Tuesday Tidbits

Partner made pancakes for our afternoon coffee break. We had them with jelly or maple syrup, and they were delicious. Partner is the best – he’s the one that does most of the baking in our household. And the cooking during the week (and a lot on the weekend, too). I’m amazed that he doesn’t get sick of baking or cooking. I quite like cooking on the weekends and when Partner is away, but I don’t very often bake. If it were left to me, we’d probably only have baked goods a couple of times a month instead of almost every day.

Today has been rather a drag at work. There was a call early in the morning where I had to remind my colleagues about some deadlines coming up next months. The was a bit of a tool problem with our content management systems which is slowly being fixed. There were some other meetings, nothing very interesting. I myself need to get started updating some documents, but have postponed it tomorrow, as I couldn’t face it today. I did get some preliminary tasks done, to set up everything for a good start tomorrow morning. And then I dealt with some other stuff in my email inbox.

In the morning, I took some time for my weekly grocery shopping trip, but only managed to get to the drugstore, not to the supermarket. The drug store has some interesting food stuff in addition to the usual drugstore goods and I go there about once a month to pick up things that the supermarket doesn’t stock. It’s in the next small town over from mine and this morning there was something going on on the road. A fire truck and some other municipal vehicles parked on the road; I couldn’t see what was up. I could to the drugstore by the usual way but had to take a detour back. The detour took me in the opposite direction from my usual supermarket and I didn’t feel like going to a different one. I wouldn’t have found my usual groceries quickly in a different supermarket and, owning to Corona, I didn’t feel like taking longer than need be. So, I postponed the supermarket trip until tomorrow. We still have enough produce to last until tomorrow.

Curious Dog was again stubborn and wouldn’t go for his morning walk with Partner while I was in the house. When I left on my shopping trip, he graciously consented to go for his walk. Pretty annoying for Partner, and also stupid, because they should really go straight after breakfast, before it gets too hot. It wasn’t a big problem today, because it is still cool and pleasant outside, but it will be a problem when it gets hotter. Maybe I will have to take a quick trip round the block each morning (on foot, of course) for Partner to be able to take CD on his walk. But that sounds totally nutty. Maybe CD will just have to do without his walk if he is going to be a nitwit about it. Partner is currently planning to spend the weekend at his place in North Rhine-Westphalia and then CD will get his walks with me in the morning (I take the late afternoon walk anyway).

The weather is still quite to my taste. Not above 25°C, cloudy and sunny. The next three days are supposed to be somewhat rainy, so no heatwave in sight. When I remember 2018, when we had 30+°C from May to September, I am really pleased with this summer. Apart from Corona, of course. I recently saw a graphic in an internet article showing that the ground water level under much of Germany is still much lower than it was before 2018. I am glad for this relatively mild summer. Also thankful for every drop of rain – it was too dry already in May in the eastern parts of Germany so I’m doubtful that the missing water will be filled up this year, unless there’s a wet autumn and winter. Grain is already being harvested hereabouts and as far as I can see, it looks OK. But I haven’t really got a clue. But anyway, the occasional rain doesn’t seem to have harmed it.

Keep safe, world.


Monday Miscellanea

The weekend has passed too fast as usual. Such a pity that it is already over and that my alarm clock this morning threw me out of bed to another work week. But still, so glad and grateful that my job seems stable in these uncertain times.

I had some problems with my internet provider last week and on the weekend. First, they contact me to ask if I would like to upgrade my internet plan. With an eye on home office continuing until the end of the year and thereafter hopefully much more frequently than before the Corona crisis, I let myself be persuaded. So far so good. During this first call, I asked them at least five times to confirm that they would send the new router that I need for the upgraded plan (my old one is too old for it) to my current address and not my old one. The one I moved away from two years ago. So, of course they said no problem, blah blah blah. Then I get a notification that the parcel is on its way to the old address! So, I call again, and I get this helpful person on the customer service hotline who tells me, no problem, the parcel’s not been sent yet (weird when I already had the notification that it had been sent), it will be sent to the correct address and it will arrive on Friday or Saturday. So, what didn’t arrive? My new router. So, I call the hotline again on Sunday. Now they are going to send the router again to my current address. I moved the appointment with the technician to Friday (instead of today). There’s no point in having a technician activate my new internet if the old router can’t deal with it and the new one is lost on the way. At least they agreed not to charge the shipping costs. Not that the costs are a big deal, but it’s the principle. First, they botch things up twice after I expressly told them that they still kept my old address in their database for some inconceivable reason and then they think it is a kind gesture to waive the postage? Very odd. I was kind and polite on the phone each time, because you always talk to a new person and can’t rant at them for something that’s not their fault (and anyway, I don’t rant at people). They probably have lots of people complaining all day. Not a job I would be happy with. But it was still annoying. Amazing incompetence. I was almost persuaded to cancel the upgrade.

