Sunday, December 4, 2016

In widening circles

Today: a cold but sunny December Sunday.
Today: the theme for decemberreflections2016 today: Circle
Today: sleeping until 8, and remembering a liquid dream
Today: still trying to grasp the terribly sad news from a friend.
Today: a walk. talking about life, good and bad luck, fate, and hope.
Toaday: tears. memories. a Rilke poem, and a circle mandala, for some solace.


Widening Circles

I live my life in widening circles 
that reach out across the world. 
I may not complete this last one 
but I give myself to it. 

I circle around God, around the primordial tower. 
I've been circling for thousands of years 
and I still don't know: am I a falcon, 
a storm, or a great song? 

- Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours, I 2
  (translation by J. Macy and A. Barrows at "On Being")


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Fave photo of 2016

I still remember this morning, like it was just some days ago: waking up early, looking out of the window, seeing the tunes of sunrise in the air – and slipping into my jacket and out of the door, to be right there.

And there is this other layer of meaning: a year ago, that time, I was in the middle of chemotherapy. Dreamed of a normal life again. And of walks along the ocean. Hoped that things would be okay.

Since then, I realized that the things that I took for granted for so long - to be healthy, to be free to make plans, to travel - that they actually aren't so sure. That life can change in a day. That you never know. But also: that life is so beautiful. That each new day, each sunrise, is a gift.

So the photo is also a symbol, for all the single new days of this year.


For the #decemberreflections
And for more notes from that time, visit this page.

Friday, December 2, 2016

star / light

Today was all overcast and rainy. But the week had some sunny hours. Like this one above: an afternoon sunset moment. And once the sun sets, it's time for candlelight. And for the real starlight. I even had a starlight dream: I was standing in an open space, with a wide horizon (like back then, in the desert of Rajasthan). All was peaceful and the stars so bright, such an abundance - and there was Orion. Like an eternal butterfly of flight.

And 2 light memories: smallstones, from January:


Tuesday morning. dark sky with a string of blue,
and at the horizon, a pulsing stream of lights,
coming and going -
early morning traffic


Half past five, daylight fading already
lighting a candle, I look up and see
right above the roof:
the moon


more skies from everywhere: skywatch friday
and more light notes: #decemberreflections

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December Reflections, 2016

So there it is, the last month of the year. "It would be nice to have some kind of shared space and hashtag for that", I mused earlier this week. And then I simply came across it today: a post with the title "December reflections". Following it, I arrived at this page with "ponder prompts". Some playful, some about creativity, some reflective, some with a focus on the past, some about the new year. It feels like just the right thing at the right time for me.

Here's the link to the webpage: December Reflections

And here's instagram: #Decemberreflections2016

Below is the prompt list, and the notes for the first day: "On the table". Tomorrow will be "light", so two easier themes to start. And then it will be about the fave photo and best book of 2016....

 On my table right now:
  • a cup of tea 
  • a november-cats-bookmark-to-be 
  • the first december in my daily world calendar: penguins in Antarctica 
  • my first zentangle
  • pen and pencil 
  • and a straw star, from the box of christmas things that I fetched from the attic, and opened again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

feather of hope + november magic

This November is full of moments and colours: there will be a group exhibition of our art group from the onkology centre. We are all really excited about it. It will be the first time for us: the first time that our paintings will be on display, that they "walk out" of our room, and also the first time that we are on this other side of an exhibition - not the visitor, but the artist.

One of my works is a mixed media collage, which includes feathers, and little prints of poems. I needed one more feather for it, and walked along a sidewalk, looking for it - and found it after ten steps. this is the feather up there, next to one of the poems -Emily Dickinson's "Hope".

The exhibition, it also brings the experience of how much work it is to get such an exhibition together. But then, there is good energy coming from the preparation - this effect of a fixed date, of things coming together and finding their shape finally. The final two paintings were finished: yesterday. The exhibition is: tomorrow.

This Sunday, i went on a drive to reflect. I thought about writing a longer blog post, but then returned to preparing the exhibition... so I guess the longer blog post will follow this weekend. But I wanted to at least put this short update together, for the moments. Here's one from the drive:

And one from Sunday afternoon: terrace time with the red cat. It felt like summer for half an hour:

Another good vibe: over at wordpress, the theme for the weekly photo challenge is "Magic". It brought me back to this moment from April, from the old town of Tübingen - the passage, it looked like a magic doorway to me. 


