Friday, 31 January 2014

" Biggi Biggi, I Have To Tell You Something! "

A snowy afternoon walk.

Just in case we had forgotten that it is mid winter, Mother Nature gave us a nudge to remind us. Snowy climes had arrived in full force...

From about mid morning the snow started to fall at an alarming rate. Frau Holle / Mother Hulda was shaking out her pillow. The falling flakes where nice and big. Sitting in a cozy lounge and spectating through the window gave me no idea of the amount of snow. The lure was a tad bit too much and I got rigged up to go for an afternoon walk. Mainly for the exercise but also to have a quizzi look around our neighbourhood.

The fresh snowfall was a blessing for me. It provided a grip on the road because underneath was pure ice. But my elation quickly evaporated. The Gemeinde had organized a snow-plow/tractor to clear the side lanes. At first I thought, yeah, even better. But after I had squeezed myself into a safe corner to let him plow past, my first few steps were close to a ice skating performance.

Oh, don't get me wrong, it was great for the road but not so nice for walking. Eventually I reached a ' safer ' foot hold on the main road. As it had snowed so much, almost everyone was outside clearing their driveway. It was such a nice way to shoot the breeze with my fellow villagers.

My walk through the wineberg was greatly timed. The snow plow hadn't got a hold of it yet. One could even sprint on the lane without fear of tasting the snow. Walking through this sudden winter wilderness was breathtaking. All I heard was the crunch of the snow meeting my shoes and all I could see was the small footprints of a rabbit and a buck. At least I think that was theirs...

Coming back into the other side of our village, I met some of the kids we do the English conversation class with. Gosh, they are still at that age where they battle to whistle or bite into an apple. They are at an age, where a big snow day is just the bee's knees. Oh, they were beaming from ear to ear.

Whenever they see us, they shout out a greeting with an English accent " Heello " as opposed to the " Hallo ". After they greeted me ( they are an eagle eyed lot because I was covered in warm clothing from head to toe ) the little girl couldn't wait to tell me the excitement that this fabulous snow day had given her at school.

" Biggi Biggi, I have to tell you something!"
" Yes, what is it? "
" Bob should have been at school with us today. It was the best snow day ever at school because we did Bob-sleighing"
As you can see, we have a comedian on our hands. Gosh, I chuckled all the way home and couldn't wait to tell Bob!

Biggi Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm All-New Third Edition schönsten Märchen der Brüder Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales (Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Classic Collection)

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Life In The 1890's, Would You Have Liked It?

Reading history will make anyone appreciate our lifestyle of today.

A while ago Bob and I were sent a goody box from N.Y. A box full of books.and as any lover of reading knows, those gifts are priceless. At the moment I am reading the most fascinating book. It is a telling of the years spanning the building of Chicago's 1893 World Fair.

Eric Larson: The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
. Yes it is a historical rendition, but it reads like a novel. Did I mention that the book also re-traces the steps of the notorious serial killer of the time: Dr.H.H. Holmes...oh yes, the plot thickens!

But, you'll have to read it yourself. What I find so interesting is the way of life back then. Little details that we take for granted. Details that make such a huge difference:

  • Indoor plumbing. Not just the lavatory, but also having a water tap inside. Remember, with indoor plumbing come pipes that escort the offending lot away to somewhere without being seen. Before, you had to do that yourself in the case of a chamber pot / washing up water / bath water. The rather more modern outhouse seemed luxurious in comparison to a chamber pot. At least I would imagine it to be so.
  • Streets were different then. The car was just being invented and started to take hold. The main mode of transport were horses. Horses that dropped their steaming apples where ever the need took them. The stench alone would have been awful. As the horses dropped dead from exhaustion, they would often be left to rot on the verge of the road.
  • No electricity for the masses yet. Reading by candle light?

The book makes wonderful sojourns into the everyday life of the main characters and describes in detail what they had for dinner. In those days, dinner was taken with care. Dinner was taken without haste. Dinner was enjoyed and consisted of several courses.

Personal battles were fought slightly different back then. A time before the mass communication, internet, and smartphones. An email, text or phone call doesn't quite have the power of a personal snub!

" A battle followed, fought in true Gilded Age fashion with oblique snubs and poisonous courtesy. Mrs Palmer pecked and pestered and catapulted icy smiles into Hayden's deepening gloom."
Isn't this description simply divine? Eric Larson uses his words in a way that as a reader you step right into his depicted world. A treat indeed.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Schladming's Night Race Drives The Fans Wild.

Our alpine gladiators put on a breathtaking show.

We have just had the most amazing weekend of alpine races in Kitzbühel and I didn't think it possible to get any better. But last night in Schladming, the stadium erupted in a frenzy of noise, flag waving and just pure joy as each skier hurled himself towards that red line in the snow.

Alpine slalom is a discipline that can only be described as a feast for the eyes. The skiers are quick and agile. So agile their bodies twists can hardly be seen with the naked eye. Often they show a slow motion re-run of certain twists around the poles, and let me tell you it is unbelievable. Those poles ( they have to ski as close as possible around them in a certain order ) are one on top of another. A case of hesitate and you are out.

Oh, did I mention that they go at quite a speed as well? Some of those downward slopes couldn't even be handled by a 4 x 4! Those thrill seeking skiers even add a wax to their ski. Gosh, the faster the better.

Schladming has now set the tradition for this night slalom race. The celebrities have marked it on their calender. To be seen or to see...who knows. Arnold ( ..." I'll be back " ... ) was there and it's nice to see him support a lot of the different alpine races. It was rather funny to hear the commentators speculate whether the lovely youngish lass next to him was in fact his girlfriend. The camera panned to that corner a few time to check for tell tale signs. Hand-holding etc.

Slalom is dominated at the moment by the duel of Felix Neureuther & Marcel Hirscher. Gosh, the two of them push each other to better and better runs. At times I hold my breath until Felix is over the red line. Only when I see the time flash a nice vibrant green ( green means he has the best time so far ) can I relax a bit.

It also adds sporting tension in our house as Bob supports Marcel Hirscher and I support Felix Neureuther.

Marcel often skies after Felix and yesterday he beat Felix by 0.01 of a second. Oh, you should have seen Schladming erupt in joy. Marcel is Austrian and Schladming is just down the road from us in Austria. A goose bump moment indeed.

But, there was still a skier to start at the top. A young new comer. In fact, a young new talent from Norway. A talent so fabulous that he has the ability to drive a wedge between the duel of Felix & Marcel. Oh and yes, he beat the both of them last night.

What a finish this young skier put on. Wow. As he bolted over the red finish line the time flashed green for him. Oh, you should have seen how happy he was. At that moment we could forgive him for upsetting our usual apple cart. His name and a name that will be a hot contender for this upcoming Olympic season, is... Henrik Kristoffersen....( I could only find his Twitter handle @H__Kristoffersen )


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Can You Park Your Car Without A Handbrake?

Maybe take a brick along for the ride?

