Sunday, January 31, 2010

Books and travel

Today I finished reading Isabel Hilton´s "The Search for the Panchen Lama"- the kidnapping of a 6 year old boy-who should be the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama leaded to one of the biggest crisses in Tibet.
I recommend it for readers interested in world-religions and history. The book deals with Tibetan history , the author describes the relationsships between the Chinese and the Dalai Lama as well-based on her interviews.The 386 pages are a mixture of an adventure book, travellogue, history book and political story. Interesting style of writing, not always compelling, I needed much time to read it-but all in all worth reading.


Ready for Amsterdam! I´ve already checked in- the first time online- it ´s also the first time I booked the tickets online- really easy, and much cheaper. Hope it has worked-it in some hours, at the airport-I´ll see:-) So, have a great, interesting and productive weekend! I´m interested in B.´s news from the conference- hope it was an informative, thrilling and happy time!

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Here it is! :-)


Menue from today´s Kenyan cooking class:
- Appetizer: Kenyan Tea with milk (very British) with sweet potatoes and Kassava (roots).
Just peel as much roots and potatoes you like to eat and cook them for 30 minutes with some salt.
Add some coconutmilk, salt and curry-paste- ready.
- Main dish: Matoke and smoked fish
Matoke looks like a green banana, but you have to peel and cook it, till it´s yellow.
Changes the color through cooking-from white to yellow. Mash them-ready again.
Stir-fry diced oninons, tomatoes and pepper, after some minutes add 3
teaspoons peanutbutter, salt and garlic.

And guess what? Ready again. It´s a quick meal, I was very interested in learning how to use the roots , sweet-potatoes and matoke. It was a culinary travel into another world- a fascinating experience,
but all in all I prefer Asian, Austrian, American, Italian, Spanish,...food.

So , tomorrow night I´ll fly with my best friend to Amsterdam. There I´ll have to taste different kinds of old cheese, and, what else? There are restaurants from all over the world.Have to discover them:-) Each day lunch or dinner from another country;-) Yummy!
Music-corner: African music
Miriam Makeba - The Click Song 1966
N'Kosi Sikeleli Africa- South African National Anthem

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pictures and books= picture-books

That´s my first picture (Chicago)- and my latest picture (Venice) -both short-listed for inclusion in a Venice/Chicago Guide. I´m a bit proud of that fact, although they aren´t my favorite pictures, but I like them and it´s good to know others like them , too;-)

Today I bought an Amsterdam Guide, have to spend some time reading it. I´ve been there once with my mum, but that was way back. I look forward to visiting the museums and to admiring the architecture there. Cute but small buildings, the "Grachten"= the small canals remind me a little bit of Venice or Stockholm (although the canals are bigger there).

To my writing and reading:
I want to revise my draft after my holidays, then I´ll be relaxed (really? I always need holidays afterwards because I walk the whole week through a town to see everything) and in February I´ll have to be ready for it.
Reading is funny at the moment because of the variety of genres. At the moment I´m switching between different languages and kinds of books. Each day another one;-)
I read "Walk 2 Moons", a National Geographic book about Trekking in New Zealand, something about Tibet and the Panchen Lama, today I´ve started to read the Bible for research, then there is the Amsterdam Guide, tonight´s project, another NY Guide (one of many, but I love travelling, especially in the States, Europe and Australia; Therefore I have nearly 2 shelves full of travel guides,...have to go through and sort them out one day, well, one day...) and I received 2 stories from B. Great!
Now I´m realizing I ´m reading more than I`ve thought. That´s good.

Lang-Lang playing Liszt on the piano

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Something for the eyes

Yesterday I visited 2! Art museums with M. Was a funny, cultural trip although we couldn´t see Dürer´s rabbit. Therefore Manet´s, Monet´s,....and Andy Warhol. After a nice Italian lunch we attented the next exhibition in the Art History Museum, well, the special exhibition was closed, bad luck, but it´s a great building and worth visiting an hour.

