Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Monkey see - monkey do... (Part2)

Good Morning, guys! 
I just found this on my Facebook-wall and must agree - it's one of the most powerful videos I've seen and totally underlines what I've been writing about on Sunday... So I'll drop it right here cause I don't want to ruin the momentum- this speaks for itself much better than I could - open for discussion, share:


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Writing crucial letters...

Yesterday I set down late to write a crucial letter that will set things in motion I would have preferred not to get moving. I seem to be doing that a lot lately and I hope it has something to though with universe shifting things to my advantage - eventually - and about CHANGES - changes for the better.
This one was about drawing the line and making a decision I absolutely despise to make.
But a decision it had to be and my choices where limited.
The one I made is a huge set back short term and definitely heart-wrenching for me - even now.
Yesterday I wrote blindly towards the end - and more than I had set out to - but once tears run free, so does everything that was trapped inside and had no place to be directed before.
If you've been working towards a goal and find out you've been held back intentionally, by not giving you what you needed to really get started honestly - that's quite a blow to your believes - or at least so it is to me.

Disappointments, trials, getting used - nothing really new to me.
But a few years ago I had decided to not deal with those above as I always had - by avoiding the pain by not letting anything come close in first place.
Only if you rob - or defend yourself completely - of pain and disappointments - you also miss out on the joy and happiness, because your armor becomes so strong that nothing will be able to penetrate anymore. I had built myself a stronghold since my childhood - fortifying as years passed by and I held on to the believe that every time I took a peak out, I got hurt again.
So that went on for a long time until I made the conscious decision that enough time had passed, that I had undergone an unbelievable training and would be a hard to beat opponent now - it was time to venture forth and out. Yeah, it was also getting boring in there, wasn't as comfortable anymore once I realized that the world had moved on had developed some really neat discoveries and so on.
Fortresses are really dreary places and besides the darkness extremely hard to warm up...
Willing to be out, one has to give up that tight sense of security and trust - trust is crucial.
And then you find out that that trust has been abused.
Not again - because that has been a different life - medieval times and so on - it's now NOW.
So you haven't been getting help, but that could be because it wasn't there, or forgotten, or ... well, there will always be people who will hinder and discredit others for one reason or the other, usually quite low human motives like jealousy or fear (we have all been through school) - and if ones willing, than one can find all kind of excuses for what others do.
(Note to myself - excusing myself has always been rather difficult, so could we maybe be as easy on us as we are on others?! Lets talk about that later, guys ;) )
So. Basically I was left behind and ignored.
Hard to find an excuse for that, if somebody elses insight shoves it straight into your face.

Hey I'm not one to give up easily, so don't get any weak notions here. Those of you who know me - know what I mean. You others might one day. But hey, giving up when it gets tough? No way, I wouldn't be able to look into a mirror again - 120% it is - I've not yet mastered that "could we maybe lower our standards just a tiny bit?" mindset yet, bear with me!

But how can you move on if this happened in an environment you not only place high hopes in, but also set high stakes - those of your future? Would you be able to continue in that exact close knit milieu, where it means to absolutely be able to depend on each other and completely trust that all around you will assist and support because to reach the goal all had to be in? Or would you need to move aside because those surroundings you got betrayed in would never truly feel secure again and you would not be able to fully give yourself to the task, because part of your mind would always wonder what happened behind your back? 

I try to fly by the seat of my pants and listen to my heart when it comes to people. 
Generally - these days - I give most everybody I meet a smile and a leap of faith. (lets exclude those you know in the first three seconds that you won't be able to deal with because chemistry just doesn't work and firework is building in your guts when they barely open their mouth or cross the critical 3 meter line!)
But when you loose that and the sense of basic trust is gone, how do you continue? How can anybody? How can you continue looking into people's eyes, knowing how easily they'll turn, because they have before?
Back to pedagogic - children who don't develop that basic trust in somebody or lost it for whatever reason - have a tough time learning for example. Why? Because they always have to spend so much energy and time testing their ground instead of flowing with open minds and hearts through the world and absorbing all there is - as those do who feel safe. Quite a difference, mmh? 

People who always say there mind can be really uncomfortable and annoying, but there is one safe thing about them: You will always see the knife coming...

Monday, January 13, 2014

How to treat writers... beware!

