Tag Archives: rant

If only I knew how to stop

22 Dec

Every year when Yule rolls around, I find myself in the same time – drained from taking care of everyone else’s needs, unable to catch a break or tell other people “no”. It does not help that the guy and I have very different opinions on how to spend the holidays, or what makes a holiday a good break from everyday life. Today is the last work day of the year for me, and I am truly struggling not to rip off everyone’s head when we are all in a mad frenzy to get as much done as possible before the place closes down. (And believe me, most others around here are just as worn-out, stressed and on the edge.)

Which makes me wonder – how do we stop this? It might be a great time to rest, to be merry, to do something for ourselves to “fill our cups” (with something else than mulled wine). Seems jsut too difficult to practice what everyone preaches each year.

So, how about you? Running around like mad reindeer mice? Or have you found the magic key to not driving yourself and everyone around you crazy? If so, please share. Or vent, if you haven’t.

 

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The older you get …

8 Dec

… the longer the list of people who can kiss your ass. Some days I wish real life had a BLOCK button for people, just like Facebook.

It seems I made a mistake. I alerted the police that some anonymous people had smeared nazi swastikas all over our garbage collection area. (Using nazi symbolism is prohibited in Germany, for reasons.) As we only rent an apartment on the property, the police also went and spoke to several of the owners, making sure the symbols are removed.

Ever since, we have run into trouble with several of the “good people” living next to us. Some don’t greet on the stairs, some have started complaining about our holiday decoration in front of our apartment door (this is generally accepted, including reindeer and glowing santas, but supposedly our plush snowman was just “too tasteless”). The lady on the ground floor, who confronted me about “sending the police her way” has stopped taking in our post parcels (which she usually does for the whole house) – we found a parcel that had been missing for a week in the bike basement, with no notification of any kind in our post box.

I am starting to assume that some people around here have less problems with teen nazis with sharpies roaming the streets than they have with people who are NOT okay with teen nazis with sharpies roaming the street.

The guy thinks I should just have stayed out of everything – not alerted the police, kept my head down. “It’s probably just teenagers, they don’t mean anything by it.”

Yeah, I beg to differ.

Ever since Germany started taking in refugees in larger numbers, there has been a scary rise in right-wing rethorics, political parties (the AfD, a far-right party that wants to ban all Muslims, most foreigners in general, and also wishes to return women to their proper place in the home, where they should remain as devoted mothers in monogamous, heterosexual marriages), attacks against foreigners. A very dear colleague – a Tunisian grandmother, who has never said anything against her in her whole life, and has raised her children to be good Muslims AND good German citizens – has been harrassed on the street about her head scarf. When I go down the street with “headscarfed” friends, people talk about “those Muslims” – just loud enough so we can hear, never loud enough to actually confront them about it.

And every time someone from a foreign country commits a crime in Germany, the online comments start.

“All refugees are criminals!” (All Germans are morons.)

“They are sending their strong, young men to take over the country!” (Please, send only the goodlooking ones.)

“Well, I am still allowed to voice my opinion!” (literally, “Das wird man ja wohl noch sagen dürfen”, which has started sounding ridiculous even though it is a perfectly fine German sentence.)

“When you welcome refugees, you actively suppress their poor women!” (So suddenly the good German men care about women’s rights? Hooray!)

Let’s just say, I am not impressed. Even less with the openly expressed, “I wish all you good-meaning hippie Muslim-welcoming sluts get raped!” Or the accusation that all women who defend refugees have converted because they have a fetish for exotic men.

Good gods! Have these people learned no empathy? Can’t they imagine what it must be like to leave their countries, their families, their lives – basically everything they know behind to go to a country where about a third of the population either hates or at least distrusts you? That’s not something you do easily.

I think we have more than enough to share. We are incredibly blessed, and I think the gods – whichever one(s) you choose to follow – expect us to share our blessings with those in need. I’ve volunteered as a translator for our muinicipal refugee office (they need interpreters rather than translators, but I do what I know best), I’ve donated clothes and kitchenware, I give money to “Jugend rettet“, an organization actively saving refugees drowning in the Mediterranean. And I speak out against people making racist remarks – not to convince them, but to show that they will not go undisputed.

If only Western cultures had a seasonally appropriate story about people from the Middle East who were persecuted and had to flee to a different country …

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.

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. ^^

Ours for the taking?

1 Jun

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Witches are a really nature-loving folks. I’m the first to admit it. We use lots of natural ingredients in our spells and rituals, and outdoor rituals are strongly encouraged. At times, however, I wonder whether much of this practice may be “a bit” self-centered.

Some time ago I talked to a fellow witch who insisted on picking up every single feather she found outside, for those were signs for her. Personally. My suggestion that sometimes birds just lose feathers, and that other beings in this world might have better use for random feathers was met with utter surprise. It seemed impossible, in her mind, that the whole universe had not set about evolution, crafted birds from dinosaurs and sent them to shed their feathers in that special place at that time exactly just so she would gain insight into her thirty-whatnotsth spirit guide.

Similar attitudes are kind of regular occurences in the witching community – go and get branches, herbs, flowers, rocks, crystals, snail houses, seeds, basically WHATEVER you fancy, for witches are nature-loving, and as such we have a right to everything we find in nature.

Yeah, or maybe not.