When we first got here, we went to look for a car at one of the local dealerships. They had a yard full of second hand beauties. One looked rather promising and I sat in it and turned the engine...and the car rolled forward. Gee, how stupid of them was my first thought. Yet it took me until our first heavy winter to realize why they didn't pull handbrakes!

In South Africa, the handbrake is used all the time and even when parked on a straight road. Reflex, I suppose. Well, now that the temperature has plummeted to the minus side of the thermometer, it's cold enough to freeze the handbrake cable. In winter, handbrakes are often useless and you quickly form the habit of not using them all year round. Unless it is necessary.

It has been cold enough these last few days, to make the handbrake feel like it is detached. I tell you, the first time you pull a disabled handbrake your heart slips into your throat. It feels like putty in your hand and it takes about a second before you realize that it is not going to work...

Doing a milk & bread run yesterday morning, gave me the opportunity to take part in my own little Extreme Driving Show. Even getting out our driveway was an adventure to behold. A slight downhill where any braking is off limit. All good experience and one way to get your blood pressure higher.

As I got closer to the village shop, I started to plan my handbrake-free parking. Gosh, me and a thousand others. The choice parking was gone and but I eventually got one. When its cold like that, lots of people like to stock up on the essentials...milk, bread & chocolate!

Later on, Bob and I drove together to our afternoon class and had a jolly good discussion about where to park. Bob is a firm believer that a car in 1st gear will stay in one place whereas I like to play it safe and not try that on an incline. Especially when it is snowing. Like Laurel & Hardy, we changed our parking place a few times. Granted at my persistence. ( Eh, this handbrake worked perfectly!!! )

When I mumbled something along the lines of; why didn't you bring a brick with to put behind the tyre?, Bob graced me with a comment that I shouldn't really repeat!


Monday, 27 January 2014

Top Home Entertainment: A Dirty Flying Sock!

The fun never ends when you are married...

Together for 10 years, married for almost 6 and still we laugh and laugh. Eh, not at each other but with each other...

Don't you agree, that the minute we move in together as couples, it is so romantic and your other
( note, not better ) half gets made to feel as if they could walk on water and they smell of roses...

" Gosh, of course you can borrow my sweater / scarf / undies / socks. Oh, aren't you the cutest! "

Fast forward a few years, and suddenly we become very territorial and possessive of our items of clothing. At least of some of them. When you get to fish your other half's undies out the hamper to put them in the washing machine, the need to want to borrow ( the clean ones of course ) them quickly stops.

Anyway, now to that curious phenomena of socks. Our ( combined ) sock drawer is filled to capacity. Yet curiously, matching pairs are a rarity. Bob adds to the odd ratio because he has a superstition and tries not to wear a matching pair of socks. In our household, the hunt for two socks that look alike is at a frenzy. You can understand why I have even started to stash my favourite matching pair in my underwear drawer...

Yesterday evening was nice and comfortable as only a leisurely snowy Sunday can be. We were lounging on the couch, avidly watching the skiing in Kitzbühl and basically enjoying being inside while it was so cold outside. On my way to the kitchen, I happened to glance at Bob's sock ensemble that he was sporting.

"Bob, are you wearing my favourite pair of socks?
Gosh darn it, he had found my stash. It is only one pair, but a nice pair. A pair that is so comfy. A pair I should have bought more of...

" Well, if you want them, I'll take them off right now! "
Phff, as if I would want to wear them now. Bob's worn them all day and the jury is still out on whether he slept with them on as well. Didn't I tell you that the romance only lasts a few months. But don't fret, the next stage after romance is far far nicer.

Bob took off one sock and pretended that he wanted to give it to me. Well, the next minute he jokingly held the sock out to me, daring me to take a whiff ( gals who are courting won't understand but married gals worth their salt will! ) Ja right, as if... I carried on walking and suddenly felt a sharp breeze next to my cheek and something touch it for a second.

When I turned to look at Bob, he was laughing so hard that tears were running down his face. In between guffaws, he said:

" Sorry Schatzi. Oh I didn't realize how accurate I could throw. It was meant to only land next to you...."

Ah, the fun of being it!


Sunday, 26 January 2014

A Nice & Easy Winter's Day.

Isn't life gorgeous?

Enough snow and just cold enough to not be able to go for a walk. You know, so cold that the roads look and feel more like ice-rinks! Oh, I have learned my lesson with those deceptive and seemingly innocent roads. The minute you put your weight on your one foot, the other one slides from under you...ouch indeed!

Our little paradise in Burgenland lives up to its reputation. Sunshine almost all year around. Granted, there might be snow on the ground and a bitter cold feel to the day, yet the sky is blue. Those ghastly winter blues are not possible here, as you can't help but feel happy when you see those beautiful azure skies framed by a white blanket of cotton wool perfect snow!

A visual feast behind our house.
A shadow-selfie. How divine are these blue skies?
My trusty shadow again...outside our house.
Our own little slope...
Driving through the forest to Badersdorf yesterday afternoon had a stunning feel to it. The sunlight was flickering through the trees. A forest holds so much beauty, allure and spurns the imagination.
All taken while driving.
As you leave the forest, the little village of Badersdorf is patiently waiting to show its enchanting side.


Saturday, 25 January 2014

" Have You Ever Played Pool, Bob? "

The notorious line every pool player yearns to be asked at some stage!

Bob is a newly minted member of our local volunteer fire brigade. It's still early days in his training and he might have to contend himself with the eternal Wax on - Wax off action of cleaning the fire engine. But don't forget, that it is every man's dream from toddler days...

I am sure you can imagine what fun it is to be part of the Fire Brigade. Bob is pleased as punch and seriously, it looks as if he is walking taller all of a sudden! He has already been kitted out in his parade uniform and casual uniform with his name tag on it.

Bob and some of his fellow firemen went meandering along one side of a village street last night, knocking on every door and giving away tickets for the annual ball. Gosh, don't feel bad for Bob. Even though it was a freezing last night, Bob was only cold until he got to the first door. As is tradition in our area, each household gives them a tot of firewater...

Fast forward to when he toddled home a few hours later ( the beauty of it is that he can walk everywhere and get home in one piece ). Oh, you should have seen and heard Bob. A Classic Bob. My Bob.

Not far from our house is the local ' Dart club ' and might as well be called the local ' Youth Club '. It seems to be a hang out for the under 25's and I am sure that the over 30's are not often seen crossing the threshold. Last night, when they had finished their ticket round, the others ( a few could be young enough to be Bob's kids ) asked Bob in for a drink.

" Bob, have you ever played pool? "
" Oh yes, I have! "
Honestly, I think they thought that an elderly gent ( remember they are in their early 20's ) and one from South Africa to boot, will be out of his depth for sure. For all I know, they wanted to show him a thing or two...

Well they don't know Bob. I think Bob almost 'hovercrafted' over the floor when he told me later:

" Schatzi, can you believe it. Every game I played, I won! Yohoo, I won!!!!"

