Busy Saturday

2020_06_06

Lots of things had to be done today, as usual at the end of our ten days in our home in Bavaria. Those ten days are always over so quickly and the last weekend is always super busy. Things I did today:

  1. Took Curious Dog on his long morning walk (this takes about an hour).
  2. Did a bit of surfing the Internet for half an hour.
  3. Collected the buns and bread I’d ordered yesterday from the village shop.
  4. Took the garden rubbish to the municipal collection point.
  5. Got some money from the cash machine.
  6. Took the car to the car-wash (it really needed a wash).
  7. Had lunch and took Curious Dog for his midday walk (about 20 minutes).
  8. Did some surfing and then read eight chapters of Little Dorrit (took a bit more than an hour).
  9. Vacuumed the house (except the cellar, which really needs it, but will do that next time).
  10. Took Mum to the graveyard where we put a pot with the flowering plant we purchased yesterday onto the grave.
  11. Took Curious Dog for his afternoon walk (about 40 minutes).
  12. Talked with Partner on the phone (as I do every day when I’m in Bavaria).
  13. Wrote this post

I’m pretty knackered. All that dog walking… After dinner I’m going to read some more Little Dorrit. So far I’m liking it. I’ll pack up my clothes and books before I got to bed, so that tomorrow I will only have to pack up my office stuff. We’ll probably be leaving around 11 a.m. and we’ll probably be back at my place at around 2 p.m. if there aren’t any traffic hold-ups. Just in time for Curious Dog’s afternoon feeding and our afternoon coffee. Mutti baked a nut cake today, very delicious and something to look forward to after the drive.

Keep safe, world.

Expedition to Town

After my usual walk with Curious Dog, Mutti and I drove to the county seat (Kreisstadt) for Mutti’s regular cancer check. Turned out (which I had almost suspected) that accompanying persons were not allowed in doctor’s surgery due to Corona. I therefore went shopping in the meantime. I got a month’s worth of Curious Dog’s wet dog food that he gets in addition to his kibble and a new chewing root. Next I went to the drug store but didn’t really know what to get as I’d meant to have discussed it with Mum. So, I just got the usual stuff, and in addition some hair clips that I’ll need if I’m growing my hair. Also found some reusable masks in a reasonably priced pack of five. Next was a short and hurried trip to the supermarket, to pick up some foodstuff for today and tomorrow as on Sunday we will be returning to my place and so don’t need a week’s worth of groceries here in Bavaria. I really tried to be quick and did all this in around 45 minutes which wasn’t bad considering that I was in three shops, but Mutti was nevertheless already loitering around the parking lot next to the surgery, as she had had her check-up done really quickly. This surgery is always very efficient. Mum is fine, no cancer recurrence and it’s been almost a year since she had the operation!

We then went to pick some plants for the family grave and for our garden. Mum has already planted the one for the grave into a pot which we will deliver tomorrow. The other plant is a flowering one for the garden, to feed bees and other insects. This was the first shopping outing for Mum since the Corona-virus restrictions started. Perhaps we’ll do a trip to the big garden centre at my place as well. They have a huge outdoor area and I think catching the virus there is unlikely.

It was already noon when we returned to our village, so we stopped off at the village shop to get some buns (Brötchen) for lunch. I also ordered some buns and bread for tomorrow, because we always get buns for our trip back to my place on Sundays (we pick them up already on Saturdays). The village shop sells only organic baked goods which are slightly more expensive than the normal sorts, but they are ever so much better tasting. They get their selection from smaller bakeries, not the big chains and that also makes a difference.

So, for lunch we had buns with fried mushrooms and onion, seasoned with soy sauce, pepper and some herbs. Very quick to make and very nice (Mum made it). In the afternoon, I hung out in front of my computer, surfing book tube, or, later, I read a magazine, Brigitte, which is a German women’s magazine that I get for Mum, but also read myself. It has some good columns and reports, also book and other cultural news. Of course, also stuff about fashion and make-up, which I just flick through. The fashion part can be interesting, but make-up leaves me cold. I basically gave up on that years ago. Too much bother and too uncomfortable. Basically, I frittered away the afternoon. Shopping always exhausts me for the rest of the day.

