Recent doings #24 – December 2017

Hi everyone! I’m not really sure what I can write in this December recap post that wasn’t already covered in my yearly review or another post, but I hate to miss out on the What’s New With You link up again (I missed Novembers because I was packing and then on a plane to England), so here we go…

8fdf5-whats2bnew2bwith2byou

Reading. I will post all my December reads next week when Show Us Your Books rolls around, but I feel the need to mention (again) that I finished Magician in December. Not only was it over 800 pages long, but it also ended up being the 100th book I finished in 2017. Woo!

Watching. I finally watched Being John Malkovich and it was just so weird! Other than that a bunch of Christmas films… Miracle on 34th Street (the 90s version), A Muppet Christmas Carol, the end of Home Alone 2 and The Snowman and the Snowdog. Also Christmas specials of Pointless and A Question of Sport. I think I watched more TV in December than the entire rest of the year…

Making. Christmas cards… for Post Pals and for my family. I think I made over 100 cards this year! Here are some that I’m fairly sure you haven’t seen:

Eating. All the things I really shouldn’t have… what else does one do in December? Ferrero Rocher, Gingerbread men, biscuits, crisps… it was bad. But oh so good. Then we had lamb for Christmas dinner.

Drinking. Prosecco. And that was before Christmas even arrived 😉 The day of my sister’s wedding we literally drank fizz for breakfast.

Celebrating. My sister’s wedding. And obviously Christmas 😉

Visiting. My dad’s cousin on Boxing Day (26 December for those that aren’t familiar with it). He lives in Germany, but a relatively short train journey away from us. He has three kids and his parents (my great aunt and uncle) were also visiting so it was a full house! We had a fun afternoon.

Hosting. A friend from uni days! She came to stay for the first week in December because she wanted to see some Christmas markets. We obliged by taking her to the ones in Freiburg (Germany) and Basel.

Travelling. To England for the wedding, obviously. Then to Geneva for New Year.

wedding balloon

Buying. Christmas presents, of course. Although to be fair I had bought almost all of mine before December rolled around since I needed to take them to England when I flew over for the wedding. But I did end up buying one last-minute gift the day we flew and then still had to buy the very last one in Newcastle! For myself, I think I only bought 4 books in December, which is actually pretty good going. I won’t tell you how many I normally buy…

I can’t think of anything else. It was a busy month, but somehow all the busy seems to have been covered in just a few categories. I was also working until the 22nd though, so between that and all the Christmas cards there wasn’t really time for much else before Christmas. I’m hoping January will be slightly less insane.

I am linking up with Kristen and Gretch as always. Please go and say hi!

Friday letters (it’s all about Christmas)

Hello! How is everyone doing? Christmas plans coming along okay? I feel like now December has hit it’s all I can think about! Will I get my cards made and set in time? What will I get that final difficult person for Christmas? Should I bake biscuits this weekend? Question upon question…

Anyway, some letters are in order, I think.

Friday letters

 

 

Dear sunshine. How lovely to see you! Do you think you could maybe stick around for the weekend as well?

Dear Christmas gifts. I finally only have one more of you to get, then everyone I need to buy for is sorted. Next step: wrapping.

Dear Christmas markets. Thank you for making the dark, cold days so much more bearable! (Let’s not talk about what we’re going to do when it’s still cold and grey in January yet, okay?)

Dear Lebkuchen. Now it’s December, I think it’s about time I started eating you. Tis the season (to stuff our faces) after all 😉

Dear 2017. I see you lurking! You’d better be planning good things for me 😉

Happy weekend, dear readers! I hope you all have a good one.

Friday’s letters

A post box in Durham, England
A post box in Durham, England

What? You didn’t think because I wrote last night’s post this morning there would be no Friday letters this week, did you? Don’t be silly – that would never do! Here are my letters for the week:

Dear self. You are aware that it’s 7 December and you haven’t sent a single package of Christmas gifts to England yet, aren’t you? Get on it!! I am serious.

