13 April, 2014

Letter of Inspiration



This video realisation of Kurt Vonnegut's letter to high school students brings joy to the heart. I originally saw this on The Guardian site and wanted to share it with you.


The days and weeks flow by and I am skipping happily from one stepping stone to the next. Lots of work to do, a fair share of it even billable. Halleluiah. These last three years of self-employment has brought many challenges and yet, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

01 March, 2014

Serious about recycling

I went with a friend to place flowers on her mother's grave. It was really interesting to look at all the floral arrangements and mini gardens loved ones of the deceased have planted on the graves.

We were there quite early, yet still there were numerous candles burning next to grave stones (they are contained in glass laterns) and new flowers had been placed artfully in amongst the bushes and heather.

We turned a corner and there were these two recycling bins next to a compost container. The red one has a hole on the top and is for empty candle holders and discarded flower pots. Now that is taking recycling seriously!

22 February, 2014

Call you Home



A tip of the hat
A deep bow
A quirky cursey
To Kelvin Jones
For your gift
And glory

21 February, 2014

Mauve Lace


These are the moments of mauve lace
When the soles of my bare feet balance
On the monastery tiles worn smooth
By the endless footsteps of 
Mothers and sisters and others..
The elders, once young and 
Unpretentious, except for their
Coloured dreams of religious wonder
The start of a very long adventure.

12 February, 2014

Love Letter To Yourself


Having lived 50 years and more,
Having explored numerous corners of the world,
Having looked afar, down deep, between the lines,
There is only one love, a universal truth,
That starts with self-love and kindness and faith
In ourselves. That no matter what, "I am enough"
The bottom line, the exit point, the point of no return.

23 January, 2014

You Can Only Multitask In One Way


To multitask or not to multitask... that is the question these days... January has been an amazing month work-wise and so, now that I am officially a long time freelancer (survived those first 3 years!), I go with the flow.

Flow (noun, verb): to accept joyously all work contracts that come in, while working seven days a week and not bothering to count the number of hours per day. This is, after all, what you were hoping for!

When I read the title on the video above, I thought, "So at least there is one way to multitask". If you see the video to the end though you realise there isn't any way. Oh, well, back to the "doing one thing at a time".

All's well here in marzipan land. The rooftops have a sugaring of snow and the sky is blue today.


02 January, 2014

Only the tree left

Holidays are for some
A spectacular theatrical production.
There is much that shines and glitters.
Certainly much to remember about
The fantastical shows of generosity.
Still, to those who venture on this 
Precarious path, let you be(a)ware
Of the hysteria and dampened
Disappointment waiting for you 
In the muffled darkness of your
Bedroom, as mayhem rules below.

For others it is a goodgood feeling
Coming from an excess of food, 
Gift giving, shared laughter and faith 
In the repetition of family rituals;
Based on the infallible belief 
That This Time we will get it right. 
Even though what is right
Is often the unexpected.

Then there are those few of us who
Wholely wish to throw it all aside...
Who prefer to spend our time with
A good book or the cat. It is hard
To explain to others how very
Mundane but deliciously joyous
Such times are: an escape 
From all the burdens such times
Bring to each and everyone.

And then there is Us. A family
Un-seeped in tradition, but still
Looking for decorative spirited 
Bobbles to brighten our holidays. 
We stumble willy nilly into various
Gatherings: unprepared, with no
Exceptions, nearly always surprised
That it works and relieved when it's over.

My thanks to everyone in my family and friends who have made this Christmas and New Years Holidays a true delight. There is only the tree to take down and then we can plunge into making this 2014 a year of growing prosperity, good health and welcomed change.

31 December, 2013

My Discoveries 2013

2013 was a year of discoveries. I wanted to write a list of some of the good stuff I discovered, without explanation or order of preference. Just thought you might not know of them and would like to give them a try.

MOOCs

Books
The Last Samurai, Helen DeWitt

Movies
(sorry, I can't think of any)

TV Series

Podcasts

Apps

RSS reader

If you have some suggestions of your own, please feel free to put them in a comment.

I wish you and your families all the veryvery best in 2014! A friend of mine is just celebrating it in Shanghai and she says all will be well in the Prosperous Year of the Horse!


30 December, 2013

Something small, every day


I'm not sure when it is that I "found" Austin Kleon. It probably was years ago when I discovered a group of people talking about the necessity for each of us to develop our own "visual language".

Austin is a writer and artist. In his lastest post, he writes about his practice of writing a poem each day. I created the poem below in the way he so often creates his own. Try it. It's a lot of fun.
my poem today

He says the only New Year's resolution should be "something small, every day". Think I might give this a try.



True Stories

Working as a trainer and coach has its perks. One of them is the collection of stories I get to hear from my clients. No matter what topic we are discussing, from “multilingual development of immigrant children” to “user-centered usability processes” to “information and communication communities”… all we really do beyond establishing some basic guidelines is share stories.

It is my belief the moment someone starts telling a story is the moment they become completely engaged. It is that “Did I ever tell you about…” which presents endless possibilities for surprise, delight, connection, and just maybe a change in perspective. A good story can gives us insight into past events or into the storyteller’s soul.

Most of the stories I hear are told in confidence, but the one I wish to tell now I have been given permission to pass on.

A very settled and staid manager told it, while we discussed different aspects about how to hire young professionals. We started with the question, “If you were giving a job interview to your younger self, would you hire him?” To which he answered, “Absolutely not!”  This led to several twists and turns in our conversation and somewhere along the way, he told this wonderful story:

Did I ever tell you about the night I spent in a Glasgow prison? Well, my girlfriend and I decided to hitchhike around Scotland for a few weeks during our school vacation. We started on the east coast and made our way up north and then west to the Orkney Islands and finally down to Glasgow.

