Archive | December 2009

Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

I know I am bit a late today. But unfortunately the thing which I first described and considered as “sore abdominal muscles” turned out to be pleurisy.

I had some bad days really, but due to taking antibiotics and painkillers thrice a day I am coming round again. I don’t feel so weak anymore, and the pain is tolerable.

I wish all my readers a happy, peaceful christmas or whatever holidays you are celebrating in this week and a prosperous New Year!

I will be offline till Tuesday 5th January 2010 and will spend New Year’s Eve in the wonderful city of Salzburg.

Take care, my friends and all the best to you!

The Permission not to be Reasonable

Last night the Berlin University of the Arts had her big Christmas Party. We had a nice music program, made by some of our students, a wonderful Bavarian buffet and after that, the dance floor was open.

I came home shortly before midnight (no problem, because today is the first day of my Christmas vacation, and I am now sitting at my desk with aching muscles. Not aching leg muscles, as one could easily guess, but aching abdominal muscles.

I ask myself: What did I do to get aching abdominal muscles? I can’t answer the question. I only know one thing: I almost danced the shoes off my feet (I love dancing but the music I love to dance to is not the music played in discotheques. So I use every occasion for dancing to my favorite music). So I have been unreasonable. I knew that I would get punished for it, though I did not know in which way.

But: I gave myself the permission not to be reasonable. I wanted to have a great night, and I had a great night. The aches will pass (soon, please, soon!!).

When did you give yourself the permission not to be reasonable?

From Music to the Arts

After having written some squidoo pages on Classical Music I changed my focus and decided to write about Leonardo da Vinci. As a young girl I read about him and Michelangelo, and was fascinated. And now some – many – years later, I still am fascinated:

Leonardo da  Vinci was a painter and a technician, a sculptor and an engineer. He used scientific methods, and he was one of the first people to dissect human bodies. He painted the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, and he invented the first hang glider.

He was interested in so many things, and he was good in so many things. He cannot be pegged as a painter nor as a scientist.

It makes me think about our modern society. I think we lack people who have many interests. We have many scientists with knowledge on a very high but specialised level. What about our general education? How do we encourage our young ones to explore new fields?

In German universities there have been discussions about the Studium generale – a sort of basic studies ranging from philosophy, the Arts, Mathematics to Law. These discussions stopped. At the moment we are debating the introduction of bachelor studies which press the old content into the new forms, with the effect that most students had to stop to earn money while studying – no time left. Of course they had to stop also having a look into other fields of study- no time for that.

Ah well, just some wild thoughts caused by writing a lens…

If you want to have a look: Leonardo da Vinci

The last kilometers

I must admit: I am using that blog post to sort things out for me. You might know that I am on something which could be called “lens-making-marathon”, and as I am now working on lens #46 I feel like running the last kilometers, panting.

It is not only that there are still about 5 lenses to create – there about 50 lenses to polish up. A lot of helpful hints are coming in from the squidoo community – people are investing their time in order to go through my lenses and write down, lens for lens, what I should change and how I should rewrite them in order to change them into quality lenses.

It looks like much work to do. And my inner critic is whispering in my ear: “You won’t be able to do it. You are exhausted. It is too much for you. Your lenses are too bad. ”

And there’s my inner friend (I decided to have one – he/she is a mixture of all my virtual friends on the web) who softly touches my shoulder and says: “Don’t give up yet. You’ve got more energy and power than you know. You have done so much you haven’t ever dreamt of doing – why don’t you just believe that you can do it? Your lenses are not bad – and the hints are so helpful that you won’t need much time to follow them.”

Well, I would not have believed it but simply writing down those sentences (I hope you don’t consider me somehow going round the bend!) gave me back a lot of energy. So back I go, to the secrets of the Renaissance…

St Nicholas


Photo: Courtesy of wildsau

Last Sunday we had 6 December. In Germany that day is called “Nikolaus”, called after St Nicholas, the Bishop from Byra.

He gave presents to the poor and especially the children of the poor. As you can see in the photo above St. Nicholas is not Santa Claus. He is dressed as a bishop, and on December 6th he visits the children. He has a book with him (it is tiny bit undersized on that photo, I must admit) in which all the children’s doings are written.

