Monday, January 15, 2018

So Many Places, so Little Time

The new year is barely 2 weeks old and I am already busy planning my various mini-breaks. It's unlikely that I will manage to renew my Star Alliance Frequent Traveller Status this year (and believe you me, I am prepared to go to extremes in trying to do so), but I still have quite a few things planned and want to use my 25 days of annual leave wisely. In Austria, you usually earn an extra 5 or so days after 20 years in the same company or industry, but having chaged jobs and fields of work in 10-year-intervals in the past it's unlikely I will ever climb to that "next level" either, so I'll just have to work with what I have. I have also never been on a flextime contract where overtime can be converted into time off, so those 25 days, they are precious as gold to me. I will definitely take another sabbatical again if the opportunity presents itself as to me, time is always more valuable than money. Enough disposable income to enjoy your time off to the max is a precondition, though and therefore I am o.k. with having to work until I win a ficticious lottery (I don't play), meet a billionaire who proposes to me and/or makes me the sole heiress of his estate (somewhat unlikely) or become filthy rich in my own right (hm, will look into that). Until plans A, B, or C work out, I will grace the office with my decorative presence.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Reincarnation Nine to Five

I assume we all know people who look eerily similar to some film star or TV personality, or our mean PE teacher from school, but have you ever encountered people who might look completely different but in their behaviour seem like the long lost twin or reincarnation of somebody else? Recently, I repeatedly catch myself mentally labelling people in my new office with names of previous colleagues, because they really remind me of them with regards to attributes like ambition, humour, a tendency to create name it. Very likely it's simply a sign of becoming old that you naturally accumulate a rolodex-like inventory of people to cross-reference, but funnily enough in my case I only seem to meet "twins" of people I (used to) know in a work context. Has this ever happened to you?

Monday, January 01, 2018

What. A. Year!

2017, I really liked you! So many good things happened, so many happy memories were made. I can't remember when I did not feel mopey and sarcastic in the slightest when looking back on a year, but  this time, I only feel content (or, to put it in Instagram-speak #blessed). I am not one to bear grudges for long and therefore I chose to forget the stressful moments of uncertainty that happened this past year, such as not knowing if I would end up unemployed. It turned out that I found a new job seamlessly and managed to enjoy almost 2 months of sweet doing nothing in between employers. The no-expenses-spared trip to Australia with my Mum that I had planned with military precision turned out just as wonderful as I had hoped it would and we both not only enjoyed it, but managed to not annoy one another too much, which is no little feat. This was the grandest, but by far not the only trip I took this year, and travelling remains one of my most loved things ever. I really miss those business trips with the Firm, by the way, but hey, I can still kill my carbon footprint and conscience on my own budget at least. Last but not least, a friend who had been "dead" to me for several years unexpectedly returned to my life and has made it a lot richer and warmer ever since. On the other hand, I finally managed to let go of someone else who does not even deserve the term "friend" with quotation marks, and who had not done much to boost my mood or self-esteem, ever. Not so much that he is quite dead to me yet, but we're getting there.

Monday, December 25, 2017

All is Calm, all is Bright

For several years, my parents and I have been celebrating Christmas alone and since our festivities don't include any noteworthy "performances" such as reading (from the Bible), singing or playing an instrument, it's very quiet and unspectacular these days. Eating dinner (always fondue - of the meat dipped in broth variety), followed by lighting the candles on the tree and a few sparklers for added effect with some traditional Christmas music playing in the background (vinyl in the old days, streaming courtesy of Google Play Music and Sonos more recently) and posing for a few photos, then opening presents, with the Licht ins Dunkel live broadcast in the background. A plate of cookies would be on the sofa table and my Mum and I would have a glass of wine. A few phone calls or WhatsApp messages take place in between reading new books. I usually prepare myself an espresso around 9 p.m. to stay awake for "Midnight" (actually 11 p.m.) mass to which my Mum and I walk through the cold. Pretty straightforward and copy/paste from recent years and yet very enjoyable, because all the tensions of previous Christmasses, some of them imported by other guests, have long gone. Sometimes, calm and predictable is also not the worst...

Monday, December 18, 2017

Other People's Parties

image from here
Last night I hosted my (what has now become) traditional advent party chez moi. It's ladies' only and there are Christmas cookies galore. I am currently still scouting for a location, but I will also be inviting friends for my birthday, which is the second tradition if you want to call it that. December: party at my place. January, party elsewhere. I know that to a certain extend guests are counting on me to continue those traditions since they are looking forward to seeing one another. After all, for some this is the only time of the year they see one another. Even before I started organising these two parties, Frida had been hosting a much larger advent party at her place and at one stage got mildly annoyed that people kept counting on being invited without ever thinking of returning the favour, so this year she hosted the advent party at her gallery, combining it with their charity event. Many other people have told me they stopped organising annual events at one point when they felt that everybody was taking them and their hospitality for granted.
Myself, I don't actually mind that the motivation to attend is not so much about the host(ess) as about hanging out with the whole group of people. Despite all the effort involved, I want to host these two annual get-togethers that nobody is forcing me to do. I enjoy investing both time and money and it makes me happy to see when people are enjoying themselves. I am thrilled when somebody else invites me to their party, be it a one-off thing or an annual highlight, but I would still invite the same crowd regardless of their party-hosting potential.

Monday, December 11, 2017

No Stress Stress

I do know that Christmas is on the same date every year, of course and the people I exchange actual gifts with I can count on the fingers of one hand, but somehow I feel more stressed than in previous years. I don't know if it is just the fact that I only came back from my Big Trip a week before the first advent Sunday and was a jetlag zombie (or at least went to bed way earlier than usually) for a solid week afterwards, but somehow time seems to swoosh by at double speed this December. The Christmas cards I ordered have not arrived yet, I still don't know what to get my Dad (who of course does not want anything) and only got to bake my Christmas cookie staples this weekend. The fact that my new office is not conveniently located in a shopping district is not helping much either. I don't even want to know what real "Christmas stress" must be like, where you have to shop gifts for two dozens of relatives and fight over whom to celebrate with when with the in-laws. It's all very low-key and straightforward chez moi, but Stress's little sister seems to have decided to stalk me this season. (Oh, and if you feel like writing all my Christmas cards once they do arrive, please raise your hands.)

Monday, December 04, 2017

Out of Office Reply

...because of the usual seasonal baking-decorating madness. Now excuse me as I check up on the cookies.
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