12.05.2022 | Memories & Stuff

I haven’t let another week go past without posting here. Go Me! Though there isn’t really much to say at the moment. Work and life. More work than life these weeks it seems, which is a bit of a let down after the busy and exciting second half of April.

Orphaned | On this day 33 years ago my dad passed away. It happened out of the blue and looking back I can’t even begin to unravel how much this probably shaped me to be the person I am today. I honestly have no idea who I would be had my dad been in my life for longer. Different, surely. But how? I’ll never know and that makes me a bit sad today.

Almost to the day last year (might have been the 10th or 11th, I can’t be bothered to look it up now) my mum suffered her first stroke. I’m already starting to cry just thinking about how that all ended. That it did end at all. I know, I know, there is a time for parents to pass away and I’ve sort of made my peace with it a bit by now – six months later. But of course not completely and not even profoundly enough, I sometimes think. Ugh! I’m back in my gloomy funk, but at least I own it this time by writing about it and not just “crawling back into my shell” and hiding away.

Shopping | Yesterday’s trip to buy some new clothing for outdoor activities – like hiking – was rather unsuccessful. I looked up the items and sizes which were supposed to be available at the stores. But of course they didn’t have them in my large size after all. Or maybe they might have had them, but the trousers were all stacked up and I would have to pull every single one out of the cupboard to check. And I did for a while, until I was just fed up.

Trousers stacked up at the store
Lots and lots of trousers? Which size? I have no idea…

There was only a male shop assistant around and I know I could have just asked him to help me out, but I couldn’t be bothered after all. Frustrated and a bit ashamed that I need the extra extra large (or whatever the sizing was on these) version of it. And I know I shouldn’t feel like that, because that’s what my body looks like at the moment and at least I’m there in the outdoors store, because I want to be more active again. Still…

It took me a long time to get to this point of wanting to be more active at all. I’ve always been overweight and my weight seems to go up and down every few years. The last time it went down was when I was pretty hooked on the “My Peak Challenge” idea and community and all in 2017 / 2018.. But I started to loose the drive for that in 2019 and then the pandemic happened and my weight went up about 30 pounds and two clothes size compared to 2017. Which was the last time I bought proper outdoor activity clothes. Part of my excuse to stay lazy and inert and living like a sloth was that I don’t have workout clothes that fit me anymore. And that I’d need to loose weight to fit into the old clothes to start proper working out / hiking again. Which – of course – is a stupid way of thinking, because being active is the best way to loose the weight. But my pandemic brain these past two years wasn’t thinking that clearly. So this week I decided to just buy new work out clothes and who cares if it’s two sizes up?

Yeah, I’m still planning to buy some, don’t worry, but it looks like I’ll have to order it all online, which I don’t mind in general, if it weren’t such a hassle. Returning it if I don’t like the fit or if it’s not the right size. And of course all the packaging trash that comes with it. *sigh*

Comfort Food | I know, I know I shouldn’t turn to food in times like these, but… one step at a time. And I only had a small breakfast and small lunch today and I’m gloomy and tired so I ordered pizza (and a salad) to be picked up in a while. I’ll also plan to keep half of the pizza for tomorrow. At least I set the pick up time for later and thus forced myself to write this little post and not go and pick it up right away and then later feel unmotivated or even more tired and thus not in the mood to write a bit. Small tricks and steps and all… 😉

08.05.2022 | “Baby, Let’s Get Out of the City…”

Lyrics: Wanderlust – Frank Turner, 2011

Mood | I had an mostly ok to good day yesterday, but for some reason my mood spiralled down the drain in the afternoon / evening. I wish I knew what triggers those so I could better look out for it. I turned grumpy and lethargic (more than usual these days) and started making plans while also telling me that I’ll never carry those out so what’s the point and so forth. I went too bed early, slept well enough to go ahead and set one of those plans – driver somewhere for a hike – in action. Hah! See that, grumpy yesterday me?

Mother’s Day | Today is/was Mother’s Day here, the first without my Mum. We never made a big fuss about this day when she was alive, but of course acknowledge it so it felt a bit weird to not be there with flowers and having cake or just spent time. But I spent time with her several days each week so this one Sunday was never something special. Should it have been? I don’t know. We were/are a to some degree dysfunctional family. I don’t want to talk to self-deprecating about it all, because by now I know that most families have their share of problems. Things unsaid. Things said! Feelings hurt or not acknowledged. That all IS normal and I’m starting to not just understand but actually believe and accept that.

Therapy | In our third session this week, I had a tiny Eureka moment. When we talked about my dad, who died when I was 14 and I had been quite the Daddy’s girl till then, so of course that hit me hard. I thought I had written down some thoughts here wondering how my life had turned out if he had been around to counteract the problematic relationship I had with my mum for most of my teenage and young adult years. I didn’t find that post right now though. Anyway, my therapist suggested, that I use my dad’s obvious love and appreciation for me as a reminder for my self-worth and self-love. Does that make sense? Anyway, it did to me and when I said to her, that I could / should have come to that conclusion myself, my therapist joked “But that’s what I’m getting paid for”. I like her.

