Monday 29 November 2010

Preparation for New Year

Soon it is the time for resolutions again. Although a weird phenomenon, it however is not a bad idea to take stock of the past year and to think about the next. And since this is something that could be done any time, one can as well do it at the end of the calendar year.

I have been decorating the Christmas tree yesterday; it's a tinsel tree and hence I had a lot of time for contemplation while hanging these little strings.The last year was not what I would call successful, and I don't have to think hard to find a whole lot of reasons which people might call excuses. So I will not list them, focusing on a solution instead: I  have now come up with the plan to 'abandon perfectionism'. That should be interesting.

Have a good start into the week,


Saturday 27 November 2010

I'm doing it again!

I have entered a new 'selfish phase'. I had to!

When I started the whole Project Rika thing I imagined that at one point one would arrive, and then be THERE for good. I now have to realise, that there is no THERE. New challenges - yes, falling into old habits - as well, but there is no 'arriving'. I surely have reached a level of content which I didn't have before, but arriving would mean that I am standing still. This wonderful idea of reaching a higher level and then having my peace and basically the same comfort like before Project Rika, just without the back pain and the headaches, is just not working.

I now realise that for me standing still is almost the same as going backwards. Over time I have conceived a level of self observation which now allows me to see that slowly but surely I was on my way of being dragged back into the old ways, and not just in what I do, but in what I think and feel as well. Again, like three years ago when I set up the Lifestyle part of IL, I now feel selfish when I am not socialising as much in order to keep myself together. Again, it seems that my doings are not necessarily seen as work but as 'a phase she is in', this is at least how it feels when I excuse myself for leaving the dining table early and am told: 'Yes, you are allowed to be asocial'. I know it's a joke, but there must be something in my body language provoking that joke... and that is not good!

So my dear friends: I herewith apologize in advance for any asocial behaviour. I have a new project to run!

The aim is to bring Incredible Ladies Project up to decent levels and to win me a reputation as a writer! That means that I will have to work a lot, and that I will have to learn a lot, and that  I will have to do the right things to have something to write about. And it means that I only will go to the movies when I really need a break, or the movie is really worth watching, and altogether I will have to be rather strict in my time management. I am going back to my Incredible Ladies roots, learning from myself and inviting you to join me on that journey. Praise to Farnaz who four years ago gave me the idea to write it all down!

PS: It is the 27th November 2010, 16:10 and I am sitting at my computer!

Friday 26 November 2010

Beauty is a weird thing!

It is funny how certain subjects seem to appear repeatedly during certain periods of time. These past few days this subject for me was 'Beauty'. Some of my previous blog posts already had dealt with it, and then in one of the TED newsletters a talk with the title A Darwinian theory of beauty by Denis Dutton was advertised. Finally: Beauty and science in one boat, something I might be able to write about, giving myself an air of sophistication. His views go way back some tenth of thousands of years - watch it, it is very nicely presented - claiming that there is a universal theme of beauty due to our ancestral lifestyle. And then Detlef drops the Independent Saturday Magazine on my desk depicting an article about the 'Ugly Business of Global Beauty' which sounds somewhat pessimistic yet similar to the above, but means something very different, indeed.

While I am longing for a darker skin tone and having a sari sitting in my wardrobe waiting to be let out, girls from other cultures seem to strive into the opposite direction. Although we all seem to long for long legs and slim waists, so Denis might have a point there. When I thought about my own viewpoint in regard to beauty, and if it might have changed over time, one is not getting any younger after all, I remembered an article I wrote at the very beginnings of IL in 2007. On Myspace I had come across a theatre promoter looking for submissions of monologues to be played on stage with the subject of body image. My pamphlet on 'From Strength to Freedom' got never chosen, giving me the opportunity to publish it on IL. And in there I find confirmed that in my eyes Denis does have a point:  Beauty does lie in many things to which I would like to add 'attitude'. And 'attitude' my dear ladies is independent form any culture or age!

Thursday 25 November 2010

Excited about excitement

I might be in a pickle: I talk about things. No, I didn't blab... well, I do blab, but I didn't say anything I shouldn't have... I hope I didn't... oh see, that could go on for a while...

