Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 51: I Just Called | Christmas Amnesty

I am one of these quaint old people who still like to send and receive offline hardcopy Christmas card, the type you send in an envelope via snail mail. I like seeing you and your kids with santa hats and silly smiles and I don't mind if we assure one another that next year will be the one when we shall finally meet again even though we both know it's more than unlikely. The fact that I send you a Christmas card means that I won't feel the urge to wish you a Merry Christmas in WhatsApp emoji unless you do so and I feel I have to reply. I am a mildly resentful person, but with advanced age have come to realise that it feels better to let go of a grudge and the only thing you get from being better are ugly wrinkles. That being said, I choose to forgive and forget whenever I see fit. It may be Christmas, Easter or the beginning of a new year, but it may not be. Interestingly, quite a few people seem to wish for absolution and amnesty for Christmas and so I ended up being the somewhat reluctant bestower of these gifts to several people this past week. One "gentleman" (deliberate quotation marks) whose acquaintance I made this summer and had ghosted me for the past 2 months felt the urge to "hear your voice before Christmas" as he let me know in a text message following 2 unanswered phone calls. In the Christmas spirit of warm and fluffy feelings and not to come across as bearing a grudge (which in all honesty, I did) I ended up answering the third call, which I immediately regretted. I ended up annoyed and upset, but to shut him up literally told him he could have the Christmas amnesty he was obviously after and Merry Christmas (and good riddance). But hey, it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 50: | Everything Planned

I used to entertain quite a bit when I was part of a couple and "coupley" dinners were popular, back in the days when most of my friends did not have kids yet and everyone had endless time to cook lavish meals and sit in each other's living rooms or kitchen for hours. It's not that I did not get invited any more, but it IS a fact that you become a socially awkward add-one once single (again) and I can count dinner invitations in the past 10 years (outside my regular bookclub meetings, where we take turns hosting) literally with the fingers of one hand. Not that I have been throwing dinner parties myself chez moi, don't get me wrong. As I love cooking and fussing over guests at least as much as being invited myself, I decided to create some new traditions, one of them being an annual "ladies' advent gathering" where an ever-growing circle of friends meets for cookies and gossip. Every year, I send out invitations waaay in advance to make sure invitees are not tied up in other pre-Christmassy obligations and start thinking of what to serve (there's not just Christmas cookies) and how to festively decorate my flat weeks before. I sometimes think being a party-planner is my true vocation as I am nowhere as meticulous when it comes to anything (office-) work-related. I am not one of those hostesses who are hot and flustered when you arrive, but like to have everything in place long before the first person rings the doorbell. It gives me immense satisfaction to have everything going according to plan and me being able to enjoy it as much as my guests.
I have also mastered the art of "stress-free Christmas" by buying/making most of the few presents I exchange these days weeks before and ordering customised cars equally early. I am also done writing and sending them and what with all the baking done for this season, I can sit back and relax and give myself a high five that I don't have to throw myself into the crowds of people buying last-minute presents. Needless to say, working 24 hours a week definitely contributes to this chill factor: another reason to love that part-time thang!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 49: Work-Life Balanced | Lady of Leisure

I've been trying to find out what the perfect balance of work vs. time off should be (for me, that is). This past week, my work week was even shorter than usual since Thursday was a holiday in Austria. This meant that I had 2.5 days at the office followed by a 4.5 days weekend. I don't want to complain (#firstworldproblems), but to be honest, I but don't think I would like this every week. I guess my personal preference is for exactly half work, half weekend, i.e. 3.5 : 3.5 It's not that I get bored EVER, but that I firmly believe you only value the special treats if you don't have them all the time. Even if I won the lottery (which I have never bought a ticket for in my life...but maybe should) I definitely would not quit my day-job, unless it was seriously horrible. If that was the case, I would try and get another (part-time) one. For once, I am a social animal and I also quite like a certain routine. I look forward to talking to my colleagues and to having lunch at the places I only frequent during the week. Of course I could (and do) meet my work friends outside the office and go eat at the same restaurants on Sundays, but it's still not the same. It's like Christmas cookies: I love baking and eating them, but only around Christmas. 

Monday, December 05, 2016

Week 48: #richbitch | The Good Things in Life Are Free

When I switched to working part-time now over two months ago, I knew of course that working 40% less time obviously comes with the catch of earning 40% less money (gross) as well.  So much for the theory. I have to admit that it took me these past two months to actually come to realise that it's time to be a bit more frugal and "domestic". It's not that I live on the brink of poverty now, VERY far from it, but having a good 1500€ (after tax) less of pocket money every month does make a difference. Also, my previous job role (the one I had up to March this year) came with a lot of travelling. While on a business trip, you basically don't need money as you are out wining and dining and having fun on company money, while you can switch off the heating at home and don't need to touch your own money other than for souvenir shopping. It's a simple equation: when you have more time that you are not working, it is tempting to just go on long weekend breaks or pamper yourself. I have done both in the recent past, but have come to the realisation that just because you have a day off does not mean that you *have* to spend it having breakfast, lunch and dinner at restaurants, with Starbucks treats in between and now is a very good time to shop your wardrobe and tackle the huge pile of unread books rather than just accumulate new things. Truth be told, I am loving it, and as with all things that you have pretty much on tap, you stop appreciating them and regarding them as a treat. Sometimes you are so caught up in a routine, that you don't question it and are actually quite grateful if circumstances force you to take a step back and reconsider what you have been doing for the past years. I certainly am.
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