27.12.2023 | Christmas Bits And Pieces

And just like that Christmas, i.e. the two public holidays in Germany have passed. Either some of my neighbours had to head back into work or they wanted to hit the shops before everyone else, because there was at least one person leaving the house super early. Well, early for me who was lying in bed on the ground floor close to the stairwell, which means if I’m in a sort of half-awake state I hear people coming down the stairs and the door closing. I turned around, hit play on my go-to-sleep-audiobook again and rested for a while longer. At least the DIY gardening (? sounds like a saw at least) didn’t start until this afternoon.

Dreams | I don’t often remember my dream not even the super weird ones. Which is a blessing most of the times, I guess. I don’t know why the dream I had yesterday morning stayed with me though. It wasn’t nightmarish in a fearful way, but the emotions of anxiety and embarrassment / shame I went through still left me rattled for a bit. In that dream I was on my final day of a vacation in Scotland and on my way to drive the rental car to Inverness airport to fly home (I would never fly up to Inverness, so that was a sure sign, it was a dream). I don’t recall why I had planned one stop before that, because the place where I parked my car and walked around was a weird, almost nightmarish (in a dream, go figure) huge amusement water park / casino / pleasure cruise port. Lots of weird shops and amusement vendors, complicated pathways to navigate and just all over weird. When I wanted to leave, because I had to be at the airport in 15 minutes time, I didn’t find the way back to my car. Or didn’t remember where I had parked the car. I was running out of time and got frantic and even though most people I talked to were (trying to be) helpful I still didn’t find the right way back. Some staffer showed me alternative flight times back to Germany that day, because by the time I asked him for help, my flight had already departed. 15 minutes window and all that. Shortly after that I woke up, quite befuddled. No idea where that all had come from…

Flood | Yesterday for the first time in days the rain stopped and the clouds cleared long enough to actually dare to venture out for a short walk. I almost didn’t, because I felt so lethargic, but in the end I’m glad that I did. I thought I’d try the new camera and I admit it also was a bout of “disaster tourism”, because I wanted to see how the constant rain and flooded rivers would play out in my town. Not too bad (yet), but still impressive.

Rapids in a flooded river
Flood river, at least 2 metres above regular water level

Antisemitism | I used the time off to watch a documentary (from 2021) on antisemitism in Germany: from the left, from the right, from people with muslim background and from the plain old average German. Definitely worth watching: “Die Sache mit den Juden” (ARD Mediathek). I don’t know if it was that, that made me report a graffiti I saw on my walk yesterday to the mayor’s office. The slogan “Stop Killing People” next to a large snake felt sort of antisemitic, but I wasn’t sure. Let them look into it.

Catching up | I used quite some time over the past two days to finally catch up with all the articles I tend to save in my bookmarks app to read later. Links to articles I see in newsletters or on social media. So so many articles. I need to get into a routine to not just save and save – like a squirrel before the winter comes – but to actually read those articles in time. Some were so out of date that I deleted the link unread, because global politics moved much faster than I read sometimes.

Screenshot of my raindrop bookmarks app
Screenshot of my bookmarks app

These day it is newsletters from various independent news organisations and social media (their accounts and others) were I get most of my news (articles) from. I also check and read what mainstream media, because I still mostly trust them. I only pay for one of those though whereas I have a paid subscription for at least 3 or 4 of the independent ones.

Books | When I wasn’t reading news articles on my laptop or phone, I was a deep into a proper book, ink on paper and such.

Here are two of my current reviews on Goodreads. Note that I made good on one of my (never publically shared) resolutions to start writing proper reviews on the website and not just a few words through the app.

Thieves’ Gambit: “A fast-paced YA thriller about a cutthroat competition for the world’s best thieves, including the teen girl who must win to save her parents’ lives.” My review ★★★

We Are The Brennans: “We Are the Brennans explores the staying power of shame―and the redemptive power of love―in an Irish Catholic family torn apart by secrets.My review ★★★★★

Photo of a paperback edition of "We Are the Brannons" on a blue cloth
Latest, very enjoyable read

I thought I should use the remainder of the long time off (a whole week still from today) to delve into one of the bigger books on my to-read-shelf. I sort of liked “Fourth Wing” and thus bought “Iron Flame” when it came out this summer.

Picking my next read

Last night I read the first few pages of both of these books and came to a quick decision. “Homecoming” it is and I might just sell both the “The Empyrean” series in the near future. Because I did not remember a lot of the first book when I read those pages in the 2nd one last night. It all felt quite foreign to me and I didn’t feel the urge to skim through the first book again for a recap.

Other Entertainment | Bits and pieces of various podcasts, but my mind just couldn’t settle on one for long. But also Tim Burton’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (Netflix), because I was planning to and will in fact tonight watch “Wonka” at the cinema. I found the trailer interesting enough when I first saw it this summer. But I thought I probably should watch “Charlie and…” first at least once, because I hadn’t done that yet. Neither have I read the book. I liked the movie fine, typical Tim Burton stuff. My first though when I saw Helena Bonham Carter and more so Johnny Depp was “They look young”. And then I looked up the year of the movie. 2005. Of course they look bloody young, they filmed it 20 years ago. And then I felt rather old, but I guess that’s just the way of life.

Solitude vs Loneliness | Over the past few days / weeks there were a few news items on the health risk (mental and physical) of loneliness, especially for older people. Probably because of Christmas and all the family festivities. Since Christmas Eve I have only visited with / talked to one of my brothers for a short moment, when I went over to him to “borrow” some ingredients for the meal I had planned to cook. I exchanged the occasional text message with friends. But I haven’t interacted with / talked to a single soul for almost 48 hours. Did it make me feel lonely? Not at all. I’ll happily run errands, grab a bit to eat and go to the movies on my own later as well. I’m usually fine on my own. Am I on my own too much sometimes? Food for thought maybe…

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