Curious Dog has been strange too. He doesn’t want to go for his walks in the morning and at lunch with my partner. All weekend he preferred not to go at all. And today he also refused to go out after breakfast. He wants to go with me. He’s too fixated on me and thinks if I’m home, I should go with him. Once on Sunday Partner and I went in the morning with him together, but otherwise, he’s got to go with Partner, it’s our division of labour. Partner is quite miffed about being the second-choice person. No wonder, I would be too. Curious Dog otherwise has no problem with Partner, plays with him, begs treats off him, sleeps under his desk. It’s very odd. Hope he gets over it. But in two weeks, when we are back in Bavaria, it’ll be only me and he’ll get to walk with me all day and then the next week when we’re back here, the rigmarole will start again. He never used to do this, but then up until the Corona lockdown, I’m was out all day and not available for walks except in the evening. This is a weird secondary Corona effect.

On our Sunday morning walk, we saw 15+ (!) storks in a meadow by the river that had recently been mowed. At least 15 storks at once, wow. I took a photo, but I’m afraid that you can only see the storks as little white spots against the green meadow. They were too far away for my smartphone camera.


Tomorrow, the main road in my town is being blocked for construction which will probably take until far into the autumn to be done. The traffic is being rerouted through our neighborhood. Our road will be turned into a dead end (at least the traffic will not be routed through it). We’ll have the construction noise from one direction and the traffic noise from the other side. And it might become difficult to cross the road when we take CD on his walk, with all the traffic. I will be glad when the construction is done.
My work notebook continues to try to install the same update and still keeps failing. The support colleague is unavailable this week, so it’ll drag on at least until next week and who knows when the problem will be fixed. In the meantime, the installation of the update starts at least once each day. A bit of a nuisance.

I spent a lot of time reading Martin Chuzzlewit on the weekend. I’ve managed about half of it (rather hoped I’d get through the entire thing, but that didn’t work out). It won’t be one of my favourite Dickens novels, as at least 80% of the characters in the novel are unlikable and the rest, apart for one supporting character, are nice but somewhat stupid. The kind of stupidity that can’t see that they are being patronized and taken advantage of although anyone else (never mind the reader) can see that quite clearly. One of the protagonists travels to America to make his fortune. Dickens seems to have been quite critical of America at the point when he wrote this novel. Some of his criticism could have been coined with Donald Trump in mind. That’s both kind of funny and kind of horrific, seeing that the novel was written more than 150 years ago.

Other than reading, I did a bit of house-cleaning. Mainly the bathroom. Partner vacuumed up the dirt and dog hairs strewn throughout the living areas and I guess I’ll do a more thorough clean up this week or weekend. We were too lazy to do more. I did some meditation, but managed only 30 minutes per day instead of the 45 I would like to do.

We cooked mushroom-wine risotto on Friday, had a home-made pizza on Saturday, and potato salad with tempeh on Sunday. All very nice. Partner also made his absolutely delicious vegan tiramisu (made with silken tofu and coconut milk) which we enjoyed on Sunday and today.

The weather was (and is) kind of nice, not too hot, though it did go up to 28°C on Sunday. Very windy and a few drops of rain in the night. Today it’s still rather windy and quite cool. Very nice for dog walks, so very annoying that CD didn’t want to go with Partner for his morning walk. On our afternoon walk, we met a friend of his (a Rhodesian Ridgeback bitch) and they played together very nicely. It was cool enough to go walking at 5 p.m., we didn’t have to wait until after dinner.

Keep safe, world.

Lovely Thursday

Lots of mind-numbing final checks to do at work today. I spent five hours clicking objects until they were all checked and when I was done, a colleague up and asked me to redo some of it (not much) because they had forgotten something. That always happens. Not a real big deal but slightly annoying, especially because I have to listen to their excuses. Let me tell you, it’s much better to just say that you’ve dropped the ball on something and need some help without making me listen to excuses. Shit happens, it happens to me too. I just don’t go telling people that it’s because I’m so overworked… bla bla bla. Take that up with your manager. I’ll help you, if I can, but excuses usually make my toes curl.

