Sciatica or someone really tries to tell me to take it easy

On Tuesday Sciatica hit. I never had it before so it was a bit of a surprise that it is quite painful. Especially when sitting down or lying in bed. Once again, I thought that I should really invest in one of those desks where you can adjust the height so you can work sitting down or standing up. As I had a deadline, I had no choice as to work and yesterday when the pain was particularly bad, I have been so happy when I delivered the file that I felt like dancing. Only I did not because of the sciatica.

Today is much better thanks to the exercises a friend told me about. And painkillers. I guess it all comes down to me having to take it easy and listen more to my body. I am sure that is clearly the message here. I keep on pushing, pushing, pushing and sometimes I ought to be asking more for help. I really ought to. It’s the reactions to asking for help that I find so hard. Obviously if you ask for help you have to accept that the person you ask cannot help you. It may not even be meant as a mean thing, no they just don’t have the time, other plans or it’s beyond their ability. I always feel that I am asking too much. And one “no” is enough for me to not ask again in a really long while. I guess it’s me who has to learn to accept a “no” as a non-judgement on me asking for help and it’s also me that has to say “no” too.

I have this weird thing where I believe that I am the one who has to sort out everything. It’s a compulsion that if someone asks a questions on social media that I feel they are asking ME and it’s ME who has to answer. Seriously: this alone is exhausting. Combine that with my compulsion to offer unsolicited advise: That’s a full time job in itself.

And really, I want this time to do stuff that I enjoy, like baking bread, reading or occasionally to just stare into the wild nothing that surrounds me (in my head, in reality there are Edwardian terraces around me).

Our daily bread

In a flippant comment to my husband I said last week: “I think I will bake every bread in this bread recipe book.” To which he said: “Sounds good.”

This book in case you wonder is this book: The Women’s Institute bread book 

download Amazon tells me that I bought this book December 2009 and in fact, I have used it a lot, however, always for the same 5 recipes. I bought at the same time Dan Lepard’s “handmade loaf” and I exactly baked 0 recipes. Far too technical for me with the percentages, the oven thermometer and all the kerfuffle one needs. I love me the Women’s Institute though and so I ventured out to bake some more.

In fact I shall bake all of them. On Sunday I baked a sodabread. My 8 year old’s review of the bread was “bready and melts in the mouth” which at the first glance could be seen as a compliment but similar to the critics in the TLS, she actually uses positive sounding words to deliver a harsh critique: She hated it. My husband assured me that the loaf was totally fine and he would eat it again. I thought it was alright, but then I have a bit of a thing with soda bread. I love the idea more than the reality and I can sort of see what my daughter means with her comment. If I make a yeasted loaf and it turns out well, I want to have another slice. With soda bread after a slice, I feel like I have done some hard work and could not contemplate another slice for quite some time.

So yesterday I made a seeded loaf. Oh boy was that nice. The recipe asked for a mixture of seeds, but I only had pumpkin seeds and did not want the lack of seeds put a stop to baking bread, so the seeded loaf became a pumpkin seeded loaf and jolly nice it is, too. My husband’s praise was delivered by text to me as I was already asleep and he had to share his delight: “this bread is as good as any loaf from Maison Mayci”. Thank you muchly husband.

I had a slice for breakfast and another for lunch and I have to say, it is really good. Next up is me finding some wheatgerm. I hope Hollands and Barrats have it. If not amazon may. Wheatgerm bread is up on the list.

May the bread be with you. I sincerely hope that, life without baked goods is a bit sad (at least in my book). Unless your are coeliac. Then life without baked goods is a good thing.



The pumpkin seeded a loaf. A triumph.


Five Ways to Win my Heart

Today’s afternoon was utter bliss. I got to spend some time in my kitchen, baking and cooking while the husband and child went to her choir performance. Usually, I would go, too, but when I finally got around to buy tickets, there was one ticket left and so he got to go (I went to another performance on Thursday) and I got to stay home.

It made me think about the ways you can win my heart and this is certainly one of them, the occasional afternoon all to myself. No itinerary, not “must dos” – just do as I please. Naturally recently, I had a lot of time with no “must dos” but not really the energy to do much other than just sit around. So today was special.