No, what I mean is that if I get an idea I tell everybody about it. Even as a child my mum used to tell me: Don't talk, just do it! It's just that I am getting so excited about these ideas that firstly, I want to share, excitement is much more exciting when shared, and secondly, I am hoping to extend this wave of excitement and keeping its momentum going by reviving it over and over again. Until a new plan comes along and I am getting excited about that. Sometimes I think I am more excited about being excited than the actual plan.

And now, just that I have found the perfect medium to share my ideas with the world, now that I am running a conglomerate of 11 blogs, Derek Sivers comes along and tells me to better shut up if I ever want to be successful. Hmmm...

Makes all sense what he is saying, just that... I wouldn't even start a project if I couldn't talk about it, and starting is somewhat essential to finising it. I have to admit, though, that I am a bit stuck on my biggest project, the Bodybuilding Competition, thingy. I however did do a fair bit of writing, and I am looking forward to my sewing course in January, and I have a few ideas for new photo shoots, and a lady requested new movies, and I want ILP to be more international and just created a German ILP blog, and... oh my goodness... it is happening again...

I just HAVE to prove that guy wrong. However, a way needs to be found to get back the excitement for the training! Only half a year to go... Argh! Any ideas?

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Christmas and Chemistry

Re-publishing is a really good thing, I am learning from myself. A very interesting effect, that is!

Who would have thought that Christmas is the time to dive into chemical issues. Well, since Heston Blumenthal cooking and food, which somehow are rather important topics in regard to Christmas, did become a chemical matter, but that unfortunately is not what I meant. The bugging kind of thoughts are spiralling more around questions of stress and growth hormones which are built to the wrong levels when we try to 'Cheat the Sandman', with the result of food orgies.

When I re-edited the above article I realised that I had linked another one in... hmmm... this re-publishing thing could become a really interesting mining expedition. So I all of a sudden found myself contemplating again about 'Body & Mind' VS 'Body & Chemistry'.You might have noticed that we don't have such a blog anymore. It is now called 'Health & Beauty' taking the whole spiritual part out of the equation. This was a rather subconscious decision and hence I was quite happy to have stumbled across this article which is adding sense to it.

And now I should see to get to bed, in accordance to what I am preaching... I am trying myself as a proper writer at the moment by publishing something every day. Given that the old articles need a bit of editing and new ones need even more work, I am all to tempted to sit long hours to get everything ready for next morning.

Thus I will now wish you a good morning and a wonderful day as this is due to go out after I had my night of sleep.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Christmas time!

Show of hands: Who is really looking forward to it? One might be looking forward to bits and pieces, for example to see a certain person... but not some others, unfortunately they only come as package deal. One might like the fact to keep the house clean by travelling, but wrapping up the whole family including the presents well before Christmas... hmmm?

I have been talking to some guys at work and they sounded rather disillusioned: about a month before Christmas the amount of work is increasing to painful levels, as if life is to end on 24th December and everything has to be done by then. No help to be expected from that end then.

So, one might want to sneak in little resting moments, no... not to rest, to think! Take some cuppa time and maybe read my re-vamped article on Emotions, which tend to run high during this time of the year, and maybe you can negotiate the one or the other deal with yourself. Like buying the Christmas desert instead of making this incredibly complicated dish which might not even bring you the credit you are hoping for. Have a good laugh imagining mum's disapproving face - she won't get to you anymore when it happens for real. Do you really have to deep-clean the whole house that will be messed up within seconds once the guests arrive? Just keeping a decent front should do, dim the light down and use some candles...

Taking it easy isn't easy, but it can be learned!

On that note: Have a fabulous run-up to Christmas,

Monday 22 November 2010

Hard work

I am not sure how much a writer has to write to make a living. So, I thought that one half decent pamphlet per day should do for starters, and hence I am trying to play 'writer' since a week now. It is hard work but fun, I however get awfully jealous when I publish a long article about the Erotica 2010 that is then read by 17 people - that at least is the stats so far - while a rubbish article in the Daily Mail which is probably nicked from other sources attracts a gazillion readers. It may not make the writer rich, but still...

Additionally such  a big article is throwing me off schedule a bit as well. I now understand why writers do nick from other sources. It's a wee bit exhausting to live it and then finish writing the day after to get it out in time. However the Daily mail only beat me by half a day - not too bad then.

