10.10.2021 | “I’m far from perfect and I’m still tense”

Lyrics: “Imperfect Tense” ~ Frank Turner, 2008

Besides being far from perfect and still tense, I’m also being a lot of other things right now:

Being… distracted | My mind is a proper “monkey mind” these days, jumping from one thought to the next. Not all the time, but more often than it should my mind wanders off and wanders down some very distracting routes. I guess it’s avoiding to think about… stuff. I don’t know. This morning I spent more than 30 minutes looking up the rules and regulations for travelling to the UK in January. Where to get a Day 2 test and how that all will affect my travel plans. Going through various options of travel plans. Worrying about the specifics of travel plans 3 months in advance wasn’t on the schedule for this morning. But that’s where my mind went… Some more time again just now this evening before I finally logged in here to start typing this.

Being… active | Imagine my surprise when my smartwatch signalled I had done my 8.000 steps around 10 AM this morning. Go me! I hardly ever get to 8.000 these days working from home and not walking from the parked car to the office or have a stroll along the high street in my lunch break. I spent the morning wandering around the “Landschaftspark Nord” this morning. The original plan was to be there for the sunrise which might have been a nice photo option. But as mentioned above I got a bit distracted and didn’t quite get there in time. I didn’t beat myself up too much about it though, so that’s progress.

Being… creative | Taking photos is an act of creativity. Here are a few of my photos from this morning. I love strolling around these kind of places. It’s the history of my region and I’m still fascinated by large, overgrown, rusty metal structures, I can’t help it.

Being… worried | I spent an hour this afternoon visiting in the care home. It’s hard. There are ups and down, emotionally / mentally more than physically. Physically it’s still the same as before (after the 2nd stroke) and that sucks. Today wasn’t a good day and it breaks my heart, because I feel there isn’t much I can do. It sucks that we are all so closed up and not good at communicating or showing emotions with each other. Ugh! And I still haven’t figured out for myself how I want this to go. Are they wasting away before our eyes? Are they getting better, at least emotionally accepting that’s how it’s at the moment? I thought so, but today felt like a setback in that regard. Maybe I just worry too much and read too much into this one down day. But the not knowing and the constant underlying worry is dragging me down. Also constantly, I feel. Downer post, sorry. Though not really, because it’s what it is. And I don’t want to sugarcoat it. I neither want to not write about it, because it’s on my mind constantly. This and not much else, as the lack of regular posts might indicate. So if I don’t write about THAT, there is nothing much left to talk about at the moment…

03.10.2021 | “Get up and start again…”

Lyrics: “Start Again” ~ The Lottery Winners, 2021

It’s been a week since my last post. Same old, same old, I could say… Busy with work. Feeling overwhelmed by work. Distracting myself from all of my worries with tearing through contemporary romance novels. The last two I picked from my seemingly never-ending list I really enjoyed, so that did the trick. I was tempted to just pick up another one, but I might also be a bit “romanced out” for now and might pick one of the many non-fiction books from my shelf next.

When I said goodbye to a colleague on Friday she said “You look exhausted! Sorry, if that sounds rude, but you do” in the most loving way. And I was. Still am, maybe. Our senior family member was transferred to the care home on Monday and it all worked well so far. Typical transition difficulties for all of us, I guess. And still… it’s hard to see them like this. Depended on staff for so many activities they could do on their own less than six months ago. So fucking hard. I’ll have to stop typing, or I’ll cry again. This past half year has turned me into such a blubbering mess….

On Friday I had planned to take a similar photo like this one at a different industrial heritage site around here. And probably a bit less colourful, as I took this one at special event.

I had just planned to give the new camera a go with night photography. But once it got dark on Friday it also started to pour down, so I didn’t leave my car after all and just drove home. Feeling a bit silly, but the rain wasn’t my fault!

Is there anything else to talk about at the moment? A new month. New start of things. Possibly. Habits and routines and all that. I’m doing my best. Even though every once in a while I look, not around, but to some people in the public eye, like scientists, politicians, entrepreneurs… and notice that they are my age or more often by now they are even younger. And I feel so inadequate, because they seem to have achieved so much already in their lives and what have I done so far? And I know, I know that’s a horribly unhealthy thing to think, but I can’t help it. It makes me feel the way I feel. Not too often and not too soul-crushingly, but every once in a while. I’m also afraid that might just be a sign of me getting older. That the (over)achievers just get younger, which is just the natural course of life. But for someone with a wonky sense of self-worth it’s not helpful to consider for too long.

26.09.2021 | “And we haven’t done enough of this simple kind of stuff…”

Lyrics: “Dan’s Song” ~ Frank Turner, 2009

A few days ago I upgraded my camera kit. I had vaguely thought about it for a while and also had reached a “you need to do something” state of my mind. I’m rather impulsive when I get to this point, because those “do something” projects are also clearly some kind of distraction from whatever gloomy place my mind had went to at that point. Remember the “buying a guitar” last year? Ehm, I really should get back to trying to learn to play that. It’s gathering dust in the corner of my living room.

But anyway, I decided to buy the camera and I also knew I wanted to spend the weekend playing around with it. I already had plans for “coffee and going for a walk” date with two friends in Düsseldorf to celebrate one of their birthdays on Friday afternoon. With this already scheduled the idea formed in my head, that I should not drive home after the meeting but just go to some other place for a mini break and the chance to try out the new camera outside of my usual setting. I also thought that a change of scenery might help me to unwind a bit more. Not be distracted by Netflix on my TV or any book lying around. But also not get dragged into another cycle of self-loathing in my familiar setting where every corner reminds me of the things I should/could be doing instead of staying on my couch in some sort of lethargy. My mind is a mess sometimes.

Long story short: I booked myself into a 4 stars hotel in Düsseldorf Media harbour. To be able to snap lots of interesting photos around there on the Saturday. And to possibly just have some time to be more introspective with nothing distracting me. No personal clutter and all that. I didn’t do too much introspection, but that’s fine. I was out and about snapping a lot of pictures. I napped. I went to bed early. I had two extensive breakfasts….

I loved it. I should do things like that more often especially as I haven’t really been on a proper relaxing vacation since… long before the pandemic really. I’ve been to the sea for a a week each in September 2020 and in July 2021. But that’s not enough.

Here are some of my photos. I forgot to bring my tripod, so the night photography turned out quite blurry. I need to re-read more about the settings for that and all.

There were quite a few cute Peanuts images at the arches on the riverbank…

Streetart in Düsseldorf
22mm (fixed), f/4.5, 1/250, ISO 100, Auto mode

TV and the famous Gehry Buildings at sunrise on the Saturday.
Sunrise Harbour Düsseldorf
22mm (fixed), f/8, 1/30s, ISO 1600, Av mode

Some closeups of the Gehry Buildings…

Gehry Buildings
24mm, f/4, 1/1250, ISO 100, Av mode
Gehry Buildings TV Tower
18mm, f/8, 1/400, ISO 100, Av mode
Gehry Buildings
48mm, f/5.6, 1/640, ISO 100, Av mode

Here is the end of the day companion piece to the sunrise photo from above….

Blue Hour at the Harbour
24mm, f/11, 2s, ISO 100, Av mode

A view of the the media harbour, the colourful building is the hotel I was booked in.

Colourful Hotel at the Harbour
37mm, f/5, 1/1000, ISO 100, Av mode

Ending it with a blurry one…. But so much potential with better camera settings and a tripod.

Media Harbour at Night
18mm, f/3.5, 1.6s, ISO 800, M mode

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