Monday Miscellanea

The first really freezing day today, at -6°C during the night and about -4°C on our morning walk with Curious Dog. Everything was frozen – especially the cars. But also the fields. It was clear and sunny and I was glad that I’d worn my warm Peruvian Alpaca hat and my woolen scarf as it was noticeably colder than on previous days. Nobody was around when we walked with CD. It was lovely, but so cold that we did a shorter than usual walk, only 35 minutes. I did a longer one in the afternoon, when it was just slightly above zero. It’s supposed to snow during the coming night. I’ve unearthed the snow shovel from the basement, but it probably will only be a few centimetres. It doesn’t usually snow much, and it will probably melt during the day, but we’ll see. Hopefully it won’t be too slippery, as it’s a death-defying endeavor walking with CD when it’s icy. All that pulling on the leash doesn’t go well with ice underfoot. I do have some spikes for my shoes that I sometimes use in winter, but I guess I won’t need them yet. Still, it’s exciting. We haven’t had much snow in the last two years, since we moved here.

Work today was a gruesome as always on Mondays. Too many online meetings. Horrid discussions about strategy. Not much got done other that those meetings and a few updates to a few documents in the morning. I’m also supposed to start testing a new version of one of our software tools which I had forgotten to plan for in my master plan for the next three weeks. But I’ll be able to make time for it.

I also haven’t yet organized anything to fix my car issues and I haven’t done online banking stuff that I need to do. Still, Mondays are always bad for getting anything done, so I’ll postpone those things for another day. Tomorrow, I devoutly hope.

Yesterday’s Tatort episode “In der Familie, Teil 1” (In the Familie, Part 1) wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great either. It’s a crossover double episode, with the detectives from Munich coming to Dortmund and interacting with the detectives there. I’m not that keen on the Dortmund team. The chief detective, Faber, is annoying. He’s always doing legally questionable stuff and alienating his team. Anyway, it was about a half-Italian family whose restaurant was a front for the distribution of drugs by the Italian mafia. At the start of the episode, they have to hide a murderer on the run from Munich and that makes everything unravel… Working with the mafia is just, well, unhealthy. In the next part, the detectives from Dortmund will travel to Munich. It should be fun seeing Faber interact with Bavarians. Dortmund and Munich are best football enemies. Bayern München always wins the Bundesliga and Borussia Dortmund eternally comes in second, much to Partner’s despair. One nice scene in this Tatort was when one of the Munich detectives stole a BvB coffee cup from the Dortmund Police Headquarters.

The cookies we made yesterday turned out fine.

I stayed up late yesterday finishing up Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. Now I’m kind of interested in reading up on Balkan history and a biography of Rebecca West to get some context, but I’m resisting, because those topics are not on my TBR for the end of the year. Maybe in January.

Keep safe, world.

Ginger Chocolate Cookies

At last I got around to baking the cookies I’d wanted to bake this weekend. Mum helped with mincing the candied ginger, I chopped the dark chocolate, both of us cut raisins into small bits. All the ingredient required by the recipe:

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 250g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 125g candied ginger, minced
  • 125g butter or margarine
  • 200g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g ground hazelnuts
  • 200g raisins, minced
  • 250g whole meal wheat flour

For the icing:

  • 1 lemon
  • Some icing sugar
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 50g almond slivers
  • 50g candied ginger slivers (cut them yourself from bigger pieces)

Mix the butter, sugar and eggs until fluffy. Then add one after the other: chopped chocolate, minced candied ginger, ground hazelnuts, minced raisins and last, the flour. The dough turns into a stiff sticky mass. Butter a baking sheet and spread the dough evenly onto it. Bake it in the oven at 175°C for 25 to 30 minutes.

Cut into squares on the baking sheet while still warm. Wait until the cookies cool (don’t remove them from the baking sheet) and then decorate half the squares with lemon icing (mix a bit of lemon juice with icing sugar) and candied ginger slivers, the other half with melted dark chocolate and almond slivers. Transfer to a cookie box when the icing is dry (should be air-tight, so that the cookies don’t dry out).

These are non-vegan (obviously). I make an exception for Christmas cookies. We otherwise bake only vegan cakes and cookies, but the Christmas cookies are traditional in my family and I don’t want to change the recipes.