It's Monday - I should - I haven't - at least I can give you the rules should I ... :)

Oh - and never ask me about myself - I never am who I am supposedly should be - got it?! (writers ALL have multiple personalities, I am absolutely convinced of that!)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Living by example and the power of monkey see - monkey do... (part1)

In an attempt to progress in healing myself, leave my secure den for a while and to reintegrate myself in real human-civilization, I agreed to some volunteer translation duties at an event my incredible mother company (if you are nice, come back reading regularly and help this blog to reach more then ten people I will eventually - just maybe - tell you a little bit more one day ;) ) hosted here in Vienna.
Now I won't be going into detail, but one of our believes - that is passed on frequently in meetings, trainings, conventions,... - is to adopt the "monkey see - monkey do" philosophy as a mindset and tool.
Has worked since the beginning of humanity - as the name suggests! - does to this day and means nothing less then that others are highly likely to follow your example - if you have established some kind of POSITIVE relationship with them first (you wouldn't follow anybody you despise, right? - but that's a subject we shall return to at another time):
So whatever YOU do, will be reproduced in one way or another as closely to that persons abilities and their personality. The stronger YOUR output, the closer the result will be to what you want to be reproduced! The laxer and "wishy-washy" you are, the less defined the outcome. That's when most teachers, trainers, leader need to go back to untangle what wasn't understood correctly.
Now this applies to many areas of learning, so is a crucial thing to keep in mind when preparing what you want to say, do, achieve - or what happens if you go careless and DON'T give it due consideration!

Now I won't go into much detail from this event, just two tiny examples, that might get some to reconsider their own behavioral output and what it could do to the big picture:

I ended up handing out gear and headsets for attendees to use during speeches, giving them the sinple instructions and asking them cheerfully to please return the equipment at the end of our event to ME (A. positive! B. connected to a face, which then is connected to a place - lets have as many senses in use - always useful to reach a goal!)...
Almost HALF of the machines where NOT returned, but instead left inside the event-hall on or under chairs. But what really is the point - their have not been any SINGLE headsets left behind, but it was always a group of people sitting next to each other!
Monkey see - monkey do ;)
At one time getting up, they might have all held in their hands, but then it takes onle ONE person to put it back down on the chair for everybody else to think "Oh, if he/she isn't taking it back, why should I?!"
Now consider that in doing your business!
This is only a tiny thing, where one person led his or her group/followers to not return their headsets (which ok, resulted only in me having to go searching after them in a hall that had been occupied by a mere 1500 people for the day!), but can you picture that in other areas?!
And what I would consider in the next sequence is, that human behavior is not only defined by copying, but also by imprinting such - means nothing less that what has been stored, eventually gets repeated without even thinking about it (ok some people don't even think in first place, but that's a different problem all together). That of course can multiply and multiply and then therapists earn a lot of money guiding people through the process of undoing the damage by unlearning behavioral mannerism who shouldn't have been inhaled in first place.
So, if you lead your team carelessly into adapting actually unwanted things, don't fuss about it later - the fault's with you and you only (and trust me, I've been there as well!)!
Second sequence:
We are talking about a truly wonderful company, who puts people first, gives everybody an equal chance and talks about health, prosperity and generally making the world a better place - high visions indeed and definitely much needed hope and guidance in the time we live and proven not empty words in this case!
Now, if you would have been there (and I know some readers will have) and -  even with all your excitement and in that state of exuberant expectations - would have turned around to become aware of your surroundings one last time on your way out, you would have gotten quite a different impression.
You might have wondered if, in our vision to make the world a BETTER place, we have surrendered to fighting it with old fashioned war-techniques, leaving behind the carnage associated with it!
For myself, wandering around in my hunt for headset-prey, I was left climbing over and frequently tripped by hundred of CANS - and boy was I happy there wasn't any popcorn available that day!!
Now I know what people are going to say now - it was a great day, people had other things in mind, everybody was excited, using the momentum, planning ahead...
Hey, but I thought that was the point? Planning ahead, using the excitement, changing the world?!
Maybe by picking up your can(s) and - proudly! - carrying them to the next trash-pin (memo to myself: let's remember to actually put up specific ones for cans - aluminum and metal are precious for recycling), because we want to leave a positive impression about our company because we are truly different, people, aware of their surrounding and willing to take that extra step to make changes that count and are visible to others? Wouldn't that be an amazingly tiny step for each individual to take, but duplicated having an incredible result on how we are perceived by those immediately watching?
Now I am not pointing a finger at anybody specific (which would be hard to do with the hundreds of cans spread throughout the rows - quite colorful actual and quite a branding of the hall!) - god, I have left garbage behind in the past and allowed a gum to remove itself through the car window - but, as I was collecting, I became witness to a couple of people not belonging to our troupe, but obviously to the center management (one of them later checked with me that all headsets where back and in good order) discussing the mess in passing and it was not a good impression left and I was tempted to jump in in and defend "my" company by declaring "That's not how we are!" One statement that kinda really hurt, was the fast to come, was the "well, it's all those young people, it's what you have to expect. They don't care!" I realize how thin my reply, "yeah, they do, the young people in our organization really do! I am sure they where in a rush, they just forgot..." sounded. It's a bit far stretched to hope somebody believes that hundreds of cans have been abandoned by accident...
And now think, if the leader of each group, team - or a seat neighbor in the row - would have picked up his - pointedly or  reminded verbally to follow up!
I can just taste that "WOW - you people are so orderly - we never had that before! What is that?!" coming from those people I had observed - so much difference, so much pride to take in!
Monkey see - monkey do.
Maybe it's worth considering to you - maybe it's worth to take the thought with you and discuss with others - your friends, team, the people that look up to you and follow you?
Sometimes very little moves go a loooonngggg way....

