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Dec. 10th, 2013


I learned today that I'm working for a company that actually helps out when people in need ask for it.

I was already impressed that the company's foundation gave 250K EUR for the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines and additionally promised to double their employees' donations.

But today we received a letter from a family (not the family of one of our employees, just strangers) who are in dire financial needs because they have two severely disabled children. I felt really sorry for them, it was a terrible story. But I honestly believed that was it. With my former employer that would have been the end. Maybe someone would have sent an answer, but only if they were having a good day.

My new employer on the other hand has someone whose job (among others) it is to check out such letters and, if they are true, to send money to the families. They actually have standard sums for people who had triplets because it's so common that they get requests!
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Sep. 1st, 2013

mission accomplished

He, had a busy day today, but now, I'm done and I'm feeling pretty good about myself.

  • Cleaned the kitchen window

  • Washed off the kitchen shades in the shower

  • Did the dishes

  • Vacuumed

  • Did three loads of laundry

  • Cleaned up my desk

  • Bagged the old clothing I'm gonna give away

:proud: Right now, my mom could come in a surprise visit and I wouldn't be embarrassed. (She never says anything. Just raises her eyebrow. Oh, the eyebrow of doom!)

Aug. 12th, 2013


Seeing that I'm (relatively) new in my current job and that HR is always a bit removed from "real life" (ivory tower etc), this week I'm playing intern at one of the stores. The store is HUGE, seven floors of sales area.
Today I worked in the sales area, for the rest of the week it'll be different areas each day (from intake, to visual merchandising and admin). I think it's a great idea because, really, the above is true. HR has a completely different perspective and for an outsider it's especially difficult to judge what is important, what is even possible and when you step on everyone's toes.

Anyway, I was warmly welcomed today. And they showed me a lot, took me everywhere, showed me "backstage" etc. It was extremely interesting and time flew by. But honestly? Really really honestly? I'm so glad I decided on an office job. My feet are KILLING me! And as soon as I stepped outside I poured a whole liter of water into me and I think the water evaporated the second it touched my tongue. X-p
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Jul. 31st, 2013

fun site

Discovered a new site: that is, a co-worker told me about it.
After registering and saving your home address you can request an address (which is from some random user from anywhere in the world). Once you sent that person a postcard and they confirmed that they got it, your address will be given to another random user from somewhere around the globe and they'll send a postcard to you. At the beginning you can request up to 5 addresses simultaneously.
I've requested two addresses and 1 card went to Russia and the other one will go to the US.
I'm very excited about this! Getting postcards and going postcard hunting to find something beautiful for others! It's a bit like Christmas!

Jul. 3rd, 2013

Um, oops?

Today the time limitation on my work contract was lifted - accidentally... That's a new one! :grin:

My teamleader just intended for me to get a letter that I successfully passed my 6 month probation period. Instead the office management handed me a notice that my time limited contract was not in fact limited anymore. The contract was limited for reasons of probation/evaluation. Hence the mix-up. I offered to return the notice. But my teamleader said it's done.

So now: Job secure!
:dances, still somewhat dazzedly:

Jul. 2nd, 2013

I have several Avengers desktop backgrounds changing on a loop.
So for some reason I minimized all windows and suddenly found myself staring Director Fury in the eye. Without warning. Scary

This day sucks

Since the weather is nice for a change, I thought I'd leave work a bit early today, take the bus into the city and enjoy a coffee somewhere.

When I got to the café my wallet was missing. I'm pretty sure I lost it when I switched seats on the bus (I still had it when I got on the bus and took out my ticket)
So I hopped into the service station of the public transportation provider which happened to be just around the corner and was still open. And I persuaded the guy behind the counter to give me a free replacement ticket (which he wasn't really allowed to do without photo identification - and guess where my ID was? Yeah, lost with the wallet. But the guy was nice and helpful and I secured my way home for today and my way to work for tomorrow).

