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. 

Friday, January 02, 2015

January Cure - Day 1 (and 2 and 3, since it's a weekend task)

Day 1 of Apartment Therapy's January Cure and the assignment couldn't be better for getting me off to a good start. Buy flowers and clean floors. Since I had people over for dinner on Monday I got the floors done then. And I'll be putting up my new bed this weekend so will have to do them again then anyway - I suspect that despite my hoovering under the bed every time I hoover there will still be lots of dust. Since the bed that's coming out of the bedroom is also the sofa that I am longing to have back in the sitting room, the sofa currently in the sitting room will also be moved and it's a few weeks since that happened so there'll be plenty of dust to clean there, too.

As for flowers, well, one of the friends who came to dinner on Monday, brought me a gorgeous flower. I think it's called an amarylis. So I'm all sorted. Although I'm also kind of tempted to buy a few more flowers tomorrow at the market. Am having people over next Saturday and I'm sure flowers would still look nice by then.

Must remember to find my camera so that I can document this challenge in pictures as well.

2014 Year in Books - the stats

A summary of what I read last year - see the same thing for 2013 here2012 here and 2011 here.
  • Books by male authors: 17
  • Books by female authors: 20 (5 of 7 non-fiction books I read this year were written by women, and all of the re-reads, too)
  • Fiction: 30
  • Non-fiction: 7 
  • English books: 35 
  • German books: 2
  • Books re-read: 11
  • Book club books: 8 

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014 - the year in books

In terms of books, 2014 wasn't too different from 2013. I struggled to find time to read, started but haven't yet finished multiple books and really, really miss reading but don't quite seem to be able to find my way back to it. A lot of that was down to having to study. Even though I didn't study half as much as I should have and didn't read half as many newspapers as I really should have, even the amount I did do meant less time for reading. And I started cycling to work, so don't even have the six or seven minutes on the tram to get a couple of pages read. Still, I did read some good books this year so here's the list. Although, true to the year it has been, I'm not even entirely sure I have a full list!

If you're interested in seeing lists for previous years, click 2012, 2011 or 2010. I'm joining in with Clickclackgorilla's booklovers' bloghop again this year. If you're posting a list of books that you've read this year, or about your favourite book or similar, click on over to bookpunks and link up.

(BC) = Book club books 
(RR) = something I've re-read - there are some books, such as by Georgette Heyer, that I invariably read every year when the escapism of new fiction isn't enough and I want to escape into familiar stories that always make me laugh or cry.


  1. Sweet Tooth - Ian McEwan
  2. The Devil's Children - Peter Dickinson
  3. Heartsease - Peter Dickinson
  4. Embers - Sandor Marai (BC)
  5. Barnheart - Jenna Woginrich
  6. Made from Scratch - Jenna Woginrich
  7. Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein (BC) (accidentally bought this children's version first - totally ridiculous adaptation of a, if not the, major plot point to make it suitable for kids made this silly book even more tedious)
  8. The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein (BC)
  9. Hit by a Farm - Catherine Friend
  10. One Hundred Great Books in Haiku - David Bader
  11. Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer
  12. A Tree grows in Brooklyn - Better Smith
  13. Perfect - Rachel Joyce (BC)
  14. Hard-Boiled Wonderland - Haruki Murakami (BC)
  15. The City and the City - China Mieville (BC)
  16. This Organic Life - Joan Dye Gussow
  17. The Postman - David Brin
  18. The Hedge Knight - George R. R. Martin
  19. The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
  20. Downturn Abbey - Ross O'Carroll Kelly as told to Paul Howard
  21. Mad About the Boy - Helen Fielding
  22. Dragonflight - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  23. Dragonquest - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  24. Dragonsong - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  25. The White Dragon - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  26. Dragonsinger - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  27. Dragondrums - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  28. All the Weyrs of Pern - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  29. The Renegads of Pern - Anne McCaffrey (RR)
  30. The Baker's Boy - J. V. Jones (RR)
  31. A Man Betrayed - J. V. Jones (RR)
  32. Master and Fool - J. V. Jones (RR)
  33. Balthasar's Odyssey - Amin Maalouf (BC)
  34. Keeping up with the Kalashnikovs - Ross O'Carroll Kelly as told to Paul Howard
  35. Picknick auf dem Eis - Andrej Kurkov
  36. Das Große Los - Meike Winnemuth (three chapters left, finishing today)
  37. Tackling Depression - Ian Birthistle (one and a half chapters left, finishing today)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Day of Reading

I declared today a Day of Reading, hoping that I might actually get to finish one or more of the seven or so books I have started but not finished. It's now twenty to eight and I have read exactly zero pages of any books. Sigh.

When I got back on Sunday evening I broke the key in the lock of my front door. Luckily it happened just after I had actually opened the door so I didn't have to sit in the cold hallway while waiting for a very expensive Sunday night emergency locksmith visit. Last night, I had some friends over for dinner and one of them, who's a bit of a handyman, took the lock apart to see if it was possible to get the broken bit of key out. No go and I needed to get a new cylinder. So this morning, instead of curling up with a few books, I had to get up and out. Made a few phone calls first, to arrange to catch up with some friends who are in town for the holidays and then headed out. The small place on my road did have cylinders on sell but the prices started at 42.00 so I thought it might be worth the 15 minute tram journey to the big chain DIY place, Toom. Not a very big difference in price but I was able to get a good one (the type that lets you still open the door from one side if you forget to take the key out of the other side) for 34.99. And while I was there I picked up the three LED bulbs I needed.

I was just back on my street when W. rang to ask me if I was home as he wanted to come over and install the new cylinder. So that got done and while he was doing it I got the bulbs fitted. Then we sat and chatted for a short while until it was time for him to head off to meet someone. I heated up leftovers from last night for lunch and while that was heating took care of a couple of emails. Ate lunch and finished tidying away the dishes and was just starting to think I might be able to pick up a book when another friend rang to say she'd be there in twenty minutes. I had asked if she would be able to drive me to Ikea sometime. So, despite running through as quickly as possibly we were still in there for over an hour and a half. It was really crowded. I normally quite like Ikea and get lots of inspiration for trying out different things but today I just couldn't wait to get out of there.

I needed to buy a mattress and the Lattenrost (the wooden slats that go under the mattress) for the new bed frame, which was one of my birthday presents. Unfortunately they don't do the same mattresses they did six years ago so I could just get a bigger version of the single one I have and like. Typically, the one that was really comfy cost €600. I had €160 worth of vouchers and wanted to spend as little above that as possible. There were two others that were alright and from a price point of view far more reasonable so I went for one of them and grabbed the cheap wooden slats as well. I added two simple stools and a picture frame and was able to spend my vouchers plus just short of €30 of my own cash, so not too bad at all. J. and her son helped me carry the stuff up to my apartment after driving me home so now, here it is, nearly eight, I have my sitting room floor taken up with the mattress which is supposed to be left for 72 hours before being used (it was vacuum packed in a roll) and am kind of thinking maybe now would be a good time to crack open a book. Oh well, best laid plans and all that. I least I did achieve some things today.