Friday, November 26, 2021

On and on and on...

The numbers of infection are at an all-time high here now. And still rising. Last year we were talking about the 35/50 limits where severe measures would be put into place, in the spring it was 100, now we have surpassed the 1,000 and the incoming government with the newly elected parliament have put 'an end' to the 'pandemic situation' that used to be mentioned in the law. It makes you wonder whether they are completely out of their mind, or what is happening here? I am very grateful I received my third shot yesterday a week ago, because by now I have been transferred to working (helping out) on ICU, and believe me, that is absolutely no fun at all. Every single case who needs intensive care in our hospital has not been vaccinated. And I ask myself where did these people live for the past 2 years? Everybody could have been vaccinated by now, the predictions of what would come if this did not happen before this winter were out there - and still people think their 'right to decide' and their 'right to physical integrity' counted higher than their duty to contribute to the entire society's physical integrity by helping to break this virus' spread? I am so disappointed with my fellow Germans, it is beyond words. Especially now that I am working in the hospital, having to risk my physical integrity and health by taking care of these egotists and dealing with their stupidity. I am MAD. So so so so mad... And now there are reports about the yet again new and more infectious variant of the virus. That is completely disheartening.

Right now, I don't know whether it will be possible to go for my little four day vacation I had planned at the beginning of December, and for which I have booked a holiday apartment. We are supposedly facing a lockdown for unvaccinated persons, but I don't know yet how far restrictions will apply to people who have been vaccinated yet. Will they allow private tourist travel, or will that be forbidden? Will my 16-yr-old once again have to stay home, no basketball practice, but be forced to go to school? I think he is perfectly right when he says his 'social life' doesn't happen on school grounds, he wants to go to basketball practice. And why should professional soccer players be allowed to 'play', but the young people not? 

I woke up with a sore throat and a headache this morning and as we are supposed to stay at home from work with symptoms of a cold, I did that. A test was negative, which is a relief, after all I have been assigned to the ICU for the past two weeks and, althought the 'outside' relief personnel is usually the person who makes sure that personnel 'in' the cubicles with Covid patients has all the material and medication they need without having to leave the isolation room, of course that means that I am exposed to the overall environment, and in some cases I did have to dress up in all the protective gear and assist a colleague with handling of immobile, artificially respirated and/or sedated patients.

But as I got to stay home, I was able to make the most of my good intentions I had announced on my instagram account two days ago. I had planned to not spend money on the so-called 'Black Friday' on some supposedly sale item, but to dedicated my time to continue mending one of my mending projects, the light pair of pants. It had been sitting on my table, biding its time in a state of neglect since some time in the late summer.

So I took this mending project to bed and between sleeping a little and resting I got a heap of stitching done. 

The piece of fabric I am attaching here is an older piece of linen, not exactly the same quality as the pants, but I like the look of it. It is rather big, too, not only a small mend.

I went down the entire piece of linen, and then started circling around in one direction, then the other, to slightly secure the fraying edges.

And then, because I found myself in a kind of flow, I just went ahead and started on the next patch.

So Mending Friday instead of spending Friday was a good day for these pants. This is how they look from the front now.

And this is the back side.

I wouldn't exactly say they're beautiful. But they are a statement, and I will proudly wear them this coming summer, and many more.

And in the evening I went down into the basement and brought up our choir and orchestra of angels to start the Christmas decoration.

Unfortunately, no Christmas markets this year, again, so we won't be adding a new member. But it is reassuring to see these little fellows on our window sill. If I feel well again tomorrow, I will start on Christmas cookies tomorrow. Traditions are soothing, perhaps they will help tie me over this oncoming next wave of virus...

Friday, November 19, 2021

On mending matters, and on wearing purple

I don’t really own a pair of (discarded) jeans that could be used as a quarry for my mending project of the one pair of blue jeans that I started mending where/when necessary. And my son isn’t really producing jeans (yet) that I could sneak from him when he outgrows them. So just a few weeks ago my friend Regine gave me a worn-out pair of jeans for this purpose, at the same time I made up my mind that the blue pair and a light-colored pair of trousers would be my only two mending projects in terms of pants.


I believe in wearing clothes for a long time, and I do enjoy the work of mending. However, my inner critic is very strong and when I look at people who publish books about mending (which don’t teach me anything new in terms of techniques or ideas, but I just never would think about publishing a book with that topic) I start thinking ... and comparing ... Usually my jeans/pants need mending in delicate places, due to excessive bike riding around town, and an attractively stylish patch on the thigh is not the regular mend I am faced with. 

Because of the wear and tear my pants are prone to suffer,
I have also decided that I would happily turn to mending
by machine whenever possible, to save time.