On a different note: Who feels like Christmas already?

I know, I ask this every year, and every year I say that this time it is the worst... but it really feels like it. I don't feel like buying a Christmas tree, and I still need a few new baubles, and argh! So many things I wanted to do before Christmas and now the very next Sunday, November 28th, is the 1st Advent. So let's enjoy the period of supposed calm and relaxation and maybe just not bother.

Have a good start into the week and take it easy,

Saturday 20 November 2010

Soooo Excited!

I am going to see Dita Von Teese again. Today, in a  live show! Yippee! We are travelling to London to the Erotica at the Hammersmith Olympia where she will be performing at 6PM.

We, of course hubby is coming with me, almost didn't go. Dita tweeted ... yes, if you are interested in her schedule and anything else, from lipstick shade to her costumes and what restaurants she loves, you should follow her Twitter ... so, she tweeted about the show and I sent it to hubby in case he missed it. Response: It's during a fair.

Oh, ... well then...

Later she tweeted again and it sounded like a stand-alone. Hence I forwarded again. This time the conversation in the Nauck household happened face to face on the staircase, where we met half way: Wanna go? ... Whatya think? ... Thought you might not be intereste in the fair ...  Ohhhmmm ... well, then ...

Now I am sitting here, having to rush a bit:
  • Nails, polished - tick
  • Outfit chosen - tick
  • Shower - oh my, full program still due
  • Hair - oh Lord
  • Make-up - panic mode ...

Thus let's call it a day for today, dears. And stay tuned for my report tomorrow. Might be a bit later during the day, though. A lady needs a bit of beauty sleep once in a while!
Ta ta

Friday 19 November 2010

Writers, Photographers and the likes

Just wondering: When might one be allowed to call oneself a writer?

Yes, I know! I am still on this career thing.

When my secretary job changed a bit recently and brought me back to my computing science roots for a moment, I thought: 'Wow, that is great! I might even be able to make a mini-career out of it.' But apparently there are reasons why I didn't do so 20 years ago, the main one being: It's just not for me! And it's not only the technical skill set one needs to have and to improve, it's the environment those sort of jobs take place in. It is not really fun fighting the techie guys over nitty-gritty bits on a daily basis.

That decided, the focus is back on writing. Love it, am at my happiest, ... and now? How would I introduce myself?

'I am Rika, housewife, part time secretary and hobby writer'... I don't like the word hobby in it...

So, when is one to be called: 'A writer'?

Do writers have degrees? Photographers are different. I have several photographer friends and I noticed that they get introduced by others as photographers. As soon as they have an online gallery, and taking photos is called 'photo shoot' they are allowed to carry the label. Am I jealous? YES! for crying out loud!

The more that photos are pretty while articles all look a bit the same. It's hard to get people interested. That's why I was so thrilled when Rachel-Anaconda asked me to write an article about her. I loved it, it felt like coming home!

So maybe I will be a proper writer, when I get paid for my first article, or when I get printed, ... dunno, we'll see. Because one thing is for sure: The two month break this summer of not writing was a really, really dull time in my life. Not gonna happen again!

Guess I found my passion and apparently I knew this about two years ago already, just had forgotten about it. Maybe I am a writer already and just don't know it yet!

Thursday 18 November 2010

Proud of myself

I seem to get the hang of things. I actually wrote and published an 800 word long article within 2 hours this morning. Something which a year ago would have needed 3 days. That doesn't mean that the article on 'Meeting a Boss' is brilliant, but to be able to key down 800 words in a readable form... not too bad. I was a bit worried that I might not be able to publish something every day.

Well, I cheated a bit. Sometimes it's not the mornings but the evening that an article gets out, and sometimes I re-publish stuff from the original IL. But reading the columns of professional writers I found that they basically do the same, they either quote themselves or just refurbish an article a bit. Read the same column for a year and you will see what I mean. So what is good enough for the professionals, should be good enough for me.

And I added two new blogs, which brings the whole number up to 10! We now have 'Health & Beauty' and we have 'Lifestyle - Live & Let Live' as well. I already designed the new front page, all that is left to do is to upload it to the server which hopefully will be done by tonight.

