Assertiveness 

Assertively saying no to the requests of others rather than giving in protects the relationship from ressentment that would arise if you felt like you had to say yes when you really didn`t want to.

Know what your values and morals are and stick to them. When people ask you to do something that goes against your values you aren`t going to feel good about yourself if you agree to their request.

(The Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Workbook for Bipolar Disorder – Using DBT to regain Control of Your Life – Sheri van Dijk MSW)

Photo Editing: Graffiti

I love being creative with photo editing software, and I was rather happy when the topic came up in comments! I love making a seemingly plain motives look striking, and I love looking for inspiring things in the street and thinking what could become of them.

Here is a piece of street art I found in Lisbon – a smartphone picture that I first brightened up using Samsung`s own auto enhancer and then used PicsArt to get a bit creative with it.

PicsArt_1419271162966

PicsArt_1419271136960

just Auto enhance and Vignette (Samsung`s own):

2014-12-22 17.56.58

Original:

20141222_114829

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Brexit – The clock is ticking

I never really considered myself qualified to write about politics, but blogging from Scotland, for an international audience, I cannot possibly omit Brexit.

For me personally, this means that I`m now a EU citizen living in a non EU country, and noone has yet been able to say exactly what this will mean for me and millions like me. Because, even though this referendum affected us a bit more than most others, we were not allowed to cast a vote, I decided to cross this bridge when it comes, and, right to the end, I really did not believe that it would come to this.

But the unimaginable did happen – with a majority that`s so close it almost physically hurts, the British people voted to leave the European Union. ALL constituencies within Scotland voted to remain, but there weren`t enough of us who actually voted. Although I was never one who considered voting as a duty, the low turnout disappointed indeed.

One cannot help but think about the Scottish Independence Referendum less than two years ago. One of my big concerns was EU membership of an independent Scotland, but although people seemed generally confident, noone could confirm for definite that we would remain a member. Now we are out, because we stayed in. One very passionate YES voter said at the time he didn`t want to be governed by the English any more – they vote totally differently from us (e.g. Conservatives and Brexit), but as part of the UK, Scotland has to follow suit. Another passionate YES voter hoped that today` s result may trigger another Scottish Independence Referendum ending up in a YES vote after all.

I`d vote YES without any hesitation now.

To be continued.

I`ll end this entry by forwarding an excellent post of a Glasgow Independence campaigner, the Wee Ginger Dug.

*

So that’s it then. The sun has risen but the darkness falls. The nightmare has happened. The nightmare is here. Two Unions lie broken. Last night England broke the Unions, and chose for us. C…

Source: The clock is ticking

On Criticism and Photography

On Criticism

“Now that we are more aware of how destructive criticism can be, most people are putting more thought into their words. Ever so often however, it still strikes me how insensitive the other group can be.

Art is very personal and one of the things where I`ve always been reluctant to say I dislike it. I was going to do a photography project with a a friend last year, but I abandoned it quickly, because there was one person who regularly and very warmly praised my friends`work while equally constantly and rather mercilessly slagging mine: “You can`t see a thing!” – “All I see is a tree there in the corner, but what`s the rest?” – “Much too bright, makes my eyes hurt!” – “As usual, it`s photoshopped to death! Can anybody recognize anything at all, as I certainly can`t, just a blur…”

In my heart of hearts, I realized that our photography styles are very different, and what we were dealing with was simply a matter of personal preference. However, I didn`t take well to those words, and to this day, I`m still reluctant to show my work again. Which annoys me, as I`m proud of it. It shouldn`t matter that that one person doesn`t like it, and it shouldn`t be my problem that she doesn`t know how to say so in a kinder way. (Actually, if you have nothing nice to say, and you`re not asked for an opinion, I`d rather say nothing).”

On Photography

The piece above was written 10 months ago, on 25 August 2015, and of course I wrote it because I was annoyed at and wanted to overcome my own reluctance to publish my things.

Mainly for confidence, I bought a proper camera, did a course in digital photography and otherwise did what I like best: photoshop everything, and the creative rather than the remedial way.

And I started to upload the results not to where others keep theirs plain, but to where editing is explicitly desired. I started out with Instagram and then became bolder and shared my pics on facebook and twitter at the same time. Friends continued to like rather than slag them, so I started to upload them on on other platforms as well- platforms whose free filters and editing software I use (and who I want to give back to), and I quickly got kinda stuck with EyeEm, because that`s where I am most inspired by other contributors` work. They also allows me to simultaneously share on facebook and twitter, and I had some wonderful feedback from friends as well as strangers. There`s nothing quite like waking up to yet another re-tweet of one of your photos!!

