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A beautiful winter day in Auckland II

4 Aug

From Victoria Park Market we made our way to the impressive 328m high Sky Tower. Just when we walked past a very brave visitor tried  the famous ‘Sky Jump‘.   This is New Zealand’s highest jump and only Base Jump by wire. You’ll plummet 192 metres off the Sky Tower at 85 km an hour!

Sky Tower Auckland

Sky Tower Auckland

Definitely not my next hobby. Just looking at it, turned my stomach round. But the good thing is, it doesn’t  take long to arrive at the bottom.

After a little rest on a bench in Aotea Square (where kids love to feed the birds) I took some pictures of historic Town Hall with modern skyscrapers in the back.  Last time I was in Town Hall I saw Australian pianist David Helfgott (his life and music inspired the movie ‘Shine’) playing Rachmaninov.

I love the contrast between old and new architecture in the City of Sails.  Slowly we made our way down busy Queen Street. It has been a while since I was here. It is not really the shopping mile of the locals.

Town Hall, Auckland

Town Hall, Auckland

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But I couldn’t resist to pay a visit to my favourite Tea Shop of all times: T2, Queen Street. This shop really has flair and ambiente, which unfortunately often is lacking from NZ retailers (sorry, but it’s true).  I love this shop. You can smell the scent of tea leaves from little open metal boxes, you can try freshly brewed teas, the lights and the music make you want to relax and the super friendly staff is amazing and very helpful. I have never seen so many beautiful tea pots, cups and accessories in one place. Hey, and the black and orange colour scheme of the brand is really eye-catching. Of course all of that comes with a price tag! Several times I have gifted T2 sample boxes with a gift voucher to friends and family. And the staff takes pride in wrapping it beautifully for you.

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T2 - Auckland, Queen Street

T2 – Auckland, Queen Street

What a beautiful day in the city!

Greetings from New Zealand.  With Love,

Beate

A beautiful winter day in Auckland

3 Aug

After weeks of being stuck behind the computer, I finally made it into the city, just for fun (and to entertain an overseas visitor…). With my son and his friend, who came to New Zealand for a few weeks to improve his English, we walked the streets of Auckland on this beautiful sunny day.

We started our little walk at the historic Ferry building, strolled along the Viaduct, through Wynyard Quarter with its new Restaurants, bars, cafes and a brilliant playground for kids. Then we reached the 140m long Superyacht ‘Ocean Victory‘, one of the 10 largest superyachts in the world. This huge 7 deck, 5 pool boat, owned by a Russian business man, sparkled in the afternoon sun and was definitely the center of attention.

Great contrast here: Big and small !

Ocean Victory - Superyacht visits Auckland

Ocean Victory – Superyacht visits Auckland

We walked further to Westhaven Marina and had a wonderful view across to the Harbour Bridge.

Westhaven Marina View on Harbour Bridge

Westhaven Marina view across to the Harbour Bridge

Ever since I lost all photos taken during a whole day photographic course in the city two years ago, I wanted to walk the city streets with my camera again.  So I was really pleased yesterday, when these two teenage boys didn’t complain, even though they had to walk with me for more than 4 hours (they were busy talking and catching  up…). We passed Victoria Park Market, but there was nothing happening. It was really empty, but the boys enjoyed a huge ice cream, while I opted for a large Flat White.

Victoria Park Market

Victoria Park Market

I love this old brick chimney.

…to be continued in my next blog.

Greetings from New Zealand,

Beate

 

 

Ein neues kreatives Chapter startet…

25 Apr

1-DSCN8875Nachdem ich ein paar Jahre in einem Buero gearbeitet habe, um unsere Finanzlage zu retten und den Europa-Urlaub vom letzten Jahr zu finanzieren, habe ich nun schweren Herzens diesen Job aufgegeben, um mich wieder der Selbstaendigkeit und der Kreativitaet zu widmen. Eingesperrt in einem Buero und festgeklebt an einem Stuhl, fuehlte ich mich wie ein Fischlein  ohne Wasser. Nun habe ich also meine “Freiheit” wieder und sollte mich eigentlich darueber  freuen, aber ich setze mich selbst ein wenig unter Druck, ein neues Einkommen zu schaffen.

Vor zwei Jahren hatte ich schon einmal angefangen, aber natuerlich mit einem Vollzeit Job nicht genuegend Zeit fuer beides. Nun erwecke ich diese Inspirationen vom Dornroeschenschlaf. Die Idee ist, frische und kuenstliche  Blumengestecke an Unternehmen, Bueros, Show Homes, Restaurants usw. zu vermieten und die Gestecke regelmaessig auszutauschen. Dazu einen Geschenke Service mit hand-gemachten und sinnvollen Geschenken plus Decoration fuer events, Weihnachten und Inneneinrichtung. Natuerlich geht das alles nicht so schnell, wenn man einen kleinen Hang zum Perfektionismus hat.

Zuerst musste ich die Webseite, die ich vor zwei Jahren anfing,  auf den neuesten Stand bringen und vor allem wieder online schalten. Da ich ja alles selbst mache und kein Computerexperte bin, ist das nicht so einfach und man kann das alles nicht mal soeben zwischendurch machen. Ich kam von einem Problem zu naechsten.

