Today is the third and final day of my second attempt at the three days, three quotes challenge. This time around, I was nominated by She from This Door is Alarmed. Thank you very much for the nomination!
Here are the rules, which I have already broken:
Thank the person who nominated you.
Post a quote for three consecutive days. (I am going to redesign ‘consecutive’ to mean ‘when you are able’ for my purposes.)
Nominate three bloggers for each post.
For today’s post, I have chosen a quote from the Welcome to Night Vale novel (the first one, which is simply called Welcome to Night Vale). As we all know, Night Vale is a bizarre place (and if you don’t know what have you been doing with your life? Please go and listen to the pod cast!), but it’s people are just as human as any of us, with all the emotions, thoughts and communication difficulties that go along with that. So often what Cecil tells me seems to apply very well to our own, slightly less bizarre, world. Here’s one of my favourite lines from the novel:
It seems about right to me!
I’m not nominating anyone this time round as everyone I think might play has already done it. So if you would like a turn then please consider yourself nominated!
This episode of Show Us Your Books marks the three anniversary. I am a day late to the party thanks to having to be in the office yesterday, but congratulations Jana and Steph!
Let us take a look at what I read in September. There were 7 books, four of which were for the bonus round of Erin‘s reading challenge. As in previous months, I will list the challenge books first followed by the others.
A Whole New World by Liz Braswell (376 pages, read for the category “a book relating to a Disney movie”). This basically takes the Disney version of Aladdin but changes one key feature, namely what if Aladdin had not kept the lamp but given it to Jafar like he was supposed to? The beginning of the book was literally a retelling of the Disney version of Aladdin, even down to repeating parts of the dialogue word for word! The remainder is definitely fast-paced and there are a few good moments. The characters’ personalities never seemed to be properly developed – I felt like the author was relying on readers knowing them from the film. It passed the time okay and was entertaining enough but I think I’ll skip the rest of the series. 3 stars.
Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Krause (264 pages, read for the “starts with B” category). Well, this was basically complete and utter trash… but entertaining trash! A YA werewolf book that somehow manages to make the transition from human to wolf form sound sexy. I wish I had found it back when it first came out because I’m sure I would have lapped it up then (ha, pun totally not intended but I’ve seen it now and I’m keeping it). Reading it as an adult I give it 3 stars.
The Dog Who Came in From the Cold by Alexander McCall Smith (352 pages, read for the “animal on the cover” category). I feel like I was missing something with this book. Maybe it’s because I didn’t read the first book in the series? It took me ages to figure out that all the characters with their little mini stories were somehow vaguely connected. And the poor dog, who is in the actual title, barely even features. Parts of it were quite good, others were really boring. 3 stars.
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (320 pages, read for the “book featuring mental illness” category). I can’t say I enjoyed this book exactly – that isn’t the right word. It is really, really good but quite disturbing in some ways. It’s supposed to be for children, but I would definitely recommend an adult reading it first then deciding whether it’s suitable for the child in question! The mental illness concerned is never actually spelled out, but one of the main characters is a war veteran who is obviously suffering from some kind of PTSD. Betty (the bully) is a real nasty piece of work – far more than just an ordinary school-girl bully, and Annabelle (the main character) is far braver than I ever would have been. Sorry if this is confusing – it’s a difficult book to review! 4 stars anyway – read it!
That was the four challenge books, now on to the rest.
Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. Technically I didn’t read this one, but listened to it. Aaalso, I started listening to it over a year ago so I didn’t really “read” it in September 2017 at all. But I finished it! I would have been finished ages ago but I had to keep waiting for Jan to listen with me. Anyway, I can’t objectively review this one because I’m 90% sure I loved it because it was Night Vale and I got to listen to Cecil’s voice for HOURS, not just one measly little episode of the podcast (I mean, I never actually listened to only one episode, but that isn’t the point). Whether it actually works as a print novel? I have no idea. Whether anyone who doesn’t already know and love Night Vale and all its characters would enjoy it? Maybe not. So my 5 star rating is very, very biased, but I don’t care. Recommended to anybody who loves the weirdness that is Welcome to Night Vale.