In between telling me of his success a few more times ( like 30 ), I asked him what the others said to that?

" They mentioned that if I am ever in the area, I am welcome to drop in. "
Sorry to burst your bubble, Bob:
  • You should have let them win a game or two, because let's face it, we live 200 meters down the road! You are in the area at least 5 times a day!
  • The only other time that you were invited to this ' Dart club / Youth club ', you were asked if you knew how to play darts. Bob, you won at darts too.( Oh, I kid you not ) As there are also young lasses present, whom the young lads would like to impress with their dart skills, I am sure that they are not too keen to have such a good dart player in their midst....


Bob in his parade uniform. This was taken about 2 weeks ago! Doesn't he look handsome?

Friday, 24 January 2014

A Snow & Slow Day!

Yeah, snow is finally here!

This is the first proper snow of this winter season. About time too. Yes, it is nice to have a warmer winter but it comes with consequences further down the road. But, now it is snowing like it should and I love it. Looking through the window and seeing the snow flakes do their dance, is oh so nice.

Out our bedroom window! Eh, too cold to venture out all the way.
Again, the bench in front of our house but taken from above.
Snow gives the scenery a feel of the 1930's.
I love the way that snow outlines everything.
By lunchtime, we ( Bob! ) will have to use the snow shovel to clear our driveway...


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Grated Apple, Horseradish & Schmarrn!

A recipe with a twist that is irresistible.

Forget about that old fashioned way of garnering your cooking ideas. You know, such hunting through the online community or taking down that big dust collector...the heavy cookbook with the decorative cover! Only the very dedicated chefs use those cookbooks. Apart from anything else, it takes time, effort and money to follow any printed recipe.

Dash it, there is always an ingredient on the list that no one has in their spice rack. I have often left out certain of those ingredients and hoped that they weren't the main ones. ( That could explain a few culinary disasters in my kitchen career... )

There is a nice couple in a neighbouring village who are in their 70's and I went to visit them yesterday morning. They have their own chickens and when the hens behave, they have plenty of eggs. Free range eggs. Eggs that any big city chef would give his eye's teeth for. Even the yolk is a deeper and richer yellow colour than the store bought variety. That's living in the country for you!

Apples trees are scattered all over our area. Some are planted in a straight line and others look as if the thrown away apple core took root then and there. As is the norm with these apple trees, they tend to only bless us with an abundant crop every other year. Gosh, when your apple tree is in hibernation, guess what? The neighbour's one is on duty. No one can eat all the apples and sharing apples is the thing to do!

Anyway, when I arrived to " Say Hello ", she was in the kitchen baking. There is a comfortable chair next to the counter and I plonked myself onto it. In between the odd helpful stints such as fetching the milk or getting a spoon, I watched with avid interest and stored the idea away like a squirrel collects his nuts for winter.

These country kitchens have something magical about them. I have decided that it must be the Aga-like stove that is almost a staple fixture in any country kitchen. It is a stove that is still heated with wood. Usually it is a big one, that has enough stove top space for several pots and also has a water warming compartment on the side. Naturally it also has an oven in it. In Winter, these kitchens are so lovely, warm and comforting especially if, like me you are sitting next to the window. A window that accurately depicts the cold day outside.

The simple things are often the best. A Schmarrn is a pancake that is chopped into bits with a fork before it is set in the pan! I know this sounds brutal, but it is one way to not have the stress of flipping a pancake perfectly. This Schmarrn has eggs, flour, milk and a dash of salt. But it was the topping that held such interest for me.

Pancakes come with all types of fillings: ice cream, cream, chocolate, peanut butter, Bovril ( Our niece tried it by liberally smearing the inside of her pancake. She did it as a lark, but seemed to love it or perhaps our shocked expression! )....

Now this topping for the Schmarrn ( chopped up thick pancake ) was grated apple, grated horseradish mixed with a liberal dash of sugar. Oh yes. Sweet, tart and definitely a tear jerker!


When we were fixing up our house, we used an aga-like stove ( the previous owner left it ) to heat the house. Knowing how to build & light a fire is a must. A must that I have not quite mastered yet...

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Detectives Abound In A Small Village!

Each small village has a few Miss Marple types.

Every Tuesday evening during winter we have an exercise class in our village hall. Oh, it is strenuous alright but also amusing. Anything and everything that has happened in the past week, gets mentioned.

Just to give you an example:

" Oh, I saw you were visiting so and so this afternoon."
" Yes, actually I was. How did you know?"
" I noticed your car parked there at 3 o'clock!"
Ka-ching! As you can see, only a fool would try anything sinister or otherwise...

As for knowing who drives which car, it is not so impressive a skill, when you consider that there are not that many in our village. Naturally it also helps to have very few characters on the number plate.

In a small village the TV is not the main source of entertainment. Why should it be when life gives you so much more. Sitting near your window is second nature. Looking out of it is a must.

Bob and I live on the outskirts of our village and have become aces at hearing the out of the norm passer by. We tend to know the different pitches of our neighbours car engines. Our ears are tuned to perfection. Gosh, just like Superman, Bob can hear a person walking or driving past outside and know who it is....

For example, our postman has a distinct way of driving ( doing a stop start,stop start between the houses ) and he always leaves the car running when he puts letters in our postbox. Oh, and the way he slams a door is unique to him. Another example would be one of our neighbours. He drives rather speedily and brakes more sharply. See, we don't even need to look out of the window to see who it is!

There is an elderly lady up the street, who takes her dog for a 2 km walk each & every day of the year. Rain, snow or sunshine. I don't walk the same time as her, but I notice the fresh offerings of her little dog ( steaming landmines! )...Oh, did I mention that she walks with two crutches? Yes, she walks those 2 km with crutches....What did you say is your excuse for not walking ?

Life in a small village is never dull or boring. I love it and can only recommend it...

Biggi Marple Bundle: The Murder at the Vicarage, The Body in the Library, and The Moving Finger (eBook Bundle) Complete Miss Marple Collection (Miss Marple Mysteries)

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Psst! No Need To Be A Big Shot To Experience Job Satisfaction!

A job well done...makes all the difference.

We need to realize, that life is not all about having the top & most paying job!
Each job is important to someone and brings job satisfaction with it:

  • A teacher will walk home on clouds, when one of the hard to teach pupils gets a word, sum or gist of it.
  • A farmer who sees his crop growing after the hard work of getting it planted.
  • A doctor receiving a box of chocolates because he made someone feel better.
  • A receptionist remembering the name of a less frequent customer and seeing the surprise & pleasure on the customer's face.
  • A home executive being thrilled to have her home run like a well oiled machine.
  • A gardener getting a compliment on his abundant rose bushes.
  • A nurse who sees a patient turn the corner and get better through her care.
  • An artist selling his first painting / book or artwork.
  • An emergency worker getting to an accident in time to save the injured.
  • A stewardess being thanked because she helped a passenger through his fear of flying.

