Archive | May 2010

We need a name!

Funny creature. Created by Ulla Hennig with Inkscape

Yesterday I downloaded the free vektor graphics program “Inkscape” and could not resist playing with it. This is the first thingee / creature / whatever you may call it I created using the new tool.

I think it looks a bit like a toy for children. It certainly looks like it wants to be hugged.

And now, it is your turn, dear reader: what does it remind you of? And could you think of a name for the little creature?

In the Summertime

Here in Berlin we are all hoping for a weather change. Up to now the month of May has been much too cold and rainy, too.  There are rumours which say that the summer will arrive in June, with the beginning of the Soccer world championship in South Africa. We had that fours years ago, when the championship took place in Germany. We had about 8 weeks of permanent sunshine, the perfect weather for watching the games in the open air (The German word for this is “public viewing”. Many Germans do not know the real meaning of these words.).

Here is some music which reminds me very much of past summers: Mungo Jerry’s “In the Summertime” in the original version. Enjoy!

Some thoughts about the German health system

Don’t worry – this is not going to be a political rant. Maybe a tiny political rant, but not too much of it, I promise.

Well, for three years now I have been taking tablets against osteoporosis. It is very difficult to find a orthopaedic specialist who is interested not only in your bones but in you as a person, who tells you that there is a connection between the way you face the world around you and the way you sit, walk, and stand.

After some time of trying out orthopaedic specialists and spending too much time in their waiting rooms without having the feeling that I was really cared for I found a very good one. He prescribed Alendron acid against my osteoporosis and asked about my sports activities. He sometimes talked with me for half an hour, although we both knew that he did not get paid for that by health insurance.

Some days ago I learned that he had died suddenly by heart attack. He was about my age, even younger. I still feel kind of lost. I don’t know whether I will find a specialist like him again. That’s the personal part of the story. The other question I have is: Do we live in a society in which a doctor either works himself to death in order to follow his oath or neglects the needs of patients in order to earn lots of money? I admit, there are ways between the two extremes, but I know a lot of doctors who do a very good job and are not anywhere near a life in luxury.

One of the most famous buildings of Berlin

Once a week I go through the photos on my hard disk and select a new one to upload on my Zazzle account. This time I was looking for photos of buildings.

I uploaded a photo of the Deutscher Dom on the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin and created a postcard out of it. Here it is:

It doesn’t look very much like Berlin, does it? Could be a dome somewhere in Italy. In fact you have to go to the Gendarmenmarkt on a nice Summer’s day and you will get the impression on standing on some Italian Piazza. There are some really nice cafés on the corners of the Gendarmenmarkt, and on Summer days every chair outside is occupied.
Of course, most of the people there are tourists, but Berlin people as well enjoy the easy atmosphere.


One of the blog posts which made me think a lot about how  I am dealing with the multitude of posts  in my reader was “Sunday Reading, Feeds and Blogs – Help!”So now I have a headache. Good grief, no wonder it’s gotten so hard to get people to read blogs. It’s just too much work.”, Rosa Say writes there.

I usually do not get headaches, but instead of that I get feelings of being overwhelmed, of being under pressure, of having a bad conscience when I delete one post after the other because I’ve got to do some other important work to do and do not have the time to read.

I am now using Instapaper. I am going through my feeds very fast, and everytime I think the feed could be useful I click on the button “Read later” in my browser. The feeds are now collected in Instapaper, and I can choose the time for reading them. My google reader is empty (well, until the next day, of course), my inbox is empty.

Of course, Instapaper is now full of interesting articles. The problem of the amount of information which has to be dealt with, is not solved. But at the moment I have got the impression that I feel better doing it that way. I am still experimenting with the tool and will keep you posted.

By the way, did you notice it? I have changed the theme.

How to deal with an offered seat

When you use public transport as I do daily on my way to work and home you can experience all sort of strange things.

You can listen to all kinds of music – from live music as a band of three people march through the train and torture their guitars or accordions, thereby torturing your ears, or from some young man who’s listening to his i-pod, wanting you to listen to it too by turning the music up.

You can smell all kinds of funny smells – dogs coming in from the rain or somebody biting heartily into something quite garlick-y or a young woman who must have taken a bath in her perfume.

To sum it up: taking an underground train can be quite unpleasant.

But today it was different. I entered the train, backpack on my back and full plastic bag in the right hand. I moved away from the entrance in order to look for a place where I could stand comfortably. Suddenly a young man jumped from his seat and offered it to me. I had to change trains at the next station, so I said “Thank you, I am getting out at the next station”. He shook his head and pointed to the now free seat. It was obvious that he hadn’t understood me properly. For a moment I thought about taking the seat in order not to be impolite, but decided against it.

On the way home I was still thinking about the young man’s offer and my feelings.

  • Why was I so surprised? What prejudices did I have concerning young men who looked a bit – let’s say – non-european?
  • Why was I offered the seat? Did I look old, in need of help? How did I actually look like?
  • Why did I keep on thinking about this simple sign of politeness? Why did I have difficulties to look at it in this way – somebody wanting to be friendly and polite?

Blossoms on the Ground

blossoms on the ground

Blossoms on the Ground. Photo: Ulla Hennig

On some places in my neighborhood the ground is covered with those pink blossoms. For me it is an example how fast those days of Spring pass by – we are in the middle of May now, and the chestnuts are already blooming. (Note to self: Must get photos of them!!)

And it is an example that while the one beauty of nature has passed another one is pleasing our eyes. Time flies, yes, but let us not bemoan passed beauty, let us look forward to the beauty that is to come!