Friday, February 14, 2014

Is this thing on?

Heck, I don't know.
I'd love to post, and then, I never seem to find the time. I didn't even know that now it's much easier to design your posts. When did this happen? Sheesh.

Anyhow, just wanted to say hello and leave a note that I am still alive and ;-)

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

In the meantime...

Dear all,

I hope you had a nice one, whatever you celebrated.

It has been a long time since my last post. In fact, again, I have been wondering whether I would ever return to blogging. 2010 went on just like 2009 had ended, in a whirl...
Over the last 12 months, the car was damaged in three accidents, all of which we weren't responsible for, and when it was repaired for the third time, a tiny little sensor broke (which was obviously not related to any of the accidents) and the car had to be picked up again - in fact, it had to be shoved out of the garage and howled onto the tow-car, which was astonishing enough to see. I was literally busy for weeks with phone calls to the garage and the insurance companies... Sigh.

And if this weren't enough, I got sacked from the company I had been working for for twelve years, effective end of November. Me and my colleague had been working 20 hours a week, but when the boss said that business was very slack, we agreed to work only for 13,5 hours, to keep the business running and not lose our jobs. We were working overtime, and when I had to stop, I had more than 170 hours overtime, so I was able to stay at home for three months with normal payment. Good for me, thus I could search for a new job. I'm now doing temp work and hope that this won't be on a regular basis, because it cut down on my wages compared to my former 20-hours-a-week-job.

2010 had a lot of annoying little surprises for me, and I'm not sure what the new year will bring. The uncertainty is gnawing away at me. It seems that my friends have similar experiences, and we don't have much time to share with each other, which is a pity and should be - nah, shall be changed in 2011. Often enough, when I have the time (like, now, that I have a compulsory holiday), I don't feel motivated enough to do things of which I know I liked them before “the whirl” got even... whirlier. I often end up playing mah-jongg on the PC, or (at least) knitting.

I had intended to clean up my stash yesterday, when on the day before, a shelve in our wardrobe simply dropped and everything came down in a clutter. So, rather than sorting out my own stuff, I emptied the cabinet, sorted out, and brought heaps of stuff to the used clothing collection (who collect everything from clothing and drapes to teddy bears). I didn't realize how much stuff I had... well, actually stuffed into that cabinet (which might possibly have caused the shelve to come down, come to think of it).
Anyway, that took some time, and, hey, it felt good to get rid of that old stuff, and maybe someone might be able to use it.

In contrast to many, many years before, the winter of 2009/2010 had presented temperatures of down to -17 °C. Last year's winter was already more winterly than those in the years before, so stores were running out of kitchen salt because the people didn't have any other choice...
In December 2010, we already had snow galore, so that some German communities are literally running out of winter gritting. It had been snowing a little, then thawing away again, then down came 15 cm of snow (which thawed away in two days time) and the last time it snowed, we had 20 cm in one night. Not much thawing (until yesterday), so everything is still quite white outside.
Yesterday afternoon I realized that I hadn't been for a walk outside for seemingly ages. The sun had come out and I just dropped things and went for a short stroll which was so wonderful (especially in the sunshine) that I decided I should really do that frequently.
Even the skidmarks looked nice.

The sun was ready to set, and the rays accent small blades of grass and plants.

The residental area lies peacefully beneath the light of the setting sun...

...which goes to sleep again behind the horizon.

(I took the photos above with the camera in my cell phone.)
That little walk filled me with a real positive attitude!

Take care and all the best to you in 2011!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just sew it!

My colleague became grandmother last November (yikes! She's only three years older than I am...) and this weekend, her grandson was christened.
I was wondering about a little present and came up with the (admittedly not too inventive) idea of sewing a bib. When you've got a baby or toddler, it's better to have enough of those at hand.
And although I don't consider myself a great seamstress, I'm quite happy with how it turned out. I combined the sturdiness of a jeans fabric in the lower part of the bib with the softness of a shirt in the upper part and the backing fabric. It's closed with two pieces of velcro. I washed the bib at 30 °C and even put it in the dryer, and it didn't do it any harm, so I guess it's ready to use ;-)

Funny, I like to sew, but it always takes sooooo long until I drag the sewing machine out of the basement and actually start to sew. And I seldom sew something for myself although I'm quite attracted to the idea of having unique, hand-sewn clothing and creating things my style.
I hate patterns and the technical terms that go with tailoring. I'd rather have an intuitive go at sewing, because I believe it's like knitting or typewriting - once you know how it works, it's going all by itself and you'll sense any failure on the spot.