So, off I go now to attend to some work chores, enjoy your day,

Tuesday 16 November 2010


Good Morning Everybody!

How are things in winter wonderland?  Whooo, it's cold, but pretty. We at least have an early morning sunshine. So weird, two days ago 19 degrees Celsius and I was only in Germany and not the Mediterranean, and now frost. Well, first night at home and back into work mode, it happens so quickly.

I now have to get back on track with the rest of it as well, which usually happens with a bit of a delay. Four days of salty food and loads of sweets and alcohol did the spirit good, but not the body - unfortunately. Legs swollen, tummy bloated; that means strict regime until end of the week. Especially the effect of salt is impressive. When I am talking about it, people are not keen to believe me, and after a while I am starting to think that I might exaggerate a bit. On those occasions these trips which make me slip off my good habits are a good thing. I found that in the area I visited the food in general is rather salty, from restaurants to fast foods; even the standard white bread was worse than our English one, and that means something. And now my legs are swollen to an extent that the skin is starting to hurt and is feeling too tight. So I am not making it up. 

And now it's back to the gym as well. The weird muscle ache from before the trip is gone - no excuses anymore. What else is not new...

I am hoping that my English is somewhat understandable: I am still a bit in 'German mode', the more that I am translating the article about the wine fair at the moment.

... and cats are still swapping their food and are on their way of killing themselves by not sticking to their diet, but what can I do? For the rest of it 'live is good'!

Gotta dash now. Work is calling. Presentation tomorrow and things have to get fixed for it.
Have a great day!
Ta ta

Monday 15 November 2010

Back home and rested

Ahhh, feeling good after a nice afternoon nap and having finished my final report of the three day journey to Tuebingen. Although it was quite a challenge to nap after Detlef gave me a four shot cappuccino in his excitement of having his own cappuccino machine back; odd feeling of having tired eyes, but the heart pounding.

However, although short, it was a trip we both needed. It was great to not have work on our minds, see friends, drink wine and get a bit of perspective back on life. I realised that I just love writing and that it is the most enjoyable thing to sit at a breakfast table, with my little netbook, and feeling like a journalist. Awww... , want more of that! Now all I have to do is to find people who actually are interested in reading my stuff and who give me feedback.

Oh well, early days...

... until tomorrow dears!

PS: The articles of the trip in one place
ILP-Diary: Meeting Kerstin
ILP-Travel: Lovely town of Tuebingen
ILP-Nutrition: The wine fair
ILP-Travel: The final leg of the journey

Sunday 14 November 2010

Wine, weather and a happy bunny!

Happy bunny that would be me! Weather - it is gorgeous and partly responsible for the happy bunny feel, and Wine - I just finished my article about the wine fair and that makes me really happy! It is the first time that I am away from home, and I managed to update my blogs every day. And it's not just any old update, it's real articles. I love to sit at the breakfast table and write. I really think I could be a journalist, and I believe I might even become a good one over time. Well, and a new carrier prospect of course makes me a happy gal.

So, today I will keep the diary short and will sit a bit more with my friends enjoying the sunshine and another cappuccino.

I am looking forward to your feedback on the wine article - BTW: next weekend I will visit and Erotic fair in London...

Saturday 13 November 2010

What a wonderful day

The cloud is still a bit frizzy at times. The hotel internet had a breakdown, hence no update last nightthen, which is not a huge loss as it was rather late already and my usual update is supposed to happen in the mornings anyway.

I however seem to be getting into the habit of sitting in my bed at night with my netbook tucked between the bed sheets and my legs and writing a few things which today are comprising of cars, food, meetings, hotels and more food. Oh yes, and hotels! Let me start with those…

I already elaborated on the quality of the interior design of the first hotel in my previous post and all I can add is now is that the architect must have won his degree in the lottery as the metal window sills just wouldn’t work well in the rain, and the internal balcony style with the breakfast area didn’t go down well with Detlef either as he didn’t sleep a minute due to the blasting noise.

After a really rather nice breakfast and successful bathroom routine – yes, I know it’s an odd subject, but be honest: How many travel days did you already get spoilt by problems in that area? See, it IS important! – however, we set out to pick up our car from the hire and insisted in enjoying the day, despite the lack of sleep.