(I know I promised to post pedagogic/training posts in German, but this one applies to a rather huge community and couldn't possibly be reduced to the German speaking people only, so please bear with me! Also YOU guys can deal English as well, while they - well you know how we Americans are! ;) )

Friday, January 10, 2014

(not MY foot, but that's about what it
looked BEFORE I experimented
with various ointments )
Ok. Sorry about the delay yesterday - my "frozen" toes (many years ago) intended to kill me (way too recently). After some fruitless applications of three different ointments (three  trips to three different pharmacies to get different opinions) - each one made it worse - and the intake of some painkiller overdoses (ok 2000mg of Ibuprofen won't kill me) that didn't do much either, I frantically searched my brain (yes, still worked somehow) for some of the old remedies my Grandma used to talk about that I only nodded to, but never really paid overmuch attention. There some synapses connected chilblains to potatoes.                                                   

At that point I would have let my cat pee on my toes if that would have been any help. Sacrificing a potato certainly seemed like a worthwhile investment.
So there - thin sliced raw potatoes got neatly arranged on my foot and... INSTANT RELIEVE!!!
I could have cried out of mere gratitude to that unsightly vegetable covering my skin - amazing!
Ended up repeating the procedure twice (the potatoes got warm after a while, so first turned them over before replacing - and no to the funny witted: They where not done and I did certainly not keep them for future use. I gave them to the ravens instead ;) ), before tying the last layer to my foot with some linen, covering that with a sock.
That's how I went to sleep.
And sleep I got!
And this Morning?
Shriveled potatoes and foot almost as new!
I tell you, those people in our past - they really new how to put nature to their use!
And today I tried this version:
Bit gross to look at - but the feel!!! (not my feet)
So, what secret remedies have you been introduced to by - maybe your Grandparents?!
I'd be curious to find out more amazing secrets to put to use!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

More about foxies... as promised!

Ok, so first here are the videos from our first foxbabiy-batch (excuse my over-excited reactions and the bad camera - as I said, I only got the camera for them ;) )


And yes, one of the foxcubs returned eventually, obviously having succeeded in taking over Mom's territory this summer. I haven't seen Mom again since then... :(