Had a call with an IT support colleague and we tried some more problem solving for my notebook, but it is still refusing to install the latest update. I’m getting fed up (so is the support colleague, I’ll bet).

Lovely not having to work on Fridays. Looking forward to having lots of time to read on the weekend. Going to start the next Dickens, which will be Martin Chuzzlewit. I hope I also get around to writing my review of Beloved, because I’m getting quite behind. I also want to do Little Dorrit and Jazz, before I forget what the novels were about.

Also planning to keep up my meditation practice. I did 45 minutes yesterday, but it was quite hard to sit still for so long, as I’d been doing shorter sittings lately. Determined to get back into the habit.

Of course, I also need to do some house cleaning and clothes washing and the usual chores. I always enjoy having a clean and tidy house, but I’m not that keen on doing the required work. Not because I particularly hate cleaning, but because it takes time away from reading. I keep planning to devote a short time each day to do some chores, so that they don’t all have to be done on the weekend, but somehow, I never find the time. What with grocery shopping, dog walking, meditation, writing the blog, and work I’m pretty busy and find it hard to devote a timeslot to housework during the week.

Some nice long walks with Curious Dog are also on the weekend agenda, and some films to be watched with Partner, I’m sure. So, I guess, not that much time for reading. Still, more than during the week. This week I’ve been nodding off after three pages at night in bed, not getting much reading done at all. But sleep is important…

Keep safe, world.


Half-Year Mark

So, the year is already half over, and what a year it has been so far. Certainly nothing that anyone would have foreseen this day last year. Hope the next six months will prove better than the last, although I’m not too optimistic regarding the Corona situation. The virus is still raging in many parts of the world and a vaccine is still in the future. The economic development is unclear…

There are some shy ideas about new ways to organize our lives to make our livelihood more ecologically viable regarding climate change and some hope that some social ills can be redressed in our societies, but there’s also the fear that these young sprouts may come to nothing or be smothered by political or economic backlashes. Still, I prefer to hope for the better outcomes, and try to do my small part as much as I can.

When I consider my personal goals for this year, my reading goals are going splendidly but some other goals not so much. I will take this halfway mark as an impetus to revive my meditation practice. It’s not that I’ve stopped meditating, but I’ve stopped doing my guided meditations since around the end of April and I really should pick them up again, because they helped me to grow in my practice. Also, I’m not doing my regular 45 minutes anymore, as I tend to spend too much time reading. Too much only in so far as it has encroached on my meditation time. That’s not a good idea. I feel the difference and will try to do better. It is important to me, don’t know why the actual doing sometimes escapes me. I will challenge myself to do 45 minutes of meditation daily this month, starting today, to get back into the habit.

Work was uneventful but positive today. The errors I have been tracking last and this week have all been corrected and hopefully nobody will have introduced new ones today. If so, they will have to be fixed in the next version of our documents. I know that people are still working until the last minute, which is bound to lead to mistakes. No doubt I will see them tomorrow, when it will be too late. Personally, I always strive to finish my work at least one day ahead of any deadline, and only do slight emergency corrections on the last day if I can’t avoid them. Still, it doesn’t always work out that way, and other people have different ways of doing things which may suit them better. And a few errors in some documents are not the end of the world even if I do just love having everything perfect.

For lunch we again had some Singhalese takeout from the soul food joint in our town. This is the third time we’ve had it and again it was very nice. I guess we are kind of aiming at having takeout once a month – which is about 99% more than we’ve ever done before. Although, before we moved to this town two years ago, we lived in a smaller town that didn’t have any takeout places. This is definitively a Corona effect.

I think of my Dad today. He died six years ago. He was the best of Dads. I always knew he had my back (as my Mum did and does, too). I got my love of reading and also my way of seeing life as an adventure from him. He taught me to stick up for myself and be honest and true. Blessed be, Dad.

Keep safe, world.


Tuesday Tidbits

The day started off on a positive note. I managed to solve a visual puzzle, where you had to move a certain number of elements to make a different picture. This came up in a book I’m reading about learning called A Mind for Numbers, by Barbara Oakley. Now I consider myself not to have a mind for maths, but maybe I can turn this feeling around (which is a self-fulfilling prophecy and therefore limiting). Or maybe I can use the strategies in this book for other things to learn – I’m always interested in how learning works and like reading about it. This book seems interesting, but I’ve only at the beginning, so can’t say yet how it will turn out.