Erst dauerte es eine Woche, meine alte Webadress zu re-aktivieren, dann brauchte der Provider 24 Stunden, die Seite zu veroeffentlichten. Und dann waren da noch die Texte (English ist immer noch kompliziert!) und die Potos. Die sollten natuerlich toll aussehen. Was brauchte ich also? Zuerst einmal schoene Blumengestecke als Muster. Dann investierte ich mein ausgezahltes Urlaubsgeld in die Schoenheiten aus China, raste zum Grosshaendler, kaufte eine Kiste voller super echt aussehender Seidenblumen, dann musste ich die entsprechenden Vasen finden und, und, und. Die Photos konnte ich wiederum erst machen, als es aufhoerte zu regnen, anschliessend mussten diese bearbeitet werden und so ging ein Tag nach dem anderen ins Land.

Mit den Photos endlich auf der Website konnte ich die neuen Flyers entwerfen und zur Druckerei schicken, was wiederum zwei Wochen dauerte, bis die endlich geliefert wurden. Die Idee war, dass ich mit den Flyern und ein paar Musterblumen persoenlich zu groesseren Firmen und Bueros gehe, mich vorstelle und meine Blumen anbiete. Klingt doch super, oder?

Wenn da nicht diese kleine „schuechterne“ Charaktereigenschaft waere…. Der Gedanke ans „Klinkenputzen“ versetzt mich schon in absoluten Stress und koennte eine Panikattacke ausloesen. Viel lieber wuerde ich mich in einer kleinen Hoehle (oder Garage) verstecken, dort Blumen basteln und einen professionellen Verkaeufer-Typ losschicken, der einem Eskimo einen Kuehlschrank andrehen kann. Ich haette auch kein Problem, einfach nur meine Sachen im Internet anzubieten. Aber so funktioniert das natuerlich nicht. Nein, jeder sagt mir, „Du musst da persoenlich hin, Du bist Dein bester Verkaefer, Du kennst Deinen Service am besten. Geh los und verkaufe Dein Image!“ (mit einem imaginaeren Tritt ins Hinterteil!)

Well, das widerstrebt so sehr meiner Natur. Ich bin absolut kein Verkaeufer-Typ!!!!!. Im Gegenteil. Ich gehe jedem geschulten Verkaeufer aus dem Weg. Deswegen funktioniert bei mir auch kein „Laufschema“, das in grossen Geschaeften in jahrelanger Kundenbeobachtung ausgearbeitet wurde. Wo der normale Kauefer am Eingang einer Boutique nach rechts schwenkt zu den Sonderangeboten, biege ich schnurstracks nach links ab, so weit weg von der Verkaeuferin wie moeglich, damit die gar nicht erst auf die Idee kommt, mir eine kurze Hose und ein traegerloses Oberteil schmackhaft zu machen – und schon gar nicht in den neuen Sommerfarben: neon-pink und neon gelb!.

Der Gedanke,  einfach und froehlich mit ein paar Blumen unterm Arm, einem Prospekt in der Hand und einem lustigen Lied auf den Lippen in ein Unternehmen zu marschieren und mich der Rezeptionistin mit Bulldogen-aehnlichen Charakterzuegen auszuliefern ist mir ein absolutes Graeuel! Da kann ich nachts nicht mehr schlafen.

Dann kam mir die Idee, zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe zu schlagen und den gleichen „fiktiven“ Unternehmerkunden  einen Geschenk-Service anzubieten. Geschenkkoerbe, Blumen und Delikatessen. Man will sich ja als erfolgreiches Unternehmen nicht Lumpen lassen, wenn es um „vernuenftige“ Weihnachtsgeschenke fuer lang ausgenutzte Mitarbeiter und neu aquirierte Grosskunden geht. Da darfs ja schon was kosten.

Tagelang habe ich die Konkurrenz im Internet ausspioniert und mir von meiner gut situierten Freundin ein paar teure Delikatessen und echten Champagner ausgeliehen. Diese Produkte sind ueblicherweise nicht in unserem Inflations-Warenkorb enthalten, und ich wollte auch nicht unsere komplette Finanzlage zum Schaukeln bringen, um ein paar Muster-Photos zu schiessen. Nachdem meine Freundin mir grosszuegigerweise, aber auch unter Eid, ihre Franzoesischen Pastetchen, die Italienische Salami, handgefertigte Schokolaedchen und delikat verpackte Trueffelpralinchen  ausgehaendigt hat, musste ich diese zuersteinmal geschickt getarnt vor meiner ausgehungerten Familie verstecken. Diese Burschen  haetten sich gleich darueber hergemacht, alle Dosen, Glaeser und Pakete aufgerissen und sich vermutlich anschliessend beschwert, dass es nicht schmeckt.

Aber bis zum Photoshoot kam es gar nicht, weil ich durch Zufall auf einer anderen Neuseelaendischen Webseite gesehen habe, dass man eine Alkohol-Lizens braucht, um auch nur eine einzige, winzige  Flasche Wein in einem Geschenkkorb zu verkaufen.  Was fuer ein Disaster!

Nach ausfuehrlichem Studium der Neuseelaendischen Gesetzgebung und den verwirrenden Regeln des Auckland Councils, wuerde diese Lizenz absolut meinen Investitonsrahmen sprengen. Das Verfahren dauert einige Wochen, der Antrag wird in der Zeitung veroeffentlicht, damit die Nachbarn und die Konkurrenz Einspruch einlegen koennen. Dann kommt noch jemand raus, um den Ort (der Tat) zu besichtigen. Man muss unter Eid schwoeren, dass man nix Alkoholisches an Minderjaehrige verkauft,  keine Parties und keine Orgien mit Alkoholausschank anzettelt und schon gar keinen Schnaps am Ostersonntag verkauft. Darauf steht die Todestrafe!

Hier musste Plan B her!