We didn’t have much money to start with and what little we had ran out at the city border. We wre completely broke. Our backup plan was to take an overnight train to London, where my girlfriend’s uncle lived and he said he would be willing to lend us enough money to ferry back to Germany.
When we got to the train station we discovered there was a train strike on. There we were without a cent to pay for room and board.

At that time, I don’t know if it is still so now, but if you were caught sleeping in the parks you would be arrested for public loitering. Since the only option we had was to sleep in the park, I decided to go to the police station and give ourselves up right up front. We walked into the station and I told the officer at the front desk about our predicament and asked him what we should do.

He talked on the telephone with his superior and then made another few calls with other colleagues. He then asked us whether we wouldn’t mind spending the night in jail. Their holding cells were full, but the local prison had two cells we could use for the night. Seemed good to me…

So, an officer transported us to the prison in a police car where we spent a pleasant night in jail and he kindly came back and picked us up the next day and brought us to the train station to catch our train to London.


After note: The storyteller tried the same thing a few years later during a trip to Norway. He and his (new) girlfriend were turned away from the police station. They said they didn’t mind the occasional person sleeping in the park.

29 December, 2013

Your next boss

Dear Obnoxious Teenager,

Hello. We have not be formally introduced, so let me do so now. I am the woman sitting next to you in the cinema yesterday. The middle aged woman looking forward to watching the movie in peace and quiet. You might remember... the person you kept on hitting your elbow with every few minutes while you noisily ate your nachos. Then you decided it would be fun to shine your cell phone screen in my face while you texted your friends.

You might have thought it an act of cowardness when I moved my seat to the row infront but, was it neccessary to act upon this by continually kicking the back of the seat so we in the row all felt your spitefulness?

As a pretty teenage girl, you might believe such obnoxious behaviour inspires awe amongst your peers. You also might feel as if there would not be any consequences for your actions. It is perhaps important for you to know I chose not to make a fuss over the matter since I didn't want to disturb the other people in the cinema. To you though, I can only say, "I am not your mother, but I might be your next boss. So, beware!"

Your sincerely,

Still Somewhat Miffed  

23 December, 2013

Sorry, couldn't resist


Even though I do not want to be so and try not to give in to this flaw, I am terribly sentimental. Well this is the season...

A girl with passion, wit and dreams...


My son sent me this jewel as a present. The author, performer, teacher, poet, Mark Grist's words hit directly into my heart. As someone who loves reading no matter under the covers on a winter night or in broad daylight in a café down the street, I am one of those millioins of girls with passion, wit, and dreams...  

15 December, 2013

Ironic Twists

If there is one thing you can say about the French, they understand ironic twists. Take a look at the different prices for a cup of coffee at the Petit Syrah café in Nice. The more curteous you are as a customer, the less you have to pay. 

14 December, 2013

Clap Along...


There was that moment in Peter Pan. You know it, "Clap if you believe in faries!" Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” brings back all those memories.

At this time of year, when the days are short (and where I’m living I mean short!) and the darkness of the long nights and the grey blandness of the days close in, it is important to fill our hearts with light. Music does just that.


29 October, 2013

Simplicity Itself


"Richard is the fascinating story of a travelling piano tuner who chooses to live outdoors. Shot in London, the film takes analternative look at someone who treats the entire city as a home."

Perhaps it is the simplicty of his story, but I found this film wonderful in may different ways. Certainly, it can lead to much thought and discussion at any dinner table.

13 October, 2013


Wild Rose Scepter

I am a wood spirit serving all.
Three, plants, animals and man alike.
To those who thirst, I bring water.
To those in need of nourishment,
Sunlight. I shelter the meek,  who
Borrow in my nooks and crannies.
I honour the strong on their travels;
Boldly being as they were meant and made.

For those of you not sure of who
You are, but nevertheless exploring;
I gift you a glimpse of a deer at dawn,
The beauty of wildflowers growing
Next to a fallen tree.  I fill your imagination
And senses. So you may become reborn,
Renewed and return home
Knowing with certainty what is
Art-filled, mysterious and eternal.

02 October, 2013

Days of Silence

How I dream of days spent in silence.
That is where I am heading off to...
Where I can revel in the lack of internet:
Connection to the "outside"
And in compensation, a strong
Reconnection to my inner self.

See you guys soon!

22 September, 2013

Off to sit on a cushion


I'm off  in a few days time to sit on a cushion away from the day-to-day distractions and all online contact. Sometime people ask why anyone would do such a thing. Louis C.K's story of sitting in his car at the side of the road and allowing himself to experience sadness and happiness, is as good an explanation as possible.

By the way, his explanation about smartphone use and children, is also quite brilliant.

16 September, 2013

You are what you eat, but you can be what you wear

I've been following David McRaney's blog, You're Not SoSmart, for a few years now. Any blog with the byline “a celebration of self-delusion” is a good blog to read. Secondly, I really like his interest in exploring and demythisizing common beliefs.
Even it he sets out to cure us of our false beliefs, he does not appear to be doing it out of a wish to rub our noses in our ignorance.

“I, David McRaney, am not a psychologist or an economist. I am a journalist and fan writing about what those super-smart and hard-working people are discovering on these topics. Sometimes, I get it wrong. I’m doing my best to translate it all and make it fun, but If I’m wrong and you know it, please let me know. These things can be edited and corrected. I welcome assistance in clarifying the concepts.”


In this world where everyone seems to consider themselves infallible experts, you got to like someone who is willing to be corrected.