Another positive thing was that the colleagues at work had heeded my emails about error fixes so that the errors in our documents actually dropped by half overnight. I’ve received feedback that the colleagues are working on the remaining ones. Hopefully by tomorrow no errors or just a couple will be left.

I did a lot off additional quality checks early this morning, before I took off for the Tuesday morning shopping trip. I bought a lot of produce and some other groceries, so we should be set until next Tuesday (with maybe just a short trip to the bakers’ in between). Very efficient. I think I actually spend less time (at least marginally) shopping now that I do a huge trip once a week instead of many smaller trips.

My work notebook is still not installing updates as it ought. I’ve tried heaps of things, the support colleague I had a couple of meetings with tried a lot of things, nothing worked. Now I’ve got some cryptic instructions again from anther support colleague that I can’t make out. I’ve set up a meeting for Thursday with the original colleague to have another look at it. I think I reported the issue at the beginning of June. Now it’s a month later and the problem persists. Wonder if it’ll get solved on Thursday. I’ve got tons of other things to do on Thursday, so I hope the stuff that we’ll be trying won’t make things worse. The notebook is after all running smoothly otherwise. It would be a shame to have to get a new one if this update problem can’t be fixed.

The puppy next door grew a good bit during the ten days we were away. He still likes to bark at Curious Dog and I’m still trying to get them accustomed to each other. CD doesn’t seem to be particularly interested, but he does like to bark back at the puppy. It funny, the puppy is cheeky, but also kind of scared. His barking is almost a kind of howling, very unpleasant. Hopefully he’ll grow out of it. Otherwise he’s very cute.

We had our first watermelon of the summer today. They’ve been available in stores for longer, but somehow, I didn’t feel like having any. But today I did, and it was delicious. Curious Dog really liked his share as well.

The government is actually planning laws to improve the situation of workers in the meat processing industry. The nasty conditions have been known for a long time, but Corona has really shone a spotlight on the situation. Of course, now there’s pushback from the industry, but in effect it seems that improvements have to be done by the beginning of 2021. I hope this will also have positive repercussions in other industries — in logistics management, for example. Meaning Amazon. All those workers packing and delivering parcels could do with higher pay and better conditions. Maybe this will make online shopping more expensive, but it would be fairer. We also need improvements in Europe for migrant workers in agriculture, but I haven’t heard that anything is planned for those workers. The prices for some produce have risen quite a bit, but I don’t know if that will translate to better wages and conditions for workers.

2020_06_30Keep safe, world.

Monday Miscellanea

Back from Bavaria. The trip was pretty uneventful. We got off to an early start (early for us) at 10:45 a.m. yesterday. We did a quick detour to the family grave to check on the plant, which wasn’t looking too good. Leaves looking slightly wonky and only one bud, but hopefully it’ll improve. We’ll have another look in three weeks when we return. The country roads were empty, but we still had the two detours, one of which was rather long. But it seems that the roadworks are progressing, as I could see that the road surface behind the barrier where we had to detour has been tarred which wasn’t the case the last time we drove past. So maybe next time this detour will be history.

Last Thursday, I had a tiring day of doing clicking on stuff and checking things from 9:00 in the morning till 3:30 in the afternoon (with a lunch break in between). The tool was slow and got slower over time and at last, I had an Internet outage for half an hour. The whole thing made me numb and tired and I didn’t feel like writing a post.

In the evening, we had a book club meeting online. The first one since the Corona thing started. It was nice, but not as nice as a meeting in person. We had read a book that nobody liked that much; it was a quick read and somewhat interesting, but nothing great. Most of the books we’ve read in the book club turn out to be so-so. Guess our tastes are too different. The best part of the book club is anyway the catchup gossip we do along with the book discussion. The next meeting is in August, but we’re not yet sure if it will be an in-person meeting or another online one.