Satnav insisted in sending us via the scenic route while we insisted on the motorway… the lady seemed to be snappier after we realized and had turned round. As payback she sent us down a tiny road in the back of the university where we wanted to meet Kerstin instead of the front door, but it wouldn’t be us, the gadget people driving, outsmarting the satnav. iPhone, roaming, Google Maps - and a few pound less as well as quite some percentage down in power we were back on track and had a lovely coffee and lunch with the darling girl.

I have to give a quick lecture about the merits of this type of university…apart from the fact that students who pay for their education might be a bit more inspired for starters. Zeppelin University is a small university, 700 students, and a concept of letting them DO stuff, not just fake tasks but real stuff. These students organize their own job fairs with the precision of company bosses. They have, comms, financial, hospitality, and all sorts of teams needed to achieve that and our girl is the boss of them all, having to find out how to get the best out of them all, and to keeping it together. THAT is how managers are made.

But enough now of education and learning, back to fun and food! After a really good lunch at Zeppelin University we made out way to Tuebingen. That turned out to be a bit dreadful after the sleep lacking previous night. I didn’t do a good job in keeping dear hubby awake and only really eucalypty sharp chewing gums eventually made us alert enough to get there. We were determined to fall to bed as soon as we would see one, and then our day went quite differently. The town of Tuebingen was calling, so we went for coffees and cakes, then had a crisp walk to our friends house - I am taking some pride in having found my ways without technical devices this time – had an exhilarating discussion about environmental issues with my lovely goddaughter – be prepared about some research into environmentally friendly fashion lines in the future – met her mum who eventually came from working at the wine market in preparation for today’s event, and after a dinner with loads of pasta, ohoh, and a lot of wine, we had another brisk walk back to the hotel where we passed out around midnight.

Oh this hotel is really great! So calm, I really thought there might not be a lot of people here, but the breakfast room is breaking full. We didn’t hear a thing all night. So we are well rested and ready to hit town as soon as I sent this post. So I will stop it now and will leave you to your Saturday chores while we will have a day of more food and wine!

… be prepared to some even wobblier grammar than usual, though!

Thursday 11 November 2010

Cats, mice, Carmen, and Costa

Oh my goodness me! We only have come as far as Stansted and our poor cat sitter has her fist mouse encounter. I suspect that this time it was Moritz. When we left he was sitting under the patio table looking suspiciously alert. According to her account the two cats are hunting in unison around the TV table, with Moritz turning into a rope like creature diving between the shelves. At least those two seem to be having a good time whereas the mouse must regret having woken up this morning. I have to admit that I am not very concerned as I know that mice don’t tend to attack humans, and that hence the safety of the house sitter is ensured; on the other hand the house sitter might see this differently.

On a different note I have to report that we got lucky. Our usual trips to Germany go to Hannover, this time however we go further South to see our friends who live close to Stuttgart. Apparently the storm that made my travel to work this morning a nuisance has now been named Carmen and decided to move on … yes, to Hannover! A flight to Hannover even got cancelled, while our flight is bang on time. So we had our mandatory cappuccino, Panini and cake at Costa and now are waiting to be called for boarding. Apart from my hair looking like hell due to electrostatic charge, life is good!

Now a good couple of hours later we’ve arrived at our hotel at the other side of the Channel – the Best Western Plaza Hotel – and a few things need to be mentioned. Firstly, the Germans don’t have their motorways lit. I always was wondering why the English have lights along the big roads which go across the country. Haven’t they realized yet, that cars have those funny round or square glass things at their fronts which when switched on cast light on streets? In times when I am told what light bulbs to use and which duration would be appropriate for taking a shower, not to light up the countryside might be an option.

And now I am keen to show you our hotel room. We have space shuttle style blue light built into the floor, while the curtains create a bit of a style clash. One might wonder where the designer got the degree from. It however is nice and neat yet all a bit controlled – well, German.

