Boo Stead

Today was the day – we finally got an appointment at our GP to get our yearly COVID-19 and flu shots. One in the left shoulder, the other in the right one. I forgot which was which, but both shoulders are slowly starting to ache. I expect to be completely useless tomorrow. Last fall I got both boosters at the same time too and it was not as dreadful as the previous two COVID-19 shots were. Still, I am not looking forward to tonight and tomorrow.

Regarding other things, I did not comment on recent events for a while because I just barely manage. Just to clarify one of the latest issues – I do not support the killing of children or innocent people of any age when Hamas does it, and I do not support it when IDF does it either.

Corona Crisis Crafting: This Time for Real

Well, sitting in a chair making tiny movements is something that still works, so I made jewelry, what else…

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

This set predates my Covid infection. It’s polymer clay with so called silkscreen stencils.


Who’s a good little fire demon? Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle is one of the sweetest half-villains ever conceived.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Come swimming in a sea of flowers. Yes, those roses are hand made. Yes, I know. My sister got a matching pair.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Come to the beach with me. This was a cane made after a Youtube tutorial and I really like the results.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

And last but not least, some beadwork: The Sungoddess

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Well, here we are: finally caught Covid

positive Covid test

©Giliell, all rights reserved

When I woke up this morning with a lightly sore throat and a headache, I didn’t think any of it. After all, I’d had a terrible night. Last night some guy rang our doorbell at about 10 p.m. and asked if our caravan was for sale (it’s currently parked in front of the house) and only accepted “no” number five, so all night I woke at the lightest sound, afraid that somebody would steal it.

I went to work where a colleague told me that her husband caught it and her son, who is my pupil, probably as well. I still shrugged it off, but did a routine test (which we are officially no longer allowed to have). Now, this part is important: I always do my swabs thoroughly. No “just touching the nose lightly”. At first I only saw the C line. I put it to the side as I was expecting a phone call and forgot about it. When I looked again after 20 minutes or so, there was the faintest line visible. Not sure if I was hearing the fleas cough, I did a second one. This time I poked the swab down my nose as far as I could. On that second test, the T line appeared before the C. The conclusion is double:

  1. Don’t assume “yes it says 15 minutes, but it’s still clean after 5 so it’s ok”
  2. Taking your sample well is important.

Now, so far I still only have a sore throat, headache and a bit of being groggy, but we’re also in a heat wave, that doesn’t help. The kids and Mr are clean so far. Let’s hope it tays that way. Of course I’m missing the fun week at school again…

Better Late Than Never???

It is still unclear whether or not I or my parents will have some long-lasting Covid effects. However, so far it looks good. It does not look so good for one of my cousins though. The cousin in question is about twelve years older than I am. When we were kids, he sparked my interest in nature, and thus he was one of the first people who have put me on the path of actually seriously studying natural sciences. But…

My parents are an exception within the family in that they both are decidedly non-religious (my father even being resolutely anti-religious), a fact that I have not known about until my late teens. And although my religious relatives are not the “frothing-at-the-mouth-fire-and-brimstone-biblical-fundangelicals” that seem so typical representatives of Christianity in the USA, the negative effects of the religious rot on the human mind are noticeable amongst some of them even so.

That my moderately religious cousin has married a deeply religious woman was unbeknown to me for years. They both seemed pretty reasonable in our interactions and religion rarely, if ever, came up. When my cousin-in-law scolded my mother that she should not do laundry on Black Friday because it makes Jesus bleed or something like that I just rolled my eyes, but it was not a harmless superstition, she actually believes that crap. The first warning sign of really bad things to come was when she has become a part of a radical cult and the family almost broke apart – she almost left not only her husband but also her three children over religious bullshit. Once you start to truly believe moderate bullshit, apparently believing egregious bullshit becomes easier.  They managed to reconcile that issue somewhat, but it was apparent from that time on that many of the problems in that family – which I won’t discuss in public in detail – stem from the fact that religion, not reality-based knowledge, and not even common sense – guided many decisions.

Things came to a culmination of sorts last year when they both got Covid and were sick for over a month. They did not get vaccines because “they did not believe in them”. They both have long Covid now and my cousin, a jolly bear of a man of rude health to whom illness was a nearly unknown thing for most of his life, is now battling chronic tiredness and depression. He did say to my mother that he will accept vaccine boosters if they will be recommended to him, as well as new vaccines should the need arise in the future.

It does make me wonder if this is “better late than never” or just “late”.

Covided at Last

At first, I thought I am just tired from heavy work. Then I thought I got a mild strep throat infection and bronchitis from exposure to cold (something that I have always been susceptible to). It lasted from Friday to Sunday, yesterday I was almost completely symptom-free and today as well.

I have bought and made a Covid self-test today nevertheless and it turned out positive. So although I no longer have any symptoms, I very probably did/do have Covid, in all probability Omicron. My parents were due a visit to an orthopedist on Thursday, they will have to postpone it now. My mother probably has it too, she does have a sore throat and a cough, although no fever so far. My father thus almost inevitably has it by now as well. I really do hope they will too only have a mild case. They usually do fare better than I for some reason, and they fared better after the vaccine and both boosters too. But there are no guarantees with illnesses and Covid is no exception.