I was still pretty optimistic. Someone will find my wallet and hand it in and I'll get everything back, maybe except for the cash which wasn't terribly lot and which I consider a finder's fee anyway. That's what I thought on my way home. Not happy but not really angry, either.

Still I called my bank to temporarily disable all my cards. Turns out the debit card was already disabled. The (nice & helpful) guy from the bank said he couldn't see why it was disabled, but his guess was someone had entered the wrong PIN three times. ... .... *there goes my mood*
So I had the cards permanently disabled and ordered new ones.
And I guess my chances that someone'll hand in the wallet just went down the drain. So here I am, without cash, without my bank cards, without any ID and my drivers licence and health insurance cards are gone too (as well as several customer cards).

So after all that I called my parents to whine about it all. Dad answered, listened to a few words, interrupted and said he couldn't talk to me because he had to put on shoes as he was leaving for a bike tour. And btw, our dog had severe surgery today. Bye. Mom will call me back when she's back from work.... ... Well, thanks so much, Dad!!!

Mom called later. Our dog is doing fine under the circumstances. (That's her in my avi). Her uterus had been inflamed and had to be removed. Mom went to the vet with her today because she was worried about how she behaved and they just kept her there and operated immediately. All went well. And dog is still kinda sedated. But still, I had it when something is wrong with her. And to think I had a normal day (up to a certain point) and there was all this drama going on and nobody told me!!!! .... ....

Oh, and then Mom told me that she fell with her bike and almost hit her head on the black top. Okay, nothing happened really. But just imagining what could have happened is scary enough.

So I'm all down now. This day sucks. I'm going to call my sister and find out what happened to her and the kids today.

Mar. 11th, 2013

this weather

Let it be known that today is March 11th and it's snowing!
Not heavily, but certainly steadily.

Nov. 13th, 2011

I'm an aunt twice over!

AAAAaaand she arrived! This night at about 4 am.

My niece is fine and so is sis!!!
Last post was a false alarm. We've been waiting these past two weeks. Now the lady decided it was time to come. :-) And then, apparently, it all had to go very fast. Sis just made it to the hospital and spent about 20 minutes in the delivery ward.

The resulting technical data (as my dad called it):
58 cm - 4150 g
10 fingers and 10 toes attached. So everything is good!

:happy dance:

Oct. 31st, 2011


Little sis has gone into labor! My niece will arrive today or tomorrow!
And sis is cool as whatever about it. She's at home waiting for the contractions to get stronger before going to hospital. She even took the time time to proofread a paper I was preparing for a test next week... :amazed:
Hope the little one will come today. As sis said, being born on 31 October is great. For the rest of her life everyone's gonna be in party mood on her birthday and will have the next day off so they really can party! :)
I'm so happy! My sis is happy, her hubby is happy, my mom is happy, everyone is happy and excited. This kid will be greeted by smiles!

Oct. 15th, 2011

Sushi Lollies

Japan day in Düsseldorf:

beautiful autumn day
lots of cos-players (and shouldn't I be worried that I recognize most of the characters?)
Japanese food!!! (takoyaki! unadon!)
kindergardeners performing on stage
ikebana, kimono, go
did I mention cos-players?
and then there were...
...sushi lollies...I just had to try them. Luckily they taste like candy even if they really look like sushi on a stick. Imagine ikura maki flavored lollies... *shudders*

tonight there will be huge fireworks which I can watch from my living room window

