Friday miscellany: Bach, cleaning out the office, time tracking challenge, etc.

Happy Friday everyone!

One of my goals for 2024 is to listen to all the works of Bach. As it is January 5th, I am five days into this project, and so far it has been wonderful. I created a calendar (just for a month so far but I’ll add to it next week) that has me listening to about 30-40 minutes of music a day. This has been quite doable, and indeed I have listened to some of the works more than once. I seem to have a reasonable amount of background listening time in my days. Currently I’m listening to one cantata (from the early BWV numbers) and 1-2 organ sonatas (starting at BWV 525) per day. I’m getting more familiar with both these formats and enjoying this listening immensely.

Also on the goal list for 2024: Starting Vanderhacks. If you listened to the Best of Both Worlds “Goals 2024” episode, you heard me say I was debating starting this every-weekday-morning newsletter. We recorded that episode a few weeks ahead of time, so by the time it aired I was a few weeks into publishing. The current cadence is four free posts and one paywalled one per week (this week’s paywalled post was on “Laura’s little list of laundry hacks”). I’m also sticking with the sonnet-writing at a rate of two lines per day. And my back stretches.

Next week brings my annual January 2024 Time Tracking Challenge. I’m excited to report that several thousand people have already signed up! There’s still time to join (the introductory email has gone out but it just described the challenge – there will be another email on Sunday reminding people to start tracking). You can sign up for daily motivational emails here. You can also find my time-tracking spreadsheets here. I’ll be posting my time logs here on the blog next week.

Sadly my during the day adventures next week may be confined to my house because…we are down a car. The new van got dinged in a parking lot (sigh) so we’re getting the door repaired. The logistics of five kids in various activities are already complicated, and having fewer cars is making them more so. Yesterday there was a tight turnaround of one crew coming back just in time to give me the car so I could go pick up another kid. And my husband had to drive me and the 16-year-old to choir practice, and then come pick us up at 9 p.m. On the plus side, though, we’re about to have another driver! The 16-year-old’s driving test is scheduled in the near future, so that will open up a dimension of flexibility in the logistics. Though we can’t immediately let him start driving himself to school as getting a parking spot at the high school is not the easiest thing in the world…

(Here’s hoping for next year, as then he’d be able to drive his little brother too.)

I’ve been trying to seize a little new year energy to clean out my office. It was functioning as the North Pole for the past few weeks, and we also stuck piles of mail/etc. in here to clean off the kitchen counters for extra cooking/guest eating space so it was a bit of a disaster. It is looking better. I think if I put in 20 minutes today or this weekend it will look good.

Now on to the Friday punch list! I’m trying to talk myself up for making five pediatrician appointments…


10 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: Bach, cleaning out the office, time tracking challenge, etc.

  1. I’m so intrigued by your Bach listening. Is there a place where all of his works are listed or did you have to pull that together yourself. I was listening to his Christmas cantatas last week and thought of you project.

    1. @Joy – so Wikipedia does have all the BWV numbers listed (all of Bach’s works are catalogued with a system of numbers 1-1176 more or less – some versions go to 1080 or so…). They are grouped by type of music, so 1-220 or so are all cantatas. Organ music starts at 525… So I decided to start at the beginning and in the middle and piece things together to create 30-40 minutes of listening per day. It’s not that hard to find recordings of the pieces. I typed in BWV 4 yesterday and a great recording of the Monteverdi orchestra came up. I didn’t know the actual name of the piece but I had the number.

      1. I have actually been looking up the numbers and recording the names in my planner. I find it easier to be sure I am getting the right piece when I am in the car.

      2. That’s helpful. I love Bach and would enjoy doing something like this. Thank you. Gillian’s idea of writing the numbers in her planner is great, too. A record plus an easy reminder.

  2. Laura, I actually just started a “decide once” on listening to Bach as we unwind at night as a family in the eve and in the morning as we are getting ready. I wouldn’t have thought about this really without your challenge AND I’m back to trying to read all the major works of Jane Austen this year…thanks for all the ideas as always!

    1. @Angela- glad you are enjoying the Bach! And I’m glad I read Jane Austen too – wasn’t always my favorite but it was a good experience. Something it’s good to have read.

  3. The Bach listening has been really fun so far! One piece is from the same text as a Mendelsohn piece my choir sang this fall so I even understood the words. There is also something about listening to classical music while driving that has always felt to me like being in a scene in a movie. Glad I decided to tag along!

    1. @Gillian – glad you are tagging along! I’m going to work on the next month of the calendar this week. My take away is that the pace I’m listening at is quite doable. I think this should translate to finishing by December but I do need to map that out a little better…

  4. Yes, Ms. Laura Vanderkam, I’ve signed up for the time tracking challenge.
    I think that what happens here is that we will practice the “ONE BIG ADVENTURE, ONE LITTLE ADVENTURE” principle whenever we are ready for them, and when things happens, like when a car is down, then we will not practice it this week.

    1. @Yukun – we are indeed down a car, but I’m picking up a rental today so it won’t be as bad as it could be…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *