35 Before 35 – An update

Now that my 30th birthday has passed, I thought it was time to take a look at the progress I’ve made so far on my 35 Before 35 challenge .

First of all, a request. I’m up to 32 things on my list (which you can view here), which means I still need three more! Any suggestions? Some of the things on there are probably going to be quite expensive (hot air balloon ride! Stay in a five star hotel!), so maybe something that isn’t going to break the bank…

So, how far have I got with the items that are already on the list? I’ll do this in numerical order, I think…

Number 3: Learn Spanish. Welllll, I joined Memrise, used it for about three days, then completely forgot it existed. And I haven’t been on Duolingo for months. Not the best start…

Number 13: Read (or re-read) 50 non-fiction books. I have read two so far – The Importance of Being Trivial by Mark Mason (scroll right down in the linked post – I wrote about it briefly after my revew of Emma) and What Are the Seven Wonders of the World? And Other Cultural Lists: Fully Described by Peter D’Epiro.

Number 15: Read 20 books in German. I put this one on the list because I almost never pick up books in German when there are English ones to be read! I’ve managed three German books since starting the challenge though: Schattenfreundin by Christine Drews, Schwesterlein, Komm Stirb mit Mir by Karen Sander and Mordsfreunde by Nele Neuhaus. All three are crime novels – it’s difficult to find much else by German authors, and I prefer to read books that were written in English in the original!

Number 18: bake 10 different types of biscuit (cookie for the Americans). I’ve baked one type of biscuit so far, Chocolate Cherry Cookies. You can read all about that here.

Number 21: Read all those books from the BBC Big Read Top 200 list of books that I haven’t before. That makes a total of 132 books, and so far I have read 6: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Emma by Jane Austen, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher and To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee.

Number 28: Play blacklight (glow-in-the-dark) minigolf.  I did this in Berlin, and posted about it here.

I think I’ve made a pretty good start to the challenge. Hopefully I can keep it up!

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New project

This shall have to be a quick post as it’s already 9:45 pm and I want to get an early start at work tomorrow, which means catching the 6:51 train! I’m a bit behind on a translation I’m doing and it’s quite long and waaay out of my area of expertise, so every extra minute counts!
So, I’ve thought up a new project for my free time. After completing quite a few cross stitch pictures from preassembled kits, I’ve decided it’s now time to start making my own! Obviously I’ll continue using the kits for large projects (at least for now), but I want to make some smaller designs and use them to make greeting cards and things. The only downside is that I can’t draw at all. I started experimenting with owls… nothing fancy, just simple little things, basically made up of circles. They look ridiculous! Jan thinks if I keep trying I’ll get better with time. Personally I have my doubts… surely constant repetition will never be a good substitute for actual ability? But try I shall. So if you don’t hear from me for a while don’t worry. I haven’t dropped off the face of the Earth… I’m just holed up in my room practising drawing owls! I also want to learn calligraphy, which I’ve ordered a book for, and we’re in the process of trying to decide which Spanish course to do next, so hopefully soon I’ll be very, very busy, which can only be a good thing. After all, I can’t spend the rest of my life doing nothing at all…

Plans and potatoes…

Despite all my promises to get back to regular blogging, once again it’s been over a week since my last post. That pesky little thing called life has reared up its ugly head and got in the way again! So what have I been doing that’s kept me so busy?

~ Learning Spanish! Jan and I started another Spanish course recently (our third), so now that’s where we go on Monday evenings. Each lesson is an hour and a half and let me tell you it’s hard work! Hopefully it will be worth it in the end though!

~ Socialising! Last Saturday a friend of Jan’s who moved to Frankfurt was back in town for the day, so we met up with him and went to Stadtfest. Then in the evning we met up with friends for “Dirty Old Town”, the annual event in which all the pubs in Karlsruhe’s old town have live music all night. And on Wednesday our favourite Irish pub celebrated it’s 2nd anniversary, so of course we had to be there.

~ Cooking Sunday dinner! The meat was fried pork steaks, so it wasn’t a real Sunday roast, but my roast potatoes were absolutely perfect. Crunchy on the outside and lovely and soft in the middle. Luckily I made extra so I get to enjoy them again for lunch tomorrow. Mmmm.

~ Making plans! We’ve decided to go to Edinburgh for new year as we only got such a short time there (one afternoon!) during our trip around Great Britain this summer. And since we’ll be heading to the island anyway, it makes sense to spend Christmas there as well this year. So we’ve been looking at flights, trains and B&Bs and have finally come to a decision. We’ll be staying at my dad’s for 9 whole days! My little brother won’t know what’s hit him – he’s never seen me for that many days in one go!

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.

Getting there

Work was ok today. We had more offers training but this time I managed to do everything right. It’s actually pretty routine stuff once you know how (except the stuff I did yesterday I have never had to do before so there was no way I could have known what to do). But when the boss is sitting watching it’s actually quite difficult to remember everything. I get so nervous. Silly really, but there you go.  This evening I had to stay 15 minutes longer because I have Spanish tomorrow and need to leave early. Usually I just come in early on Wednesday mornings but because the boss isn’t always there on Wednesdays it is apparantly a bad day for me to come in early (because that means his wife has to be there to let me in). Today my colleague was staying later because she had to leave for 20 minutes this morning to go to the doctors, and she has a key so I could stay late as well.

