All I want is to get my clothes clean…

Thanks to my Christmas bonus and the fact that people gave me money for Christmas, I’ve actually still got a fair amount of my wages left despite my spending spree at the weekend and the fact that the month is more than half over. So I’ve decided the time has come to buy a washing machine. I just can’t take much more handwashing, and since Jan so rarely gets round to taking stuff to his to be washed (mainly because he spends most of his time here) I do end up handwashing pretty much everything. Unfortunately I have to wait until Jan has time before I can actually go and buy one – him being the one that drives and all that – but not being able to purchase does not affect my ability to look, so after work today off I went to Media Markt, only to leave 20 minutes later feeling utterly dazed. The cheapest washing machine I saw was €499. That’s nearly five hundred Euros! Or, to put it antoher way, almost half of my wages (once the German government have taken most of it away from me for various taxes and insurances). Is it just me or is that a lot? I mean, I only want it to wash my clothes, not do tricks, cook tea or clean the toilet. I think tomorrow I’ll go to Saturn. Maybe they’ll have something more in my price range…

Retail therapy

The sun came out today and melted most of the snow, so I decided to make the most of it and go shopping. I should have been finishing my progress report for uni and cleaning the flat, but shopping won. I don’t feel too guilty though – that stuff can wait til tomorrow and anyway, most of my purchases were for the flat. I bought:
◊ A tall glass jar for keeping spaghetti in
◊ 2 glass serving bowls for the bargainous price of €1.50 each
◊ A photo frame, which is now hanging on the wall with a photo of Jan and I at my Grandparent’s golden wedding anniversary in it
◊ A photo album… now the photos I took in Paris in April finally have a home!
◊ A cake tin
◊ New towels (2 hand towels, 2 bath towels)
◊ A plastic box with a lid to keep all my envelopes and writing paper and jiffy bags in.

Not very exciting, I know, but the perfect cure for a week like the one I’ve just had. And I don’t even have to feel guilty because I only purchased things I actually need (well, apart from the photo album and frame, but those were cheap enough not to count…)

I’m going to open a beer now and eat some crisps and dip.The only thing missing to make this evening perfect is Jan. Stupid work sending him to stupid Hamburg to sort out stupid software. You can’t have everything though, I suppose.

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….

Home alone again

Most people who haven’t seen their other halves for 5 days can’t wait to get back and see them again.
Unfortunately, my boyfriend is not most people. Which is why, despite the fact that he came back from Vienna today, I’m spending the night alone, again. It seems putting the washing machine on is way more important than seeing your girlfriend.
I suppose I should just be grateful he didn’t bring the laundry over for me to do. Oh yes, there really is a bright side to everything…

Remind me why I spent 25 euros on a king size quilt then another 30 on a sheet and pillowcases when 90% of the time I’m the only one sleeping in my bed anyway? Come to think of it, why did I even waste my money on a double bed? If I’d got a single one I might have been able to afford a sofa as well…

Oh, and I’m fairly sure I’ve failed my photo challenge for the third month in a row. Which makes me wonder whether there’s even any point in continuing with this 1001 days thing. I probably will though. Because I’m stubborn like that.

If you chase two rabbits you will lose them both…

I spent most of the weekend trying to tidy my flat. In between I did some reading for my science course, started writing a letter, attempted to make a dent in the mountain of dirty clothes that’s threatening to take over the bedroom and made some notes for my dissertation. It is now Tuesday. The flat is still a tip. The kitchen floor is mopped, but the mop bucket is still standing in front of the fridge (why in front of the fridge? you ask. Who knows?) The wash basket is still overflowing. The bedroom remains unswept and I’m only halfway through the letter. As for the science course… let’s not even go there. To be honest I’m bored with the whole thing, but it’s paid for now and I’m determined to pass. I just wish I could remember enough from GCSE to do so without any of the studying.

Maybe I should try focusing on one thing and actually sticking with it until it’s done for once.
Food for thought…

Questions upon questions

Yes, it’s one of those posts again…

  • Why do so many people here feel the need to run across the road in front of trams? I’m sure you’re in a big hurry, but trust me, getting hit by a tram isn’t going to get you to your destination any quicker…
  • Speaking of trams: why does the display thingy insist on telling me my tram is coming “sofort” (immediately) when it is nowhere in sight and will clearly not be turning up anything like ‘sofort’
  • Why does my kitchen still smell weird even though I’ve taken the rubbish out?
  • Why do I have almost not of my wages left already when the month has only just started?
  • Why has the translation book I ordered for 30 euros which Amazon claimed should be here by 30th October not arrived yet? (Question for my UK readers, if I actually have any – surely you can’t all have gone off to France and Korea?: Is Royal Mail on strike? That might explain it…)
  • Why is my wash basket so full?
  • Why are crisps so addictive?
  • Why is my flat so cold?
  • Why are so many people I know pregnant? (Every time someone gives birth another person makes the “expecting” announcement. It’s madness!)
  • Why is it not the weekend yet?

