2017 December In Pictures

My December review is always one for the whole year. December as such was okay-ish, I’ve been to Hamburg with a friend, but then was sick again and didn’t even get to go to our Stuttgart Christmas market, which was a real pity.

The weather was on the weird side, with snow just before Christmas to get our hopes up only to laugh at us with 15ยฐC windy days until the new year. On the bright side, our family spent more time together than usual, and I got to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the same people I always do, kind of the last highlight of the year.

As for the year and the state of the world in general, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how bad it’s gotten. I have phases where I simply can not read the news, I am so appalled at how disturbing and brutal a place it seems to be these days. Mainly for other people in other parts of the world, and the rest of the world seems to be watching the degenerated and depraved way women and children especially are being treated. It makes me sick, and I know I’m not the only one feeling that way, but I wish humanity – including myself – would and could do more to stand up for each other.

Sorry, but I had to mention these maudlin thoughts, they can not be brushed under the carpet.

Still, I’m hoping something will change for the better this coming year. I hope you’ve all had a good year as well as a good send-off into the new year.

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2017 November In Pictures

Aaaaand another month gone. I had to take a look at my calendar to see what all I did in November, but it appears that apart from attending a Thanksgiving dinner, candle making with a friend, and a trip to Hamburg with said friend I really didn’t do much socialising.

My immune system must have thought “Why not end the year on the same note as we started!?” and gave up. I returned home from my Hamburg trip sick, and have been on sick leave this past week again, basically sleeping off my cold, hence the lateness of this monthly review.

Luckily I only got sick on the last night of the trip, so I was able to enjoy the first three days. Immensely. I visited friends, together with the friend I traveled I got to see areas of Hamburg I hadn’t been to before, because she actually grew up there, which is always a bonus, having a local accompany you.

As you can see I tried some night photography, which I was content with as I honestly have to say it was a half-hearted attempt without a tripod and without much fiddling with the camera. I was enjoying the city too much to be bothered with how the pictures would turn out. Also, I only used my 50mm lens, even though I’d brought the tele lens. Note to self: only take one lens on city trips.

Looking forward to do Xmassy things in December once I’m fit again.

PS: If you click on the first pic of the gallery, do you see something weird happen? For me, the image appears sharp and focussed for about 1 second, then it jumps and blurs. I’ve re-uploaded it but don’t know why it keeps happening.

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Halloween 2017

For the past three years I was invited to a friend’s Halloween… I was going to say party, but really it’s a Halloween extravaganza. The number of decorations and details is mind-blowing, both outside and inside the house. You don’t know where to look first, and even though you know there are critters around that will jump up and make noise when activated by motion sensors, you will jump every time.

This year I brought my camera, but bear in mind the pictures were taken in daylight, just before the kiddies came for trick & treating, so it doesn’t look as spooky as it actually did at night. You’ll have to use your imagination to picture all this at night fully lit and come alive.

One of my personal joys these past three years was to watch the “cool teenagers” who pretend they’re just looking out of curiosity, and that they’re really too cool for it all, then sneak up on them and just go RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAH! Works like a charm every time, and makes them jump and scream ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ .

The absolute highlights, though, have always been my hostess’ self-made costumes. Unbelievably creative. We usually talk about our costumes for the next year right after the party, and my friend mostly already has a vague idea, and then you see her creativity come alive through the year, and you know it’ll probably be even better than this year’s, even if it’s hard to imagine. And then to see her actually dressed up is just amazing.

Here’s a small selection of the decorations, as well as my friend in her costume. The motto this year was Come Take A Walk With Us On Cemetery Lane.

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2017 October In Pictures

Goodbye October & hello November! October gave us the full spectrum of autum weather – lots of sunshine and crisp sunny days, but also foggy mornings (which unfortunately I didn’t get to capture photographically) as well as wind & rain storms. The leaves started to turn very late this year, and then all of a sudden they seemed to have fallen down all at once .

As you’ll see from this month’s pictures, I got the biggest yield out of my two forest walks; I was really happy to be out and about with my camera again. I also took my camera to yesterday’s fabulous Halloween party but, not using a flash, did not produce anything good in the dark.

