The Ori

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I bet once again you’re wondering what I’m up to this week! The Ori? Who or what the hell are the Ori? Why is she writing about the Ori?

I’m letting you be part of a big secret! Once upon a time – a few years back – I was a big “Stargate” fan. I started watching it because of Richard Dean Anderson, the hero of my teen years in the role of MacGyver. And he’s just become more handsome as he got older. And me too. So, I bought the first season … and now still possess the remaining 9 seasons. Hidden away in the depths of my Ikea Kallax shelf. (Hope you are not too disappointed with me now!)

In seasons 9 and 10 a new enemy appears on the stage: the Ori. Ascended beings feeding off the beliefs of their followers. The more believers, the more powerful they become. Their will is being executed by the “Priors” and those who do not give in are punished by, well, being wiped off all kinds of planets. (Just a little background information for you! Considering to stop reading now? But then you’ll miss the good parts! The really good parts … so bear with me for a few paragraphs longer!)

What first struck me was the incredible resemblance to every fanatical religion, including Christianity. How many unbelieving human beings were murdered in the course of history? And the sad thing? It’s still going on! Every single day! Where Westerners are condemned because they are not still stuck in the dark Middle Ages like others? I mean, how … (insert appropriate word) can one be to bomb himself to pieces, taking dozens of other lives with him? Do they really think our ascended being called God or Allah or whatever else you want to call the old man with the white beard wants us to MURDER each other? Well, if you look at history, “God” has always been a good excuse to commit the most horrible crimes. Killing in the name of God? How convenient! You shoot your neighbour because his dog pooped on your pristine front lawn for the hundredth time? “God told me!” Burning down hospitals because they do abortions? “God told me!” Kidnapping planes, cars, trucks and crashing them into buildings and people? “God told me!”

You wonder what my point is? And you wonder what is wrong with me? After all, faith is the highest treasure, isn’t it?

My point is: faith has got nothing to do with religion. Every church’s / sect’s main motivation is power and money. It always has been and always will be. My hope? See the light, people! Don’t you have better things to do than running to church every Sunday, praying, pretending to be holier than God … and then quarrelling with your neighbour because he cut back his hedge too much on your side!? I rest my case …

Well, I still wish you a great weekend and hope you’ll forgive me for my critical point of view.

Books? Books!

Yes, I do have a Kindle! Yes, I have an iPad! Yes, I also read downloaded books on both devices … nevertheless, I still do buy books, real books, paperbacks, hardcovers. Books for me are essential! And whenever I’m in the States or in England, I’m in heaven! Book stores with English books wherever I look.

When I started to read English books in earnest – nearly 20 years ago – Austrian book stores were equipped with one shelf max displaying English books – IF there even was a shelf. (At least in the medium sized 24000 people town – tiny compared to US standards – I used to go to university to!) And then I either already had the books, they were typical English school literature books like “1984”, “Animal Farm”, “Lord of the Flies” and “Catcher in the Rye” (not among my favourites anyway) or they simply just were of no interest to me.

So, in my severe pain all I could do was use the internet – remember, Kindles and iPads were in the distant future still – and order the books I wanted to have. Not such a bad thing either, but it’s definitely more fun to browse in actual shops and have them immediately instead of waiting for a few days!

Occasionally I went to Graz or Vienna and then was in 7th book lover heaven visiting the “English book store” or larger book stores with two shelves of English books.

Yeah, yeah, I know, you’re turning up the whites of your eyes right now, sighing, asking yourself, “Is there anything she doesn’t like to buy? Clothes, shoes, bags … and now books!”

You are so right! But hey, I’m a girl! What else do you expect? But in my defence, I DO love books very much! Does it surprise you that I bought and bought? Lugging home suitcases and backpacks of books from my London trips? Stacking them next to my bed until they were in danger of toppling over? Not putting them in one of the book cases, which, as my friends constantly pointed out, are designed particularly for books? Nooo, they absolutely couldn’t go onto a book shelf, at least not onto one with the other read ones. They haven’t earned their right yet to be displayed next to the others. I have to read them first before they are allowed there.

