I’ve been keeping something from you guys…

I feel like such a cliché writing this post, but at some point it has to be done, so…

I am pregnant. With twins. Yes, really! I am currently almost 14 weeks tomorrow according to me, Saturday according to the doctors) and my official due date is mid-March, although with multiples it could end up being February… Now that I’m in the second trimester, I’m feeling a lot more confident that things will go smoothly and we will actually be parents at the end of this, so I finally feel comfortable telling the entire world my news.

Baby books

I don’t want to turn this blog to turn into some kind of pregnancy blog (or parenting blog when it gets to that stage) – partly because I believe my children have a right to not be plastered all over the Internet but also because I know I have readers who just don’t care about pregnancies and babies (which is totally cool) and I don’t want to alienate them, and I also know I have readers who are still struggling with fertility issues and the absolute last thing I want to do is cause them any more pain. Trust me, I know what it’s like to want a baby more than anything and for it to just not work. However, my blog has always been about my life and this kind of is going to be a big part of my life from now on, so it wouldn’t make sense to ignore it completely. Phew, all that just to say please feel free to ignore any pregnancy posts and just skip to the ones that interest you – be that book reviews, travel posts or whatever else… I promise to try to post a little more often now the secret’s out! And if you have questions feel free to ask. I can’t promise to answer quickly though since we have visitors coming tomorrow so I expect to be busy for a few days.

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Celebrate good times… with cross stitch

Many people will not look back fondly on 2016… they will remember it as the year of Brexit, numerous celebrity deaths and Trump making a mockery of everything. But for some people 2016 brought happy events. Pregnancies were announced and babies born (12 to people I know so far this year – and I’m not even exaggerating!). A friend got married and my sister got engaged. Here are a few of the things I’ve stitched for those occasions. Names have been cropped out to protect people’s privacy.

So far for next year all I have is my sister’s wedding to attend, but I’m sure many more things will come up by the end of 2017 that require me to get my needle out. For now though it’s all about the Christmas cards at Confuzzledom Towers!

Friday letters

Good morning! With the exception of Monday’s post (which I actually wrote and scheduled the day before), I’ve been kind of absent from the blogosphere this week. Sorry about that! You’d think working from home would give me more time for blogging, but it doesn’t seem to work like that. Probably because I used to write a lot of blog posts in my lunch break but now I’m trying to actually leave the flat at lunch time. And after work I want to get the computer switched off as quickly as possible, not hang around writing stuff for my blog. Unfortunately my tablet refuses to upload posts (or even save them as drafts – none of the buttons work!), so unless I can motivate myself to schedule a load of posts at the weekend blogging will continue to be sporadic. Anyway, I went to pick up my proper residence permit on Wednesday so to celebrate we’re having horse steaks for tea tonight. Yes, you read that right. I bought horse steaks on purpose 😀 Now, on with the letters…

MailboxDear weather people. I wish you would agree on what the weather’s going to be like this weekend! Is tomorrow going to be cloudy but warm? Sunny with a few showers and possible thunder storms? Raining all day with thunder storms in the afternoon? I need to know!

Dear self. There is a never-ending supply of water in the taps, so drink it! And I don’t mean quickly down two glasses of water before bed because you suddenly realise you’ve barely drank any water all day…

Dear friends/acquaintances/family. FOUR birth announcements and two pregnancy announcements this week? SERIOUSLY? What is going on?

Dear Life of Pi. Sorry I abandoned you for a shorter/easier to read book this week. I will get back to you soon, promise!

Dear horse meat. I can’t wait to have you in my belly!

OK, that’s all I can think of today. Working from home has its advantages, but when you spend most of your time at home it doesn’t leave much to write about in a weekly update type post. Oh well, have a great weekend everyone!

*Editing to add: WordPress just informed me that I’ve been blogging for 7 years today, so happy blogiversary to me!*

Summer stitching

What with first my sister then a friend moving house, a penpal giving birth to a baby girl (yes, I have penpals) and my godson’s 2nd birthday coming up in September, I ended up stitching a few cross stitch cards over the summer. Obviously I took photos of all my stitching (wellll… apparantly not all, see next paragraph), and where better to save them for posterity than on my blog? 😉

For my sister’s new home card, I choose a bird house design that had appeared in a collection of “spring stitches” in one of my magazines. Not very imaginative (is it just me or do loads of new home cards feature bird houses?), but cute. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have taken a photo of it… and if I did it’s gone now! In my attempt to figure out why there was no photo of this card anywhere, I managed to accidently delete all the folders on my camera’s memory card… 2 days before I was due to fly to Taiwan!! When a friend moved home a few weeks later, it occurred to me that a beehive would also make an excellent theme for a new home card! I knew I’d seen bees somewhere in one of my magazines, so I went on a search through some back issues, and was soon rewarded. This little beehive is actually part of a larger sampler that I don’t like very much – too old fashioned for my tastes! But this little picture alone is cute, and the perfect size for a card!

cross stitch

In June, a penpal in Germany gave birth to a baby girl. I knew she was having a girl in advance, so I stitched most of the card then spent the rest of the month waiting to find out the name. A birth announcement card was waiting for me when I returned from Vienna, so I was able to quickly finish the card and get it sent off along with the gift I had bought. I’ve blurred out the name on the photo because I don’t like to share the names of other people’s babies on my blog… even if there is zero chance of you ever working out who she is!

cross stitch
Finally, having failed to find a nice birthday card for my godson in the shops (where are all the decent kids’ birthday cards?!), I decided to stitch my own. It took me a looong time to find an image in my magazines that was suitable for a small boy… sooo many fairies and cutsie mice! But I eventually decided on a skateboarding tortoise. I haven’t actually turned this one into a card yet (that will happen when I get back from Taiwan – tomorrow, in case anyone is wondering. Assuming no Icelandic volcanoes have erupted since I sheduled this post!), but here’s a photo of the cross stitch itself:

Tortoise

And that’s what I’ve been stitching for other people this summer. I also mentioned in my latest photo an hour post that I’m working on something for my kitchen. I still have one more thing to stitch for that (I have a frame with four gaps), then all four little pictures will be up on the blog, so look out for that!