It was quite cold today and, at least in the afternoon, sunny. We had our usual walks with Curious Dog. I did a lot of reading but am still not finished with Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. Turns out that there’s a really long epilogue for which my Kindle version doesn’t count the pages. Very strange! I should get finished tonight. We watched the next Mandalorian episode (good) and tonight we’ll be watching the Tatort crime series as usual. It was a nice, quiet day. Restful and not too busy.

Mum’s Stollen was yummy. We had some for afternoon coffee. For dinner we had a leek, potato and celeriac cream soup, made by Partner, also delicious and warming. With the Tatort, we’ll treat ourselves to some hot spiced wine. Maybe it will knock me out (wine makes me sleepy) and then I won’t be able to finish my book, but who cares.

Keep safe, world

Another Busy Day

Do I feel accomplished because I cleaned the entire ground floor area of my house? Kind of, yes, it’s nice to have a clean floor, but the entry hall already shows new dirty paw and shoe prints (only slight ones, but still). Isn’t it a pity that one’s house doesn’t retain its state of cleanliness for longer than it takes to bat one’s eyelid? At least it will take some time to accumulate the amount of grime that I cleaned away today, there is that. I think this weekend I’m making up for the last weekend’s laziness.

At least I read somewhere today that laziness is genetic. One’s subconscious wants to conserve energy and therefore prefers sitting down and reading to hoovering, washing and other annoying tasks. So, it’s not really my fault that I’m always behind on my housekeeping, it’s biology.

The day was lovely, freezing in the morning, but sunny and dry. All the fields were heavily frosted with rime; the sun was sparkling; a few billows of fog were disappearing. I’d forgotten to take my phone on my morning walk with Curious Dog, so no photo. The lovely weather inspired me to walk longer than usual, even though it was cold. We didn’t meet anyone much, the usual dog walkers were sleeping in, I guess, or had done their rounds earlier, as CD and I had set out later than usual. When we returned, I didn’t get out of my jacket, but just picked up my purse and my mask and walked to the bakery to pick up some bread as well as cake for afternoon coffee.

That was half the morning gone, and I hung around for a while surfing. After lunch, while Mum was mixing the dough for the Stollen in the kitchen, I hoovered the first floor and the stairs to my bedroom / office. Once Mum was done and the dough was rising under a clean tea towel in a spot of sunlight, I started washing the floors downstairs (but only after I’d done some reading for what was meant to be a 15 minute break that mysteriously turned into 45 minutes). I pretended that cleaning was a kind of sports, that made it less onerous. Do other adults have to trick themselves into things like that? Sometimes I still feel as if I’m playing at housekeeping although I’ve been living in my own flats or apartments for almost 30 years. It’s weird.

After I was done with cleaning, it was already time for a quick cup of barley coffee with a piece of cake and then off again with Curious Dog. At almost 4:00 p.m. the sun had already disappeared behind the hill, but the sky was still blue, and it was nice outside. A lot of parents with kids around, also enjoying the weather.

Partner returned from his place just a few minutes after CD’s walk. He’d also had lovely weather and a good trip. I cooked dinner; a sweet potato, fennel and chickpea curry. A new recipe. It was quite delicious and didn’t take long to cook. Mum’s Stollen turned out perfect (at least from the outside). We will have some tomorrow, in honour of the first Advent Sunday (we’re not religious, but it’s traditional to have some kind of Christmas baked goodies on the Sundays in Advent). I’m also planning to bake ginger chocolate cookies tomorrow morning.

I didn’t do much reading today during the day, but I did read a lot last night in bed. I’m hoping to finish Black Lamb and Grey Falcon tonight, as I’m on the last 100 pages. I’ll write a review, maybe on Monday. It was a very stimulating, varied and rather odd reading experience, not like anything I can remember reading before.

Keep safe, world.

Busy Day

I did a lot of things today, but not all that I’d planned. I started the day with the usual walk with Curious Dog, just half an hour later than usual, since I got up a bit later. No work today, so time to laze at least a little bit in bed. The sun had just risen above the ridge of hills on the horizon, as CD and I were setting out. It was a bright crimson ball that doesn’t show up in the photo. But I like the strange light reflections in the photo (I took it with my smartphone). That photo was taken at the bottom of the hill, at the top everything was still swathed in fog that the sun could not yet pierce. Later, we had a sunny day with the highest temperatures in the afternoon at 6°C. Looks like it will be getting slightly colder next week. We met one of CD’s dog friends in the woods, but they weren’t much inclined to play today.

