(That iris I am awkwardly holding up in those pictures is not the one I am talking about later on, but a rather lovely variety, unfortunately with stems too weak to hold up the bloom.)

When walking is an option, I often take strolls with W and since the weather is so excellent these days, there is so much to see.  Of course we also prefer the weekend or holidays for maximun entertainment, during the week it might just be plain boring with nobody about. This time around we spot a tiny wiener dog puppy being trained. He is taking such an effort to circle around all these withered narcissus stems in his way when racing back and forth, it is the cutest thing ever. I try to make W write one of his poems about it.

Two weeks before my 35th birthday I buy a bottle of rum to soak some raisins in and get asked to show my ID - this is hilarious. Buying alcohol always makes me feel a bit guilty, even more so when I also buy a bag of sugar and it looks like I am trying to cover up the fact that I am indeed only out getting the rum. Later on I find out they actually do this all the time, probably to promote customer loyalty.

Oh, asparagus smelling pee time! How much do I love you! Since there is so much of that stuff grown in our area, you can get it really cheap now and most times there is an even better deal on the tiny slim green ones, which are my favorite anyway. Since I am quite into smalltalk and any kind of spontaneous banter, I now know that none of my favored asparagus sellers is ever eating any kind themselves, they also despise the strawberries they also have on offer and do not get what the fuss might possibly be about. They are more into cats, cats are huge for them. My cat looses so much fur these days, she is currently walking around in an aura of floating hair.

Getting my hair cut is an ordeal, almost the whole family is like that, which makes us a spectacular too long haired bunch. But by now it had gotten so bad, I just needed to get it over with. So I go to a place just around the corner called "Evelyn´s Friseurstübchen", where there are copper coloured wall stencils, a family of plaster marmots sitting in the window and the hairdressers wear apron dresses and get out their rolls stuffed with ham from a roll shaped Tupper box to snack on, while their ancient client is whiling away under the hood dryer. Every Thursday and Friday you can stop by without an appointment and I will now do so as long as I live here and they keep this establishment going, since I probably got the best dry haircut ever at Evelyn´s and it was so cheap it suited by broke state a lot. I tipped in abundance, I simply could not help myself, being so relieved to have it over with and so happy to have found such a treasure.

Despite he fact that I am in quite a bit of discomfort these days and sometimes in a foul mood, there are so many things I find delight in. First of all the smell - everything is just burning up in flower in such speed right now, the mixture being different every day. Heady with lily of the valley and lilac even - or especially - at night, and the elderflower is just waiting to join the chorus. I also enjoy things like the nerve racking, almost ultrasonic hiss of my recently decalcified tap aerator when the water is running. Also I really like to dress again, to put jewellery on - it never totally stopped, but it always needed to be something that would come off again in a second in case an emergency should arise. Now I like digging up stuff from my closet I got ages ago, things that feel like they have just been waiting for me all that time. I am so glad I never joined the Marie Kondo cult - in case some pieces just do not work anymore, I bring them over to my mum. It turns out she looks quite eclectic in turquoise pants, I just felt ridiculous wearing them. When the pain isn´t too distracting or frustrating, it actually can coexist with delight. This is fairly new to me, for a long time those two thing felt exclusive too me. In a few months I will celebrate a decade of being in massive pain. During these festivities I will not be able to share any wisdom with you, there won´t be slideshows, impressive before and after pictures, no inspirational tale of how I made it to the other side using only my iron willpower. There is no other side and the iron bits are rusty, flakey, crumbling away under the softest touch. I have not overcome a single thing, nor am I stronger than before - I have not risen from the ashes. I did the hospital stay that should have turned my life around and the diet that was supposed to change my existence, now it is probably all down to the fact that I haven´t had a hydrocolontherapy and never take a look at the organ watch. And maybe things just haven´t changed because I am simply not happy enough and not able to do any yoga, also I only meditate while riding my bike. And though I listened closely, I still have no idea what my body might want to tell my so urgently, or what possible use that pain could be for me. The answers making most sense to me so far, are "nothing" and "none" and being asked those questions sets a fire to my fury, has me reeling from hot red (or white, depending on the setting) rage. Also I do not think I am punishing myself with all this, for things that are not supposed to be punished in such a way, in any way. Things like lying to my grandmother about a singing and dancing game in the school yard that never actually happened in third grade or an ill advised hookup, leading to an undetected chlamydia infection that might have turned on my spine. My body does not strike me that vindictive and biblical and even if it would have turned all Old Testament and plage-style on me, you should think I would have atoned for my sins by now, leading a martyr nun life. I might get even beatified, if I wasn´t so pissed and angry, but of glorious endurance instead. 

