Almost Weekend Wednesday

So glad that the weekend is in sight, and doubly glad that it’s a long one!

Lots of people seem to be on vacation at work and the commute has much less traffic than usual. Tomorrow I will be entirely alone in my office, which is not bad once in a while. Things are fairly slow at work. I’m on track with the things I need to do this week – I’ve even done the corrections that came in yesterday and will be able to publish the corrected documents tomorrow.

Some annoying new quality issues came up today, but after analyzing them and asking my colleagues to have a look, I expect they are just glitches and will clear up on their own.

At lunch I went out and bought two large sacks of dog kibble. They ought to last until the beginning of July, at least. I still go to the pet store that I used when I was still living at my previous flat. I haven’t been able to find one near my new place. But it’s a lot nearer to my office than my home, so I go there sometimes during lunch breaks. I don’t seem to be organized enough at the moment to order the kibble online, and I’m also thinking that it’s probably better for the environment to pick it up myself (just a short drive from work) than to have it delivered per post. And it’s not a big pain if I only have to go every few months. Also, the store has a lot of interesting pet merchandise (not that I buy a lot, but I got CD’s favourite toy there).

It’s shaping up to be a really warm Easter weekend, with temperatures going up to 25°C. It was already quite warm at 5 p.m. today, when Curious Dog and I had our walk. Soon it’ll be too hot for him, and we’ll have to go walking after dinner instead of just before. CD has black fur and seems to get hot fast. In Summer, we usually pick shady paths and if there’s a long sunny stretch, he sometimes lies down in the next patch of shade. OK with me, I’m not fond of the heat myself.

At night, on TV, we watched a documentary by David Attenborough about bird eggs: The Wonder of Eggs. It was fascinating. It explained about how eggs are formed within a bird’s body and other details. I’d never really thought about eggs that way. I love learning new things.

Meditation went better than yesterday. I think I was trying to concentrate too intensely yesterday. Today, I tried to be and not do.

Work Planning

Had to crawl out of bed at the usual time again, at 6:00 a.m. The bright side: only three working days for me this week, since I had Monday off. And there’s the long Easter Weekend, with Friday and Monday as public holidays to look forward to. And, to top it off, the following Tuesday and Wednesday I will be on an in-house training, so the next week will only have one real working day. Sweet!

But that means, of course, that I have to get a lot of stuff done this week. Fortunately, I got off to a good start. I’ve got three documents that I need to update this week and I’m planning to do one on each day. Today’s got done; one down, two to go. There were also some more or less productive meetings (resulting in some more corrections in some additional documents to do tomorrow) and some quality-related tasks that didn’t take much time. So, I’m on track.

Also had a pleasant breakfast meeting with a friend. She was just back from a trip to Canada, where she had a lovely time. She’s my Classics reading partner. We decided to ditch our year’s read of the Canterbury Tales and only read one of the tales (my friend will select it) and then switch to Tolstoy’s War and Peace. We wanted to read the Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English, but it’s too difficult to get into in our meagre spare time (i.e. one can’t just read a chapter before bed). I’m postponing this project to sometime in the future. I’ve had my Riverside edition of the Tales since college, it will keep.

Nothing much happened otherwise. I took Curious Dog for his usual evening walk and did my meditation practice, where I had a harder than usual time keeping my mind on my breath. It was a bit odd – I had my meditation timer set to chime at the beginning, twice in the middle, and at the end of my practice. Somehow, I didn’t hear the second middle chime and the end chime came as I was expecting the second middle one. Don’t know if I had totally drifted off or if I was totally concentrated. Probably the former…

Building the Fence

I had the day off today. I wasn’t sure that I was really going to return here late last night, and to give me the option of driving down today, I took the day off.

I used it to:

  • Sleep in (nice after the late-for-me night)
  • Go grocery shopping (this ought to last us past Good Friday, when the shops will be closed)
  • Bake some muffins (yum, with apple pieces and buckwheat flour)
  • Cook a cauliflower, potato, and carrot curry casserole (also yum)
  • Do a long meditation session
  • Walk Curious Dog (once, my partner did the other walks)
  • Start the fence-building project

My partner and I nailed the fence wire I bought last week in two layers to the posts of the carport. This was easy (very important for two such DIY-impaired persons as the both of us) and worked great. The rest of the project will take some time as I have yet to order the rest of the required hardware. But it’s an encouraging start! Maybe we can go on with the next step on Saturday.

