16.10.2021 | “And we haven’t done enough of this simple kind of stuff…” (2nd Edition)

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

Hotels | You’d think that a hotel form the Radisson Hotels Group would spend some money on noise cancelling windows on the side with the busy, busy road. Obviously not. Note to self, make sure to book rooms on the other side if you ever come back here. I’ve got the window closed and still need headphones to block out the rumbling from outside. Post-Lockdown – Rookie -Traveller, that I am, I didn’t remember to check my washbag for earplugs. Crappy, crappy night. Oh, well…

The Weekend | I’m doing another “lets get out of my familiar, boring surroundings weekend” and checked into a hotel in Cologne for two nights. Being somewhere else, new distractions and activities to distract me from my tendency to ruminate and go down spirals of self-doubt and self loathing and all that.

Cologne | This city isn’t too far from me and for quite a few years I have been here a lot. I was a huge fan of their hockey time for a while. Before that another fandom I was involved in had lots of ties to this city, so I was here in TV studios, for smaller events, for meeting with other fans, just hanging out. I’ve also just come down for some shopping. But I haven’t been back as regular in the last decade or so. Especially not since the first lockdown. While I was making a list of what all to do while I’m here I had to stop myself from putting errands on the list as well. Like shopping for clothes. I know some might do that for fun, but for me it’s an errand and this weekend was supposed to be about fun in the widest sense. Eating unhealthy food for lunch. Shopping at he LEGO store. Trying out the new-ish camera some more. I did that last night, though the harbour area had less nice photo spots for me than I had expected. Oh well.

"Kranhäuser" at night, Cologne, October 2021
“Kranhäuser” at night, Cologne, October 2021

Cathedral | This morning I walked around the huge local graveyard for a while. Morbid possibly, but it was quiet and fresh air and all that. I didn’t come to Cologne for the buzz of city life after all. I’m here in fact, because I have something else planned in another city 30 minutes south of here. 🙂 There was a lot of fog from the river till noon and I had already given up snapping some nice photos of the cathedral.

Cathedral in the fog, Cologne, October 2021
Cathedral in the fog, Cologne, October 2021

But it cleared up after all, so even though my legs were rather tired I walked back up on the bridge next to the hotel for a few photos.

Chocolate Museum and Cathedral in Cologne, October 2021
Chocolate Museum and Cathedral in Cologne, October 2021

Love Locks | The “Hohenzollern Bridge”, which spans across the river Rhine directly at the cathedral is a railway and pedestrian bridge. Like in so many other places around the world people started hanging “love locks” on the railings. And by now even on every kind of structure leading up to it. I know people do it. I just don’t fucking get it! At all. If you want to commemorate your undying love do it at a place that has some meaning for you and your loved on. Seriously.

Love Locks in Cologne, October 2021
Love Locks in Cologne, October 2021

Chocolate | The last activity for the day was a visit to the Chocolate Museum. Because how could I not? Also… it’s right next door. I’ve been to it before but it’s been a while. And what can I say? Under different circumstances I’m sure it would have been a good idea. But I realized my mind was too tired to actually take in all the information on the displays. And also… there were quite a few people. All masked and all, but not always adhering to the distance rule, which was not always possible anyway. The did leave people in in time slots so it probably wasn’t even THAT crowded. Still… Will doing these kind of things ever feel normal again? I’m planning to attend a TV / Movie convention tomorrow. No idea how that will make me feel. Anyway, here is my bounty from the museum store 🙂

Bounty from the Chocolate Museum, Cologne, October 2021
Bounty from the Chocolate Museum, Cologne, October 2021

Bridges | When I got out of the museum – which is located on a small island at the entrance to the harbour for small private boats – a lot of people were gathering by the riverside, which I thought was weird. But of course I went to have a look what they were looking at. The bridge connecting the island to the city, was… not drawn up, but turned to the side to let some boats pass through. Interesting. I had no idea the bridge could do that…

Moving Bridge in Cologne, October 2021
Moving Bridge in Cologne, October 2021

Just be… | All in all… this feels like a successful outing in the way that I was distracted enough to not worry about ‘things in general and specifically’ for most of the time. Be in the moment and not stuck in my head.

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.

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