The grown up boy is considerably bigger than Mom was, but still fox size - which mean he obviously fits through a cat entrance - Momo's is a chicken ladder out of the kitchen window, which in addition has a wrought iron grate in front. That way I can leave the window open (during warm season!) and she can come and go at her pleasure, without me having to worry about uninvited visitors.
Or so I thought.
It HAD to be just the night before a last minute decision in attending a conference should take place - I had to leave really early and had arranged Momo's caretaking over the weekend really at last call before going to bed.
Hasty packing and as hasty baking of muffins for my neighbors who would feed and socially serve my feline flatpartner had been finished just before and both heaps waited to be further acknowledged early Morning.
They have both been attended to earlier.
Extremely early Morning I woke up to quite a commotion in the kitchen and instantly called out "Stop it Momo!!"
- who stirred right next to me with a wide yawn.
Watchcat indeed.
I stormed out to discover a rather undisturbed fox trying to get a BAG of catfood to squeeze through the window grate. I lost the wrestle for it - but he fell with it off the catladder. HA!
That was it though - quite unimpressed by my shouting at him and get him to at least get lost - he just stayed right where he was - below my window and tried to get his prey to open up.
I moved to the next window with a pitcher of water - to get a better sight of and aim at him, but if I would have been so mad at him, it would've been quite amusing: as I splashed the water at him, he merely hoped - yes HOPED!! - on all fours ever so slightly to the side and then starred at me drooling with a lock like "Is that ALL you've got?! Come on!!"
As it was dawning and I was really intent on getting another hour of sleep I retreated with MY tail tugged (do NOT picture that!) back to bed - not before I had the window closed to a bare slit - just to keep an idea for Momo should she need to get out.
Mighty huntress had gone back to sleep by then.
Couldn't have been long after that - I almost fell out of my bed because of unconscious watchfulness -
noise in the kitchen - again!
I - out of bed - stunbling over everything and almost breaking my neck and some toes (not in that order) - there he was again: He just SAT there and indulged on MY BREAKFAST CROISSANTS!!!
Now he really got a chase out - didn't seem to mind - he was already on the last one...
Oh - and thirty minutes later I discovered that he had had the muffins as well...
 I will NEVER babysit foxes again!
Remind me.
Just in case.

(btw. I called the local wildlife department to see if they would kind of ... well... "pick him up" or something. City after all - and MY kitchen! Their answer: nope, obviously he's HAPPY there and grew up there. I complained that he might have rabies or something - nope, unlikely. A. there wasn't a case in the past 30 years and B. he still enjoyed sweets. WT.?! Their advise: Just don't keep any food there and he will get bored! It'S a KITCHEN for heaven's sake!!!)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bureaucracy at it's best....