Also wieder zuerueck zu den Anfaengen und noch mehr Research im Internet. Und was soll ich sagen? Resultat: Ich habe festgestellt, dass man auch Geschenke ohne Alkohol verkaufen kann, aber natuerlich auch ohne Delikatessen. Das eine scheint mit dem anderen historisch verknuepft zu sein. Denn ein Fresskorb ohne „Saufen“ ist wie ein Wagen ohne Raeder.

Der Vorteil alkoholfreier Geschenke ist, dass ich dann auch nicht meine hochheilige Garage mit einer Selbstschussanlage verteidigen muss, zum einen gegen meine hungrigen Familienangehoerigen und zum anderen gegen minderjaehrige Alkoholiker.

Nein, ich mache nun etwas ganz anderes!  Ich drapiere dreistoeckige Torten und Cupcake Sets aus Handtuechern, bastele thematische Geschenkboxen mit  Einkaufsgutscheinen und konstruiere Farm-Fahrzeuge aus Baby-Windeln.

Na, was sagt man denn dazu? Das ist mein Plan B! Und dann war ich wieder eine Woche busy und musste all diese Babywindeln besorgen (unter den pruefenden Blicken der Supermarktkassen-Schwadron – Uerbergewicht oder schwanger?). Ich habe gestapelt, geklebt, gesteckt und gebunden, hier ein paar Schleifchen, da ein paar Stecknadeln, 20 meter Geschenkband, ein paar ausgeschnittene Blumen aus Tapetenmustern, 37 Spielzeugtiere, Tuell, Federn, Plastikfolie und eine neue Kiste mit kuenstlichen Blumen…

Und noch eine Woche spaeter habe ich meine Musterphotos fertig und kann diese auf meiner Webseite einarbeiten. Die Texte, die Groessen, die Preiskalkulation, die Verkaufsargumente, das alles wird vermutlich  noch eine weitere Woche dauern…. also noch kein „Klinkenputzen“ in Sicht. Und auch noch kein weisses Pferd in Sicht, auf dem ein professioneller Verkauefer-Prinz mit sexy Statur und italienischem Akzent vor reitet, um mich zu retten.

Nach einer weiteren schlaflosen Nacht, kam mir die Idee noch einen Blumenstrauss zu fertigen, um die Bulldogen vor Ort und gleich beim ersten Gespraech von der Schoenheit dieser echt wirkenden Blumenpracht zu ueberzeugen. Leider waren mir die Blumen ausgegangen und so musste ich gestern mal wieder zum Grosshaendler fahren. Und –wie immer- kauft man ein paar Bluemchen hier und da mehr, als man eigentlich braucht. Man weiss ja nie…

Heute sitze ich nun erneut am Computer und meine To-Do Liste wird immer laenger anstatt kuerzer (im Unterbewusstsein vielleicht nur, um den Augenblick der Konfrontation und der absoluten Panik ein wenig in die Zukunft zu verschieben?). In meiner letzten schlaflosen Nacht, die Dank der koeniglichen Katze, heute morgen um halb fuenf ein jaehes Ende fand (die Nacht – nicht die Katze!), hielt mich der Gedanke wach, was ziehe ich denn bloss an?

Wie muss man denn aussehen, wenn man erfolgreich verkaufen will? Mini-Rock und hohe Schuhe,  oder was Gebluemtes mit Rueschen und Spitzchen, passend zum Produkt? Neutral schwarz, um nicht von den Blumen abzulenken? Oder vielleicht mal neutrales Beige, um das Image ein wenig aufzuhellen, oder pink und purple – Ton in Ton mit meinem Musterstrauss? Du liebe Guete, ich glaube ich drehe durch!

Und dann ist da noch das Problem mit der Figur! Es gibt nichts Schoenes in meiner Groesse, schon gar nichts Schoenes in meiner Groesse, das bezahlbar ist. Und ich habe nichts im Schrank, was mir passt. So schnell kann ich nicht abnehmen. Ich glaube ich esse heute mal nix. Aber irgendwie habe ich Hunger. Vielleicht eine Saft-Kur. Ich habe gelesen, man kann easy 48 Tage nur von frisch gepresstem Saft leben (wenn man genug Zeit und Geld und Obst und Gemuese hat). Und natuerlich, wenn man sonst nichts zu tun hat. Weight Watchers vielleicht? Aber dann wird man da einmal in der Woche vor allen Augen gewogen und die Waage ist noch schrecklicher als die zu Hause und dann ist es einem peinlich und man will nirgendwo mehr hingehen. Jetzt koennte ich eine Tuete Chips essen…. Aber davon sind die Waden schon so dick geworden, dass die Winterstiefel vom letzten Jahr nicht mehr zu gehen. Wieso eigentlich? – verstehe ich ueberhaupt nicht. Die paar Kilo…. Aber wenn die Stiefel nicht passen, kann ich auch den Rock nicht anziehen. Rock und flache Schuhe geht ueberhaupt nicht zusammen. Das sieht so altbacken aus. Aber dann brauche ich auch noch eine neue Strumphose, falls die Stiefel jemals wieder zu gehen und der Rock nicht von den Motten gefressen wurde. Das wirft neue Probleme auf.

Seit Jahren habe ich vor,  mich mal persoenlich bei den namhaften   Strumpfhosenherstellungs-Direktoren zu beschweren. Es gibt keine bequemen Strumphosen fuer apfelfoermige Frauen unter 1.60m.  WIESO denn bloss???? Was haben die denn fuer Models, wenn es um Grosse XXL geht? Selbst XXXXXXXL schneidet den Bauch in halb und die Fuesse haengen 50cm ueber. Was soll denn das bedeuten? Man weiss ja schon selber, dass die Idealfigur ein vernebelter Traum aus der fruehesten Jugend darstellt, irgendwie fuer immer verschollen – aber muss man sich von einer nagelneuen Strumphose den Magen halbieren lassen und die Fuesse miteinander verknoten, nur um ein paar kuenstliche Blumen an den Mann zu bringen?

