… faraway couches

Earlier, I disclosed that having almost all our friends live at least an hours-long train ride away has taken a toll on the duck who is much more social than I am. We’ve had a long talk in which I apologized for not honoring the duck’s extravert needs, and the duck promised to give me a heads-up before sending off any villain-club application forms. Like the duck, I don’t love living far away from most of our friends. But I also think it isn’t all bad. When I asserted that in our discussion, the duck demanded scientific proof. I laughed. The duck stared at me with a straight face.

Befuddled, I grabbed a pen from my neverending stash, some paper, and a couch catalog for the duck to peruse as I composed this list:

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The duck’s top 5 small talk topics

Last week, I wrote about how bad I am at small talk. That’s only half true. While I doubt I will ever enjoy chatting about topics like the weather if I don’t get any practical information out of it, I generally like the listening and learning element of any conversation. And, if I’m in a social situation with the duck, I don’t have to worry about ever having to do anything but listen.

Articles about improving your small talk skills mention having a list of topics and questions (memorized) that you can fall back on in a small talk situation. I love lists, but I don’t love all of the most commonly suggested small talk phrases. A lot of them would sound too rehearsed and impersonal to me. So, I asked my favorite small talk partner to help me compose a list of duck-approved topics to supplement the general questions everybody’s asking. Here it is:

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About that heat…

The duck and I agree that this summer has been too hot. I haven’t (yet) felt so hot that I feared waking up a perfectly baked cookie (nothing has come close to the comparatively cute but intense 2019 heat wave in Germany and that oven of a bedroom I still have waking nightmares about). Uncomfortable it’s been, nonetheless. While the duck spends most days swimming in the bathtub among tubs of ice cream in bright floaties, I have spent those hot weeks trying to avoid the heat as much as possible and going through loads of sunscreen.

As the duck has been happily splashing around, I’ve made yet another list of realizations (fueled by the joys of living in a house with no AC and weeks-long average outside temperatures well above 30ºC/86ºF):

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How the duck and I relax

Two weeks ago, we established how bad I am at meditating. Since that won’t change anytime soon, the duck and I contemplated how else we like to wind down after a busy day of active laziness.

(This picture of a serene duck relaxing alone makes me want to stop writing this. But I’ll be diligent for just a short while longer). Because my love for lists is absolute, I decided to compile the duck and my top-three tranquilizing traditions into a compact list (compact, because laziness is still our ruling relaxation recipe):

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5 things I learned in self-isolation

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that I had caught Covid. Once I had tested positive, I was required to self-isolate for at least seven days. Since the duck and I do not live alone (as in just the two of us), self-isolation for me meant spending virtually all day in my bedroom. The duck isolated with me in solidarity for the most part. Fortunately, I could convince the duck to go on occasional solo outside walks. Since there are no duck-specific Covid regulations, we decided that as long as the duck kept a safe distance from other strollers, it would be okay. Just because I was stuck in a room – at some point, I had resorted to counting the wood fibers in my sand-colored ingrain wallpaper (that was beginning to look like a delicious oatmeal waterfall) – didn’t mean the duck shouldn’t get some fresh air from time to time.

Whenever the duck came back from a solo outdoor adventure, we had a lot to talk about. The duck told me about the first heralds of spring. In return, I shared some of my most interesting isolation-induced insights:

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Our favorite jogging podcasts

I will start off by admitting that it was very hard to not write ‘jogcasts’ instead of ‘jogging podcasts’ in the title – the duck had some serious convincing to do. With that out of the way, let’s get to the actual post:
Two weeks ago, the duck and I credited the power of our running podcasts for our uncharacteristic endurance in completing our slow jogs.
running podcast duckToday, we want to share a list of our top five fiction podcasts that have kept us engaged distracted enough to not give up in the middle of a jog. Maybe there are one or two among them that you’d like to listen to yourself. Be it to accompany your most dreaded* exercise or your chores, daily commutes, relaxing sessions, or anything in between: Continue reading

How we create a comfy reading environment

One of the duck and my 2022 New Year’s resolutions is keeping up our reading habit. In fact, within the past two years, the duck and I finished twice as many books as in the four years before. There were times in the past when I read even more than that, but the duck and I are lazy, so I’m happy with our mini achievements. Because I don’t love all the books I read (well, didn’t; I’m working hard on no longer fearing being haunted by unfinished stories), the duck and I have a few methods targeting different senses that make our reading experience more appealing. Ready to read duckOf course, we have compiled them into a checklist (the love is real!). Who knows, maybe there even is a decent idea, or two, in there that you’d like to use for enhancing your own reading experience:

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List – noun /lɪst/

This one was a long time coming.
When the duck and I talked to our friend about her work one fateful day, I came to a sudden realization: I thoroughly enjoy lists. While real-life me instantly began using any remotely suitable opportunity to declare this newly denominated character trait (much to the duck’s embarrassment), it took a while until I typed out the proclamation that “I love lists, especially pretty ones.” I am ashamed that, one year later, there still are very few lists on here. To change that, I took the duck and my favorite season (the one that had us believe two years ago that it would be a great idea to post on here 24 days in a row which, of course, it isn’t if you’re a self-confessed lazy person with sudden bouts of perfectionism in the most inconvenient situations) as motivation to finally dedicate a whole post to this obsession.List duckLook at the duck pretending to help me come up with some of my favorite kinds of lists for this post. Here they are: Continue reading

Realizations on a phoneless day

“Phoneless hours” would be more accurate. But since that’s also true for every time we sleep, the duck and I decided on a more dramatic title because, let’s face it, writing about how we went out without a phone once is a bit overdramatic, anyway. Some people and ducks unplug for days! We just went to a place with super strict security, which meant that we had to leave a majority of the things that we usually carry around with us at home, including our phone. Still, venturing out without a phone did make us think about how reliant on it we have become throughout the years. See, the duck and I pride ourselves on not being regular “phone people;” we hate writing messages on our phone and aren’t that big on social media, either (I wouldn’t consider this blog “social media”). We do, however, use our phone to study and listen to podcasts a lot. And that was the first thing we noticed when we mentally prepared for traveling sans phone: We wouldn’t be able to access our usual means of travel entertainment.no phone duckIt seems that we are phone people after all…:

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