If you might be as old as I am you might recall an album called “Abraxas”. It was released in September 1970 (I was 17 years old then) by a group called Santana and hit the charts. It was music to listen to, maybe also to get drunk to or to smoke your joint to. I did not participate in the two latter activities, but my school mates did, and so this kind of music is always connected with an air heavy with–smoke. Usually nobody used to dance to that kind of music (You would not call moving from one feet to the other while clutching at your boy or girl friend “dancing”, would you?). One of the most famous songs on that record was “Black Magic Woman”.
A few days ago I listened to this song again – not on a party but in my local steakhouse / tex-mex restaurant while I was waiting for my dish. In 2008 Abraxas was re-released on CD, and the two guys owning the restaurant love to listen to it. They do not know that “Black Magic Woman” was famous in the 1970s–they are both in their twenties.
Being more or less the only guest at that time of the day (it was early afternoon) I could not but listen to the music, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I present it to you and hope you’ll enjoy it, too!
If you would have asked me one month ago “What’s zazzle?” I would not have been able to answer the question.
In the month of September I came to know zazzle via my Squidoo activities. Zazzle is a print-on-demand shop where you can sell certain products with your photos or design on it. You can put your lovely flowers on postcards, greetings cards, mugs, caps, sweatshirts or t-shirts. Or on a calendar, like the one you can see here.
kareyj has become a virtual friend of mine – we met the first time on photophlow.com–a place where you can show your pictures and chat about them at the same time. Her flower pictures are amazing, as you can see here. I showed her my pictures and got many helpful hints.
I like to have calendars on the walls of my flat, and so I asked her to create a calendar for me which I would pay for. This was in the time before I knew zazzle. Now her calendar is on zazzle. They have even opened a German zazzle shop a few days ago, so to order it and to pay it via paypal were just a few clicks.
I am looking forward to holding the calendar in my hands, to touch the product with the pictures we talked about in our weekly chat. I know how much energy and time she put into the calendar, and looking at at from Januar 2010 on will remind me of one very dear virtual friendship very single day.
The Chinese Garden is a part of the “Gardens of the World” in Berlin-Marzahn. Berlin-Marzahn is a neighbourhood in Berlin with many multi-story buildings. These buildings were erected in the 60s of the 20th century, and many families moved there, leaving their flats in the old houses which were at that time in very poor conditions.
But when you enter the Chinese Garden you forget where you are–you can watch the lake, listen to the birds, have one or two cups of fresh green tea and just be. On the day I was there the colors were a perfect match: the blue of the sky and the lake, the red and white of the buildings, the gray-blackish color of the roofs and the green of the trees and the shrubs. A symphony of colors!
Now is the season where you can see dahlias in full blossom in all kind of colours and forms. On the one hand they are a symbol for the coming end of the year (did you know that we have only 101 days left in 2009?), on the other hand they are a symbol for the beauty of the last late summer days.
Dahlias are plants native to Mexico, Central America and Colombia. In Germany they can be found in almost every garden. My father used to plant them in the tiny garden belonging to our flat. I remember him visiting them every evening after work, watering them, and selecting the prettiest one for the vases in our living room. Ah, sweet memories!
Art in Oriental countries does not know the presentation of people, animals or even flowers. Instead of this there is a highly developed culture of decorating rooms with ornaments.
As you can see in this photo, the floor is wonderfully tiled, and there is a band of ornaments going round the walls. And have a look at the columns at the right hand side – how the architect or designer has played with the color Blue!
The more you look at this room, the more things you will discover. Enjoy!
One of the most wonderful parks in Berlin is a park called “gardens of the world”. You can visit an oriental garden, a Chinese Garden, a Japanese Garden, a Korean Garden, a Balinese Garden and a Renaissance Garden.
Yesterday, I went there for the first time since being in Berlin – which is quite a shame. I was there with my colleagues, and we had a guide who told us a lot about the different garden cultures.
The first garden we went to was the Oriental garden. Of course water is a precious thing in regions where the sun is mercilessly burning down from a cloudless sky. We take water for granted – it comes out of the tap whenever we need it. We take also green for granted – green trees, green meadows. If we have a garden (I am speaking about us Europeans now who are living in the middle of Europe–it might be different for people living in Australia, the south-west of the U.S. or even people living in Southern Europe) and there’s no rain from above, we water the garden.
In the countries of the Middle East, water is only there where it comes out of the earth. The oases were such places, and human culture developed in the oases. Houses were built with yards inside, sheltered from the outside by thick walls. The yards were places of peace, silence and meditation.
In the oriental garden we see here Western garden culture has mixed with the Eastern one: Original Oriental gardens had water which flowed without fountains–here you can see some medium-sized fountains. Obviously this was done to meet the expectations of the Western visitors…
It is the middle of September, and half of the RocketMoms Class #3 is over. RocketMoms is a very special group of squidooing women, and I am participating in this class hoping to get graduated after having published my 8th squidoo lens in another four weeks.
During these last four weeks I have learned many things. I re-learned a bit of webdesign, I learned about Creative commons (on my blog I use mainly photos I shoot myself ). However, the most important thing I learned was: to write a lens where the subject was given.