And another magic moon: the "super moon" from last week.. Didn’t expect to get a chance to see the moon at all – but then it showed up between clouds: supermoon, the hazy version. and a nice web find: on instagram, more than 1.5 millions moon moments. this feeling of: we-are-all-under-the-same-moon.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

First winter skies, day in Zurich, Westworld

This week was so full of impressions - on Monday, I went to Stuttgart, to meet up with a former colleague - we haven't seen each other in ages. Afterwards there was a work meeting. On Tuesday, our art group met again. And then Wednesday - starting with the election news. And continuing with a Modpo webcast which was the most emotional of all so far, one that brought a feeling of connection across borders, and of the touch of poetry in difficult times.  

Wednesday, it also was get-it-all-done-day, as I knew I would be not here the next two days. Together with 3 colleagues, we went to Zurich on Thursday, for the "faceliftsummit" - a social media day. It was a long, and inspiring trip. We met up near Stuttgart university and then drove from there to Zurich together. Our route lead through the Black Forrest, and had a first real touch of winter, with snowy fields along the way:

We arrived in Zurich "just-in-time", at 9.15. I guess none of us had really believed that would work out with morning traffic. 

Then the meet-up - here are some impressions on the twitter-feed, it's in German, but you see the keywords: social media trends, local/national, media monitoring, chatbots, videos, influencer marketing: #faceliftsummit 

It was a bit sad that we didn't get to see Zurich, but it was a rainy and grey day there anyway. In one of the breaks, I went for a walk around the hotel block, and saw a bit of the area: we were in Zurich-Oerlikon. That's the railway station, almost like out of a model railway set: 

And the opposite view: an international touch of christmas:

We came home late, and Friday again started with a meeting - but then things slowed down. And the day had an after-effect of the unexpected kind: while driving, we listened to music, and talked about films - and one of our team recommended the new series "Westworld", which is available here via one of the paytv stations in the original version. I checked it out, and first wasn't sure. But I actually saw the original "Westworld" film, and the whole theme of AI is interesting.

It made me think of the story that won the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Short Story: "Cat Pictures, Please" by Naomi Kritzer. Here's the starting passage, about the difficulty for AIs to help humans...:
"I don’t want to be evil. I want to be helpful. But knowing the optimal way to be helpful can be very complicated. There are all these ethical flow charts—I guess the official technical jargon would be “moral codes”—one for each religion plus dozens more. I tried starting with those. I felt a little odd about looking at the religious ones, because I know I wasn’t created by a god or by evolution, but by a team of computer programmers in the labs of a large corporation in Mountain View, California. Fortunately, unlike Frankenstein’s Monster, at least I was a collaborative effort..."

more skies: skywatch friday

Saturday, November 5, 2016

November rain and happiness

Last weekend was still mild and sunny -
but now November arrived for real, with grey skies and rain.

We tried our luck in a rainbreak, and it was good to get some fresh air...

... at least until the next rainclouds arrived.

Knowing that it would be a rainy weekend, I visited the library and picked some of their new books.

The green one is about happiness - it's written by Maike van den Boom, who is half Dutch, half German, and who travelled around the world and visited the 13 happiest countries - and met with common people and with scientists - to find some of clues to happiness, both on a national and a personal level. Pretty interesting. A bit too generalizing maybe - I guess you find happy and less happy people everywhere, and the country/culture is only one of the many factors for happiness.

The other book is one I almost didn't pick, but the publisher is rather good: campus. Turns out, the book is rather good, too: "Manul for the brain" is an introduction into the ways our brain and memory is functioning, with many recent studies included, and with practical advice for current themes like the use of social media, or the trend to multitask.

And I watched a great film which had an odd title, but was fabulous: "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" (oddly. the German title is shortened to: "Me and Earl and the Girl"). The film premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic and the Audience Award for U.S. Drama at the festival. It's simply amazing.


more skies from around the world:
Skywatch friday