Und hat man endlich so ein synthetisches Ding in muehseeliger Kleinarbeit ueber jedes Roellchen gezerrt und gegezogen, dann kann man weder ein- noch ausatmen. Zur Kroenung beissen sich die wildgewordenen Zaehne des zu engen Stiefelreissverschlusses im Nylon fest. Das wiederum verursacht eine atomare Kettenreaktion von Laufmaschen, die kein Troepfchen Uhu oder Nagellack mehr stoppen kann! Vielleicht mache ich davon mal ein Video und schicke es als Hilfe-Ruf zu allen Strumpf-Unternehmen oder ich veroeffentliche es auf Youtube. Diese Wunderwerke der Kunststoffindustrie sind hoechstens fuer einen Bankueberfall geeignet. Oder um ein Auto abzuschleppen oder den Keilriemen zu ersetzen, aber definitiv nicht, um sich im Floral-Business zu etablieren.

Das ganze Theater ist mir zu stressig. Ich glaube ich bleibe bei der schwarzen Hose, den schwarzen Halbschuhen, dem noch schwaerzeren Top und vielleicht eine dunkle Jacke… Ausserdem habe ich noch ein paar Tage Zeit darueber nachzudenken.

Denn bevor ich ueberhaupt losgehen und meine Blumenpracht anbieten kann, muss ich noch die Geschenke auf meiner Webseite anpreisen, die Texte bearbeiten, eine neue Business Facebook Page zaubern, genaue Preise kalkulieren, einen Begruessungsspruch erfinden, alle moeglichen Einwaende und Argumente einer Bulldogge mit einem entprechenden Kontra-Argument im Keim ersticken, mein Auto waschen und polieren, die Garage aufraeumen, die Terrasse winterfest machen, Henry bei den Hausaufgaben helfen, sein Fahrrad reparieren, alle Rechnungen bezahlen, meiner Freundin die unverspeisten Delikatessen zurueckgeben, die Katze fuettern  und  all die anderen Punkte erledigen, die sich noch auf meiner To-do Liste befinden.

Lange Rede – kurzer Sinn. Ich muss jetzt mal hier weiter machen, sonst werde ich nie Verkaeufer des Jahres, Strumpfhosen-Modell, Bankraeuber, Computerexperte oder erfolgreich!

2010- Midlife Crisis, Pocahontas and life at the End of the World!

26 Dec

  

Personal Note: “Finally I have time to reflect on the year 2010.  As English ist not my first language (as you know), I apologize beforehand for any spelling mistakes, for choosing the wrong words or for building complicated sentences. It is not my attention to upset anybody! Maybe you know what I mean. It is complicated, but I try my best to use “understandable English”. So please enjoy my personal highlights of the year.     Beate

In July my world-traveling writer friend Angelika just sent me an interesting letter about hair removal, Brazilian Waxing and other methods used by American women to look good at places where normally nobody sees it.

I laughed my head off and I am very glad, that I am too old, too lazy and too poor for these things. And because of the weather and my apple shaped body type I am not wearing a bikini anymore.  I can’t afford Liposuction and because I am allergic to pain, I will not have Botox (wasn’t that used as neurotoxin during the Vietnam War?) injections or body lifting.  If you have a total body lift, they cut one circle around the waste, pull the skin up (like a pantyhose), cut off the overlapping skin and then stitch it all back together. From that remaining piece of skin, they can design new lips, new ears, or breast enlargements for you. Not for me! From time to time I pluck a hair from my chin, if the weather is nice I shave the hair under my arms and the ones on my legs will only be removed in summer when I wear the comfortable Capri pants with elastics around the waist – and that’s it!

 

As a good girl -not like Brittney Spears- I always wear underpants, mostly big enough to catch a rabbit, if necessary – you’ll never know! Because of my age I am not wearing miniskirts anymore, for comfort reasons I am not wearing g-strings and it is not my style anymore to wear see-through lace, silk, chiffon or handmade crochet dresses. All of those don’t go well with my love handles and the little “sausage rolls” on my back according to “Triny and Susanna” and “What not to wear”. That reminds me of Blackforrest ham . Everytime, I am really ready to become a Vegetarian, I get a terrible craving for Blackforrest ham and German bread (the one that feels like a brick). Is that normal or is it part of my midlife crises or is it psychotic preparation for hard times to come?

 

I am also glad, that the Soccer World Cup is over and we can go back to sleep at night. During that time it wasn’t my mortgage that kept me up at night, but the screams coming from the gun- secured Middle Earth area in my living room, where my lovely husband was fighting his personal war against international players and referees. I tried to buy that psychic Octopus on e-bay. It would have made a nice Christmas present for Bernie, so that he knows by Friday night, if his team is winning and if it is worth to get up that early on a Saturday morning.  And if the Octopus loses his magic, we can have him with soup for dinner. Or we could use him as a soap holder or automatic massage machine with a hand-made brush at each arm in the shower.  

 

My 49. Birthday passed by – very quietly. This year I haven’t invited anybody and I had no stress preapring a big party. Instead I took the opportunity to wash my car and clean up the garage. And the day before my birthday I made a “Kaese-Sahne-Torte” for myself (just like my Mum used to make it 20 years ago). I enjoyed it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and added a few pounds to my hips.