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…

 

Friday letters

I have one more post to come about last weekend’s trip, but first it’s time for Friday letters…

English: Disused letterbox, Callow End A disus...
Disused letterbox (Photo: Wikipedia)

Dear J & M. It was lovely to see you again at the weekend and meet your baby boy!

Dear Austria. You have shown me again exactly why I love you. I will be back!

Dear weather. I know it’s November, but is all this rain really necessary? Also, please make up your mind what temperature you want to be! 10°C one day and 17°C the next is just confusing!

Dear self. If you really want to stop putting on weight, you need to stop eating every piece of food you can get your hands on! Christmas is coming soon and you’ll be doing more than enough eating then…

Dear Christmas shopping. I hope I can put a large dent in you next week. The number of people I now have on my to buy for list is scary!

Dear hot showers. Having no hot water for a couple of days has made me realise how grateful I am to have you in my life!

Dear tea. Without you, I could not cope with these cold, rainy days! Once again, you are my saviour.

That’s all for today. Have a great weekend (hopefully dry) everyone! I’m going whiskey tasting. Should be interesting…

Photobucket

Return to Feldkirch

Locator map of Vorarlberg in Austria.
Austria, with Vorarlberg in red (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may or may not know that after graduating from university I moved to Austria for 10 months. I had originally wanted to go to Innsbruck for my year abroad, but my uni only had one exchange place there and somebody else got it. I was left with my second choice… Karlsruhe. So when it came to deciding what to do with myself after graduation, I decided now was my chance to go to Austria. I applied for the position of English Language Assistant through the British Council, selecting Vorarlberg as my first choice Bundesland because it was the closest part of Austria to Baden-Württemberg (where Karlsruhe is) and, because almost nobody actually chooses to got to Vorarlberg, I got what I wanted!

I was assigned to two schools, with the main one – where I would work three times a week – in Feldkirch and a second one  in Götzis, a few train stops away. I decided to live in Feldkirch, partly because I was going to spending most of my working hours there but also because Götzis is a pretty small town, while Feldkirch is the second largest in Vorarlberg (which doesn’t mean much when you consider the size of most towns in Vorarlberg). That year was the start of my love affair with Austria. I had always wanted to go to Austria (thanks to the Chalet School books!) but I was never really in love with it until I actually lived there. Admittedly I didn’t always have the best time there – the other language assistants had a tendency to “forget” to invite me to things and I was lonely a lot of the time – but I never tired of the scenery. Even now, I miss looking out of my window and seeing mountains (climbing the hill with all my shopping not so much!). And if I ever see something Austrian on a menu I will always order it.

I hadn’t actually been back to Vorarlberg since finishing my assistantship, so when Jan and I were invited to a birthday celebration at a hut in Switzerland, close to the Austrian border, and Jan suggested leaving the day before (a public holiday in my part of Germany) to spend some time together first, it was obvious that I was going to want to see Feldkich again. Luckily, Jan agreed so we booked a room at the Best Western in town and he arranged for a car.

The view from our hotel room window
The view from our hotel room window

We arrived in Feldkirch at 3 pm, after driving a route that took us through most of Vorarlberg, and quickly checked in before heading out for a walk around while it was still light.  It was a dull, cloudy day but I took photos anyway. And I discovered that Feldkirch hasn’t changed very much – they now have a Müller, one of the book shops has gone and two of the bars we used to go to have closed down, but other than that everything looks the same.

After walking around for about an hour and a half, we’d basically seen everything – the main centre isn’t very big and there’s not much to see in the other parts of town. We had been driving for about four hours and hadn’t stopped for lunch, so we decided to go for some food. Rösslepark was exactly the same (except that it now has a smoking and non-smoking section). The beer is still good and I enjoyed me real Austrian Wienerschnitzel.  Jan chose the Schlachtteller – literally slaughter or butcher platter – which consisted of meat, meat and more meat! But not just any meat… it included things like liver sausage and blood sausage… and tongue! So I can now say I’ve tried beef tongue (of course I sampled some). It tastes a bit like beef, but has a weird texture and is slightly bitter. Not something I’m likely to eat again…

After eating, we went back out into the dark and had a walk up to the local castle – the Schattenburg. There’s a museum in there, which I’ve never been to, and a restuarant that is best known for its giant Schnitzel. I ate there once when I lived in Feldkirch and I can confirm that those things take up an entire plate! They come with chips (fries), which have to be served separately. Here’s the Schattenburg and some terrible night-time shots of Feldkirch from above – my camera doesn’t do too well in the dark!

The next morning, after checking out of the hotel, we drove over to Dornbirn – the second biggest town in Vorarlberg. A couple who had lived in Feldkirch when I lived there moved to Dornbirn three years ago so we went to visit them and their 11 week old son! It was lovely to see my friends again and the baby was very cute.

A little church in Dornbirn
A little church in Dornbirn

After a cup of tea, some baby hugs and a catch up, it was time to move on as we had another long drive ahead of us…
Check in soon to read about our further adventures over the long weekend!