There is nothing wrong with having or wanting the big jobs. But I think society needs it be known, that having a normal & ordinary job is just as important. No need to feel inadequate because you don't have a chauffeur or chef in your entourage. Imagine how the world would tilt if everyone was a boss and big shot....

Oh, I nearly forgot: an added bonus of having the wonderfully normal & ordinary jobs is that you are home in the evenings and on weekends. You know, those two whole days in a row where you don't work...


Monday, 20 January 2014

Naysayers: How Are You Going To Explain This Bizarre Weather Pattern?

Let's all pull together and have a future...

Are we irritated enough by the weather yet?
Is it affecting us in a negative way yet?
There is surely no way the naysayers can still profess that there is no such thing as Climate Change?
Gosh, we are all feeling it right now!

At the moment the weather is nice and pleasant for some of us. No extreme cold. But others have had to experience a freezing of unimaginable proportions, such as the polar vortex that was inflicted on the eastern United States and Canada. Yet, at the same time the other side of the country ( West Coast ) is experiencing a horrendous drought. A drought so severe, that it is affecting the food supply. Some farmers can't afford to irrigate their crops and thus leave some fields fallow; and the rest of the meagre water supply is being used to put out wild fires.

Apart from being irritated by the climate change, it will hit some of us where it hurts...our wallet. Growing our own vegetables and fruits in our backyard will be the trend of the future. Subsistence farming. Forget about bragging with our beachfront property ( with the rising sea levels, are there still buyers for those ? ) Oh no, the real wealthy will be the ones who have property with ample land to plant for own-use. If they have their own water well...well those are the lucky ones!

Please everyone, let's be proactive. Even a small change in our life will collectively make a dent in this awful carbon emission business:

  • Wherever we can, let's take public transport. If it is not feasible, let's try and plan our drives more efficiently. Car pool if possible.
  • Try and incorporate the Slow Food Movement into some part of our week. You know, only cook foods that were grown in our area. i.e No travelling of the foods.
  • Use up left overs. I am guilty of this and often forget that there is a Tupperware with yummy leftovers in the fridge.
  • Separate our garbage. Plastics / glass / paper / tins.
  • Make do with our clothes. Don't keep on buying new things because they are not fashionable anymore. Try and wear pants for more than a season or two.( If it is a pair of skinny them in! )
  • Switch off lights when we leave a room.
  • Bring our own basket / packet to the supermarket. Don't buy a plastic packet every time.
  • Shower smarter...Water Saver Shower Head.

There are so many changes we could make, but I just wanted you to know that even the little changes help. Remember, there are so many of us. Think of it as the compound interest of the green movement.

By the by, the green movement that a lot of people used to laugh and point fingers at, is the movement that will make sure we all have a chance to experience old age....


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Do Smells, Scents & Aromas Make You Remember Too?

Unlocking our memories.

Just walking around outdoors makes me notice the divine perfume of nature. Of course, the scents change with the seasons - colour and aroma intermingled.

  • The easiest to describe is the wonderful scent of freshly cut grass. Once we walk past it we can't help but smile. Smile, because it takes us back to our childhood and holidays in the country.
  • Can you picture the smell of ladybugs? They have a scent, that reminds me of May and Spring.
  • The fresh smell of cut fir trees lingering in the air. That woody scent, one that gives out a feeling of comfort.
  • Freshly left / dropped cow dung...yes, it is poo, but it has memories of holidays on a farm attached to it.
  • The minutes after the rain has stopped makes the air feel sort of new, fresh and clean. I know it sounds silly, but that is how it feels and smells to me.
  • Flowers and plants are of course a winner in the memory game. Roses and their legendary perfumes, herbs with their at times pungent smells and of course beauties such as lavender. I don't know about you, but when I think of the colour purple, lavender is the first thing that comes to mind!

Can you smell the lavender?
Gosh, if you could only walk passed this pile of cut wood...
Sitting in a meadow and just taking in the green smell of grass, beetles and earth.
I am sure that you will be able to experience the smell of freshly cut grass, when you see this picture!


Saturday, 18 January 2014

Never A Dull Moment In Our Bedroom!

Together so long, yet still so funny!

Synchronized as only a long time couple could be, we both switched off our reading lamps at the same time. Whereas I mumbled

" Goodnight Schatzi "
, Schatzi did the ( un ) expected...

" Oh my God! "
was all that came from Bob's side of the bed. His tone of voice having been very serious, my mind went into overdrive and imagined all the various causes:
  • He needed to desperately visit the lavatory...
  • He, eh,had lifted his blanket by mistake.
  • He had heard a strange noise and thought there was a burglar.

My urgent question of

" Bob, what's wrong? "
was followed by a grating sound. A horrible sound indeed. A sound like a nail grating over metal. Believe me, I was wide awake already after his first statement. When the penny dropped for me, the laughter wouldn't stop. Schatzi was grating against his duvet's zip! Oh yes, you know what that was bottom to top.

Or in other words, where the night ( and possibly the whole week ) before his toes had made a comfortable nest and ( maybe ) left a lingering scent to mark their territory, that end was now next to his face. Bob has a habit of pulling his duvet up to his nose. Let's just say that last night it was merely there for a few seconds...

Of course, Bob was in a conundrum. He had read for a decent amount of time. Enough time for his toes to mark their new territory. Between squeals of laughter and accusations that I purposely made the bed the wrong way, Schatzi decided to risk it all and turn the duvet upside-down!

As I said, never a dull moment in our bedroom!
By the way, in case you are Austria having a double sized duvet is forsaken for two single duvets. It helps keep one warm in the winter. You know, that awful draft down the middle of a double duvet is avoided that way. You should try it sometime....


Friday, 17 January 2014

Jeans That Make Most Of Us Look Like Sausages!

The irony is that most of us don't even look nice in them!

If you are one of those leggy supermodels, please stop reading right now. This is not your problem! But, for the rest of us ( and gosh there are loads of us ) this fashion of tight, skintight jeans is madness. We might as well walk around in our undergarments.

Be honest, have you also thought to yourself that some women should not have been wearing these jeans? We all complain about our cellulite & extra weight and try everything under the sun to get rid of it or hide it. Well, with these tight pants, the cat's out the bag. Don't think that the act of squashing yourself into these jeans makes the cellulite or extra weight disappear...on the contrary, it makes it more of a feature.

Those jeans are not even comfortable. Sitting down or bending down is not fun. Somewhere
( mostly on the waist ) it pinches and feels tight. Wearing short tops with these sausage pants / jeans is daring to say the least. What were the trend designers thinking ? A type of revenge or just wanting to prove that the herd follows the head sheep. Mission accomplished!

Voluptuousness should be celebrated. But alas, have you gone into a clothing shop lately to buy jeans? They all tend to resemble skin tight leggings. Leggings should be for lounging around at home and not even for going to gym.