 

When I went to the bank to change my credit card, I was reminded to use the points that I have collected over the years and I didn’t know anything about. When I found out that I you can use the points in an electronic store, I (with my caring nature) choose a new flatscreen tv to make my lovely husband happy and to have a reason to open up the Middle Earth zone in my living room for other family members.  First creature to notice the new TV was big black fat cat Mimi. As usual she jumped on top of it, just to find out (still flying), that there was actually no space anymore for her 8.5 kg womanly body to land on.  

 

Since we haven’t had any vacation in the past years, I had booked one before last Christmas (2009) to surprise my lovely husband and my even lovelier son under the Christmas tree. Unfortunately and because of Christmas and school holidays related stress, I forgot all about it and I recovered the internet booking voucher during a clean-up session of my office drawers. Luckily the booking was for the weekend 26/27. March 2010 and therefore still valid when I found it a few days earlier. For nearly 10 years Henry tried to convince his boring parents to go camping and at the time of booking, I thought a weekend in an original Indian Tipi-tent would be the perfect alternative solution.   Alright- booked long ago – then forgotten – then re-discovered, I made the very quick decision: We are going! (even though the financial situation didn’t scream: holidays!). And we went. A booking is a booking! Raglan, a tiny little village on the west coast, 50km from Hamilton just takes three hours by car.  

 

One woman – one decision! Henry was very excited, Bernie was more concerned about the missed Soccer game on Saturday and if his soccer team will have any chance to win without him, and I was stressed with packing. Finally we loaded everything in my old car and off we went, heading down South.

 

Straight after passing the City of Auckland we had a “Smoko” break for Bernie in a little village, where I will definitely not stop on our way back home and hopefully never have a car break down in that area. But we went on, enjoyed the wonderful scenery, green hills, millions of sheep, inhaled toxic exhausts from the trucks in front of us and finally we reached the hills and bushes, where our Indian Tipi was  hidden. 

 

Unfortunately during internet booking they forgot to mention, that you could only reach the Tipi by feet and that is was around 1 km away from the reception and the parking place, where you had to leave your car. But real Indians are tough and therefore we started our walk in rather un-suitable shoes. We climbed up the hills, down the hills, over rocks, stumbled over roots, went through the mud and all the way trying to pull or push our  suitcases on wheels, boxes with food, clothing for any weather condition, Henry’s toy collection, his bicycle, my books and of course my art supplies. If we wouldn’t have passed a wooden sign, I thought we were lost in the bush by then. But no – we were still on track and with a final push and the last breath, we reached a flat green area on a hill, where our Tipi was hidden.   

 

Positively surprised about the freshly made beds inside and the not working Solar lamp, what was the complete interior of the tent, I fell on the bed and tried to breathe for half an hour. Henry was very happy and Bernie lighted his first peace pipe.

 

Everything looked very romantic. There were some other Tipis, but there was enough distance to have your privacy.  In the middle of it all we found a rustic, open bush kitchen.  And the organic toilet tract a la Friedensreich Hundertwasser was where all the flies circled. That reminded me of the wooden toilet hut we had in our garden in 1965, when my parents lived with three little children, no money and for historical reasons hated by the neighbours in a totally run-down house in a tiny little village in Belgium. And we had to clean our bums with carefully ripped newspaper squares. One of those cold winter evenings on the wooden plank toilet in Belgium I made the decision to do something with my life, so that I would never ever have to freeze my backside on such a “toilet”. And here we are: 45 years later, and I am paying $200 for the experience!

But even the shower with ice cold water can be romantic, if you keep an open mind and if you only stay from Friday till Sunday.

Bernie spent the rest of the day to secure world peace by smoking lots of peace pipes, I was a bit worried, how to survive, once it starts raining and Henry collected stones, sticks and built a BMX race course for his bike, which started at the Eco-toilets and went all the way down to our Tipi entrance. Like real Indians!

 

In the evening and during cooking and eating under the stars we met some other Indians, which came from all sorts of countries and who were used to not have a shower every day and travel the world just with a backpack and for practical reasons wear dreadlocks on their heads. That makes you think again if you really need all these civilization goods you spent your money on over the years. I am sure, that not one of the fellow Indians had sleepless nights, thinking how to pay their mortgage.  Our fellow Indians also didn’t have to pay for their Tipis and the Eco toilet, because they were volunteers and helped building rustic huts from empty wine bottles, straw and mud, so that these city Indians (like us) have the opportunity to test living a “wild life”.

 

Maybe we should sell everything and free like a bird travel the world with backpacks and glued hair.

 

Everybody was really nice. We had lots of fresh air and some wine (to support the wine bottle and mud building industry) and life under the stars made us very tired (especially the older Indians like Bernie and me) and my lovely husband didn’t muck around, he lied down on his bed and a minute later he was in dreamland. 

 

But to have at least one guardian keeping an eye on the tribe and even though I was extremely, tired, too I tried to talk Henry out of going on a nightly hunt with hand-made spears and on his bicycle.  Henry is a tough boy and the fresh air energizes him even more, so that his first glimpse of tiredness came not before midnight.

 

Then everything went quick. Two Indians were snoring and I was lying on my bed in the darkness listening to every noise in the bush until I realized, that the Tipi had an 8cm wide gap around the entire floor and I started wondering what kind of wild animal can squeeze through this gap.

