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

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…



Please Praise the Chef! and: A Restaurant Review

Last night, we`ve been to Dal Patino again, a new and wonderful Italian Restaurant, which recently opened here in Musselburgh.

Up until that day, we had two Italians (a quite down to earth one which specialises in pizza and pasta, and a very swanky one which we can`t afford to eat at regularly). Dal Patino is a small family run restaurant, which finally managed to close the gap and offer something to people like us, who like nice food in a nice ambience, but don`t want to have to keep this for special occasions.

We were walking past by pure chance a couple of weeks ago, peckish and talking about what to have for dinner, when my other half spontanesously suggested to go in and give it a try.

I had grilled sea bass (two fillets!!) with so much on the side that I would have foregone my obligatory side salad, if only I had known. Apart from more salad, potatoes and a whole twig of grilled tomatoes with herbs, there was a large vegetable cake that was so delicious I pointed this out to the waiter and asked what was in it.


Just a few weeks prior, I had a rather interesting discussion with the chef at my work, and we concluded that people like me are more likely to speak up if they want to complain about food rather than praise it, and therefore, by default, people like him are more likely to hear comlaints rather than praise about their work, which they usually do with a lot of love and passion (This particular conversation was about a lady who had particular dietary wishes, had something special made for her twice a day and liked neither.). After this chat, I promised to myself to really make waves the next time I ate out and found something oustanding. And this vegetable cake sure was.

 The place is small and the waiter waved to the chef (open kitchen), whose face almost split with a grin that went from one ear to the other. He told me a wee bit of what was in it and seemed happy when I said I could eat those cold as well, and they should sell them at lunch time to take away.

Anyhow, with the bill came a brown bag, and guess what was in it:

For me. Just like that. 🙂

I looked over the waiter`s shoulder nd saw the chef waving. Really made my day, and then again the next morning when I had those cold, for breakfast.

When we came back yesterday, we were greeted like old friends, and once again, served a dinner which was both delicious and incredibly photogenic:


Anyway, bottom line is: Please could you praise the chef. You`ll make for a nice change. 🙂

I just Sold my First Photograph!!

imageimageYes – indeed: about a year or so after I started to really get into my photography (and sporadically publish them in various places online), someone has now paid money to get a license for my … smartphone photo of jellybeans…

Right now, I`m feeling really proud and accomplished, and I don`t care that I`m only getting a tiny cut, but the sheer fact that someone just paid at least £50.oo for my photo, my creativity, my… artwork, feels just amazing!!


I remember the story of that picture well.

I took it during my first face-to-face tutorial with the Open University, which took place in a hotel near Haymarket Train Station in Edinburgh last February. On our tables were, besides pen, paper and water, jelly beans. The young latecomer who sat beside me laughed as, before even eating a single one of them, I grabbed my smartphone (a Samsung Galaxy S 6 Edge) and photographed them from all angles. That`s when she decided she needed to get to know me, because she likes wacky people. We ended up going to the bus together, and on the journey home, I applied various filters to the best pic and uploaded it to both Instagram and EyeEm.

It was in May when I got an automated email from EyeEm saying that the photo had been selected for their Premium Collection, to be put up for sale on Getty Images. At the time, me and another friend were researching opportunities for selling photos online, and I found that most of those rather “big” sites have rather strict guidelines regarding quality. I never found mine on their site, and then forgot about it, although looked again a few months later, and it was there, beside two photos of my Siamese cat. (In fact, I had 8 pictures altogether selected for Premium Collection, but only those three published).

Anyway, on Tuesday, I got an email saying I sold it!!

The same night, I went to the birthday party of my wonderful Greek friend Mary, who sat beside me when I took the photograph! And she remembers it well, as it was the day we met and the reason she wanted to get to know me.

Aw, I`m happy, and dying to know who bought it and what for…

Valentine`s Day

Every year on this day, I inevitably think of a poem I found on Gumtree (…) a few years ago. It wasn`t until some 2 months later that I found it, but it was written on Valentine`s Day my first day in my new job 14 February. It wasn`t particulary well written, which added to its charme, but it was the content that struck a cord:

It was from a guy who had a secret crush at work, and he was tormented by the fact that he didn`t manage to tell her (Oh yes, he did. On my leaving night. Drunk.). She didn`t seem to notice him at all, and if she at all did, he was worried that she would think of him as a guy who didn`t care, for that`s how he acted. Now, she had just left for another job, without ever getting to know.

Life is funny sometimes and the move only internal. Fast forward – the same guy (don`t ask… there were a couple of very… identifying bits in it), was working side by side with me again. Nothing was ever said, and then it was him who was about to leave. He was still there, when our temp, totally out of the blue, asked me if I liked him.

I think the world of him, I said.

And have you ever told him?


Why not?

Why should I? It`s not something you generally say at work, and he should know by my actions, anyway.

Maybe, she said. But sometimes, it`s good to hear, too.

And so I went and told him. I said I think the world of you, and I`ll miss you very much.