There were some showers in the afternoon, and it got quite cool, only 14°C. But when the sun came out it still got muggy and it felt warmer. Curious Dog and I went into the woods on our usual afternoon tour and we met a couple with a big grey dog off leash. It was the usual “Don’t worry, he won’t bite! He’s friendly!” kind of situation. ‘Course he wasn’t friendly. Growled at CD and wouldn’t obey his person. I hate this type of situation. If a dog doesn’t obey commands, one shouldn’t let him off leash. He should at least be kept on a long leash that he can drag along, and which can be picked up if necessary. Curious Dog didn’t do anything. I considered letting him off his leash as well but wasn’t sure if that would defuse the situation or not. Oh, well, nothing happened. But it was annoying and slightly scary. I’m a dog person, but I’m still somewhat scared of strange big dogs if they act cranky.

2020_06_05

I noticed in town today that shopping with masks almost feels normal. I don’t think I saw anyone without a mask in the shops. Outside of the shops most people don’t wear masks, but keep their distance, which is fine. I wonder if we will ever go back to shopping without masks. It’s weird not being able to see people’s facial expressions. Somehow this struck me more than usual today.

We’re having chicory salad for dinner. And after dinner, I hope to devote the evening to reading. I haven’t really started on my June reading goals yet, except for poetry and short stories.

Keep safe, world.

Workday Miseries

Another dreadfully boring day at the home office. It’s not that the stuff I have to do is any different than usual, it’s not even particularly boring in and of itself, it’s that I am just totally demotivated. It’s amazing that I got anything done at all, but I even managed to be somewhat productive after a meeting, where I had to do some follow-up tasks.

Thankfully, it the last day of the working week. Next week I really have to pull myself together. I need to get back to a streak of getting things done and feeling good about it. Works better when deadlines are looming. The looming wave of deadlines is currently quite a few weeks off, so I’m dawdling and it’s not good.

Non-work related, the day started off nicely. The first poppy plant in our yard has bloomed, a nice dark pink, very different from the otherwise similar poppy plants of the poppy field that Curious Dog and I regularly walk by on our morning outing. They are purple with some few white ones mixed in. The poppy plants in our yard appeared by magic last year and have self-perpetuated.

2020_06_04

The fine weather has broken, and it is now raining. Very softly in the morning on our walk, so that CD and I didn’t get very wet, just a dusting. But later it turned into a nice shower and more showers are on the way (as per the very useful weather app that shows a projection of rain showers moving across Germany). It looks like there will be a break between showers from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. so I’m going to take CD on his afternoon walk in that time and afterwards I will do some things that I have been dawdling about:

  • Some work stuff: setting a date for some reminders and quality checks I have to do at a certain point in our current project.
  • Pay some bills which I have been procrastinating on terribly (have received no reminder yet, though).
  • Send a private mail to finalize the booking for our holiday flat (also terrible procrastination going on here).
  • Finish this blog entry (the only thing I haven’t been putting off lately).

I hope I’m feeling up to doing all these things after our walk. I don’t know why I’m so unable to do stuff in a timely manner currently. Maybe I’ll try setting up detailed daily task lists next weeks, with time-slots during which they absolutely need to be done.

Well, the app was wrong: it did rain quite a bit during our afternoon walk, but it was nice, nonetheless. I like warm summer rain. The air is clear, all the dust and pollen washed away; the leaves are clean and bright green and one can almost feel the plants growing. Lovely. So, despite getting fairly wet, I was in a very good mood on our return and almost immediately did the first task on my list and all the rest as well. Phew! At least I got something done. I did forget to pay one bill, but I’ll do that one tomorrow.

Why do I always procrastinate on stuff that can be done in just a few minutes? I have to stop doing this, it’s ridiculous.

