that. We also managed to leave the suitcase behind when we changed trains (we got it back a few days later though), so the first thing we did in Yverdon les Bains was buy toothbrushes, toothpaste and underwear. There wasn’t loads to do there, but we managed to fill our time with food, walking and a visit to the town museum, which is located in the castle. If anyone is keeping track of my 40 before 40, one item is to visit a place in Switzerland starting with each letter of my first name. Yverdon obviously starts with Y… I’m beginning at the end, apparently.

Yverdon
Yverdon Castle

We met with the bereavement person on the Monday at 9 a.m.. He had already spoken to the funeral directors/crematorium so it was basically just filling in forms. The cremation was taking place on the Tuesday, then we had the choice for them to be laid to rest at the memorial for babies born too soon on either the Wednesday or Thursday. Since I had to be back at work on the Thursday, we chose Wednesday. So on Wednesday 7th November 2018, we laid our beautiful first born babies to rest. I’m not going to get into that here, so if you’re interested read this post.

It was still early, so we went and picked up a car, drove part-way up a mountain and then took the Geissflue circular route. When we started off, it was very cloudy and we were right in amongst them, but then it started to clear so at times it was cloudy on one side of us and blue skies on the other. So random, but very cool looking (photo below does not do it justice). As it gradually brightened up  I even ended up having to take my coat off because it was too warm… in November! The view was gorgeous… autumn colours galore. It was nice to get out in the fresh air. The whole walk/hike took us about 2 hours (including photo breaks!), which I was pretty pleased with considering a month earlier we went for a walk up the hill near where we live and I had to sit down twice because I felt weak. Nice to see the iron supplements worked! Once we arrived back at the car we drove to Aargau and had delicious Flammkuchen for lunch.

As previously mentioned, Jan flew to the US on 11th November for three weeks, but I didn’t spend those entire three weeks alone. Someone from one of his choirs came to stay for a weekend so that she wouldn’t have to travel back to Geneva after practice every day, I finally worked in the office in Germany again for the first time on 21st November because that evening was our Christmas meal – I had goose with bread dumplings and red cabbage – and then my mum and sister came over for a few days last week (was it really only last week? It feels like ages ago!). I was working most of the time, but I did manage to get the Wednesday off and we went to Freiburg in Brisgau for a few hours. We looked at the Christmas markets and my sister managed to purchase a decoration for her Christmas tree then we found a café where we ate burgers and drank beer before taking the train home so they could relax and pack ready for their flight home the next day. It was nice to see them, even though the reason for them coming was a sad one (so that I wouldn’t have to be alone for ages after everything that had happened in October and November… there was also more bad news for a family member that I won’t talk about on the blog because it’s not my place).

Freiburg im Breisgau

In between all that I worked a lot – broken record again, but it really has been so busy. The 12 days I was off sick when I lost the boys and the few days off at the beginning of November seem like a long time ago. I am looking forward to Christmas purely because I have 13 entire days without work. I’ve also made and posted cards to most of the Post Pals (yeah, I managed those ones… it’s just my friends and family ones that I’ve barely started on!) and I’ve been trying to eat extra healthily in preparation for starting the process of trying to conceive again. That kind of went out the window when my family were visiting with all the beer and wine I consumed, but I managed to eat fish at least twice most weeks, upped my water intake (I definitely don’t drink enough usually) and did my best to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. I’m trying to continue with that this month, but I’m not going to promise that the odd Christmas treat (or 10) won’t creep in…

So, that was November. What’s new with you? Are you as unprepared for Christmas as I am? Come link up and see what everyone else has been up to.

