WTF 2018?

Thank heavens it’s already November, I’m so done with 2018!!!

First things first, though – thank you all so much for your lovely comments and comfort on losing Peanut. It’s still hurting like crazy, and I guess it will keep hurting for a good while to come, but it’s so good to know that there are dear people out there who understand and care. Thank you.

As you can see from the title of this post, I’ve come here to complain and shamelessly wallow in self-pity today, and I believe I have reason to, since 2018 is so good at throwing crap at me lately. Just when my ribs have healed and I begin to feel like a human being again (it still aches a bit whenever I sneeze, cough, or lift something heavy, but then again, I don’t really need to sneeze or cough that often, and can avoid lifting heavy stuff), I get my first ever migraine attack. The full package, starting with flickering vision and progressing to the worst headache I have EVER had in my entire life, sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting – in short, I almost collapsed at work (third day back after the rib debacle, a Saturday no less, my coworker had to sacrifice her weekend off to come and stand in for me) and landed in hospital for three and a half days. The doctor on duty was quite certain from the start that it was a migraine attack but apparently, I’m unusually old to experience this for the first time. I know it’s all my fault – at the beginning of the year, I decided that I would take turning 50 as an opportunity to open a new chapter in life, and just go ahead and start something completely new, something I’d never done before. What I MEANT was learning to ride a motorcycle and getting my driving license. What I GOT was a migraine! Well, thanks very much! Anyway, since I’m so unusually old, the doctor decided to put me through an MRI just to make sure there was nothing up there in that head of mine that didn’t belong there, other than a few bees in my bonnett. Well, the good news is there is no evidence whatsoever of anything out of the ordinary. Actually, I could just forget about it, and carry on as if nothing happened. But I won’t.

I talked to one of the nurses, and she said that migraines might be brought on by emotional stress. Come to think of it, I’ve had enough of that kind of stress during the past few months. All the worrying about my jobs, losing Peanut, health concerns, and the changes brought about by our motorcycle adventure that bothered me a great deal (because I don’t deal well with change, and because our relationship as a couple changed, and not always in a good way) … I know that change is inevitable, it’s just part of life, and so is loss and sadness and illness. I know that in the end, I’ll grow more on the obstacles and difficulties than on the easy days – just like a ship will sail faster with a stronger wind in its sails. If the wind gets too strong, though, a good captain will order some of the sails to be taken down to avoid the breaking of masts – and that’s what I need to learn, and what I’ll have to be more aware of in the future. I need to take time off to regroup and breathe, time for my soul to relax and gather new strength. I also need to learn to be honest with myself. Some things just won’t work, no matter how much I want them to, and some things I’ll have to let go, no matter how much I want to keep them. (No, don’t worry, I’m not talking about divorce.)

Crafting has always been a way to relax, get back in touch with my inner self, and think good thoughts. It has been a source of joy, a boost for my self-confidence, a learning curve, and just completely fun. I’ve been playful about it, starting new projects as the whimsy hit me, finishing some and frogging others, looking for new challenges, buying material when I wanted to and could afford it, regardless of the stash I already had, and without feeling guilty about expenses or unfinished objects. And I blogged about my crafty journey just as I went about it, without putting pressure on myself, and without following rules and regulations. I just took an hour or so off each day, to sit and knit, or crochet, or sew, or do whatever else I felt like doing. Of course, taking time out for crafting was easier a few years ago when I was a housewife but on the other hand, I need this special time for myself so much more now that I work outside of the house.

This morning, I decided that I needed a holiday, and so I made one for myself. I watched two episodes of „Midsomer Murders“, took some photos, played a computer game, and sat down to start crocheting the flower border for the Teaflower Shawl. While in hospital, I started a new pair of socks, and just to add some spice to it, decided on stranded knitting this time – oh, and by the way, many thanks to my wonderful husband who not only brought me my knitting, but actually rummaged through my stash to find exactly what I had asked him to bring – so there’s a new pair of „Call Them Cherry Blossoms“ in the making. The Seed Stitch Blanket got some love during the past few weeks, so with luck, we might actually cuddle under it before the bitter cold hits (but even if not, it’s not going to be the end of the world).

Guess what? Feels great to be the me I want to be.

