For the love of learning

Tilly Bud, aka The Laughing Housewife posted about this the other day and I thought it might interest some of my readers as well.

Sesame magazine
OU logo (Photo: Wikipedia)

The Open University (a UK-based distance learning university) has teamed up with several universities from around the globe plus some other organisations, such as the British Library, to offer free online short courses.

I have signed up for Introduction to Ecosystems, a six week course starting in November and am considering also doing Sustainability, Society and You in January. England in the Time of King Richard III looks interesting, too.

As I said, it’s all free, and the courses are online so you can join in from anywhere in the world.

Interested? Visit FutureLearn to read more and sign up.

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Science and Sunday dinner

I made a sort of Sunday dinner yesterday. Why “sort of” you ask? Well, there werre no Yorkshire puddings and the meat (pork steaks) was fried rather than roasted because I don’t trust my oven at all (there’s something wrong with the thermostat – no matter how high a setting you put it on it always claims to be at most 150°C. And I really don’t want to risk putting meat in an oven that I don’t actually know the temperature of…). We did have both roast and mashed potatoes though. And after my recent trip to England I have actual proper gravy granules. German “Bratensosse” is just not the same. Sure, it goes well enough with wild boar or Schnitzel but for a proper Sunday dinner you’ve gotta have English gravy!
We had a starter as well. I’m currently doing an Open University short course called Science Starts Here and this weekend I had to do an experiment which involved putting sliced potatoes in the oven and weighing them every hour to find out what percentage of a potato is water. The end result was something that looked a lot like those potato skins you get as a starter in restaurants so we covered them in salt and pepper and ate them. I also dipped mine in allioli (garlic sauce) which was dee-licious. While we were waiting for the main course to finish cooking I happened to mention to Jan what a shame it was I had no dessert to offer him. You see, one of the things on my 101 things list is to cook a three course meal for my boyfriend (3 times!) and as I had done all the work with dinner I thought if I had dessert I could let this count (even if the starter was originally a science experiment). Having had the thought I naturally couldn’t rest until I’d at least tried to carry it out, so I got onto Google and started looking up recipes that only use ingredients I actually had in the house. It being a Sunday in German I would have had no chance of getting anything that was missing – only the petrol stations and the tiny little shop at the train station are open. Luckily I found a recipe for golden syrup dumplings, so I made that. Mine looked nothing like the picture on the website but they tasted good and that’s all that matters, right?

We were going to go to the cinema after dinner to see the German film Der Weisse Band (The White Ribbon – read about it here) but Jan decided he was too tired, so we stayed home and watched two episodes of ER instead. We’re up to season 3 now. I love the old ones – Noah Wyle (Carter) looks so young!

I can’t even think of a title never mind write a decent post…

I know, my blog has been terrible lately. I’m even boring myself, and that takes some doing. I’m sorry people! But I haven’t managed to make it home before 8pm once this week, and once I do get in there’s still food to be made and everything. It’s kind of difficult to be interesting in these circumstances. I’m sure I’ll manage to write something that’s worth reading soon though. Just give me a week… or three.

So today the course materials arrived for my next Open University course. I’m doing to the October presentation of “Science Starts Here”. Don’t ask me how I think I’m going to manage to work full time, write a dissertation and complete an OU course all at the same time.  I’m still in hands over ears, lalala I’m not listening mode on that one at the moment. I’m sure I’ll work something out though…

Umm, I’m sure I should have more to say. I just can’t remember what it is…

The list! The list!

OK, before I get on to the actual topic of the day, which is my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, there is something I have to share with you.
According to my stats someone found me last night be searching Google for penis shaped friendship bracelets. I can think of only one thing to say to that, and that thing is WHY?!!?