Then after some tea and coffee we drove back home. Lovely day and when I wanted to start reading a book, A. called. He got tickets for the new Streep-Baldwin-Martin- Movie"It´s complicated"- really funny and art in another form. It´s just a romantic comedy, not comparable with "Out of Africa" but relaxing after the cultural marathon;-)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Culture is so important!

Need more cultural "studies" - more culture- to get new ideas;-) Tomorrow I´ll start with another trip to V., this time to visit the exhibition about impressionism. Then in the first week of February I´ll visit the Van Gogh museum and Anne Frank´s museum in Amsterdam. I´ll stay there for 5 days and I look forward to it. I didn´t want to go skiing during the holidays because I have some troubles with my knees and it´s too cold- definitely! Well, I´m getting older, I need warmth;-) lol

At the moment I avoid thinking of my draft- it´s too frustrating. I can´t read it at the moment, because I find it so booring - only few sentences or passages are quite ok, but that´s not much.
My family wants to read the draft now, but I don´t want to hand it out at that moment of time.
For me it´s unfinished, and I only want to give them a draft that seems to be nearly "perfect" in my eyes. It will never be perfect, but I want to be satisfied after reading it. Maybe I set my expectations too high and I´ll never reach that aim. But I want to try it, but I´m afraid it will take years to finish it.
Maybe I need to set a deadline for finishing the revisions? Or would that be too much pressure?
My o my....

On Sunday I ´ll finish to read B.´s draft and I look forward to writing my feedback. B´s style of writing is really good- impressing-and maybe that´s why I can´t read my own draft after reading that novel.
But I won´t give up, I like writing too much. I try to follow B´s advice about deletion( thanks for that!), then I´ll see.

O Mr. Earbrass!

Music- corner: Mozart- time-

Piano Concerto No. 21 - Andante-I love it

Mozart´s Ave verum

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Too many sad things happen in the world- hard to stay happy sometimes.
Death touches me- even the death of strangers.
Sometimes I wonder if I´m too sensitive, but then I think it´s better to feel much than nothing...

Music -corner:

In Memoriam of a colleague (46!)- and the victims of Haiti-

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Revisions are necessary

Revising is essential- have to keep that in mind! I have a little ( that´s understated;-)
revision-fight at the moment, but... it´s necessary!?! Who will win the fight?
My draft or I, who want to change some parts of it? I hope, I´ll be the winner some day in the future:-)

It´s so hard to delete words, sentences or whole passages, even though they aren´t important for the novel. I haven´t thought that it would be so difficult to erase sentences. I knew I´d have to rewrite some parts and it sounds a bit strange, but it´s so hard to let them go;-)
I´m so used to them , and writing them was so much work:-)
...BUT REVISING ( eliminating some parts) IS IMPORTANT AND NECESSARY!
O well.....but I have to think positive. I´ll do it!

Today I´ll have dinner in V. - in a tower 150m above ground, I received a voucher, wouldn´t do it otherwise..but it´s another experience...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Guess who was coming for dinner?A friend and her little son and Bongo-bear. The boy liked to play Bongos- I hope my neighbors didn´t mind the noise. Well , it was music- said the boy. But -or because of that too-we had a funny time together:-)

The rhythm of the instrument reminded me of Friday´s concert. I ´ll go to V. to attend a concert-Live from Buena Vista - Cuban music. Check out the music-corner:-)
Now I´ll write the 2. part of my feedback for B., this time it´s a real challenge. After reading a touching story I am faced with many feelings and thoughts. I have to bring all of them in a order- what a challenge:-) Great, yeah! Thoughtful work again!
Then I ´ll revise some pages of my draft, but if I read like an editor, there won´t exist many pages at the end and I´ll have to write another new draft. Well, that´s revising, I think so;-)

Buena Vista Social Club- enjoy!



Saturday, January 9, 2010

Great weekend

Bad weather outside- good time for reading, writing and enjoying music inside.