Times have changed, of course! Thanks to eReaders! I love my Kindle too, cause I don’t have to take at least ten books on vacation but have dozens stored on my Kindle and iPad. Book stores still tempt and draw me in like moths to the light, though. All those beautiful books, the smell of printed paper … just lovely! Thankfully, HE loves books as much as I do. Even though we completely differ in our tastes. While I’m more into mysteries, Regency era romances, romances and political conspiracy novels, he’s into the more serious stuff like history … Which makes our book discussions even more interesting. And I just love to have him pick a book for me to read, expanding my horizon. Totally and absolutely different but usually surprisingly well written, fascinating and even entertaining. Both of us always put much thought into which books to get each other, and so far neither of us has been disappointed. Am already looking forward to the next one HE will pick for me … I already have something in mind for him. Happy reading, you all!

Summertime

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I’m in trouble! Big trouble! My holidays are coming up and I still have no idea where I’ll spend it! Time is ticking and my inner selves have been quarrelling with each other for months now. Thinking about one location, discarding another …

The beach? The mountains? No, not the mountains! I’m not the adventurous kind of girl who likes camping with ants and mountain lions … or whatever wild creatures are out there! No, no, no mountains in summer! Mountains for me are only good for skiing – and après ski after that. I think I want to go shopping. There are lots of places I haven’t been yet. Rome should be a marvellous place to shop! You can’t deny that the Italians have more style than, well, basically anyone! Or Paris! Paris, the city of love, savoir vivre, dirt and dilapidated buildings. Berlin, I like Berlin, but it’s more like a long weekend getaway for me. And London … always love shopping in London!

And then there’s the other me, who tells me to relax for a change! Two weeks of doing nothing … really? Me? On a beach? With all the sun? For two whole weeks? I must be crazy to even contemplate it! So, my inner selves are debating, each of my selves throwing good and bad arguments around!

My point: Sun is dangerous! You can get sunburnt!

My other point: Just lather up with sunscreen! You can go shopping all the time! And shopping is dangerous too! You can strain your muscles by carrying all the shopping bags! Or get dehydrated! Or …

My point: Carrying the bags is my workout …

My other point: Forget the shopping! Just think of all the relaxation you get at the beach! You deserve some down time too! You need to recharge your batteries, M, badly! You know it!

My point: What am I supposed to do for two weeks with nothing to do? I need the city!

My other point: You don’t! You’ve got several dozens of unread books on your various devices! And didn’t you always want to give mystery writing a try?

My point: You know for that I would need to rent a British cottage as inspiration … and that’s not in the budget this summer! You can’t convince me!

My other point: You can’t convince me either!

Now, without consulting my non-existent regular psychiatrist to solve my problems I decide to do it the old-fashioned way! Writing a Pros and Cons list … boring, I know, but effective! I decide to compromise with myself! Because, sadly, my other self is absolutely right! I need at least a week this year to just lie somewhere on the beach, just reading, listening to music, writing, looking at the sea … with great food thrown in. Nothing else. No sightseeing, no shopping! Just the sea and me! (Of course, the Maldives would be perfect, or doing another transatlantic crossing, but this is out of the question this year as well!) I need to find my inner peace again. Still no clue where I will go, though! Guess, for once this will be a more spontaneous thing! And for my other desire? The shopping, cultural me? I promise myself to get to London for a long weekend as soon as possible!

Well, there you have my brilliant solution! May our vacations begin, for some sooner, for others later! Happy holidays, yours M

It’s BBQ time

Summer is finally here and everywhere you go on the weekends the smell of barbecued sausages and meat is following you. So, I’ll let you in on my thoughts about men and their favourite summer pastime: eating and barbecuing. Of course, they like to be cooked and served at for the rest of the year, but place them in front of a George Foreman or Weber grill and they get all emotional. With teary eyes they become the kings of the world, protecting their loved ones – their BBQ grills – from every danger. (As in any female that dares to come too close. After all we could damage the holy grail of BBQ kingdom and just spoil its karma!)