Dear giant turkey in my fridge. Please defrost in time. But not too quickly. I don’t want to poison anyone…

Dear housework. Why is there so much of you? And why do you take so long to complete? I think I need a robot.

Dear snow. You are pretty. Please could you stay this time and not turn into rain? I’m sick of rain!

Dear computer. I know you are old, but if you go any slower you’ll start running backwards! Sort it out. (Actually, dear boyfriend, it is your computer, so you should sort it out!).

Dear December. Having crept up on me while I wasn’t looking, you are now charging forward at an alarming pace. Please slow down!! I have too much to do, and you’re not leaving me any time to do it!

Dear person who came to read the metres for the heating. I would have liked to tidy up a bit more, but seeing as I was working from home (solely because you were coming!) I felt that I should actually do some work as well. I do apologise for the mess, though. There just aren’t enough hours in the day! By the way, if my boyfriend had been the one to stay home waiting for you, the place would probably have looked even worse. (Actually, the visit went so fast, I doubt the guy even noticed what the place looked like. I had to keep turning lights on for him cos he just didn’t bother!)

OK, now I’m off to send a parcel to America and buy the remianing ingredients for Sunday’s Christmas dinner. I have a list as long as your arm!

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Christmas baking – round one!

Cookies close up

It is now December, which obviously gives me free licence to consume lots of sugary goodness (and Glühwein) all in the name of “getting in the Christmas spirit”. The first Glühwein of the season was had yesterday, so today – being the first Adventssonntag” (Advent Sunday) of the year, it was the turn of Christmas baking – round one. Rest assured, there will be other rounds! For today’s effort, I choose to make Christmas cookies, which are basically vanilla chocolate chip cookies, but with red and green M&Ms instead of chocolate chips. Because anything red and green automatically equals Christmas. Or leprechauns – one of the two.

Christmas cookiesI’m sure you’ve all guessed by now that the photos in this post show my cookies. Very Christmassy, no?
If I was German (or my boyfriend actually upheld his traditions!), we would have a wreath with four candles, the first of which would have to be lit today. We would then sit around said lit candle and have Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake) or Christmas biscuits. I believe religious people would also do some praying, and maybe carol singing (sorry, I’m a bit hazy on the details). As neither of us is religious and only one of us is actually German, we will be lighting an ordinary (scented) candle, making a pot of tea and munching on my delicious Christmas biscuits (well, the boyfriend says they’re delicious, and who am I to argue ;-)). All in our living room, that’s been beautifully decorated for Christmas. I did that today, too.

Happy first Sunday of Advent everybody!

Friday letters on the last day of November

Letters
Letters (Photo credit: paul-simpson.org)

The end of the week has come, and with it the end of the month. Tomorrow is the first day of the last month of the year – scary! Here are my Friday letters for this week.

Dear flu jab. I was told that the arm the needle had been stabbed into may be a little sore the next day, but why did nobody see fit to inform me that every muscle in my body would be aching as well? I was so glad to sink into my bed on Tuesday night! And just so you know, my arm didn’t stop hurting until today!

Dear December. With all the activities we have planned, I am either going to have an amazing time or you are going to be the death of me. I’m hoping for the former!

Dear Heidelberg English shop. I am not impressed that you’ve moved away from opposite the train station. Now I’m actually going to have to go into town for the things I need to make Christmas dinner. So much for my “quick” trip to Heidelberg this weekend!

Dear Christmas biscuit recipes. It’s December tomorrow, which means I’m allowed to start baking! Can’t wait to try you out at the weekend.

Dear brain. There are only 3 more working weeks before I’m off for Christmas. I know you’re tired, but please don’t give up on me now!

Dear Eddie Izzard tickets. I was planning to buy you this month, but I can’t afford you as well as Christmas (and everything I have planned over the next few weeks). Please, please, please don’t sell out before I get paid next!

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Need more time…

I can’t believe December is a week old already. Where is the time going? I could have sworn it was only just summer…
Anyway, I’ve been a really, really bad blogger lately. Between illness, seminars and Christmas shopping I just can’t seem to find the time for anything! The good news is that I’ve almost finished buying all my Christmas presents. The bad news is I’m also almost out of money and I still have to send several packages to England. Oh, and then there’s the little matter of paying the electricity bill but we won’t talk about that…

I put Christmas decorations up in the flat at the weekend. Very exciting! I’ve never had a place of my very own to decorate before 🙂 Between that and all the presents I’ve wrapped the living room currently looks a bit like Santa’s grotto. A very messy Santa’s grotto admittedly (I desperately need to tidy the flat but the whole no time thing just keeps getting in the way!) but it’s all very festive. Jan and I also went to the Christmas market on Saturday and I tried some cherry Glühwein, which was delicious. Definitely getting in the spirit over here 🙂

I promise to come and visit you all soon, but right now I have to go and do the computer marked assignment for my science course. I haven’t been able to work on it much lately but I refuse to fail now that I’m so close to the end!
In the meantime, why don’t you leave me a comment and let me know what you’ve all been up to….

Nearly Christmas?

I’m off to the Christmas market soon. my first and probably last trip to a Christmas market this year. It’s bloody freeeezing outside though. Shall have to wrap up warm and get a few Glühweins down me I think.

Speaking of Christmas… am I the only one that doesn’t feel like it’s nearly here? In 6 more days I fly home for the holidays, I have a pile of wrapped presents in my room and two cards hanging on my wall but I still can’t seem to get my head around the fact that it actually really and truly is December and in two weeks time I will opening presents and eating turkey (again).
This year has gone far too fast

Christmas plans

The boyfriend and I booked some flights last night. I’m actually going home for Christmas!!
This is something of a novelty. Last year I stayed in Germany because I had to work, the year before my flight was cancelled because London was engulfed in thick fog and they weren’t letting any planes in or out. So provided the weather doesn’t do anything nasty this year (fingers crossed please!) Jan and I will be arriving in Newcastle at around 10pm on Friday the 19th December. I can’t wait! Not because I’m a particularly big fan of Christmas. I’m just looking forward to the time off. And of course it will be good to see my friends and family, drink alcohol on (gasp) week nights and for once try to pretend I actually have a life outside of work (and the internet). It will also be an excellent opportunity to ignore the fact that the end of January is D-Day, with the D in this case standing for “decision”. You see, 31st January is the last day of my internship… that’s when the boss will be deciding whether to keep me on as a fully-paid employee or not. Waah, I get nervous just thinking about it!

Stuff what needs doing

I’ve just seen someone give a beggar woman some money outside Aldi. Nothing unusual in that you might think – except this lady gave the beggar 10 euros. She might as well have just led her into Aldi and let her pick whatever alcohol she liked for that! It’s probably have been cheaper. And don’t tell me that’s not what the money’s going to be spent on. I saw this woman remember, and she’s definitely a booze and cigarettes type of beggar.

So the boyfriend is insisting that the pieces of pig I saw in Karstadt yesterday were not penises but in fact tails. Yeah, whatever. I mean, he could be right. Schwanz does officially mean tail after all, but it is a slang word for penis (the German equivalent of cock I suppose) and I know what I saw! It was the shape that made me look at them in the first place and they were certainly not like any tail I’ve ever seen. Anyway, aren’t pigs tails curly? These things were far from curly. Yup, they were definitely penises… or possibly penii. Anyone know what the plural of penis actually is?

Anyway, none of that was what I actually wanted to write about.
What I really wanted to do was write my to do list. You see I have sooo much that needs sorting this weekend and left to my own devices I know I’ll spend half of it in bed (I’m ill remember) and the other half reading blogs. So I thought if I publish it on the internet for the entire world to see I might actually shame myself into getting everything done. Well, maybe not everything. Most things…. or at least some of it. So here for your viewing pleasure, is my to do list. (Oh the endless excitement that is my life).

