The above is a picture of Barney,our family dog, taken in August 2011 while I was visitng England.
Barney has been having some health problems for a few months, and this morning my mum had to have him put down.
R.I.P Barneykins. Have fun chasing those rabbits in the sky!
I’ve finally managed to finish the birth announcement cross stitch I’ve been working on for a friend’s baby. Phew! Relief! About time too – this child could arrive any day now!I was starting to worry that it would end up being like the picture a stitched for some friends of mine’s wedding, which I ended up sending to them after they came back from their honeymoon as I wasn’t finished any sooner than that!
Check it out! All I need to do now is insert the name and date of birth in the sce within the cloud, which I obviously can’t do until I have that information. I’m actually incredibly proud of myself for managing to do all the French knots on the Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. I absolutely hate the things.
I also received word today that the gift I sent for my cousin’s baby girl (born on 5 January) arrived. I sent it over a week ago so was starting to wonder… don’t trust Deutsche Post or Royal Mail as far as I can throw them, and when both are involved anything could happen!
I can already see that this is going to be another baby filled year. Apart from the mammy of the lucky recipient of this cross stitch I currently know 5 other people who are pregnant – and we haven’t even made it out of January yet! I can’t wait to get started on my next new baby cross stitch Hopefully I’ll manage to pick one without a million French knots this time…
We are more than halfway through the fourth week of the new year and I still seem to be struggling to switch my brain back to reality mode. I have, of course, been going to work and have got every one of the translations that’s been planned in for me done (I have no choice -there are deadlines. And customers are generally not that understanding when it comes to extending them) but my heart is only half in it. My jobs are technically fine – spell checked, proofread and correctly translated. But I know I could put more effort into them, concentrate harder and get more done in less time, if only I could get myself motivated. Instead, half of my mind constantly seems to be somewhere else. I spend the mornings thinking about the book I was reading on the train, and would have liked to read more of before arriving at work (the train ride home seems sooo far away when I’m wondering what’s going to happen next!) or wondering whether a good friend has head her baby yet (she’s not actually due for another week and a half, but it could happen any time now). And by the time afternoon rolls around, I’m starting to get sleepy and find myself picturing my bed after every project I complete. 23 days after returning from my last holiday it seems I could use another one!
Wow, fourteen days into the new year already and I haven’t even mentioned resolutions yet! That must be some kind of record! But, of course, I do have some. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t make some kind of resolution for the new year! And obviously they can’t possibly be official until the whole world knows about them. Or at least that part of the world that reads my blog…
After years and years of setting myself vague and probably not even achieveable goals (“be a better girlfriend”, “learn social competence”), this time I decided to go with things that I might actually be able to stick with. So here goes:
Eat more healthily! This doesn’t mean giving up chocolate and cheese (mmmm, cheese!) and all the other yummy yet fattening stuff that I love. But I do want to make an effort to cook us healthier meals… ones that contain actual *gasp* vegetables. (To be fair, I’m not actually that bad to start with, but I do want to start making more meals in which vegetables are the main component rather than an afterthought). I’ve already got off to a good start on this one, as our meal of “vegetable ratatouille” from the other day will testify. Mmm, doesn’t it look delicious! And it was, believe me. I’ve got a whole load of other healthy recipes to try out as well. Last nights effort was roasted aubergine – basically aubergine stuffed using the bits of itself that I chopped out of the middle and yellow peppers with chunks of (low fat) goat’s cheese sprinkled over it. Sorry, no pictures of that one!
Think before I speak! A large proportion of my problems come from me opening my mouth without engaging my brain first. Whether it’s an argument with my boyfriend, a sarcastic comment that came out sounding really, really bad (entirely unintentional!) or another instance of me interrupting someone without even realising… if I could just control my impulse to just say whatever pops into my head immediately many things would be so much simpler.