At least, until that happened…

Unfortunately, the first one will probably not be published anywhere else because it`s a smartphone photo which will no longer look sharp when blown up (a criterium for Alamy, and probably Getty as well, but it feels great to have your work recognised like that. ❤ ❤ ❤

Zeugnisse / School Reports

Gemessenen Schritts ging Senhor Cortes vom einen zum anderen, verkuendete mit seiner ueblichen strengen Miene die Gesamtzensur und haendigte uns mit geradem Blick das Zeugnis aus.

Freudlos und bleich nahm mein strebsamer Banknachbar das seine entgegen und hielt es in den gefalteten Haenden wie eine Bibel.

Kichernd liess der Klassenletzte, der braungebrannte Liebling der Maedchen, das seine zu Boden fallen als sei es ein Stueck Abfall.

Pascal Mercier, Nachtzug nach Lissabon

Tolles Buch uebrigens… Dabei hab ich es nur gelesen weil es um Lissabon geht.

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The English translation is supposed to be rather poor, but although I`ll probably not do a better job myself, I`ll try:

With measured steps, Senhor Cortes walked from one to the other, sternly declaring the final marks, and, looking straight into one`s eyes, handed over the certificates.

Pale and without joy, my ambitions neighbour received his and held it in his folded hands like a bible.

Giggling, the bottom performer, tanned crush of the girls, dropped his to the floor as if it was a piece of trash.

My contribution to Volunteers Appreciation Week: Cat sitters (re-blog)

Every time we go away I`m immensely grateful for my wonderful cat sitter.

This was not always the case. At first, my brother in law came to our house, topped up her food, emptied her tray and then left without speaking to leave alone petting our baby girl, for he doesn`t really like cats. Then my husband`s niece came, and she stayed with her for a few hours, watching the telly, eating her dinner, and not cleaning up after herself before she left. At least, our cats were well cared for, but unfortunately, the niece`s priorities changed when she had her own (human) baby.

Then my friend`s cat died, and for various reasons, she didn`t want another one. First, I looked at her blankly when she said “Bring her to me when you go away!” But then I did, and she`s been going to her house ever since. She sleeps in her bed, in the little dip between the two pillows just where she sleeps in ours, and she eats from her plate (which she`s not allowed at home!), and rather well, too! She no longer wails in the car, and when she arrives, she`ll jump straight onto the bed to groom herself – a sign of comfort in cats.

In short: the two love and adore each other. Christine loves us going on holiday, and she`s keen for us to bring Kitti early and pick her up a few days after we came back. When Kitti caught mice during one of her visits (one was proudly and infamously delivered to the bed at 6am on a Sunday morning!), we left her for another few weeks just until we were confident that they were all gone, and when more droppings were found, we moved her back in for another week. If Kitti ever goes for good in a planned way, I`d want my friend to be there as I feel she loves her just as much as I do, and the same goes for the cat.

I`m just so grateful I never need to have guilty feelings for going away. Last year, there was a bit of an emergency which forced Christine to move house for a few weeks, and her own friend (whom I never met) happily took my cat as well as her. I received a WhatsApp picture of them all watching the World Cup Final together in a strange living room.

The photo`s are funny. The ones below were sent one each day of the holiday we just had. I still think she took them all within a couple of hours and then just spaced them out when she sent them.

image

Why my Dad`s First Anniversary was a Happy Occasion

I took the day off work, as I had no idea how I was going to be. He had been ill, and I had already spent a lot of time thinking “This time last year…”

And when his first anniversary came, all over sudden, I started to feel differently and did so ever since. This time last year, he was already gone. This time last year, all the pain was fresh, and all the aftermath still had to be dealt with and felt rather overwhelming. All over sudden, i was in a better place than this time last year. The pain has subsided, the problems were solved or at least felt less overwhelming.

From then on I started to see this anniversary as a happy occasion. A day not just to remember the person we lost but also to reflect on how far we have come since. So far, things got better every year.

 

Political Correctness gone Mad

I had an email today, about a colleague from another department, obviously not known by name, needing something: “She`s always really chatty, with a big smile, always laughing…” Turned out she was referring to the only woman in the entire building (150+ staff) who is black. What`s the world coming to, if you cannot even use the color of her skin to give a physical description?