No woman could have foisted this alarming fashion trend onto us. It must have been a man. The tables need to be turned. Let men start wearing tight, extremely tight jeans-leggings. See how they feel encased in tight pants. Oh, let's return to the middle ages and tights that displayed rather too much of a man's pride & joy!

There is a saying in America: " Don't wear white after Labor Day. " Let's add a new one:
" Don't wear skintight jeans after the age of 20! "


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Dear Cat, You Made My Day!

Each day has got something nice in store.

Yesterday we were invited to watch a local farmer burn his Schnapps. Bob and I were chuffed to bits, because they just don't invite people at random!

We were discussing the finer points of the burning process ( to be honest, it is too scientific for me, but Bob had that determined twinkle in his eye ) when I happened to glance outside through the window. Good Golly, Miss Molly...his cat was doing an Olympic display on an extremely thin tree branch.

This picture is of her decent, but I thought the first picture should burst with a bit of colour. Yet, can you see how much fun this little one was having?
Can you see how high up she was? For her it was a game of hide and seek with her partner in crime. You can see him longingly looking up at her.
When she climbed higher, the tree started to sway rather alarmingly. But this cat has a lot of spunk and almost looked like she was smiling.
Isn't this a classic shot?
" Are you sure you're not coming up to play with me? "
" There is nothing to be scared of. Just climb up already! It's so boring up here on my own..."
As it wasn't much fun without her friend, she did a somewhat graceful dismount. In case you think that this is her normal behaviour, it isn't. When I asked the farmer if I could take pictures of his cat because it was too precious, he couldn't believe it and even called his wife to come and have a look!


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

"What, So You Think I Look As Old As Her? "

Rose tinted glasses aren't just for the newly in love...

I know its vain. In fact very vain, but alas I am only human. When did it start? Arriving in your fourth decade is often a hard nut to crack.

The funny thing is that I still see myself with those rose tinted glasses and let's be honest, they are stuck at about mid-thirties. A place where wrinkles were on the horizon but still at bay and grey hair could still be counted on one hand. One can dream! At least Bob has a pair of those glasses as well.

  • " Biggi, do you know that Brett ( eh, this is an alias of course ) is about my age? Be honest, surely I don't look as old as him? "
  • We tend to watch the TV reality program-Das perfekte dinner-and they kindly give the age of all their competitors. Oh, you can guess how often we play the game of ...
    " Do I look as old as her / him ?"...To keep the marital peace we have both learned to convincingly utter
    " Oh gosh no, you look at least 8 years younger! "
  • Isn't it extremely painful when you see an interview with an actor, actress or pop star
    ( those elect few that graced your wall in the form of a poster ) and they put the age next to their name...Good God, they are mostly middle aged or even pensioners! Surely we are not thaaaat old?
    Oh, can you guess that I am mentally still stuck in the eighties where Pop Stars belted out tunes such as " Never gonna give you up " / " Wild boys..." / " Walking on sunshine " / " Everybody have fun tonight " " Pass the Dutchie " P/S: If you can name the singers of these songs... hee hee, you are my age too!
    100 Hits Presents: Karaoke 80's
  • You know, the one thing that rips those rose tinted, gosh one could actually call them view by candle light glasses off our faces faster than you can say " Good Day ", is when you go shopping and someone younger than you holds the door open for you / gets up to give you a seat on the bus / addresses you in the proper manner of the
    ' used to be young ' ..." Madam / Sir ". Oh, that hurts like mad.

Apart from all of the above, I love my forties! What about you?


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A Quote Every Now & Again Is Rather Refreshing For Our Souls.

Don't you agree that the little things make the most impact?

Quotations really need no introduction. Through pure chance I stumbled across this book of them on our bookshelf. Neither Bob or I bought it, so it must have been a well meant present from someone who came to stay...Thank you to whoever it was.

" Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand. "
George Eliot Silas Marner 1861
" Be silent, unless what you have to say is better than silence."
Salvator Rosa motto on self-portrait about 1645
" Better by far you should forget and smile /
Than you should remember and be sad. "

Christina Rossetti' Remember ' 1862
" To like and dislike the same things, that is indeed true friendship. "
Sallust 34 BC Bellum Catitinae
" An open foe may prove a curse, /
But a pretended friend is worse."

John Gay ( 1685-1732 ) The Shepherd's Dog and the Wolf
" Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin /
They think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives. "

Siegfried Sassoon ' Dreamers ' 1918
" I am not interested in what anybody else thinks.
My mind is not a bed to be made and remade."

James Agate ( 1847-1947 ) Ego 6
" What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon also be beautiful."
Sappho Fragments

I hope you've enjoyed these, or at least one or two...


Monday, 13 January 2014

A Real Prince On The Slopes.

Alpine skiing gets more and more exciting to watch.

When both your parents are Olympic Champions of the same sport ( alpine skiing ) it would be understandable if you didn't take up the same sport. Yet, Felix Neureuther has done just that. He competes on the slopes at the highest level and guess what, he is very good.

Imagine if Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi's child took up tennis at the highest level. Oh yes, the pressure of comparison and expectation would be enormous. So here is Felix, skiing the most amazing, nerve wracking and exciting to watch runs almost every time. Gosh, on Saturday he also won a race.

Skiing at this level and giving your utmost can mean a run that could be ended by a mere centimeter. A ski could be in the wrong place and out you are! Felix, by nature of his princely status is the darling of the media and the commentators try their hardest not to be biased. The euphoria in their voices give them away of course. To be honest, even I shout at Felix and hold both thumbs on top of it...

Athletes of such a high caliber have various expressions of annoyance and anger when they disqualify or are too slow. Some swear like troopers ( oh, you can hear it through the microphone and some words don't need a soundbite ), some throw their toys out the cot by tossing their sticks on the ground and others pout in disappointment.

But then you get Felix and his response to a disappointing run. This is what makes him a Prince in my view. The reporters are ruthless and if Felix has a bad run or basically loses the race because of a centimeter of the ski being on the wrong side of the pole, they haul him in front of the cameras.

There are a finite number of races in each season, so it is a huge deal if you lose one. Especially if it was yours to win. Inane questions such as : " So Felix, how did you feel when you didn't win this race ? "..." Why did you do ....? ", should get inane answers!

Look, when the athletes get interviewed they are still a bit out of breath. But Felix again proved that he is a true champion by saying that yes, he was a bit sad for not finishing the race, but maybe it would be a good thing because it will ground him again. Make him focus more on skiing than on the media attention.

Wow, what a fantastic attitude. What a fantastic skier and what a nice young man. Any woman under 30 should look up his website and watch him race....


Sunday, 12 January 2014

Do You Remember...' The Carpenters '?

Real songs that take us back into a good place.

Oh I know, music is different for everybody and if there are more than two people living in your house, you'll know all about it. Throw a few teenagers' into the mix, and I am sure that your nerves are in a heightened state. Sort of like chalk scraping down the blackboard the wrong way!

