Reading Quotes 3

“… you must know that my liberty must never be restricted, or disturbed or burdened by jealousy; and please understand that I shall never take such liberties that anyone can fail to see from miles of that my good character will not suffer because of my free and easy ways. And the first burden I wish to impose on you is that of asking you to trust me, and bear in mind that lovers who start by showing jealousy are either foolish or foolhardy.”

“… These gentlemen may indeed hand over my body to you, but not my soul, which is free, and was born free, and will be free as long as I wish …”

“Jealousy, it seems to me,” said Preciosa, “never leaves the understanding free to judge things as they are. Jealous people always look at things with magnifying glasses which make small things look large, make dwarfs look like giants and suspicions like certainties.”

From “The Little Gypsy Girl” in Exemplary Stories (1613) by Miguel Cervantes (translator: C.A. Jones)

I like that the protagonist of the story, Preciosa, is so feisty. It’s really amazing to me how self-confident Preciosa is portrayed although the story was written in the 17th century.  Cervantes also has some strong women characters in Don Quixote.

Back to Work

Yesterday, on the last day of my mini vacation it was a little overcast but didn’t rain. After my usual morning walk with Curious Dog, I spent most of the rest of the morning grocery shopping. Somewhat uncomfortable with a mask. I didn’t know that these things (at least my the home-made one) would be so hot and keep steaming up my glasses.

I bought some essentials like potatoes and bread from the local small grocery where I also ordered some buns and bread to pick up on Saturday. Afterwards I drove to the next larger town to get dogfood, some stuff from a drug store, and the rest of the groceries from REWE, the grocery chain I usually shop at. As it was a Tuesday morning, it was fairly empty, and I got back home at around 11 a.m. (efficiently early for a round trip that takes about 40 minutes, without the time spent in the shops).

Then I postponed a work call that would have taken place in the afternoon and spent (wasted) some time surfing the internet and watching You.Tube book videos. After lunch, I walked with Curious Dog, read a bit, doodled around on the internet some more until it was time for the trip to the vet’s to get CD’s yearly vaccinations. Usually it’s a bit of a drama, with Curious Dog barking at everyone in the waiting room (I usually wait outside, but then he barks at everyone who comes and goes). Then when it’s our turn, he has to be dragged into the treatment room and afterwards, he drags me out again (very hilarious for the other people in the waiting room).

This time it was really relaxed, because it was by appointment and nobody at all was in the waiting room. Only one dog who had the timeslot before ours was just leaving with their person when we arrived. I still had to drag CD the last metre into the surgery and lift him up onto the operating table. Then it was just a matter of holding on and letting the vet jab him. He only growled very, very slightly and even accepted a treat from the vet. There’s been at least one other visit where Curious Dog spat out the vet’s treat (which he never does otherwise, being absolutely treat-oriented). He still dragged me out of the room at top speed, but nobody was there to laugh. Though it is funny, when Curious Dog acts like a hooligan in the waiting room and then flees like he’s being pursued by who-knows-what.

Had a long phone call with my godchild, my cousin. She wanted to know how it went at the vet’s with Curious Dog – she’s very fond of him and he adores her (I almost get jealous sometimes). She’s bored stiff stuck at home due to Corona. Also, there’s no work for her at the lawyer’s office where she usually helps out, so she’s missing her income — she’s a student. She may be eligible for some government support. Also, it’s unclear how some organizations problems at her university will be solved, which is annoying. The town festivals in her hometown (my birth town) which usually take place in summer are also all cancelled. It is indeed a very odd time.

Today Curious Dog is a little sleepy and keeps coming for a petting session, which might be because of the rainy weather (I always feel he’s quieter on rainy days) or maybe it’s the vaccination. But he’s still keen on both his food and his walks, so all’s well.

After yesterday’s trip to the vet’s, I took some more garden rubbish to the municipal collection point and this time it took ages, because there was queue. But at least Mum and I (mostly Mum) managed to get most of the old and dry plant detritus from last year out of the way before, at last, it started raining. Today it’s cool with quite a few showers and I hope the rain continues for a while. It’s a soft country rain that’s not going to do much to compensate for dry April if it doesn’t continue. Hoping for the best. The woods seem to have turned greener and more alive since yesterday.