When we got back home, I rested a while and then hoovered the entire ground floor plus the stairs to the first floor. That took about an hour (what with moving the furniture, turning the rugs, … ). Then I checked the Internet and later I had a social call with my work colleagues that finished at noon. Then I went shopping for an hour – I thought that the shops would be empty at lunchtime, but it was quite full. Maybe other people had the same thought. I picked up some ingredient for Christmas baking (as planned yesterday). Tonight, we will soak the raisins and other ingredient for Mum’s Stollen in Rum and will bake it tomorrow. I think I’ll bake my cookies on Sunday, as I want to do some house cleaning tomorrow and I’m pretty sure I won’t feel at all like baking afterwards (or, if I do the baking first, I won’t feel like cleaning afterwards).

By the way, before I went shopping, I polished my glasses with pure dish-washing liquid. I put a drop of the liquid on each glass, rubbed it all over the back and front with a finger and then polished them dry with a paper tissue. It really helped with the fogging that the mask causes. The glasses still fogged up a bit, but the fog cleared up much faster. I only had to dry them once in the shop. It wasn’t perfect, but much better than the last time. I haven’t tried the tip with the pipe cleaner in the top of the mask to make it fit better around my nose. Have to get pipe cleaners first, or some other piece of wire.

I did a bit of reading last night in bed, but not too much, as I was tired and kept nodding off. Today, after my grocery shopping trip, I spent about an hour reading, before we had afternoon coffee and then it was again time for Curious Dog’s walk. The sun disappears behind the hill quite early, already at 3:30, and then it’s cold in the shade. But it was dry and not too many people were around, not bad. After the walk I cooked dinner. Just a lot of diced vegetables (an onion, a zucchini, a carrot, a couple of baby bell peppers, a small mild chili, some mushrooms, a bit of fresh ginger and turmeric, spices, some tomato paste) with brown basmati rice. Easy but good.

I didn’t do anything about the car. Didn’t call the company hotline about the chipped windshield and didn’t make an appointment for the official inspection. I put those things on my to-do list for Monday.

So, what did I actually do all day?

  • Made breakfast and fed Curious Dog
  • Walked for an hour with CD
  • Hoovered for an hour
  • Went grocery shopping for an hour
  • Read for an hour
  • Walked 40 minutes with CD in the afternoon
  • Cooked dinner for an hour

In between, I did a bit of surfing, spoke with my colleague, or my Mum, or Partner.

That’s not bad. No wonder I’m quite tired again. And no wonder I don’t feel like baking cookies tonight.

Keep safe, world

Procrastinating Again

Last day of work for the week, what a relief. I had a good productive day and crossed off all the tasks on my to-do list. I even managed to do a complicated quality check that involved applying a script to a lot of documents. A colleague showed me how to do this yesterday and I thought I’d better try it before I forgot how it worked. Luckily, we had recorded the session in which they demonstrated what had to be done, otherwise I would already have forgotten what to do. It was a bit nerve-wracking but seems to have worked fine. I’ve now written down the steps that need to be done, so that next time I can do it without having to watch the recording.

While I was doing my time-recording for work, which I do once a week usually on Thursdays, it really struck me that there aren’t very many workdays left in this year. November is almost done and although I am working until the 23rd of December, that’s just 15 days (not counting Fridays, on which I don’t work). Three and a half weeks until Christmas! Time I panicked about presents. What on earth shall I get Mum and Partner and Cousin 1 and Cousin 2??? Usually it’s books and DVDs all the way. I’m not very good at presents, except occasionally. But maybe I’ll yet have a brainwave or two. Each year I fantasize that next year I will organize all my Christmas presents in Summer, but so far this has never yet happened. Unlikely to ever happen.

It was quite cold walking with Curious Dog today. Not freezing, but close. Just 2-3°C, but sunny and bright at least in the afternoon. It’s almost cold enough for me to dig up my woolen scarf. I’ve been wearing a woolen hat for weeks, because I easily get freezing ears and temples, but I’m still wearing a cotton scarf. I should also fetch my winter boots from the basement.

