04.11.2023 | The Plague Hit Again

This statement from Wednesday obviously was bit premature

All the rain and wet feet might be why it feels like I’m developing a cold. I tested for COVID this morning, negative, so it might just be a common cold. I wore a mask at the gig, because it felt safer to me.

Posted on this blog here on 01.11.2023

I didn’t feel better on Thursday and despite another negative test in the morning I would have preferred to work from home and not head into the office. Alas I was needed there for a new staffer introduction because others were out on vacation (or out sick). I stocked up on cold meds and remedies after work on Thursday. I didn’t feel much better on Friday but had planned to head into the office regardless for the same reason as on Thursday. But Friday’s COVID test came up positive.

Photo of a duvet on a bed. Duvet cover has stripes in various shades of blue
A day in bed

I’ve got a sick note for up till Wednesday and from how I felt yesterday and how I feel today that should be sufficient. I spent most of yesterday and all the time till noon today in bed and that was a sensible thing to do, I guess. I It really is much milder than the first COVID infection I had mid-October 2022. I’m also much less anxious about it all than I had been back then. I honestly don’t know if that’s a good thing. No matter how severe the actual infection will be the risk for Long Covid or any other negative health effect down the line years from now are still there. On the other hand there isn’t really anything I can do about that right now, so I try my best to now spend any energy worrying about it.

Another thing I’m trying my best (and mostly succeeding) to do is: not blame myself for catching it again, because I didn’t go out and ask for it. I did wear a mask at the actual gig. In the crowded line for the wardrobe. Not while shortly chatting to others before, but I kept my distance then. We went out for dinner before the gig and we had breakfast at the hotel each morning. None of those situations felt too crowded for me so I felt safe enough. I did not disinfect my hands as religiously as I did during the height of the pandemic. But there is no point to dwell on where or how I got it despite all the measures I took. And I’m quite glad that I’ve reached the state of mind where I can accept that and not keep endlessly worrying about it and blaming me for being negligent.

I did have moments where I felt super guilty for missing work right now and on such short notice because of the staff shortage mentioned above. But again I was able to reign in this self-reproach and just accept the situation as it was. I am sick. I am supposed to be off work! And no one at work blames me for not being able to be there for a few days. It’s just my inner critic and demons being a bit brawly about this. But I am able to shut them up and out of my mind most of the time. Again: Thank God for therapy!

I’ve spend way too much time on my phone scrolling through social media these past few days. Which was ok for the first day(s) to distract myself from the plague, but needs to stop again. I also put the slightly more challenging novel I had been reading on the backburner and downloaded some easier to digest contemporary novels from my TBR list on my devices. I plan to listen to podcasts and do more zentangle / doodles and just take it easy for the next few days.

I had actually planned to do NaNoWriMo this year and even though I had no real plot for my story idea I sat down on Wednesday (1st November) to write some and to plot some. But I knew that will be put on the backburner as well. My COVID brain isn’t up for that kind of performance at the moment. And that’s ok.

Taking every day as it is at the moment and that’s ok.

01.11.2023 | Travelling Fangirl Reprise

When I got back to writing posts about my post-lockdown travel to Frank Turner gigs in April 2022 I was too emotional obviously to use the old “Travelling Fangirl” title for those. So it’s about time for a reprise.

Last Thursday I got in my car to drive north for about 650 km. That night I picked up two English friends at the airport in Billund, Denkmark and the day(s) after we drove rollercoaster, fought out “Ninja Battles” (I lost every time), strolled through Miniland and fangirled over all things LEGO.

LEGO Built dragon sculputres at a water ride at LEGOLAND
Dragons at LEGOLAND
View over Miniland at LEGOLand
View over Miniland
Photo of a 3-store-high Lego tree inside the LEGO House
Tree inside the LEGO House

On Saturday we drove another ~ 270 km to Copenhagen. We stopped about halfway in Odense to visit the Hans Christian Andersen museum, which was wonderful place. I realized that even though I know the basic of his stories, I never ever have read one.

a circular building with lots of glass and wood, part of the Andersen Museum in Odense. A few trees with mostly red coloured leaves in the foreground.
The beautiful building of the Andersen museum in Odense
Beautifully crafted medal sculpture spelling out Traekfugl. This word and Bird of Passage and a chinese sign is shown below it
Title of one section
Model birds taking flight inside the museum
Inside the Andersen Museum

Sunday we spend some time at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen and waited for the rain to pass, which it only did temporarily. We strolled through Copenhagen a bit, up the Round Tower, down to Nyhavn and got properly drenched on the walk back to the hotel.

Sun Chariot
the Sun Chariot illustrates the idea that the sun was drawn on its eternal journey by a divine horse.
View over Copenhagen from the Round Tower. In the background Öresund-Bridge is visible
view from Rundetårn
Photo of Nyhavn, Copenhagen: sailboats docked, colourful houses in the background

I’m glad I had packed a 2nd pair of shoes, because later that night we walked over to a concert venue to see the guy, we travelled here to see. Frank Turner! This time in duo format with the brilliantly talented Matt Nasir on mandolin.