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Work was ok. I’d kept up with the emails, more or less, so I didn’t have to plow through my inbox, and I got all the things done that I had on my radar for today. Just tomorrow and then it’s the weekend, yay. Friday is a public holiday, Labour Day, in Germany, so it’ll be nice and quiet. Saturday we’ll be tidying up the place and Sunday it’s back to Baden-Württemberg.

I’ve got two more days to finish up my reading goals for April. I might cheat and use the public holiday to read the last bits. One day over doesn’t count, especially as I caught up almost everything that I didn’t manage in March. But more on that in a later post.

Keep safe, world.

Reading Quotes 2

A tender young cork, however, would have had no more chance against a pair of corkscrews, or a tender young tooth against a pair of dentists, or a little shuttlecock against to battledores, than I had against Uriah and Mrs Heep. They did just what they liked with me; and wormed things out of me that I had no desire to tell, with a certainty I blush to think off: the more especially as, in my juvenile frankness, I took some credit to myself for being so confidential, and felt that I was quite the patron of my two respectful entertainers.

From Chapter XVII “Somebody turns up” in David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

“Yes, it’s always so!” she said. “They are all surprised, these inconsiderate young people, fairly and full grown, to see any natural feeling in a little thing like me! They make a plaything of me, use me for their amusement, throw me away when they are tired, and wonder that I feel more than a toy horse or a wooden soldier! …”

From Chapter XXXII “The Beginning of a long Journey”

Thus it was that I took upon myself the toils and cares of our life, and had no partner in them. We lived much as before, in reference to our scrambling household arrangements; but I had got used to those, and Dora I was pleased to see was seldom vexed now. She was bright and cheerful in the old childish way, loved me dearly, and was happy with her old trifles.

From Chapter XLIV “Our Housekeeping”

Monday Miscellanea

On Sunday I finished David Copperfield and Erebus. Otherwise, it was a quiet day, just reading, cooking, walking with Curious Dog and watching TV at night: another Tatort, which was not bad. A crime film showing the machination of a right-wing group in trying to undermine society while pretending to be persecuted. Interesting comment on women followers (or leaders). Why women want to be right wingers beats me. All that gets you is being a second-class human being in traditional patriarchy. Küche, Kinder, Kirche (that is, the woman’s sphere: kitchen, children, church). Not very enticing, I should think, but what do I know?

For a vacation day, I got quite a bit done. First, I walked with Curious Dog in the woods, as usual. It rained a few drops at breakfast, just enough to dampen the road. Hope it’ll rain a lot more (or at least some more) during the rest of the week. On our return, Mum was already busy in the garden, pulling up or cutting off all the dried stuff from last year. I packed three big baskets of garden waste into the car and drove them to the municipal collection point, which conveniently opened up again today. You had to wear a mask and keep your distance from other people, but that was easy. There wasn’t that much traffic. I’ll probably need to go at least one more time this week. There’s quite a lot of dried plants and other refuse to get rid of.

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After lunch and after the midday walk with Curious Dog I dialed in to work for an important meeting about the current and future product strategy. I didn’t want to miss it despite being on vacation and as it’s anyway not a real vacation (in my considered opinion, gardening is work), I didn’t mind it. T’was indeed interesting and relevant for me. Then I had time for my David Copperfied mindmap (which I will add as usual to the review when it’s done) and after afternoon tea (where we still hard some of the nut cake I baked a few days ago) I took CD for his last walk of the day.

Quite a few people in the woods, where I usually don’t meet anyone much. One bloke jogging, a family doing a picnic or something in a clearing (with a camper van) – hope they aren’t planning to light a fire as it’s so dry. Some kids at a scummy pond. A couple holding hands on a path. Some other people seen from a distance. Hordes not seen in years! Well, not really hordes, but definitively more than just the other few dog walkers I meet in normal times.

I also made a vet’s appointment for Curious Dog tomorrow afternoon. He needs his annual shots. He won’t like it… But that’s a tale for tomorrow.

Keep safe, world.

Baking and Weeding

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After my morning walk with Curious Dog on our usual route through the woods, I killed some time surfing the net. But at around 11 a.m. I pulled myself together and baked a cake for afternoon tea. A nice and easy one:

  • 250g ground almonds/hazelnuts (it was a mix, because we had open packages of each that needed to be used up)
  • 250g flour
  • 250g sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 250 ml mix of rum and soymilk

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowls and combine. Then add the liquids and stir it quickly. Spoon the mixture into a floured baking pan (I use breadcrumbs instead of flour) and bake at 180°C on the middle rack for at least an hour, slightly longer if necessary.