Hiking | If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I went for a hike today. The first in ages. I probably wrote about hiking quite a bit in the old pre-pandemic blog. I’m pretty sure I didn’t in this version of it, because I haven’t done a lot of it since I started this the first pandemic summer. My parents met on a multi – days – hiking trip over 50 years ago. They loved hiking and they took us to do it with them so, so, so many times when we were little. I didn’t do a lot of that for almost three decades until I caught the My Peak Challenge bug and hiking sort of turned into my activity of choice. I remember writing at some point that my dad probably would be proud. I hope so. Anyway, today I went for a hike. I could claim I did it in honour of Mother’s Day, but I didn’t really. I just wanted to get out and clear my head and be active and distract myself from too many gloomy thoughts. And that worked. I wish I could tap into that drive more often. But maybe I will…

Möhne Reservoir
Memorial of the RAF attack in 1943
Memorial to the victims of the RAF dam buster attack in 1943
"Jump & Hike" in the forest
“Jump & Hike” in the forest
Möhne Reservoir Tower
Möhne Reservoir Tower (206 steps)
View from the Tower
View from the Tower
Rapeseed Field
Rapeseed field on the way home

01.05.2022 | “The Only Thing That’s Left To Do Is Live…”

Lyrics: I Knew Prufrock Before I Got Famous – Frank Turner, 2008

*taps microphone* Is this still on?

That’s been a loooong time without a blog post. I was on such a “oversharing” roll two weeks ago and then my life just got so busy. Which is a good thing! And I knew it would be and in all the crazy business I thought on occasion I should try to write a few things down and by that work through it, but then I was too tired or too busy and such. Let’s try a short recap of the madness though.

New (?) Life in the Pandemic | The pandemic is not over. Far from it, I’d say. But for the first time in a long time I can understand the impulse to just not care as much and maybe act like we all did in the “before times”. These past two weeks I’ve been out and about and in crowds and interacting with lots of other people for the first time since March 2020. And it felt great! Of course.

In crowds – like at gigs, on the train, even walking around the breakfast room at a hotel – I still wore a mask. Often enough as the only person, which made me feel quite self-conscious at times and embarrassed to stand out. But then I remembered the “you were in close contact with someone / had distanced encounter with a few people who tested positive” notifications popping up on the German Track&Trace App quickly after the two gigs in Germany. And I resisted the temptation to take off the mask and blend in. So what, if I stood out with my white mask in the front row? It made me recognizable to the support band and provided me with thumbs up and smiles and waves from two of the band during the last gig, so… I can’t complain.

I did take off the mask during the gigs for brief moments, like when people came to say Hi or for the rare photo op with the artists. All in all, I still think I’ve been quite safe. I tested negative for a period of ten days and took a test on Friday before I set off for the last two gigs on the weekend. I will need to test on Wednesday anyway as I head into the office, which fits with a possible incubation time. But I’m not too worried.

Being a Frank Turner Fangirl | I have so missed this! Not necessarily the exhaustion that come with the travelling and the exercise and the lack of sleep. But the live music from my favourite band. The atmosphere. The singing and dancing and jumping up and down. The people. The familiar faces from previous gigs. The friends I’ve made and finally saw again. The new folks I met. It’s been too long indeed. Thinking back to my first two years going to gigs on my own because I was too shy and scared and felt too alien to what I thought was a typical “cool” Frank fan to make a connection with anyone. In Tilburg several people I have met online or at gigs and then connected on social media came by to say Hello and it felt so good to be a part of this community. Again. It does replenish my heart and soul and I really hope I will never again have to go without it for such a long time.

I missed being scream at from stage 🙂

Travelling to the UK | The other crazy thing I did in the past two weeks was to travel to Shropshire for four days to celebrate my friend Amanda’s 50th birthday. I had to drive to Brussels after two Frank Turner gigs on too little sleep to catch the Eurostar there. Travelling abroad for the first time in two years was exciting but not as nerve racking as I had feared. It was lovely to see my friends again and spend time with new people and just talk and be in company of friends and to do new things. It does help when the friend works in an amazing museum, which provides plenty of lovely things to do. She had asked all her guests to take a test before coming to the party which was spread out through several rooms, which all in all made me feel quite safe as well. And it worked as none of us caught anything from it. Well done, Amanda and David!

Handmade Tile
My first handmade tile

Therapy | I had the first two sessions with my therapist and I think it went quite well. I like her, she’s very easy to talk to and at the moment it still feels like just chatting about stuff. I’m a bit behind with my “homework” though and need to get on with that next week. It still feels a bit weird, as I have no idea how it will evolve and what it will do with me. But I think it’s a very good thing that I started it.

Entertainment | Of course I came home from the UK with a few new books. I can’t help it. One was a birthday present and another was a loan/gift, so I only bought three more, which is not too bad, is it? On the trip back from the UK I started reading the non-fiction “Bodies – Life and Death in Music” by Ian Winwood whose honest and open, but always also warm and funny style got me hooked right away. But it is a bit of a dark subject matter and after my work week started again on Tuesday I realized I need something lighter for a few days. So I switched to Mhari MacFarlane’s “Mad About You”, which might turn out a bit darker than I expected as well. But still not as dark as I will put it away, because it’s very entertaining otherwise. I’ve also started watching “Heartstopper” on Netflix, after I read about it on Twitter and enjoyed the trailer. Such a lovely show. Only eight episodes so I need to pace myself a bit to prolong the ending…

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