Blood Sistersby Jane Corry. I interrupted my challenge reading for this one because I couldn’t resist reading it the day it arrived. It kept my attention and made me want to keep reading long after my bedtime. I really liked the different perspectives, especially the chance to get inside Kitty’s head. Towards the end it almost felt like there were too many twists and the final one just made me go “hmmm”, but overall I enjoyed it. 4 stars.
Bogwoppit by Ursula Moray Williams. I read Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat and The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by this author when I was about 8, and now I’m sad that the big box of books my step-dad brought home for us one day didn’t contain Bogwoppit as well. This book is adorable. Basically it’s the story of Samantha, an orphan who is packed off to live with her spinster aunt when he guardian (another aunt) moves to America and decides she doesn’t want her any more. At the spinster aunt’s house, she discovers a creature that nobody else knows exists – the Bogwoppit – and various adventures ensue. I love the Bogwoppit (The One and Only), even if he is trouble at times. I love Samantha, she is mostly polite and kind, but knows how to stand up for herself and the way she spoke to adults would have amazed me as a child (I would never have dared!). It’s a little dated now but I think 7-10 year olds would still love it. 5 stars.
And that’s it for September. Quite a satisfactory reading month.
Have you read anything good lately? This is a link up, so scroll back up and follow the links (I’m too lazy to put them in again. Sorry!)
It’s time for the What’s New With You link up again, and that means yet another month is over and done with. I know I always say I can’t believe how quickly time is flying, but this time the month sped by so quickly that I almost didn’t post my brother’s birthday card in time! Luckily my brain just about managed to switch from “it’s only mid-September” to “crap, it’s nearly the end of September” in time for me to get it written and posted (his birthday was on Monday). Anywaaaay… let me tell you about what I was doing in September.
Reading. Not books from the BBC Big Read even though I should be! I read six books in September… come back on Tuesday to find out what they were 😉
Listening to. Welcome to Night Vale. We actually finished listening to the audio book before the next novel was published! A miracle. We also listened to two episodes of the podcast and as of right now we are a mere three episodes behind. Wow!
Watching. There never seems to be anything interesting on when I switch on the TV., so I usually end up flicking through then switching it back off. Jan watches MoMa (German breakfast TV) and I kind of passively watch too, so I guess that.
Eating. Pumpkins! And squashes too, I suppose (although in German it’s all Kürbis). We’ve had pumpkin stew, pumpkin and chickpea curry, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin mash. I love pumpkin season!
Drinking. Nettle tea. I’m trying to be as healthy as possible and that means cutting down on caffeine (except my morning cuppa – that has to be normal tea). Plus nettles are full of calcium – important since I hate drinking milk.
Buying. Craft supplies – mainly stickers and buttons. Oh, and shoes for my sister’s wedding. (If we work on the assumption that Jan’s money is my money then we also a bookcase and some other bits from IKEA 😉 )
Going to. Castle Chillon on Lake Geneva. And also Karlsruhe to see Jan’s former choir perform and meet up with friends.
Cross stitching. Designs for Christmas cards… not long now!
Unpacking. A box of books (uni books, not the fun kind). It had been sitting in my “office” since we moved in but with the new small Billy we bought I was finally able to get it unpacked. Hurrah!
And that’s about it – the only other thing I did in September was work. I lost count of the number of times I was given so much to do in the morning that I couldn’t even think about taking a lunch break until 2 p.m. On a few of those occasions, I then had very little to do for the rest of the day. I’m hoping things will be a little more evenly spread in October…
Monday was a public holiday in Germany so, since I work there, I got the day off. This has left me way more confused than it should have and I’ve spent most of the week with no idea what day it is. But today is definitely Thursday and it’s the first one of a new month, so it’s time for the what’s new with you link up, hosted by the lovely Kristen and Gretch.
So… what have I been doing in September?
Eating. Pumpkins and squashes, more specifically spaghetti squash. It’s not spaghetti. It will never be spaghetti, no matter how many recipes try to convince me otherwise, but I’m okay with it not being spaghetti. I like it for what it is… which is a very tasty vegetable!