 

 

New Zealand is famous for its wildlife and the possums (a mixture between cat and gen-manipulated Guinea Pig with a funny nose, brown round button eyes and claws like a Koala bear). That was the official description of my adventurous husband, who is the only one in the family, who came eye to eye with one of these monsters, when we lived in a farmhouse in Dairy Flat. Bernie and the little monster looked at each other in the basement of the house one night and then both ran off screaming in opposite directions. Anyway – at night possums come alive and try to find something to eat. How could I dare to just for one second close my eyes and fall asleep, thinking that a wild, hungry beast runs around our tent and tries to eat my lovely husband and son for dinner?

 

Hah!  Pocahontas was on a mission. No wild beast would ever get one leg in our Indian Tipi alive. In my mind, I saw us having BBQ Possum leg for breakfast. Then my “happy-end” got harshly interrupted by nasty Mosquitos, giant Wetas and other creepers and crawlers.  In the meantime the snoring went on and on from the large and the small Indian bed and I felt like a sole survivor in the Amazon. As more you think about the danger (if it is pitch dark and the only solar light is on strike), as more your imagination gets carried away with the things, that could actually happen.

 

What can I say? At the first glimpse of light entered the open top of our Tipi (so that you can see the stars while waiting for predators), I was totally exhausted, but also relieved to have saved the survival of my tribe. And while having an ice cold morning shower in the windy 100% natural wood construction and feeling very constipated, I came to the conclusion again, that I am rather a city girl than an alternative back- to-nature-Indian tribe woman. I prefer my comfortable porcelain toilet than doing my business behind a men-eating bush under the sparkling night sky.

 

During the second night (and more constipated and heavy like a sack of potato) I couldn’t care less, if a wild Grizzly bear would have eaten my lovely husband and son. By then I was so exhausted and tired, that I just gave up saving my tribe. Even when I woke up the next morning to find a giant Weta crawling along my leg under the sheets, I didn’t mind. Just a short scream and that was it!

 

Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the Hot air balloon Festival in Hamilton, as my husband Winnitou isn’t so much into cultural happenings. And on top of it he declared the whole three days as a non-driving weekend for him. Because of chronic tiredness and declining eye sight I decided then, not to drive in the darkness either and that way I again ensured the survival of our Indian tribe and also saved some possums from sudden death on the road. 

 

I am sure, Henry will remember our Indian life-style in the bush forever and I was very happy to sit on my own un-ecological and not bio-degradable toilet, on which you just flush the water instead of throwing small tree chips in there. You really forget sometimes how lucky you are to have hot water, whenever you want it. And my lovely Winnitou-husband found the weekend very relaxing!

Beate (Pocahontas)

A trip to Wellington and new topics for this Blog

1 Oct

Hello,
We finally made it to Wellington to visit the Te Papa Museum. Last Sunday afternoon I flew out to Wellington with my son Henry and we spent three days visiting Museums, Galleries, Wellington Zoo, and Mount Victoria. We took a guided tour through Parliament and the famous Beehive, went up and down the hill by Cable Car, walked through the Botanic Gardens, visited Weta Cave, where they create these astonishing props and computer animated designs for movies like Lord of the Rings and King Kong by Peter Jackson, Avatar by Steven Spielberg and other famous Hollywood movies.

For dinner we went to a small French Restaurant in Cuba Street and we did a lot of window shopping. And I have to admit, I loved any minute of it. I just love cities! You see so many things and it is so inspirational. What a nice break and start of the school holidays this was after 10 weeks of preparing animal and plant costumes for the stage production at Red Beach School.
Back at home, I will work and improve this blog. I have a lot of new ideas and many topics I am passionate about, which I will add step-by-step. Family (especially my husband), friends and people who know me well, have long accepted the fact, that I can’t be without creating. When I am not painting or designing, I am changing Interiors, making costumes, clothes, cards, homewares, I am sewing, crafting, gluing, work with fabrics, papers, cardboard, wood, and other materials. I love Second Hand and OP-Shops and I have a passion for recycling items and turning them into something useful and beautiful. I am also a big fan of saving money by making things and give them a personal touch or create practical gifts for people I love.

In the future I will share many projects and I will also write about Healthy Living, which not only includes healthy food, but also covers caring for the environment, parenting, beautiful things in general and the little changes in life, that can make a big difference.
I will add these categories step by step:
Healthy Living
Craft projects (on a budget)
Interior Design Tips
Practical Tips for Artists

So, if you are interested, stay tuned or subscribe to my Blog today!
My first Healthy Living topic will be the Household Emergency project that started as Henry’s homework from school after the huge Earthquake in Christchurch. We turned it into a family project that made a lot of sense. More details to come…

Testosterone powered Holidays

13 Sep

 

In January 2010 we had a French boy living with us. My son always enjoys the international students we host in our family. In a way Henry has a lot of brothers and sisters living all over the world. Once they lived with us for a while, they like to stay in touch and I have a big guest book to keep track.

The French boy, Quentin (13) and Henry (now 11) loved everything that looks dangerous to me and they kept me busy with keeping them busy. To entertain the boys, we visited every skate park and concrete ramp in a circle of 50km and I had to watch all bicycle and skateboard stunts ever invented. After the first day l decided to carry a first aid kit, 20m of plaster and a set of tools in my handbag to be prepared for any accident, vehicle break-down or other emergency. 

I have never seen so much blood in my life. But now I am used to it and I can even eat my sandwich while rinsing another open wound. Humans get used to everything, it seems… The last three holiday weeks I needed more Antiseptic fluid for wound preparation than olive oil for cooking. 

