Resolved

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I have developed the habit of setting goals and planning for reaching my goals, and making resolutions is part of the strategy. However, I am not good in making commitments, so my resolutions often end up as wishes.

This does not mean I wouldn’t reach my goals. You could argue that a good plan is flexible enough to catch a chance and that making a useful resolution is not so much about ‘what to do’ but rather about ‘where to go’. It focuses the mind. I found that not keeping resolutions very often is a sign that the goal was not clear. E.g., like many people I used to make resolutions like ‘do more sports’ or ‘lose weight’. With resolutions like that you set yourself up to failure. Nobody wants to do more sports or lose weight. We want to be fit, feel sexy or release our back pain.

With the goal in mind, keeping resolutions becomes much easier. If you want to learn about setting good goals have a look at Frau Junge’s post. Making resolutions should not be something you avoid because you found you never keep them. Thinking about the direction of your life and whether you are heading where you want to end up is useful. And the beginning of a new year, with the pages still blank, is a good time to do so on a regular basis. Just be careful to set resolutions which are meaningful to you and help you reach your goals.

The most important resolution I made for 2016 is to actually check items on my bucket list. This list currently holds 116 items, and only no. 116 is already done (tried water ski; my left knee is wracked now, but it was fun). I still put stuff on the list whenever I feel like, and I have been working towards some of the long term items (such as performing with my favourite artists) as well as on my patience towards the items I cannot influence, like becoming a grandmother. This year I promise myself to turn to some of the adventurous, cool short term items.

I also decided on my next field study. You will learn more about it in due course.

If you want to, feel free to share your resolutions in the comment section.

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Back again: Stroke of Midnight

Ah, a new year! I love this part of the year, when everything seems possible just because I had to buy a new calendar. It feels as if with those 365 new blank pages life gets a reset.

Of course, that’s bullshit. Nothing changes just because the majority of mankind now uses another year when writing down dates. Nevertheless, the end of the old year has been a great opportunity to party ever since. At least until I became a mother of a son who hates parties. And who suffers from anxiety partly bound to time passing by, which makes celebrating New Year’s Eve more of a crisis intervention rather than anything else.

Hence, I spent last night at home. We watched ‘Dinner for one’ together, just as every year. We had nice dinner ourselves and then I was reading a book while the son did whatever he does when he is online with his programming community. At midnight I went down with the neighbours to have some firework, and then made some more food before we went to bed.

Did I mention that I hate that? Although, not hating, no. I am lazy, I like to be on my own and I love spending time with the son. But, that’s not how I want to meet the New Year. Ever since, I wanted to spend New Year’s Eve at a fancy cocktail party with live music and people dressed up in long dresses and suits. I never did. And I have no idea why. Except that I did not throw this party myself. And I don’t know people who do throw parties like that.

But that’s what I want to do on New Year’s Eve: Wear a beautiful dress, drink Cosmopolitan and dance with a gorgeous man when the band plays love songs. And at midnight, we watch the firework and make plans for the next 365 days.

Can I swap everyone’s gender, too?

I just realised that I do not have enough male friends. Or: I only know handsome guys and smart ladies. But I’d make for a poor Penny anyway. So, with the cast change I’d have to turn TBBT into a tale of female nerds.

Which would be:

  • Me as the ‘not crazy – my mother had me tested’ Dr. Dr. Sheldonia Cooper. And R. as my lovely partner who accepts me as I am.
  • A. as Dr. Leonardine Hofstadter. Smart, nice, but with a tendency to servility.
  • The wonderful, creative K. as Howard Zarah Wolowitz, and Mr. R. as her surprisingly successful husband.
  • J. as Dr. Rajesh Simone Koothrappali. She’s better when she’s not talking, too.
  • Who could live next door and just be pretty? … Mhm… Oh, that would be my boss S.

Coming to think of it: I am the casting director! Instead of a transgender season I could have a casting where my (male) friends have to tell me which role they want. Is there an English word for the German ‘Besetzungscouch’?

And then I would love to play Leonard’s mother 🙂

Cheers, Nae73

Whiskey Sour

15 years or so ago, my best friend decided that she wanted to be a barkeeper. She was hanging out with this guy who had his own bar and soon she was working her ass off for him. She also tried to jump off my balcony when he left her, but that’s another story.

When she had recovered, she started learning how to make cocktails, and she also practiced how to make a show from mixing. It killed my illusions about Tom Cruise when I learned that for show barkeeping they do not use the actual bottles required for your chosen drink 😦

I can’t remember when I had my first Whiskey Sour. Bourbon, sugar, lemon juice. And a cherry. What a fresh kick! It makes the classy Bourbon look hot, and that’s pretty much the way I like life. Most barkeepers use too much sugar. But I prefer it Sour. 

The weirdest one I had in London, at The Hoxton. They serve Whiskey Sour with egg white. That’s disgusting. It was an interesting opener for my date, though, drinking egg white. Maybe that’s why they do it…

I have some more guilty pleasures.