There are only two instances where I could get infected recently – during one of my bi-weekly shopping trips or during a dental visit last Monday. The dental visit seems a more likely culprit to my mind, although during the shopping I did of course encounter vastly more people.

I really hope my parents come out of it OK. We managed so well for two years and I bring the plague into the household when the cases are in decline around here. I guess it was inevitable, one cannot avoid it forever, but still.

Corona Crisis Crafting: Just Bead It

As you probably have noticed by now, crafting is my stress relief #1. I craft so I don’t kill. And right now, stress is getting high. Omicron is raging and our governments have abandoned us. I regularly get messages from the ministry of education that resemble WW 2 perseverance commands: complete bullshit and dangerous to follow (did you know, schools are safe because we wear masks. Nobody who says that has ever tried to make a kid wear a mask correctly for 6 hours and Covid doesn’t are if you mostly follow the rules).

Well, all in all I needed some pretty escape, I saw a tutorial on youtube and thought “I still have all those seed beads from Uli, for once I wouldn’t have to buy supplies”. Well, let’s put it like this: the cheap plastic seed beads were enough to let me try it out and conclude that I like it, so off to Etsy I went. Charly clearly lives in the land where glass sparkles, because no matter what type of beads one might need, you can’t do better than Czech glass beads.

There are different techniques for beading, so let’s start with the first one: The wheels on the bus go round and round:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

These are Miyuki delica beads, they are cylindrical. I found these flat patterns easier than the 3D ones we’ll see later. It’s a bit like crocheting doilies: skip here, add x there, repeat for the round, next round do this.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Same technique, different pattern. These combine seed beads (roundish) with Bohemian crystals and white wax beads. If you wanted to try your hand at beading, I’d recommend something like this, they’re fairly straightforward and don’t take to much time. Unlike the next project…

Beaded necklace and earrings. The necklace consists of 9 beads that are individually made up of seed beads. The larger bead in the middle has rainbow colours, then symmetrically a blue, a red, a yellow and a green bead. They are strung with faceted black glass beads. The earrings are in the same style, multicolor. The other images show the same jewelry from different angles.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

These are all glass seed beads, except for the black ones, which are Bohemian crystals. After a while you get the hang of the 3D shapes, but until that a lot of cursing was involved. The last tecnique I want to try is block weaving, but for that I’ll have to wait for some supplies to arrive…


Virusflakes – Part 3

The final part of kestrel’s viral art project. Enjoy.

Hepatitis B Virus can actually be prevented with a vaccine:

© kestrel, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Hepatitis C Virus is a major cause of viral hepatitis. It was interesting to me that it looks nothing like Hepatitis B, it just seems to cause similar symptoms;

© kestrel, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Apparently, most people are infected with Rotavirus at least once by the age of 5 years:

© kestrel, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Herpes Simplex Virus was rated as “hard” and boy they were not kidding. This one I found the hardest to do and took the longest amount of time:

© kestrel, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Virusflakes – Part 2

Some more pictures from kestrel.

This is the Heartland Virus. It was named after the Heartland Regional Medical Center, and not for the shape:

© kestrel, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This is Adenovirus, which can actually be genetically modified and used is gene therapy and in vaccines for viruses, including SARS-CoV-2:

© kestrel, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Lassa Virus can cause a severe illness and can be caught from rodents in parts of West Africa:

© kestrel, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Bluetongue virus causes disease in cattle, sheep, and goats. I think the inner shapes are particularly beautiful:

© kestrel, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Explaining Pfizer Vaccine in a Nutshell

I was just explaining how the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19 works to my parents – not that they were vaccine skeptics or some such, my mother was just curious – so I put my teacher hat on and – inspired by yesterday’s picture post by kestrel – I put it to them thusly:

A virus is an envelope that contains the instruction on how to make a said envelope with the same instructions inside. So the body starts producing said envelopes with the instructions over and over again. The vaccine is similar but it is just an envelope containing the instruction on how to make the virus envelope – but without the instructions inside. Thus when the instructions from the vaccine are used up, the production stops, unlike with the virus. In the meantime, the immune system learns from this how to recognize the envelope, and subsequently, when it encounters the real deal, it can destroy it.

Yes, I do occasionally explain things to my elderly parents in an oversimplified fashion as if they were children. Especially sciencey things. They do not seem to mind.

Virusflakes – Part 1

kestrel has made some lovely viral decorations and she shared with us some pictures. Enjoy!