Friday, I got up early, took Curious Dog for his walk – it was hot and muggy – and then drove to the county seat to go shopping. Got the usual groceries, mostly provisions for the next time we’ll be staying at the old home, but also some fresh produce for the weekend. Also got some of CD’s dog food, which I always buy at the pet food store in Bavaria, as it has a good selection. Then I went to the DIY-store and bought some cardboard boxes for storing the things from the living-room cabinet that Mum has been sorting and to get a sack of quick-drying plaster so that I can start to replaster the wall of the old garage, where the old plaster has dropped off. I started doing that last year, but didn’t manage to finish it, as it had to be done in small sections and I’m not much of a plasterer anyway. Hope I get it done this year. There was only a small sack available, 10 kg, when I wanted 25. Blast. Hopefully they’ll have more next time we’re in Bavaria. Or maybe I should try using a different kind of plaster. I tried researching this on YouTube but wasn’t very successful. It’s all a bit beyond me.

Late in the afternoon, I pulled myself together and cleaned the window in the office. Was a real difference afterwards. Probably hadn’t been cleaned for more than a year. I had meant to also do the one in my bedroom but postponed that to the next time we are in Bavaria.


In the evening, we had a mild thunderstorm, with a bit of wind and a nice lot of rain. Mum and I were sitting in the kitchen pulling our harvest of redcurrants off their little stems. A bit of a fiddly task. We got slightly more than 1 kg from one old bush. Pretty good. My harvest from my old bush (that I inherited from the previous tenant) was only about 600 g. Curious Dog was hiding under the table, with one of his rubber balls in his mouth. The ball seems to comfort him; he doesn’t like thunderstorms.

Saturday morning, I woke up early enough, but I dawdled reading in bed until it was almost 9 and then had to walk CD when it was again hot and muggy. Then I had to pick up some buns from the village shop and bring some gardening rubbish to the municipal collection point. And take some old clothes that Mum had discarded to that other collection point and by that time it was noon already, and I was hot and bothered. I spent the rest of the afternoon reading, because it was too hot and muggy to move. Just as I was going to set out on Curious Dog’s afternoon walk, we had another thunderstorm. So instead I did a quick vacuum through most of the house. Since it kept threatening thunder in the distance for the rest of the evening, Curious Dog didn’t get his walk at all, just a bit of playing in the garden. As I’d been so lazy, I got in a lot more reading than anticipated, which was nice. But I should have got up earlier and done a bit more chores. Well, postponed to next time. Procrastination rules.

Sunday, I did manage to get up early and we actually got away on our trip back to my place before noon. Was nice to meet up with Partner again. We went for a walk with CD. It was warm and overcast and rained later that evening. This is turning into a bit of a rainy summer, but the groundwater is still lower than usual after two years of drought, so it’s all for the best (as long as the rain doesn’t spoil the harvest). Some of the potted plants on my patio looked quite awful on our return, as it doesn’t seem to have rained while we were away. But they have now revived a lot and I hope they’ll survive.

Today, Monday, was another busy day doing quality checks and reminding colleagues to fix their errors. The deadline is approaching and there are still quite a number of errors. I’m getting quite anxious, also annoyed, as I’m not seeing much progress. Hope I’ll see some tomorrow, otherwise it will be a real problem (though not mine). Otherwise I had four hours of meetings which I didn’t like at all. To many meetings make me bored and drowsy and then I’m no good for more challenging work.

In between meetings, I had a call from my internet provider offering an upgrade of my internet package. I agreed to it, because it’s not a great deal more expensive than the old package and it has a higher bandwidth. Should be useful for home office and for streaming TV. But once I had decided to go for it, I learnt that I would also need to upgrade my router. As that upped the price, it annoyed me. But having already decided, I stuck with it. I hope it all goes quickly and without any disruption of my service as I do need it to work from home.

Keep safe, world.

Unusual Wildlife Sightings

Today is another day with high UV radiation. But since I stay indoors doing home office all day except for a short lunch amble with Curious Dog, it’s not as issue for me. It’s not a problem when CD and I do our morning walk and it’s no longer a problem on the afternoon walk, as we are going out pretty late in summer anyway, as Curious Dog doesn’t like the heat (neither do I). This afternoon, I took him out to play ball in the yard and he gave up after three throws (same as yesterday, but the last time we stayed here when it was cooler, he ran after and fetched his ball at least 15 times). He really doesn’t care for exertion in the sun.

This morning our local newspaper showed a photo of a wolf who has been sighted twice in the county (or rather, captured on game cameras in the woods between my village and the county seat). Maybe he will establish a pack in the area, as apparently there’s enough game to support one. Interesting to think there’s a wolf roaming the woods. Sheep farmers in the area won’t be particularly pleased, although if a pack is established, they will get state support to get flock guardian dogs and/or electric fences. There are a few travelling sheep herd hereabouts as they keep the juniper grasslands from turning into woods. The grasslands are protected, because of their diverse insect population and because they are an iconic landscape around here.

