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!

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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?