077/2024 – “There Are Sunlight Uplands Around the River Bend”

Lyrics: “Glorious You” – Frank Turner, 2015

Let’s see if I’ll manage to finish and publish this week’s rambling thoughts in time, meaning before the last hours of Sunday night, which I’ll probably be spending watching TV on my sofa.

Even though work felt super busy in parts this week I also felt like I had a better handle on things: Tasks, meetings, project management, budgets. I felt less overwhelmed or snapped out of it quicker. Either way, it felt good. [Free insight into my mind: For a short moment I wondered if I should change ‘good’ into ‘okay’ or something less positive. Why? Probably because I’m so used to a negative view of the world and of me in it. I’m working on that].

I’m also getting a better handle on organizing my day-to-day-life (chores, errands, random things I want to do in my spare time) by getting back to using my favourite to-do-app more and more. Even for the smallest stuff. I still might switch timeslots or postpone tasks, but I definitely get more done this way. Always with the tiny dopamine hit of being able to check something off the list!

All in all seeing this when I drove home on Friday (not the best view of it, but the only possible spot for me to park my car) felt like a deserved reward:

Double rainbow over a two story office building, the street in front is slick from rain
Double rainbow

When I hear or rather more often see and read (mostly on social media) how ‘productive’ / diverse / active other people spend their weekends, I sometimes struggle to not feel like an uninteresting, boring sloth. But luckily in this instance as well I often also manage to snap out of it quickly. First all: It’s social media and we all know how eclectic the side of our lives we share on it usually is. And I also shouldn’t care what other people do. These days I need my downtime. Sleep. Rest. Read. Give my mind the chance to calm down as well.

I was brought out of my lie-in yesterday morning by the doorbell around 8:45. The postman had to deliver a package which wouldn’t fit into my mailbox. I knew it would be delivered on that day, but I had forgotten that it came by regular mail via the postman in the morning and not via the parcel service, which serves our route in the afternoon usually. Anyway reason enough to get up.

My latest book haul upright on a table in front of a white wallpaper: The Great Divide by Cristina Hernandez, Rise To The Sun by Leah Johnson, The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb, American Panda by Gloria Chao, Mediation for fidgety sceptics and 10% Happier both by Dan Harris
Just a few of the books from my recent ‘book buying binge’, there are more to come

I’m on a bit of a crazy book buying binge these days. I would try to explain why, but I honestly couldn’t. My lack of impulse control when it comes to books clearly has something to do with it. Also the fact that I’ll get a bit of extra credit when I don’t cash-in the money I get for selling read/used books to the recommerce service I use for that. For instance instead of getting 10€ back into my bank account, I get a voucher for 12€ to buy more (used) books from them. I don’t sell my books to earn money, it’s mainly to make space on my shelves. Which I then fill with new and more books. Yes, this might constitute a problem in the long run, because I usually buy more books than I sell. I need to get rid off, e.g. throw away some of the stuff on my shelves. I do have books (non-fiction, travel guides etc.) which don’t have any commercial value anymore and as much as it pains me, I need to bin them. All the public bookcases in my area are already filled to the brim and I don’t want to add to the “throw away” books which I assume are quite a few of the ones in there.

The actual books I’m reading this week are the non-fiction “Unwell Women” by Elinor Cleghorn (still, as I haven’t made much progress there) and Maggie O’Farrell’s “This Must Be The Place” (on Kindle). I’m about 1/3 in and enjoy reading it, because I like the prose and I think the way the narrative is structured is interesting. This book actually was one I’ve owned and still haven’t read for the longest time. In a weird / wild (?) attempt to tackle the long list of unread books – which gets longer and longer with each book buying binge, I KNOW – I thought I should intersperse the newer and current books on to-read-next-list with the ones unread for the longest time. O’Farrell was the one that looked the most interesting and I honestly wonder why I never picked it before.

Back to how I also spend my weekend: besides reading fiction / non-fiction books, I also try to catch up with all the news articles I bookmarked during the week. I think, I mentioned that last week as well. I also try to listen to more news / politics / society podcasts. Mostly in the car, but maybe I should do that more at home as well instead of mindlessly watching vintage shows on Netflix. I don’t listen to most of them on a weekly basis, but pick an episode if the topic interests me. I listened to an informative German one on the International Humanitarian Law aspects of the war in Gaza. And I’m halfway through another German one on how the right-wing populist party AfD might change the education system if they manage to govern in a federal state in Germany. Another interesting new one in English is “A Muslim & a A Jew Go There”, hosted by politician Sayeeda Warsi and comedian David Baddiel.

I mentioned that these are rambling thoughts, so here is a work anecdote which just didn’t really fit into the few lines I wrote about work at the start. Ever since I’ve got my own work laptop to work with in the office AND at home (instead of logging into my desktop computer from home via remote service) about 6 weeks ago, I’ve got severe connection problems while I’m working from home. As usual – for me – I looked for the problem to happen on my side, as in I’m doing something wrong. After I’ve eliminated every possible error I wrote a mail with a detailed description of how and what and when (5 seconds every 30 minutes after I log on) is the problem. The issue doesn’t occur at the office, because there the laptop connects via a docking station and not an ethernet cable. I was at the office though when a guy from the IT desk called me, so he couldn’t right away talk me to changes in my router which he thinks might solve the problem.

HE praised my details report, which helped him to narrow it down to his estimation that it’s something in the router setup and in general was really nice. That was one of the reasons why I didn’t have a go at him when during our chat he matter-of-factly stated “Your husband takes care of the router setup, I assume?” I mean WTF?!?!? He wasn’t even condescending about it and I’m still on the fence if that is actually worse. That to him it seems to be an irrefutable fact, that a) I’m married to a man and b) said man is in charge of all the technical issues at home. What the actual fuck?!? The other reason I didn’t admonish him for it, was of course, that I’m too shy and averse to conflict. So I just replied with “I’m not married (Ugh! Too much information for him and in hindsight feels a bit as if I agree with his line of thinking) I handle the router setup on my own.”

We still have such a long way to go. And I include myself in this, because I know I still think in a lot of gender stereotypes. I hopefully check myself before I utter them to someone else, but you never know.

Back to how I spend my spare time: I finally was motivated to finish building the LEGO duck. I run out of good shelf space to put all my LEGO though. It’s a first world problems, I know.

Photo of the LEGO duck in front of books
A rare souvenir from Billund

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