Wifi access is not offered at arrival or generally free. We forgot to ask at check-in and thus called from the room causing a friendly chap to make his way up to bring us a sheet of paper with a password. All we have to do now is to figure out how to get into the internet. Dear hubby grabbed it first and is happily online with the iPad, but of course only one device at a time can be logged in hence keeping me out… grrr. He is trying to get out of it as I type but all these smart people who are desperately trying to keep control over internet access have somehow over-controlled or didn’t bet on iPads… who knows. Ours is kept hostage by the system now, oh this high-tech world is really rather medieval still.

Yippee success we are in the cloud, eventually! But only because hubby is a brilliant hacker. So here it goes my first blog post from abroad!

Who would have thought

Apparently we really can learn a lot from our cats. The bully from one of my previous columns on this matter is not exactly sleeping with the enemy but almost.

What means that now these two play me together. One should think about what one is wishing for. Moritz, the black one, must be something like 12 years now and has settled a bit, although stubborn like hell. He is on prescription food, which tops the prices of 5 star restaurants, because he is in danger of developing a kidney disease. As for humans that means low protein and the right ones. And what does he do? He, the lazy bugger who rarely gets his bum up goes into the garden and catches mice. It shows in his shape, training is a good thing for cats as well!

Bimmel however is too fat and in danger of developing heart problems - yes, you guessed right, he is on a different type of prescription food, but as expensive. It is calorie reduced but not so much in proteins. So the two quickly decided to swap. The respective food courts which before were heavily defended are now shared, still a bit cautiously but nevertheless.

What it teaches me? I am not really sure at the moment. That vets know how to make a living?

Well, at least those two seem to be happy enough for now so that our house sitter should have a fight free house. She might have to catch a few mice though. While Moritz tends to go for the kill, Bimmel usually loses them. So if you see two cats who look like the negative image of each other peering under a shelf, then you know that there is an additional pet in the house.

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Diaries and Deadlines

Oh it's so nice to be back to writing! This little hour in the morning when I am sitting with my cup of cappuccino - yes, it still is cappuccino for me - and sorting my thoughts. And even if the brain is half asleep, after a while things are starting to fall into place and a column comes out of it at the end.

Yes, apparently I am back with my usual rants and little moanings.

Have a good day all!

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Travelling Soon!

It's not a big trip, just long weekend, but I am looking so much forward to it.

I will see my friends who recently took the risk of his life, gave up is IT job and bought a wine shop only two month ago. He has organised his first big wine event and we are going! Additionally he is living in one of the most adorable towns in Germany and it will be lovely to stroll those places together with hubby.

Another place we will see is Friedrichshafen at Lake Constance to see another friend who I met when she worked at my place as a summer student. I have never been there and am keen to set my eyes on it. I hope the weather will be a bit decent. Right now it looks like a lot of rain, but in this area of Germany one never knows: usually the weather is warmer and better than the rest of it.

And of course I am hoping to test my newly gained 'ILP updates blogging freedom' as well. Thursday night we will be leaving - no need for burglars to get excited, we have a house sitter and very dangerous cats... - and I am hoping to be able to find some internet to post some first impressions by Friday night, so stay tuned.

Gotta rush now... daily chores are shouting at me.
Ta ta

Monday 8 November 2010

Teeth suck!

I believe that Evolution had the financial benefit of dentists in mind when inventing teeth. It's true! According to The Guardian 654 dentists in England and Wales earned more than a quarter of a million pounds in 2009. I know that my friend would wish to be among them, but in general dentists do earn a lot of money.

And it is an odd job, don't you think? Children hate you - you can't even give them sweets at the end of their appointment as this would be sort of counterproductive, and adults don't particularly like you either except for the big house and the Merc in front of it, hence the status you add to their own portfolio when you show up for their dinners.

Evolution must have some weird, twisted mind to invent teeth. Probably one day it was sitting at a beach, a bit bored after all the evolving it already had done and thinking about what to do next. Maybe a tortoise came waddling by giving it a big grin, and it may have thought: Wouldn't it be great if there were loads of white pearl like things lined up along that rim, and let's make it a bit fleshier, yes lips would look sexy!

But that's the thing that happens when you start changing the design without thinking it trough. The white pearls keep falling off unless you root them in and then you might want to make them last for a lifetime so you add some nerves - great, really great idea - and then gums are needed to bed it all in, but unfortunately providing nice bedding for viruses and bacteria as well. The tortoises rim was perfectly fine, but NO! one had to temper with it, didn't one?