Other ways to win my heart are quite simple:

1. Bring me a cup of coffee to bed – my husband often does that on weekends and it feels like pure luxury to stay in bed for that moment longer with a lovely cup of coffee. I do my best thinking when I drink a cup of coffee and I am not just saying that because I loooove coffee, no it’s true. When I drink coffee, I actually allow myself to not do anything else. No checking of emails, no writing to do lists, nothing of that. I just drink and think. So if you bring me coffee to my bed, you actually inspire me. What a thought!

2. Do the housework – My husband is never sexier than when he does the washing up, unasked and not even hinted at by me. Although I consider myself a feminist, the bulk of the housework falls on my shoulders simply because I am home the most. I can’t really complain because I got a cleaner and my husband will help out, but like a lot of  people who do the lion’s share of the housework without being asked, we just do it because it has to be done, well, just feel it’s so nice when someone else does it, too. Just like that. Unasked.

3. Go on a walk with me – At the moment this will be a rather short walk, but yes, walking and talking is one of the great things humans can do with each other. I especially love walks on winter afternoons where you come home just when sun sets and you have a hot drink and settle down. For a walk, the pleasure is not only in the walk, but also in the period of rest after.

4. Cook me dinner – I am lucky that I am married to a man who loves to cook and is really good at it. He wins my heart with every meal.

5. Tell me something nice – The world is full of bad stuff. Tell me about nice things, things you have noticed, something great that has happened, a wonderful event yo witnessed. Let’s celebrate the good a bit more. I like stories of good stuff.



Games night

After a morning spent at a play centre at the birthday party of one of the kid’s friends, I came home tired and slightly cranky. The only consolation is that as they are now 8, there are hopefully not that many more of those in my future. I am just not a fan. I know many, many people love them, but as for everything in life: it ain’t for everybody.

The only thing that kept me from going insane in the loud, cold warehouse, was the knowledge of going home for a nap and then an evening of game play with friends.

We are massive board game fans and we are lucky enough to have friends who share the passion. Between us we like we have an amazing games library and it is much fun spending time this way.

Tonight we played the two games the kid got for her birthday: ticket to ride Europe and once upon a time.

The first being a board game building train routes across Europe and the second a card game/story telling game.

My daughter loves stories and coming up with them. Every game is different and the stories get more and more in-depth. There was a touch of stage fright at first, but we soon got over that.

What’s your favourite game?



The blue house

The blue house has come on the market. My heart literally raced when I saw it. Something about that house has always captured my imagination and I dreamt if owning it for years.

It’s amazing looking inside through the estate agent pictures and picturing what I would do and how we would use the space.

One can dream.

When I was little I always dreamt of owning a blue house.

If I have one mission

8d6f2ea0ff7f3e7a98197b7cf24b6502 My most important mission in life is to become a nicer, more compassionate and non-judgemental person. I guess you may say that is three missions, however, these things go for me hand in hand. The reality is that pretty much all of us – apart maybe from some very enlightened Buddhist monks – judge others all the time without even thinking. Thoughts like “should you be eating this”, “if this was my child” to “OMG what are you wearing” etc. race through our minds before we can even consider that we are thinking that. I have adopted a mantra for myself where when I catch myself thinking anything along those lines that I say “this is not my place to judge”. And then I move on. Sometimes it’s easier, other times it’s harder. Sometimes the judgement is hidden in something else and that is far harder to overcome. I have issues with giving advise. Meaning that if someone tells me something about an issue or problem or anything else, instead of really listening, I am formulating in my brain an answer, a piece of advice anything like that. So you may be telling me that your bathroom tap leaks and I immediately spurt out that I know a great plumber. Now, you may need a plumber or you just needed to tell me about the thing that is just going wrong in your life and needed someone to listen. And all I did was judge that you should the hell just fix your problem. And here is the plumber, so just get the on with it, will you. I have been doing this particular thing all my life, trying to sort stuff out for others – unasked mostly – and in recent years I have realised that it is actually the least compassionate thing to do. The compassionate thing is to listen first. Let them talk and listen. And then go away and maybe a few days later you say, you know the thing you told me, if you ever need some advice on it, let me know. And then just leave it at that. When I was ill recently a lot of people cooked food for us, which is lovely and one friend particularly went all out and cooked tons. Too much in fact for me, as my appetite was little. My husband felt very judged by these actions as if he was not able to produce a meal. And I felt bad because there was no way we could eat it all and my freezer was full so I could not even put it in there. And as shallow as it sounds: it was simply not what I wanted to eat at that time. So my personal mission is to just get better at not judging and being compassionate. I have no idea why people do the things they do. I can’t solve their problems and maybe there is nothing to solve in the first place. I am just going to be there for those that matter to me. And take it from there. Showing kindness one step at a time.