I totally forgot to make an appointment with the oral surgery. Blast!

Saw the burning Notre Dame de Paris on the news. What a shock – I’m feeling the pain with our neighbours in France.

Dog Tales

Cold but sunny again today. I took Curious Day for his last walk in the woods on the hill behind our house (well, the last walk before our return in three weeks for the next home office week). Managed to do Mutti’s and my own online banking stuff, that is, paying bills. Then I packed my clothes and office stuff, had lunch, took CD for another short walk, and then left for my four-hour course in first aid for dogs.

The trainer was a vet. I’ve already taken part in the first part of this course, so I knew her and most of the participants. We all go to the same dog school and the vet was the one who tested CD and me when we did our Hundführerschein, a kind of competency test for dog owners (literally: dog license, like driver’s license). There was a written test for me and a practical test for both of us: walking through town with CD on the leash without him being a nuisance or a danger to other people or animals. We passed! But that was about two years ago.

It was great seeing the vet again. She has a lovely black lab who acts as her demonstration object (he’s very relaxed about it). I learnt a lot. We practiced bandaging paws, and ears, and such on stuffed toys, very funny. The vet recommends trying it out at home with one’s dog to get them used to it in case it’s ever needed. I haven’t done that yet, except things like checking CD’s ears, paws, and teeth. He’s ok with that and he’s quite good at letting me remove ticks (he gets a treat for every removed tick; horrid parasites).

The course went until 6 p.m. and then I drove back home, loaded up the car with all our luggage, and CD (excited, as usual), and we started on our trip back at 7 p.m. The country roads were empty, and we did good time, but had a diversion because of construction work on our usual route (same as when we came). It was dark by the time we reached the Autobahn, but it was also fairly empty. No traffic jams, not even at the construction sites (two of them, with long stretches of speed reduction). No trucks, of course, as trucks are not allowed on the German Autobahnen on Sundays. We arrived home at 10 p.m. and I got to bed by 11 p.m. Did a bit of meditation lying in bed, as I was still rather keyed-up.

A full day.

Going Places (Not Quite Yet)

Last full day of the home office week at my Mum’s home, in Bavaria. Tomorrow evening we’re driving back to my home in Baden-Württemberg. I love staying at the family home in Bavaria, but I miss my partner and I also love staying at my home. And going in to the office is also nice after a week working remotely. One of these days, we’re going to have to sell my Mum’s place. It’ll be a wrench.

It was a lovely spring day again, cold but bright. Took Curious Dog for his usual walks and had some conversations with the neighbours. It’s nice knowing all the neigbours and having a cordial relationship with them. Hopefully, this will happen in time at my place. We only moved there last year and so we don’t know the neighbours well. We greet each other and exchange a few words, but that’s about it. The roots are not so deep and probably won’t grow that deep, since we will move again when I retire. Not sure where to, but there’s time yet.

I didn’t really do much. After CD’s morning walk, I finished up some urgent business at work. Afterwards, I futzed around on the internet but didn’t do my online banking and other stuff (postponed to Sunday morning). I did some house-cleaning, vacuumed my office and the hall to get rid of dog hair, and cleaned the bathroom (sketchily, but it wasn’t very dirty). Did some dusting. Time always flies when we are here, and cleaning is always a pain. Next time, I’ll do a more thorough job (but I probably said that last time, too). Oh, the laziness!