Mum is getting on quite well with clearing out the living room cabinet. I’m going to get some cardboard boxes on Friday, so that we can box up some of the stuff, either to keep or to donate or get rid of entirely. I don’t think we’ll get the cabinet dismantled this week, but maybe during our July Bavarian week. Maybe I’ll get around to sort through my old books from younger years. There’s a lot of books that I’m sure I won’t want to read again, old paperbacks that are falling apart and could go for paper recycling as I’m sure nobody else will want them either. Especially now that there are no flea markets where one might try to get rid of them.

I mowed the lawn yesterday evening (it only took 20 minutes, as it is small and about a third of it is overgrown with poppies, which I didn’t mow down). I almost procrastinated with it but heard on the Tagesschau (German TV news) that there may be thunderstorms in the evenings for the rest of the week. That would have put a damper on the mowing, so I pulled myself together and did it last night. It was pleasantly mild outside, I really rather enjoyed it. Maybe I’ll overcome my evening laziness again tonight and clean the window in my office. It could really do with a clean and I don’t want to leave all the cleaning for the weekend. Or I could scrub the floor of the balcony. That really needs a good scrub, too. Oh, what wonderful choices!

Work was uneventful today. The highlights of the day were the walks with Curious Dog in the woods, where it was nice and cool. No wolf sightings by us! I haven’t heard any news about my work notebook issue. Tomorrow I shall be busy doing mindless quality stuff that will take a few hours, but then tomorrow is already the end of the working week for me, so here’s to looking forward to the weekend – a lot of cleaning and packing and driving back to my place in Baden-Württemberg and consequently not as much reading time as I’d like.

Keep safe, world.


This and That

My Deutscher Wetterdienst app (German Weatherservices) tells me that today we have an uncommonly high UV-radiation over much of Germany. Very odd. Hereabouts it only just 24°C with a mild breeze. Quite pleasant in fact. Wouldn’t have guessed it. The warning is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. so I’ll be taking Curious Dog for his afternoon walk later than 5 p.m.

Yesterday’s dog school was fun; Curious Dog was middling well behaved, neither a total disaster nor a super overachiever. He did everything well, except stay (bleib in German). He knows bleib of course, but the Rhodesian Ridgeback bitch was just so interesting, that he couldn’t possibly stay but had to go play with her instead. There were only four other dogs apart from CD and while they did do some romping, they didn’t do it in the drifts of old leaves and so he didn’t pick up many ticks. I think I found just one or three afterwards, and they hadn’t latched on yet.

This morning I took CD on our usual walk through the woods and back along the bike path in the valley. The poppy field that was in light purple bloom last time has now turned into a field of mostly poppy pods with just a few blooms left. The same has happened to the poppies in our garden. I’m going to collect some of the seeds when they are ready and try to sow them in my yard at my place, too. The roses in the garden are lovely, but some of them got a bit damaged by last week’s rain. Tonight, I’m going to mow the lawn, unless I succumb to laziness and procrastination. But I’ll try not too, as I don’t want to have to do it in the last few days before we leave again on the weekend.


I had a couple of calls at work this morning and did some quality checks and then had to mail some colleagues to ask them to fix some errors. The usual. We’re also coordinating a test of some updated document types that’s going well. No problems found so far, which is nice (for a change). At 11 a.m. I made an hour’s break and went grocery shopping. At the shop in the village I found that I’d forgotten to bring a mask along. What a pain. I had to return home to fetch it. I guess I’d better deposit one in the car in future. The village shop had a good selection of fruit, but no vegetables, as their cooling unit is broken. So, I had to drive to the next small town as well. Will have to work a bit longer tonight to fulfill my work hours.

I’ve been having computer problems lately. My notebook is otherwise working very well, but it refuses to apply the latest Windows update. I’ve contacted my company’s IT helpdesk and have had three calls already to find a solution, but so far it has been elusive. Today, the support colleague found some log files on my notebook that I had to attach to my error message, so that the next level support can have a look. Hope this gets resolved soon; it’s been dragging on for about three weeks. Hope I won’t need to get a new notebook. Although, if the issue persists, I may have to, to comply with security protocols. I though my notebook was only about two years old but found that it’s actually almost four years. This surprised me, as my notebook is still working very well, except for this stupid update problem.

