Monday, December 31, 2012

bye bye 2012!

so. perhaps this means i will post somewhat more regularly in 2013? i had been hoping and meaning to do so this year, but ... not until after my september holidays did i actually get around to posting anything!

among other things, 2012 brought some excellent concerts, a few of them firsts: the walkabouts - one of my favourite bands of all times - played at a small venue, and i loved every moment of it. i got them to sign my bag afterwards, which they found amusing and puzzling, but they were actually not the first to do so, i have an old bag signed by feist. i got to see the amazing loreena mckennitt in spring, at a venue that actually has great acoustics, which is not the case with all concert venues in vienna. regina spektor, a second time, this time at konzerthaus - good show, but it was a bad day for me, so even this favourite of mine was secondary to other stuff, bad timing. then there was another springsteen "party" in the summer, a marathon concert, one of the longest the boss has ever played. good workout not only for the band, but also for me! to say i was thrilled when i found out richard hawley would finally, finally honour vienna with a visit, might be an understatement of extraordinary proportions. a small venue, good sound, and a great performance by this outstanding songwriter and musician. one of the highlights of the year. sophie hunger, the swiss singer songwriter, at konzerthaus was fabulous. i was sure i'd enjoy the concert, but i loved the whole show. that girl can sing! finally, in december, my first tiger lillies concert, a great performance, at the perfect venue for it. great musicians, these guys.

poetry-wise: a poetry-filled spring, especially april and may, and the rest of the year, well ... not too much. but i got into some good magazines, among them arsenic lobster, thrush, robot melon, yew, escape into life. i got two best of the net nominations - from arsenic lobster and escape into life - and my first ever pushcart nomination from arsenic lobster (see previous post). so, good news! i am still working on (or: should be working on) my full-length collection, elemental, and i have almost got a chapbook together, too.

i spent most of my summer afternoons outdoors, also many weekends, cycling, swimming, relaxing, reading, walking. i love that the prater and donauinsel are so close to our flat. our little garden did well, and we harvested our first ever water melon. a very sweet ca. 3 kg!

more sports was only part of the changes i made to my life - the bigger part is healthier eating. i am basically (and sometimes a bit loosely) following the weight watchers guidelines, using mainly recipes from their wonderful recipe books. we have tried out so many new recipes and come across incredibly delicious food that doesn't take long to prepare. i've lost about 16 kilos and enjoy what i eat way more now. steps in the right direction.

i took way more photos in the second half of the year than in the first, for a while i wasn't even using my canon much, only took some snapshots with the pocket camera. i missed being creative in that way, though, after a while. so back on track here, too, even if not as much as i should be. but ... there are only so many hours in a day, ad editing does take ages if done properly!

i read a lot, and after a year of using it, i must say, the kindle was one of the best things i have ever bought for myself. one of THE discoveries, for me, was gail carriger - i devoured her miss tarabotti books! i could have read a lot more poetry, though ... this ought to change in 2013.

of course i spent some time in cinemas during the viennale film festival, and got to see some very good films. one of the highlights was "electrick children", another "margaret". and i actually made it to the cinema twice since, "argo" and "anna karenina".

we spent some time in carinthia and had a fantastic holiday in croatia and montenegro, with a trip to albania. but all those details can be read in previous and very detailled posts. the weekend trip to krumlov two weeks ago was also beautiful, but again ... see previous post. in the summer we had a few days off in burgenland, it was hot and quiet and very, very relaxing. i did not write as much as last year when i went alone, but i did more walking, and we saw plenty of shooting stars!

i guess i should say a few words about work, but this is the one topic i really want to avoid at the moment. it was a good year, with many lovely students, and continued great feedback. but ... the project has ended, and apparently a sheet of paper counts more than great work over many, many years, and i will be part of another project as of january, one that does not sound very tempting at all. other things that have happened are pretty much top secret, so all i can say is that i am most definitely not amused. so perhaps the new year will see me working elsewhere. wish me luck.

i didn't write as many letters and mails as i'd intended to, and there are friends i didn't see enough of. i didn't write as much as i'd hoped to, and there is some stuff left undone. but then again ... i was outdoors way more than i'd thought, i lost more weight than i could have imagined. i continue to enjoy cooking. i managed to clear out some closets, cupboards and many folders. i had some of those moments at work when i just know why i put in so much work and when i just knew i was in the right place at the right time. heinz and i started boogie classes. i've had moments when i was really and truly happy. i continue to work on myself. i may not always be happy about my reactions or behaviour, but isn't that just human? and isn't that also a sign of me watching myself and learning and developing? i am still learning to be more forgiving towards myself, but i feel i am on the right track.