Partner’s gone up north for a couple of days, to do some last gardening since the weather is currently nice at his place. He had 9°C today. He’s either coming back on Saturday or Sunday. Tomorrow I need to do some grocery shopping and also get some ingredients for some more cookies. We’ve only got a handful of Lebkuchen left. I think tomorrow I’ll bake some ginger, nut, raisin, chocolate cookies. Like the Lebkuchen, the dough is spread on a backing sheet and cut into pieces after baking while still hot. Then half of the cookies get a chocolate, the other half a lemon glaze. The chocolate ones are decorated with almond slivers, the lemon ones with candied ginger. They are delicious. And maybe Mum will make another Stollen, as we’ve already scarfed the one we made two weeks ago. Partner will be back in time to enjoy the baked goodies and we will have something nice for the first Sunday in Advent.

I desperately need to do some cleaning. The place is looking very grungy, but I hope I still have time to do a good bit of reading, despite all the stuff I need to do. Tomorrow I also have to organize an official inspection for my car, as the certification is running out in December. Maybe I’ll schedule it for January, as I think one can be a couple of months late, but I will call the car repair shop tomorrow. There’s also a chip in my windshield that will probably have to be fixed before the inspection. What a pain. Maybe they won’t notice it? It’s off to the passenger side, not very noticeable. But who am I kidding, they will notice it. That’s a new windshield, as I think the chip is too deep to be glued (it’s a little crater). I’m fortunate in that the car is a company car and repairs are paid by the company. I should have organized the windshield repair or replacement weeks ago. That’s me, procrastinating again. I guess I’ll call the hotline tomorrow and find out what I should do.

Keep safe, world.

End of the Year Book Tag

This book tag has been making the rounds at BookTube and I have wanted to do it for a couple of weeks already but hadn’t yet come up with a final list of books that I want to read this year. But now I’m ready to write about it. The tag was originally created in 2017 by Ariel Bisset:

  1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?
    Yes, I want to finish the books I’m currently reading:

    Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon
    Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
    Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

    I read a good chunk of West’s book last night and I’m on the last 300 pages. I’ll probably get another chunk done tonight, but it depends on how tired I will be. Somehow this month I’ve been rather tired at night and sometimes managed only a few pages. Very annoying. I’m wonder if it is still a lingering effect from the switch to wintertime in October. Or maybe it’s just a normal kind of fall sleepiness?
    With Ready Player One I’m at the half-way mark and with Oliver Twist somewhere near the beginning.

  2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?
    I’m a bit late with this question as we are well into autumn by this point, never mind transitioning. But no, I don’t do seasonal reading, at least not intentionally.

  3. Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?
    Well, not exactly waiting. Ready Player Two came out today, but I’m waiting until I’ve finished rereading One, before I start Two.

  4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?
    There are more than three books that I want to read before the end of the year:

    Toni Morrison, Home and God Help the Child
    Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities and Selected Letters (edited by Jenny Hartley)

    I definitively want to read these novels, to achieve my goal of reading all the novels from both these authors this year. It’s been quite challenging reading a book by these authors each month not because I didn’t like them – I liked both of their works a lot, in different ways – but because I felt constrained and couldn’t just pick up any book that struck my fancy as I just didn’t have the time. I don’t think I’ll be focusing again on two authors at once in one year, and I don’t want to fail when I’m almost done. So, these are at the top of my list, except maybe for Dickens’ Letters. I may not finish them this year – they are very interesting, but I could just finish them by-and-by in the next few months.

    Thomas Mallon, A Book of One’s Own

    I started this book and have read slightly less than half. It inspired me to read some memoirs. I also got a couple of writer’s diaries that I will read next year. I made a post for each chapter of this book that I read some weeks ago and I do want to finish this project.

    Kenneth Good, Into the Heart: An Amazonian Love Story

    I want to reread this autobiography because it fits in well with Redmond O’Hanlon’s In Trouble Again that I recently read. Afterwards, I want to read the autobiography of Kenneth Good’s son, David: The Way Around: Finding My Mother and Myself Among the Yanomami.

    Don Kulick, A Death in the Rainforest: How a Language and a Way of Life Came to an End in Papua New Guinea

    I’ve had this on my TBR almost all year and don’t really know why I haven’t read it yet.