One day I even had to go fishing! The boys made fishing rods and off we went to the beach. To be honest, I really hoped, they didn’t catch anything, because my kind of “personal religion” and my sensitive artist nature plus the admiration for Ghandi and Mother Theresa don’t allow me to hurt or kill any animals and people. I am sure, if I had to kill what I eat, I would definitely be a Vegetarian! I just can’t hit a fish until he dies and then even pull out its inner organs. Just thinking of it kills my appétit for the next two days. But I have no problem to walk into “Fish World” and buy the most beautiful fish filet, killed by somebody else. Maybe because at the end of the day I am just a European city-girl, that normally hunts for bargains, not for living animals.

Thank God fishing turns out to be not as easy as it looks. After 25 lost hooks, 1 kg of wasted bait and 5000m of terribly tangled fishing line we had noodles for dinner.

I really hope, “pig hunting” is not the next big thing…

Christmas 2009

29 Aug

Just another little slice of my suburban life at the end of the world:

I just finished reading a book about the magic of money.  Now it is kind of clear to me, why I still don’t have any. First you need to have a pile of it, the gravitational attraction (similar to magnetism) kicks in and the pile grows like magic. I realized that the biggest problem is to get the first small magnetic pile,which I still haven’t managed to set up. And my son Henry is nearly eleven and finally old enough to learn the truth about money. (beside the truth about Rudolf, the red nose reindeer and the artist bunny, who for 364 days a year sits in his studio and paints eggs and the truth about selling your teeth to a little business fairy in the middle of the night). The shocking truth about money is, that you have to earn it first, before you can type in some numbers at a machine and it spits out the colourful notes. The problem is that on a daily base the children only see, how the money comes out there, but they have no clue how it gets in there. I admit, it is not easy to understand…. and not so easy to explain either.

 Finally I started to rest and relax after a very busy, stressful year and I found time to philosophize about my exciting life as an artist, housewife, mother, diplomat, accountant, teacher, toilet cleaner and taxi driver again. My Asian homestay girls just left and now they learn the other basic life lessons from their own mothers again. And we start to enjoy our own thrilling adventures like hanging on the sofa, watching tv, sitting on the deck with some drinks, having a BBQ for dinner or going to the beach, where I can read more books about the connection between wealth and freedom, while Henry tries to escape to Australia with his body board.  To make my life even more exciting, Henry shows me on his new mini-laptop, what he already knows about computer technology (how to download music and how to skype with his friends and so on). And if I can’t stand the thrilling excitement anymore, I sit at the computer myself and try to do my book keeping, with what I am two and a half month behind already to figure out how much GST I have to send the IRD for a happy new year! (there are some adventures in life, you just can’t get away from…)

For Christmas I bought my own presents (like always) and I invested the money (from the money machine) in garden furniture, so that I can sit outside on my new outdoor sofa with my bottle of Baileys (that I got from Santa and Rudolph – after all I must have been a good girl during the year) and feel like a million dollars, or better to say feel like queen mother! My cat Mimi also loves the new outdoor lounge suite and if I am not sitting there on my throne, her royal Mimi Highness takes over and rules her cat kingdom from that holy seat. Next year that selfish beast gets a golden crown for Christmas! Mimi also adores the Christmas tree we rediscovered in the garage and decorated for her in the living room. Unfortunately the tree, I bought last year with roots (to save the world and the South American rain forest) has in mysterious ways not survived the last year. I am not really sure, but from a scientific point of view it could have been a lack of water what caused its early death. Therefore the special Chinese breed tree from the Warehouse, that I bought ten years ago after we just arrived on this island like Robinson Crusoe with his family, was good enough for now. And if you think about hundreds of little Chinese people sitting in factories, creating these trees and how they glue each artificial needle to the tree by hand, then in a way it is a piece of art, that should be saved for generations to come…    

And, as I said before, my big, fat, black homestay cat (if she sleeps, she stretches to 1.05m!) loves the tree and every evening she sits underneath and sharpens her claws on the stem. Then I have to jump up from the sofa to rescue the tree from falling, because otherwise it would course a first class family disaster , because this year my lovely husband and son team decorated the tree with great grandpa’s good old German glass décor.   For obvious reasons and for the last ten years I was hiding them successfully in a box in the garage. But this year the boys were in charge of the tree and made it very special. And again – Mimi loves it and to her it doesn’t matter where this decor comes from or how old it is. In fact she ignores my warnings. I am sitting peacefully and filled with Christmas feelings in front of the tv, one eye on the series about the old Egyptian mummy, archaeologists just discovered, the other eye on my ancient cat under the tree. I am sure her ancestors must have strolled around the pyramids at one stage. And from time to time I have to jump up from my sofa like a Kamikaze warrior with a samurai sword, to save the tree and to avoid the disaster.    

Santa was very kind this year and brought Henry a brand new mini laptop and now all eyes are set to a modern future. Every two hours Henry comes out of his technical laboratory (what used to be his bedroom until 24. December) und explains his newest explorations from cyberspace to us. The printer works like controlled by an invisible ghost and now I am asked to install Skype on my computer, so that I can chat with my son und we can see each other via computer camera while talking…, But I prefer the good old method of suddenly and unexpected throwing open his bed room door and tell him, what I have to say, from face to face, an eye for and eye, etc. A computer camera is the last thing I need in this world. I would have to put make-up on, do my hair and dress properly to sit in front of my computer, just in case, somebody skypes at me! No thank you! There are certain technical achievements in this world, I can live without! And I love to sit at the computer at 6am, without being washed and groomed and I set there in my old “nighty”, that my lovely husband calls a sack! Besides, if you write something, you can still correct or change it, once you say something and the words have left your lips, it is out there forever and one knows that one word could lead to another war.    