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Autumn walk 2018

Since we moved to Switzerland, I’ve gone out and taken photos along the same little stream at the same time every year. The first two times, it was a coincidence… I just happened to take photos of that particular walk on the same date both times. Last year it was on purpose, although I was a day out with the date. This year, I decided to do it again… having forgotten that I got the date wrong last year I again went out on 31st October. It was a far better day for a walk than the 30th though – although it was still grey and cold, it was the first time all week that it wasn’t absolutely chucking down!

autumn1

The first year we lived here, I felt compelled to take photos because everything was so gloriously orange. This year, after a very dry summer, lots of the trees seemed to give up early, their colours fading and their leaves shrivelling and turning brown – some of them had even lost their leaves before autumn officially rolled around. I swear the tree by our balcony has been yellow and half bare for about 2 months! Then autumn dawned like a slightly cooler summer so that those trees that had hung on to their leaves thus far didn’t realise the season had actually changed and are either still green even now or just beginning to change. So what we’re left with is a slightly odd mix of bare branches, dry brown leaves, and bursts of red and yellow amongst otherwise fully green trees. But that’s enough waffling from me… take a look for yourselves:

Finally, here’s one photo from each of the four years. Sadly not taken in the exact same place, but I think it gives you an idea of the differences in colours. Hopefully I’ll be able to continue the experiment next year!

Style Imitating Art: Kate Bunce painting

It feels a bit odd to go back to any kind of normal blogging after my last few posts, but time moves on and I will have to go back to writing about everyday things at some point, however strange it feels. An outfit post seemed like an easy way back into it.

Today’s style imitating art submission features a top that I literally bought yesterday! Last night, I thought I would at least check what the inspiration is this time, and when I realised the top I had purchased mere hours before was perfect it almost felt like a sign. Here is the inspiration:

Kate_Elizabeth_Bunce_-_Melody_(Musica)_-_Google_Art_Project

The painting is “Melody (Musica)” by Kate Bunce.

And here’s my interpretation:

SIA-21Oct

This photo is so dark… but with the window blinds open the window was too bright and I could barely be seen. One day I will find a good place to take these photos (and a better way to prop my camera up so I can!). The top looks blue here for some reason, but it’s actually dark green. Hopefully you can see it better in this photo:

SIA-selfie
Why am I so bad at selfies?

I absolutely love the flowers on it. Autumnal but still bright and cheerful.

I don’t have anything quite as blingy as the lady in the painting, but I thought this necklace worked, at least in terms of colour (and again the top looks blue… I promise it’s not!):

SIA-necklace

Colour-wise, my skirt doesn’t really fit the painting, but I thought the style worked… flowy and kind of folky (like her sleeves). Jan has a concert with one of his choirs tonight, and this is the outfit I’m wearing for that. It feels nice and autumny.

The top was purchased from C&A yesterday, I don’t remember where the skirt is from (I’ve had it ages) and the necklace was a Christmas gift.

If you have an outfit you think would represent this painting, put it together (you can either wear it or do a flat lay if you prefer not to have photos of yourself on the Internet) and send a photo to 14shadesofgrey@blogspot.com by Tuesday, 23 October. She will then round up all the submissions on her blog on Wednesday. You don’t have to do a blog post of your outfit or even have a blog to join in.

What do you think of my interpretation? Does it remind you of the painting in any way?

Autumn walk 2017

Around this time last year, I went for a walk along a stream near where I live. A year before that I had walked along the same stream and taken photos of the gorgeous autumn colours. It was only afterwards that I realised the photos had been taken on the same day. This year I wanted to take photos on the same day again, but unfortunately I misremembered the date and thought the others had been taken on 31st October. Actually, it was the 30th. Oh well…one day out is basically the same, right?

The trees have been weird this year with some of them changing from green to yellow then brown and finally losing most of their leaves all within a single weekend (a few weeks ago) while others are still looking very green even now. Two years ago I’m sure all the trees were red and yellow and orange at this stage? Anyway, here are some photos of this year’s autumn walk.

Leaving the house immediately proved worth it when I saw this guy mere minutes into my walk:

squirrel

As you can see, it was an absolutely glorious day for a walk. Hard to believe it had been freezing cold and rainy just two days earlier!

And finally, here’s a comparison of this year with the autumns of the past two years:

From left to right, the end of October 2015, 2016 and 2017. Unfortunately the photos weren’t taken in the exact same place/direction, but they are very close together and you definitely get an idea of how different the colours have been at the exact same time of year! I actually think last year was even greener… this year’s photo looks more yellow, while 2015 had all the orange. Now let’s hope we’re still here at this time next year so I can see what the colours are doing then!

