2020 goals

Hello! I’ve finally finished dwelling on the past (well, almost – Show Us Your Books is still to come, in which I will be recapping December’s reading) so now I can reveal the goals I want to work on for 2020. Like last year, I am breaking it down into different sections, namely reading goals, cleaning goals, health goals and social/life goals. So, let’s get on with it.

St Chrischona TV tower

Reading goals

Read 100 books (Good Reads challenge goal). Of these:

  • 10 should be non-fiction – I failed at this last year but one year I am determined to achieve it!
  • 12 should be from the BBC Big Read list – I managed 8 last year so I’m going to try and top that.
  • 36 should have been physically on my to-read shelf before the year started – I have way too many unread books that I really should be getting to before buying even more! 36 is just three a month, so that gives me plenty of scope for reading newly acquired books I’m excited about.
  • 6 should be in German – I have a few German books on my shelves that sound really good but I’ve fallen out of the habit of reading in German so I need to get back to that!
  • 12 should be rereads of books I already own and need to read again before deciding whether to keep them (the aim here being to hopefully make room on my shelves for more books).

Cleaning goals

Deep clean once per month. I did pretty well on it last month, so I’m sticking with it. This will include:

  • Cleaning the bathrooms/kitchen including mopping the floors
  • Changing the bedding
  • Cleaning the oven (although the new one has a “cleaning” function so that won’t be as hard as it used to be)
  • Hoovering and dusting the entire flat
  • Taking away recycling, etc. as needed

Some of those things I obviously do much more than once a month, but I want to check off that I’ve definitely done them at least once a month. Otherwise I can definitely go several months without ever taking out the mop…

Health goals

  • Eat a piece of fruit or a vegetable with every meal. Last year I tried to eat my 5 a day on at least 3 days a week, but it was too hard to track. Someone mentioned they eat fruit or vegetables with every meal (it might have been Hazel? If I’m wrong and it was you let me know!) and I thought it was a great idea so I’m going to try that this year.
  • No more than two cups of black tea per day. I did really well with this last year – I may have had more than two over Christmas in England, but other than that most days I actually only had one – so I shall continue with it.
  • Drink at least two pint glasses of water per day. I started well with this last year then started slacking around September so I’ll try again.
  • Go for a walk once a week. I did not get even close to enough exercise last year. This will be a start. I will allow walking to the supermarket and back to count if it’s the supermarket at the train station, but not if I walk to any of our local ones.

Social/life goals

  • Write at least two pen pal letters every month. I got way behind last year and didn’t write to some people at all. This year I will be better! I’ve already three in January so I’m winning 😉
  • Take some kind of in-person course. It doesn’t matter what, as long as it’s something I have to physically go to and interact with actual people.

That’s all I’ve got. I think it’s enough for one year. I will let you know how I get on with them.

Do you have any goals for the year (or month or quarter)?

A Photo an Hour: 21 December 2019

The final photo and hour of last year was the day before we flew to England, so I never got a chance to write this post. I spent most of the day doing my pre-Christmas deep clean so this won’t be very exciting, but for the sake of completeness I wanted to write it anyway.

As always, Photo an Hour was hosted by Jane and Louisa.

9 a.m. Tea must be consumed before I even think about doing any cleaning!

10 a.m. Time for a shower.

11 a.m. Folding dry laundry.

12 noon. Time to wash the dishes.

1 p.m. A break for lunch and to read.

2 p.m. One bathroom cleaned, on to number 2!

3 p.m. Hoovering.

4 p.m. Changing the bedding in the spare room – I did ours the following morning before we left for the airport so it would be fresh for our return.

5 p.m. Of to take away some recycling.

6 p.m. I changed out of the clothes that smelled of cleaning agents and decided to paint my nails for a change.

7 p.m. Checking in for our flights the next day. My passport is slightly faded (and runs out in 2021).

8 p.m. Arriving at KLARA for our friend’s birthday celebration.

9 p.m. Feeding my face!

10 p.m. Drinking beer… not much left. I stopped taking photos after that and socialised. I think we got home at around 1 a.m.!

I will be posting my 2019 year in review soon, then I want to do a decade recap, but after that I will finally actually move on to this year (at least until it’s time to talk about what I read in December ;-)).

Did I achieve my 2019 goals?

