Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wonderwool and gifts

Wonderwool weekend, and G and I made it there! Not exactly knowing what to expect, I was nevertheless looking forward if not to a great show, then at least to a weekend away. It only took Hertz 30 minutes to go through our booking on Friday evening, and judging by the faces in the room that was very fast - which made us start the trip later than we anticipated, but despite that we had a lot of fun. Having spent all my time with arranging events for our vocal group, I really enjoyed every free minute - even driving on the motorway which I usually don't like that much. We had the most beautiful Bed and Breakfast. Just look at the view in the morning from the bed. We drove up to the Show grounds after breakfast on Saturday morning in the sunshine. Even the weather was perfect, there was really not much to complain about! In the hall it didn't take us long to meet with lots of lovely people. Have a look over there to check out the pictures on their blogs. As our camera wasn't cooperative during the weekend all our pictures were taken with our mobile phones. Our Ravelry Badges (very quickly printed out on Friday morning) were a great tool to talk to strangers. I managed to get my Mum's and sister's birthday presents this week. G finally got her wish and tried out the giant knitting needles, and continental knitting is not an adventage here!
After a nice pub dinner we drove back home (some more late night driving). The past two days were spent very close to the phone, as my sister had her last exams in medical school and I'm proud to say she did brilliantly and passed everything yesterday evening. I'm still working on her graduation present (actually we are working on it as it is a co-production) I'm sorry to be so enigmatic, but my sister tends to check out the blog at odd times, so I can't say more. I'm flying to Germany on Saturday morning (this time some very, very early getting up) to see her. Initially I wanted to pick her up after her last exam (as it is tradition in Germany), but I couldn't leave earlier. Well, Saturday will do nicely, too, and I'll even get a part of the birthday cake then.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Spring cleaning

Spring cleaning does help, not only to get rid off dust and clutter, but also to find lost things! One of the lost items was the camera....
Our Easter Egg project

The garden wakes up. My hosta shows definite signs of spring too.

I love Fridays, especially when we get our fruit and veggie delivery. I don't have to carry them, they taste much better than from the supermarket - and (equally important) they're organic.

The finished Irish Hiking Scarf with the wool from the Knitter's Coffee Swap 3. I finished it some time ago, but there was no camera to take a picture of proof.

In case you're wondering what I'm doing right now... this is the second sock of the second pair of Globe Trotter Socks for my Dad (I'm suffering at bit from second sock syndrome) and I'm listening to Jonathan Stroud's The Amulet of Samarkand. Acctually I'm cheating and listening to it in German, but it's fantastically read by Martin Semmelrogge. So please excuse me I have to listen some more.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Could it be... spring?

This was the view from my first flat in London some years ago. I used to sit in front of the window for hours watching the blossoms. Inevitably for me spring brings on the questions of 'did I achieve what I wanted to in life'. Perhaps it's all the little flowers coming out and the fresh green everywhere which reminds me of new beginnings. Perhaps it's because spring marks my second birthday- the day, after months of agony, in which I started a successful treatment for CFIDS (although at that point we weren't sure if it really was CFIDS). This year it was my 12th "birthday". And it was a nice one with G and J taking me out for dinner to Del Aziz and T cooking a real Sunday lunch a couple of days later.

This above mentioned state of reflection is regularly followed up with a little pity party which takes some strength talking me out of. What pulled me up today was a blog entry in thewinger. (In case you haven't heard about it: THE WINGER is a community oriented dance website that shows the lives, insights, and personalities of professionals, students and experts) This entry is by a dancer from the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) suffering from the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). What really touched my was the honesty with which he describes his struggle of not letting ABT or EBV determine who he was.
I remember a singing lesson some months ago in which is said "I too was a singer once" to which my teacher indignantly replied "But you still are a singer!" and in my soul I still am a singer. Otherwise I would never still be able to carry of gigs like on the picture last year. Actually, this is a rehearsal picture in case you're wondering about the absence of people.
Being 'a singer' used to define who I was. I worked hard and prepared a lot for rehearsals. Having the feeling to find excuses for myself was not what I was used to. Now I feel betrayed by my body being the excuse. I have tried to be someone else and shut out the singing. In the beginning of my recovery when I was a student for musicology, I concealed the 'singing factor'. I ended up really miserable, so much of my personality and knowledge was hidden that I felt only like half a person.
Some days I find it hard to adjust and it is a struggle not to let CFIDS or 'being a singer' determine who I am. I have been very fortunate to have a supportive family and find real friends who believe in me.
When I was little I used to pray for an exiting life - hmm I can say, that I have been given. I can't complain about too little excitement in my life!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Weekend away