I’ve ranted about the use of crystals and the conditions under which they are extracted repeatedly, so I’ll spare you that. But imagine if everyone started picking flowers in your garden, or on your balcony, how quickly that would turn into a sad wasteland. Or imagine people taking tiny stones from your house, everyone taking just one – eventually your house would collapse.

Now I am not saying that we should never ever take anything from the natural world. As humans we have to compete for ressources with other humans as well as with creatures from other species (or other planes of existance, while we’re at it). This goes for single plants as well as for food, air or water. And while I am not suggesting that we should stop existing so someone else can have our share, I do recommend, strongly, that we should only take what we need, and at the same time think about the ways in which we can give back. A few things I can think of are:

  • Plant wild flowers everywhere. Not just your place. Everywhere you might encounter bees is a great place to drop a few seeds and just walk away. (Of course NOT on other people’s property. But if you live near the forest or have a few meadows nearby, or a park, you might do some guerilla-gardening in favor of bees.)
  • Dry and grind egg shells and bury them in the ground. The minerals help fertilize the soil – and some animals use them as mineral sources as well. (Again, not on other people’s property.)
  • When you head out, collect the things other people drop – empty bottles, plastic wrappers etc. Make it a habit to take a bag with you and see how far you have to go before it is full.
  • Make realistic meal and snack plans before you go out shopping. This is something I often struggle with myself, and I end up buying too much and then throwing out all kinds of food because they have spoiled. What a waste of money, energy and natural ressources!

Do you have any suggestions to add to this list?

18 Aug

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To be honest, our neighborhood is far from shitty. Quite the contrary. We’re one of those places where neighbors spy on watch out for each other and there are disputes over whether you have parked in the wrong spot – which belongs to the neighboring flat, although that neighbor does not even have a car and the spot is ALWAYS empty and the other neighbor has been parking his BMW so close to your spot that the only thing you could park there is a children’s bicycle, but he rented the flat with the parking spot and he’ll be damned if he lets anyone else park there for we’re in Germany and there are RULES, goddamnit, and where will this all end if everyone parks their car where they want to, these savages, in the olden days those punks would have been set straight by their parents no matter their age!

Mostly we like living here. We keep our heads down, smile when we meet the neighbors, park our car in our spot (unless the BMW is parked too far on the right, then we park out in front on the street, but that is not bad, either, for nothing ever happens around here) and keep to ourselves.

And right now we are watching dirt getting stirred up.

Two families are moving in simultaneously, and doing lots of renovating and stuff.

You know, this is a QUIET house. The people do not like other people drilling or opening doors or walking in the hallway after a certain time. The last people who moved in here moved out again after just three months because some of the older inhabitants had a veritable smearing campaign going on against them because their dogs were too loud and the older dog sometimes peed in front of the house. They told everyone that the woman was being looked for by the police, called animal protection over alelged dog abuse and wrote her landlord scathing letters about what kind of FILTH had he brought into the house??!

And now two new families. One couple in their fourties, polite and well-off, who put up letters when they have loud construction going on and leave chocolate on your doorstep as an edible excuse. (I like them.)

The other one, from what I have seen, a younger couple, maybe our age, with lots of family helping and drilling on weekends and a tiny child, which means they leave their buggy in the hallway sometimes.

I wonder how long they will last.

Think positive, or How I was tempted to punch someone throught the screen

29 Jul

This morning an author posted a eulogy in one of the many author groups I am member of on FB. Someone he knew, a fellow author, had been suffering from depression and committed suicide.

The very, really, I-kid-you-not first comment under this post was “People should not let negativity drag them down, just think positive!”

I am sure you, too, know the urge to punch someone REALLY hard through the screen. I do. As this kind of magic has been declared illegal by the High Council of Evil Witches, I had to limit myself to telling her what I thought of her comment, and switching off all notifications for the post.

Yes, OF COURSE from the outside depression can simply look like, “You have to try harder. Don’t be such a wuss. Have you read this beautiful blog on thinking positive?” On the inside it’s more often like standing in the middle of a stony desert under a grey sky, all alone, with no input whatsoever, and no idea how to get out. All the while vultures are circling around you and whispering about all your failures and all the bad things that have happened that you could not stop.

Under these circumstances “think positive” feels a lot like saying, to someone with a broken leg, “Just jump around a little, it will mend in no time!”

Depression is a chronic condition, not something that can easily be fixed. And I know people like easy fixes. That’s why some people make shitloads of money – they promise “easy fixes” for everything from flat boobs to becoming rich without working. The idea of easy fixes is, in the end, that you are at fault yourself if oyur condition is less-than-stellar (be it financially, emotionally, health-wise) because there is this really simple easy fix available and you are essentially a bad person for not trying it – or even worse, for having tried and failed.

The woman who posted the comment in question, by the way, insisted that she was merely pointing out a very simple solution to a common problem that is not really a problem at all.

Yeah, stop being a downer, all you depressed, mentally ill people. You’re spoiling our fun.

I still have that punching itch. Anyone got an alibi for me? Maybe if I can escape detection from the High Council of Evil Witches …

(Gosh, I *know* cursing her does not help anything at all in this situation. But it would feel so very, very good.)

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To end this on a happier note, this is a picture of a cake I brought to work today. A colleague is leaving the country, and she likes mice.

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