Improve my translation style. I am a pretty good translator (even if I say it myself). My texts are generally correctly translated and read pretty well. But I quite often receive corrected texts back from my proofreaders in which most of what’s been corrected isn’t actual mistakes, but matters of style (using a different, nice sounding word, phrasing a sentence slightly differently…), and I have to admit most of the time their version really does sound a thousand times better. My goal for this year is to get at least one person to comment on how well one of my texts read, rather than just saying it was “fine”.
Visit my friend in the Netherlands! I’ve been meaning to go and see her since she moved there 3 years ago, and now she’s planning on relocating to the USA I really need to get my act together and go see her! (I’ve actually started arranging this one as well. We’ll probably be going there in February, so I can use up my remaining holiday from last year before it gets taken off me).
Keep up with my blog. I went through several periods of not blogging last year, mostly because I was busy actually having a life. Unfortunately this means I have no record whatsoever of some of the things I did last year. Obviously I still remember doing them (for now!), but I do like to have a written record that I can look back over occasionally. This year I really must try harder with that!
And that shall do. Five resolutions is enough for one year, don’t you think?
So, I promised to tell you all about Salzburg. And here I am, getting ready to tell. Where to begin?
This time, our New Year’s holiday was almost a week. We travelled to Salzburg on 26 December and came back on 2 January (I had to be back at work again on the 3rd. Boo hiss!).
I was overjoyed to be back in Austria again. I lived there for about 10 months in 2005/2006 and loved it! (I didn’t actually live in Salzburg, but Austria is Austria, right?). Salzburg is mostly famous for 2 things – The Sound of Music (which we attempted to ignore completely – although I did take a photo of the gazebo from the film for my mum) and Mozart, who was born there. We paid tribute to the latter by visiting the house he lived in as a teenager and going to a concert featuring mostly pieces by Mozart (plus one by Schuhbert). We’re so very cutural
It was also nice to be back among mountains. I used to have one outside my bedroom window when I lived in Austria and it was always great opening my curtains to see it. Karlsruhe is possibly the flattest town on the planet (the highest “hill” here is in the zoo… and it’s man-made!) and England isn’t exactly known for its peaks, so even small mountains are something I don’t see every day. While the weather was behaving, we took the cable car up the Untersberg (just outside Salzburg) – Jan wanted to walk up but all the paths were closed due to snow so we weren’t allowed – I was devastated, clearly😉 At the top there was quite a bit of snow, and also a wonderful view.
At midnight on the 31st, we were partway up another mountain – the Kapuzinerberg. That one’s actually in Salzburg and gave us an excellent view of the fireworks while allowing us to avoid the drinken idiots shooting rockets at each other in town.
We also went to the Museum der Moderne – a modern art museum on the Mönchsberg. They currently (January 2012) have an exhibition by Evan Penny, which I thought was neat. Unfortunately you weren’t allowed to take pictures in the museum, but basically he makes sculptures of humans and, in this particular exhibition (Re Figured) they’re all distorted in some way. The results are a little freaky but very, very cool.
Other highlights included the fortress, where there was so much to see that we didn’t even make it all the way round, and the Haus der Natur, a natural history museum with an attached Science Centre where you could literally spend all day! The only reason we left after 3 and a half hours was because Jan wasn’t feeling too good – we hadn’t seen anything like everything! The Science Center part is all hands on and mostly aimed at kids, but adults can have their fun too! If you ever find yourself in Salzburg and the weather isn’t too good definitely check out the Haus der Natur! Naturally we also had to stop at the Cafe in Hotel Sacher for a slice of Sachertorte (a kind of chocolate cake with a layer of jam in the middle), which was okay, but the best hot chocolate of the trip was definitely the one I had in Demel on Mozartplatz. So thick and creamy it was almost more like a dessert than a drink. Mmmm! And the slice of chestnut cake I had there was delicious too!
And now I shall leave you with a view of the city taken from a window at the Hohensalzburg fortress. Most of what you can see is the old town, and the river in the background is the Salzach. Still a pretty place, even in the middle of winter. Salzburg, I shall return!