September 2020 recap

And just like that September is over! I feel like it’s flown by, even though I didn’t actually do anything. Seriously, I have no idea what I’m even going to write in this post! Obviously I did not manage to find the time or energy to blog… sorry about that. I didn’t mean to promise holiday photos and then disappear for a month. I will try to get something up soon. But today it’s the first Thursday of the month so I’m going to give you a recap, even though the What’s New With You link up doesn’t seem to be up yet. I hope everything is okay with Kristen!

So what is new with me? Honestly, nothing much. In September I read a lot – a total of 18 books, or I read 17 and listened to 1 if you want to be precise. I cross stitched a lot. My godson turned 8, which is scary. Surely he’s still a toddler? I made Halloween cards to send to Post Pals children (I still have another 10 left to do!).

I watched Richard Osman’s House of Games almost every week night – except when they moved it because of stupid athletics. On Tuesday I went to the office in Germany for the first time since March because a colleague was leaving and I wanted to see her one more time and say goodbye. It was fine. The trains weren’t too full – the one on the way back was more full than on the way there, but not to the extent of people standing in the corridors, crammed in like sardines (I specifically took an earlier train home because my usual train one is of the sardine variety).

I had to have more blood tests to rule out certain things after every attempt at IVF so far has either failed entirely or ended in miscarriage. When I first had it done back in July one value came back high so the tests had to be repeated. This time all was normal though, which means I don’t have to inject myself with blood thinners every day if I ever do get pregnant again (yay!) but also means we’re back to having no real explanation for why things aren’t working (boo!). I guess most people would give up at this point and say the universe doesn’t want them to be a mother, but we have two embryos left and I have every intention of using them!

I am continuing to going for walks once a week, even if it’s raining. Most of September’s weren’t too exciting though – I just went into town and stopped by the free public bookcase to drop off some books. One Sunday Jan came with me and we went for a walk in the woods, stopping to say hi to the horses.

Switzerland added the UK to its quarantine list, but it doesn’t matter because Switzerland was already on the UK’s quarantine list so I couldn’t have gone there anyway. It’s lucky we spent last Christmas in England since who knows when I will be able to see my family again? Germany added some parts of Switzerland to its list of risk countries, but Basel is currently okay. Cantons Geneva, Vaud and Fribourg are currently on the list.

And on a non-September related note, my brother turns 30 tomorrow (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!), which makes me feel ancient! So annoying that stupid covid means I don’t get to celebrate with him.

That’s it from me. What’s new with you?

A Photo an Hour: 22 September 2018

On Saturday I took part in another photo an hour, hosted by Louisa and Jane. I live posted my photos to Twitter on the day, so some of you may have seen them, but I like to do a write up on my blog as well because it’s fun to look back on how I spent a random day in the past.

9:30 a.m. Yes, this is earlier than I’m normally up on a Saturday! Thought I’d better at least have breakfast with Jan since he had choir practice for almost the entire weekend.

10:30 a.m. Time for a shower.

11:30 a.m. Cross stitching… or backstitching really at this point. You may think it’s too early for Christmas but this is the only way I can possibly get everything done.

12:30 p.m. As Jan was leaving he informed me that we were out of dishwasher tabs so I headed out to buy some plus food for my lunch.

1:30 p.m. Making a start on Halloween cards… I have about 40 to make for Post Pals!

2:30 p.m. With quiet time over I did a bit of hoovering to clean up some washing powder I had spilled.

3:30 p.m. Back to Halloween cards.

4:30 p.m. Snack time! Apple, feta cheese and pecan nuts. (This is a perfectly normal, tasty combination… not a pregnancy craving!).

5:30 p.m. Cutting more shapes for card-making… Halloween and other.

6:30 p.m. I made a birthday card! Still deciding whether to add anything else.

7:30 p.m. With tea (baked potatoes) in the oven I settled down to write a letter.

8:30 p.m. Food demolished, deciding which letter to reply to next. Sadly the pile still hasn’t reduced by much.

9:30 p.m. Choosing a book to read in bed. This is just part of my to-read shelves!

10:30 p.m. Final photo of the day… Eeyore says goodnight.

How was your Saturday? Did you get up to much?
And on an entirely unrelated note I final joined Instagram just before starting this post. I have no idea what I’m doing but feel free to add me… user name confuzzledom.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
Photo: Wikipedia

Today is Halloween, the day of hosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night! One of my favourite things to do on Halloween (or actually on any given dark night) as a child was to tell scary stories, so, this Halloween, I thought I would share my favoruite childhood scary story with you…

Heavy Breathing

It was Friday night and Jessie was babysitting for her a family down the street neighbour. The baby hadn’t stirred all night and she’d been watching TV, but now she was starting to get bored. She was considering going to make a Midnight snack when the phone rang. Thinking it was probably the neighbours checking up on her, she answered.

