Carnival sheenanigans

25 Feb

Where I grew up, there never was such a thing as a proper carnival celebration. Imagine the culture clash when I moved to the rhineland area, where between Fat Thursday and Ash Wednesday basically everybody is dressed up and drunk. All. The. Time.

To be honest, even after 15 years I have not gotten the hang of it. Instead I have started my own carnival tradition – I hide at my own place, eat lots of unhealthy food and watch horror movies. It started in my dorm room, which I would only leave to heat food stuff in the communal kitchen, and continued at my first own tiny one-room flat, where I invited a friend or two and we made a lounge landscape under my bunk bed, eating The Sandwich Of Doom and scaring each other with weird movies we had found online.

Living in a real flat, with a real kitchen, it has become easier, but also less adventurous. We have a kitchen we can use any way we want, and our movie collection is well-stocked. In addition we live at the very edge of town, just a stone’sthrow from the woods, and no “Jeck” is going to come this way. Last night I did a huge grocery haul, and once I have finished writing this I will start looking for a cinnamon roll recipe – yes, our ideas of “unhealthy food” have changed as well. The only thing I make every years is a giant batch of “Laura Moon’s Chili” from The Geeky Chef, which tastes terrific and has its roots in my favorite novel, “American Gods”. Apart from that we have a tiny collection of ice cream, chocolates, crisps – and fresh fruit, which I am having for breakfast right now (watermelon, pineapple and mango). The older I get, the more I crave that stuff. It’s weird, I tell you. Maybe I’ll make waffles or pancakes to counteract all the vitamins.

As for movies, the only thing we have decided on so far is “It follows” from 2015, which we saw advertised somewhere a while ago. I want to make Richard watch “The crazies” and “The caller”, but he is hesitant, as he knows my taste in movies. And the cats just hope to eat, cuddle and sleep a lot. I guess they got it figured out!

Do you have any alternative traditions for public holidays you would like to share?

Never too old to learn … on Climate Change, for example.

7 Feb

This morning, I started calculating … last November I turned 34. Which means that I have, depending on luck, genes and a bit of self-care, I have about 50 to 60 years left on this planet. Which means, consequently, that I have 50 to 60 more years to remain either dumb(ish) or continue learning on all kinds of topics which have no connection and may turn me into even more of a weirdo than I am already. Sounds fun, right?

If, like most people, you do not have the means to attend (or return to) university, the internet provides a host of opportunities to quench that terrible thirst for knowledge. One source I am currently exploring is the community at FutureLearn, where you can take online classes by professionals on various topics. (Another course I just stumbled across deals with “Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crimes” – you know I couldn’t resist!).

The topic I have chosen for a start is – you guessed it from the headline – clinate change. As one starting point, the students have been provided with a link to a NASA knowledge collection on climate change. You might want to take some time to read through everything, it’s highly interesting – and perfect ammunition when talking to those people who are “simply not sure whether climate change is a real thing and not just some random hippie catastrophe scenario”.

As the course advances, the students are welcome to reflect on certain questions, which I may occasionally answer in depth (no one can reign me in by simply limiting the amount of letters I am allowed to type! Ha!) around here. Just so you know what I am suddenly up to.

Anyway, climate change deniers usually point out that there have been climate changes in the past, long before the Industrial Revolution, which is supposed to have set off the current change. It is worth noting, however, that the amounts of certain so-called “greenhosue gases” has increased drastically due to human actions such as deforestation or increased carbon dioxide production. And while I highly doubt that humans are capable of destroying earth, we are no doubt in the process of making it a very, very bad place for us to live. There will always be species who thrive under altered conditions, but we are not necessarily among them. If you would like to experience one possible outcome, I recommend reading “Mara and Dann: An adventure” by Doris Lessing. (You knew this would end up with books, right?)

Stay tuned for more ramblings, random bits of knowledge and general smartassery!

Book review: “Filthy witch and dead famous” (Pearl Goodfellow)

17 Jan

A COZY MYSTERY, SHROUDED IN PARANORMAL SUSPENSE, WRAPPED IN A COMEDY-FANTASY!

Nebula Dreddock has been murdered. Most would say the actress had it coming, but that’s beside the point. Nobody deserves to die this way. Even if it happens to be Gless Inlet’s bitch … ahem … witch-iest A-lister.

Portia Fearwyn, Nebula’s crotchety neighbor, seems the most likely suspect. The pair have shared some bad blood, after all. But, what about Cressida Dreddock, Nebula’s mad-as-a-hatter twin? With multiple escapes from Midnight Hill asylum, it’s soon clear that Nebula’s crazy sister does, in fact, have an even crazier motive to want her famous twin dead.

Reluctant witch, and practicing herbalist, Hattie Jenkins is drawn into the case as herbal consultant. But, wherever Hattie is, her eight (insufferably) immortal black cats aren’t far behind.

Will Hattie and her fuzzy sidekicks find Nebula’s killer before yet another untimely death takes place? And, can Hattie pull it off without having to engage with her inner sorceress?
Join Hattie and The Infiniti as they race against the clock to unravel the clues!

Part one of an eight-part series: Hattie Jenkins and the Infiniti Chronicles.

On Amazon.com

On Amazon.co.uk

This book came to me as recommendation from a good friend, so of course I picked it up between sorting through my virtual ebook files. And I did, indeed, love it! Even though I am not too fond of romance and all. Hattie and her friends are highly likeable characters with personalities of their own, coming alive between the pages without too much description. The world they inhabit is familiar and strange at the same time, and there are many things I feel are worth exploring. Plus the story contains the odd herbal remedy or two (and you get even more when you subscribe to the author’s newsletter!)