When my son used to go to kindergarten, they used to masquerade on carnival. One of my "masterpieces" was costume for a Cro-magnon man (resembling the Inuit outfit) which even had a cotton lining because the upper fabric (which looked like suede) had lead to unpleasant zaps when my son wore it. To construct the jacket and trowsers, I sewed those like those of a karate suit, adding a hood to the jacket. The jacket had a faux fur brim (I had ripped apart a faux fur stole I bought at Ebay) and I even made some shoes out of a fabric that had plush on the inside and a rawhide look on the other side. They are wonderfully warm and I considered wearing them in winter.

Another of my creations for him was a racing suit I made of two or three Tyvek overalls (I needed several layers as they were very transparent. The suit was embellished with sponsor logos I printed on thin fabric, and with red fabric appliqued with a silver fabric logo.
To sew the Tyvek was dreadful, and that suit didn't last very long (I still have the Cro-magnon outfit, though).

Come to think about it, I did create things for myself, by oddly enough, only for productions of my theatre group... Made myself a wide pair of trousers that I fixed with a rope for my role as Puck in Shakespeare's "Midsummernight's Dream".
And there was a medieval undergarment I wore as Maria in "Twelfth Night".
And in the German comedy "Pension Schöller", I made a long black skirt with a sash to wear as an elder woman.

I'm not quite sure why I don't sew something for me that I could wear any day. There are a lot of nice things on the net and I have even bookmarked some for further reference...
((I guess I should just take my time and - sew it!))

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


"'Yellow,' he thought and stomped off back to his bedroom to get dressed.
'Yellow,' he thought. The word yellow wandered through his mind in search of something to connect with."

Douglas Adams - The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Did I ever mention that "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is one of my favourite books? How I whish I had a "Hitch Hiker's Guide to Life, Universe and Everything" ;-)
However, each and every one has got to write his or her own guide... But there's one thing all of them should have in common: It should have the words "Don't panic" inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover...

Anyhow, where was I?

For approximately one and a half years, bulldozers, excavators and other utility vehicles have been driving rallyes behind our house.
Once upon a time, when we moved in here, there was an anti-noise barrier consisting of an earth wall that slowly became overgrown with shrubs and trees and other plants. Behind that, there were football grounds, and behind those, the rivulet.
Then, the city council decided that there be housing estate. So, in came the excavators. They took away the earth wall, then dug over the football fields, and for seemingly ages now, they're building the streets and footpaths. I mean, I understand that it takes them so long, because they're always driving around in their excavators, back and forth, from the left to the right and back.
Today, a truck load of paving stones was delivered at 0540 a.m.. That's even five minutes before we usually get up, and I'm not such an early bird, so this annoyed my a. lot. Usually, work starts at 0600 a.m., even on a Saturday.

Now that it hasn't been raining for more than one week, and temperatures have reached 37 °C (approx. 99 ° F) in the meantime, the utility vehicles raise a lot of dust so that it might not have been a good idea to put out white laundry to dry in the sun...

But what I really loathe is the noise.
As I said, it begins at 0600 a.m., and sometimes doesn't stop before 0800 p.m.. Vehicles driving. Bulldozers bulldozing (oh how I wish they were dozing!), angle grinders and saws grinding their way through various materials, trucks unloading, hammering, etc. etc..
The point is, when I go to work, it's not quiet at all, either. The company next door does laser and die-cut, and you can not only hear the blanking, but feel it on many days.
Leave alone the usual day-to-day sounds like washing-machines or (on these hot days) fans or the extractor hood in the kitchen.

I got so sensitive to noise, that some days I feel like I'm going crazy...

FIFA foe fun

So the FIFA world cup is officially over, and congrats to the Spanish team. You gotta really admit that they played a great football (although the final game against the Netherlands was not one that was really mentionable; the game concerning the 3rd place (GER - URU) was far more thrilling (and others, too).

When the world cup took place in Germany four years ago, I was a bit sceptical regarding all of the flag waving and such, but I'm getting used to it, and I even watched a lot of the games (especially of the German team, of course, who are on a good way, but cannot match the Spanish team as of yet).
Public viewing was the thing to do, and if people didn't join in the crowds on market places, they watched together with their friends while having a barbecue.

The sight I liked most in these days was this one which I captured with my cell phone camera in our town.

I like the multitude of flags - it seems like every nation participating in the world cup games is represented. An international community of football lovers. This is how it should be.