    Susanna Clarke, Piranesi

    I’ve waited for this book to come out. Hope it’s as good as Johnathon Strange and Mr. Norrell.

    James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson

    This one I want to read between Christmas and the New Year, when I will have tons of reading time.

    Seems like an ambitious list, not sure if I’ll make it. But I’ll be in Bavaria with Mum and Curious Dog for most of December and I usually have lots of time to read there, as there are not as many distractions like watching films and doing other things with Partner. I’m not stressing it. I only need to finish Dickens’ and Morrison’s novels and the rest can be read in January. I’ll be on vacation from Christmas to January 15, not going anywhere, so lots of reading time. But I do want to try reading them by December 31.

  5. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

    I haven’t really decided on my favourite book for the year. Probably it’s Morrison’s Beloved, but I do think that the Boswell might become if not the favourite, a favourite.

  6. Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?

    Yes. This year my reading buddy and I read War and Peace, next year it will be The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (translated by Royall Taylor). We’ll spread it out from January to October and I’m really looking forward to it. I haven’t decided on my other goals but have a few ideas. But they still need to simmer a bit before I can finalize them.

Keep safe, world.

Future Book Releases

A week ago, I signed up for The Guardian’s bookmarks newsletter and already it has paid off. In this weekend’s email, I learned about the future release of two books that I’m already enthusiastic about:

  • The Diaries of Alan Rickman, edited by Alan Taylor, publisher Canongate, publishing date autumn 2022.
    Apparently, Rickman wrote 27 volumes of diaries, which are to be condensed into one book. That should be fascinating.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien, The Nature of Middle-earth, edited by Carl F. Hofstetter, published by HarperCollins, publishing date June 2021.
    These are previously unpublished essays by Tolkien about Middle-earth. As I’m a great fan of Tolkien’s works, this sounds great. And it’s already coming out next year.

Now I have to start keeping a list of books I’m interested in that aren’t published yet in addition to my other list of books that I’d like to read sometime (it’s huge). So many books, so little time for reading.

Work today was very busy, with one meeting in the morning and a very long, but rather interesting workshop that took up the entire afternoon, where my team discussed the challenges we will be facing next year. We haven’t come to a conclusion yet, but we are now clear about where the difficulties will lie and are now going to engage with other experts from other teams to come to a final plan on how to proceed with our operational work next year. It looks like a lot of changes are coming and it’s all quite complex. Should be an interesting year.

Poor Curious Dog had to do without his afternoon walk, as he refused to go out with Partner without me. Ever since I’ve started doing home office, he’s started to refuse to go on walks with anyone but me. Very weird. I tried going out for a walk with him after dark, but he didn’t seem very enthusiastic, so we just let him out into the yard. We did have an hour’s walk in the morning and we’ll go back to his usual routine of morning and afternoon walks tomorrow.

During yesterday’s meetings, which were boring, I amused myself by coming up with a plan to move my home-office corner to another part of my bedroom, but later on decided it wouldn’t work. A pity, because with that rearrangement I’d found a place for a bookshelf that I currently don’t have space for. Oh well, I’ll have to continue to do without it. Or come up with a different plan.

Keep safe, world

Monday Miscellanea

Six online meetings on an eight-hour workday are just too much. I got none of the tasks on my to-do list done today, only added a couple of new ones. What a pain! And I’m totally tired out from all those meetings. Even though meetings don’t seem to be much work, all the attention they require and the boredom they inspire takes it out of me. And tomorrow looks like it will be even worse, with one huge workshop meeting taking up all afternoon. I don’t even know what to do about Curious Dog’s afternoon walk. Maybe we’ll have to go out after dark. The horror!

As is often the case, the walks with CD were the highlights of the day, even though the weather left much to be desired. It was grey and drizzling in the morning, but quite mild (compared to Sunday), at 4°C. Muddy and wet, but still enjoyable once one has overcome one’s inner aversion to leaving the warm and cozy house on such a bleak-looking day. Defeating my inner resistance is Curious Dog’s special superpower, so out I go regardless the weather (unless it’s thunder, or really stormy – neither one of us can abide that).