“Hello?”. The person on the other end didn’t reply. All Jessie heard was heavy breathing. She decided it must be her brother trying to scare her and slammed down the phone. A few minutes later, the phone range again.
“Hello?”
*Heavy breathing*
“Gary, I know that’s you!”
*Heavy breathing*
“Stop it, you’re scaring me now!”
*Heavy breathing*

No longer so sure it was her brother, Jessie hung up and called the operator (people still did that in those days).
“Hi, I’m sitting for my neighbour’s baby and somebody keeps phoning me but not saying anything. Could you trace the call please?”
“Of course, just give me the phone number and we’ll get back to you as soon as we know more.”

Feeling better now that something was being done, Jessie hung up and headed to the kitchen to finally get her snack. Just as she’d finished making a sandwich, the phone range again. Oh good, the operator! she thought and hurried to answer the phone. More heavy breathing. This time, Jessie hung up straight away. Immediately, the phone rang again. Fearfully, Jessie answered
“Huh.. hello?”.
“Hello, this is the operator. We’ve managed to trace the call. You need to get out of the house now. Forget about the baby! The heavy breathing is coming from the phone upstairs!”

* * *

Versions of this story have been doing the rounds for decades – it even has a Wikipedia page! I was about eleven years old when I first heard it and was actually babysitting at the time, together with the friend who told me the story. Just after she’d finished telling it, the phone rang and we both jumped a mile! It turned out to be my mother, checking up on us…

Happy Halloween! What’s your favourite scary story?

It’s linky time again

Because I have no time am too lazy for a proper post today (whaaat? It’s Sunday!) here is another roundup of cool links I’ve come across recently.

  1. The Worst Things for Sale on the Internet – a daily blog that lists all the really bad things that are available for purchase out there on the web. Like the iPad potty for kids and spam-flavoured macadamia nuts, which sound even more disgusting than Marmite! . Why are these things even things?!
  2. I was never a fan of Pokémon (I was born too early), but these Pokemon characters as Tim Burton creature drawings are fantastic!

    English: Pumpkin carving - photo taken in dark...
    Photo credit: Wikipedia
  3. IKEA or Death? – In this game, you have to guess whether various words are the names of IKEA furniture items of Death metal bands. I got 15 out of 20.
  4. Halloween is coming, so here are 63 mindblowing Halloween pumpkin carvings for you to admire.
  5. From pumpkins to cake… these 27 painfully honest cake messages are pretty funny.
  6. For anyone who is struggling to understand the current German election crisis, Tina at KulturSchock has written a fantastic blog post that explains it all… with dinosaurs!

That’s all from me for today. Have you come across anything entertaining on the Internet recently?

Travel theme: Costume

I’m jumping in to this week’s travel theme on Where’s My Backpack at the last minute – the new travel theme comes out tomorrow! What can I say… it’s been a busy week and I’m only just getting round to it. But when I saw that the theme was Costumes I couldn’t possibly not join in!

As soon as I read what the theme was, I knew I would have to include this photo:

Witch
Witch

It was taken at the Fachingsumzug (Carnival Parade) in Feldkirch, Austria. Karlsruhe technically has a parade on Shorve Tuesday – which is Karnival, Fastnacht or Fasching here, depending on your region – but it’s kind of half-hearted. In Feldkirch, it was brilliant. You could see that everyone had put loads of effort into their costumes. Here’s another photo from that occasion.

Monkey
Monkey

Next up, a photo from Barcelona. La Ramblas is famous for these living statues. I don’t know how people manage it… I would definitely have to cough or get a sudden itch if I tried to stay still for that long!

Living statue
Living statue

And finally, something very rare for this blog.

Bzzzzz
Bzzzzz

It’s me! Dressed as a bee for Halloween 2007. Make the most of it, because you probably won’t be seeing another photo of me on here for a loooong time!

Now I have to go and finish packing, but to see more photos of costumes, click here. There’s probably no time for you to take part in this week’s travel theme, but the next one will be out tomorrow (Friday) so you can always have a go at that…

By popular demand…

I don’t tend to post photos of myself (or other people for that matter) on my blog, but several people have asked to see my Halloween creations, and I am rather proud of what I came up with, so I thought I would make an exception. Here I am dressed as a bat, made using a broken umbrella, a black hat, cardboard and some black fabric.

(Yes, that is a Christmas card behind me. It’s Jan’s… from last year). I won’t post a photo of Jan, but I did take one of the scythe I made him for you. As I’m sure you’ve now guessed, he went as Death.