I got the recipe from Partner who found it online. It’s quick and easy and turned out very well, even though I left it a bit too long in the oven.

While the cake was baking, I mowed the lawn. Not a very successful endeavour. The long stalks of the gone-to-seed dandelion basically got flattened, not cut off (at least not all). And there’s almost more bare earth than grass. Still it looks marginally better than before. I still have to cut around the edges of the lawn, where the mower can’t go. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.

Then, after lunch I kept up the good work and weeded the driveway in front of the garage. Took about an hour and I’m almost done. I didn’t quite finish, because I wasn’t sure if some of the weeds could have potential. Since they were on the side of the driveway I don’t use, I let them stay for now. After an hour I didn’t feel like continuing.

So, I spent the rest of the afternoon reading David Copperfield. I’m almost done. Maybe I’ll get done tonight. Then we had tea – or rather Mum had green tea and I had Caro-Kaffee, a hot drink that I’ve recently rediscovered. It’s a coffee-substitute without caffeine made from roasted barley, malted barley, chicory and rye; a powder. You add two slightly heaped teaspoons (or more) into a cup, pour boiling water over it and stir. It looks dark like coffee and I drink it with a shot of plant milk. I like it, but it doesn’t taste like coffee. I like drinking it at night, too. It doesn’t keep one from sleeping, as coffee might. Anyway, we had our drinks and the cake, which was lovely and will last the next couple of days.

Then I did my afternoon walk with Curious Dog in the woods again.

A nice quiet day.

I’ll do some meditation tonight and watch TV or read (if nothing’s on).

Keep safe, world.

Reading Quotes 1

There are poems in gutters and drains, under the rails laid for trains, pages of novels on the pavements, in the supermarkets, stuck to people’s feet or the wheels of their bikes or cars; there are poems in the desert. Somewhere where there are no houses, no people, only sky, wind, a wide-open world, a poem about a dormant grass-covered volcano lies held down half-buried in sand, bleaching in the light and heat like the small skull of a bird.

From “Text for the day” in the short story collection Free Love and Other Stories (1995) by Ali Smith

Long Day

Yesterday was a busy day:

  1. Curious Dog and I did our morning walk nice and early.
  2. I worked in the morning, every now and then getting up to pack something I’d not got around to the night before.
  3. Had a call with my boss, but there wasn’t much to discuss. Afterwards, the company servers packed up and wouldn’t let me work properly. So, I called it a day a bit early.
  4. I collected all our bags, odds and ends, and loaded them into the car; Curious Dog, too.
  5. Shut up the house and off we went to Bavaria. The Autobahn was fairly empty, but there was a longish detour because of some roadwork on the state road. Very scenic, but also very countrified. Was recompensed for the delay by the sight of a nesting stork on a steep church roof in one of the little towns we passed through.
  6. Arrived shortly after 3 p.m. and unloaded everything.
  7. Then, went shopping. The small shop in our village is up and running. That’s a relief. Also went to the supermarket in the next small town to pick up the stuff not available in the small shop. Quite a lot of people already wearing masks, although officially it’s only starting next Monday. Tried mine and found that it’s unpleasantly hot. The material is too warm (being home-made). That will help keep shopping trips short.
  8. Unloaded the groceries at home and took Curious Dog for his afternoon walk. Was already 5 p.m. CD very excited, pulled on the leash like an ox. The woods are awfully dry; it hasn’t rained for weeks. The garden looks a mess. Our little lawn is overgrown with gone-to-seed dandelions and otherwise looks as dry and brown as in Summer. The lilacs here are still small buds, not already blooming as in Baden-Württemberg (because it’s generally colder hereabouts and spring is always a few weeks later). I hope it rains soon.
  9. Phoned Partner and complained about the dryness. It’s dry at his place in North Rhine-Westphalia, too. We commiserated.
  10. Had dinner and afterwards set up my home office.
  11. Meditated half an hour.
  12. Hung out with Mum watching a nature documentary about Canada, New Brunswick. Very beautiful.
  13. Went to bed and read two short stories by Ali Smith.
  14. Considered reading some of Tarbaby but conked out instead.