Preparing for another busy weekend

The other week when Jan and I were in Mannheim we saw a poster (in the window of the tea shop we went in) advertising an English picnic in Ludwigshafen. It’s a cultural event apparantly, organised by Initiative Buchkultur, an organisation whose aim seems to be to promote the publiscation of “nice, good and well-made books” (sorry, I’m translating from the German here) because there are too many “cheap” books (in terms of both content and the way they are made), bad translations and books that haven’t been properly proofread. Fair enough.

So the picnic is taking place this Sunday. There are various different activities taking place… croquet, some performance by a Sherlock Holmes club, English folk music and more. Jan is mostly interested in the English beer tasting session at 2pm; I like the sound of the cream tea at 5. And, one of the items on my 101 Things list is “have a picnic in a town I’ve never been to before”. I’ve never been to Ludwigshafen before (even though it’s only 55 minutes away by slow train!) so that will be another item to cross off my list. Excellent!
That is, of course, providing we actually make it to Ludwigshafen…

I’m having a party tomorrow night, partly as a belated birthday celebration and partly because I’ve been promising to host a flat-warming party for months. So, two birds with one stone and all that…
I’ve asked people to come early (7pm… that is early for a German party!) in the hope that the party will also finish early (around 2am instead of after the sun comes up would be nice…) but we shall see what happens.

Yes, another busy weekend ahead, and today is preparation day. I have been shopping twice… but still don’t actually have everything because I’m running out of money! The living room is swept and the kitchen has been mopped. So now I just need to finish tidying the bedroom (aargh, where am I going to put everything?!), do the dishes (ugh, just kill me now…) and make cheese scones for the picnic. Tomorrow I have to make chilli, nachos and chocolate fudge cake for the party so there won’t be time to make picnic food as well. Urgh, sooo much to do, and seeing it written down like this makes it seem like even more. I guess I’d better get on with it then…

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.

My very first visitor

My friend is coming tonight. It’s most exciting! I’ve never had a visitor in my new flat before! I still have loads to do before she arrives though – including sweeping the entire flat, putting an insect net on the living room window and blowing up an airbed – but before I get on with things I need a few minutes to sit down and recover. I’ve just returned from town where I spent 40 euros in Karstadt!! Now, I’m sure many people out there are now thinking “so what, 40 euros isn’t that much” (all those that are not still busy trying to work out how much 4o euros is in their own currency that is) and in other circumstances I would agree with you. Like if I already knew I was going to get that job, preferably on a contract starting on 1st August, and would therefore be back to earning money again fairly soon. Unfortunately I do not know any such thing and whether I will ever be back to earning money again is still pretty much up in the air. So right now 40 euros is a lot of money. It is, for example, exactly the price of a return ticket to Mannheim on the fast trains, and I’m going to need one of them next week. It’s also roughly half the amount my electricity and gas currently costs, although that has luckily already been paid for this month. Why did nobody ever tell me that growing up (and having your own place) was this much hassle?!

Anyway, I promise I will tell you all abou the things I’ve been up to soon (and yes, I know I’ve been saying that for almost a week already!) but right now I have to go and get my flat into a fit state for people other than Jan and I to enter it. Becasue despite the fact that I tidied up just the other day in case his parents wanted to come round (which they didn’t in the end) my flat seems to have morphed back into its usual state of untidiness. No idea how that could have happened… clearly it can’t possibly have had anything to do with me…

The perils of living alone

The observant among you may have noticed that it’s been a whole week since I last blogged. That’s because this is the first day since then that I’ve actually felt up to posting anything. You see, last Saturday, while tidying the flat, I gave myself concussion – which just goes to show housework is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. There I was sweeping up underneath the boiler, went to stand up and *BANG* went my head against the boiler. Which is made of metal, as boilers tend to be. It hurt… a lot. Six hours later I still had a headache. And three hours after that. In fact, I had a headache until Thursday when I finally, finally started feeling almost normal again. The NHS direct website told me if it was just a headache and no other symptoms I should be fine, but the first night I should have someone wake me up every 2 hours and ask me simple question, like my name or address. Yeah… easier said than done when you live alone and your boyfriend is in LA. So I set my phone to wake me up every two hours, just to see if I would wake up. Not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t mind, but you have to remember I wasn’t thinking straight…. Anywaaay, by Monday I still had a headache and Jan was home, so I got him to make me a doctor’s appointment for after work, which is where I was told I probably had mild concussion and prescribed some painkillers which tasted awful (apparantly they contain raspberry and cream flavouring… I will never look at a raspberry the same way again!), but they worked. For the most part anyway. Sitting in front of a computer all day trying to translate did nothing for my poor head (which is why I didn’t really feel up to blogging either) but as the boss and his wife were off last week I couldn’t really take time off as my colleague would have been alone. But never mind, I am better now and today Jan took me to a furniture shop and I finally bought lights for my ceilings. Can you believe the Germans actually take the lights away with them when they move out of a place? Up to now I’ve been surviving with lamps!

Anyway, I am off to spend some quality time with the boyfriend. I promise to come and catch up on all your blogs tomorrow though. Don’t worry, the flat is tidy at the moment so I won’t be giving myself concussion again any time soon…