Well, I haven’t posted anything since early April because I had a lot of things going on and completely lost the habit of writing anything:
- Work has been quite terrible since the week before Easter
- We’ve been to Bavaria and back
- The long Easter weekend was lovely, and I read a lot
- I had a horrid toothache for almost two weeks
- I discovered the language learning app Duolingo and now I’m addicted
At work we had the worst failure of our tools ever. It started with the deployment of a new technology stack for our content management infrastructure two and a half weeks ago, which had unplanned side effects coupled with the hardware failure of an important server. Since then, we’ve been in a hectic mitigation mode that’s been quite exhausting (although probably more exhausting for the system admins who have to fix everything while also supporting our workarounds, so that at least some things could get done).
Despite this, I had a nice, relaxed Easter weekend (only logging on to work once to check if a mitigation procedure had run as planned, which it had). I meant to write a blog post or two, but I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything except read and do some cooking. Mum and I spent Easter in Bavaria, as Partner needed to be at his place. I finished reading the second volume of Gibbon, read two of Deborah Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James crime novels and started reading a history about Pagans and Christian by Robin Lane Fox that I’ve had for a couple of years and that fits in well with the first two volumes of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
The weather was lovely during Easter and while we were in Bavaria. Lots of sunshine, but still a bit cool. Very good for walks with Curious Dog – no drying of a wet and muddy dog afterwards. Sadly, spring has brought the ticks back out of hibernation (or wherever they disappear in winter). We had a nasty episode where CD lost a huge tick and it was stepped on… The Juneberry bush we planted a couple of years ago had its first blossoms, very nice. It’ll be interesting to see if any berries develop. Now that we are back in Baden-Württemberg, there’s a bit of rain. Everything is green and the apple trees are glorious.
On top of all the work stress, I developed a bad toothache, which only turned up at night at first. Basically, before Easter, I spend about three nights not sleeping at all well because my entire left jaw hurt. During the day, the pain disappeared, and I didn’t go to see my dentist, because of “head in the sand” syndrome (hoping it would go away by itself). Once we were in Bavaria, I didn’t want to go to a different dentist, so I treated it with a cup of golden milk every night (soy/oat milk with some turmeric, ginger, pepper, cinnamon and honey for sweetness, plus a dab of coconut oil). Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and it worked for me (it’s very important to take it with a pinch of pepper as it otherwise isn’t bio-available). It made my nights pain-free, and I could sleep again. I was quite surprised as I hadn’t really believed it would work so well – perhaps it was partly a placebo effect. During the day, I had come-again go-again pain of various intensities, but bearable. I didn’t want to take more turmeric during the day, because you shouldn’t overdo it, and I didn’t want to take conventional painkillers either (if I’d had to take painkillers, I would have gone to see a dentist). Now that I’m back at my place, the pains gone. I didn’t have any swelling and I’m not sure what caused the pain. Maybe it was a kind of delayed reaction to my tooth extraction. Or it was one of my wisdom teeth acting up. I’ll probably just wait until my next planned dentist’s appointment at the beginning of June (unless the pain returns before then).
On Easter Monday, I thought I’d try out the language learning app Duolingo, of which I have heard good things from Naemi, of A Book Owl’s Corner. Since then, I haven’t been reading anything much. I’m addicted, I tell you, addicted! I’ve restarted my efforts to learn Latin and I’ve started learning Ukrainian (new to me) – the app has short lessons, is very motivating and the ads in the free version aren’t terribly bothersome. I’m really enjoying myself and can already say extremely useful sentences like “I don’t eat meat” and “The home is where the cat is” in Ukrainian (my pronunciation is probably terrible). My current focus is on learning the Cyrillic alphabet in the Ukrainian version. There are some letters that look like letters from the Latin alphabet but represent different sounds (confusing) and there are a lot of “y” and “I” sounds that I find difficult to differentiate between. But it’s a nice challenge. I’m also looking up other resource to supplement the app, as I think in the long run the app won’t be enough. I guess I chose Ukrainian because of the current situation with so many Ukrainian refugees coming to Germany. I’m also enjoying taking up Latin again with which I tend to have and on-and-off again relationship. Learning Latin used to be one of my yearly goals, but I never followed up and therefore dropped it again. Let’s see how long my enthusiasm lasts this time.
My neighbours in Bavaria, who have an empty old house on their lot where the grandparents used to live, have provided it to Ukrainian refugees (it’s old, but in good condition – certainly much better than the refugee reception camp which is just folding beds in a sports hall). Five people are living there now, grandparents, parents, and a child. The men were working in Germany when the war broke out and the women and child fled afterwards. Their convoy was shot at and one of the cars was destroyed. What an awful experience. They don’t know any German and communication works with Google translate. We donated some dishes and Mum gave the child a teddy bear. Mum was a refugee too when she was about six years old at the end of WWII and she’s always remembered that she had to leave her teddy bear behind – she hid it behind a wardrobe.
Like everyone else, I’m following the news about the war in Ukraine. It’s all so terrible. I’m annoyed about the waffling of the German government regarding the provisioning of heavy weapons, especially considering the human rights violations by the Russian Army. But I’m also sad that this is even necessary. I’m disgusted about the interview that the German ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder has given to the New York Times, where he affirmed that he wouldn’t be giving up his posts with the Russian energy corporations and that Putin wanted peace – if Putin wanted peace, why start a war in the first place. Like many Germans I’ve never approved of Schröder’s position on the boards of those Russian companies. He’s an ex-chancellor so he gets a high monthly pension (€ 8 300) and generous additional benefits (all paid for by German taxes). What does he need income from Russian firms for and why was he even given those posts? Very dubious this is.
Keep safe, world.