Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Life is hectic, somewhat overwhelming (hence lack of posting) and very, very up and down at the moment. Here's one of the ups. We had our choir concert at the weekend and the lute player (it feels like there might be a word for lute player but if there is, I don't know it) filmed this alto solo (also an important part for the lute) and it came out pretty well. We filmed the whole concert, too but apparently the sound isn't great so we're going to see if he has any more footage to share. It was a fairly tough concert for me this time round but the actual performance was really good and everything just came together beautifully.

This soloist is still very young, really just starting out her career and I think she's fantastic. Such a gorgeous voice. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


I just cut my own hair for the first time.

Aaagh. Now to wash it and see how it came out. I'm too nervous to look properly yet!

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Summery yumminess in winter

Sitting on the couch feeling hungry but unwilling to get up and cook. Sorry that I didn't stop at the supermarket to buy crisps, chocolate and frozen pizza while at the same time really pleased with myself for not doing that since I'd have eaten it all by now and half regretting the blow to my diet and my purse.
My lovely brother rang me for just a quick chat before heading out to his jiu jitsu class which at least got me moving enough to get into the kitchen, even if I still didn't feel much like cooking, and then he mentioned eggs and I had a brainwave: eggs poached in tomatoes. So very glad now for putting in a bit of work during the summer so that I can have that lovely summeriness to eat at this time of year.

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Net worth in February

I'm still not quite doing this correctly as this is the first time I've even checked anything since last time so all of the caveats from then still apply. I've just checked online balances where I could (and it only took me a couple of minutes to find the documentation with user IDs, notes on passwords etc. - progress!) and taken previous values or simply what I have paid in for the others. All in all though, especially given the way things seemed to be going when I first started checking a few months ago (down, down, down and that was enough reason to stop checking), I'm pleased to see pretty good increases overall. I'm not willing to devote so much time to this spreadsheet that I separate out how much of each increase is due to what I'm paying in and how much is actually return on investment but am content for now to know that either way the numbers are going up. Although now that I've said that, I want to figure it out. Maybe I'll just do a quick and dirty calculation now and figure out how to incorporate it into the spreadsheet later.

Increase in net worth overall: 16.51%
Made up of:
Irish Pension: +10.91%
Irish Retirement Bond: no new statement yet so no change here
German Riesterrente: +33.49% (payments I actually made account for about 11% - these returns seem way too high to be accurate so I should figure out where my mistake is)
German BAV: +167% (haven't received a statement yet so the 167% increase here is only the payments I've made and doesn't include fees I'll have to pay or any gains made)
Vodafone shares: +21.24% (if I check the actual share price in September and now, this can't be correct so perhaps I had it wrong then? Without taking screenshots of everything all the time, I may never know)

Although percentages are a great way to track things, what counts for me in the final analysis is that I've gotten my net worth to just over €30,000. Small compared to the mustachian crowd but seems like a huge amount to me. I'll doubt I'll be able to retire early but at least every time I check on these figures it feels a bit more like I will be able to retire someday.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It's snowing

I'll dislike walking in it later but do love how our first real snow of the winter looks.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday morning walk

Last year, after cheering on some friends doing a 10k run in town, I was lamenting the fact that all the 10k events that are run here only allow running. In the Dublin Mini-Marathon (also a 10k, just in case anyone is put off by the word marathon) it's possible to register as a slow or a fast walker. And all of a sudden we were deciding to travel to Ireland in June to do the mini-marathon. I have even already booked time of work and flights (half paid for by a gift certificate I got for my birthday)
Given how much I had going on last week I had already said that any new plans would be waiting until after the 10th for me. I didn't make it last Sunday but today, although it's later now than planned (it's after 12 already) I'm on the tram and headed for Kaiserswerth, a small town/village/suburb of Dusseldorf. Coincidentally, googlemaps tells me it's about 10km from home. I'm not actually sure I'm going to be able to walk that far but sure I'll give it a go. I managed there and back on the bike last summer so we'll see.
When I did the mini-marathon years ago I walked it in almost to the second two hours. So I'd like to be at least back to that level by June. And in the meantime, a lovely walk along the river on a quiet Sunday morning is always a good thing. Even if it's technically afternoon already.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, January 05, 2015

January Cure - Day 4 (Assignment 2)

I wasn't too impressed when I got today's assignment email, I have to admit. Make a List of Projects. Sigh. I know what I have to do and I'm so bad at getting it done I wanted to try and do this cure in the hope that doing other stuff would spur me into getting the long overdue stuff tackled. Anyway, I didn't have time to click through to read the article in work and I was in work until ten so now it is after half-eleven and I've only just gotten a chance to read the full text. And it's not quite as bad I was thought, once again proving that your split-second reaction to something, especially if it's a negative one, might well be worth revisiting when you're a bit less under pressure.

Anyway, given that it is nearly midnight and I am tired, I'm not going to take the hour or so they suggest to go through the whole place but I am going to get down most stuff. Some things just as big, general items and some more specific, smaller tasks. So, in no particular order:

  • Clear workroom half of bedroom (so that it can actually become, you know, my workroom)
    • Paint
  • Clear sleeping half of bedroom
    • Clear pile beside blanket box
    • Clear pile in front of cupboard unit
    • Clear telephone table
    • Clear out locker
    • Glue locker drawers properly
    • Sand down locker and paint?
    • Clear shelves of cupboard unit
    • Paint
    • Patch duvet cover
    • Check blanket box for potential bedclothes for dying
  • Finish emptying box (which the Table of Doom contents got transferred into last week when I had guests coming)
  • Find good way to store magazines
  • Go through loose recipes, get rid of what I'm never going to use and file others properly
  • Hang Van Gogh postcards
  • Wash rug
  • Clean couch
  • Clear out crafting cupboard so that two bags on top of it can go in it
  • Sand and paint crafting cupboard
  • Sand and paint tallboy
  • Sand and paint bookshelves
  • Re-paper end wall
    • Move bookshelves
    • Strip old paper
    • Hang new paper
  • Clean all doorknobs and window handles
  • Set up wifi
  • Hang keep calm poster I got for my birthday
  • Paint hallway
  • Clear built-in cupboards in hallway
  • Put black backing paper in picture frames of Strasbourg pictures
  • Finish stripping paper in bathroom
  • Re-paper and paint bathroom
  • Hang pictures in bathroom
  • Get and hang new bathroom cabinet
  • Clear top of fridge
  • Put up shelves in kitchen
  • Strip paper in kitchen
  • Re-paper kitchen
  • Clear filter on washing machine
  • Deep clean cooker
  • Pot up aloe vera plants
I'm not going to do the final part of the assignment just yet because I really am too tired. I'll have a think about that and come back to the list to highlight the 3-5 things per room I want to focus on.