  • Baileys I can’t withstand. If you like it, too, have you ever tried Häagen Dasz Baileys? If you really want to spoil your diet: there you go!
  • Coca Cola. Real coke. With sugar and caffeine. Not this crap with artificial sugar which gives you cancer and diabetes. And not Pepsi!
  • Red wine, dry. Preferrably from Italy: Chianti or Bardolino. 
  • Cosmopolitan: The occasional alternative to Whiskey Sour when I’m out with the girls.
  • Guinness. I miss Great Britain.
  • Pina Colada: The sweet holiday feeling.
  • Capuccino. Unfortunately, you rarely find a really good one.
  • Earl grey tea with some milk. For when I try once more to reduce my coffee input. Or to feel brit.

Interestingly, I just realise that coffee is not on the list. That’s a sign for an addiction, I guess, drinking it anyway.

It’s 8.30 am at my place, time for breakfast. Now I want Bourbon. Damn.

Cheers, Nae73

A world without FGM

I think the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a great move. It raises awareness in a fun way, and there is nothing wrong with entertaining people if it makes some of them think twice. I wish I had come up with an idea like that. There are several causes and ideas I find worthy to support: equality, democracy (as long as I am not Queen), mental health, to name but a few; and there are things I passionately fight: stupidity, racism, environmental pollution. But my heart beats for women’s rights. Not because I am not aware that many men needed support, too. But because I happen to be a woman. And I think it is reasonable to put your energy into something you can attach to emotionally. When I studied education, I learned about child abuse and the unspeakable tortures some kids go through. And I decided I did not want to work with victims. I wanted to prevent people from suffering, and that’s what I subscribed to ever since.

I turned to women’s rights, became a self defence teacher and learned more about the social structures which support violence. I learned that the urge to control female sexuality, or the group’s reproduction, is part of many, many cultures. Sometimes it happens quite subtle, e.g. by calling women sluts when they are too active. Sometimes it’s more obvious, e.g. making women wear scarfs. Sometimes it is masked as care, like allowing your son to stay out late with his friends while telling your daughter’s boyfriend to bring her home on time. But the most disgusting, horrifying, brutal method to control women’s reproductive power is female genital mutilation, also know as FGM.

If you never heard of it, you might be shocked when you learn that FGM in its various forms includes cutting off a girl’s inner and / or outer labia and / or clitoris with a razor blade, or scissors, often enough on the floor, without anesthesia or any basic hygiene. Well, at least in most countries. There are practitioners in Germany, Great Britain, the US (for example) who carry out this procedure in their clinics. Can you believe that! The girl is then closed again, sewed up with a tiny hole left for her urin and monthly blood. This causes pain and infections and requires her to be cut again for giving birth or even having sex. I cannot think of many tortures like that. The thing is that in societies which practice FGM parents have to do that to their daughters. ‘Intact’ women are regared unworthy to be married, hence to stay part of the community. It takes a lot to break up such complex situations.

I adore those activists who talk about their own experiences, like Waris Dirie, and I support a few women’s right’s organisations financially. I wish I did more. A world without FGM is a goal worth fighting for. A world in which no man or woman has to be afraid to be attacked for who they are is a worthy goal. Not one person can save the whole world. But every person can make it a little better. Find your cause and act on it! Be it human rights, environmental protection, animal rights, or even something seemingly banal like making people laugh.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the things that need to fixed. Then I remember Mother Teresa: We can do no great things – only small things with great love.

What is your cause?

Wonders, Nae73

But at least you have reproduced.

Ah, Ironic! I love that song. Because I know exactly what Alanis means since I have talked to that girl from my education class on the bus home, and we talked about her boyfriend, and how it hit me when she said his name, that I realised where I knew her from except studying. That bitch with that hollow-hearted asshole I had fallen for since he had looked at me and said: And, who are you? He had left out the information that she was not just a stalker but his actual girlfriend hanging around while he asked me out 10m away from her.

However, that was long ago, and I am done with that one. I wonder if she married him, by the way.

My ‘Ironic’

I was not aware of any spoons, but I knew my knife: My knife was a career for a very long time. I have been working in adult education most of my life, which is an industry with lots of limited contracts and freelancers. Ten years or so ago it boomed, and with more and more people deciding that teaching might be a nice add-on to their actual job – or an easy substitute for those who had lost their original employment – salary and working conditions dropped, and dropped, and dropped. In 2005, I had 3 contracts in a row with the same employer while part of my job was to help people into employment. Can you imagine finding jobs for others while yours is on constant jeopardy? Not to speak about the salary which was so bad, that some of my clients (especially those with children) got more benefits!

For a while I complained about my unsatisfying situation and how I did not know what to do about it. And then I learned about my spoon(s). Friends started to comfort me with: “Well, yeah, that’s really bad. But at least you have your son.”

***

What do you mean, son. That son I have to feed? Who is in school, has to live somewhere, and might expect me to pay for his studies one day? That son, I have at least, instead of a career???!!!???

In general, I think the 10,000 spoons in life are good advices. As a working single mother I have heard good advices on all my decisions. You simply cannot satisfy people when you confront them with their biggest fears. I have the child: brave, but idiotic. I go to work: And who looks after you child? I leave him alone: Are you not scared that he burns the house down? He nearly burns the house down: Told you! I stay with him: Don’t you think that you two are too close? I move to another country: Now she’s mental.

Over the years I have come to prefering actual help. And I even more appreciate when people who can’t help, just SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Please. Cheers, Nae73