It felt good.


Jahresendstoeckchen 2016 / My Annual Review 2016

Well, I certainly didn`t like everything that happened in the wider world, but for me personally, 2016 was absolutely fantastic – best year since a long time. It wasn`t so much about things that happened to me but things that I`ve done, and I think that`s hugely different. Places I`ve seen, things I have done for and accomplished in my career… I was doing wonderful things while I was working part time – cultivated hobbies I`d been neglecting, accomplished things with my photography, started studying towards a degree and finishing my first module with a distinction , went old and new places… it just was a really, really, good year, and I`m excited to say that 2017 is looking like it keeps going into the same direction.

I used to always do New Year`s Resolutions, and then I stopped them and started them again, but honestly, this year`s only resolution is to keep all those things going just the way they are.

Coming soon…

Over the month of January, I will dig out and revamp some of my lifestyle posts from the last year and a half. I`ve written a lot about the things which people are usually wanting to improve (fitness, money, de-cluttering, and a bit of beauty and fashion) now.

A few holiday posts are also still forthcoming – I really wanted to take my time writing about this amazing trip to Israel, but we`ve also been to Crete, Porto and Lisbon, and I didn`t forget my promise to write more about my home town, which is (well, near) Edinburgh.

And that`s for all my new readers. It`s been a great year for my blog, too, and although I don`t know whether you are all actually reading, it`s been great to see it grow, and I`m really committed to keep producing content which I hope you`ll find interesting.

Apologies for the following being in German…

… but we (that`s the group of German bloggers who came here when http://www.blog.de closed down) do this little survey thingy every year.

1. Zugenommen oder abgenommen?
Zugenommen. Aber nicht viel.

2. Haare länger oder kürzer?
Ein ganzes Stueck laenger. Ich wollte mal wieder was anderes, und nachdem ich es oft versucht und wieder abgeschnitten hat, gefaellt es mir dieses Mal richtig gut. Ich hatte fast 10 Jahren keine langen Haare mehr!!

3. Kurzsichtiger oder weitsichtiger?
Wenn man`s im uebertragenen Sinne sieht, auf jeden Fall kurzsichtiger, und das ist gut so. Ich komme davon ab, mich immer so sehr um die Zukunft zu sorgen. Es sind in den letzten zwei Jahren so viele Dinge passiert, die mich ueberzeugten, dass das (within reason!) nicht die gesuendeste und hilfreichste Denkweise ist.

4. Mehr Kohle oder weniger?

5. Mehr ausgegeben oder weniger?
Weniger. Als ich auf ein Halbzeitgehalt runter ging, wurde ich echt sparsam, und da ich das so beibehalten moechte, wird die Differenz jetzt automatisch auf ein Sparkonto ueberwiesen, auch wegen befristet und so…

6. Mehr bewegt oder weniger?
Weniger. Hoert bloss auf. Weil das trotz weniger arbeiten so war, kam ich zu dem Schluss dass ich es gar nicht so toll finden kann. Ich glaube es war eher ein Stressabbauventil. Ich bin ja auch immer dann viel gerannt, wenn ich unter starkem Druck stand.

7. Der hirnrissigste Plan?
Nee, also da stehe ich schon ueberall hinter…

8. Die gefährlichste Unternehmung?
Manche sagen einen permanenten Job fuer einen befristeten aufzugeben. Andere sagen Urlaub in Israel machen. I say: you miss out 🙂

9. Der beste Sex?
Naechste Frage…

10. Die teuerste Anschaffung?
Es gab neue Moebel und Elektrosachen, aber einzeln waren sie alle im Rahmen.

11. Das leckerste Essen?
War wie immer im Urlaub

12. Das beeindruckendste Buch?
Ich finde meine Open Uni-Buecher beeindruckend, und ich glaube sonst hab ich nicht viel gelesen.

13. Der ergreifendste Film?
Auch nicht.

14. Die beste CD?
Bon Jovi Greatest Hits. Klar zaehlt das.

15. Das schönste Konzert?
Sorry – aber auch nicht.

16. Die meiste Zeit verbracht mit?
Meinem Mann und meiner Freundin B. Die ist in der Naehe gezogen und hat auch viel Tagesfreizeit.

17. Die schönste Zeit verbracht mit?
Mit meinem Mann, und  mit Bandora und ihrer Familie in Israel.

18. Vorherrschendes Gefühl 2016?
Sehr gemischt. Es ist so viel passiert, da kann ich kein einzelnes Gefuehl raus picken. Vielleicht immer mal wieder Verwunderung, dass das wirklich mein Leben ist…

19. 2016 zum ersten Mal getan?
In Israel gewesen

20. 2016 nach langer Zeit wieder getan?
Eine Freundin verloren.