And now, without further ado, I shall move onto the list.
I am also going to make a page with it on, so in future you will be able to see my progress without having to search for this blog post. Errm, that is, of course, if anyone’s actually interested in my progress. Other than me. Right. Anyway. The list!
I have split it up into sections for ease of reading and stuff…

The Places I will Go
1. Take an intensive Spanish course in Spain
2. Visit 5 places in Germany that I’ve never been to before
3. Eat frog’s legs in France, fondue in Switzerland and goulash in Hungary
4. Go to Europapark (theme park near Freiburg)
5. Go for a ride  in a hot air balloon
6. Go to the Christmas market in Ettlingen
7. Go to 5 other Christmas markets (not including Karlsruhe)
8. See the Northern Lights
9. Go on the London Eye
10. Go to Berlin with my boyfriend
11. Go to Luxembourg
12. Buy a 24 ticket for the Karlsruhe transport network and spend the day visiting different towns
13. Go on a boat on the Rhine
14. Go on an overnight train journey and spend the night in a sleeping compartment
15. Have a picnic in a town I’ve never been to before

Reading, Watching, Listening

16. Read 50 books from the list of books I want to read (which you can find here).
17. Read 15 non-fiction books
18. Read the Little Vampire books in the original German
19. Read War and Peace
20. Read all of the Anne of Green Gables books
21. Read 5 biographies/autobiographies (these will not count towards the 15 non-fiction books!)
22. Read 5 German children’s books
23. Watch every episode of ER – to make life easier for me I will count it down by season.
24. Watch 27 films from the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die” list
25. Watch a film in Spanish
26. Go to the cinema 10 times
27. Watch 5 films from the year I was born
28. See a Shakespeare play (not Oddsocks!)
29. See a German play
30. See Eddie Izzard live
31. See a musical
32. Discover 3 new (to me) bands that I like and buy an album of theirs
33. See 3 bands/artists live (not at Das Fest)

It’s All About Us
34. Kiss my boyfriend under the mistletoe
35. Cook a 3 course meal for my boyfriend on 3 different occasions
36. Bake Jan a birthday cake
37. Go for a nice meal together at a restaurant we wouldn’t usually go to; get dressed up for it
38. Kiss outside during a thunderstorm
39. *Secret* (No, it’s nothing naughty. Just something I want to surprise Jan with. Keeping it secret until after I’ve done it in case he decides to read this)
40. Get a flat with my boyfriend

Getting Creative
41. Complete a cross stitch picture converted from a photograph that I took
42. Complete 3 other cross stitch pictures
43. Hand make 10 birthday cards and send/give them to family/friends
44. My photo challenge! Assign a theme to each month of the 1001 days & take 50 pictures during that month.
45. Make something and sell it
46. Make a dreamcatcher
47. Take a photo for each letter of the alphabet and make an alphabet book with them (A is for…)

For My Health
48. Eat a portion of fruit every day for 2 weeks
49. Do not eat chocolate, cake or sweets for 1 month
50. Be in bed before 10pm 50 times
51. Walk home from the train station instead of taking a tram 10 times
52. Take vitamins every day for 30 days in a row
53. Go to the dentist

Learning and Education
54. Take 2 more OU courses (apart from the one I already have booked for October)
55. Learn calligraphy
56. Learn basic Russian
57. Learn basic Japanese

Eat Me! Drink Me!
58. Find 10 restaurants in Karlsruhe that I’ve never been to and have a meal there
59. Bake 10 different cakes
60. Make jam
61. Have sparkling wine for breakfast
62. Go vegetarian for 2 weeks
63. Make lemonade
64. Drink a cup of green tea every day for a week
65. Eat fish twice a month for all months of the 1001 days
66. make gingerbread people
65. make mango chutney
66. Find a recipe for garlic soup and make it
67. Find 6 recipes that use avocados and make them
68. Attend a wine seminar
69. Eat one meal with chopsticks every day for one month

Because other people are important too…
70. Host a pancake party
71. Host a tea party
72. Give (at least) 50 euros or pounds to 3 different charities
73. Visit someone I haven’t seen for a while (= more than a year)
74. Bake cookies, put them in a nice tin and give them to someone as a birthday present
75. Write a letter to my grandparents
76. Send 20 postcards for no particular reason

