You will have heard the news.
Terror, horror, complete bewilderment, compassion, grief.
The city is very silent this early morning.
I live seven minutes away from the Berliner Gedächtniskirche and the Breitscheidplatz, where the attack happened. Yesterday evening walking the nearby Fasanenstraße, I wondered why so much police was around.
I woke up at night - still not knowing what had happened - when the SMS and WhatsApp and Email questions started to drop in, asking if I was safe.
I am - but I am deeply, deeply grieving for all those who have lost their life or their health, and those who have lost their loved ones.
All of a sudden my blogs are there again - I don't know what happened - those quaint signs from Google were not helpful at all - and to think of the time and energy we put into it... good grief...
"With a little help from my friends" - "We can work it out!"
Thank you so much!
(And my old translation was better than the one I started desperately this morning - that will teach me to make copies...)
I'm a bit in a state (to be honest: I'm a nervous wreck -- I have made no copies...): I cannot open my blog "Happiness of the Day" - and I need to!
I remember that other bloggers (Tom, Geo.) had that problem too, and it was only temporary - what did you do to get your other blogs back??
I really, really hope you can give me a clue!
At the moment I (re)read a book on the Swedish artist Carl Larsson, who lived with his wife Karin and their six children in Sundborn. The title of the book by Lena Rydin is difficult to translate - "The Lust for Everyday Life" might do.
The couple created their home, garden, clothes - everything - in a very harmonius, simple yet elaborate way. It makes you dream:
Well, and as often when I read something about interior design, I start changing my surroundings. Looked into a cupboard and took out an old tablecloth from my grandmother Elise von Kroge - hand-decorated by her in cross-stitch.
"Well - what a huge effort for decoration", I thought. "They must have had a lot of time on their hands."
And then, while rummaging with those patronising thoughts through that armoir, I found an Advent calendar - cross-stitched by --- me!
I did it when our son was about one year old - I had to count every stitch, because it was empty embroidery canvas without any print! Embroidering was something that allowed me to talk to him while doing something else - I can reassure you that after an embroidery period of half a year I never touched that stuff again (though I was very, very productive in that short time).
Then I looked at the table, decorated with that table cloth, and at my calendar, and I thought:
"Well, I'm not living in Sweden, and my name is not Larsson!"
I thought about Cro's post 'using the valuable antique breadknife". I use a few things which haughtily believe that they should be standing cherished in a vitrine :-)
Here is my lovely Sheffield Grapefruit-cutter-set:
The case is made of brown reptile-skin (maybe not allowed to be sold today) - inside beautiful off-white silk and a funny little device in dark-blue velvet to keep the knife in place. The knife has a Faux Bone handle, the slim spoons are Silver Sheffield and of excellent use even if you don't cut the grapefruit before, because they have little 'teeth' on one side.
But I do cut the fruit - always.
I, then being very young, was so impressed when at breakfast they served us the cut grapefruit in Gosford Hall Inn - a beautiful listed hotel in Cumbria (now 350 years old), - we were there in 1976 - coming back from Scotland in our old blue Merc (1969 with tail fin). Coming home (to Mainz then), I cut a grapefruit every day myself.
I don't know when the grapefruit-cutter was made - maybe around 1940 or the beginning fifties?
Anyway: they are beautiful AND useful - thus I use them.
This morning I woke up (early as usual) and thought about fairy tales.
- Those I liked - the funny ones as "The Town Musicians of Bremen" (and that not only because I come from Bremen - no, even as I child I thought that their motto "You can always find something better than death!" might come useful some day :-)
- Those I disliked - the sad ones as "Little Brother and Little Sister" (even the beginning is heartbreaking!)
- those I had mixed feelings about - as "The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich" - I remember that I utterly detested that blackmailing frog ("..but if you will love me and accept me as a companion and playmate, and let me ... sleep in your bed" - hahaha), but was very much impressed by the fidelity of the Iron Heinrich ("Heinerich, the carriage is breaking apart!" "No, my Lord, the carriage it's not/ But one of the bands surrounding my heart...") and that I thought it just, but very strict of the King to say "What you have promised, you must keep".
I internalised that, (if necessary I forgo of my golden ball, if the price is a disgusting frog in my bed - till today I am unwilling to listen to their croaking that they are beautiful Princes under a spell) - and do only promise what I can keep.
And expect others to do the same.
Which shows that I am still very naively believing in fairy-tales :-) - but, on the other hand, have a streak of pragmatic realism too.
What really interests me:which were your favourite (or disliked) fairy tales?
I know that this year I was a bit unproductive in the blogger-world (I had a lot of other things on my plate, sorry).
But I want to thank you all for making my life richer: by reading your blogs, smile, getting ideas (thank you Elaine for the tip about the Christmas book - you see: I've got it!), lending an ear.
I hope that at least December will see more input of mine here.
Yesterday I saw this "KARLBOX" presented in the KaDeWe in Berlin. Hundreds of beautiful colour pencils, crayons and pencils. For the astronomically modest price of 2.500 Euro. Ridiculous. Every real artist - Rachel, Tom and Cro know that of course - needs good 'tools', and they have their price, but even a layman as I know that you mix most of your colour hues yourself - with a lot less pencils than those 72 in my Faber Castell Artists' Watercolour Pencils box.