After work, I phoned Partner (we phone every day and tell us how our days went). Even when nothing much has happened, it’s still nice to hear his voice. He’s in North Rhine-Westphalia, where a big Corona outbreak has occurred at a meat processing plant. Lockdown has had to be reinstated in the county (not where he lives, luckily). A nasty scandal about the working conditions at the plant – but it’s been known for years that the conditions at meat processing plants are awful. Maybe this time new laws can be put in place to give workers more rights and improve the working conditions. A lot of the workers are from Eastern European countries, as the wages and conditions are such that Germans don’t want to do that kind of work. I just hope it won’t just blow over with hardly any consequences.

Keep safe, world.

Last Week

Last Wednesday was a wet day, with a mild thunderstorm early in the afternoon and another one late in the afternoon. I had a headache all day that didn’t yield to two aspirins, one in the morning and one late in the afternoon. Must have been the change in atmospheric pressure, or something. It rained quite a bit, with the rain drumming on my skylight. Kind of cozy. Thankfully, the thunderstorm and rain didn’t turn into a real downpour (although there was a bit of hail) and the big puddle in my small yard had disappeared again by nightfall (which is pretty late at this point of the year, around 10:00 p.m.). Curious Dog didn’t like the thunder, poor guy. He hid beside Partner’s desk. The next morning, we had to coax him out of the house for his morning walk, but I’m not sure if he was still upset because of the storm, or if he already sensed that we were leaving that day.

On Thursday, Partner drove to his place in North Rhine-Westphalia and Mum, I, and CD drove to our place in Bavaria. The traffic was fine. Lots of lorries on the Autobahn, but not that many cars. There were two diversions because of roadworks on the country roads. One has already been in place for our last few trips, the one through the Ostalbkreis (a county). Very scenic, hilly, and woodsy, but quite a long way out of our way. The other one was because of roadworks in a village that lead to a detour through the Nordlinger Ries – a large flat area where eons ago a meteor flattened everything. Both detours were well known to us, as we’ve had to take them at various times. Still, there wasn’t much traffic in the countryside, so the trip didn’t take much longer than usual.

Apparently, it rained a lot since our last week in Bavaria and our garden is very green and overgrown. All the grass verges that I cut by hand last time have regrown. I’ll have to cut them again this week. It rained a lot on Friday and Saturday, so I couldn’t get it done last week. Can’t mow the lawn on Sundays, of course (too loud). But it was anyway still too wet on Sunday, so I’ll be doing the lawn later this week, when it’s supposed to be sunny and hot. Today it hasn’t been raining, but it’s still fairly damp. From tomorrow on it’s supposed to get warmer, with no cloud cover, perfect for lawn mowing. We’ve been lucky regarding the weather this year – only one or two days 30°C and above. Great for people like me who hate the heat. June is almost done, then it’s only July and August with potentially long hot days. September is usually not so hot anymore (and, even if it is, the days are no longer so long).


I meant to have painted the kitchen this weekend, but I forgot to bring a paint roller from my place, and we don’t have one here. I didn’t want to buy a new one, and anyway, it was cool and wet. Probably better to do it next time, when it will hopefully be warm and dry outside, so that the paint can dry quickly. Not that I really wanted to do it, anyway. There are better things to do on a weekend than applying a lot of masking tape and mucking about with paint. I also need to paint the hall at my place (very small, but with four doors, so lots of masking tape to apply). I want to use latex paint so that we can wash the walls when Curious Dog gets them dirty (which he does all the time, when it’s wet and muddy outside). On the other hand, latex paint is difficult to remove and not that easy to paint over with normal paint. Since it’s a rented house, maybe I shouldn’t use it after all. I’ll have to do some research.

Well, since I didn’t paint and it was raining a lot, I didn’t do much on the weekend other than read. I did our grocery shopping on Friday and then only went for walks with Curious Dog in between showers and otherwise spent the rest of the time reading. I finished this month’s installment of War and Peace, and I read the book for my book club. I also finished Flannery O’Connor’s short stories (didn’t much enjoy them) and started reading Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey short stories (I thought I’d read most of them before, but actually most of them were new to me – an unexpected treat. I also read Toni Morrison’s Jazz on Sunday (will write a review, but first I need to write the one for Beloved). So now there’s still a few days left in June and I’m already all done with my planned reads. I’ve started a new fat novel, Anthony Trollope’s Can You Forgive Her? Seems really good. I’m also reading Sanderson Brandon’s The Way of Kings as a read-along on Booktube. The latter has to be done by end of July and has more than 1000 pages. I’m on a roll.