We spent most of the evening watching a friend’s band play in a local student bar (our friend is the keyboardist) before heading to the Irish pub at 1 a.m. for a few drinks. Amazingly, it was almost 4 when Jan and I got home! I’d been so tired all day that I hadn’t even expected to make it til midnight. Unsurprisingly, we had a lie in this morning. It was a good night though. Now to start planning my costume for next Halloween… (just kidding… I think ;-))

Preparing for Halloween

As I am sure you all now, tomorrow is Halloween. While the Germans don’t really do Halloween, I am not German and I most definitely do! (Any excuse to get dressed up). Which is why I spent most of the weekend and all of yesterday evening sewing. NOT something I’m good at. I don’t own a sewing machine (confession time; they terrify me!) and my hand stitching is, quite frankly, messy! I am now almost done, and I’m both relieved and more than a little proud of myself. Our costumes may not be perfect, but neither are they particularly bad.

Because my costume doesn’t allow me to wear a coat (I can’t get my arms in the sleeves!), my task for tomorrow in between getting home from work and going out dressed up is to attempt to purchase a poncho. I have been looking, but whereas they were everywhere last year, nobody seems to have them in now. I didn’t buy one last year because I’m not a particular fan of them, but needs must – the weather is set to warm up tomorrow, with highs of 7 whole degrees celcius (or 8, depending on which forecast you choose to believe), as opposed to today’s 4-5°C, but even that isn’t particularly warm, and at night it will be dropping down to between 0 and 2°C. Brrr!

Right now though, my task is to attempt to create some ears (my real reason for being online was to find a template, but WordPress called…), and I’d really better get on with it otherwise I’ll never get any sleep tonight. I have NO idea what I’m doing, so please wish me luck… A Happy Halloween to all of you for tomorrow. Don’t let the ghosts get you!

Hello autumn!

We returned from England to find that autumn has Karlsruhe well and truly in its grip. There had been signs of it before me left, of course, but somehow you don’t notice just how long the nights are getting when the darkness is lasting a little longer each day. After an entire week of waking up well after sunrise, it came as a bit of a shock to wake up to pitch blackness on Monday morning (well, as pitch black as it ever gets in a city). And the dark stuck around until it was almost time for me to leave for work. Then on Wednesday – a public holiday in Germany – while walking through the castle garden in Bruchsal I picked up a shiny conker from the ground. Yes, autumn has definitely arrived again.

While I can’t seem to get particularly enthusiastic about dark mornings or the rain that the weather forecasters are threatening for this weekend, autumn does have it’s good points. Such as being able to dress up my legs in warm, funky tights again, like these brown spotty ones, purchased from C&A.

And the slightly colder weather gives me the perfect excuse to start munching on some of my favourite meals again. Things that, in summer, are just too much effort – both to cook and to eat! Cottage pie, bangers and mash, delicious curries and nice warming soups and stews. Mmmm. And, of course October means Halloween, which I can hardly wait for. I love an excuse to get dressed up! I really need to get cracking with making my costume though…

Photo meme

Katyboo tagged me for this meme days ago, but as you can see I’m only getting round to doing it now.
The idea is that you open the fourth folder of photos on your PC, take the fourth photo from that album and post it on your blog. Then I suppose you’re meant to talk about it – at least that’s what everyone else has done.
I was a little afraid I might have to cheat on this one. You see, most of my photos are of people I know – family, friends, people from my student residence… that sort of thing. And while I don’t mind writing about my own life I do draw the line at posting photos of people on the internet without their knowledge (I don’t even use people’s full first names on my blog, unless they’re really, really common names meaning they could be anybody). As it turned out I didn’t even have to do any cheating. Photo four from album number four was this:
Halloween

I’m sure none of you need me to tell you that “this” is a photo of a skull and cross bones necklace. What you may, however, be wondering is why.

It’s part of my Halloween costume from 2007. I went as Susan Sto Helit. I had a half black, half white wig that I rearranged a bit to make look white with a black streak. I wore a long black skirt, long sleeved black top and a lacy kind of cardigan, black lipstick and lots of black mascara. This necklace was something I had discovered that very day in a one euro shop and decided it would be the perfect accessory for my costume. I thought I did a good job. Unfortunately nobody managed to figure out who I was. Most of you are probably asking yourselves who Susan Sto Helit is as well**. *Sigh*. Where, oh where have all the Terry Pratchett readers gone?
I’m not entirely sure why I took a photo of the random euro shop necklace part of my costume. But for some reason I did. Maybe I knew even back then I would one day be called upon to find a fourth photo in a fourth album that was hopefully not a picture of one of my friends…

** Just in case any of you actually is wondering who Susan Sto helit is, she’s Death’s granddaughter in the Discworld novels. Yes, I said Death. Huge skeleton, walks around with a scythe, that Death. Obviously she’s not his real granddaughter. She can walk through walls though. Look, you’ll just have to read the books. It will all make perfect sense then.