Laundry – is there ever a time that I don’t need to do laundry? It seems to be the never ending chore. I’ve actually managed to get two washing appointments tonight – the first of which is in half an hour. Woo, soon I’ll be able to cross off the first item on my list.

Take out the rubbish – my bin is so full it’s practically overflowing! Ooh, and that reminds me, I really need to buy binliners as well. I’ve been using Aldi carrier bags as replacements for the last three months!

Sort out my desk – it seriously looks like a bomb’s hit it. God only knows what’s buried under all the random pieces of paper, birthday cards (Yes I am aware my birthday was nearly 2 months ago…) and randomly coloured ball point pens. Maybe I’ll find treasure under there… or at least a couple of euros to go towards next weeks shopping.

Send some emails – I am a terrible, evil awful friend. I spend 99% of my evenings on the internet but fail to send a single email, ever. It’s so much easier to just write comments on people’s Facebook walls then spend the rest of my time reading, writing and just generally being obsessed by the blogosphere. I do have a couple of friends who aren’t on Facebook though and I really, really need to get in touch with thembefore they realise how long it’s been since I last sent an email.

Buy a birthday present – my friend is 25 on Monday. I have no idea what to get her! I mean, I say she’s my friend but really I don’t know her that well. I do just happen to be one of the few people she knows in Germany though. And she bought me a present once. Anyone have any good gift ideas?

Do my assignment for Text Linguistics – it’s actually supposed to be due today, but nobody else has done it. And anyway, he only said around 10th October. And I’m not well. I really should do it though – it doesn’t seem right to fall behind in the very first week!

Check out the prices of flights to England in December – for once we’re going to try and book them before they get stupidly expensive. I’m probably the only peron in the world who’s had to pay 160 euros for a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Newcastle…

OK, that’ll do. If I give myself too many tasks I’ll only get overwhelmed and end up too stressed to get anything done… well, that’s my excuse anyway 😉
Now if anyone out there is actually still awake feel free to go and reward yourself with a piece of cake and some caffeine.

Music man

You know, I don’t think I’ve mentioned in any of my many posts (according to wordpress this is my 119th!) that my boyfriend is a musician.
Well, he is. Not like a full time musician. He has a degree in computer science. But on the side he’s a musician. A drummer to be exact, or at least that’s the instrument that he actually learned to play. As in took official lessons. He plays guitar as well though, and he sings. He even tried out bass guitar at his work’s Christmas party last year. Makes you wonder why he’s with me, the girl who can’t even yodel (ha, I totally stole that last bit from Beaches).
Anyway… I am going somewhere with this, honest.

So every winter there’s a big party in my student residence, the Heimfest. It’s on the first Friday in December usually and it’s a public party – anyone can come in for a small fee, and each of the floors sells various food and drinks throughout the night. There’s also a band. (Do you see where I’m going with this yet?).
So the last couple of years, in addition to the “ordinary” band (usually some local group) some people from here in the building decided to form their own band who would perform before the main act. Naturally the boyfriend was involved.

Since the residence band went down so well last year the people who are in charge of this year’s Heimfest have asked some people whether they would like to perform again this time round. Naturally they would. And naturally my boyfriend wants to be part of it too, even though he doesn’t actually live here any more. That doesn’t matter though – it doesn’t have to be people who actually live here. They just have to be connected to the residence in some way. And Jan did live here for (way too many) years.

Tonight the band are having their very first meeting. I won’t call it a practice because I think tonight is more about discussing than actually practicing, although Jan did take his guitar so you never know. The meeting started at 7pm, although Jan didn’t turn up til half past. It’s now 10:30pm. I’m hungry. I’m tired. I got three hours sleep last night. I’m currently debating whether to just go and eat something, running the risk that Jan will turn up just as I finish complaining that he’s hungry too. Decisions, decisions.
They’re having another band meeting tomorrow. Luckily I actually have plans tomorrow – while he’s playing guitar I’ll be in Heilbronn tasting wine with my ex-colleagues. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long time before I actually get to spend another weekend with my boyfriend though.
*Sigh* Roll on December!