Reading. I told you all about my challenge reads here. But after finishing the epic novel that was Shogun I went on to read other books in quick succession.I started The Mirror World of Melody Black in September so I can totally count it here, right? I liked it. The descriptions of the ups and downs of bipolar seemed legit and it was just really well written.
Listening to. The Welcome to Night Vale audio book! I bought Jan it for his birthday in March and he finally felt like getting back into the world of Night Vale so we started listening. We’re on CD2 and so far it’s exactly as amazing as I would expect it to be.
Going. (The category for places that are too close to really call it “travelling”!) To Rheinfelden and Kaiseraugst when Jan’s dad came to stay with us for a weekend.
Watching. Tatort – a German weekly police drama series that’s been running since the 70s! The name literally means crime scene and it’s basically an institution in Germany. We also went to the cinema and saw some short films featuring disability.
Cross stitching. An engagement card for my sister, two birthday cards and some Christmas cards. Also a little something I designed myself, which I will tell you all about in a few days once the recipient actually has it!
Buying. Two new skirts and a T-shirt. I am very naughty! Also Jan’s Christmas present, but sssh! We won’t tell him that.
Wishing. For a puppy. Actually, it kind of goes without saying that I wish we had a puppy every month, but September involved a lot of actually looking at them on the websites of rescue places and sadly realising that we wouldn’t be allowed to have most of them. (Let’s just ignore the fact that we can’t have a dog anyway because we haven’t done the course to be allowed to own one yet…)
Okay, I think that’s it. I can’t think of anything else that went on in September.
For the past two years, I’ve done a kind of month-by-month recap at the end of the year as I way to remind myself of everything I’ve done that year – where I’ve been and what I’ve achieved. Here’s this year’s version. I’m keeping photos small for this post so as not to overwhelm. Clicking on them should make them bigger.
We started the year on a high note watching the fireworks display in Madeira, which just happened to be on my 35 before 35 list. Woo hoo! I also counted that as my January trip for the take 12 trips challenge. And that was pretty much it for events in January. It was the first month of my English colleague’s maternity leave, and while my German colleagues complained of having very little to do, I was utterly swamped!
On 5th February, Jan and I celebrated our ten-year anniversary, which is quite frankly terrifying! A decade! What? How? And soon we’ll be celebrating 11 years. I just can’t get my head around it. We didn’t do anything on the actual day as Jan had a paper to finish, but a few days later we went for a (rather disappointing) Italian meal.
A week, later, I received a phone call from England with the news that my grandpa was seriously ill in hospital and wasn’t expected to last much longer (abdominal cancer). Thanks to my boss being lovely, I managed to get a week off at short notice and fly to England to be with him one last time. As it turned out, he survived for longer than the mere days or weeks that had been predicted, but I’m glad I saw him before he went really down hill so I was able to actually speak to him and have him know who I was.
At the end of the month, I took a spontaneous day trip to Bruchsal (the next larger town to the North of Karlsruhe) so that my trip for February wouldn’t have to be watching my grandpa die! It isn’t the most exciting town, but I did manage to see a few pretty things.
Jan’s birthday is the 1st of March, and this year I made him chocolate cupcakes to take to work. I’m informed they went down well.
Also in March, my grandpa was moved to another hospital (coincidentally the one where my mum works as a nurse – my grandma had to give her permission for my mum to work with him!).
17th March is, of course, St. Patrick’s Day. Our favourite Irish pub did a full Irish breakfast the day before and on actual St. Patrick’s Day (a Monday) there was a party at the pub with live music. This year I was actually clever enough to take the day after St. Patrick’s Day off work so I could party all night!
March was another ridiculously busy month at work and involved lost of overtime, but I still managed to fit in my monthly trip. I went to the Gutenberg market in Karlsruhe for it. The next day, Jan and I took a trip to Colmar in France which is gorgeous!