It's the new year.
So like every year there are certain things you have to do to make sure some things continue working.
Like memberships, bank cards, licenses.
Needed some little change on a license and went to the appointed departement.
placed myself in a line and waited since I could not decipher their direction board (extensive!).
After a while I turned about and realized that people pulled out little cards of a machine.
I left my row and advanced to one of two machines - got me a number and a row to be assigned to.
Not the row I had been, so ok, started all over at the end of that other row (now we are still talking about just getting to find out what to do!)
Right at the end, I now got to watch other people moving in and talking to some kind of officer to the right in a little booth that had not been occupied when I came.
I waited some more, watched, shifted nervously and finally left my place in the row again to check out the guy in the booth.
Happens he told me to pull a number - no, from the other machine. Did. Ended up in my first row - ALLL the way back. after about 30 minutes I could actually see the counter I was advancing - eeha!
Suddenly Mr Officer started walking up and down the rows, pointing at papers people where holding, who then would read or scribble on them and continued to move forward.
As he came by me he looked at the number I had pulled, nodded and then asked me if I had filed out form so and so.
I had not. WHAT form?
Well the forms where right there at the entrance!
I quivered with emotion as I tried to ask as friendly and smiley as I could, why he couldn't have told me that when I was by his booth? Turns out I had only asked him about the rows.
My fault.
Moved back, got form, started again at the end of my row, using the advancing time to fill out my name and useless data.
It was quite surprising to eventually arrive at the counter, where an incredibly disinterested female, who didn't even look up, snapped the paper out of my end and mumbled something about section B - numbers would be called.
I searched for section B.
Found it.
Also three rows.
I used a nursery rhyme to pick on as there was no other way to figure out which one I should take.
After 45 Minutes another "friendly" officer moved through the rows answering questions and occasionally checking numbers.
By doing so on mine, he (or she?!) drew an annoyed breath and bellowed why I was inhibiting a space I was not assigned to?
I swallowed, trying to figure out an answer that would not involve "Humpty Dumpty" as an announcement was made that the following numbers could now advance to counter B2.
I smiled prettily and quickly moved to the end of the row - I was NOT in.
Upon arriving there at the front I was asked if had had paid the fee?
No, I had not, but I had it with me?
Nope, she said as she handed me my application form back.
2nd floor, room number so and so, pay and come back with the receipt.
She looked so challenging, I rather left.
Plus I had only been there for about three hours, so nothing to worry yet.
"nd story is split by the way and you need to get the right lift to make it to the left section which was where I finally arrived after first inspecting the absolutely similar but back to back floor 2 right section.
Paid, got receipt, left.
Back on ground floor I happily placed myself in my row B2 and waited patiently, arriving in the front all smiles upon presenting my receipt to Ms Sweetness.
She took the receipt after starring at my papers again and mumbled "Form xy stamped"
I wasn't sure she was actually talking to me, as she had not looked at me once and so startled as she repeated her request with a subdued bellow.
What xy stamped form, I dared to asked and pointed out all the things I had brought we me in my files, plus the form I had filled out - the one from the entrance - and the receipt.
No "form xy is not stamped"!
I looked about, C1 was RIGHT NEXT TO HER - I mean the person at C1 was seated right next to her within ARMLENGHT!!!
In a very low, begging voice I asked if she could not just reach over and stamp the form right ...
The look I got was so piercing and deadly and winced, taking my paper turning and asking if I would then have to return to her?
B2 she growled and slid away with her office chair (probably to her neighbor to steal the seal.
I placed myself in the extremely short row of C1 - only 6 people in front of me I noticed happily and sent a thought of encouragement to my growling stomach.
6-5-4-3 ... down went the shutter at the counter.
The people in front of me sighed and started to walk away.
Panicky I stared about and again at the now closed window with the stamp for the paper I had to bring back to B2 where everything went on as before ...
As my row cleared, I got hold of the officer walking to the back.
"Oh, it's lunch break now!" he announced cheerfully and gave me paper that would put me "back upfront the line again where I had been at 1 when the counter reopens", but I need to stay close by.
I wandered the halls of thread and even found a machine that spit out coffee instead of numbers - you paid the number doubly though for something that had no resemblance with anything I had ever been drinking before.
I was there 15 minutes early, proudly holding my spot, even before the other two number-holders came and magically they lined up behind me.
Got my stamp, stepped left with an exuberant grin upon my face to present it to Madam B2.
No I didn't wonder that there where no more people waiting in line, they had twindled away during the past hour...
I stood there proudly presenting my booty to the back in the office chair that wouldn't turn around.
I pretended a slight cough that resulted in another office person turning about just as my gazed at chair did and both of them pointed at a tiny sign that said - you guessed it - closed!
I was gobsmacked and kept starring alternating between that tiny sign and my paper. As the lady in the heaved herself up, scrambling together her belongings, the other one - must have been a soft-hearted person - pointed with her chin towards the glass surrounding the counter.
Know what?
B Counters close at 1pm.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The "Let's get more excercise" New Years resolution...

It's impossible to count how many times I have heard this one already THIS year and that one is barely over a week old!
I actually got one of those 5-minute-shapers myself - YEARS ago, before the hype started really.
I put it up, found a space for that thing to live and managed to pull my a.. up a few times - probably five and no I did not do one a minute (which would actually be a fitness program that I think I might be able to hold on to ;) )
After those few initial "slide-ups" which left me totally out of breath (and yes, even with that tiny measure my tummy hurt like hell the next Morning!!). I repeated that procedure with not much more success - basically my goal was to at least make it a minute... pfff - but left it there and eventually found something to cover it up nicely (it's now a playground for Momo).
BUT - and I was really good in that one - I did Powerplate for the past years and enjoyed that a lot!
Until my studio developed "personal" problems and after the fifth team in a year, I left last summer and decided to try what everybody else seems to be addicted to - the sofa.
And than happened the unthinkable:
I WON a half-year-membership at a woman's fitness studio!
I was aghast.
Just what I needed - a studio with ladies only - in my mind I could see all the styled up fitness-queens - I was convinced I would need a make-over plus a stylist every time I would want to got there...
How could that have happened??? Must have been the sofa & filling out random puzzles... darn

Well, been there, not as bad as I thought in the some areas - hell in others.
Machines - easy, ladies - no problem
but their system forces you to do rhythmical exercises between the machines! Does anybody remember those aerobic dance moves from way back? Well, I am not a dancer, no Mam. I was NEVER able to quite get those moves right, much less put together those individual elements. When it all looked so smooth and easy on the rest of the group, I looked like a first charge robot filled with wrong instructions. I don't need to manage I was always trying to hide in the back row - which in a room of mirrors is not helpful at all - especially with everybody twirling in every direction anyway, which eventually makes you stand out center stage somehow.
And now imagine that scenery on steppers!!!
That's what they ask of me and since this is a circuit-training - you get to face everybody at all times
(not that my backside would be a better view).
Yep. I am getting a lot of attention right now - especially since the instructor is always standing in front of me trying to "help" me by showing everything back-to-front. Harrumph.
But I am making up for it - I exceed myself by doubling the tempo on the machines.
Let the ladies digest and beat that HA! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

the duty of welcoming royal ambassadors...