Goodbye Sunshine

We got her when she was a few days less than four months old. I know everybody oohs and aaaahs about puppies but honestly, nothing about her was cute. She was a skinny little bundle, made of long legs, a long nose and huge ears – and of fear. She was a sensitive little soul, intelligent as could be, ready to trust and love – but all her life, she was afraid of sudden changes, of strangers, of anything new and unexpected actually. Once she felt comfortable with where she was and who she was with, she could be quite the goofball, she loved to learn new tricks and was so good at it – she was the only one of my dogs who not only learned to „high five“ us but would even initiate a high five herself when she felt like it (sometimes she would high five me when she had done something bad, as if to say „yeah, I know, I ate the sofa, I’m a bad doggy, but hey, I can do high fives, so all’s forgiven, right?“).

She could be stubborn at times, and quite a handful to handle, and she was fiercly protective of her family. No strangers would have a chance to do any harm to us, not on her watch. The fact that the postman could hardly hand us our mail when she was around, or that neighbourly chats over the fence where completely drowned out by her barking is so beside the point, isn’t it? She watched over us and let everybody know. Period.

When we brought the twins home, she was first one to roll her eyes in a „oh no, please, not again!“ way – but she was also the first to babysit and play with them, and teach them all kinds of shenanigans. Like digging holes. Lots of holes. Deep holes. So deep you’d swear you caught a glimpse of Australia just looking into it. She loved to run and play but she never ran too far away from us, and she would always turn and check to see if we were still there. Simply because she loved to be with us and didn’t want to lose us.

She was so eager to please, and be a good dog. And she was. I’m so sorry because sometimes, I was too impatient. At times because I had to go to work, other times because I was tired from work, or had a long list of household chores to complete. Sometimes when I was in a bad mood, she’d disappear for a while, wait for me to calm down, and then come and place her head (or sometimes her entire person) in my lap, and help me to leave whatever bugged me behind. I’m going to miss that terribly.

We knew what was going to happen. She didn’t want to go out in the morning, she didn’t want to be with us in the living-room, she stayed in the bathroom, in a dark corner under the sink, and just dozed off. We checked on her regularly, that was all we could do. She was comfortable (well, as much so as she could be, considering the circumstances, and we made sure she wasn’t in pain), and she wasn’t alone. She passed away peacefully at home.

27th May, 2009 – 11th November, 2018

Goodbye Peanut, my darling sunshine. You’ll always be in my heart.

2018 / 2019 – Week 18

Socks. I’m getting a bit bored of them, I must admit. Seems like all I ever finish are socks, and even those here aren’t actually finished because I still have to weave in the ends. *sigh* Anyway, the two pairs are for my knitworthy friend, and the single one on top is for me. And just in time, I might add, since we had our first batch of snow today. (Totally makes sense – we switched back from daylight savings time last night and are on what is called „Winterzeit“ – „winter time“ in German – so yeah, winter totally hit the spot this year!)

As usual, this is the time of year I finally come up for a breather and a bit of contemplating. The year just wooshed by in such a hurry, looking back makes my head spin. I think I mentioned before that I work two jobs, one in that little shop I wrote about earlier in the year, and one for a fashion chain. Both couldn’t offer me the 20 – 25 hours / week that I actually want and need to work, but since each offered 13, and since chain was okay with me working weekends for little shop, I could combine them almost perfectly well. It worked well at the beginning. Then, once the 2017 Christmas rush was over, business quieted down in little shop, and my boss had to cut down my hours. Fortunately (well, that’s debateable, but let’s stick to that word for a while), one of my coworkers at chain quit, and I could take on her hours and work in some overtime to make up for the loss. Until about two weeks ago when the arrangement came to a rather abrupt halt. I was told by my boss at chain that I can’t work any more overtime, and they can’t up my hours anymore, so I’m back to working 13 hours / week with no extras. At my other job, I’m lucky if I get 13 hours / month! Steve and I have been calculating and contemplating how to make it work, since I actually like both jobs, and being happy is important as well. However, the truth is it won’t work in the long run. So whether I like it or not, I’m out job hunting again. Well, not right now, though, since I’m on sick leave with two broken ribs (no, I didn’t fall off my bike, I mobbed the floor, slipped and fell, and crashed ribs first into a chest of drawers) and hardly able to move at all. Even breathing is painful.