April was Easter month, which meant a much-needed long weekend. Yay! Jan, K and I took a trip to Amnévile zoo. It was K’s first time there, but for Jan and I it was the second. The falconry display is amazing! On the way home from the zoo, K introduced us to Welcome to Night Vale, and we both instantly became big fans.
Also, Jan and I looked after some friends’ pet birds over Easter weekend and succeeded in not killing them. Achievement of the year! 😉 At the end of the month, I took a trip to Heidelberg to meet up with some fellow English speakers in Germany. It was a great day out! Hopefully we’ll be having a winter meet up in January.
May 2014 will forever be known as the month my grandpa died. When the phone rang before I’d even left for work in the morning, I knew immediately what it was going to be, and I was correct. Again, my boss allowed me to spontaneously take time off (only 2 days this time) so I was able to go home for the funeral.
Also in May, I published my 1,000th post on this here little bloggy! Unbelievable! At the end of the month, another public holiday meant a long weekend, so Jan and I took a trip to Konstanz for a couple of days.
In June, we went to see a charity concert in Karlsruhe featuring Fish of Marillion fame, among others. We also went to the Hoepfner Burgfest (a beer festival at Hoepfner – a local brewery) and almost melted! It was hot. In the middle of the month, I attended a seminar in Mainz for work and managed to snap some shots of the pretty old town area.
For our anniversary, I had bought Jan tickets to see Pearl Jam in Vienna, and in June it was finally time for our trip there. Since the concert was on a Wednesday, we decided to go for the entire week. Last time we were in Vienna was for New Year and it was freezing, so it was a treat to be there when the weather was nice! We also popped across to Bratislava for a day trip.
My little brother came to visit us in July and we went to lots of places… Strasbourg, Basel, the Black Forest and Frankfurt. Not bad for a week! I also made crumpets while he was visiting, based on a recipe that my dad’s cousin gave me.
My birthday month… in which I turned 31! I didn’t do much for it though – worked all day then headed to the Irish pub for curry and a few drinks that night. I was working the next day as well so we didn’t stay out too long.
At the end of the month, Jan had to go to a conference in Taiwan, so we decided that he would take holiday and stay out there for an extra week, and that I would join him for that week. I had never had Taiwan on my radar, but I’m so glad we went! It was amazing and beautiful and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Also, Jan keeps telling people it’s like “China for beginners”, so if you want to go to China but aren’t quite brave enough for something that’s so different to the West, try Taiwan first. I just wish we could have stayed for more than a week, but I was short on holiday after all the time spent in England.
5th September marked 8 years since I moved to Germany, which came as a bit of a shock to me once I realised it! I accidently marked the occasion by heading to a cocktail bar I’d never visted befoe with Jan and K.
Travel-wise, we didn’t do a great deal – I think we needed to recharge our batteries after the insanity of June, July and August! But we did manage to go the wine festival in Bad Dürkheim again and also fitted in a day trip to Weinheim so that I could complete my take 12 trips challenge.
I spent most of this month trying to figure out exactly why my stomach was hurting practically every time I ate (culminating in a gastroscopy in the middle of the month). On a day when I was feeling okay, I managed to go to a new café in Karlsruhe and sample some delicious scones. We then went there again later in the month for breakfast. So much deliciousness!
The fact that my 12 trips challenge was over didn’t stop me from travelling! Jan, K and I took a day trip to Bad Bergzabern one warm Sunday then we spent Halloween in Paris watching a live show of Welcome to Night Vale. So amazing!
November was also the month of my annual Christmas dinner for friends. Usually I don’t have it so early but all other dates were taken!
On the final Saturday of the month, Jan and I took part in a culinary tour of Karlsruhe, which could have included more information but did not disappoint in terms of the food!
That brings us to this month, which is currently still in progress. I’m sure I don’t really need to remind you of what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks seeing as they’ve only just happened 😉 But this is supposed to be a reminder for my future self, so I will quickly mention a few things. December is, of course, the month of Christmas markets here in Germany and we kicked things off in style by visiting one at a castle! The following weekend, it was off to Speyer for their Christmas market.