Today started again (as every day) with a walk with CD, in the woods again. Then I joined a social call with my colleagues at work, video on. CD jumped up and gave me a kiss during the call, to general hilarity. He needed a bit of a petting session. Sometimes he’s more affectionate than other times.

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We talked with one of our neighbours, who are all well, thankfully. Except that their old dog has to be put to sleep today, as he is doing very poorly and the vet can’t do anything anymore for him. Poor guy! He was a good dog. Made me thankful that CD is still young and healthy.

Later, I called the chimney sweep that’s been waiting to check out our furnace and chimney, which has to be done every year by law. As he was in the area, he came over right away and did the checks. Took about 15 minutes with two people. Bet it’ll be at least €130.

I’m going to laze around today, but tomorrow, Saturday, I shall pull myself together and do some gardening. Maybe this afternoon already, if I get restless.

Keep safe, world.

Sunny and Windy

So, today we were supposed to get our delivery of oil for the furnace for the coming year, but it didn’t happen because the driver of the oil tanker fell ill. I wish him all the best, hope he hasn’t got Corona, but it was a bit of a disappointment as we’d expressly stayed here this week instead of driving to Bavaria already on Sunday. Now the oil may be delivered next week, but next week we’ll definitively be in Bavaria, as we are leaving tomorrow afternoon. The kind neighbour who is organizing the delivery suggested that I should leave a key with someone, but I don’t know my neighbours well enough to ask them to check out my oil delivery. And, who knows, maybe the delivery next week won’t happen. I told him to go ahead and get the oil without mine. I’ll organize my own delivery if needed.

Otherwise, nothing much happened. Yesterday the company announced that our office won’t be reopened until end of May at the earliest and probably not for everyone, so I’m looking forward to some more home office (for real, I like it).

Poor Curious Dog got a short deal on his morning walk. As I was expecting the oil delivery early in the morning, I didn’t have time to take him for a normal length walk.

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It’s still sunny and still very windy with a cold east wind. Work went as usual, except for some colleagues starting a ridiculous email thread on some issue that was pretty much a non-issue. When I cleared it up, the originator then promptly asked me to contact another person, to clear it up for them as well. Very odd – they could have just forwarded my mail. Which I then did. But sometimes, you have to scratch your head at the weirdness of people. I almost sent a snarky answer but then I remembered to be kind and mindful and didn’t. So now I’m snarking on the blog, instead.

I cooked a quick meal of a mushroom and red bell pepper sauce on quinoa. Quite nice and fast. I’d meant to add a tin of kidney beans to the sauce, but that would have been too much for Mum and me. Since we’re leaving tomorrow, I don’t need leftovers. I still have to pack. Haven’t decided which books to take. I need one bag for my books and clothes, my office backpack for the office stuff, a bag for Curious Dog’s toys, a box for his kibble and some groceries for us (basically anything that would go bad if we left it here) and my handbag. Also, Mum’s suitcase and bits and pieces. It’s always a hassle. But it will be nice to be back in Bavaria after so many weeks. We’re hoping to do some gardening. I’ve taken a couple of days off for that next week – but I’ll work if it rains, which it might do, according to the forecast.

I’ll be interested to see if the Autobahn (motorway) is emptier than usual, or, at that, the country roads once we’ve left the Autobahn.

Keep safe, world.

Boring Workday

I’m sitting at my desk, or rather Partner’s desk, with Curious Dog lying under the table near my feet (when he’s not running downstairs to bark at the blackbirds on the patio). He just had his 2 p.m. food and is already thinking about his walk which is usually at about 4 p.m. though it will be moved back as the year progresses and it gets hotter. The year in dog walk times: from half past 3 in Winter’s early dusk to half past 7 in Summer’s long evening. He’ll need to be patient this afternoon as I have a call from 4 to 5 p.m. that I don’t want to miss. An explanation of the quarterly results and the forecast for the rest of the year. Will be interesting, I’m sure.

Update: The call would have been interesting, but the company servers crashed (or something) and I was unable to log into it. This is the second time this has happened on an all-hands call. I guess the servers can’t handle the traffic. I’ll have to check out the recording.

It’s sunny weather again, quite breezy with a coldish east wind. Took Curious Dog for a long walk in the morning, up the hill and down through the woods on the other side of the road. Some of the blooming fruit trees had already lost their blooms while others are still in full flower. Cherry trees already seem to be forming fruits, I can see some (or maybe imagine them), on the neighbours’ tree from Partner’s office window.