Sep. 18th, 2011

I'm fighting not to cry here.
My sister called, basically to ask how the day was and if I liked her birthday present (which I really did). Then she asked me if I would be my niece's godmother. (My niece will be born around the beginning of November). She knows I'm an atheist. I don't make a fuss about it but neither do I hide it. When she asked me to become my nephew's godmother two years ago I declined saying that I was an atheist and that it went against my convictions. And I didn't hold my nephew during baptism or made any vows to educate him in Christianity. My sister seems to have forgotten that and still considers me his godmother, meaning I would step in if anything should ever happen to her and her husband. In my eyes that's something completely different. If something were to happen I don't need a religious ceremony to take care of my family. They - she, her husband and the kid(s) - are my family! And also, that's not what that ceremony is about. The god-parenting part is about promising to raise the child in the ways of Christianity and nothing else.
When my sister asked me again today, I declined again. We exchanged some words. She really considers me my nephew's godmother and can't understand why I'm "suddenly" acting differently. I pointed out that I'm doing exactly the same as before. She feels that in refusing to be a godmother I'm rejecting her and her family. That's when she snapped that fine, she would ask someone else and she wouldn't beg. I said she misunderstood. I love her and the kid(s) and I would still take care of them if something happened. We stopped then, before it devolved into a screaming match and promised to talk again later this week.
I'm really upset about it. Even more than I can really understand. I think it's because my sister is a very important person in my life. Maybe even more important than I realize at times. Now she's upset with me, so I am upset, too. But a big part is probably also this: for her my being a godmother is a proof of my love for her and her children. It's as if the only reason I would refuse to do my part is that I don't love them or want to take responsibility. And in that she marginalizes my own convictions. She ignores the fact that being an atheist is as much part of my identity as being Christian is part of hers. And that hurts. It hurts deeper than I would have expected.
There's a bit more still. I did attend my nephew's baptism. And there was this nice, no-nonsense, down-to-earth minister who explained how wonderful it was to introduce new members to the church (okay) and how important it is to actively lead the children in their faith (also okay from a church point of view). Then she went on to describe how she explained the matter to children during religious education in elementary school: how the beauty of the world is proof for the existence of god and how the kids should beware of wily atheists who maliciously try to destroy their innocence and faith by using logical arguments. She compared the Christian children to little baby bunnies (literally) full of innocent curiosity and the atheists to creepy foxes (complete with the body language and tone of voice when she acted out their part). I felt as dirty as a pedophile during that sermon. And the fact that she's otherwise the kind of person who I can respect made it only worse. She was invited to the luncheon afterwards and I was sorely tempted to point out to her how offensive that sermon was. Take another word instead of "atheist" in there and it's pretty obvious how demagogic that was. Try Jew, for example. And I'm not saying/hinting or anything that she's antisemitic, it's just that everyone is sensitive in this area whereas everyone in my family seemed to think describing atheists in such terms was alright. They didn't seem to realize or care that as an atheist I was included in that imagery.
So, a very emotional matter for me. It makes me feel isolated from my family (from my sister and my mom), like my convictions are less worthy than theirs.

I really needed to write this all down to clear my head. I feel a bit better. But now I have to think about how I can talk this over with my sister because I know she doesn't want to hurt me. Same as I don't want to hurt her. And I don't want to just ignore it and have it stand between us, unspoken and festering.

Sep. 11th, 2011

creeped out

I just got a weird phone call. Someone whose voice I didn't recognize greeted me with my first name and said she was a good friend from Düsseldorf (where I live) and because of throat medication their voice was off. So I should guess who she was and rattled off some (random) names. I was perplexed because none of my close friends actually live here. There's only an ex-coworker who I keep in contact with and the voice pattern was all wrong. Still, I said her name (if it was her I didn't want to offend her by admitting that I didn't recognize her or saying that I don't have close friends here, i.e. she isn't a close friend). The person said, yes that's who she was and didn't I recognize her now? But the more I heard her talking the more confident I was that it wasn't her. So I just said I didn't recognize her and asked for her last name. And she hung up immediately.

The phone call was weird. But two things creep me out a little. First, the voice somehow reminded me of my grandmother (who died more than 5 years ago). And second, just minutes ago I had googled my name and updated all my privacy settings on my facebook so that I should be accessible to almost noone and changed my profile pic to some random graphics etc.

Jul. 26th, 2011


My uncle died Sunday night and my family is devastated.
My uncle was very active, doing renovations in his house, doing sports. He never suspected that he had a heart disease. 2 months ago, out of the blue, he had a severe cardiac infarct with three incidents of cardiac arrest in the following weeks. At last it looked as if he was doing better. Everyone was optimistic and then suddenly, another crisis and this time the doctors couldn't bring him back.
My uncle was a nice guy, a really nice guy, warm, family-oriented, out-going and funny. He was 62 years old.