Other than that, December has as usual been a whirlwind of gift buying, gift wrapping and queueing for hours at the post office to send said gifts. This year, I’ve also had the added stress of trying to get Christmas cards cross stitched and sent on time. I’m not sure what I was thinking there, but I’m starting to make the things in about March next year!
We were planning on heading to Jan’s mum’s on Saturday for Christmas, but after he failed to organise things in time, it turned out his dad is away from 23-29 December and his mum informed us that she has a full house, we decided to spend Christmas at home. We’ll be heading up North on boxing day instead then after a few days with Jan’s family, we’ll take the train from there straight to Zurich for New Year (the original plan of Iceland was vetoed because it was too expensive, then Bruges fell through because we left it too late and there were no more reasonably priced hotel rooms available…)
This has been a bit of a rollercoaster year to be honest… or maybe more like a yo-yo? It’s definitely had its ups… but there have been a few downs as well. Obviously losing my grandpa was devastating and will forever cast a shadow over 2014, but visiting Taiwan was absolutely amazing! I also feel like Jan and I have grown closer again this year, which is obviously good. 🙂 On the other hand, I had no idea just how much extra work was going to result from my colleague being away for an entire year! I can’t wait for February when her baby turns one and she comes back to work! Next year is mostly definitely going to bring changes it with it, and I’m both nervous and incredibly excited to see where life is going to take me next. Here’s to a fabulous 2015, for me and also for you, dear readers.
Good morning! I am currently working from home for the second day in a row thanks to the German train drivers’ strike. Surely you must have heard about it? It even made BBC news! For those that haven’t, a brief summary: goods train drivers have been on strike since Wednesday, those on passenger services since 2 a.m. yesterday. The strike will continue until 4 a.m. Monday, which has meant those who commute had to find alternative ways to get to work… or been forced to use holiday days (not exactly a fun prospect this close to Christmas!). Luckily I have an employer who set up a remote server and allows us to work from home for a few days when such things happen. Other than that, this week has been fairly uneventful. We got back from Paris on Sunday to find bright sunshine and temperatures of 22°C… which then promptly changed to around 13°C and rain the next morning. I cannot keep up with these constant about faces! I’ve been working hard again and managed to add some more overtime to my tally – soon I’ll have enough to take a day off! And when I haven’t been working I’ve managed to complete another few Christmas-themed cross stitch pictures for cards and read the first two books for the winter reading challenge. I’d be halfway through the third by now if I hadn’t been denied my commute yesterday and this morning! Also, it was pub quiz on Tuesday and my team managed to come second with a mere 53 points! The questions were really difficult this month! And now, letters.
Dear GDL/Deutsche Bahn. I really hope you agree on something soon, because after a four-day strike I’m a little worried about what the next step might be. Striking for an entire week? No trains right when people want to head home for Christmas? The possibilities are endless (and scary!).
Dear Christmas markets. I can’t believe you will be starting in a mere two weeks! It’s only just started to feel like autumn… I can’t possibly get my head around the idea of winter! I am looking forward to the Glühwein though.
Dear Welcome to Night Vale. I’m glad your live show was just as amazing as I had been anticipating! Please come back to Europe soon.
Dear self. Stop spending money on things you don’t need!! Christmas is really not far away and many, many gifts need to be purchased!
Dear stomach. After weekes of seeming just fine, you hurt again yesterday after I ate some sheep’s cheese. Please don’t let your problem be with sheep’s/goat’s cheese. I love that stuff!
This recipe for Chorizo, Parmesan and Sun-dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Thighs with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Mediterranean Vegetables and mozzarella looks amazing! Just the thought of it is making me feel hungry.
This article about learning to speak German and having to send verbs to the end of a sentence amused me greatly. So many times I’ve joked that by the time you get to the verb you’ve already forgotten what it was you were trying to say!
I love my job, but sometimes the unexpected overtime and requests from customers to “just quickly translate this tiny file (which isn’t really tiny at all) by the end of today” can get tiring. This post on 5 things translators do better is the perfect antidote to a long and frustrating work day!