all the best to you and yours for the coming year. one hope beyond my own little life is that people wake up and realise that so much of what we are doing is not the best, or in fact, not even particularly smart. we can do better.

song of the day: z'lied vor freiheitsstatue by sophie hunger.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

pushcart nomination. a first.

one of the major surprises 2012 brought came right at the end: a pushcart nomination from arsenic lobster magazine, for an old poem of mine, "who's keeping time with the timekeeper's daughter when the timekeeper's out keeping time?", written long ago for a challenge at blueline poetry forum (write a poem answering an unanswerable question).

funny that this, my first pushcart nomination, is for a poem from that challenge when my first ever best of the net nomination some years back was also for a poem resulting from said challenge, "what's the sound of one hand clapping?" - it was actually selected, you can find it here.

to say i was thrilled at the news would be an understatement. it was so unexpected, and i want to thank susan yount and the arsenic lobster team once again for their support. i know i don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of actually winning, but i am honoured nonetheless. this will always be special.

gorgeousness overload: a weekend in český krumlov

we finally got around to doing something we'd thought about doing last year - visiting český krumlov in bohemia. i'd heard a lot about it, and whoever went there, fell in love with it. many said just before christmas was a good time to go, because of the christmas market and the general cosiness and picturesqueness of the small town in winter. the journey by train was a bit of a travel back in time - from a very modern austrian commuter train we changed to an old czech train and from that on to a very small diesel thing that seemed like a cross between bus and train. pitch-dark outside, no announcements, so we had to ask locals in order not to miss our station!

our hotel, na louži, was conveniently situated in the town centre. i'd found it on the internet, and found the pictures too inviting to resist. such a quaint, cosy little place, with rooms named after family ancestors, in a house that dates back to the 15th century. plus a generous breakfast, and very, very friendly staff, it turned out.

lucky that the chilly spell ended shortly before we arrived - temperatures had been rather low, and who fancies outdoor exploring when it's -10°C (14F)? it was cold enough the first evening, especially when we went to take photos around 9 pm ... setting up the tripod, experimenting with exposure, ... refreshing. ;)

saturday morning brought dangerous streets: the old, worn-down, smooth cobblestones all across town were covered in a thin layer of ice at first ... made for interesting walking! we visited the schiele art centre - enjoyed both the permanent exhibition on schiele as well as the temporary josef florian krichbaum (A) and gerald scarfe (UK) exhibitions. yes, the latter played an important part in making pink floyd's "the wall" a reality. there were plenty of interesting, disturbing, caustic caricatures to see.

we explored the feature that dominates the town - the castle / palace. gorgeous views, what with the lightly snow-dusted roofs below, leftovers of mist on the outskirts of town, the river winding through town, the sun working its way through the clouds. i really do understand why everyone's raving about that place! charming, with the houses huddled together, as if protecting each other from the cold.

as it got warmer, the streets got less slippery, and it did me so good to be outdoors so much! mind you, being indoors for waffles at deli 99 wasn't so bad either ...

dinner was really good both friday and saturday night, at different places. interesting menus, too, with lots of funny little spelling and translation errors. we'd have loved to dine at one of the many places with live music, but they were all packed, and at our hotel they only have live music on sunday evenings, not saturdays. shame. must stay until monday next time!

on sunday we did more exploring, including the christmas market and a part of town we had not seen the previous day. it was rather warm - and fortunately it only rained a little in the morning during breakfast.

i love that the town is so full of lovely details - in the decoration, the paintings on most of the old houses, fanciful wrought iron in front of windows, gables, lamps, etc. quite breathtakingly beautiful. neat little shops, too. i bought a leather handbag and nearly bought a kind of designer skirt, but then decided against it. found some cute frog and giraffe earrings and cat necklaces, too. i could've spent quite some money in those shops, i can tell you!

here are some photos taken around town. enjoy. and visit if you can. more photos online at flickr.

nighttime houses

soft light on an old house

winter idyll

view of town


nighttime castle

towers in the night

letter to a steak?

at na louži

town in the window