Also I'm worried about my sister. She's 5-6 months pregnant and the last ultra-sound wasn't okay. Some problems with the little one's kidney. It could be that the little one was lying in a way that made observing his/her kidney difficult. Hence another ultra-sound today. My sister promised to inform me immediately with the results. Which she didn't do. I can't reach her right now and my dad just told me that she had talked to my mom and that there apparently wasn't any definite result yet. I find that very disturbing. EDIT: okay, little one is just fine!

Jul. 23rd, 2011

I'm still here and chaos is still around me

After a long day of dusting, hoovering, and cleaning the high-point was when I was standing in the hallway and there was a draft and the door to my flat fell shut... with the keys in the lock on the other side of the door, of course. Cursing ensued.
Fortunately, my landlady and her friend were just leaving and I could ask them for help. First the friend tried to open the door with a card. Didn't work. Damn, it always looks so easy on TV!
I'm pretty sure I've deposited an emergency key with my landlady (she lives just downstairs). But she couldn't find the key, so no luck there! Then they gave me their phone and I called my dad. He's a real handiman and I hoped he would be able to open the door. He was sure he would have to break the lock to do that. Double damn. So at last I called a lock and key service and prepared to bleed (financially). Actually their estimate was pretty humane, but still. To pay € 100 for just a moment of inattention... ouch!
With the lock and key service on their way my landlady gave the lock a last try. This time with a steak knife. And wonder of wonders, the door opened!!! She is my new hero!!! I called the lock and key service again and cancelled the job. And they just agreed, no cancelling fee or whatever.
So in the end after a tiring day and a bit of a adrenaline rush I expect to sleep like the dead tonight.

Dec. 30th, 2010

this year ends with a BANG

*deep breath* I'm better now. But this day and yesterday were just horrible.

I have a few days off. And yesterday I was sitting and reading when I decided to get a glass of water and then I stood *in* water. The bathroom and hall had flooded. The washing machine was emptying its contents to the floor. And I hadn't noticed until too late. Panic ensued. Then I scrambled to shut off the machine and mop up all the mess. The water stood about 5 cm in the bathroom! It took some time, I was drenched, my nerves shredded. When I was done, my landlady rang at my door because there was water running down her walls (she lives in the flat downstairs). She was pissed off. What had happened? Normally I take showers. This one time I draw a bath I forgot to hook the tube from the washer back into the tub. Clearly my fault. So I called my insurance company. Called my parents. And stared at my PC for the rest of the evening.

Today I noticed that the laminate on my floor was rising at the seams. I called my parents, called my insurance company. Felt like crying. The insurance company said to leave it till Monday so that an expert could evaluate the damage before I could do any repairs. I feared that the water in my floor would sink through and also get into the downstairs flat. My dad spoke with them and they finally agreed that we could tear out the laminate to prevent further damage as long as we took pictures of everything. My dad came over (their car is broken right now, so he had to take the train) and helped me tear out the wet laminate. Half the hall and part of my study.

Then my landlady showed up again and asked how I was and apologized for being cross last night! I can't believe it. That woman is an angel! I was so relieved! I probably would have tried to avoid her for weeks. I even looked up adds for flats last night because I was convinced she'd give me notice. That worry gone and also the assurances from my dad that the new laminate would cost about a € 100 and he would install it himself, that felt like a stone gone from crushing me. Thank you! And my dad was so sweet, really patient! What a difference! Just two years ago I couldn't even be in the same room with him without getting aggressive. When he does repairs he usually gets really short-tempered which riles me up further. Nothing of that! He just showed up. Consoled me and then we got to work without any problems... (Two years of therapy. They really paid off!)

So now I'm not so stressed anymore. Just exhausted and a bit headachy. But hey, I can live with that!

Dec. 24th, 2010

Happy Holidays!