I’m still considering which goals I want to set for myself next year. It will probably take me a week to get them fixed and write a post again, but for now I want to take a look at last year’s goals and see how I did with them. I had them split into three sections (reading, cleaning and healthy eating) and I did a recap in the middle of the year where I changed/added to them so I will talk about the new goals here as well.

bookcases

Reading goals

  • Read 100 books (Good Reads challenge goal) – increased to 150 in the middle of the year. Of these:
    • 10 should be non-fiction
    • 12 should be from the BBC Big Read list
    • 20 should have been on my to-read list before 2019 started
    • Additional half-year goal: re-read four books that I own and decide whether I actually want to keep them or not

I won’t have time to read anything today, so I’m finishing the year on 180 books. I think it’s fair to say I smashed the overall goal! However, only two (and a half) of those were non-fiction. I really most try harder to read non-fiction in 2020! Seven were from the BBC Big Read, five of which I read before my recap in July. Both the ones I read in the second half of the year were huge though (960 pages and 1376 pages) so I don’t feel too bad about it. As for re-reading, I only managed to re-read one book – which I did then get rid of. I’m definitely going to make some kind of goal involving re-reading for next year because there are a few I want to revisit before deciding whether to remove them from my shelves.

9-bathroom cleaner

Cleaning goals

My one cleaning goal was to deep clean once a month (I then went on to list all the things that involved, but I’m not going to do that here). I’m going to say that was mostly a success. I did clean the oven once a month up until the renovation, and since then we’ve had a self-cleaning one. And I’m pretty sure I’ve cleaned the bathrooms at least once a month. I’m not sure I mopped every month, but certainly more often than in the past so I’m calling it a success.

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Healthy eating goals

  • Eat 5 or more portions of fruit and veg on at least 3 days per week
  • Have nuts/fruit as snacks instead of chocolate and crisps
  • A maximum of 2 cups of black tea per day
  • Drink at least 2 pint glasses of water per day

The first one I’ve found really hard to track. There have definitely been days that I’ve had no vegetables at all, and weeks where I’ve had vegetables every day but haven’t managed five portions on any day. I did do pretty well at having dried fruit as snacks at the beginning of the year (which also helped with my portions) but honestly it’s all fallen by the wayside since around October and I’ve eaten way too much chocolate. Being healthy just hasn’t felt that important between all the IVF failures. If I’m not going to get pregnant regardless of what I do it all feels pretty pointless. I’m definitely feeling motivated to get back on the bandwagon next year, I just need to think of a goal that’s a bit easier to track. I can say I’ve been very successful with the black tea – most days I only have one cup. I may have increased to three a couple of times over Christmas but I’m okay with that… in general my caffeine intake has been pretty low. Water has been a but of a mixture though – during the summer I did really well (extreme heat helps!) but recently I’ve been forgetting to drink for most of the work day then realising I’m thirsty right before bed and downing a whole pint of water. Not ideal. I really do need to work on that!

Overall I’m going to say I did okay. A few things ticked off in each section, and I’m at least more mindful of what I’m putting in my body even if I don’t always succeed at actually drinking the water and avoiding the chocolate.

Of course, my other goal/wish/hope for 2019 was to get pregnant again and to actually stay pregnant, but that one was entirely out of my hands and did not happen despite mine and the doctors’ best efforts. My body remains useless but, for now at least, we’re not giving up.

And that’s that. 2020 goals coming soon!

2019 goals

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Random photo of healthy looking food because it seemed fitting…

Yes, I’m late jumping on this bandwagon because it’s taken me this long to decide on most of my goals for the year. Also, how is it that we’re an entire week into the New Year already? (For the record, I initially typed 2018 in the title so clearly my brain hasn’t caught up yet). My goals fall into three basic categories: reading, cleaning and healthy eating. Here they are:

Reading goals

  • Read 100 books (Good Reads challenge goal). Of these:
    • 10 should be non-fiction
    • 12 should be from the BBC Big Read list
    • 20 should have been on my to-read list before 2019 started

Cleaning goals

  • Deep clean once per month. To include:
    • Cleaning the bathrooms including mopping floors
    • Cleaning the kitchen including mopping floor and cleaning the oven (bolded because I will clean that damn oven regularly if it kills me! Gah.)
    • Changing bedding
    • Dusting
    • Hoovering, taking away recycling, etc. as needed (although I do those things regularly anyway)

Healthy eating goals

  • Eat 5 or more portions of fruit and veg on at least 3 days per week
  • Have nuts/fruit as snacks instead of chocolate and crisps
  • A maximum of 2 cups of black tea per day
  • Drink at least 2 pint glasses of water per day

My one other goal/wish/hope for 2019 is, of course, to get pregnant again and this time actually get a baby at the end of it, but that one is kind of out of my hands (thanks useless body!) and therefore doesn’t really belong here.