Friday, July 02, 2010


One, two... anyone still here?

Sorry guys, that was a long hibernation, wasn't it?
Actually, I was thinking about giving up blogging at all. There used to be a time when I loved writing. I answered e-mails immediately, I seemed to be constantly online, and I used to keep a journal. And I blogged quite frequently.

No more time for that, it seems. I might write about all the obstacles that kept me from writing, but I'm not in the mood tonight.Though, I have the impression that I miss writing.
And then again, I needed the time for myself, when I was seemingly offline. (Be assured, I wasn't, I just didn't want to comment. Actually, I felt kind of detached of everything. Of myself. Of my life. Oh, BTW, I still do! Anyways.)

Sometimes, puzzle pieces seem to find their way on their own. On other occasions, you'll need to wreck your brain, or use plain force to get the pieces where you think they should be...
Sometimes, things fall into place. That might not be the place you always thought it should be at. But then again, it's not as horrible as you imagined it might be.
(Beatin' about the bush, somehow, hen? So what.)

What I just thought was this: Peter Pan is a jerk (and Pippi Longstockings, too, BTW).
You can't refrain from growing up. In fact, you shouldn't. The important thing is not to lose your humor, your fantasy and your lust for life. THIS is the horrible thing that happens with so many grown-ups. THIS is what I wanted to prevent.
And this is what I failed terribly at.I guess what we fear in the process of growing up is this: growing old, growing unhappy, growing cranky. Nobody wants to stay a child. Because a child is commanded. It is commanded to bed every single night. It is told to do this and leave that, and it is very seldom in command of itself. (Although many children's books try to put up an image of self-assured, self-determinded kids, reality will soon provide a different concept).

So, what are grown-ups? What makes an adult adult? It is the capability to make decisions, even (and even more) when those decisions might offend those around us?
As a child, we are taught to obey. At least, we learn from the reaction of our fellow human beings, that some of our decisions might be more acceptable than others. Growing up means dealing with rejection, or with more or less subtly verbalized wishes of how we should be - in other's minds.
Many of us (espacially the female) are educated in a way that we have a strong sense of what others expect of us. And we want to go that way, because we want to be loved and accepted.
To grow up, in this case, means, that we should follow our own heart, no matter what is expected from us. If we don't, we will always be remote-controlled, like a child, and even worse. (Yes, I know that we all try to manipulate others to match our wishes. But they needn't obey. And we have to learn to accept that, too!)

To grow up also means to learn to bear loneliness. To understand, that even in a relationship you might feel alone. Actually, you ARE alone. Because there are places in your mind, places in your mental state, where noone can follow you, and noone can offer relief. Some things you have to work out on your own. Which might mean that you'll have to wait and endure tough times until...
...things fall into place. Or force them. Or walk away and start anew.

I don't think that everything is in its place for me right now. But I have got the premonition that at least one or two of my big issues might be endurable for the time being, or that I'll be able to live with those, soon, or make a decision that will be more comfortable for me.
And I simply know that - as for the issue of growing up - I don't want to resist that anymore. Because that would mean I would hinder myself from growing. And as long as growing doesn't mean growing old and grumpy, I might as well welcome the process.
Go figure...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!"

Jeez, I don't feel Christmas-y at all!

The only thing that's a fact is that work is getting faster, because, you all know that Christmas always happens soooo suddenly, and you can't let any work be left over to the new year because there won't be any. Or so it seems.

I have already been preparing some things for my Christmas cards, but still I haven't finished. The baking had been reduced to two kinds of cookies, Vanillekipferl (C-shaped cookies with LOTS of vanilla and ground hazelnuts) and Christmas cake muffins (well, actually this used to be a recipe for a Christmas cake but we just filled it in muffin pans and it works well (and we don't have to eat everything at once, which is a big plus)).

Well. We already ate that much Vanillekipferl that I had to bake another two baking trays...

But they are so yummy, and it's so quick and easy.

Do you wanna try?

For Vanillekipferl (yes, it reads vanilla-kip-ferl), you'll need:

  • 250 g butter (it should have had time to adjust to room temperature to get soft)

  • 120 g white sugar

  • a pinch of salt

  • half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon

  • ground lemon peel, approx. 1/2 teaspoon

  • 2 vanilla beans (don't use any substitution, you need the real stuff, it's Christmas after all!)