In the morning I packed up a birthday present for Cousin 2, my grown-up godchild. A book and a t-shirt. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig. I haven’t read the book myself; my Partner came up with the idea to give them this book and I had a look at it online and thought that it looked good. Maybe I’ll read it myself someday. But not at the moment, as I have other books on my TBR. Not that I got any reading done today, except for a few poems this morning while Partner was hogging the bathroom. Maybe I’ll manage to read some in bed tonight, if I’m not still too knackered from all those meetings.

At least we didn’t have to cook today, as we still had some of the vegetable curry left over from yesterday. We just added some cubed smoked tofu and made some rice to go with the curry and that was it. Was still delicious.

Yesterday’s Tatort episode “Die Ferien des Monsieur Murot” was at least partly a homage to the French film “Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot” (Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday). I only know this because Partner told me. He made me watch a bit of that film on his smartphone while we were watching the Tatort. In the Tatort, the detective, Murot, is on vacation when he meets his doppelgänger. They have a drunk evening bonding at the other guy’s house and telling each other stories about their lives. They swap clothes, and the other guy goes off and is killed wearing Murot’s clothes and carrying his identity card. So, everyone thinks Murot is dead, while Murot himself investigates his doppelgänger’s wife and falls in love with her… Not bad, but I’ve seen better Tatort episodes with this detective. They are usually amazingly bizarre; this one was a little tame in comparison.

Tonight, there’s a documentary about cooking dumplings on one of the public channels. As we are very fond of dumplings, we’ll be watching it. Maybe we’ll get some inspiration.

I’m starting to seriously doubt that I’ll meet my reading goals for November, as I don’t seem to be getting much reading done. I’m in the middle of three books, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, Oliver Twist, and Ready Player One. Seems a bit excessive, to have three books going at the same time. I should probably have postponed Ready Player One. And I haven’t even started my Toni Morrison for this month yet. Somehow, November is not proving very productive on the reading front.

Keep safe, world.

Frosty Fields

It was -2°C this morning at 8:00 when we went for a long walk with Curious Dog. Sunny, but cold. All the fields rimed with frost and there was a thin sheet of ice on the puddles. Hardly anybody was around. It was quiet and restful and lovely. The first subzero temperatures this autumn, here, I think (unless it was this cold when we were away). We took the normal way up our hill but went back down the long way. By the time we got back home, after about 1.5 hours, I was quite cold. But I like the cold, it’s the time for it. And it’s nice and cozy back in the warm house, with a warm cup of Caro Kaffee (a fake coffee made of roasted barley, as I only occasionally like to drink real coffee).

Afterwards I continued reading Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. I’m now well past the half-way mark. But I didn’t read for very long, as I then decided to prepare a hot lunch in the clay oven (usually we cook at dinner, but on Sundays we sometimes do it at lunch, so that we can relax at night without having to spend time in the kitchen). I peeled and cubed some carrots and potatoes, added some cubed onions, and diced dried dates, and mixed the lot in a bowl with curry and paprika spices. I also cut a head of cauliflower apart and added the same spices. Then I took a tin of coconut milk and some vegetable stock, boiled it and added some more curry and chili. I soaked my clay oven pot (Römertopf in German) for ten minutes and put some shredded Savoy cabbage that I had in the freezer into the bottom of the pot as the first layer of vegetables. I put the potato-carrot mix on top and the cauliflower florets on top of that. Then I poured the coconut milk mix over all the vegetables, closed the pot and put it into the oven at 200°C for slightly longer than 1.5 hours. That’s the great thing about cooking with the clay oven. You do all the work up-front and then you just wait until it is done. The drawback is that you can’t just open it to check how it’s doing (all the heat would escape), and you can’t add any more spices before it’s done. It turned out delicious, though, if a bit too soupy. I should have used less stock, but I’m used to making the recipe with rice instead of potatoes. The rice always soaks up all the liquid. Best of all, there’s some left for tomorrow, although I will need to add something to the curry as it won’t be enough. Still, that won’t be much bother.

While we were waiting for the food to cook, we watched a documentary about the history of writing which was fascinating. It’s a three-part series, we’ve got up to the invention of the printing press. There’s one more part to go, I guess we’ll watch it sometime next week in the media library of the TV channel Arte. Arte is a French-German public TV co-production that has lots of good documentaries and also shows news from all around the world, which other channels often don’t do. They also show interesting films. I like Arte, but I also like blockbusters. The best thing about Arte is that like the other public TV channels (in contrast to the private ones) it doesn’t interrupt films with adverts. I really can’t stand all those ad-breaks on the private channels and almost never watch them. It’s public TV or DVDs/blue rays/streaming all the way.

I spent the early afternoon reading, then we watched the second of the three episodes about the history of writing, and then Partner made a berry mousse (with aqua faber, that is, the liquid from a tin of chickpeas and berries and sugar). Sounds weird but is very nice. Aqua faber is a vegan alternative to egg white. We had the mousse on top of vanilla pudding, instead of baked goods for coffee.

Then it was time for CD’s afternoon walk, again. Sometimes all that walking it does get a bit tiring, but when I see how much CD loves it, I can’t not go. And anyway, he get super restless if he doesn’t get enough exercise.

On our return, I bit the bullet and did a bit of housework. Cleaned the bathroom. It didn’t take very long. These things would go better if I didn’t keep procrastinating, I should have done it yesterday or on Friday. The psychological hurdle is bigger than the job itself. I should know that by now.

In half an hour we’ll be watching the Tatort again. It’s supposed to be good; we’ll see.

And then to bed and tomorrow another day, another work week.

Keep safe, world.

Upset Waterbowls

Curious Dog can be such a clumsy, crazy idiot sometimes. Lately he’s come up this stupid ritual that after each meal, as soon as I’ve put down my fork and knife, he has to go out into the yard, where he runs to the fence, checks if the neighbour’s dog is in sight (which he can basically see from the patio door anyway), and runs straight back inside, muddy paws and all. Does he wait politely next to the patio door to be let out? Nope. First, he has to rush around the living room looking for his rubber ball, which he always takes out with him. Then I have to keep making him sit by the door. Once it’s partly open, he starts out like a racehorse from one of those stall-things. If I don’t watch it, he bashes into the door because he’s too excited to wait (not that there’s anything exciting in the yard). I practise with making him sit and wait by the door all the time, but it doesn’t seem to catch on. Today, the second time this week, while fetching his ball, he upended his water bowl and splashed water everywhere. When I told him off, he went and hid with Partner in the office.

I’ll let him back into my good graces soon enough, but for now he’s with Partner, probably getting consoled. Otherwise we had a good day, a nice morning walk in the fog (this time, the fog was up on the hill and not in the valley). CD met a friend and played a bit. Partner took some nice photos of trees in fog and I’d forgotten my smartphone and so didn’t take any.

For lunch, I made some hummus from a tin of chickpeas that turned out quite well. For dinner, Partner and I made vegan pancakes with a carrot and shiitake mushroom filling. Very delicious. I reanimated my pancake flipping skills that I haven’t used in years. Worked well, except for one pancake that landed back in the pan with one half folded under the other half. We made the pancakes with kala namak salt and turmeric. The salt has a sulfuric smell and the turmeric turns the pancake yellow. Both spices are used to make egg-tasting food and they work surprisingly well. Also good for making tofu scramble.

I should have done some house cleaning, but postponed it to tomorrow, when I will not feel like doing it either, but will probably do it anyway. Hopefully. Partner and I watched the second episode of the second season of The Mandalorian this afternoon. It was yet another fight with monsters, but quite amusing. Not exactly a stunningly original plot, but fun to watch. Next, we took CD out early for his afternoon walk, as it was nice and sunny. Lots of other people had the same idea and our usual walk through the fields was uncommonly populated. Usually, we only meet one or two people and one or two dogs, today we must have met about twenty or thirty people and lots of dogs. Still not exactly a crowd, but weird.

After our walk, I decided to postpone my cleaning and instead continued reading Grey Falcon and Black Lamb. I’m almost at the half-way mark and am learning a lot about historical Serbian rulers. Knowledge which I am sure will not stay long in my brain, I can basically feel it disappearing as I type. But it is interesting, as Rebecca West has such strong opinions on everything she writes about. In bed last night I continued with Ready Player One and am also almost at the half-way mark. It is a light amusing read, but all that 80s pop culture trivia isn’t taking up permanent residence in my brain either.

So, basically a nice day. Now I must go and make up with CD. I’m sure he won’t have learnt anything from his scolding – that’s something that his brain doesn’t retain (not that he gets scolded very often).

Keep safe, world.