I won’t ask what your goals are because I feel like everyone who isn’t me actually managed to decide and post theirs before the year was a whole week old!

Freeeedom!

Bird

Well, this has been the weirdest (attempt at a) working day ever. I went to log on early this morning only to get an error message. At 8 o’clock, when I thought somebody might be in the office, I called to find out it was a general problem. All our work is done remotely now – even those who are actually in the office log on to a server – and there was a problem with said server. So I spent most of the day waiting around to see whether the problem would be fixed, punctuated by having my project management colleagues send the things that needed doing to my private email address so I could download them, do the work, and then email them back for delivery to the customers (or in one case to be uploaded to our own website – sometimes I do internal translations as well). Luckily I didn’t have too much left to do today, but it means I only did around 3 hours of actual work between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The rest of the time I was just sitting around. I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything just in case things started working again and I could actually log on and work properly. Fun times. However, I took tomorrow off because I have several appointments and working in between them would just be silly, and from Monday we’re closed so I am now freeeeeee until the New Year. I mean, I still have all the cleaning to do before Monday because I like the flat to be properly cleaned and tidied for a change before Christmas Eve so that I can spend Christmas itself doing absolutely nothing (well, almost nothing… obviously we still have to eat so I will be cooking and dealing with the dishes from that, but I don’t want to be hoovering or cleaning ovens during that time). But from work, I am free! That makes it sound like I hate work… to clarify, I do not. I’m just exhausted. I have honestly never been more in need of the Christmas break than I am this year.

And I have no idea what the point in this post was so I’m going to stop here and go actually do some of that cleaning I keep going on about!

Last Friday letters in Germany!

This is the last time I will be writing a Friday letters post from Germany… for the foreseeable future anyway. Last night was the first viewing of our flat for potential new tenants, so I spent hours getting it clean and tidy for them. Tomorrow will consist of more of that (apparently I have to do the windows again because “they’re streaky” and I’m also expected to wash the insides of the frames (as in the bits you can only see when the window is open, but they’re inside so I have to wash them?!). I also still need to empty and clean the fridge and we have a whole load of glass jars and bottles that need to be taken away… I actually can’t wait to hand the keys over and get out now! Anyway, letters time…

Mail boxDear Cillit Bang. For ages I refused to buy you because I figured anything that needed to advertise itself as prominently as you do must be overcompensating. After trying pretty much since we moved in to remove the black marks from our shower walls by various means, I finally caved on Wednesday and bought you. It turns out you really are good. So I suppose adverts aren’t always lying liars that lie?

Dear hands. If you can just get through this weekend I promise to give you a break from cleaning for a while.

Dear Germany. After Sunday, the next time I see you I will just be visiting. Thanks for all the great memories!

Dear furniture. I can’t wait to see you again! And especially to sit on the sofa instead of a folding chair.

I hope you all have a great weekend – and with much less cleaning and heavy lifting than mine will involve!

All those hours spent putting things in boxes only to remove them again

This weekend I’ve mainly been in Basel, unpacking and sorting out the new flat. Then, today – as those of you who follow my blog on Facebook may have already seen – I came back to Karlsruhe and, instead of sitting outside in the gorgeous sunshine, spent the afternoon cleaning windows. I hadn’t actually done them since we moved in here (5 years ago for the nosey curious – I’m such a terrible housewife!), so I’m sure you can imagine the state they were in…

Anyway, while I was in Switzerland, I managed to grab a few shots of the unpacking process, so I thought I’d share them here. I’m sure you’re all thrilled 😉 All photos were taken using a tablet with a terrible camera, so apologies for quality…

It seems the Swiss like to take their lights with them too, so Jan’s set up a few temporary lighting solutions:

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A lonely lantern on the balcony – we don’t have any other furniture to go out there yet.

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Almost all the books are unpacked, and we’re probably going to need another book case (three are pictured here and there’s a fourth just around the corner).

20150403_162837The desk is in position, just waiting for the computer to be set up.

20150403_162935Empty boxes (YAY!)

20150404_142641Full boxes (BOO!)

20150404_142702That’s all I took. Maybe I’ll share some proper pictures of the new flat once I’m moved in. Right now it’s time for food and a well-deserved glass of wine!

Merry Christmas! Frohe Weihnachten!