Not much time for reading today, as Curious Dog and I are going to his dog school. The first time since the Corona lockdown. It’s outside, so not much danger of getting infected. Hope he doesn’t pick up millions of ticks. On our first walk after we arrived here in Bavaria, he picked up lots of them, and about six latched on. Very annoying. I’m now spraying his harness with a lavender and lemon spray that’s supposed to discourage the ticks. It has reduced them, but dog school will be a stress test. The dogs usually romp through a lot of old leaves and that’s perfect for picking up ticks. I don’t like using the usual tick repellents, because they contain nerve toxins and they didn’t agree with our previous dogs. I’ve not been using anything, but this year the ticks are so bad that I just had to try out at least a non-toxic repellent. I’m only spraying it on the harness, because I’m not sure if the scent is good for him to lick off his fur. But the harness spray is working somewhat, and the ticks are reduced to just a one or two a day that latch on (and get removed).

Keep safe, world.

Light Summer Rain

It started raining early in the morning, with the rain softly drumming on the skylight in our bedroom. It’s always really gemütlich (comfy) hearing the rain while snoozing in bed. Also, it wasn’t I but rather my Partner who had to take Curious Dog for his morning walk. Always a plus when it’s raining – that’s a joke when it’s soft summer rain. I wouldn’t have minded getting wet and neither did Partner much mind. I had two early calls at work, so I couldn’t offer to go instead. One of them was mostly a social call and could have been postponed, but it was a lovely chat with a colleague about what we did on the weekend and the books we are reading and other such non-work topics. Basically, a coffee-corner chat done via Skype. Nice start to the workday.

After that, though, I had a serious call, where I actually had a point on the agenda to discuss with the participants. It went well and was well received as it was about some upcoming improvements to a software tool we use daily. The rest of the day I did some of my recurring quality checks and wrote emails to about 20 people asking them to repair errors or check some documents. It took a bit of time and effort to find these errors, but it’s nice to be able to hand the repairs off to the responsible colleagues. I’ll be doing more of those kinds of tasks, as a deadline is approaching.

Otherwise, I went to the post office, to post a birthday present to one of my young cousins (first cousin once removed) on her 25th birthday. Very efficient, only due to the badgering of my Partner, as I otherwise tend to send birthday presents too late to arrive on the actual birthday (sometimes very much too late, except when my cousins were still children – nowadays they don’t mind). It was still raining, and the mask fogged up my glasses. This happens quite often, even when it’s not raining, and is annoying (but not enough to leave it off).

I also went shopping, but only picked up a bit of produce as we are again leaving for Bavaria on Thursday and consequently don’t need much until then. I’m planning to paint the kitchen in my parental dwelling and Mum wants to clear out the cabinet in the living room and get rid of it. It’s quite a large wooden thing, quite solid, but quite out of fashion. Mum never liked it, but my parents got it cheaply at a house sale, years ago. I guess I can take off the doors and remove the drawers and shelves and take it to the municipal collection point in pieces. Sounds like a lot of work. We’ll see what we will actually get done. The cabinet is quite big and made up out of different elements and maybe I’ll keep part of it for my bedroom – I’ve already got one part of it and quite like it when it’s not so large that it covers an entire wall as it does in the living room. Although I’ll need some help to lug it up the stairs.

I downloaded the German Corona Warning app that was launched today. It’s supposed to help track contacts with infected people. It adheres to very stringent data protection and privacy laws, so I’m fine about installing it. Next time I’m shopping, I will turn it on. If it turns out that I have contact with someone who’s infected, I can get tested. It’s all voluntary and it will be interesting to see how widely it will be used and if it will do any good in the fight against Corona.

After dinner I hung up a load of washing on my fold-away laundry rack and for almost the first time today, the sun came out. I moved the rack outside to the patio to catch the last rays of the sun, before it disappeared behind the hills. I’ll move it back inside before I go to bed tonight. It won’t be dry, but at least aired. Most of it will dry overnight in the living room.

That was my day, not very exciting, but good.

Keep safe, world.