On Looks and Love

Every time I, naturally as curly as my avatar, turn up anywhere with straight hair, there`s lots of comments because I look so different.

They are usually positive, but today, someone said she really prefers me curly. “Me, too,” I replied. “But my husband prefers them straight, and because I never do this at home, whenever I go to the hairdresser, that `s what I ask for.”

The other woman, an elderly colleague, just couldn`t get over how sweet this was. But is it? To every 8 weeks or so wear a hairstyle I don `t really like for a couple of days because it pleases him? It`s not like I permanently dye them blonde or lose weight or get a tattoo or do something else that is… permanent or drastic.

PS: He wore a kilt for our wedding, even though he first said he hasn`t worn one since he was 5 and would feel ridiculous in it now. This was my surprise, and the most lovely one of them all…

Memories from Crete

I can`t believe this holiday was more than 7 months ago (September last year) and I have still not posted any pictures of it. I wasn`t going to, for it was our third time to Agios Nikolaos, Crete. You kind of run out of things to photograph, but I have progressed since our last visit (in both equipment and composition of my photograph), and I have quite a few followers here, who are interested in travel pictures.

Our previous visits were always July, but last year, we went in September, when the weather was just about to turn – it was no longer as hot, but, apart from one shower of rain, still beautifully warm – we spent most of our time at the beach or pool (as said – third time!), no longer needing shade and swimming in the sea, and the other half still took a proper sunburn for not using sun lotion!

Our first walk round the place… bush rose petals being swirled around by the wind, and me against a white wall, once again scarily looking like my mum.

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This is where we went in the evenings, when the sun was gone, but when it was still too early to go out and enjoy the night life:

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And here`s the reason… When in Southern Europe, I`m forever photographing cats – and those ones were beautiful, glossy, and very well cared for. In Chania, on the other side of Crete, we met a couple from Birmingham who purposely took ham from the breakfast buffet and then went out looking for cats. The woman invited us along, but here`s my husband`s limits…

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A day out in Elounda – beautiful place, which I definitely recommend fitting in!

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Fisherman in Agios Nikolaos plus cat (who we actually saw bagging a head :-):

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… and we actually had a day of rain:

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Drinks by the pool… I never drink Campari Orange (or any other cocktails apart from Capirinha) at home, but abroad, I somehow fancy things like that…

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One beach pic – just one:

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This is where we spent most of our time, actually – relaxing, being warm, drinking chilled white wine and swimming in the sea…

(as ever, holiday booked with EasyJet Holidays. Good bargain at this time of year, and notably less busy, though still nice and lively…)

What Do You Say After You Say Hello?

“When Mike first meets Pat (in the first 10 seconds or at most 10 minutes after they first set eyes on each other) Mike`s Child senses exactly what Pat`s Child is up to.

Since the Parent is older and presumably wiser in some ways than his offspring, it is his duty and responsibility to control his Parental behaviour. Only if he brings his Parent under control of his Adult can he accomplish this.”

Eric Berne, What do You Say after You Say Hello

Edinburgh: A Sunday out in Town…

There was a Vintage Fair on the Grassmarket on Sunday, and we took the opportunity to go out and visit my beloved Edinburgh again. Sadly, I don`t have enough reasons to go there these days. The fair was nice, a good mixture of clothes and jewellery, bric-a-brack, vintage cars and bikes, performance and some (obviously not vintage!! :-)) food stalls.

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I took the opportunity to take out my “new” “velvet” coat in sea blue (courtsey of a friend who bought and never wore it) and bought a cute little red polka dot dress for a fiver. Dita von Teese, eat your heart out!! I bet ou wish you`d seen it first! And yes, I totally wore that to work!!

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The Royal Mile – that`s cobbled streat exactly one mile long that`s leading to the Castle…

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A gorgeous little coffee stall under a cherry tree opposite Waverley Station

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on Cognitive Distortions and Hint Giving

A couple of years ago, I had a course of psychotherapy. After lostcountofhowmany let downs, disappointments, losses and betrayals I wasn`t coping at all with life in general and becoming increasingly paranoid, always expecting the worst. Never mind the stigma – I`ll be forever grateful that I chose therapy instead of medication (or alcohol, for that matter).

I learnt loads about cognitive distortions (great link – check it out!!) and how to deal with them, and while I, of course, was able to practice this particularly well under the supervision of my therapist, I continued to apply my new skills after the sessions had finished.

One which is particularly relevant to me is reading too much into (interpersonal) things, then behaving as if my assumptions were true and thus creating a negative outcome that`s caused by my reaction rather than the initial situation. While I`m still tending to try too hard to make sense of other people`s behaviour, I`m now also able to pull myself back sometimes.

There was one particular situation where I had to work extremely hard at behaving not only as if my negative assumptions weren`t true but also as if I did not have them. In the end however, it turned out that what I was thinking had indeed been true on this occasion. Someone was throwing me (albeit weak and non-committal) hints, and I behaved as if I did not understand them, carrying on causing drama because I refused to see the signs.

“So did your therapy not cover that?” asked my husband later. “how to recover from the disappointment of a real problem? How to deal with things when, by applying her techniques, you actually made it worse? For life isn`t always a bed of roses, and you cannot always influence other people!”

No, she never covered that. And I don`t think the problem was so much my own behaviour, but my (former) friend`s evasiveness. To most Brits, giving hints only seems kinder than being upfront (also to oneself, as you save yourself the discussion) about bad news, but you have to be clear that the hints are understood, or at least be clearer when asked.