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Did a grocery run today at lunch which went well, as not many people where shopping at that time (although more than I had expected). I didn’t need to stock up on much as we will be driving to Bavaria on Thursday. Will need to go shopping there – starting next week, we will need to wear face masks when out in public. Very grateful for my cousin’s home-made mask (I call her my cousin, although she’s really a first cousin once removed i.e., she’s the daughter of my cousin). Mum is making some, too, but is rather hampered because I don’t have any elastic. Maybe there’s some in Mum’s sewing kit at home in Bavaria. I tried to order some from Amazon, but the delivery date is too far in the future to be currently helpful. I guess we can make do with ties, if the elastic stays elusive. It’s sold out at the supermarket.

Work was rather boring today. I’m on top of all my tasks. Nobody is making any egregious mistakes that I need to correct today, so things are burbling along like a happy little brook. Not very exciting, but leaves time for doing things on the side, like paying some bills online (which I did yesterday).

Keep safe, world.

Weekend Miscellanea

The weekend was again quiet and sunny. Although the sunny part is getting a little old. The fields around here are getting quite dry and it’s even worse in the eastern parts of Germany. Apparently, it rained only 3% of the normally expected rainfall for April. It almost looks as though it’s gearing up for the third year in a row with too little rain. The woods are already suffering and so are the farmers in some parts. I do hope it rains soon. A few years ago, we had floods, now we’ve been having a dry spell. The weather is worrying.

2020_04_20

I did the usual things on the weekend. Walked with Curious Dog in the afternoon. He’s already feeling the heat, usually lies down to rest in the shade at least once on our walk. Soon I’ll have to postpone our afternoon walks into the early evening.

Also did some meditation, some housecleaning, some cooking. We tried out a new dish with dried tomatoes (somewhat over the best-before date), some walnuts, and mushrooms with polenta. It was supposed to be an appetizer, but we had it as the main meal, with a salad made of a thinly sliced fennel bulb with some left-over chiccory. It was a success. That was on Friday. On Saturday we had a veggie soup and on Sunday we had whole-wheat pasta with pesto, tofu, and another salad. Altogether not much work but tasty.

I also meditated and read. Since I was mostly caught up with my reading goals, I did a quick read of Mr. Godley Phantom, by Mal Peet. It’s a short novel that combines aspects of a ghost story and a police procedural. It was very original and enjoyable. Makes me want to look up some of Mal Peet’s other novels.

We also watched the next episode of The Mandalorean, and two episodes of the new Amazon Prime series Tales from the Loop (a kind of science fiction series). Also, some more episodes of Doc Martin. All very enjoyable. We should watch Doc Martin again from the beginning when we are done with this season, it’s so much fun. So hilarious, so much heart. We also watched Cloud Atlas and Contagion. The latter was eerie, almost presaging the situation we are in now.

Partner stayed the weekend although he had planned to spend it at his place in North Rhine-Westphalia which was lovely, but then he told me that he needed to go there already today, which kind made me a bit down. I lay awake part of last night and had a lot of anxious thoughts about him catching the virus down there, all by himself. Not very likely, as he isn’t going out except to go grocery shopping and there are fewer cases up north than there are down here in the south. Still, the more one learns about the Corona virus, the more worrying it gets.

Mum and I will be driving to Bavaria on Thursday. I’m taking a few days of next week so we can fix up the garden (unless it rains – if it rains, I’m canceling my days off).

What we also did was plan and book our vacation in October. A week on the Baltic. We’ve booked a small vacation flat that can be cancelled until three months before the vacation starts. Hopefully, the Corona situation will allow us to take the vacation in October (currently, all tourists have been thrown out of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania owing to the virus). We’ve never been this organized before – usually we do last minute bookings, but this year we feared that more people would want to do a vacation in Germany even in the off-time October, so we booked early and really quite cheaply. The flat can house four people, so if my nieces want to come, they can. Vacationing at the seaside in autumn is great. You can take your dog everywhere on the beach (which is not allowed in the summer season) and the weather is usually quite good, too. Even if it rains or storms on a one or two days, it doesn’t usually last the entire week. Anyway, that’s something to look forward to.

Keep safe, world.