Photo of Matt Nasir on mandoline and Frank Turner with a guitar on stage. In the middle foreground is a raised arm in the shadow
Frank and Matt on stage

And what can I say: it’s always, ALWAYS such a joy to see Frank sing some songs. To entertain. To make the people in the crowd sing and dance and laugh and feel all the feels. I do at least, but that’s a given when he sings about all that stuff I relate to so much and that his songs helped me work through. Or at least started to make me work through. I will probably forever well up a bit, when Frank does his intro to “Haven’t Been Doing So Well”. When he talks about his own mental health and how long it took him to ask for help and how much better his life is now, because he did. Because that particular song played quite a big role for me to finally do the same. So yeah, I might have been a bit emotional.

It was a fun night with a great selection of songs, amusing banter on stage and a bit of improv, when a string broke on Frank’s guitar and they had to play a song accompanied just by mandolin, while the guitar was fixed “behind the scenes”.

Photo of Matt Nasir on mandoline and Frank Turner without a guitar on stage. Frank is smiling. In the foreground there are a few clapping hands
“Live and Let Die” without a guitar

We hung around after the show for a while hoping to be able to catch the guys and our persistence paid off. We got our Frank hug, were able to chat for a bit and went back to our hotel with our souls and hearts filled to the brim. Mine anyway.

We got rained on again half way back, so that was a bit of a downer. All the rain and wet feet might be why it feels like I’m developing a cold. I tested for COVID this morning, negative, so it might just be a common cold. I wore a mask at the gig, because it felt safer to me. My friend and I seem to have been the only ones though. But I’ve stopped being baffled by that, I just live my life as I see fit.

On Monday morning around 9 I got in my car – shortly after falling down three steps of stairs ! – and drove for another 12 hours (including frequent breaks to stretch my sore from the fall limbs) The last 3 hours were a slow drive in the rainy dark. But all in all it went fine and I don’t regret anything. I’d do it again in a heartbeat! I will do something similar again next year when Frank will be back on tour with the new album.

One last thing I definitely feel worth sharing especially regarding the mental health part I mentioned above. A few things didn’t work out as planned this weekend. Some by chance, some by my own mistake, some just bad luck like me falling down the stairs. Two years ago either of these would have most probably put me in a tailspin of self-loathing and worry and possibly would have ruin parts of this trip for me. None of that this time. Or at least not anything I couldn’t squash down quickly. I’m so glad I had been following Frank’s advice in early 2022 and “admitted that I could use a little help”.

23.10.2023 | A Bit of Everything

Friends of mine are back at work / school after their bout with COVID. One co-worker called in sick for the rest of week because of COVID. In a videocall I see others with a still heavy cold, at least they look and sound like it. I hear about how much staff calls in sick at work in parts of our health system; possibly not all with COVID, but other respiratory infections. Not everyone bothers taking a test these days.

On the lest a negative COVID test, on the right a bunch of COVID tests in their packaging
COVID tests in 2023

I on the other hand am taking a test whenever I just sneeze more often than usual. I know, I know that might be the other extreme. I might never quite loose that part of my anxious mind, that’s sometimes worrying too much or too early. But I really neither want to be plagued with COVID again right now. Or ever to be honest. Nor do I want to spread it unknowingly. Over the past few years I got used to wearing a mask in crowded situations so I don’t mind doing that again this winter. I took the rather crowded train to Düsseldorf on Saturday and was under the impression that I was the only one wearing a mask. I’m glad I’m not bothered anymore if I stand out by doing that.

I plan to wear a mask in the small club in Copenhagen, where I plan to see my favourite artist play some songs on Sunday. I was about to write “it’s been too long since I’ve seen him”, but that’s not really true, as it has been only 2.5 months. BUT it’s only my 2nd Frank Turner gig this year and that’s just not enough. I know I’m blessed to be fangirling over an artist who loves to tour as much as he can and I sometimes have to remind myself that in general I’m quite lucky in that regard. But I still like to be in a crowd to sing my favourite songs with likeminded people more than twice a year, damn it! And that’s why I’m going on the longest road trip ever or at least yet.

On former trips like these I did share lots of stuff on social media (mostly Instagram Stories), but I most probably won’t do that again this time. Or ever again? I don’t know. Yesterday I started a rather rigid “trying to cut down on my social media time” routine and sharing as much as I used to would be 100% counterproductive? This also means that I will stop with the “Positivity” Instagram stories for now (or ever?). Three days after I started with them. Oh well. Needs must and all. Spending less time on social media hopefully frees up time for writing. Blog posts possibly, but in November also the NaNoWriMo project I’m still planning to do. Right now I think my story will be very much influenced by personal stuff. Therapeutic writing? Maybe.

On Saturday I had thought about going for a run in the morning, but that would have made afternoon plans a bit stressful. So I went to Düsseldorf, met a fellow blogger, I’ve known online for over a decade for coffee and cake. And then walked around for a bit longer, took photos and all that. All in all 13.00o steps, almost 10 km, as good as a run, right? I did do the run on Sunday afternoon even though it took me a while to really get motivated. I decided to try out the route of the most local parkrun and to see how long it would take me to do it. It went fine so far and just now I at least registered at parkrun. I most probably might be the last one to cross the finish line and I’m not sure my mind is ready for that yet. I know it’s stupid to think or to worry about that and I hopefully will get over that fear soon and take part in an official parkrun. Exciting, isn’t it?