Archive | November 2009

The Day my Twitter account was Hacked

I had always thought that it did not happen to me.

The last days I got some DMs from people that had been following me that they got odd DMs from me, asking them to visit a webpage where you can learn about your IQ or where you can find photos of female students. Instead of checking my SENT box I simply thought: “Could not be me, I haven’t sent those DMs”. Instead of taking the hints of my followers for what they were – serious hints that I should take some action – I thought they were wrong, because what could not be could not be.

I got a message from a virtual friend today who told me again that my twitter account was hacked. I opened my SENT box and I went red for shame – Since a few days my twitter account has been used for sending out the most odd DMs to people all around the world!

Of course I changed the password as soon as possible. And I very much hope that things like these won’t happen again. Yes, I know, this won’t be the last scamming attack on Twitter. I won’t be able to prevent further attacks. But I know for sure: I will take action as soon as the first follower will tell me!

So all of you who got those ugly DMs: I can only say sorry if you got more than one from my Twitter account and I hope you are still following me.

First Advent Sunday is Coming!



The coming Sunday will be the first of the four Advent Sundays. In Germany we have the tradition of advent wreaths – you can either buy them already with candles and ornaments or you can buy the wreaths and put them up yourself.

We have them in restaurants, too. Even my local restaurant, the Mexican Steakhouse round the corner is putting them up (although at least one of the owners is a muslim). They come in all colors and forms, but the light of the candles is the same: warm, welcoming, soothing. And the one candle burning on the next Sunday is a symbol for the beginning of the Christmas Season.

May you all have a beautiful Sunday!

New Challenge at Ruzuku

In a blog post some days ago I told you that I participated in a Ruzuku challenge to journal every day for 15 days and what I learned from doing it.

Now I am going for a new challenge there – “Identify and describe at least two personal assets everyday for five days”. I went for that challenge because I know I have difficulties in identifying and describing my personal assets. It would be much easier for me to describe my personal weaknesses, or that what I think my weaknesses are.

I am glad that this challenge will last only five days – and I hope I will come up with 10 personal assets. But the process of participating on Ruzuku will be much more difficult and will take more time than the last challenge. But I think spending the time on it is important for me, and I thank Rick Cecil who’s managing Ruzuku very much for giving me this opportunity to learn about myself.

Some Blog Posts which caught my Attention

I must admit that I have subscribed to a load of blogs, and I deal with that load in different ways:

  1. I first scan the titles. And then, with some blogs, I hit the DELETE button.
  2. I then scan the content. I then, with many blogs, I hit the DELETE button.
  3. I read the blog posts which remain. I really read them, every single sentence and every word. Sometimes I even print them. I do this because they touch me, because I feel a connection between what they are saying, telling, showing, describing and my own reality.

By going through my subscriptions this weekend, I found four blog articles which – for me – belong to category 3, and I want to share them with you:

  • Extreme All-or-Nothing and Your Other Three Tires: This article made me think about how I would react in case I would not be able to reach my goal of writing 50 Squidoo lenses till the end of the year – would I give up writing lenses one and for all? Would I be terribly disappointed? Hmmm.
  • How to Flourish: 17 Quotes on Living, Being and Doing: Every one of those 17 quotes makes you think, even meditate upon. I love quotes in general because they are so full of wisdom, and I love those 17 as well.
  • Daily Drawings – Stare II: Esther Wilson publishes her drawings in daily blogposts, and this simply caught my eye. Have a look around and you may find other fascinating drawings!
  • 100 Reasons to Love Writing Lists: Joanna Young has openend a Blog about Journal Writing to which I subscribed at once. This blog post really fascinates me – I would have never thought of writing down lists in my journal as a means to get things sorted out. Well I must have a try…

I hope you will enjoy my reading recommendations!

By the way, how do you deal with the load of blogs you have subscribed to?

What the Journaling Challenge taught me

Yesterday was the last day of my Journaling Challenge over at The challenge was to journal for 15 days at least 15 minutes a day.

I have been journaling more or less the last years. There were times when I didn’t write anything for weeks. Then came the year 2007 with the death of my husband, and my friends recommended journaling for me as a way to cope with it. I still have those notebooks, and sometimes I reread my writings. I carefully wrote down anything I did on the weekends amd how I managed to spend them on my own.

Then came a time when my journaling became a more or less regular report on what I did on that or that day. I did it, but it was not so important to me anymore.

A few weeks ago I learned about the Journaling Challenge at Ruzuku and I decided to participate in it. I enjoyed every day of it, sitting at the breakfast table, writing in my note book, sipping my tea. I noticed that I needed more space to write with every day. I wrote down my feelings after telephone calls which made me uneasy; I wrote down the feeling of “Am I stretching too wide – how far with adding things to my agenda do I want to go?” I used my journal for planning the day.

In one short sentence: I used my journal to talk to myself, to sort things out. And I think I will keep up doing this.

Are you journaling regularly? And what does it do with you?