Crocheting still works, thank heavens. This is the beginning of the Tea Flower Shawl by Mijo Crochet. I bought the yarn at a yarn store in Forchheim in April, it’s Katia Spring Rainbow, and though it’s nice enough quality-wise (a cotton / acrylic blend, soft to the touch and a pleasure to work with even though the four strands aren’t plied), I’m less than thrilled with the colour changes. Usually, those multi-colour cakes just replace one tiny strand at a time which makes for practically invisible knots, and you just have two tiny strands to weave in. Not this one, though – one colour changes but all four strands are cut and re-knotted, and need I mention that knots of that size do come apart easily? Well, guess I’ll live. And the shawl is going to be lovely, if I do say so myself. I’m going to use up the entire cake for the net pattern, and add flowers in a contrasting colour, maybe some red or pink.

While I really could do without the pain, I’m trying to be positive about this broken ribs histoire – just think about all the crafting time I’ve got now, since I’m not allowed to do any housework or lift anything heavier than a sheet of paper (or a ball of yarn). Who knows, I might even get something finished! *gasp*

If you’re curious about what my fellow YOPpers are up to, or would like to join in the fun, find our group on Ravelry.

Golden Autumn Days

The long, hot, and extremely dry 2018 summer has finally merged into autumn – and what an amazing autumn we’ve had! Long, warm, golden days, a light to die for, and Lilly ready and willing to carry us on numerous rides all through the countryside. Honestly, I’ve lived in this part of Franconia for more than 30 years, and about 25 in our house in this village, but there’s still so much to see and to discover. I’m already working on a list of places to go for next year.

For now, let me just share some of my favourite autumn photos with you:

(Please click to enlarge)

And now come the days of rain and grey skies … the days of cuddling on sofas, wrapped up in blankets, with a cup of hot tea or cocoa and a good book, and maybe a knitting project. And I’m so looking forward to it.

2018 / 2019 – Week 15

Hello my dears, this week, I’ve got such a special project to show you. Everybody, please meet Tinkerbell:

She is a Yamaha XV 535, also known as Virago, and apart from the fact that she is a typical „girl bike“, and the best (if not only) choice for vertically challenged people like me, it was her baby sister (the 125) that actually got me thinking about driving four years ago. When Steve announced he was thinking about getting his bike license, I was dead against it. Those supersports bikes he was into then just frightened the youknowwhat out of me. He tried to help me overcome my fear by explaining the physics behind two-wheel driving, and taking me to a shop to see bikes „in person“, in the hope I’d realize they weren’t as big and frightening as I thought. (No, it didn’t work. Not then.) Somewhere in line was this nice kind of cosy looking black little thing, the only bike in the entire shop that didn’t look terrifying, and the only one I suddenly felt this urge to sit on. From that day on, I knew that if – IF – I ever was going to drive a bike, it would be a Virago.

And now I’ve found her. Or rather, Steve found her. I didn’t really expect to get a bike so soon because we had already stretched our budget quite a bit, with buying Lilly, and Steve getting his license, not to mention all the equipment we needed. I had been prepared to wait until next year, or even the year after, but as luck would have it, there she was, a lovely 1993 Virago with not too many miles on her clock, and since she needed some love and repairing, we got her dirt cheap. I won’t bore you with details, let’s just say there was some technical stuff that Steve took care of while I concentrated on the style stuff. When we got her, she had this dull dark maroon-ish colour, so I decided to give her a paint job. To prepare for that, I hosed her down and cleaned her – and guess what, once the dust of years of neglect was washed off, we discovered her true colour is this beautiful burgundy. I’m going to leave it at that, it’s one of my favourite colours anyway. I polished her chrome parts (not done yet, there’s still some work and effort to put in), and chose a new tail light for her. She is also going to get new indicators and different mirrors, I just haven’t found the right ones yet.

 

So this is us, Tinkerbell and me, after our very first driving lesson. Well, not exactly a „driving“ lesson, though – it was more of a „slowly release the clutch and get rolling, and try to keep my balance, and Steve, please, stay close to me, I’m afraid I’m going to topple over, this is all so overwhelming, hey, look, two metres and I’m quite fine, how am I going to stop this thing, where’s the brake, heeeeeellllllpppppppp!“ lesson – but it sure was fun, and I can’t wait to try again.