All in all I highly recommend this book to everyone looking for an entertaining, cozy, witchy read. If you like cats, tea and/or mysterious murder, you’ll feel right at home.

Body Poetry

16 Jan

In honor of trying new things, I have written a haiku on my Sunday adventures:

Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch

Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch

Ouch ouch – Pilates

Have a great week!

Busy-ness

8 Jan

The next days are going to be hectic, and I am kind of looking forward to it. Movie, burgers, gym, hairdresser, samaritan errands – the whole package. Throw in the office, exercise, writing and a household, and I kind of don’t know when I will sleep. Only bad thing is that I have not yet gotten around to doing my annual tarot spread, or calculated the holidays. But I figure it will happen, some time.

Over the last five or something years it has been a pattern – when a witchy holiday comes around (full moons, equinoxes etc.), my schedule is always even more packed than usual. I wonder whether the universe is trying to tell me something. Am I supposed to pick my battles? Does it mean I should celebrate the witchy things with the rest of my life instead of trying to keep the worlds apart? I mean, I could gladly fit everything into my life if it weren’t for this pesky office job … just kidding, I really like my job. Despite the clients and the colleagues and the intercultural madness. And the salary is nice, too. I honestly cannot think of a single thing I would want to drop from my schedule.

And how’s your life going? Busy? Chaotic? Or have you found the secret key to having it all (and eating it, too)?

Let food be thy medicine

1 Jan

-who said that again? Some old Greek, I reckon. Anyway, It’s the first day of the new calendar year, and I am sitting here stuffed to the brim after last night’s (albeit small) festivities. Not the best way to start the new year. Anyway, that thing about food and medicine still stands, maybe more now that I am growing older than it did before.

Things I learned about my body and food during the last year:

  • My gut does not agree with lactose anymore. Which is not too bad these days, almost everything I like is available in lactose-free or plant-based version as well.
  • I do not agree with too many carbs – they support my nasty migraine habit. I’ve been tracking my macronutrient intake for a while, and with less than 120 g carbs per day my head is doing much better.
  • There is no such thing as too much caffeine for me, but there definitely is “too much alcohol”, and the limit is creeping closer every year. Well, it’s not a bad thing per se – only when I go out some part of me still believes that my liver is not a day older than twenty-one, which simply isn’t true, as I am reminded the next day. Stay tuned to see whether I ever learn. ^^
  • My gall bladder (especially the biliary concrement named Hans) does not agree with too much fat.
  • My skin does not agree with too little fat. Neither do my joints.
  • Unless I pay really close attention, my iron levels tend to be a little low. This is most evident when returning from a run with blue lips and fingertips. Supplements help.
  • Excess calcium causes almost-instant migraines.
  • My immune system starts hibernation unless it gets a reasonable amount of protein.
  • Grape juice offers quick migraine relief, I just have to remember to pack some when travelling.

I think that list is not complete yet. Does it sound as if eating was starting to be a hassle? Let me assure you, it is not. At least in everyday life when I am in charge of making most of my meals. Honestly, I do not feel any kind of deprivation because I have had plenty of time to learn a variety of recipes I like that are easily thrown together and agree with my various needs. Last month, however, when I was visiting with family for a few days and was not in charge of the kitchen, I was reminded of all the peculiarities that have crept up on me over time, and I finished the trip home alone in my car with a roaring migraine (at night, with the lights of the other cars cutting through my optic nerve) – too bad I had not remembered to bring some grape juice, which offers quick relief. See? Another thing I learned. Let’s put it on the list. Done. ^^

I like varying my food intake, and often have a host of precooked meals at home to bring to the office. Some of my favorite cookbooks include “Appetite for reduction”, which has a great number of low-fat vegan recipes (the low-fat thing can be a problem for me, see above) “Five ingredients, ten minutes” and the Skinnytaste cookbooks and blog. Once I have a source with recipes I like, I stick with it no matter what. Especially Skinnytaste is my go-to for quick weekday fixes because fo the variety of food stuff it offers. The baked goods are always a success with family and friends, and I have not yet found a single recipe that didn’t work out as planned. Plus the recipes have all the carb, protein and fat stats included. What more could a fuzzy-for-health-reasons girl ask for?

What have you learned about your body in the past year? Any recipes, links or suggestions you would like to share?

Brief reprieve for Standing Rock – now what?

6 Dec

Even German media is reporting about the decision to find a new route for the North Dakota pipeline. Rejoice, people! Everything is going to get better!

Except that it probably isn’t. Not long until Mr. Orange takes office, and he has made clear already that he will decide “like a grown-up”. Yeah, a discolored grown-up with the political understanding of an angry toddler. Not impressed.

I hope that the current, soon-to-be-gone president will find a way to protect the sacred grounds of the Native American people, and cement the decision so Mr. Orange won’t be able to mess with it.

And in case you’re wondering why I care about the Natives on the other side of the glove – Europeans don’t have any “Natives”. We don’t have any “Natives” because back when we were colonized, the majority of people thought it was the right of the victor to do with the other people as he wished. Rites and cultures were lost, or at least buried deep enough that we only find them in fairytales. Everyone did as the Romans, and then as those who came after the Romans. And knowledge was lost.

So … who’s up for a collective protective spell?