On the night from the 5 to the 6 December we put our shoes outside (the larger the shoes the better) and when we open our doors on the 6 December it may well be that the shoes are filled with chocolates, oranges and those delicious cookies called “Lebkuchen”. I was away on Saturday and when I came home shortly before midnight, I found a tiny little paper bag hanging on the door with some sweets in it. And when I came to the office on Monday morning there was one tiny little chocolate boot hanging on the door. The whole staff had got such a present, and on that morning there was a smile on every colleague’s face.

So it doesn’t need much to make someone happy, and if we take this time of the year seriously we should spend our energy or some of it by focusing on those tiny things which make other people smile – and which make us feel good!

By the way: This week there will be no blog post on Friday. Enjoy your week and the weekend!

A Christmas Fair

Weihnachtsmarkt Christmas fair / Christmas lighting

Photo: courtesy of Libär on Flickr

This is a Christmas Fair I like – small streets, old houses, some stalls. In Germany we have Christmas Fairs of all kind – big ones with a lot of noise and stalls offering clothes, bags, and shoes; medium sized ones with stalls offering candles, wooden toys, sweets and that kind of beverage which is called “Glühwein” – hot wine with spices. And small ones, just one street, and often only one one Advent weekend.

Of course the weather is important, too. Christmas Fairs are most attractive when it is cold and snowing, and you are glad that you can warm your hands on a mug with Glühwein or Grog (grog = hot water and rum). Just now we have mild temperatures and rain – let’s hope we get some cold days soon!

New Words and new Meanings

One or two days ago I had a conversation on twitter with my dear friends Joanna Young and Brad Shorr about what I have been doing on Squidoo. I mentioned that I was on my way to Giant Squid and had just published a lensography, actually wanting to communicate that I was on my way to have 50 webpages published at the end of the year and that my latest webpage was a directory of all my webpages about and on classical music.

Of course I did not say so. Being a member of the Squidoo community since the end of May 2009 (no, I don’t spend my time swimming in the salty sea, I am still walking on my two feet) made me use the squidoo community language in a matter of course way. I did not realize that not everybody is a squid (Joanna, I can see your face reading this!) and in order to be understood elsewhere I’d have to use words which made clear what I meant.

Language can be a means to shut people out or to give them the feeling that they have been living somewhere near the North Pole and should raise their knowledge to the general level – either you learn fast or we forget you, stupid!

I don’t want to use language that way.

By the way: One of my lenses (=pages) was nominated for the Potential Giant Squid Award 2009 (this is an Award for people like me who are on their way to 50 pages but have not arrived there yet). It is a webpage about Johann Sebastian Bach, and if you want to get an impression about squidoo lenses in general you can visit the page with all the nominated lenses. There’s a lot of very good content there!

December – a new Page on the Wall Calendar

I am a calendar freak, and today, while I am writing this post, 1 December 2009 has arrived. So it is time to change from November to December on all my wall calendars.

I really like to do this, because I usually like to see the next photo on the wall. But now, in December, it is a bit different. It will be the last photo of the 2009 calendars, and in a few weeks all my calendars will be replaced.

This year 2009 has flown by, and somehow I have the impression that the months and weeks went faster than the year before.

No, it is not gone yet. Four full weeks are still going to come – and pass. It is the time of advent, and tradition in Germany wants it that it is a quiet time. It is not Christmas yet, even with the shops and the malls being full of christmas-y things.

Today our highest court decided that the government in Berlin who allowed to have all advent Sundays open for shopping from 1pm to 6pm (only in the city of Berlin) is acting against our constitution. The next year it will be prohibited. But I am asking myself: Can laws guarantee “silent Sundays” with no shopping? Nobody is forced to participate in the crazy flocking to the malls on a Sunday afternoon. I did not on last Sunday, and I won’t on next Sunday.

I prefer to light some of my candles and to listen to some wonderful music, just sit there and look at the lights, maybe do some journaling in order to reflect on the last weeks of the year.

How are you spending this time of the year? Has Christmas already begun for you?