Assignment #1: favorite toy. I would never ever had thought of writing a lens about my favorite toys on my own. I haven’t got any kids, so writing something about my kids’ toys was not possible. But I wanted to do the assignment. So I went back into my childhood, and suddenly I remembered the lego house on the green board. The writing juices began to flow.
Assignment #2: favorite decade. I haven’t really got one, and I did not want to add the 150th lens to all the lenses written before about the 60s, 70s or whatever decade of the 20th century. Hmmph. Really, really difficult. Then some kind of inspirational muse hit me slightly on my head and I rediscovered my love of the Renaissance and Michelangelo. I must admit, the interpretation of the assignment might be a bit far-fetched, but it was accepted.
Assignment #3: Product review. I felt rather helpless after reading the assignment. I haven’t got a car; could not imagine writing a readable lens about my msi notebook. Suddenly my eye fell on my swiffer duster – one product obviously used all over Europe and the U.S. I discovered some most entertaining youtube videos, took photos of my hand swiffing the chair (or is it “swiffering”?), and wrote down the lens in one evening.
Assignment #4: fall recipe. Gosh – I am definitely not a cook. Never had been I must admit (you can see me blushing with shame). Help me hence ho – what could I do? Pretend I am a cook and copy some recipe out of an online cookbook? Not really. Every cook would know at once that I was only pretending. Finally I went for spicy Chai tea, which I like, can make myself and thoroughly enjoy drinking on a cold fall day.
So I learned to accept an assignment however strange it seemed to me in first place. And then I learned to make it my own, to interpret it, to write about it. It is a great lesson!
Do you know this? You read a lot of blog posts. Some of them you scan. Some of them you read word for word. Some of them you even read twice. These posts make you think. I don’t know which posts make you think, but here are some which did this to me:
- Fascination, Motivation, and a Progressive 9 in Learning. It is a blog post written by Rosa Say over at Joyful Jubilant Learning in which she writes down 9 ways to be a joyful jubilant learner and ask the community to edit this list via commenting. It is not only the actual list which makes me think about my learning ways and the subjects I am exploring just now (squidoo, tagfoot) and why I am exploring those subjects. I also admire the way of creating such a list by including the community. In the end we will have a list written by many followers of JJL – what an amazing thing!
- Middle Zone Musings – What I learned from Laughter. Robert Hruzek, the man behind Middle Zone Musings, organizes monthly group writing projects. The September project is on “What I learned from Laughter” and I am looking forward to read the contributions. English is not my native language, so I did not feel able to participate actively, but I will try to do my best in the comment sections of the participating blog posts.
- 119 Journal Prompts for Your Journal Jar. It is the latest blog post at the “Abundance Blog at Marelisa Online”, a blog about “Creativity + Productivity + Simplicity = Abundance”. Some of those journal prompts can be used as blog posting prompts as well, and even if you don’t use them either for journaling or writing blog posts they make you think about the life you are having!
For me this flower is a symbol of energy, of the joy of living. Just looking at it makes me feel very much alive.
I must admit that I miss the variety of color very much in winter. But even in Winter there is color – think about the colors of the candles, the colors inside your flat or house, the colors of the cars in the streets, the color of a blue sky on a cold winter day. I promise myself to look for all these colors and capture them whereever they are!
Fir cones are really nothing unusual. But this could tell a story – the story of the two red squirrels, Max and Maxie.
Actually, Max was the first to discover it, full of seeds, still hanging on one of those towering firs. His little mouth watered – what a delicious meal! Unfortunately, it was not hanging down from the tree he was sitting on. In order to get it Max had to jump through the air. Not that that was any problem – Max was one of the best jumpers of the whole squirrel community. Once a year there was a big jumping contest, and in the meantime most of the other squirrels had lost their interest in the contest because Max always won.
So he jumped. When he landed on the branch with the fir cone, he was greeted with a loud hissing. “This is my fir cone!” He looked into a pair of angry brown eyes. The other squirrel embraced the fir cone with her paws (at second glance he had noticed that the squirrel was female). She definitely was pretty with her glossy red coat. “I saw it first,” Max said. “And I was there first,” she answered.
She was really pretty. Max thought about letting her have the cone. He could easily find another one. If she only had asked him!
“We could fight for it.” She smiled in a rather impertinent manner. “I know that I will get it in the end.” “You won’t!” Max was angry now. Such a cheeky person! “I will!” Now the two squirrels watched each other’s movements. Maxie was still clutching the fir cone. Max jumped at her, hoping to get her run over by his sheer weight. She dogded him, and he barely managed not to fall from the branch. She ran after him, trying to bite into the lower part of his back. He turned round, attacked her and sunk his teeth into her neck.
The fir cone was forgotten. The two squirrels raced through the branches, up and down the trees. Suddenly they heard a loud “plop”. Obviously the fir cone had dropped from the branch. They stopped fighting. Below them a very tiny squirrel with a grungy reddish-brown coat approached the cone and rasped away. After his meal he looked into the trees. “Thanks”, he smiled and waved his paw merrily, “Thanks so much!”