Through time, songs are sung that resonate with almost all. They transcend different genres of music likes. Oh, some are considered even cool to listen to. As you know, Frank Sinatra is my main man and I have noticed, that even the most ardent fans of alternative music, will know the words to his songs...dead giveaway that!

This morning I heard a song by The Carpenterson the radio and it felt as if my soul skipped in happiness. You know, one of those songs that lifts you out of the doldrums and seems to wash all the cares away. It must be a combination of her voice and the music. Music that is plain music. No remixed or synthesized lot there. Oh yes, music was genuine back in the day..

If you listen to the radio, find a " Golden Oldie " station and listen out for their songs. Oh yes, they will definitely play one. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think of The Carpenters.


Saturday, 11 January 2014

"Made In Your Country"...A Good Or Bad Label?

Do you think it makes a difference?

The world right now is hardly recognizable. The weather for a start is making me feel as if I am at the start of that movie The Day After Tomorrow .Who can blame me, after witnessing this polar vortex in the northern part of North America. What next?

When are we going to get with the program of looking after this earth, our home? God lord, villages in England have become small islands. No, this surely can't be explained away as just a fluke? Yet, does anyone offer suggestions of climate control...

Are we all so unhappy that we need to buy all those things that possibly contribute towards it? Almost all of our homes are full of stuff, yet we keep on buying ( Sadly, myself included ). When did you last buy something that you needed as opposed to wanted?

Buying an inexpensive item, that was made on the other side of the earth, comes at a price: Firstly it uses carbon emissions to get here. Secondly it means that less manufacturing jobs are available in our country. There needs to be some balance of importing and exporting goods.

Whenever you listen to the news, you hear about the high levels of unemployment and it seems to be getting more so. Retraining the unemployed is an answer, but an expensive one.

Even educating your children so that they have good job prospects in the first place is out of reach for a lot of families. Education is very expensive. Middle class & blue collar jobs are getting scarcer and with the advance of technology, jobs seem to disappear altogether in favour of a robot.

Of course we can't become insular and forget about trade with other countries. But there needs to be a balance. Buying more ( more, not all...) items with the label " Made in our country " should kill a few birds with one stone. You somehow know that your neighbour / family / or you have an extra employment opportunity and one less item needs to be shipped all over the world to get to you!

Look, I am only an ordinary person applying my own common sense. Even writing this, I know that a lot of you will disagree with me and maybe even call me names...But, we need to start somewhere to save our precious world. Don't you want to have a good and safe life, and more importantly, don't you want your children to have a future of a good life?


Friday, 10 January 2014

The Mysterious Bag on the Doorstep!!

Did I mention it was raw meat?

The others were waiting in the idling car while I ran in to check up on my parents place. Half turning to wave at them, I opened the outer doors having the key ready for the inner door. Good grief, what was that?

Anything that is out of place tends to catch ones eye, and this see - through plastic packet on the floor was one of those ' not meant to be there ' items. Why couldn't Bob have stumbled upon this. Jeez-a-lou, a bag of raw ribs. Naturally, having had a marathon TV session of Criminal Minds ,my mind went into overdrive!

Oh, after a second I realized that living in the country, friends or meat farmers tend to drop off parcels of meat and when you are not in, they just normally leave it on your doorstep ( Isn't it nice to live in a place where you don't need to worry about stuff ).

Marveling at another bonus point of living in the country, I took the bag of meat and ran back to the car. Bob and our friends had a bit of a giggle at me swinging a bag of raw meat. Showing off to our friends, who are here from South Africa about how life is lived in our paradise, I mumbled:

" Oh, I am sure the sheep farmer dropped off a Christmas present and didn't know that my folks were away. "

The day was a hectic one, and we barely managed to put the meat in the fridge before setting off on our chores...inspecting a Buschenschank. But the next morning, I couldn't help but stumble over this large bag when I opened the fridge to get milk for my coffee. To be honest, a see through bag of raw ribs is not the most enjoyable sight!

Bob, normally the chief meat cooker in our household was a tad bit under the weather as he had attended the Firemen's ball the previous night. You could say that Bob married well, because I cooked the ribs for him, knowing that he would be ravenous.... and right I was.

Technology is amazing and with it we have been in contact with my folks on the other side of the World. When I told them about this find on their doorstep, I didn't think it through properly.

You know what parents are like. They love to give you errands that you wouldn't normally think of doing.

" Make sure you phone Julia and thank her. It must have been from them. Don't forget to do it! "
Even if I would forget, we all know that Mum's never forget to remind us.

Taking the bull by the horns, I phoned Julia to whom I maybe speak to once a year, if that. So, imagine putting this little story over the phone. By the time we got our i's dotted and t's crossed, she was laughing with great gusto.

" Birgit, we would never just leave a bag of raw meat on a doorstep" . " No, it wasn't us ".
Well, at least she now has a funny story to tell at dinner parties. Gosh, I could still hear her chuckle as she put down the phone!

Skyping my Mum to tell her about this development, didn't appease her. Oh no, she sent me on a new mission. Can you believe it, I have to phone all the local hunters and see who left me holding the bag....


Thursday, 9 January 2014

What, You Can't Hear Yourself Think Either?

You know, maybe the monasteries had a point after all...

I suppose we don't all have a monastery at hand to remove the cluttering noise of our lifestyle and times. ( If you do, rather take your vacation in Club Monastery than Club Med! ) How on earth are we to function as we were meant to, with all this new noise?

Do you know which one is your inner voice? Not the voice of advertising, friends and stuff? Just you, plain & simple.

Multitasking, which used to be the skill & art of women and geniuses, has now gone mainstream. All and sundry have a go at it on a daily if not hourly basis...Even now, while writing this, the TV is on in another room. Don't most of us do two or three things at a time? Read our text messages, while watching TV and talking ( sort of ) to our family...

A lot of us have taken to wearing the cellphone as an extension of us, even using it as a barometer of wealth. ' Oh look, a XYZ-phone!'
Whatever happened to the good old days of , ' Oh look, a huge diamond '.
Cellphones were invented ( at least I hope & think so ) for emergencies. Well, that pigeon has flown the coop for good. Now, courtesy of our cell phone, we know what our friends and family eat at meal times. Often while sitting in the same room! A vital source of noisy clutter.

We buy into a lifestyle and social scene, where noisy clutter is essential to fit in. Golly gosh, you won't find a real-self underneath the facade of: " Got to have and own the best and most." Tell me, have you also at some time in your life, bought something so useless and dare I say stupid, just because your friends owned it and you wanted to fit in?

De-layering our life from the noise of life, is not as difficult as it seems. It could be as simple as doing one thing at a time. Forget the multitasking. Go for a walk in nature. Go and visit your friends in person. Go and play a board game with your kids. Go on a holiday that doesn't involve 20 cities in 10 days...


Eisenberg in the morning misty, yet a clear haven...
A simple walk through the forest and smelling a pile of newly axed wood.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Garlic & Perfume: If You Can Smell It Yourself, You've had too much!