  • 330 g wheat flour

  • 120 g ground hazelnuts

  • fine sugar/powdered sugar

Stir the butter and add sugar, salt, ground cinamon, ground lemon peel and the vanilla seeds (slit the vanilla pods (or beans) open with a knife and take out the tiny teeny grains (don't throw away the pods!)).

In another bowl, mix the flour with the ground hazelnuts, then add, spoon by spoon, to the thoroughly stirred butter mixture and mix until it's well blended.

Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and put it in your fridge for approx. 2 - 3 hours.

Now, you can cut the dough with a knife. You'll have to knead it a bit to take off pieces of approx. 10 g (almost the size of a walnut), roll it between your palms and give it a C-shape when you lay it on the baking tray.

Bake at approx. 175 degrees Centigrade in an convection oven (a normal oven will need a higher temperature, but you'll have to try it out with one or two pieces anyway) for approx. 7 - 10 minutes.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, comes a very important part which will add even more flavour to your Vanillekipferl: Sprinkle a mixture of white sugar and powdered sugar mixed with ground cinnamon over the cookies as if you wanted to give it a little layer of snow...

Et voilà!

Why shouldn't you throw away the pods?

Well, at least the pods can give flavour to fine white sugar! Put the vanilla pods into a screw cap glass and pour enough sugar over it to cover the pods. Thus, you'll get a 100 % vanilla sugar without any artificial flavouring. You can mix this with the powdered sugar to cover the Vanillekipferl!

Or (and this is what I did this year), you might want to flavour a winterly liqueur (I know it as "Hudson Bay"). Fast and easy, and - oh, so delicious!

You'll need:

  • 0,7 litres of brown rum (approx. 40 %)

  • 250 ml of maple sirup

  • a vanilla pod (yes, you can use the leftover pods, there is enough flavour left)

  • a cinnamon stick approx. 4 cm long

Pour the maple sirup into a bottle of approx 1 litre volume. Add the rum. Drop vanilla and cinnamon and let infuse for at least 4 weeks. (Sorry this may be too late for a Christmas present, but it needs the time and it's delicious on a cold February day, too.)

And that's just it! Easy, hun?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

And now for something completely different

...or maybe not.

I've been so busy, I didn't even find the time for myself to catch up with what the hell I have been doing to be so exhausted.

Got the notice of the termination of my work contract after eleven years late in October, effective end of February. First, I didn't really care because I thought, heck, I may eventually have time for myself then. It ain't easy to find a part-time job within a quite small radius from home for a person over fourty; you know, bosses want 18-year-old people with a university degree and some years of business practice abroad who undersign that they won't have any children and don't expect any salary increase for the next 20 years, even without a recession going on. But now, I'm just plain angry and demotivated. I am expected to work motivated for a company that got me sacked for another two months (or maybe just one, because I have worked enough overtime to stay at home for a month!). And, on the other hand, I am expected to try and find a job where there are few to find, and many people beside me who are searching for a job. I'm so peeved at this situation, and I'm not sure how to motivate myself.

Then, my dear son broke his hip during a sports lesson. He's doing good but still on crutches, with me as his driver. At least, this gives me more time with him, quality time, and actually I'm enjoying that although it cuts the time that's left for me.

I've come to a point where I am convinced that most of my problems have something to do with permission. I feel like a child. I feel like anyone is so demanding and I would not be permitted to disappoint them. And noone sees how disappointed I am with my life. It's a feeling like I had to respect anyone but myself. And that I shall not even think about why I feel so bad.

It's like I was a child that had to ask anyone for permisson or absolution, with whatever I do, be it taking my time to do some small piece of art, take some time to read a book or have bad feelings about situations.

And noone to run to.

Maybe I already know what I should do.

But I don't yet give myself the permission to do so. This far have I come. I've lost my integrity over the years, to please others, to make them love me. To not be shouted at. To be considered helpful, a good companion.

But I sleep bad at night, I wake up with my heart pounding, malcontent, dissatisfied with my life.

Why can't I permit myself doing what my intellect deems necessary? And maybe I'm chewing too much on what I should give up to a life long past. Why should I hang on? Why do I?

Maybe because I am afraid to feel like the destroyer of a world. Or, of some.

On my kitchen magnet board, I have a magnet that reads: "Never, never, never give up". Allegedly, Winston Churchill said that. Well, I guess that Mr Churchill had an endorsing wife bolstering him. "You go live and win, Winston, I'll do the rest."

And then, maybe giving up sometimes may be a good thing to do.

If only I knew.

If only I could give myself permission to act. To make my own mistakes. To live.