Friday Chores

What I meant to do today:

  • Take Curious Dog for his three walks
  • Take CD to the vet’s for his yearly inoculation
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Get fence wire at the DIY-shop
  • Get my hair cut
  • Do online banking and other online stuff
  • Take gardening waste to the community collection station
  • Do some house cleaning

What I did do today:

  • Took CD for his three walks
  • Postponed his trip to the vet until May, as a look at his vaccination certificate showed that last year we’d also gone in May
  • Went grocery shopping
  • Got the fence wire and some u-form nails
  • Talked to the builder about paving the drive in front of our garage and re-plastering the old garage
    He will give us an estimate.
  • Got my hair cut
  • Postponed the online banking and other stuff to Saturday
  • Postponed the gardening waste disposal until the next home office week (it’s only some dry stalks, they’ll keep)
  • Postponed house cleaning to Saturday
  • Finished up some work stuff
  • Meditated


Full Day

I woke up at least an hour earlier than my alarm, couldn’t get back to sleep, and suddenly remembered that I’d forgotten to send an email reminding colleagues of approaching deadlines. I hate ruminating on work while I’m in bed, but sometimes it’s at least somewhat useful. So much to do this week! I sent the mail out before even taking Curious Dog for his morning walk.

Then I did a lot of quality checks that I was late on (having focused on the new document for the customer feedback session). But I also had to take my Mutti to the dentist; she had an appointment for a root canal procedure (horrors!). While Mum was at the dentist, I did a twenty-minute trip to do some grocery shopping and then returned to the dentist to find that Mutti was still in the waiting room. It seemed that the whole thing would take longer than I thought, so I returned home and continued my work. In the end, the dentist office called just before lunch for me to pick up Mutti. She hadn’t had anything done, as there were too many acute pain patients that day. Her appointment was moved back to the next home office week at the beginning of May. A bit of a waste of time, that. Poor Mutti will have the anticipation for this horrid procedure for another four weeks.

Which reminds me: I still haven’t contacted an oral surgeon for the removal of my wisdom teeth. Talk about procrastination!

In the afternoon, I had a meeting that resulted in some work and I continued with the quality checks and almost got finished. I needed to start some correction processes and will probably check in on them on Friday, although I’m not actually working. Still, it’ll be too late if I wait until next week, especially since I’ve a day’s vacation on Monday. Oh well, checking that stuff online from home isn’t that onerous.

Then we had the customer call. It went quite well. They talked lots and gave some good pointers for improvements and addition to the document. We’ll probably have the next presentation sometime at the end of June (there’s Easter and Pentecost in between, so not that much time until then. People will be on vacation (although not me – but that won’t help if the experts are off). Curious Dog was very good – he slept under my desk during the call and didn’t bark once. Although that wouldn’t have been a problem, as I was on mute and listening instead of speaking most of the time.

Anyway, a very productive last work day (if a bit hectic).

I even did my meditation practice at the normal time right after dinner and didn’t waste any time on YouTube. I’m not much of a YouTube watcher and I want to keep it that way. There’s so much interesting stuff on there (also awful dross, of course), but it’s not as interesting as mindfully living my own life offline.

Almost Weekend Wednesday

Almost everybody at work was at a day-long information session, which I couldn’t attend as I’m doing home office this week. It wasn’t possible to dial in, so I didn’t need to do that either. So, lots of time to get things done without being interrupted by mails and meetings. It was great. I managed to do a lot of updates to the content for which we have a feedback meeting with customers tomorrow. We’ll have something substantial to share.

Otherwise, nothing much happened. I was quite exhausted after my work day and all the dog walks, and I kind of got sucked into watching YouTube videos again. I must stop that. It’s a waste of time. I didn’t get around to doing my meditation practice at the normal time after dinner because of hanging out on YouTube and had to do it before bed again. Too sleepy. Not good.

The best thing about Wednesdays – only one more working day, as I don’t work on Fridays. It’s so great having a long weekend every weekend! Of course, I earn less, but I’m so grateful that I can afford it. The free time definitively tops the lost income. I do think that I don’t do much less work (if at all) than I did when I still worked five days a week. Knowing that I’ve got less time makes me more conscious of it and so more effective. Also, the long weekend gives me more time for my other interests, I’m more rested, and more enthusiastic about work during the week. It’s like a mini holiday every week. It would be great if everybody could work less. Life might then have a chance to be more mindful and less stressful for many people.