On the day G went to her last job interview I promised myself that, would she get the job, I would drag her on a weekend away back home. Weeks and weeks of stress and late night Shiatsu sessions have eaten on my nerves. G and I had a couple of things to do in Wiesbaden anyway, so why not have a weekend away?
We booked tickets to Frankfurt Hahn which isn't really Frankfurt but somewhere in the middle of nowhere, for last Thursday. The flight went well, the Hertz car rental guys gave a us a free sat nav. It needed to go back to Frankfurt Airport where we would drop our car anyway- Frankly I don't even care if they gave it to us because we looked like two helpless women, it was really nice - although I had all the maps printed out.
The Airport B&B was comfortable (I miss double glazing!) and even the weather was great. We had a pleasant drive to Wiesbaden - apart from one moment on the motorway driving past oodles and oodles of lorries. The poor Italian guy - who happened to be the first car in this lorry-overtaking-event - looked close to a nervous breakdown when we drove past him at the end of the line of lorries. It was a stressful with just two lanes, one being entirely occupied by lorries, the other one by the overtaking cars. I had to suppress the mad urge to crawl over G and out of the left window. It didn't help that the motorway bent sightly towards the middle lane, which gave the impression that the lorries would fall on top of the overtaking car.... well you get the idea: not a peaceful moment. The picture above shows our breakfast in Wiesbaden, in a small cafe/restaurant called Lumen near the cathedral. Nice place with enormous windows - I can recommend it. I particularly enjoyed the moment when the people at the next table made remarks about how sad people are who depend on their mobile phone. (I took several pictures with it while G was feeding the parking meter). Since G and I usually talk in a mixture of German/English they might have thought I was foreign - big mistake - and so I didn't feel guilty listening to their conversation.
We dropped the car at Frankfurt Airport because the train station is in walking distance under the terminal. It now paid off that I had to go to Frankfurt for singing lessons years ago and knew about the locations. The train journey up north to our families is one the most beautiful train journeys we have in Germany. If you take the IC train from Frankfurt to Cologne, it will take you for about two hours up next to the Rhein with stunning views. The Lorelei rock - I think - is part of the UNESCO world heritage. We sat on the 'wrong' side of the train, but I still managed to take one good picture. For more pictures, the legend and the translation of the Lorelei poem by Heinrich Heine see here. Of course all those hours on the train meant uninterrupted knitting! I finished the Odessa no. III - a birthday present for my friend A, and G knitted socks - which originally were meant for her Dad, but now will be for her. Also note on the picture's left side the red melon shawl which hadn't been on any pictures so far (we're still looking for the camera).
As you can see I already have the sock wool ready: Dream in Colour, Smooshy, Black Parade from socktopus who bent over backwards to make it possible that we could take the wool with us to Germany. Thanks again! I left G on the train as her family lives a bit further north than mine and spent a great evening with my parents at home. I love my old room, huge compared to what I have here. Ok, I really don't need it that big but it's so nice to come home and invade all this space. On the road again on Saturday to see my sister (three more hours of knitting) in my parents' new car and then to my friend A's 60th birthday party which only (!) lasted until about 3.30 am - summertime's calling.... slightly tired we all met for breakfast a bit later that day.... In the evening G and I met up at the airport to fly home together. A great weekend away. So nice that we decided to do this more often and have booked a car and a B&B to go the Wonderwool Wales at the end of the month!