Motoring along in our garlic - mobile.

At least with perfume you can do the old spray it in the air & walk through trick, but even that has its downfalls. How long to linger in the mist being one of them...Oh and the upside of course is that you can have a shower and voila, it is gone.

If you had to be on a first date, I think that this must be one of the worst outcomes. Fresh garlic used moderately is pleasant and even medicinal. But, when you use too much garlic it gets to resemble that crushed garlic at the supermarket ( the one swimming in a bit of oil ), you know that more than a teaspoon of it spells trouble.

The four of us, our friends who are here on holiday and us, went to a Buschenschank last night. As couples, we have both been married for more than a handful of years. With that comes the permission to share your spouses food. Not the romantic hand-fed forks of tastes. No, this is basically taking your fair share of each others food. All four of us did that with our respective spouse's food.

We weren't very original either, as we ordered two ' baked potatoes with bacon & sour cream ' and two ' Holzhackerteller '. When you are hungry, it usually takes a few mouthfuls before you register the taste. Gosh, those delicate first few dinner dates with Bob are a vague and distant memory...
" My wive eats like a bird.... a vulture! "

It quickly registered with my taste buds, that garlic and loads of it, was involved. Oh dear! Between Bob and I, we shared the garlic laden sour cream equally. So did our friends. Not so much discomfort when you are sitting in the Restaurant.

But once we were back in our car motoring along with windows closed because it was too darn cold, we realized that we would be in for a turbulent night. Even the short drive to drop them off, made the interior smell like garlic central. The only lucky fish in the car was my friend's husband. Due to his sinus problem, he can't smell anything. Really. Sorry Bob, but your sinus is working fine...!

Is there anything worse, than having a strong taste of garlic in your mouth, and smelling garlic as you breath in and out? Even this morning I can still smell it. All I can hope for is that Bob remembered to open the window in the bedroom this morning.

There should be a warning on the menu: " This dish will not lead to anything romantic..."


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

4 Envelopes A Month Should Do The Trick!

One of the easiest ways to save money.

Let's be honest, banks mainly make their money ( and we now know that they make oodles of it ) when we can't stay within our budget. If we can't save. If we live beyond our means...Have you seen how little interest you earn on deposits, such as your savings? Rather ironic, isn't it, because those savings sort of get lent out to the non-savers at astronomical interest rates. Wouldn't it be nice if the savers get a tad bit more for their effort!

But enough of day-dreaming. Let's take responsibility and make sure we don't need to borrow too much ' expensive ' money. Oh, I know it isn't easy to live within your means in these times, but it is not impossible.

Most of us have an amount set aside for food & incidentals, yet we barley stick to the amount. Often it is a simple matter of switching to a different method of shopping. Look, the banks make money the minute you use your credit card. Credit cards lure you into spending more. Most of us think of credit card money as play money. We never actually see it, and the banks do make it as enticing as possible to live beyond our means. Gosh, golly & bah humbug-that is part of how they make oodles of profits.

Enough of banks and their enticing ways. Here is a method of saving which some might simply call Neanderthal, but it works. The next time your budget month starts, draw the month's grocery budget in cash, buy 4 plain white envelopes and divide the money equally into the 4 envelopes.

Each week of your month, you only use 1 envelope. You need to put / lock the others away in a safe place. Obviously, from now on, leave your credit cards / debit cards at home. Do your grocery shopping only with the one white envelope.

If you are anything like me, the first shopping trip with a finite amount of money will take longer, as you will put items into your trolley in the first isle, but as you go along the various isles, you might take items out again. Oh yes, suddenly the autopilot shopping will switch to manual shopping.

It is amazing how easily it is to buy only what you need, when there is only so much cash on offer. This 4 envelope method takes some getting used to and you might only get the hang of it in a few months time, but in the process you change your habits and save money. Remember, if you don't use all the money in the 1st envelope, you can carry it over to the 2nd...or put it as an extra into your bond repayment.


Monday, 6 January 2014

Gosh Darn It, Because It's Just So Much Easier!

Taking responsibility is not for everyone...

If you listen carefully, you'll be able to hear it. What you might ask? Well, blaming someone or something else for whatever is not going according to plan.

  • My wife is always " too " tired!!!...well Sherlock, when did you last help with the household? You know, tiding the kitchen after dinner, helping with the homework, putting the kids to bed, folding the laundry & maybe cleaning the floor once in a while? Don't you think your wife would have more energy if she could sit & watch TV straight after dinner? Or if she could watch TV while you make dinner...? Uh, it's not fair to blame the messenger.
  • My kids are getting bad grades at school. It's that teacher!...well, have you checked whether your kids are studying enough or at all?
  • My hormones make me put on, surely it can't be the cakes, chips & chocolates you eat when no-one is looking?
  • This unseasonable weather, a catastrophe in some parts of the world, happens every once in while... Surely, it is not because of my lack of recycling rubbish nor my driving needlessly and my being wasteful with resources makes no difference to the environment...
  • It's impossible for us to save money...The fact that you eat meat with every meal, that your kids have the latest computer games and buy lots of takeaways have nothing do with that?
  • My kid learned that swear word at school...of course it has nothing to do with you swearing like a trooper at home!

We all sort of know where and when we should take responsibility, but it often is easier to not do anything. That is why the Opt-Out wave has come in. With the opt-out option, the company giving us the choice ( such as an insurance company ) is almost guaranteed that we will opt-in. Why: Well, opting out of anything, takes effort, time and means taking responsibility...


Sunday, 5 January 2014

A Mouse Free Zone?

With four cats does any mouse stand a chance?

Down the road or rather up in the vineyards, our friends house is blessed with an abundance of cats. Look the houses are one on top of the other, so it is hard to tell which one the cats call their home.

They are just short of being fully grown and I have seen them from kitten stage. The four cat-a-teers were fun to see hopping and hiding about. There is a sneaking suspicion in me that one of the neighbours did put out food for them. But don't forget they are country cats and have a duty to perform.

Apart from entertaining us with their antics they need to keep the mice population in check!
They have grown rather porky and that lets me hope that they have been taught the art of mouse-hunting by their mother.

When I do get to see them ( they have a habit of playing a rather successful game of hide & seek ) they are full of the joys of life...Jumping excitedly over and about a blade of grass, climbing a tree to get away from a sibling, warming a neighbouring bench and just making a day seem fun.

Watching these cute cats seize the day, makes me ponder why we tend to make everything more complex than it actually is!... Life needs to simply be lived, don't you think?


Saturday, 4 January 2014

You're Also A Creature Of Habit, Aren't You?

Tell me, do you think it depends on our age?

Good grief, I couldn't believe myself when I thought:

" After the first Höll trip we must stop and get a fresh bread roll at Frau Wachter's "...
It sounds innocuous enough, but this is our routine when we do the Höll run once a month, and has been from the beginning. More or less thirty times.