I thought I had more links for you but I can’t actually remember any more/find where I’ve saved them so that’s just going to have to do. Have a great weekend everyone!
The entire point of our trip to Paris was to see a live show of the podcast Welcome to Night Vale. The title of the show they’re currently performing in Europe is The Librarian. I went with Jan and my friend K, who is the one that first got us into it. Amazingly I was the one who told her about the European shows though! All the performances in Germany were either too far away (Hamburg!) or in the middle of the week, but Paris is only 3 hours from us and the show was on a Friday, meaning only one day off was needed. Perfect!
For those of you who don’t know the podcast, a brief summary. Night Vale is a desert community somewhere in America (presumably the south-west – that’s where all the seserts are, right?). The premise of the podcast is that it’s community radio, so each podcast contains things like the community calendar, traffic, local news and announcements about things that are happening in town, all read out by narrator Cecil (voiced by Cecil Baldwin). But all is not as it seems in Night Vale. For instance, there are angels… or at least beings claiming to be angels and a dog park that neither dogs nor humans are allowed to enter. Also, beware of helicoptors, librarians and hooded figures. Basically listen to it! It’s free to download, so at least go and get the pilot. If you don’t like it, you haven’t wasted any money.
As I’ve said, the show we went to see was entitled The Librarian. I won’t tell you too much about what happens because a recording will be released at some point in the future, and also the tour isn’t even over yet! I will, however, say this much: it all starts when the town council decides to renovate the public library and one of the librarians gets loose. Also, creator Joseph Fink shows up as new intern Joseph… and we all know what happens to interns! Seeing Night Vale live was an amazing experience. The shows are always good, but Cecil’s facial expressions and gesticulations added a whole extra dimension. In fact, everyone did a great job (other performers included former mayor Pamela Winchell, who called a press conference (what else?) right in the studio and Deb as one of Night Vale’s sponsors, played by Meg Bashwiner better known as the voice of the credits). Here are some photos of the show:
Mary Epworth as The Weather
And now… The Weather
Cecil with intern Joseph
Former-mayor Pamela Winchell
Michelle from Dark Owl Records
“Deb” the sponsor
The weather was performed by Mary Epworth, a British singer-songwriter who I liked a lot.
There were quite a few people with the Night Vale moon drawn on them or extra eyes, but there were also some really good costumes. One of my favourites was an excellent girl scout! Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of her, although Jan did get one of a different girl scout. K went as the glow cloud, and was quite rightly hailed/worshipped all night. I think every single audience member wanted a photo either of or with her! I went as Tamika Flynn (as I’ve already mentioned) and was very disappointed by how few people actually knew what I was supposed to be! Especially considering Tamika is one of the few characters who is actually described even vaguely. And you would have thought the librarian head would have given it away! Most people only understood after I showed them my sticker chart, which had “my” name on it. One group of hooded figures actually thought I was supposed to be a librarian, which was a bit weird! Here are a few photos anyway (some taken by me, some by Jan). I have included one of K which I hope gives a good enough impression of her costume without revealing her identity too much (yes, I know it seems hypocritical to care about that considering I’m using photos of a bunch of strangers, but being strangers it’s less likely that people will figure out who they are via me!)
The queue – you can see a few scientists
At the end of the show, we hung around for a bit waiting for the performers to come out. I bought a CD by Mary Epworth, which she signed for me, then eventually Cecil Baldwin and Joseph Fink showed up. I got them to sign my ticket (Cecil also signed my sticker chart) and got a photo with each of them. They were both lovely 🙂
Meeting Cecil Baldwin!
After the show, we decided to go for a drink with two other girls we had met there. One we met in the queue (she came over to meet the glow cloud) and she ended up sitting with us and the other we met after the show when she wanted a photo with K. Appropriately enough, she was wearing a glow cloud T-shirt. All in all, it was an excellent night and I’m glad we went. It being on Halloween was just an added touch of brilliance. If there is ever another tour of Europe, I would definitely think about going!
You can download all the episodes of Welcome to Night Vale here or also on iTunes.