Gone to the Beach

Those who regularly follow this blog will know it already:

Since end of May 2009 I have been writing those webpages which are called “Squidoo lenses” in addition to blogging here.  Now and then I have mentioned them here, but this blog is not going to become a blog on squidoo. It is still a blog about Berlin, my travel adventures, the adventures of my daily life.

On the other hand, writing Squidoo lenses has become a very important part of my daily life. So I’ve decided to join the Beach party at and open another blog there. The new blog will be about my squidoo lenses and about my experiences writing them.

You are invited to come over and have a look (and, yes, comments are very welcome!).

Crabbysbeach is a blogging network of squidoo lensmasters. It was founded in September 2009, and the purpose of this site is

to provide lensmasters with a wonderful opportunity at gaining SEO juice“. It is free, and it is a great community. For me, it is a wonderful example of what web 2.0 can be, when like-minded and community-oriented people go together.

The Beauty of Autumn


Reflections: Photo: Joanna Young

November is the month most of us do not like very much – it is getting dark early, it is often rainy and the joys of  Christmas are still too far away.

I can only recommend browsing through flickr. I did today. There are a lot of beautiful photos there, and a lot of great photographers. One of them is Joanna Young.

The photo above is a genuine piece of art. It teaches us that even November has its beauty. Thanks for sharing it on Flickr, Joanna!

By the way, Joanna Young not only takes amazing photographs, she is also an inspiring blogger. You can meet her over at Confident Writing, and she also is one of the editors of Joyful Jubilant Learning.

Windmill in Berlin-Marzahn


Windmill in Berlin-Marzahn. Photo: Ulla Hennig

Marzahn was once a small village, founded in the 14th century. In 1920 it became a part of “Groß-Berlin” (Great Berlin). 1945, after WW II it belonged to the Soviet zone. In the 60s Marzahn was known for its modern housing – many young people moved there out of the old and uncomfortable houses in the Eastern inner city.

The windmill is a “left-over” from the village. In 1815 the first windmill was built. Today it is still working, though not all the time. It is working about 200 days a year driven by the wind.

I participated in a guided tour through the mill. We all usually eat some kind of bread every day – and this guided tour reminded me of how grinding the process of making bread was – from harvesting the corn to cleaning it,  milling it and then baking the bread.

It made me think that in those times people probably appreciated the daily bread more than we do today…

Writing and Learning

In my last blog post I wrote about what journaling teaches me about me. In this blog post I am going to focus on an other aspect of learning.

Since some time I have been writing Squidoo lenses. “Squidoo lenses” are webpages which focus on one subject – they can be compared with articles for a magazine or a newspaper. The main thing here is to provide facts, and you should try to provide them in a way which makes your readership want to read your lens.

While creating thoses lenses I learn a lot.

  • I learn the facts. When you want to write a lens about Mozart’s operas you have to know them – the date they were composed, the plot. I must admit I did not know the plot of the “Magic Flute” up to the day I wanted to write about it. I only knew that the music in it was wonderful. Which information do I get at Wikipedia in English? Are there facts which are important but only given in the German edition of Wikipedia?
  • I learn how to get audiovisual material about my subject. Are there any videos on Youtube? Is there any other media material at Wikimedia Commons? One of my last lenses is about a Western trilogy by the famous American Director Howard Hawks. I decided to write about that without knowing that there was only one bad video covering the last film of the trilogy. Wah!
  • I learn to “break down” my material to my supposed readership. What are the essentials? Which facts cannot be left out, which can be neglected? Which videos are the best? How do I structure my lens? Which titles and subtitles are best to catch my readers’ attention?
  • I learn that I should better write the introduction when everything else is already written (I vaguely remember that we were taught this at university regarding writing a thesis!).

The learning process is still going on, and writing a new lens is always a new learning adventure. And I deeply enjoy it!

The Day the Heating went out

Such things always happen at the weekend. I awoke at 6.30 am because of a funny rippling noise. No, there was no fountain in my room. The noise came out of the heating, and as I noticed a few seconds later, the heating was cold.

Arggh! I tried the heating in the other rooms: one was hot, one was cold. I definitely had a problem. On the other hand I had to leave at 9 am. I phoned the caretaker and only reached his mailbox. I went downstairs and wrote down the phone number of the people who could be reached in times of emergency. Ten minutes later I learned that they could not do anything without the keys to the  cellar. So I tried again to get the caretaker. This time I managed to talk to him and told him my story.

In the meantime it was 9.20 am. I dialled the number of the person I was to meet at 10 am and told him I would come later.

In the evening (the heating was still only partially working) I sat down and did my journalling. When I wrote down what had happenend in the morning and how I had reacted to it and how stressful it had been to me I asked myself: Why? Because, so I found out in the process of writing, I feel very uneasy when I plan how to spend a day and then something happens which forces me to change my plans. Instead of seeing it as a challenge and act in a proactive manner I feel threatenend by the unplanned change.

So, by writing in my daily journal I learned quite a lot about myself. Thanks, journal!

This is a contribution to a group writing project at Joyful Jubilant Learning: How do you Write to Learn?