6th of January is a day here in Austria on which you can't possible leave your home, as all and everybody can expect royal visitors!
Epiphany in English - it's Dreikoenigstag in German - is the day in liturgy. It's all about the three Kings (also referred to as the three Wise Men or Mages) were, in the Gospel of Matthew and Christian tradition, a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity celebrations of Christmas and are an important part of Christian tradition.
Over here you can be sure that these three kings visit your home in a younger and shorter version, which means that you have to have money ready for the charity they collect for and an equal share of sweets (you don't want the kings to get into a fight once they are out of the public eye and their costumes!) for the participants. Since I am on the end of their route, I also keep something to drink ready to make sure I get something out of the by then hoarse voices ;)
So once you open the door, there is no holding back - you are faced with a group of three elementary school children dressed up as the magi (plus the star(holder) and their chaperone) - and as soon as you are barely in sight, they reel of their rehearsed litany in a speed that's hard to comprehend - first together, than with each kings little statement wrapped in a poem that by the end of the day has become a blurry of words. This is followed by some traditional song immediately followed by the box pushed under your nose. I take this all with a lot of humor and feel really sorry for those kids - they really don't look like they have much fun and I especially pitty the one child in the Sternsinger group that traditionally is to represent Baltasar from Africa and so, that child typically wears blackface makeup - which by that time is smeared and looks extremely itchy and thoroughly uncomfortable.
The last tradition in German-speaking areas is the writing of the new year's blessing for the occupants three kings' initials (C+M+B+the years) above the main door of Catholic homes in chalk. It's not the initials as most believe but stands for "Christus mansionem benedicat" ("May/Let Christ Bless This House"). This was always quite taunting to them in this house as doorframes are white and you can't see the chalk. So this year the actually brought stickers ;)
After that you share out the sweets and are then able to safely return to your sofa - because before this procedure has taken place you can't possible relax. Even phonecalls start that day with a "have the kings been there yet?".
I wonder if I there not to be at home next year.
Neee, I'm sure they stop cars too - there are tons of groups loose that day!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Animal Neighbors...

You do remember the deer I met upon moving in my "Little Schoenbrunn"?
Not the only member of our extended animal neighborhood!
Shortly after myself I moved in Gwynnie - I will give you her story another day - the most social cat ever. Gwynnie enjoyed the company of all our animal neighbors - and they hers for some reason.
Thus I got to see all of them - playing, watching or just lounging in each others reach - right in front of my window.
 I remember when one of my cousins came to visit from the States, she basked happily in the sun falling in through my open window facing back to the cemetery (as all of my windows do). I was peacefully preparing our coffee when she suddenly let out a rather high pitched shout - ok I hadn't warned her as it was a natural sight to me - "there's a fox strolling across the lawn up there!"
I assume she was a little bit disappointed at my rather low key disinterested "I know" - not even joining her at the window to exclaim over her extraordinary discovery...
It didn't take more than a few seconds when she wailed that my "cat is running after the fox!"
As I didn't come to the rescue there either (for which one - the cat or the fox?!), the next came out as barely a whisper: "Oh, there's a rabbit following them..."
I believe after the coffee and cookies where ready.
When foxmom had her cubs, I decided to get a video camera - I proofed rather untalented, but thus I not only have a little video clip of Gwynnie (I never used the camera again ;)), but also some footage of our first foxbabies (videos follow!)
Foxmom was quite demanding in her ways: While the cubs where young she would either just sit as long outside our windows for one of her babysitters to look out and stay with the little ones so she could go over to the cemetery to find dinner for herself, but should we not show on our own, she was certain to train us to follow her high pitched little bark - she also reverted to that when all windows where closed of course ;)
Usually after the foxbabies we had badgers - mom and two or three cubs - and after them the den obviously needed a thorough airing and thus was deserted for the next year, before another future family got started there.
As for birds - many kestrels, sparrows, extremely intelligent crows (knocking to get food), squirrels that had breakfast with the neighbors upstairs at their table (and one extremely aggressive squirrel that tried to kill me once - another story), hedgehogs and orphaned babymice (the later two collected and placed safely in her bed to take care of them) and miniature bats. These have only been introduced to me last summer by my new cat Momo who got a kick of carrying them in and then letting go to watch me trying to catch those poor creatures flying blindly in the bright light (only to having to protect them for the day after all my earlier troubly as you're only to let them go at night).
Oh btw - foxbabies who have known you as their babysitter, have absolutely no respect: Last summer he had a robbing spray throughout my kitchen...