Getting Organised
77. Get all my photos from Hamburg, Prague, belgium, Paris and Rome printed and put them in albums
78. Sort out my underwear drawer. Thow away anything that is holey, losing its elastic or just generally looks shabby.
79. Sort out the clothes I still have at my dad’s. Give anything that is too small or I’m obviously never going to wear again to charity.
80. Find all my recipes and put them in a folder. No more searching the entire flat every time I want to make something!
81. Do my taxes
82. Find all my bank statements and put them in a folder

Money, Money, Money
83. Pay off my overdraft
84. Buy a pair of red shoes
85. Buy a printer
86. Pay Jan back
87. Start paying off my student loan

The Flat
88. Get a new quilt to go with my new bed
89. Get tubs/jars for everything in the kitchen that evil moth beasts might be interested in
90. Get curtains for the bedroom
91. Wash the dishes on the same day I use them for 3 weeks

I like making  lists!
92. Identify 101 things that make me happy
93. make a list of 101 quotes that I like. The list can include song lyrics.

Other stuff, or the I couldn’t be bothered to think of more categories section
94. Build a snowman
95. Buy a colouring book and colour in the whole thing
96. Do a jigsaw puzzle.
97. Join trip advisor and write 10 reviews
98. Go bowling
99. Buy myself flowers
100. Release 10 bookcrossing books into the wild… the proper wild that is, not official bookcrossing zones!
101. Leave the computer off for an entire weekend. Not when on holiday – it has to be a weekend where I am actually at home!

That is it. And I must tell you it took ages to come up with 101 things!
If you decide to do your own 101 things in 1001 days list let me know in the comments box so I can come and look at your ideas 🙂

I will be starting to 1001 days on 13th August 2009, which makes my end date Thursday, 10th May 2012.

Spend, spend, spend

I was back at work today. Still coughing, but I have my voice back, which is good cos I spent pretty much the whole day phoning random people to ask if they would be interested in maybe possible coming to teach for us at the language school which we haven’t even set up yet and really can’t give them any information about right now, but thought we’d, y’know, just ask anyway. Yes. It wasn’t my idea.

On the way home I went shopping. First I had to go to a book shop. You see I’m taking part in a combination Open University / Bookcrossing Not So Secret Christmas Santa (NSSCS). It’s organised by OU people who just happen to also be bookcrossers, based on an idea that originated on bookcrossing. Those who don’t know what bookcrossing is need to read my previous blog entry on it here. So, what you have to do is buy some books which your NSSCS partner has put on their wishlist (I huess this is where the not so secret comes in – they sort of know what they’re getting already), register them on bookcrossing them package them up nicely into a parcel along with some sweeties and a small gift before sending said parcel off to your partner’s address. Unfortunately I couldn’t get hold of any of the books on my partner’s wishlist. The book shops here didn’t have single one of them, at least not in the right language. Still can’t believe I couldn’t even get “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” here! So I got two that I hope she’ll liked based on the stuff that is on her wishlist. Then I headed of to Nanu Nana (brilliant shop by the way! If you’re ever in Germany and need to find a gift, or just a nice cheap set of coffee cups, you have to go there!) where I bought a couple of candles shaped like fir cones for the secret santa partner’s parcel before finally heading off to Karstadt where I first visited the food department in search of something for tea and some choccy for the secret santa parcel then headed towards the bit where the gifts live to pick up something for a friend whose birthday party I’m invited to next week. Oh yes, and between Karstadt and home I also found myself popping into another shop where I bought a colourful scarf/shawl thing for my Grandma and also discovered something amusing to get my sister for her birthday, which is January. Phew! Lots of money spent. And I still haven’t even got all my Christmas presents yet! I keep thinking I’m done then realising there are still more people to buy for. And what am I going to get my sister’s boyfriend? I’ve only met the guy twice! Sister dearest suggested a book but it seems they’re having trouble finding the books he likes in England so I’d probably have no chance here. Hmm, he does like tea though (understatement of the year there!) so that could be an idea.

Anyway, must dash. I have some food to cook. And I’m pretty sure I’ve bored you all enough by now anyway. It does make a change from complaing though I suppose 😉