And then I fell asleep

IMG_5028.JPG Sunday’s party and the “exertion” means that I have had a headache for several days and promptly fell asleep yesterday and did not write at all. I knew this would happen. After all, I am human, I live a life, things get in the way. I told myself that I ought to be ok with this, the missed day, the not writing, the not sitting down. That the only thing that matters is that I come back.

I think with challenges that is always the important thing to remember: They are challenging. It is ok, that I did not write yesterday, what would not be ok if I did not write today simply because I did not do it yesterday.

Yesterday, was kind of a momentous situation as I could officially diagnosed by the Asthma Clinic as asthmatic. After 8 years of being given inhalers by one doctor and then another doctor taking them away, this was quite a momentous thing. I am glad to have this diagnosis, because I am very hopeful that with the asthma properly managed, I should get less severe coughs during winter.

So although this week sees me mainly exhausted to the point of  “I just go back then”, I have still achieved a few things that are noteworthy:

- I am actually reading a book, I am usually a ferocious reader, but pneumonia left me unable to focus and I had not read anything for 6 weeks. Currently, I am reading this.

- We put up the Christmas tree and decorations and I feel all cosy and snug. So cosy and snug that I just feel asleep on the sofa at lunch time.

- I actually wrote a to do list. Before that I had a mental to do of writing a to do list. Feeling quite accomplished.

- I am precooking dinner(s).

- I had someone in to fix the leaking taps. Now we have non-leaking taps. Considering how MUCH I hate having work people in, this is probably the biggest achievement (it’s the conversations that’s killing me, I am not good at talking to people I don’t know).

And now, I shall go and take care of myself.



Exhaustion after pneumonia

As much as I would like it to be different, I am not back to 100%. I got sick almost 7 weeks ago now and although the cough is getting better and I can sleep again, I can still tell when I do too much. Like this weekend. I was tired today, headachey and this frustrates me a bit.

People told me that it could be that way and keep thinking I should be different.

Tomorrow, I have my first appointment with the consultant at the chest clinic. The key is to determine if I have asthma or not.

Now I need to sleep.

Birthday mayhem

Today is one of those days where the daily blog is a challenge. It’s my daughtet’s birthday and we have been up since 4 am. She was so excited she got me up super early. My husband is blessed with the “sleep through anything gene” which I don’t have.

So it is 7pm here now and after presents, party prep, party for 5 hyper girls and dinner out this pneumonia recoverer is in bed and typing this on the phone.

Hit presents were a Pikachu cuddly toy and the coveted metal detector. Oh and the Thesaurus. I guess a love for dictionaries is genetic.

I have no set limit of words I want to write here on a daily basis, the aim is to just show up and write something.

So for today I showed up and I bid you good night.


St. Nikolaus

e628874b4bf19379db62f78be1949691 As a German away from home, I try to keep some of the traditions alive that I grew up with. Hence, I cut a twig on St. Barbara’s day and in the evening of the 5th of December, we put our shoes out for the Nikolaus to leave us a treat – or coal. It is mainly a treat.

In my daughter’s boot you can usually find some chocolates and something useful, like a pair of socks. I often got underwear when I was little, but personally I prefer to give funky socks. Just a tad more exciting to buy and give.

I have long given in on having Santa come to bring the gifts and for them to be there on the morning of the 25th rather than on the 24th in the late afternoon/early evening. I don’t think I could cope with all the questions about why we are different etc. I know other Germans who live abroad do it differently, but we all have to find our own expat path.

However, we still have our big Christmas meal on Christmas Eve and it is one of my favourite meals of the year. Roast potato, lots of veg and some veggie delights. Then we sit by the fire and play some parlour games and then the kid goes to bed. We don’t cook on Christmas day, we just have a big buffet style “eat when you are hungry” approach. The most we may do is put some spring rolls in the oven. This way, we can all enjoy Christmas day and play with the gifts and watch some movies. There is even time for a walk and a nap.