It seems we are going to Jan’s dad’s for Christmas after all, a decision that was made at fairly short notice after Jan finally got hold of his dad yesterday afternoon. The dad said he had no plans and we could come if we wanted. Jan wanted, and so we go. Today!! With one day less than I was expecting and no magic housework fairy to help, I only managed to get about half of the cleaning done. We will come back to a mess, but it can’t be helped.

Last night we had a picnic tea, trying to use up things that needed to be used up. I made sausage rolls from scratch because you can’t buy them here and I know Jan likes them.

basket
Picnic basket (Photo: uberculture)

I only figured out that I can make them myself this July! My achievement of 2012! LOL. There were also roast potatoes, sandwiches (to use up the bread) and carrot sticks to make it sort of healthy.

Right, I must go and finish sorting things out now. I want to put another load of washing on before we leave. It can dry while we’re away, ready to come away with us for New Year. Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a lovely time and get everything you wish for, whatever that may be (peace on Earth? An engagement ring? A white Christmas? I’m just hoping our train’s not delayed!).

Karlsruhe Christmas market 2012
Karlsruhe Christmas market 2012

Full of busy

This week has been full of busy, as the woman who taught me street dance when I was 15 used to say. I haven’t even been on the computer in the evenings, believe it or not! Instead, I have been cleaning. Yes dear readers – you did read that right. Me, the world’s worst housewife, cleaning. No, I haven’t gone mad. As I’m sure you’ll have guessed, there was an ulterior motive behind it. My sister and her boyfriend are coming to stay on Wednesday – for the first time since I moved here nearly 6 years ago! I happened to casually mention to my sister that Karlsruhe is close to the Hockenheim Ring (goes to show how much attention she had paid to where I was actually living!) and suddenly she really, really wanted to visit me – on the condition that the visit could be combined with a trip to the Formula One. And so Jan and I organised tickets for said event and after months and months of counting down (on my sister’s part) the time is nearly here. Which, of course, meant the bedding for the spare room needed to be washed and the bed made, food and beer purchased, and the flat cleaned from top to bottom. Admittedly it’s only my sister, so it doesn’t really have to be spotless, but the state it was in before was really not necessary either. Jan also went and bought the equipment to attach the shelf that fell down for no reason a while ago very firmly to the wall, so we were finally able to move the CDs that have been cluttering up the bookcase back to their rightful place. Instead of just putting them on the shelf (which I would have done), Jan proceeded to arrange them in alphabetical order. This shouldn’t have surprised me really – he’s asked me several times to do the same with my books “so it’s easier to see where everything is”. So far I have resisted – I have too many books by the same author that are different sizes, and I hate seeing all the different sizes randomly mixed throughout the shelves. My books have to be arranged from tallest to shortest. It looks so much neater that way! And seeing as most of the books on the shelves are mine anyway I’ve decided I have the majority vote on this one 😉

I probably won’t have time to blog while our guests are here, but I shall be back once they leave. Hopefully with interesting tales or, failing that, at least a few pretty pictures. Right now, I shall leave you with a song by the band that we’re going to see at Das Fest on Friday. It will be interesting to see a band from almost my (sort of) home town in my adopted home!

Multi-tasking

I’ve managed to get quite a lot done today, most of it at the same time. Write some notes for my dissertation, wash the dishes, a few more notes for my dissertation, spray cleaning stuff on the shower, sweep the bedroom floor, back to the shower to rinse. Who knew I could be so productive?

Last night Jan and I went to see out with some friends to see a… well, not really a band. A choir really, I suppose. An A Capella choir. But instead of choir music they sing pop songs. Covers of pop songs, songs using the tunes of pop songs but with the lyrics changed. They were very good and very, very funny. Unfortunately, most of their stuff is in German, but there were a few English bits too. Anyway,  they’re called Füenf and you can find their website here in case you feel like checking them out.

I made cupcakes today as well. I even put little hearts on the top, in honour of Valentine’s Day. Jan and I don’t really do Valentine’s Day. It falls right after our “anniversary” (it still seems weird saying that when we’re not married), which is obviously way more important. And everyone knows Valentine’s Day is just a card manufaturers’ scam anyway. So we didn’t exchange any cards or gifts today. Instead, we took a break from our respective dissertations to eat cupcakes and drink coffee together. It’s always nice to spend time just being together, no matter what the occasion. But coffee and cake… I’m turning into a German! Oh well, happy Valentine’s Day anyway. Cupcake anyone?