See you in 2014

When I started this blog I meant to document life in North Germany as I know it.

Well, I have not kept word and neglected this blog. That will change next year! I will show you  North Germany, starting with some places not far from where I live.

While I am writing this, many people are already shooting rockets into the sky and you can hear banging all around you. My dog has already found its place under my desk and I know that she will not dare going outside until tomorrow morning, being terribly afraid of the noises.

New Year’s Eve is a time for partying. Many people are going out to balls or dances or simply to the next night club. Others, like us, are celebrating at home. We will have a fancy dinner, some nice white wine and champagne at midnight. Of course we will then have the obligatory Berliner.

It is tradition, when you have a larger party, to fill one of the Berliners with mustard. There is no special meaning to that, it’s just a way to make the evening a bit more interesting.

Getting ready for New Year's Eve
Getting ready for New Year’s Eve

Another important thing tonight is “Bleigießen”. You melt some lead (you can buy it in any supermarket or drug store) over a candle and then pour the liquid into ice-cold water. It will immediately take some strange shape that are supposed to tell you what will happen in the coming year. My mother swears til today that she knew I would make her a grandmother when she saw the shape I made in 1983.

Traditionally, when I was a child we would eat a carp on New Year’s Eve. I still remember it swimming in the bathtub two nights before the event. My grandfather would kill it that night and boil it in water spiced with vinegar and bay leaves. It would be served with potatoes and whipped cream mixed with horseradish. These days we are having salmon instead. It has much less bones and tastes less of muddy water.

Now I wish you all a happy New Year!

Have a good time tonight and a wonderful, healthy and special 2014

Daily Prompt: Fifteen Minutes

Dear audience, 

I  have the honour to address the world for fifteen minutes. I am no celebrity and I have not achieved anything special.  I will share with you three guidelines I try to live by:

1. Take responsibility for your life and love yourself.

You are not always able to influence what happens to you in life. Whether you stay healthy or get sick, whether things work out for you the way you dreamt of, or whether you have to deal with throwbacks is no up to you. But you are the one who decides how to deal with things. Will you blame others and withdraw, or will you look for the positive and focus you attention on what you can do to make things better?  Do you appreciate your life and look after your body, your mind and your feelings or do you destroy yourselves with drugs and self-abuse? It is up to you to give your body good nutrition and exercise, to feed your mind with knowledge, positive experiences, art or whatever else you like. It is also your responsibility to feed your soul. You can do that with religion or philosophy, by having happy relationships and by keeping your eyes open for the beauty of this world.

2. Be open for new experiences and thoughts and never stop learning

It often feels safer to stick with the things you know. Forming  opinions, beliefs  and a  view of the world is important. We need to have values and rules to live by.   However, make sure to stay flexible and tolerant in your way of thinking. There is always  more than one way to do things right. There are many ways to be in touch with God, there are many ways to pattern  friendships, families and relationships.  There are many different ways to be a valuable member of your community and thousands of ways to lead  a good life. Be open and accepting of ways different from your own. Learn from each other and cooperate with each other for the best possible result. The world is an exciting place full of possibilities. By being open, tolerant and willing to learn your life will become much richer and much more interesting.

3. Ask yourself: “what can I do for the world?” instead of “what can the world do for me?”*

This question is in my opinion the key to a fulfilled life. It gives  life a purpose and helps to become less self-centered. Each and every one of us makes  the world into what it is. What we say and do does matter. We cannot change the world as a whole, but each of us is like  a small piece of a mosaic. We decide how we act and whether we will make the world a little bit nicer and more peaceful  for everybody. It doesn’t take much. Use your talents. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to be extraordinary or very gifted to contribute to the world. Everyone matters. Maybe the X-mas decoration in your window will make someone smile, your blog might inspire someone, being a considerate driver might prevent an accident, being friendly to a stranger could influence his opinion of the place he is at, helping a neighbour might lead to a new friendship.  Ask yourself: how can I make this world a nice, safe and happy place to be at? How can I give the people around me a feeling of being accepted, respected and of being welcome.

I am 54 years old and I am still practicing to live by these guidelines. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes my ego or my laziness are stronger. However, I feel that each day I managed to live by these rules was a successful and happy day.

I wish you all a happy weekend and a good, fulfilling life!

* This question I found in a small book called “Pocket sponsor” written by the AA. It has inspired me over and over again.


A tattoo ….me??? No way, it wouldn’t suit me. I am not the type for that. Or am I?

I am a well-adjusted person, the kind that stays in the background. My clothes are nice, but inconspicuous, my make-up is discreet and my voice is rather low. I don’t attract much attention and that suits me fine.

Tattoos are for people like my brother, who is sure of himself and not afraid to do as he likes. Some of his tattoos are really lovely, he’s got a wolf’s face on his arm that is like a fine painting.

However, something like that  would be out of character for me.

On the other hand it, wouldn’t it be rather exciting to have a tattoo in a special place? A hidden away tattoo, one that is my secret, only to be seen by me and the ones I chose to?  One that is briefly glimpsed in the heat of July when clothes slip. A surprise, because surly nobody would expect me to have a tattoo.

Yes, the idea appeals to me. I will think about it.