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Human Neighbors - dead and alive :)

I live in a place that basically is a sanatorium.
Don't get me wrong, it's a normal apartment complex - and again not.
Besides the fact that this particular complex is in one of Vienna's nicest areas surrounded by vineyards and old village like buildings - kept that way by building regulations as not to destroy that old  charm (and keep the tourists coming - alas even if they don't really appreciate after all that wine tasting) - it's quite magically a regular renting place bud to bud with Hollywood Hills like villas that people pay millions for to live in (millions in Euros by the way) - but not Los Angeles and thus right up a hill but on the foot of the Viennese mountains of Cobenzl and Kahlenberg.
Yes, you definitely have to visit Grinzing - it's not a movie scene!
When I first moved in here - I received the rent via the then Viennese mayor Helmut Zilk, but that's a story for later - I met a deer in the front that wasn't even startled as I let out a whoop of surprise. Basically you walk in through - no, not a wardrobe door - but a huge green wooden door. Back then the buildings had that old yellow hue paint and looked much better than they do now - that's why I used to call it "Little Schoenbrunn" (Schoenbrunn castle was the residence of Austrian Empress Theresia as well as Sisi of Austria - get your European history books out!).
So you walk in though that old huge gate and are faced by few only two story high buildings loosely arranged in a big park with tons of enormous old trees - a haven indeed (especially if you know that in just 15min by car your in the inner city!)
So I am all the way back, where you don't hear a car or - unless somebody is down in the wash - any other kind of noise associated with civilization. Or so it used to be.
Behind me is the Grinzing Cemetery where tons of (now) quiet celebrities reside. Really a wonderful bunch of neighbors, that I tend to visit often - usually with a book as conversations are sparse. They are really quiet as well and only hold three or four parties a year - humble parties around Easter, November 1st and Christmas - easily to note by the suddenly lit lanterns and candles all over.
Quite a pretty sight at night I must say!
Recently it has gotten a little bit louder though.
No not from the behind neighbors, but rather from the immediate ones next door and above...
See, when I moved in here I was quite frankly "fresh blood" (and immediately adopted - mostly for collective shopping lists and their fulfillment). Everybody else living here was pretty much retired and they all where extremely concerned that young people would move on and everything would turn topsyturvy and get really loud - while they considered peace and quiet their daily must have and not to forget all the rules that applied to be able to live here - after all this is a special neighborhood and we wouldn't want to attract any kind of scam, right?
Well, the years have passed by and since we are in that very special upgrade neighborhood, I am now experience an aged immersion of the art preferred by my quiet elderly neighbors. They still seem to be acutely aware that children might be too loud - obviously by just lipreading them as most of them seem to have deterred hearing abilities that are beyond my imagination.
And so every nice evening I can easily visualize everybody around me - relaxing in their cosy chairs and smiling at past memories... while I get blown from my sofa by "Wagner" from the left, religious choirs from the right  and Jazz from the upper left. Only the piano from the upper right seems to have stayed the same level over the years - but that's really hard to make out these days...
There are evenings when I keep biting a pillow to keep myself from screaming, storming outside to inform my neighbors of that incredible... what culture?? Plus they smile, shake their head sadly and maybe point to the next door - IF they even understand.... or hitting the wall with anything. Which wouldn't do any good as I might just damage something in here and be called a vandal eventually - as of course any noise I could make would be drowned out completely in that onslaught of music.
I am now taping all programs I might want to watch on TV. This is best done between 12 and 3pm - general naptime.
And you know what? I do feel a certain responsibility for my query immediate neighbors, because I sometimes don't see them for days...
But then the music starts - and I know all is still well. Because they do leave quickly... Sometimes without notice.

to be continued...