We actually have a White Christmas this year! Last time we did, I was just a small kid. I can hardly remember it. It looks reaally nice. And I could really enjoy it, if we didn't have to drive more than 300 km today to get to my sister. I'll pack some sandwiches and make some coffee to take along, because this could turn out to be one long drive. They actually said on the radio to stay at home if you don't have business outside.... On Christmas? :shakes head:

Have a nice and safe Christmas!
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Dec. 16th, 2010

not so much office humour

I had a private talk with one of my supervisors (I have two).
He told me about my yearly evaluation. He and the other supervisor are just thrilled with me and gave me a very good one. Which bossman (department manager) cancelled because it was too good. Evaluation results are connected to pay rises and apparently he's got a budget. The annoying thing: since this is all his brainchild he will see this through (even if he has to manipulate the evaluations), but every other department manager will get the rises he wants for his team even if they are not completely in sync with the results. After years in this company I know how this works. Well, since I was already expecting something like this, I wasn't really disappointed. It just confirms my opinion of bossman...

Another thing my supervisor warned me about: apparently several others in the team had complained that I was being too loud / noisy whatever. I do tend to speak in a loud voice. It's unconscious. When I notice it, I lower my voice. What really stings, is that noone, not a one of my oh so nice and funny coworkers said anything to my face. That one I'm really disappointed about. Yes, it would have been an uncomfortable talk. But I would have felt immensely better about it than learning about it this way. Still, I'm glad he told me. I can try to change my behaviour and I know not to trust as much as I did before and liked to do.
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Nov. 23rd, 2010

More office humor

What R. told me:
A woman wakes up in the middle of the night and notices that her husband is not in the bed. She slips on her bathrobe and leaves the bedroom. She finds him sitting at the kitchen table, deeply lost in thoughts and staring at the wall. She can see a tear slipping out of his eye as he takes a gulp of coffee.
"What's the matter, dear? Why are you sitting here in the kitchen at this time of the night?" she asks him.
"Do you remember, how we had our first date 20 years ago? You were just 16!"
"Of course!"
"Do you remember how your father caught us as we made love on the backseat of my car?"
"Yes, I remember it clearly. I'll never forget that."
"Do you also remember how he held the gun in my face and said: either you marry my daughter or you'll go to prison for 20 years!"
"Oh, yes," she says.
He wipes another tear from his face and says "You know, today I would have been released!"

Oh R., he's a real comedian!
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Nov. 4th, 2010

office humor

What my coworker, R., told me:
Man goes to see a urologist. Urologist: You really have to stop masturbating. Man: Why? Urologist: Because otherwise I can't examine you.
:head > desk:

Also I've discovered that S., the coworker I share my office with, is after my job! She spent 15 minutes trying to convince me to train to work in a bookstore. Even after I told her that I wouldn't want a job where I had to stand for long hours or do heavy lifting in a storage room and that anyway the stuff I like to read isn't really mainstream so I wouldn't want to have to read books I'm not interested in just to be able to help customers... She just kept on talking right over my head. Only explanation: she wants me gone because she fancies my job! But I'm not so easy to get rid off! Right!!! LOL

And again my paranoid side was tickled: Bossman's PA told us that the both of us, S. and I, had to leave our office at once and go look for a file in the archive. Very suspicious phrasing, that. I immediately imagined R. (coworker see above) welcoming us in the archive room with a cream cake to our faces! Why would it take two to look for one measly file? And why say, leave your office? Well, the archive is tiny but stuffed with unmarked boxes up to the ceiling. It's also (who knows why) right next to marketing > the guys with the cameras > reaallly suspicious. S. and I entered - no R. or any cream cakes in sight - had a fit of giggles, found the file in the very first box we looked into, giggled some more and left after two minutes. Marketing people, warily: what were you doing in there? And as a thank you bossman bought us tons of chocolate. Yummy! THIS ISN'T NORMAL! They probably tried to search our office or R. was to get us with that cream cake when we left the archive but we were too fast and efficient in our file-searching for them! Guys, you need better plots!
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