Keep safe, world.

Thought on Current Events

It’s very painful and concerning to watch the events in the United States around the murder of George Floyd.

Institutions and people who hold power should be held to account for their actions. I can’t understand why policemen who misused their power in glaringly obvious ways, killing an unarmed person who was already restrained and pleading for his life, and who were filmed doing this, were not immediately arrested.

It must be so hard to be continuously fighting for justice and never winning a decisive victory against structural racism. I admire everyone who is peacefully protesting. It’s sad to see some peaceful protests taken over by violent protesters and looters and its especially sad that this violence hurts the same people already burdened by racism. But, frankly, I can understand that the decades long fight against such human rights violations which never seem to improve can cause people to wish to retaliate.

Things in Germany are, sadly, not nearly perfect either. We too have stark examples of police incompetence unlawful killings by police are, thankfully, very uncommon although not completely unknown to happen). A prominent example is the murders of people with Turkish roots by the right-wing terrorist group NSU (National-Socialist Underground), which occurred between 2000 and 2007. These terrorist acts took more than ten years to be cleared up, largely because the German police didn’t properly investigate the crimes, preferring to see them as crimes originating within the victim’s social environment (that is, the German-Turkish community). The crimes were also ridiculed in the press. It was an all-round debacle and I hope justice will at least be easier to get for minorities in Germany in future. But this will not happen by itself, we need to keep watching out and acting to safeguard people’s rights.

It’s so frustrating that there is so much racism and classism and religious intolerance among us even in this day and age which we fool ourselves is so civilized. Regardless of how civilized and advanced a society holds itself to be, actions can easily prove the opposite. Nothing is more important than showing humanity towards everyone. We should not be doing things that hurt others, and if we do them through ignorance, we should strive to better ourselves and our societies. So depressing that this is apparently easier said than done, and also something that so many people and so some many political leaders seem to actively work against.

One needs to strive to be part of the solution and hope for the future. Even though it seems an uphill struggle.

Keep safe, world.

2020_06_03

Gardening

Work today wasn’t very scintillating. A few meetings, some mails, some tasks done or postponed. I’ll need to be more productive tomorrow, as I’ve got some things to do this week, and it’s only two more days.

Walking with Curious Dog in the woods was the best part of the day. The only fly in the ointment (which, by the way, in German is “the only hair in the soup”) was that he collected a lot of ticks, especially in the afternoon. After our return, I must have picked at least 15 of the little creeps off his fur. I best some managed to latch on somewhere. This morning I found three attached ones. Poor guy. At least he is good about getting them removed – he always gets a treat afterwards and he lives for treats, so that’s helpful.

We a lovely treat tonight. A pawpaw that I bought last week. It was on sale and therefore affordable. Delicious! And quite large, so half of it is left over for tomorrow. Curious Dog got some too and liked it. He’s fond of a lot of fruits and pawpaw is supposed to be good for dogs (at least that’s what I read it somewhere).

After dinner, I dug a hole in the garden and planted a little fir tree that we had on our patio in a pot, where it wasn’t looking happy anymore. Since we are so often away, it doesn’t get enough water in the pot. We’re hoping it’ll do better in the ground. We will be giving it a good watering every day this week and it’s supposed to rain in the next few days, so it seemed a good time to do the replanting (although we really should have done it last autumn). I think it’s supposed to be a Korean fir. Hope it survives.

Anyway, that was my day. Nothing terribly exciting, but excitement is overrated.

Keep safe, world.

2020_06_02

Whitsun Weekend

It’s getting late on Whitsun Monday, so the lovely long Whitsun weekend is drawing to a close. There’s just one more public holiday, Corpus Cristi, coming up next Thursday and that will be it for the rest of the year basically. October 3, the Day of German Unity, falls on a Saturday this year. All Hallows falls on a Sunday (even worse). And even Christmas falls partly on a weekend. This is an Arbeitgeberjahr, a year that favours employers over employees with the holidays falling on weekends. The good thing about the public holidays in spring is that they always fall on the same day of the week: Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension (Thurday), Whitsun Monday and Corpus Christi (Thursday).

