2021 goals

Hello friends. Once again I haven’t felt like sitting down and typing up a blog post after being on the computer all day for work, but it’s the weekend now and I think it’s about time I posted my goals for the year! Once again, I’m splitting them up into sections.

Reading goals

Read 104 books (Good Reads challenge goal). That probably sounds like a strange number. It’s two a week, which seems sensible. Of these:

  • 10 should be non-fiction – I failed at this again last year but I’m giving it another go.
  • 20 should be from the BBC Big Read list – I only managed 2 last year and I’m way behinf, do I am upping my game.
  • 52 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! I think making half of the books I read ones I already own seems fair.
  • 6 should be in German – I only managed to read one book in German last year. Six is such a small number, but it means I only need to read one every two months. Surely that’s doable!
  • 24 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 clear some space on my shelves). That’s only two rereads a month – there’s really no reason I shouldn’t be able to manage that!

Cleaning goals

Deep clean once per month. I actually did really well with this last year so I want to continue. This will include:

  • Cleaning the bathrooms/kitchen including mopping the floors
  • Changing the bedding
  • Cleaning the oven (at least using the “cleaning” function even if I don’t manage to wipe it down)
  • Washing the dishes that can’t go in the dishwasher
  • Hoovering and dusting the entire flat
  • Taking away recycling, etc. as needed

Some of those things obviously need doing more than once a month, but the aim is to have one day/weekend a month where everything is done and the flat actually looks semi-decent.

Health goals

  • Have at least one portion of fruit or veg with lunch (a glass of juice or a smoothie counts). I haven’t been doing this so far – because I only just thought of it – but starting from February I’ll give it a go. I failed at having fruit/veg with every meal last year but maybe I can at least manage to have some with lunch? And we always have vegetables with dinner so that should increase my intake at least a little bit.
  • No more than two cups of black tea per day. I started doing this because cutting down on caffeine is supposed to help with fertility and will continue until I successfully give birth to a living child.
  • Drink at least two pint glasses of water per day. Last year I forgot I had made this goal and I’m not sure whether I consistently managed it. Trying again this year.
  • Go for a walk once a week. I actually managed this last year! There were only 2 weeks that I didn’t go for a walk (with good reasons) and since there were also weeks that I managed more than two it balanced out well. So I will be keeping it up this year. I should really think about getting some other form of exercise as well, but we’ll start with the walking and go from there.

Social/life goals

  • Write at least two pen pal letters every month. I did a reasonable job with this last year – in September I only managed one letter, but I wrote at least two every other month. Having this goal definitely helped me keep on top of things and not leave people waiting months for a reply so I’m going to keep it up this year.
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Learning goals

  • Go on Duolingo at least once a week. I asked Jan to think of a goal for me and he suggested a language one, so this is what I’ve come up with. Again, I haven’t actually been doing it ye because I’ve only just come up with it, but starting from February I will give it a go!
  • Learn to crochet. Last year I made myself a goal to take an in-person class/course and the one I was going to do was crochet… but then the pandemic started before I could sign up. I still want to learn to crochet and I’ve already bought a book so I’ll be trying to teach myself this year. Wish my luck!

And that’s it. They all seem achievable and, for the most part, fun. (Not the cleaning ones. Cleaning will never be fun, but will always need to be done).

Do you have any goals for the year? Is there anything new you want to learn while you’re being forced to stay at home? Let me know!

Did I achieve my 2020 goals?

I’ve been meaning to write this for ages, but after working on the computer all day I can’t seem to bring myself to get back on it again in the evening. I do want to finally put a lid on 2020 before January is over though, so here I am – on the computer again after work.

So, what were my goals for 2020 and did I achieve them?

Reading goals

Read 100 books (Good Reads challenge goal). – I read 185 so that’s a win!
Of these:

  • 10 should be non-fiction – Nope. I read 2. One year I’ll actually do this…
  • 12 should be from the BBC Big Read list – I managed 8 last year so I’m going to try and top that. – Again, nope. I read 2. Better than nothing, I guess.
  • 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. – 88 of the books I read had been physically on my shelf before the start of 2020. So I definitely achieved this one! Said to-read shelf is still overflowing though…
  • 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! – You would think 6 would have been achievable, but no. I read 1 and started another.
  • 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). – I managed 6, so half, and I ended up not keeping most of them. So not too bad, but not all that helpful either.

Cleaning goals

Deep clean once per month. I did pretty well on it last year, 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…

I did indeed do some kind of deep clean once a month, every single month. However, I only dusted three times. And *mumbling, ashamed* I didn’t mop the bathroom floors even once. I am a terrible housewife.

Health goals

  • Eat a piece of fruit or a vegetable with every meal. In 2019 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 decided to try doing that in 2020. – Nope. I started well but gave up when I was ill in March then never managed to start again.
  • No more than two cups of black tea per day. – I think I actually achieved this. For a while I stopped drinking black tea entirely and only had green tea in the morning then fruit/herbal teas the rest of the time. I started drinking black tea again in October but I don’t *think* there’s been a single day that I had more than two cups.
  • Drink at least two pint glasses of water per day. – I… don’t know? Honestly, I stopped keeping track.
  • 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. – I only missed two weeks, and I had good reasons for both. Since I also had weeks when I went for more than one walk I’m counting this one as a win.

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. – I managed this most months. There was one month that I only wrote one, but since I wrote 7 the month before and at least 2 every other month I’m saying I achieved this.
  • 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. – Hahahaha. Nope. Clearly not. I found a beginner’s crochet course I wanted to take and had planned to book it after we returned from our trip to Poland. Then came the pandemic. Poland was cancelled and in-person courses were out for the rest of the year. I guess even the universe thinks I’m better off at home away from my fellow humans?

Overall I did pretty well. Apart from the last goal, which was out of my hands. And the fruit/vegetables thing. It’s not as though we ate terribly, but there are definitely days that I only eat one or two portions of veg, so I need to find a way to do better on that. Hopefully I’ll also do a bit better with reading non-fiction and in German this year! Goals for 2021 coming soon.

Do you have any goals for the year? Or will you just be taking things as they come while we continue to deal with everything the world continues to throw at us until the pandemic is over and we can go back to something resembling normal again? Either way, I hope 2021 is all you want it to be.

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.

10

 

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:

20150403_155849

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

20150403_162759

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