Some random day-to-day stuff

11 Nov

First, Greebo is down about half a pound. Hard to tell with a squirming minitiger on your arm. His revenge will be terrible.

Second, I am preparing my first real public author-reading-for-people event. It’s about my tentacle-alien book, which has come out in German via a small publisher. No one of us has any idea what we are doing, but we have plenty of ideas.

Third, we went to see a men-strip show. It was our unofficial team-building event, and fun was had by everyone. I hear some of you thinking, are feminists allowed to enjoy something like that? And after brief thinking – of course most of the thinking was done before we got the tickets to the event – I can say, yes. Especially witchy ones who think that nudity is natural and that life is there to enjoy yourselves. So, as long as everyone has consented and sticks to the rules, I am fine with almost everything. (Of course always under the assumption that no one is pressured into coming along, or shamed for not joining.)

And we saw a kind-of famous German medieval fun rock whatever band at Cologne. I was supposed to go with Richard – LAST YEAR – but first the singer was sick and then someone close to the band died, so the ocncert was postponed by altogether eleven months, and he did not get a day off under the week, so I took a friend instead. We still had fun.

Finally, the holiday season is looming ahead, and already I feel the pressure from all the appointments and obligations. I want to go and see two of my sisters, which basically blocks out two weekends already, the holidays themselves are largely reserved for Richard’s family, and he has already told me of two holiday markets he would like to see this year (one in the Netherlands, one a bit closer by), which will each take up one weekend in effect. After all, we also always have to reserve time to get everything ready for the week, as he usually heads out the door on Monday morning: Laundry, groceries, paperwork, … It feels as if January will be the next time I get some time to myself. But as these are mostly fun events, I feel bad for complaining. (Still do it.)

Oh, and I do of course want to see the Victorian holiday event held in the next town on the other side of the river, we only went there briefly last year. I promise to bring plenty of pictures, as I can’t take you with me in person.

How about you? Holiday plans? Traditions? Escape strategies?

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How we treat our pets vs. how we treat ourselves

1 Nov

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This is Greebo. Greebo is about eight years old. Also, Greebo weighs fifty percent (!!!) more than he should.

I feel bad that I let it come to this – mostly out of laziness. A hungry cat will let you know, in no uncertain terms, that it wants to be fed NOW. Which is annoying if you want to sleep in on weekends. So we got a dry food dispenser, and I never wasted a second thought on how he might just eat and eat and eat.

Studies suggest that obesity in mammals reduces life expectancy as well as quality of life in aging mammals.

Basically, what I did to the poor tomcat is bodily harm due to negligence. (Note: His sister Ronja, under the same circumstances, eats less, she is a bit pudgy but in upper normal weight range for a cat her size.)

I bet if Bastet were here she’d bust (bast) my ass over this. How dare I treat her precious feline friends like that?

Anyway, this train of thought has brought me back to the way we, as mammals, often treat our own bodies – stuffing ourselves with (oh so tasty!) garbage – or excess prime quality food – keeping ourselves from exercising and putting all that weight on our joints even if we know that it is bad for us.

I have an easier time talking about it right now, as I have lost almost one third of my body weight so far, going from “obese” to “upper normal” weight over the course of several years. And you know, I am all for body acceptance. But just as you hopefully got outraged about my negligence of Greebo’s health, I would like to think that people who cared about me got outraged when I put my own health at risk by going up to two hundred pounds.

Yeah, that was not the case. No one ever mentioned my weight. When I started exercising and reducing my calorie intake – the oldest diet known to mankind, I would guess – on the other hand, I got lots of worried remarks. Running would destroy my knees (so would all that excess weight, and running is way better for my cardiovascular system and depressive episodes, thank you very much!). I would stop looking good if I lost “too much” weight (as if I care – my physician and I have everything in check, we’re aiming for a healthy weight range with adequate body fat percentage), I was making myself unhappy by “depriving myself” (while I was still eating burgers and pizza and ice cream, only not as much … and health and exercise surely do make me happy!) etc. pp. ad nauseam. Just last week a few female colleagues ganged up on me and told me they were so worried they would start sending me care packages.