Friday letters

Hello everyone! Now I’ve posted once this week, I thought I should at least try to keep up. So Friday letters it is. Let’s get straight to it, shall we?

Friday letters

Dear boyfriend. If you’re going to wake me up snoring/grinding your teeth does is really have to be within 2 hours of the alarm going off so I’m pretty much guaranteed not to get any more proper sleep before starting the day? After two days in a row of that I am tiiiired today!

Dear biscuits. I should not have bought you. Once I start tucking in it’s soo hard to stop!

Dear autumn. Well, it looks like you are truly here now with all your cold, wet miserableness.
As an aside, do any other Brits remember singing a little verse in school that went “Here comes autumn, bringing the mists and rain“? I’m sure that’s why I associate autumn with cold and dark and soggy, slippery leaves rather than the gorgeous colours, long walks and crisp leaves everyone else goes on about. Or maybe it’s just that Britain really is miserable in autumn? 😉

Dear post person. I am not impressed that you sent my order back to the sender claiming that I had failed to pick it up from the post office. I requested for a second delivery of everything I had a note for, so that means there was no note for this one!

Dear flat. You’re actually still looking half decent right now after we cleaned for visitors last weekend. I wonder how long we can keep it up?

Dear birds. I’m guessing by constantly coming and perching on the empty bird feeder you’re trying to tell me something? It’s getting colder now so I’ll buy you some lard balls soon.

Dear kettle. I’m sorry I keep boiling you so many times before I actually manage to make a cup of tea. Please don’t decide you’re overworked and go on strike – and I promise to try and actually make my cuppa the first time!

Dear autumn fair. It looks like it’s going to be cold for your opening day tomorrow but the forecast is currently not saying rain. Maybe I’ll consider popping by for the first Glühwein of the season.

Dear readers. Thank you for sticking around even when I fail to post for weeks on end or don’t even have anything interesting to say. I appreciate every single one of your comments.

And on that soppy note, I shall stop typing and brave the rain so I can get something to eat. This is supposed to be my lunch break, after all and my fridge is looking rather uninspiring. I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Autumn days…

We woke up on Saturday to rain, which continued for the rest of the weekend and is forecast to carry on until at least next Monday so I thought I would upload some photos I took a few weeks ago to remind myself that autumn can be nice when it tries.

All the photos were taken between the 16th and 30th of October, and it was actually not that easy to find signs of autumn! The first time I went out, the trees were still mostly green, and by the end of October a lot of them had lost their leaves completely… it seems they changed directly from green to brown this year. To prove my point, can we please just consider the following two photos, which were taken precisely one year apart along the same stretch of path (although sadly not in the exact same spot so we can’t get a direct comparison)

Apparently Basel used up its best colours last year to welcome us to our new country. I shall have to make a point of going out on the same date next year to see what the trees are doing then.

Happy new week, readers. I hope Monday is less grey and miserable where you are!

Friday letters – the autumn weather edition

Aaah, it’s that time of the week again… the day that I bombard you with mini letters to the universe and you pretend you find them entertaining.

Shall we get started?

Postkasten

Dear clocks. I hear you’re going back this weekend. That always feels like the beginning of the end of the year. To be honest, I’ll be quite pleased when it’s over. Not because of all the celebrity deaths… I’m just hoping for good things in 2017.

Dear nuthatch. That’s twice I’ve seen you on my balcony now and both times I was nowhere near my camera. Come back soon, okay?

Dear tree by the balcony. Was it really only two weeks ago that I was praising the beauty of your yellow leaves? They’re almost all gone now and you look so sad with only mostly naked branches t show for yourself.

nearly-naked-tree
The last few leaves are still just about clinging on

Dear rain. I blame you for making all the leaves fall off so quickly. The poor things didn’t stand a chance with you bucketing down on them for 2 whole days!

Dear winter reading challenge. You’d think I’d be all challenged out by now, but I can’t wait to get stuck into you!

Dear comfort food. Your time has come! Now that it’s not too hot to cook I can make soups and curries and chillies to my heart’s content! Hurrah! Also, this is the perfect time of year to drink all the hot chocolate!

That is all. I have work to do! Have a great weekend, dear readers.