I’ve actually managed to make an appointment with the bank as well! This morning I went on the website to see if they had any online form you could fill in for making appointments. I didn’t find anything like that, but did discover an email address so I wrote them a mail and when I got home today I had a reply. I asked for an appointment on Monday, as late as possible, but it seems the latest appointment would be at 3:30pm, which would really mess things up for work. They’ve offered me one at 5pm on Thursday so I’ve written back accepting. Hopefully it hasn’t been given to someone else in the meantime. It will mean leaving work an hour early (normally we’re there til 5:15pm) to get back on time for it, but hopefully it will be possible to make that hour up somehow. I’ll probably have to come in at 8am on two other days or something. 8am! I feel tired just thinking about it 😦 (it means getting the 7am tram) but it has to be done I guess. At least then everything will be sorted and it will hopefully be a long time before I have to go to the bank again. If only they didn’t close at 4pm on Fridays it would have been no problem – we finish at 4pm then!

I actually seem to be getting somewhere with packing as well. At least my shelves are looking a lot emptier now. Almost all of the books are sorted – a lot of them are even already over there, stacked up on the living room windowsill due to lack of any actual furniture at the new place. Mostly it’s just clothes and things that need packing now, and all the breakable stuff like cups and glasses. Oh, and I need to finish taking down my posters as well. And empty the desk drawers. OK, so there’s still quite a bit to be done. But at least I’m a bit further along than I was…

Anyway, I must go now. It’s 5 to 8 and I haven’t even got round to eating anything yet. So much to do…

Wat I did on my hollidays

I’m now in to the third day of my time off. Funny how I seem to feel less inclined to blog when I actually have time for it. On work days my fingers are itching to blog all the way home. Itching I tell you! Whereas now that I am home and could spend all day blogging if I really wanted to I’m perfectly happy limiting myself to commenting on other people’s blogs and adding millions of lovely books to my Amazon wishlist. Next step winning the lottery so I can actually buy millions of books rather than just wishlisting them. Oh, and a huge house to fit them all in of course. I’d say the chances of that happening are fairly slim though seeing as I don’t even do the lottery.

Anyway, I’m sure you are all desperate to know what I’ve been doing with my time off. (What? What do you mean you’re not? But, but, I thought you caaaared!)

Let’s see…
On Tuesday I did two loads of washing. And I even remembered to get the second load out of the machine on time, before the next person called me demanding to be able to get their landry done. I was most impressed with myself. Despite this I still have an entire basked full of dirty clothes waiting to be washed. Why? It hasn’t been that long since I last did laundry. I swear stuff breeds in there. It’s worse than rabbits! I also sorted out the top drawer of my desk on Tuesday. This is another place where stuff breeds. It’s the only possible explanation. No way did I actually put all those receipts in there. Clearly they have been doing naughty things while I wasn’t looking. There must have been at least three generations of old receipts in there! I’m dreading moving on to drawer number two. It will have to be done soon though, if all goes to plan I’ll be moving out in just over a month.
Yesterday, which the observant among you will realise was Wednesday, I went out for lunch with a friend. We went to Lehner’s. I ordered jacket potato with tomato sour cream and grilled salmon strips. We received our drinks fairly quickly. We then waited and waited and waited some more. Half an hour later the waitress reappeared to tell me there was no salmon, could they offer me prawns or ‘Zander’ instead (just a moment, must go and look Zander up in my trusty dictionary… aah, it seems it translates as pike). I chose the pike. Ten minutes later the food finally turned up. It was very nice food, but not worth waiting all that time for, especially considering the place was half empty! My friend and I then went for a walk, ending up at Cafe am Markt where we drank rather yummy hot chocolate before I headed home to get ready for Spanish.
It was the last Spanish lesson of the “complete beginners” course, so after spending the first hour of the lesson actually learning Spanish we all headed off to a Tapas restaurant in town where the teacher had booked us a table. It was fantastic. I had patatas bravas – spicy fried potatoes covered in a gorgeous garlicky-cheesy sauce. It tasted wonderful. It was also a huge portion. It was enough to make a whole meal in itself.  And that was only the starter. I then had the main course of garlic chicken (it was so totally garlic night!), served with diced, fried potatoes (salty this time rather than spicy) and some fabulous sliced aubergine. This was served with a basket of bread. A whole basket, just for me. By the time we left my stomach felt like it was too big for the surrounding skin. I was like Mister Blobby, except not bright pink with yellow spots. It was totally worth it though. And I even managed to order my entire meal in Spanish. Go me!

Writing a blog while I wait for the boyfriend

My boyfriend should be coming over soon. At least I hope he comes over soon – I’m starving! I also wanted to try and get an early night for a change – the meeting last night went on for 3 hours and I’m now ridiculously tired – but as it’s already 10 to 8 and we still have a whole meal to cook I can’t see it happening. Actually, under normal circumstances I wouldn’t even have been home yet so I suppose it really doesn’t matter. The only reason I’m here is because Spanish is cancelled. Teacher’s ill.

So, I’ve signed the contract. My boss was working from home today though so he hasn’t countersigned it yet. He will though, at least I hope he will. Tomorrow. Then as of 1st February I will officially be employed. Oh my! I’ve never had a real job before – just summer jobs and internships. It’s all a bit surreal. Now all I have to do is find a flat, then I might – just maybe – start feeling like a proper grown up. Errm, maybe not.

OK, I’m fed up of waiting now. Time to call Jan and tell him to come home because I’m wasting away (those last three words have to be said in the acent from the Supernoodle advert of course. Come on people, you know you know what I’m talking about. Mmmm, Supernoodles! Why can’t you get those in Germany?)

(OK, there was no need to call Jan. He just arrived. There’s timing for ya! Wooo!