I am tired and get teary eyed every time I read the obituaries and that line pops up with the way becoming to hard and steep and God seeing this, putting his arm around you, telling you to come home. This God seems so nice and I really like him. Also I really, really want to go there, home. Not dead-home, but pain-free-home. But I will admit that thinking about dead-home also gives me a lot of comfort, which makes this definitely not a saddening thing. Sometimes the sun shining outside is just not "true" for you, because you are in sick- and pain-land and this is not actually life. Life is what everyone else is doing, they own the sun and they also own Sun-days, to enjoy and be free. You do not have those. And every time you wish someone a happy weekend, you are wondering what that might look like. When you do not know where any of this is leading, or if it will indeed ever end and you feel so out of options, no solutions on the horizon and just going on, plain survival is definitely not one - bam - there it is! A new idea, one of those cherished light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel moments! You realize you can actually always put that end to it all - it is up to you, at last. Oh, that is a cheering thought! So you put on some high-waisted white jeans you will have to unbutton all the way down again when you are trying to sit down for the first time (you will never wear those again), but you do look like a very hot doctor and you meet up with your friends and go to an event in some park that makes everyone attending feel very fancy. Pants undone, looking profesh, thinking happily "I can kill myself any time I want, you fuckers - isn´t that just awesome?!". And let me tell you, that thought is so much more relieving than unbuttoning those pants and allowing that belly to expand in abundance, but just like that there is freedom and deep breathing again. An odd kind of happiness in this turmoil, a tiny bit of ease in distress.

In this neighbourhood the only excuse for an overgrown garden or even worse - lawn, is being gravely ill or indeed dead. But even then you are not totally excused for this disgrace, since what you should have done, when feeling the early onsets of old age, the shadow of death, is pouring concrete all over your place or at least fill it up with deranged zen-style pebble. Better yet, have the common sense and turn the whole thing over to someone young and neat before your decay sets in. The plaster covering my house is crumbling, my paths are covered in ornamental lichen, my fence barely held together by a clematis hard at work. My lawn is always parched and my hedges uncut (who would bother with giving their box woods a trimm, when the box wood moth is just waiting around the corner to take it down?). I (accidentially) breed escargots and tiny pink snails (my favorite) and the little yellow ones with the brown stripes, because my garden walls are made of limestone, which is good for building their shells. Thyme, chives and hollyhocks (and grass, of course, and dandelion) grow in the cracks between the paving stones and I won´t put an end to it. One of my neighbours is desperately offering me moss killers. No plant, not even the hundreds of shrill bright red 50s tulips can be contained to their beds. (Actually I am just about to tear those out every season, only stopping myself knowing they fade within a couple of days anyway. So far I haven´t found a way to tone them down with some kind of plant partners, neither the awful variety of two-toned violet bearded iris appearing a few weeks later.) This is an affront in the country of highly effective weed killers, flame throwers and high-pressure cleaners. Where the young and old can be found hurrying to the nearby cemetery at all times, carrying a watering can, since there is no greater shame then an unkempt and under-watered family grave. I´ll say - with a preachery gesture to match: "Let my grave be a wasteland." And I do not mean that in a poetic give-me-all-the-wildflowers that-will-be-so-good-for-the-bees, this-is-an-excellent-idea-I-am-going-to-be-bee-food-when-I-am-dead way, no, I actually mean wasteland. That nice God has taken me home and I do not feel a fucking thing, so why would I care if I am covered in trash, annoying the hood.

(I have to admit however, that there is indeed one resident who is by far surpassing my tame attempts at garden rioting with a property in such constant disarray, an everlasting construction site. Whenever I spot him taking on a new, and soon to be abandoned, messy and nonsensical project, I mentally applaud him. I am not badass enough to create or tolerate such a display of chaos, so he is definitely the king of suburban pandemonium.)