Ten Things

Ten things I did today:

  1. Walked the dog (three times).
  2. Had three boring meetings at work.
  3. Didn’t manage to talk the builder who’s working on the neighbour’s parking space. He said he’d have time at 5:15 pm, but then he never showed up. Typical!
    The neigbours are getting a supporting wall on the hill side of their car park, and new pavement, and we’re thinking of also getting our driveway paved. It’s only the bit in front of the double garage that’s been just crushed rock for ages (with grass and weeds poking through). And we’re considering getting the old garage re-plastered, since the existing plaster is coming off. But we only want to get those things done if they are not too expensive, or maybe only one of those things. We’re still broke from the huge new supporting wall we had to build along the front part of our yard when the old one collapsed about three years ago.
  4. Played ball in the yard with Curious Dog.
    The afternoon walk was too short because there was a thunderstorm (short, hardly any rain, but I avoid going outside during thunderstorms. CD doesn’t like them much either).
  5. Conversed with my partner on the phone.
  6. Had potatoes with spicy soy yoghurt for dinner. Very nice — simple meals can be the best.
  7. Wasted time on YouTube.
  8. Watched a documentary about the Wupper on TV.
    The Wupper is a river in Germany that’s a great example for successful reclamation after being badly polluted. I like watching nature documentaries, especially when they offer hope for the future.
  9. Did a bit of reading in bed.
  10. Meditated in bed (not that great, as it tends to put me to sleep and that’s not the point of meditating).

Monday Misc

A very busy Monday. Some troubleshooting, and analyzing of technical problems, and contacting the responsible colleagues to fix them only to find that all the problems were occurring in obsolete content that could be deleted. What a waste of time! Why can’t people keep their stuff up-to-date, bright and shiny? I had other things to do, that didn’t get done because I had to waste time on stupid problems.

Then there was a good call about another content project, where I’m collaborating with a person on my team and with some other colleagues. That project is going well. It’s got momentum, we’re getting ahead, and we’ll be presenting the result (as a work in progress) to some external stakeholders on Thursday in the hope of getting some useful feedback. That should be fun, but I’ve got to do a number of updates until then and not much time.

Had some other regular meeting which just went as usual, that is, boring.

At night, after work, I took Curious Dog to a late session of our dog school. I didn’t initially feel like it, because my cold got worse during the day, but w did have a lovely time. We did dog crossing. It’s basically dog/human games that are supposed to engage both mind and body, and is also supposed to enhance the human/dog relationship. There were various game stations where CD and I both had to do something. We were two dog/Human teams — one team had to wait and watch the other (also supposed to teach patience and self-control — some dogs were super calm, but CD was totally excited). The other dog was a cute mini dog, not sure what kind, and the human was an older woman. We got along well (both of us not overly ambitious).

One station was a large circle with about 9 empty bowls around the circumference and a mat in the middle. This is what we had to do:

  • Both go into the middle, where CD had to sit on the mat.
  • I had to take CD outside the circle (on or off leash, but if I’d let him off leash, he’d have run to the other game stations and bothered the other teams).
  • We had to jog around the outside of the circle, with me dropping dog treats into the bowls, which CD wasn’t allowed to gobble up.
  • We then had to go back into the circle and CD had to sit on the mat again.
  • I had to go outside the circle and call CD to me (without him scarfing up the treats in the bowls).
  • Repeat (we had two minutes to get as many repetitions as we could, I think we managed two, or two and a half).

This one was one of CD’s and my better stations. CD was good when he concentrated, but he kept wanting to play with the other dogs and was mostly totally distracted. Part of the point of the exercise is, of course, for us to learn to ignore the distractions. It was great fun, but CD and I sure have room for improvement. It’s a pity that we can only do this once a month during my home office week. I think I’ll try to practice some of these games at home in our garden when we’ve got the fence up. But the distraction of the other dog/human teams will be missing. Better than nothing though, and we’ll enjoy it. Luckily, special equipment is not needed.

We got home quite late and so I only managed to meditate just before my bedtime, but it nonetheless went well. I also remembered to be mindful at different times during the day (though not, as I recall, when I was analyzing those stupid errors at work). Room for improvement, too, but it’s the journey that counts.

A good day.