I was quite busy this month with “normal life”, too, and once again it felt like October flew by. Let’s see what November has in store.

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2017 September In Pictures

Surprise – I have good things to say about September ๐Ÿ˜€ . It seems like the good and the not so good balanced each other out perfectly well this past month. Brace yourself for a long post, or jump straight down to the pics!

The weather went autumn on us right at the beginning of September, but at the end when I had two very long weekends in a row it turned absolutely beautiful.

I started reading a book on mental decluttering, am still at chapter 3 after a month, and I haven’t felt so calm in a long time. Maybe just looking at the book title made me feel better ๐Ÿ˜‚ .

While I only took my camera outside twice, the yield of pics I was content with was quite good, and I enjoyed both food photography as well as creating in the kitchen last month.

My lovely 91-year-old neighbour died. I only saw her about six or seven times a year, we had a quick chat in the hallway, but it was always a pleasure to see this little woman, always full of energy, always smiling, and her eyes would light up when she saw you. She’ll be dearly missed.

At her wake, I shared a table with 4 other neighbours, and oh my… it was enlightening, and maybe also a reason why I’ve managed to feel even calmer. I told a friend afterwards: There I was, living in my ivory tower on the top floor, suffering about all the noise and inconsiderate behaviour around me, thinking I was the only one noticing all this stuff, and feeling overly sensitive. And then it turns out everyone has the same issues – some with the same people, some with others. Of course, that doesn’t make the issues any less annoying, but it helps to see I’m not a nutter in an ivory tower ๐Ÿ˜€ .

Yesterday I worked from home because the hot & cold water meters were going to be exchanged. Guy arrives on time, guy leaves, I go shopping, I come back home and notice I have no hot water. In fact, when I turn the water to the warm position – no water at all. Naturally, it’s too late to call the janitor or the housing society. I check with a neighbour to make sure I’m not the only one with the problem, but of course I am.

In the course of the evening I connect with another neighbour who turns out to be not only lovely and helpful but also enraged on my behalf. It turned out the emergency number provided by the housing society was not the current one, so I’d have to spend the weekend using icy water. I know, I know, there really are worse things but it’s the principal that got our dander up, the not updating of an emergency number. This morning I woke up to a light bulb moment: when the meter people announced they’d be coming by, I took a pic of the phone number just in case. I jumped out of bed, found the pic, called the guy at 7:30 am and got a return call at 8:00 am. They would be coming round again in the afternoon, it seemed to be a defective part, and they would do their best to tide me over the weekend with hopefully at least lukewarm water. That’s more than I expected, so I’m good with that.

So now I’m off into my long weekend. It’s German Unity Day on Tuesday, so most people will have Monday off – hopefully not those who I expect to fix my warm water issue ๐Ÿ˜€ – so four days off altogether. I will most definitely take the camera outside to be ahead of the game to deliver pictures at the end of next month.

I hope your September was calm & enjoyable.

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2017 August In Pictures

Welcome to the end of August! Quite a hot month here in Southern Germany, but I’m sure that as every year there will be people saying we didn’t have a proper summer. So I went to the trouble to look up the August weather in Stuttgart, which apparently was 24ยบC on average, so definitely summer weather. We’ve been having a lot of days over 29ยบC, but we also had lots of summer storms; luckily these were always followed by sunshine.

I definitely enjoyed the fruits and vegetables of summer, provided by my parents’ garden as well as the weekly market, and I made quite a few damson cakes. I’m going to freeze lots of summer fruit this year so I can “beam myself back to summer” with food when it gets colder here.

I took the camera outside a little more often in August than the previous months, as you can see; I went to a farm brunch, took a walk in the forest, and went to a friend’s birthday BBQ. I also met my friendย E in the city for breakfast, our usual routine when she visits from Dubai. Let’s hope I’ll keep this up in September.

Although I’m in no way prepared to let go of summer, and I’m going to enjoy the last three weeks of it, I’m kind of looking forward to autumn photography.

How was your August?

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2017 June In Pictures

What can I say about June? We’re halfway through the year already, but so far I’m still waiting for positive things to happen.