Marcus posted a PDF (under the title, “Let’s Go Viral”) that had these wonderful images you could print out and cut up to make virusflakes. I don’t know about the rest of you but the last two years have really hampered my ability to create, so this was a wonderful tonic to help me through a tough time. Here is the link to the PDF: -click-

To start out, just choose an image you find appealing and print it. It will look something like this:

© kestrel, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Next, you cut out the square. I actually ended up cutting around the dotted circle, after I tried a few and found out how it all worked. Once you have done that you just fold on the lines (they turn out better if you are as accurate as you can be in your folding) with the printed image on top. I printed mine out on a very tough tracing type paper, almost like parchment paper. I could see through the paper fairly well to fold it, yet it was much stronger than usual tracing paper. After that, you just start cutting out the image.

© kestrel, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I found that using a very small and really sharp pair of scissors worked the best. Each virus comes with an information sheet about that particular one; this can be educational as well as a fun activity. I certainly learned a lot more about viruses than I had known before.

OK, so what do they look like? Well, even the “worst” viruses are really beautiful. We will start with Coronavirus.

© kestrel, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This next one is not actually a virus but it acts like one. This is the RNA vaccine:

© kestrel, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

And this is what happens to the Coronavirus when it runs into the antibodies caused by the above particle:

© kestrel, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

As they say, this is what the end of a pandemic looks like.

To be continued…


Goodbye 2021.

A huge plush hippo with a drawn on Santa hat and fairy lights around its neck sitting in a kitchen chair

©Giliell, all rights reserved

First of all, I hope you had a lovely christmas, if and how and wherever you chose to celebrate. We had a nice Christmas Eve. Many years ago we decided to destress the whole thing. No grandparents. No visits or visitors. Just us. that was nice. Yesterday, we had the family over, all fully vaccinated and freshly tested. Let’s just hope we were safe or at least lucky. Although the men in the family tend to have a lot more opinions than information, the subjects  stayed in the “ignorable” range. Who cares if those stories never happened, so this was also quite relaxed. Does anybody want some tiramisu? I seem to have made more than got eaten.

It’s no secret that 2021 can go fuck itself. Globally and personally. 2022 doesn’t look like it’s going to be much better. Omicron will sweep the globe and it will be a catastrophe for those unvaccinated, regardless of whether they didn’t have access to the vaccine or were just assholes. I hope you stocked up on pasta.

Anyway, I’m wishing you all some quiet time with your loved ones, recharging the batteries, for we’ll need the energy.




View of my Knife Testing Lab

Its Christmas and that means cutting up a lot of food in a lot of different ways. So I thought I might share a little peek in our humble knife testing facility.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

My mother is giving the knives thorough testing and so far she has not found any task they are not suited for. I have tested them too, yesterday, when I was gutting, skinning, and fileting the carp for traditional Christmas dinner. The three knives were up all the tasks, including sewering the head from the body and de-boning the fish (which consists of cutting out the ribcage and spine). I am usually very critical of my work, and these knives do have some cosmetic issues but functionally I am very satisfied with the design. The handles do allow for a variety of grips that are commonly used in the kitchen by both noobs and pros. The rounded tips on the medium and the chef knife did allow me to easily scrape off the scales with the former and place one hand safely on the blade for additional pressure for the latter. The tip on the smaller knife was sharp enough to pierce the wall of the abdominal cavity and its shape did help to avoid piercing the guts as well when cutting it open. Which is important, especially regarding the gall bladder – if you pierce that, it can render a lot of the meat useless.

The testing will continue of course – what is not known yet is how the cheap oil finish will stand up to time. For that several months are needed at least, several years would be ideal. But I do know already that when I am finished with my current batch of knives, it is worth making these sets for sale because they are not just ornaments and will be genuinely useful to whoever buys them.

Regarding my third Covid shot, yesterday the slightly elevated temperature was gone and I was feeling mostly OK. But I did notice a symptom that I do not remember from my previous two shots – in addition to a sore shoulder near the injection site, the lymphatic nodes in my left armpit swole a bit and became tender, and the pain extended to my left pectoral muscle. It has receded a bit, but it still hurts somewhat, although not as much as to impede me in any meaningful way anymore.

It seems that I had a different reaction to each of my three shots, although they were all Pfizer. And not only different in duration, but also where, when, and how the symptoms are expressed. Interesting but hopefully not very consequential.

Third Shot Experience

On Friday I got an SMS from our government that per new regulations, I am eligible for the booster shot. I wasted no time and on Monday I made a reservation with our GP for Tuesday morning when I got the shot at 9:00 a.m. For the first about ten hours, I got nothing but very mild shoulder pain and occasional pain in other muscles and joints. Definitively nothing as serious as after the second shot. Today I got a very mildly elevated temperature, but again, not as bad as after the second shot. Though I am tired as if I were shoveling gravel and my left shoulder and pectoral muscle hurt really, really badly. I do hope it subsides till tomorrow morning because I need to go and buy christmas carp, then dismember, skin, and de-bone it so my mother can cook it for christmas dinner. I need to be fit enough for that task to not cut my fingers off, so I really need at least the brain fog to go away completely and some of the pain. I will do my best to perform that task using only the three knives of my latest experimental set because if those knives are fit for this purpose, they are fit for 99% of kitchen works.