But I have to admit computer technology also has advantages. When I decide to let my ten-year old know, that dinner is ready I have a lot of amazing options to do so: I could send him an e-mail and attach a photo of the food, I could transfer a note via Bluetooth, I could beep on Skype and show him the menu via camera, I could contact him via his website, I could write a song about the food and share it with him on i-tunes , I could send him a newsletter or a link to a Youtube video on how I cooked the meal, I could text him the menu on his mobile phone, I could send him a Hallmark invitation card, I could turn my voice into a ringtone, ready for downloading or ….. here comes the good old method, I could again throw open his bedroom door and scream : “Dinner is ready!!!!!!”. And to be honest, I love that method best, because it even works during power-cuts. Oh, and I forgot, I could send him a message in a bottle, but there is the chance, that the food is cold and rotten, until he finds it.

Before Christmas I quickly changed the furniture in the house, I sold some pieces and bought some new ones on Trade me and my friends know that I have this strange habit since my earliest childhood. If I become frustrated and unhappy, I paint the walls, buy new furniture, and re-arrange the paintings in the house, and I am a happy girl again. Of course instead I could start a psycho therapy, but I love the furniture placement  therapy better and the results are more stylish. To be fair and because I got the furniture, Bernie will get a new garden shed in 2010. Then he (not as a person) can move in there with his tools and materials and boxes and boxes of old business files from his first life in Germany. And I will (with my captivating nature) take over and squeeze the inventory from my Dairy Flat studio (300 sqm) into the 40sqm garage. I hope, that until then Henry has learned from the Internet how to shrink things. And hopefully he can also find out how to stop people from saying things spontaneously or how to switch off the voice while speaking. Somehow I have the tendency to say things to people, that get misunderstood or misinterpreted. (it reminds me very much of my dad – must run in the family). It is not always appreciated to say what you think or trying to help via saying the truth… But that is another aspect of life, I will write about at another occasion.

Maybe I still have to learn more about human relationships and maybe I should reduce my conversations to shortened text messages or start a year of silence. I will give it a second thought.

The only person or thing (?), I haven’t got a communication problem with, is her royal highness, the queen of cat town “Mimi”. We understand and respect each other (except from the little Christrmas tree  problem). In the morning at 6am I prepare her breakfast and serve it on a silver platter, at 8am I lift her up to the golden tap to have the finest, freshest water in town and to show her appreciation once a year she throws a dead bird next to my desk (sometimes it is still alive and I am filled with horror, while she is even more proud of herself).  She just has her own simple rules: If Mimi refuses to be touched, she scratches and bites, if she wants to be the center of attention, she rests her heavy fluffy body on my computer keyboard or on my holy  IRD documents, when she has enough of family life she hides in my vegetable garden (where killer weeds took over and have not left one seed of organic living much to the horror of my 84 year old neighbor gardener), and if I buy the cheap disgusting cat food from New World, Mimi doesn’t talk to me for three days.

And if I’ll ever come back to this planet, I will definitely come back as a CAT!

After a few days of relaxing and peaceful family life over Christmas and lokking at the Christmas photos, I felt the urge to do something for myself. I was thinking about a make-over, a new hairstyle, etc.  In these modern times, you can do nearly everything on the computer, even a hair and make-up makeover.

So I downloaded the software and started my little journey. First you had to choose a photo of yourself and remove the hair and background, so that only your face is left. I can tell you, that is a shocking sight!  It looked a bit like Spaghetti Junction on the Auckland map, if you focus on the wrinkles. Anyway, you load the photo into the software and set visual points, so that the computer knows, where your eyes and your mouth starts and ends. That is important for the make-up makeover. Then I tried around 724 hairstyles in 25 different colours and the only hairstyle I kind of liked myself with, was the one I have already. Then you can chose from hundreds of eye-liners, eye shadows, mascaras, blush, lipstick and lip-gloss. That is amazing! You can even choose the brand and the article number of the ones you like. But I came to the conclusion that the only problem was still my face. It just refused to look good in any of these eccentric and joyful colours. After two hours I gave up and went to bed and dreamed of painless plastic surgery and a beautiful wig.

 And that brings up the old question again. Is it too much to ask for as a woman to raise seven happy children, who become lawyers, doctors and accountants, to have a loving husband who looks like George Clooney and who loves and respects you till the end, a person you can still have wonderful sex with after 30 years of marriage, who buys you unexpected and thoughtful gifts and invites you once a year to a romantic gondola ride in Venice? Is it too much to ask for a lean, muscular body, once you reach 50, to still have nice and soft skin like a baby bottom, to have long, thick, shiny hair and that your boobs stay where they belong without having to wear a German engineered steel construction? Is it too much to ask for a happy, successful and stress-free work life in a job that you love? To have a wonderful social life with lots of friends you can “steal horses” (old Germany proverb) with, have fun with and from time to time have a drinking party where you are allowed to dance on the table without being sick the next day? I can’t believe it. I personally don’t think it is too much to ask for but I am wondering, if one really gets in life what one deserves?

Enough about Christmas photos!

I just come to the conclusion, that in my age you have to concentrate on the more important things in life other than to look good. The inner beauty for example (that reminds me of an appointment for a colonoscopy), the beautiful memories of the good old times (if Alzheimer’s hasn’t taken over yet), life’s wisdom, which I collected in many years of trial and error, disappointments and stupid decision and finally there is still hope, that the medical research will soon come up with an affordable pill to make us young and beautiful again…