When I stand in a drugstore in front of a shelf of 100 cream jars all promising everything under the sun - and we all know that in the end it all comes down to oil & water! - it happens that I walk out of the drugstore without buying anything.
An overload of choice, scientists found out, stands in no correlation to happiness - it produces - and do I really need a scientist to tell me this? - STRESS.
So: it is nice to have choice. But not too much.
Because the most important 'things' you can't buy anyway: creativity and discipline and talent and inclination to work really hard for success. (And a little pinch of luck).
The funniest thing, Mr. Lagerfeld, is, that YOU prefer BLACK.
Which reminds me of a passage in a German children's book, KönigMauzenberger: eagerly the King (Cat) mixed all the beautiful colours he had in his new paintbox. The result:
You came over by aeroplane to Berlin. You are in a hurry, maybe you have to attend a conference - so there is not much time for sight-seeing?
Here is my sweet solution!
In 1918 the family "Wilhelm Rausch jun." started to produce chocolate for their "Private-Confiserie". . Just follow your nose - the scent of chocolate - and lots of people - hurry to the Gendarmen-Markt in Berlin Mitte. Open the door to the biggest chocolate shop paradise of the world.
And here you can see (almost) all important buildings in five minutes - created in chocolate!
The Berlin TV Tower:
The Brandenburger Tor:
But be careful and don't overeat,
though you might be tempted (this is only a little snippet of the truffle section):
The results of too much indulgence you see here - the Berliner Bär could not resist!
I'm not blessed with it. PATIENCE , I mean. At the moment I take "Patience" - that's how we call your "Solitaire" - literally, and try to learn the game. For a long, long time I regarded it as an utter waste of time - the voices of my late parents urged me to do "something meaningful" instead.(I still have difficulties to watch TV in the afternoon!). But better late than never I try to free myself. I take small steps, patiently. On my own. Though Bananagrams, which, after Amelia Bullmore (wonderful DCI Gill Murray in Scott&Bailey) mentioned it in an interview, I ordered impatiently (the English version of course - and please don't laugh at my humble attempts) is even more to my gusto:
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves"as our poet Rainer Maria Rilke said in "Letters to a Young Poet".
I'll try. Have BUNCHes of them. QuestionsBANANAS!!!
When I was in Vienna in August, I lost my pink Pashmina - in a tram, (well... after visiting a Heurigen(Wine)-Lokal, with son and daughter-in-love). And as hard as I tried: I didn't get it back. So sad, because I loved it very much, it had the perfect Pink.
"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles."Audrey Hepburn
Well -- I am not insensitive to deafening silence... :-) AND I see myself more being cheerful than nagging about Nobel Prizes in Literature. So when I came back from the Museum für Fotografie - this time I had seen photos by Helmut Newton - such beautiful women he photographed! - I hummed a little meaningful tune, it went like this:
"Don't follow leaders,
watch the parkin' meters.
Knut, my little red Fiat 500, stood outside on the street - sulking, because he is very, very rarely moved. The son of our caretaker grinned broadly when he saw me: "You'll move it?!?" he chuckled.
"No", I said.
"Why?" he asked.
"Because I have found such a perfect parking place".
Now he ponders if I meant it. "The Ambiguity of Entertainment", that's it.
In Germany we say: "With a tear in the buttonhole". You say "With a tear in the eye" - ours might come from the parsimony of 1 tear in the buttonhole of a suit - a more manly version of showing feelings :-) This morning a Berlin radio moderator announced the winner of a competition - prize: a voyage to Cuba with the whole team - task: the chef has to come to work stark naked. (No place for a buttonhole or a tear). Winner: a doctor who will come nude to the surgery - and work that way - all day long. That doctor volunteered - argument: "As a dermatologist my patients have to undress in front of me too - so it's only fair." Aha. I hope that the few doctors I have will be able to pay their travels with the money they earn from us private patients (One handshake: 150 Euros, in combination with a smile: 250 Euros). Why the tear in my buttonhole (or on the Gaura on my balcony - took a photgraph yesterday - it is still raining - but isn't it lovely?) Well - at the moment I have lots of work to do. That's why I'll change the style of my posts - at least for a while - to shorter impressions. As the sign on German phone boxes in the Sixties urged: "Make it brief!" (Haha - I :-) - anybody knocking at the glass door?)
Dear You, Fire on the roof of the Europa Center in Berlin yesterday - thank God nobody of the 1500 people who work therewas hurt. The building is 103 meters high and was built between 1963 - 1965. As a pupil visiting Berlin with my classmates we all thought it the highest fashionable store we'd ever seen. Yesterday I came from the Museum für Fotografie, where they show an excellent exhibition by Bernard Larsson: "Leaving is Entering" - with photos from 1961 - 1968. Then I saw the smoke and grabbed my smartphone (NO, not the Galaxy Note 7 :-) and took some pictures.
What people bemoan most: the huge Mercedes-Star on the "Icon of City West" doesn't turn around anymore (if you try hard you might see it middle-left) - it is ten meter high and turns around 1,9 times in a minute, never stopped since 1965, when the Center was built. PS: But today all is fine: it turns again.