But about a week ago I realized that my well-loved pair of yellow jeans is indeed beginning to get to the state where it might need mending, too, and given the path of worldly things I can figure out that the red one may be getting there, too, in not too long a time. Both of these I don’t want to part with anytime soon. So I took a trip to the thrift store and was going to buy, if possible, a pair in yellow and a pair in red, for future reference as mending materials. After all, yellow has been fashionable lately, and who knows how long that will last, I figured it would be easy to find a pair right now. The color arrangement on the rack in the thrift store, however, was so alluring that I ended up with several more than I had intended. 


And I did resist several others which would have been a wonderful color addition to this palette, you have to believe me. I was short of time when I went in there and didn’t try any of them on until later at home. Only the black and the purple fit me, the yellow and red are meant to be cut up.  The others I will send to a charity organization in Hamburg that makes design clothes and accessoires from used denims and order a jacket made from them. If they make jacket on commission, the website does not state that, only accessoires - I have sent an enquiry.

When I was a lot younger than now I had a purple blazer, which I liked a lot. I wore it on the first day when I started teaching at the university. And it helped – an older professor was already teaching in the classroom that had been designated to me, and I had to stand my ground to defend my rights. Which was easier wearing a purple blazer, believe me. Unfortunately, that blazer disappeared somewhere along the way, I don’t have it anymore, which I deeply regret.  

Last year (or was it even two years ago?) I started a quilt on the poem Warning, more commonly known under its first line “when I am an old woman I shall wear purple...” by Jenny Joseph. I have had a red hat before, and worn it – but it, too, has disappeared. When I started the quilt – which has stalled a bit because I made a serious mistake and have not yet gathered new momentum to continue after I discovered that mistake – 


I had not been considering to be wearing purple any time soon. (When does being an old woman actually begin...?) 

Now this pair of purple jeans is waiting for me. Which will happen first – the completion of the quilt, or me wearing the purple jeans?

Sunday, November 14, 2021

New Job.

It’s been 4 weeks since I started my new job, and it has been a rollercoaster for sure. All the things I learned during the past three years have simple receded into the background as a kind of white noise. Good to have as a backdrop, but not what I need for daily activities in the operating room. I need to understand the structure of procedures, learn where to find materials of all different kinds – and get a feeling for the team dynamics going on amongst a group of more than twenty nurses, the anaesthesiology team, and the doctors around them. I think the latter part of the challenge is the hardest. After two weeks the head nurse told me she was expecting me to be able to be the stand-by (without supervision) for a thyroid operation by Christmas – at that point that statement resulted in a slight feeling of panic on my side, but two days ago, on my four-week-anniversary, I thought, yes, that is definitely going to be possible.

Sometimes I get the feeling that some colleagues think I am not learning fast enough, at least their way of telling me things is not encouraging but a bit debasive, or even impatient. Some others are patient and friendly, though, so with a bit of self-empowering I think I am doing alright. However, on Friday I actually had to sit down after a morning encounter with one colleague (whom some call ‘the dragon’) and give myself a bit of a pep-talk: "It’s only been four weeks! and I am doing pretty well for that! I have learned a lot, I have understood a lot! It is a very complex field! I am doing fine, given all the circumstances!"

I don’t think it could have been much faster considering the mode of explanation and instruction, as it is all ‘learning on the job’ during a fully functioning operations schedule. I do have a mentor, but she is not there every time I am there, and after the first few days she has been assigned to a different operating room more often than not. There are many different ways of following the procedures, and every nurse has her/his own standard – and many different instructors make for a slightly longer time of figuring out exactly how my personal standard will be. Every once in a while I get to take home a bottle of distilled water that hasn’t been used up and that would have been thrown out otherwise. I will never have to buy distilled water for my iron again.


Only the fact that these plastic bottles will be on my mind after
using up the water... but I am using up the water, not just
dumping it down the drain and the bottle would be thrown
away then, too. Any suggestions for this dilemma, anyone?

As I am observing interactions between team members, trying to figure out characters and alliances, I am trying to keep a low profile. I want to work there, work well, and get along with everybody to such a degree that they consider me a reliable, trustworthy and – eventually, hopefully – competent part of the team.

When the operation is on, there can be times when not much is required of me. I watch, try to figure out the routine of instrument handling – and think of knitting patterns or yarn combinations. (That’s easier than quilt options.) A number of blog posts have been composed in my head, but never got written down, because when I come home I am exhausted. So not a whole lot of stitching has been going on. But I think I am getting to the point where I can give myself a certain routine at home after work, and will get back to stitching again. After all, some interesting developments are going on that I will be able to talk about in a little while. Right now I can say that I am making plans for a piece on the theme ‘bridge’, and I am planning to use some of the kimono fabric that I received from Kathy Loomis a few years ago. I even realized that I will make use of a piece I had begun but obviously never finished.


There is still a good sized piece of the (half) kimono
left. I can make several pieces with this...

Always good not to let anything go to waste!