Today I spent some hours on reading and writing, I really enjoyed it. I didn´t have to leave the flat and that was great.
Yesterday , after work I took the train to V. because of the bad weather-conditions.
There I met P. for lunch in a Japanese restaurant. It was delicious. P. told me about her cooking class this Saturday, this time they would learn how to cook Asian food.
The restaurant offers Asian, African and Latin- American cooking- classes.It sounded very interesting.
Then she asked me to join her the next time- so we´ll cook Kenyan.I only ate African food twice. I enjoyed a meal in an Ethiopian restaurant in V.- they offered simple dishes with a great taste and in S-Africa I had lunch in a restaurant, which turned out to be too touristy.There I tried ostrich-steak, well, it was an experience.......but not a good one. So I look forward to cooking a typical African meal in about 2 weeks.

Today I also had enough time for music. I didn´t want to practice, because I wrote a lot today so I listened to some music.
I like various artists and nearly all kinds of music, and sometimes I try to compare different interpretations of one and the same song.
So, if you want, enjoy and compare:-)

Music -corner:

Yesterday was Elvis´birthday, so here´s one of his songs-
Elvis Presley - Johnny B. Goode

compare it with that one from
Chuck Berry & Bruce Springsteen - Johnny B Goode

or with that Reggae- verion from Peter Tosh

Anka´s "I did it my way" - sung by

Elvis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlKJ-0bnxdA&feature=related

Sinatra http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aht9hcDFyVw&feature=related

Williams - yeah, he doesn´t sing pop-songs only-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4DJMPGNiD0&feature=related

and The Three Tenors http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaBvQTNPIf0

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

End of holidays

Again snow on the last day of my holidays, so I met a friend for a winter-walk through the park in town. We had a great discussion about the pros and cons of writing. I nearly missed that appointment, because of reading and writing. It´s fascinating how time can flee when I read something interesting...then sometimes it´s hard to switch from fiction to real life within one second, to hurry to a meeting with the character´s problems in mind-
but that´s reading;-)

...we couldn´t agree in one point- is it pro or contra writing if someone gets lost in time and space because of words??


The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests;
just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes ~

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of you!! Another year´s over, time flees...
Today another New Year´s family tradition- I watched the New Year´s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by George Pretre-who is 85 years old! (I hope I will be able to play my instruments in that age,
too;-) ) It was a wonderful concert, like always, filled with many pieces from the Strauss Family. A friend of mine got a ticket as a birthday+Xmas-present- it was so expensive, I´d buy a ticket to NY instead (in the high-season!) and stay there for a week. But to each his own. She enjoyed the concert and so did I.

I realized that I haven´t thought about my New Year´s goals till now-
well, one goal definitely is to improve my foreign languages in reading, writing AND speaking, another goal is to do my best in the coming courses, I want to revise my novel till my mother´s birthday, (she wants to read it)... but I´m afraid that won´t be possible, her bday is in February!
Other goals? I have to start painting my father´s bday picture, but first of all I need an idea for this painting . It has to fit in his "Russian room" and that´s not easy ( all wallpapers are the same like the ones of the Bernsteinzimmer in the Eremitage in St. Petersburg,...not my style, but to each his own. After my parents´journey from Finland to Russia he was so impressed by this room that my parents changed the guestroom into a "Bernsteinzimmer") Back to my goals- so I have to paint something , but the length of the frame is more than a meter. I have never done such a big painting before. I´ll see what´ll happen.

And maybe I´m able to do the Skate Marathon this year, but I´m afraid I won´t have the time to practice because of the courses in July and August. Or I ´d skate only 21 km (if my knees allow me to do that.) I have to do more sports, that´s for sure! Evertime I wanted to be part of that challenge either I had troubles with my knees or the weather was too bad...:-(
Then I want to read more, write more,...............

The more I think about goals, the more goals come into my mind, that´s good so. That makes life interesting and challenging, too.

Music-Corner: New Year´s Concert 2008 with the same conductor like this year-George Pretre´ with the 2 favorite pieces -
1. Blue Danube-waltz
2. Radetzkymarsch