At that point I had had enough. With a big smile I offered that we could just calculate the group individuals’ average weight (total group weight/number of group members), which would surely turn out healthy for everyone. Then I left, before I could embarrass anyone any further. What can I say? My patience for bullshit is limited.

And what about body acceptance, you ask? I do not jsut accept my body, I love it – hair, stretch marks, pale skin, zits, scars, the whole bunch. I like to think of it as just another pet I have been trusted with for this episode of human existence (this sounds so weird, sorry! ^^ ), and I hope to take the best possible care of myself while I am here.

Just as I hope to take the best possible care of my beloved fluffy cats, who are planning to murder me in my sleep RIGHT NOW.

Just learn to get along!

18 Oct

There are some departments at the office I regularly get into arguments with. Most of the time it is because they are trying to add to our work load to get an annoying client off their back. And as we have been working with 75 % of the personnel we had this time last year, we are quite vocal about not taking on any unnecessary work for other departments.

In the beginning, I took the unnecessary requests back to the colleague in question to explain to them why we would not be doing this at the moment, and to recommend alternative strategies.

Of course the colleagues were annoyed. In most cases they had already promised the client they would get the task done. And let me assure you, I am NEVER happy when someone else goes around making promises about the work I have to deliver.

At some point I caught several colleagues … uhm, MAKING CLAIMS about orders from the top floor in order to make me take them. And most times when I went upstairs to ask about the project at hand, I would learn that the claims had been … exaggerated. Okay, I’ll say it as it is – the colleagues had been lying to me. I did not have written proof, but I had witnesses.

Next logical step for me – get written confirmation for every extra job coming from the top floor. If someone in the comfortable chairs thinks a job is truly important enough to make another client wait longer for their requests, I am happy to oblige. After all, I am being paid to translate whatever they send my way. The whole organizing/keeping track/meeting deadlines thing is something my department does because we like not living in a snowstorm of unorganized papers and angry demands.

Today, as I was coming upstairs with yet another task that had been claimed to be “from the top dogs straight to my desk, so you have to hurry!” Surprisingly, the top dogs did not know anything about the case. They discussed it and determined that, yes, this was important. Fine by me, we are flexible like that.

But then one of the personal assistants said to me, “Why don’t you try to get along with them?”

YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME???

The colleagues repeatedly lie to me. (There. I said it.) They make promises to clients I have to keep. They try to guilt-trip me into doing extra work while we are struggling to get everything done on time.  AND IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY TO PEACEFULLY RESOLVE THE ISSUE?

No, thanks. I am not Mother Theresa – and thank the gods for that – and I am not responsible for my colleagues’ happiness. If they want to get along, they might want to start by behaving professionally. I’ll see whether I like that enough to play nicely.

September round-up

30 Sep

This September was kind of ridiculous, in a good way.

First, I went to a friend’s birthday party in my old hometown, and on that occasion also met my sister and her family.

Then said friend and I went on a trip to Bruges in Belgium.

The next weekend, I participated in my first obstacle race.

(Some pictures taken by Richard, some by Sportograf.)

After that, we visited Sicily, or mainly Catania, where we had secured a lovely flat for a week.

And only today, I met my word count for the next “Magic behind the mountains” adventure, completed edits while I was at it and am now ready to send everything out to my test readers in the coming days. I have also started collecting material for the cover picture.

The working title is “Skeleton blues”. And yes, my mother got me the bones of a complete roasted suckling pig.

So, this is the life. This is pretty much what people dream of – adventures, accomplishments, fun times and great food. I wonder whether it will get any better than this. I mean, next month I will be at my first book fair as a traditionally published author, and I hope to complete my first 10K race in under 60 minutes. And next year I intend to publish three more books, get started querying for the ones after “Magic behind the mountains” has ended and drag Richard on a new trip – this time it is my turn to choose, and I am thinking: Prague or Norway? ^^

I have magical powers!