They are taking care of their grills the way we take care of our shoes, as if they were their most beloved treasures. Even men who sneer at the mere thought of cooking a hardboiled egg in the kitchen – evil, evil place – would never allow a lowly woman come into close vicinity of their grills. They are the MEN, the masters of the BBQ universe, God’s greatest creation! No woman can ever BBQ as well as they do!

Men seem to return to their most primal instincts at the mere mention of “BBQ”. Salivating at the thought of thick, raw T-Bone steaks, jacket potatoes and corn cobs, dripping with globs of butter – the only kind of vegetable allowed on their grill. Everything else is for “pussies”. (Excuse the language!)

Watching men proudly throwing hamburgers and steaks onto their luxurious BBQ grills, handling knives and forks like pros, I let my mind wander … travelling back in time, hundreds of thousands of years ago, when cavemen victoriously dragged their loot back to their caves, dissecting and expertly grilling them over the fire pit. While their gorgeous cavewomen were allowed to watch and provide the after dinner entertainment …

Every single man I know fits right into this picture. I see them in tight animal skins, with long and wild manes, chest hair you need a lawn mower for, thumping their chests victoriously, a wild dead animal thrown across their shoulders and the typical male behaviour we all know so well. The incredible thing is, it doesn’t matter where you are and what you grill on – an expensive BBQ, a fire pit or a simple coal grill on the balcony – if it’s got to do with fire and meat, you’ve got your man for the job! Ah, well, at least we only have to provide the side dishes, look pretty in a nice summer dress and for once enjoy being cooked for …

(Pics courtesy of one of my Austrian friends … am still deciding on the right grill for girly ME!)

40 is the new 30!?

Yeah right! And who is going to believe that? Well, I don’t feel like 40 – apart from those tiny moments in the morning when I am a little stiff getting up, then looking into the bathroom mirror – big mistake -, trying to face the day. To me turning 40 resulted in a full-blown midlife crisis which is still going on. (And I had always thought only men start to freak out at a certain age!) And who has to suffer? Mostly everyone around me … and I appreciate my colleagues and friends even more for putting up with me.

I’m behaving like all those midlife crisis men, thrown in with a healthy dose of female hormones, panicking in between that life is running away from me. My first act of rebellion at turning 40? Now, guess what I did! Well, breaking out of a loveless marriage was not an option … since I’m “happily” single. I did the next best thing! And every male out there will nod appreciatively now … I did some shopping. Some serious shopping. A whole lotta shopping. I bought a car. A cool car. Forget the obvious female choice like an Audi A1, BMW 1, Fiat 500, VW Golf … nope, I wouldn’t even look at those. I got a big car. A British car. A Range Rover Evoque. Even though I would have preferred the even bigger version I kept at least some of my senses and chose the baby of the Landrover SUV range. After all, one has to consider the parking in my favourite parking garages for my usual shopping trips … which are usually not made yet for the big ones. So, my Evoque is the right size. And it made me incredibly happy … forgetting about the big 4-0.

Until … but that’s another story and would definitely blow this whole post up and you would certainly stop reading.

So, where was I? Right! Turning 40 … and buying a cool car. You want to know about my other acts of rebellion? I went from good girl to bad girl. For the first time in my life. Attending my first rock concert (metal no less) was only the beginning. Going out until the early morning hours? Dancing the night away at a club? Yep, also did that! I can’t even remember the last time I did that … if ever. (It’s just perfect for forgetting my real age and act the way I feel. Definitely not more than 30.) Everything else I have to keep a secret or you might be truly … shocked. Or at least mildly surprised. Let me just tell you one thing: it’s better to experience things late than never! At the age of 40 (plus 1 since not too long ago), I’m still in the process of finding myself, or – let me rephrase it – finding back to myself, trying out new things and trying to get over my midlife crisis, because, let’s face it … life can be over in a heartbeat!

So, enjoy your lives … you definitely don’t look more than 39!