Friday, January 3, 2014

I just spent the past 96 minutes to dispel the bandage I applied to the missing part of my thumb on New Years Eve.
NOT a pleasant excercise and I am far from the overly sensitive when it comes to blood and the likes.
I mean I kind of reared myself on Horror movies and until "the frogs" I had laughing fits watching the likes. Alas after the last I developed an - even my already huge imagination - overwhelming coming to live story building in my brain that extensively involved crickets, spiders, maggots and - no, not frogs - but people in general as long as they entered greenhouses...
To extract a bandage that was absorbed by the missing part of my thumb - lets call it multiple layers of skin - proofed to be a more difficult thing than I ever imagined. Being the usual "Oh just rip it off!" type of person, I was thoroughly tested as what slowly appeared underneath was nothing I really cared to investigate at this point. Even worse - it reminded me of the missing part and my - never slowing down - imaginary mind revolved around puzzle of where that piece actually ended up at?!
First things first.
Bathe in warm water - hold tight with the other - oh thank heaven!!! - whole thumb and SLOWLY cut micro-milimeter  (or what is the next one down the scale?) tiny winy bits off....
Hurt like hell.
And once it was off...
... I got really sick.
And totally intrigued!
Know what? There is absolute obscure fascination watching the inside of yourself from the outside!
I'd definitely never managed to get that far down before. At least not on my own and without severe anesthesia.
Cool color! No, really!
But nonetheless: it's a HOLE!!!
Darn, there is a HOLE in me that was definitely NOT planed by creation and that is turning my already Topsy-turfy world upside down: HOW will it fill itself again? Will it fill itself again? Will my thumb ever be curvy again or will it from now on sport that rather sharp edge??
And where did the rest of me go? What the h... did I DO?!
Oh. Remember. When I chopped myself up along with a bunch of carrots, I was trying to fulfill LAST years New Years resolution - basically during the last minutes: To cook a meal once a year.
It was 8.45 pm on December 31st 2013 - what could I do?
So there we go - the carrots for my Irish-BigSis-favorite-beef&raisindumplings-stew...
One should really, really be more selective and careful about picking a goal for the new year.
After I had wrapped my leftovers in an entire roll of self-adhesive bandage, cleaned up the bloody mess and got over the initial light-headedness, I discovered that it came out quite well by the way.
No wonder after all those hours of unattended simmering.
And probably some special ingredient.
Don't worry, I was all by myself...
Incredible recipe! :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Fresh starts and so on...

Ok, if you made it here, you have either left my old blog(s) behind (so have I!) - good for you - or you plainly got lost because of too much party and alcohol and somehow stumbled over this one.
Don't worry - it happened before. I stumble over myself at least once a day - the rest is reserved to the new old cat in my life (four legged creature).
Now let's face it: EVERYBODY starts a new life, sets new goals and commits to write a blog on the first of January - every year again. To avoid that totally risky business and hopefully progress beyond the second of January, I made that my starting point.
Clever, mmhh?!
Oh, and this is going to get so much better! You might even be able to improve your German - or English - as for a matter of fact  I intend to switch back and forth between the two ;)
Because my everyday life and personal thoughts evolve in English, while in my role as Trainer, Educational Manager and Pedagogue I will try to form straight thoughts in German - out of respect for the people I intend to work with. That's going to be difficult - the forming of straight thoughts that is - so bare with me!
So what did you do for New Years Eve? Anything exiting? In regards of resolutions? Like stopping by every day?! Just kidding - I assume at this point you still have plans for 2014 - and you should! After all that sh.t in 2013 - RIP - it can only get better.  I have actually met only two people this Morning who have already forsaken their good intents in the light of staying loyal to their true being. I assume that's a good cut since I was just getting my Morning paper and only stepped on my door met to retrieve it.
If I would have ventured even further, would I have lost my spirit immediately by encountering a depressive amount of fall-backs - or would I have gotten some new inspirations (and not just for this incredible outpour of struggling creativity)?
Well, I didn't dare take the risk and retreated back to my own safe haven.
After all it was NEVER my intention to cut back on long relaxing breakfasts followed by a "well done!" praline... Queen for the day!