I should be on my way to the Dutch North Sea right now with friends, but decided to cancel due to illness in the family with uncertain outcome. And while I’ve been very much looking forward to this vacation, it was the right decision to stay home in order to see what happens next. I’ll still be on vacation from work, but I wanted to be on call for the family if needed.

The weather in June was mixed but even when it rained the sun came out afterwards. We’ve had a really hot month with temps up to 38ยบC here in Southern Germany, so nothing to complain about.

As you can see from June’s picture collection, I really haven’t taken the camera out much. I spent most evenings after work on the balcony now that everything’s blooming nicely, but I have a few outings planned for July, so maybe that will finally be the month my camera gets to see the outside world again ๐Ÿ™‚ .

How was your June?

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2017 April In Pictures

April was quite a diverse month, both weather- and photography-wise. The weather showed both its pleasant as well as its unpleasant side, as is typical for April. With regards to photography, I did much more than in the previous months, both outside and inside. I made some DIY photography backgrounds/surfaces, and I enjoyed testing them as you will see below.

At the end of April I traveled first to Edinburgh, and then on to London, where I was happy to meet fellow photography blogger Laura of eljaygee for the second time after our meeting in December last year.

All in all, April was a balanced mix of positives and not so positives. I’m still looking for an apartment, but I got to go on vacation. My business trip to Rome was cancelled, but I’ll be traveling to the Dutch North Sea coast next month. I still haven’t broadened my photographic horizon as much as I would have liked, but I’m on a good course. So no complaints, really. Let’s see what May brings.

How was April for you?

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2017 February In Pictures

It’s the end of February, and this not-so-new year seems to be still in low gear for me. Another two weeks of sick leave, still not feeling 100 % – again, like many other people around me, so it’s not just me who can’t seem to fight off whatever bug is going around – and lots of indoor photography. These past few days I’ve resorted to phone photography, because apart from going to work I wasn’t outside much.

Last weekend I did a mega spring clean in the kitchen, lugging everything that wasn’t attached to anything out into the hall, scrubbing, cleaning, throwing lots of stuff out, then trying to put back in as little as necessary. Great feeling!

Another great feeling is that I’ve actually managed to produce a full month of pictures again, and not just another half-assed attempt…

Let’s stick with the good memories of February and see what March brings.

How was your February?

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2017 January In {A Few} Pics

Dรฉjร  vu anyone? The German saying New Year – New Luck didn’t turn out to be true. As much as I wanted to start this year on a more positive note, I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I went into the new year with a week of sick leave. Then I went back to work for two weeks until I was sent home with the words “Do not come back until you’ve fully recuperated”. This turned into another two weeks of sick leave, I’m in the middle of the second one now.

So many people I know are having the same problem with a really persistent cold, and some are, unfortunately, much worse; cases where a cold has led to pneumonia are abound. I wish everyone who suffers that they get better soon.

While I’d made a list of what I’d like to take pictures of this month, it didn’t happen, of course, what with being housebound and sick. The few pics you’ll see here are from New Year’s Day, some of my cooking endeavours from the two weeks I actually felt well, and the few bits & bobs I photographed while being home these past two weeks [and I didn’t know taking pics at home could be so exhausting!].

I was trying to do some stock photography for my own purposes, and I had so much more planned, but we’ll have to make do with this. It can only get better from here on out.

Having said that – my laptop is on the brink of giving up and will need a new installation. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the kind of tedious tasks this entails. I’ve been trying to delay this but not much is working anymore so it needs to be done pronto. I just wanted to get this post up, and then we’ll see what happens. I’ll try the WP mobile version to keep up to date with stuff.

And not to sound sappy, but there are people out in this world who are so much worse off with real issues in their lives, and I’m fully aware mine are 1st world problems.

I hope you’ve all had a much better January!

PS: Since preparing this post earlier today, I tried to do a new install on my laptop – it wouldn’t let me. I tried the DELL backup & recovery tool – success. But only until I had to login with my Microsoft account… Apparently a few years ago when I created my MS account, I had to state an alternative email address, which meanwhile no longer exists. So on updating that information, MS told me I needed to wait 30 days for them to give me full access. Until then, I cannot access some apps on my laptop nor “confirm my identity” on the laptop. Hilarious. I think it would have been less hassle to buy a new laptop ๐Ÿ™‚