Could I have influenced the situation? No. I`d have saved myself a lot of embarrassment (and maybe preserved a friendship that obviously wasn`t what I thought it was) if I had acted upon the hints, but I`d also forever have asked myself: And what if the assumption I was acting on was not true after all?

Lord for sale!

Were talking about this again today…

Albeit rather bewilderedly, I can now claim to know someone who has apparently purchased a title of nobility. Or, as someone suggested, simply changed his Christian name to “Lord”, so it didn`t cost him anything. Although it only costs £195.oo to become a Lord, Earl, Duke, Sir or Viscount.

The product is advertised to people who seek to increase their social status, and some claim to have received free upgrades on flights, in hotels and restaurants, but some reviewers also bought a title for other people, as a special, funny or romantic gift.

Hm. I wonder how “real” nobility feels about this…

Me and my Hoarder

Me: This set of cutlery is missing two knives and one spoons. I`d like to get rid of it and get out the nice set – the one which is in the box, in the cupboard…

My hoarder (alarmed!): Tthat`s the GOOD one!!

Me: Yes, I know.

My hoarder (looks at me in disbelief): So…

Me (saw it coming and was ready for it): Before you say no, can I ask you something?

My hoarder: Sure…

Me: When did you get the good set?

My hoarder: My wedding. The first one.

Me: How long ago was that?

My hoarder (eventually): 46 years ago.

Me: And who gave you the good cutlery set?

My hoarder: Cannae remember.

Me: But what do you think they wanted you to do with it?

My hoarder (laughs)

Me: Keep it in a cupboard for 46 years because it`s too good to use? Like – till you drop?

My hoarder (laughs harder)

Me: Or did they want you to use and enjoy it?

My hoarder (howling, unable to answer)

So I take it that`s a yes. He can come round, which is why we are compatible, after all…

 

 

Raw, vegan Chia Walnut Pudding

declarations of an eater

The other day, I was cleaning out my cupboards and found half a packet of chia seeds, next to half a pack of walnuts. Both expired last month, and I decided to quickly make them into something now.

I wasn`t quite keen on the chia seeds when I first tried them (hence, they were still there), but just recently, I half read a receipe for something called “turkish delight chia pudding”, and without referring to the book again, created what turned out to be an absolute winner.

ingredients

2 1/2 cups of walnuts

a few drops of vanilla essence

1 heaped tbsp of icing sugar (or other sweetener)

2/3 cup of chia seeds

1 tsb of rose water

nut milk

You can use any nuts, but I had walnuts to use up, and I found them very suitable for the Turkish theme, too.

Soaking the nuts overnight first starts the digestion process and makes…

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Gratitude

Gratitude opens your heart and carries the urge to give back. It however has an evil twin: indebtedness. Indebtedness pays back bregrudgingly, as part of the economy of favours. In contrast, gratitude gives back freely and creatively.

And gratitude doesn`t play by the rules. It`s not the etiquette we teach our kids. Too often, I find myself prodding my kids with “What do you say?” when they`re silent upon receiving a gift or a kindness. When they push out a monotone “Thanks”, they`re only being polite, not grateful.

Barbara Frederikson, Positivity

Photo Editing

I am a massive fan of photo editing. Although it`s sometimes put to me that my photos no longer look natural, I think even the best photograph only ever becomes a real piece of art once the photographer has put his own touch to it: enhanced, changed or created a mood, colour or perspective.

I am, of course, only talking about street photography here, which is the category that I see myself fitting into. Although I`m forever planning to give it a go, I do not deliberately style a scene in order to capture a particular look or mood – I`m far away from the stage where my vision and inspiration comes before the photo. I just snap while going on about my daily life, and then I let the photo inspire me to do something with it.

Its easy, and it`s so fun! I don`t even use professional filters, but would like to, probably rather daringly in some cases, show you some of the original snaps which, with very little work, became the photos I publish, primarily here and on Instagram:

  • Late afternoon jogging session. The edited version looks almost haunted with enhanced light and shadow, but the orignal wasn`t, really.
  • This finished selfie with my cat looks like we were lying in bed, but I`m afraid the truth was rather less cute. This is the only original in this post which isn`t really the original – I cut off the bottom, as I don`t want to show quite so much nudity.
  • Some photos can be changed from average to good just by cropping and removing the colour.
  • Others come to life only if colours are enhanced – the photo that made me money,  plus another two, which were similarly snapped on a smartphone in less than average indoor light conditions (can`t find the original cat photo, so posted a similar one from the same session):
  • Some filters (I think this one was EyeEm) can enhance the effect of light sources which are in the photo, which greatly enhanced the athmosphere in this picture of an old pub in the Old Town of Edinburgh here (apart from cropping out the yellow lines at the front and white van at the back, which were, of course, an absolute NO):
  • More selfies: I`m afraid my hair wasn`t really that red, and nor are my eyes that green, leave alone my skin that flawless:
  • This sunset was rather beautiful, but became breathtaking when a simple Instagram filter made it look as if the sun was still hovering over it:
  • Okay – this one was styed, but the application of colour nonetheless made a difference:

I hope I was able to inspire you, and in any case, I think I`ll be collecting some “before and after” pics like that for a sequel.

This blog is to be taken in lieu of my usual 12 photos of the 12th of every month. If  I would have partaken in this today, you would be looking at 12 photos of me working, studying and doing other boring stuff. Plus, this topic had been planned since a while 🙂