Oh yes, Bob and I are two prime examples of routine. Here are some of our top 10:

  1. Cleverly and with great foresight, I have managed to get Bob into the routine of washing the dishes every day. He is so into his dish washing routine, that alas, when I want to volunteer, he doesn't like least that is what I tell myself!
    Funny side story: The other day we were sitting around and chatting ( we, being a bunch of gals ) as we tend to do. Someone mentioned that their dishwasher was broken. I volunteered that mine was gone. When asked if the dishwasher was in for repairs, I said that no, Bob was away on holiday. Well, envy all around!
  2. Friday nights is home made pizza night. If we don't make one, I tend to feel a bit off.
  3. Bob showers after me...I cunningly worked out that he who showers last, has to clean the tiles!
  4. When we go grocery shopping, we somehow end up with a fresh bread roll in our hands. Routine or spooky?
  5. We each have our favourite spot to sit and watch TV and we never change it around.
  6. Bob will lock the garden gate only when it is dark. In winter it is at 5 pm in summer at more or less 9 pm.
  7. When I have my first cup of coffee at 5 am, I boil the milk on the stove and must have a sip of black coffee while I wait for it to boil up.

Habits and routines are funny, eyebrow raising, stupid or questionable at times. But I must admit, that those habits give structure to my day. Growing up, didn't we all like to think of ourselves as cool bohemian gals ? Oh well, clearly I am not and the world does need a few routine gals...


Friday, 3 January 2014

The Ease Of An Extra-Ordinary Life.

Changing your mindset.

Once you have realized that your ordinary life is actually an extraordinary one, you will never go back. It is a thought process that I hope everyone will stumble on sooner rather than later.
( See yesterday's blog. )

When you see your life from this new angle, it is as if a burden has fallen off of you. We all carry around this rucksack of ' must-haves or else ' ideas. We must have a bigger and shinier car. We must have a house in a better area. We must have the trendiest clothes. We must put our kids in the best ( & most expensive ) schools...

You know, once you let go of this constant need of having the next thing, life balances itself out. Not buying or upgrading everything to the newer option, saves you a lot of money. For whatever reason, most of us have created this lifestyle that automatically involves debt.

When you get down to the ' nitty-gritty ', even though you live in a mansion, drive a luxury car and send your kids to private school, more often than not, your bank owns it and you, ensuring you pay off your lifestyle almost until you retire. Refreshingly, if you chose to keep the car until it gives in, stay in your first house for aeons and send your kids to a normal yet good school, you might retire 10-20 years earlier!

Living within our means takes a bit of backbone, courage and initiative but all of us can do it. This is the beauty of being happy with your (extra)ordinary life, because it takes away that constant need to buy more, bigger and better.

Dare I say, once more and more people return to an (extra)ordinary life, families will benefit. Parents will be home more and not in a constantly exhausted state. Parents will have time to spend with their kids. Parents will enjoy spending time with their kids. Parents will take back the child rearing duty from that omnipresent computerized child nanny...

...Imagine a world where the computer, Xbox, iPad, iPhone, Wii or TV is changed back to " face-to-face / proper eye contact " time with your family? At least for a few hours each day.

There is a wonderful blog to follow. Mr Money Mustache is living this life to the fullest, and he is only in his 30's. How you might ask? Well, go an have a peep into his life...


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Being Happy With An Ordinary Life Makes It Extra-Ordinary!

Take a good look at what you have already.

Most of us try our hardest to chase after a lifestyle. A lifestyle that is not a real one per say. It is a lifestyle that was created and tailored for us by media & advertisers. How else would we even know or think about purchasing so many items that for most of their lifespan are stuck in a dusty cupboard?

Different lifestyles for different people. Some of us manage to get a certain lifestyle ( the advertised one ) with ease and joy and there is nothing wrong with that. But most of us do a stint on the proverbial ' treadmill ' trying to achieve this. A few ' treadmillers ' do this their whole life and even at the expense of their health and dare I say sanity.

When you stop to think and reflect about it most of us, if not all of us, have already everything we need to have a good and happy life.

  • Take a look at yourself. At the health you have and be happy for it. There are lots of people who don't have it. It doesn't matter what you buy, it cannot replace your health.
  • Go into your kitchen and have a look in your fridge & on the shelves. Don't you have more than enough to eat? Could you eat any more?
  • Do you have a roof over your head? Most of us do. Be happy for it. Yes, you can change it for a bigger one, but don't waste your health & emotions trying to achieve it. Remember, you can only sleep or live in one room at a time...
  • Look at your family and how life would be worse for not having them. If you have the time to spend it with them, than your life is an extraordinary one!
  • Do you have a job? Treasure it, regardless what it is. You don't always need to be a CEO to have a fantastic job!
    Remember, CEO's don't usually go home at 5 pm or have a two day weekend every week. Oh yes, there again an ordinary job becomes extraordinary!

These are just a few of the many aspects that make an ordinary life extraordinary. We tend to forget to be happy with the normal, little and seemingly insignificant things. But for me, those are the aspects of having and living a great life....

' One is never so happy or so unhappy as one thinks.'
La Rochefoucauld Maxims. ( French writer 1613-1680 )


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Quotes That I Find Interesting, Inspiring Or Amusing!

Going back in time is not always a bad thing.

This morning I happened to scroll through my news feed on Facebook and it abounded with good wishes and so forth for 2014. One message that shone like a beacon of light was from Felix Neureuther. Oh yes, a young & trendy olympic alpine athlete put up a quote by Francis Bacon. The quote made me feel good, and I am now even more of a fan of Felix's...

Here are some quotes that I find inspiring, interesting or amusing:

  • " The great and almost only comfort about being a woman is that one can always pretend to be more stupid than one is, and no one is surprised."
    ...Freya StarkThe Valley of the Assassins 1934
  • " The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough."
    ...Rabindranath Tagore Fireflies 1928
  • " I can't stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can stand a rude remark or a vulgar action."
    ...Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire 1947
  • " None love the messenger who brings bad news."
    ...Sophocles Antigone c.443 BC
  • " Marriage is the most advanced form of warfare in the modern world."
    ...Malcolm Bradbury The History Man 1975
  • " When kindness has left people, even for a few moments, we become afraid of them as if their reason has left them."
    ...Willa Cather My Mortal Enemy 1926
  • " There are only two families in the world, as an old grandmother of mine used to say: the Haves and the Have-nots."
    ...Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Don Quixote
  • " I recommend you to take care of the minutes: for hours will take care of themselves."
    ...Earl of Chesterfield letter to his son, Nov 1747
  • " Just as a women's bodies are softer than men's, so their understanding is sharper."
    ...Christine de Pisan The City Of Ladies 1405
  • " You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements."
    ...Norman Douglas South Wind 1917
  • " After all, tomorrow is another day."
    ...Margaret Mitchell closing words of Gone With the Wind

Dear Readers, firstly a big ' Thank You ' for supporting me and secondly I wish you a wonderful start to the New Year!