I’ll have to have a look at my free vacation days and plan a week sometime in summer. I don’t think I can last until October without a few days off. I’m so thankful that we get lots of paid holidays in Germany, I don’t know how one can bear having just a few days each year.

This weekend was lovely, except that I had a bit of a tiff with Mum. We have to get some plants for our family grave, and she wanted to go on Saturday morning. She told me so just as I had got in the door from my morning walk with Curious Dog. I had a bit of an angry overreaction, because I hate shopping and have to do my plans when I’m in a positive frame of mind, not when I’m all hot and thirsty from my walk with the dog. So, I kind of blew up and said I didn’t want to go and that I hated being asked stuff like that out of the blue. Of course, afterwards I was sorry for overreacting. Well, I looked up the opening times of the garden centre near here (in the same town where CD and I go to dog school in winter). I found that they are closed on Saturdays anyway and would be open on Sunday. That was a little strange, because usually only bakeries are open half-days on Sunday in Germany. We drove there on Sunday, but found that they were closed after all. Couldn’t they update their Internet info? At least it was only a short distance (7 km) and a scenic route. We’ll have to go one day next after work. Friday won’t work, because we’ll be going to another town for Mum’s cancer check-up and I’m pretty sure we won’t feel like going anywhere else that day.

I did quite a bit of work in the garden (at least for my gardening tolerance, which is very limited). On Saturday it was overcast and quite cool, no hotter than 18°C, so it was pleasant working outside. Our lawn had turned into a partly brown tufty hayfield. The grass tufts had all gown to seed as the last time I mowed was four weeks ago. I cut them with a pair of small gardening scissors all around the borders (well, around one third of the borders and also in the middle of the lawn). The mower doesn’t get the borders and would anyway just flatten the high grass, not cut it. Today I did another third in the morning and maybe I’ll get around to doing the last third tonight, after the afternoon walk with Curious Dog. It’s supposed to start raining on Thursday for the rest of the week, so I need to be finished by then at the latest. Hope it does rain. It’s again quite dry.

2020_06_01

I was bitten by a tick, that is to say, one latched on to my leg. It wasn’t latched on for long, so I hope I won’t get Lyme disease or meningitis. I had an inoculation against tick-borne meningitis, but that was a long time ago, so I’m not sure if it is still active. Blasted things! I kept its corpse in case I do get sick so that it can be analyzed in a lab if needed. It’s said that if latches on for less than 24 hours, then the likelyhood of getting sick is low. Also, not all ticks are infected, so I’m hoping for the best.

Otherwise I did nothing but read and walk with Curious Dog morning, noon, and afternoon. Very relaxing. I met my reading goals again for May. The next Dickens is Little Dorrit and the next Toni Morrison is Jazz. I’m kind of eager to start, but I’m also wondering if I really want to go on with Dickens in July. I may reassess my reading goals at the end of June. Depending on how much I enjoy Little Dorrit, I may decide to read some other author for the next six months. On the other hand, it would be a nice achievement to have read all of Dickens’ novels by the end of the year. I’m undecided.

I’m up to the Romantics in my poetry anthology. This morning I read Coleridge’s “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”. I don’t remember reading all of it before, not even at university, although it is so famous. I have to say, the explorers of the Ross Expedition to the Antarctic didn’t quibble much about shooting any animals or birds (even Albatrosses) they came across, either for food or scientific study. This came to mind, because of the book Erebus that I read in April. Those explorers saw the natural world and wildlife as something to be exploited for their own needs and did not fear any supernatural retribution. Well, nowadays, we are not suffering supernatural but rather natural retribution – if one considers climate change and loss of species diversity and the effect it will have and is already having on humanity. In that sense, one might see the plight of the ancient mariner in the poem as a kind of warning. Hope we manage to turn things around.

Keep safe, world.