And now that Evolution has left us with it's mad invention it did what every good businessman does, it leaves us with the deputy - the dentist - and moves on to the next better job. I recently heard that at the moment it is working on our gut.

Yeah... I was at the dentist today had a new filling done... sorry for the rant...

Sunday 7 November 2010

A wonderful time of the year!

Oh I love autumn! It may be humid and cold, but those few moment of seeing a beautiful sunsets or looking into my garden and being hit by the colours of my hedge are worthwhile it. And the food, oh all those luscious flavours, everything tastes warm and cosy. Summer is nice, is fresh, lemony fruity. Well, basically the difference between summer and autumn is the difference between coriander leaves and coriander seeds. At that is why I am going to open the season for autumn cooking tonight and what better start there is than to do Stunningly Salacious Butternut Squash

After a cold, yet successful walking session with my dear friend this morning, and attending to some household chores. I am now looking forward to the smell of baked squash and cheese, probably followed by a very beautiful Creme de Figue.

Friday 5 November 2010

Spider News

Yikes! and Eeeek!

I just can't get used to them. I am sure my scream could be heard next door or even at the end of the village. It was a lovely warm night and I was happily sitting in the dark, the only light being shone by the computer screen, window open, soft breeze and a spider walks in. Very calmly walking along the upper rim of my keyboard, taking a little rest there and then slowly moving on to the laptop and then crawling underneath. By that time the scream already had happened and I found myself thrown and clinging to the wall of the other end of the room.

Brain racing for options, but in a very headless chicken way and not coming to any conclusion, hubby at the movies and so I did the very natural thing: I facebooked my distress!

Rika Nauck A huge spider just walked past my keyboard and now vanished under the laptop - yikes

... and instantly got reassurance that this spider will now house there forever. Thank you!

My research - via wireless keyboard, sitting in the middle of the room with feet up - revealed that it is quite likely to be a male on hunt for a mate. In November? you hear me scream! In my Study?

However, I had to give up. This thing was nowhere to be seen. I had an amazingly good night sleep despite a friend telling me horrid stories about spiders creeping into people's mouths, got up went into my spare room and there it was, of course right up at the top of the ceiling in a corner. Hubby had to finish his morning routine a bit in a rush - so should he be a bit smelly today, please forgive him, he had to rescue a damsel in distress - while I was watching the scary animal. Please excuse the poor photo quality, I just wasn't very keen on using the flash.

From there things went smoothly. I had decided that the poor sod deserves to live, he was a love sick bugger after all and hence excused for doing silly things. I offered hubby a choice of weapons and he safely placed him into the smaller glass and then I proudly dared carrying him downstairs into the garden. I even released him myself. I have to admit that he was not that huge, probably a late-comer of his poor old mum, and actually quite pretty. But definitely much prettier when outdoors!

Me carrying...

... the moment of truth, will I open the lid?

Yep, I did!

... and a happy ending.
(still no flash, didn't want to scare the little bugger now that all was over)

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Hedgehog News

We have a lodger in the shed!

I am so thrilled. I know for sure that we have at least three hedgehogs in the garden, one of which we nurtured back to health this summer. I could hear them huffing and puffing during their weird romantic adventures and one cannot avoid to overhear them eating. All year round I leave my shed open in the hope that one moves in. It happened once, some years ago, and it is so wonderful to hear a bit of snuffling in the box once in a while.

So this year I left two boxes, a lot of dry plant material and newspapers in the shed. I wasn't entirely sure when they go to sleep so I left it in August and added a few nuts and seeds. The food was gone quickly but nothing else was touched - so somebody at least knew that there was possible accommodation.

And then I completely forgot about it until I needed a garden tool - and the place was raided. Not a single piece of newspaper lying there anymore and all the straw and leaves gone. However, I tend to not believe myself in things like those. I always am wondering whether or not I did leave the paper in this particular place, or if it actually was THAT much straw.

So I provided a few more seeds and some water and this morning it was gone. Dried mushrooms don't seem to go well, though. And, most importantly: The entrance to the cardboard box looks differently. Yesterday paper was sticking out, today it's gone!

We definitely have a hedgehog as a lodger!