14 Sep

By that I do not just mean the ability to make huge amounts of cheese disappear. ^^

We were sitting in the car on our way back from Bruges last Sunday. My friend Stephanie and I had spent a weekend away from everything, to catch up, look at old houses, and eat everything Belgium has to offer (namely waffles, fries, chocolate, and beer). Anyway, we had seen all we wanted to see, eaten all we wanted to eat, and walked more kilometers than any reasonable person would plan to, and the duck was sitting on the dashboard looking out at the highway.

Me, “By the way, I have magical powers.”

Her, “You don’t say.”

Me, “Do you remember that tiny hut at the edge of the woods, around the corner from our flat? The one I had used as a safe place for that stupid teenager in my last book?”

Her, “What about it?”

Me, “They demolished it.”

Riverton, in the real world (and in the original German novels) is my current hometown Bonn. And I frequently use places one can walk past in real life, with as much detail as I remember while writing. So far:

  • the bank mentioned in book one has been destroyed and replaced with a new building;
  • the conference center has been turned into a hotel;
  • the former embassy Helena is sitting on at the beginning of book one has been turned into luxury apartments;
  • the “Institute of Cryptozoology” has been sold and renovated;
  • the townhall is under critical assessment due to supposedly unstable structures, either to be demolished or renovated;
  • the place where the first dead body is presented in book four has been turned into a construction site for apartments;
  • the hut from book five has been demolished.

Basically I renovate the town by writing about certain buildings. It is kind of cool, right? However, I am havong doubts about book seven – it was supposed to take place in and around the castle in Stephanie’s hometown, where my family used to live. I mean, that castle has been around for about a thousand years. What could a single fantasy writer do about it? We may find out.

And now – which building would you write new?

Making the most of it

5 Sep

We got a few days off at the office, and I am trying to make the most of it. So far I have visited my older sister and my oldest friend, gone on more runs that any reasonable person would admit to, made muffins, visited some more friends and spent a lot of time catching up on “Orphan Black”. Oh, and I have been writing. But you guessed that already, right?

So, that’s basically it. In my few spare minutes I have been reading up on green witchcraft. Recently … for the past year or two, I guess … I have found most books on witchcraft lacking. Either they are poorly researched, or they portray a kind of witchcraft that is mostly aimed at privileged people with lots of free time and money to waste on crafts material – or maybe I have read the wrong kind of books? I wish there was more material on how to truly merge everyday life and witchcraft in a way that is open to everyone who wishes to travel this path. Playing at fairy-dancing under the full moon (there is a full moon tonight, by chance) is all good and fun, but I still dream of witchcraft to change and better and … heal the world.

The ramblings of an undercaffeinated writer. ^^

FML – Feminist Manhating Lesbians are taking over the world!

8 Aug

And obviously I am one of them. ^^

Okay, three steps back. The coffee is kicking in. You may have noticed that I occasionally engage in the futile hobby of arguing with people on the internet – I just can’t let hate and discrimination stand on their own, I have to counterprop them (is that even a word?) with arguments and a bit of comic relief. Anyway, once the other people run out of arguments, they resort to the master class of discussion: Insulting your opponent.

I used to be the “ugly, fat chick”.

Now, I am the “ugly, man-haired, dirty hippie Lesbian”.

Because you know, no heterosexual, boring woman in her right mind would go and get herself a reasonable haircut when we all know that men value us purely based on the length of our lucious hair. Right?

I ignore the “ugly” comment, for that is just white-noise rambling to me. I’m smart and funny, what else do I need?

I argue the hair thing – if I had man hair, my hairdressing appointments would cost way less! (This is unfair, by the way.)

I confirm the “dirty hippie” thing – no way denying, right? I love everyone, protect the environment, practice witchcraft, eat my vegetables, … what else could I be?

BUT. I never argue with the “Lesbian” thing. I really, really, really do not want to act as if that was an insult, for it shouldn’t be – it should not matter whom (or how many) you love, and it should not matter whether your play genital memory or genital lock-picking at home, or how many participants your game has.

Come on, people, up your insult game!