21. Drei Dinge, auf die ich gut hätte verzichten mögen?
Nr 20. Brexit. President Trump.

22. Die wichtigste Sache, von der ich jemanden überzeugen wollte?
Meinen Mann, dass ich nach Israel will. Ich hab da grosse Ablehnung erwartet, aber ein grosser Ueberzeugungspitch war zu meiner eigenen Ueberraschung gar nicht noetig. Er hat einfach gesagt fahr, aber halt ohne mich.

23. Das schönste Geschenk, das ich jemandem gemacht habe?
Da muesste man jetzt andere fragen, aber ich glaube, das war wahrscheinlich das Brautkleid, das ich sehr kurzfristig geholfen habe fertigzustellen. Es waere zwar trotzdem schoen gewesen, aber ein paar zauberhafte Details, die der Braut wichtig waren, haette man weg lassen muessen.

24. Das schönste Geschenk, das mir jemand gemacht hat?
Mal ne Weile weniger arbeiten und  mehr Zeit mit anderen Dingen verbringen.

25. Der schönste Satz, den jemand zu mir gesagt hat?
Wiederholen will ich ihn hier nicht, aber es war etwas von meinem Mann, das einen Beschuetzerinstinkt mir gegenueber zeigte, von dem ich manchmal nicht glaube dass er wirklich da ist.

26. Der schönste Satz, den ich zu jemandem gesagt habe?
Nun weiss ich ja schon wieder nicht, was andere als schoen empfunden habe, aber was ich am schoensten fand war als ich zweimal Menschen gratulieren durfte. Einer hatte sich etwas ganz, ganz lange gewuenscht, die andere haette es sich nie traeumen lassen, aber zweimal waren in 2016 ganz besondere Glueckwuensche angebracht.

27. 2016 war mit einem Wort?

28. 2016 leider gar nicht getan?
Bestimmte Leute wieder gesehen.

29. Wort des Jahres?

30. Stadt des Jahres?
Lissabon. Diese Stadt loest einfach was in mir aus. Ich will da leben!

31. Song des Jahres?

32. Erkenntnis des Jahres?
Man muss auch mal ein paar Risiken eingehen, wenn man nicht auf der Stelle treten will.

33. Beste Idee/Entscheidung des Jahres?
Eine feste Stelle fuer eine befristete zu verlassen. Das passt jetzt (erstmal…)

I`m wishing you…

all the best for 2017, and once again, thank you so much for your support :-))


a Re-Blog from last year. I just find it so crazy.


As usual, my husband was watching the news yesterday when I came down for my morning coffee.

When I saw the pictures on the screen, along with frenetic screaming of men and women, I paused and watched in horror. People were punching and pushing each other, and then I saw something that looked like a big ball of people, fighting. There were a couple of policemen armed with shields, but they looked powerless.

My first thought was of another terror attack.

“No.” My husband turned round and then said slowly: “This is Black Friday!”

I just don`t comprehend it. Most people say they don`t think it`s a good idea, but when the day comes, they become… obsessed. At 8am I overheard a conversation on the bus about a woman who got up at 4am to get three Kindle Fires, and then she phoned her other half to ask if she should get one for Josh as well, since it was such a bargain. Our computer system at work crashed, and a colleague received a message about discounted computer games. She quickly took orders and passed it on to her relative who was there right now. And a substantial numbers of guests in the restaurant I visited at night took a table for four for just two people, so they`d have space for all those bags.

What is this? I don`t think it`s just about the bargain – there`s bargains all year now. Is it competition, excitement, or simply wanting to be part of something which everyone is talking about?

The Christmas Consumer Madness is certainly alive and thriving: somewhere in or around Edinburgh, a male called Josh will now get a Kindle he may not otherwise have had. If he has a sibling, this kid will now need to be found something of equal value, and of course, they cannot receive less next year. So they`ll get used to getting shitloads, and when they grow up to become the givers, it`ll come natural to be equally generous. Even if bargains stopped, and even if they couldn`t really afford it. Because it`ll be expected now.


But last weekend, I had a chat which gave me hope. A close friend, who is wonderful but very different from myself in this department, said she wasn`t doing Christmas gifting any more and had already told everybody. She doesn`t want any  more stuff, she decided, and she feels her family don`t need it either. She much rather wants more breaks, so they`ll use the  money to book themselves into a nice hotel over a weekend when all the frenzy is over, and re-charge their batteries. Love the woman! Always did, but her… fondness of things was something I thought I`d never see change. But if she can (and all by herself, her husband swears he has nothing to do with it!!) maybe all hope is not lost.

Stay safe! 🙂

Humans of Jerusalem

If I could name one single best thing of the photography course I attended last year, this would be the fact that you are indeed allowed to photograph people in the street  (and other public places) and publish the the results:



The next one was shot right next to the Jewish Food Market (to which I need to devote an entry of its own!!) At first, I thought those were poor people raiding bins, but they were actually selling what looks like their own belongings on blankets. Not generally into poverty porn at all, but there is something about this picture that makes me want to include it:


There may be more (once I`ve been through all 700 of them!) but here is once again my favourite, which I already included here: