Winter may come

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Sunday Column (294)

There are few joys as great as having a baby. You do the poo duties, you don’t sleep and you have to teach them things over and over again. Let me tell you, a puppy is not much different. At night time a puppy cries for its mummy, and you have to let it get on with it. It breaks your heart but after a few days it stops. No sleep, whilst worrying she might pee or poo into her den (cage). That of course happens, accidents are prone to happen. So is poo or pee on the floor, so thanks for putting in laminate earlier this year, carpet would have been a disaster. Getting up at 5 am, my daily routine, had to change. I cannot go running whilst a super hyper puppy, which has yet to get along with our cat, is jumping on and at me. So running moved to the evenings and poo duty to the mornings, sitting in the kitchen catching up on work. We make it happen. A content puppy to your feet, chilling out – after 3 poos (!), and jumping on my freshly washed pink shirt. Nice. We love her to bits though.

Wow, I got this blog post off to a good start, didn’t I. It is difficult, yet one has more experience these days, to not shout at a puppy when an accident happens. Not to loose your temper when things go wrong. Trying to make her sit or stay or anything is hard work but after a week we are making progress. It is actually very pleasing to have a puppy (or dog for that matter), this true companion that wants to sit with you, keeps you company and brings you lots of joy. And above all things, this puppy will only stay a baby for 8 months, not 3 years :-) On that note, if you are considering getting a puppy, make sure your kids are ok with it. We have one that is a bit shy/scared but makes daily progress (which makes you think that you made the right decision on adding a dog to the family) and we have one that is super hyper thinking it is a toy (which makes you think we should have waited another year). Either way, it is a great challenge for the family, a new chapter and overall we really enjoy having Rosie here. And she is more pleasing than the cat really.

Rosie

I personally start looking forward to taking her for long walks and chill out after work. Instead of sitting down and get comfy after dinner, I get some “exercise” and some nice fresh air prior to going to bed. That will wind me down after work – that is the theory anyway until it starts getting wet and windy like this week, snow and the like. Surely, I will keep you posted.

But what else happened this week? Not much compared to the above. Three conferences, lots of work and deals and trying to wrap things up before I was off for half term next week. I might have to do some work next week, just to keep on top of things, as a restructure makes me even busier than before. Having said that, I really enjoy the remit and products I am selling, adding value to the industry I work in. Great stuff! And a conference this week I do believe I made a difference explaining what it is all about. Let’s at least hope so.

As of next week I haven’t got much planned. Repair my bike, get new firewood stacked in the garage, play and train the dog, play with the kids, check the lego set for Christmas we got from eBay is complete, chill out with the family, have a dog trainer, go to the vet, watch a few movies, get a hair cut and just do all those things that need to get done and I have been putting off for a while. Like clearing out the loft. And cooking for the family. Going for walks. And I will be sitting here next week realising I didn’t do all those things I was hoping to do. But that’s life, isn’t it?

So I hope you all have a good week.
Volker

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Sunday Column (293)

The week began with watching Noah on Sunday evening. I wanted to watch this movie for a while, and whilst my bible reading days are long gone, I wasn’t too sure of the interpretation of the story. Yet it was entertaining and Russell Crowe is one of my favourite actors.

Monday saw an early start into the day and a busy start into the week. A trip to Milan, a moderation at a conference and a good catch up with industry friends – a week how it should be, making lots of progress at the end. Flying in and out of Milan is still one of my favourite sceneries, the Alps, the right light and the feeling of coming home. Just nice.

When sitting on the 652 train in the morning you realise why you prefer to get up and exercise. I bet everyone on this train will not have the energy to go home tonight after work, commute an hour, and then exercise. I am still convinced that the early morning starts for exercising are the way forward. My main bug bear I had to overcome was to be able to go to bed at 10 pm. For years we wanted to stay up longer, were forced to bed early. Now that we can we don’t – it goes a bit against our instinct.

The highlight of the week of course was the arrival of Rosie. Adding a dog to the family is a big step, a huge responsibility. Well thought through and lots of effort put in. We picked her up on Saturday lunch time and brought her home. It is like adding a baby to the family. I remember, just a week before we found out that my wife was pregnant with our oldest, we got two kittens. It changed our life then as the dog will change our life once again now.

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But what is it what we hope to be able to achieve by having a dog. An exercise partner, a loyal friend, a playmate for the kids, a companion, a friend, someone to look after. We hope to add joy and fun to the family, particularly for the boys, ridding them of fear from animals.

I had one morning this week where I was thinking ‘I am on top of the world’. That was on Tuesday. I went to bed rather late for my liking but slept extremely well. Very deep sleep, got up to do some weights and running, to then play Lego with my oldest. A chirpy chat with the station person, a joke with a mate whilst boarding the train, big smiles all around. Those are the days your confidence creeps up on you and all day long I pushed boundaries, made things happen.

Those are the days you are on top of the roller coaster ride. The days you don’t want to let go to waste, the days you are on top of the world. Then a part of our company got sold this week, good news all around, some organisational changes and more focus on the advertising space. Again, all good news.

It has really been a busy and exhausting week. But a good and satisfying one at the same time.

Let’s hope next week is going to be fine, as I am off the week after for half term.

Have a great week,
Volker

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Wee man back in Milan

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Sunday Column (292)

I start writing this post enjoying yet again the best bacon sandwich at Gatwick airport, at Apostrophe in the South terminal. Maybe not in line with my healthy eating ambitions, it serves as a treat for the 5 am start, the 4.15 am alarm. I will be back here the coming week.

This time it was a bit worse as C was up at night, having nightmares. We have been exposing him to dogs almost on an excessive basis to secure utmost preparation for the arrival of Rosie. I will update on that below. As a parent having to do manipulative work with your five year old is fine yet not if it is forced and needs to be done quickly. Never mind, things will work out at the end. I am actually a bit chuffed that my NLP and personal development work has had such a great impact on my son. A bit of anchoring and positive reinforcement, a role play and his fear of dogs was cured :-)

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After my trip to Turkey last week, I was in Zurich for a day, and will be going to Milan next week. I enjoy it somewhat but it is tiring and exhausting. I have done little exercise due to some restrictions from the cold. I also got some tape that hopefully will improve my pain when running. Fingers crossed. I did some stationary biking, the weather was far from pleasant this week. On Saturday the changing weather put me in a right pickly mood. Not good and not happy.

I couldn’t even say it was a busy week. Busy enough yet not crazy busy until Friday afternoon of course. I had two solid days in the office being able to catch up on lots of things and almost getting on top of everything – as if that is ever going to happen…..being able to let go and take a step back sometime also helps. Having support at home, someone to fall back on helps too.

Anyway, the highlight was the visit to Rosie, our German Shorthaired Pointer. It was a bit up in the air whether we would get her due to C’s fear of dogs but with my work and his brave effort to face different dogs this week, the breeder was happy. C even jumped on a trampoline with a Vizla this week and totally lost his fear of dogs. We cannot wait for her arrival next weekend which is going to be so good.

I dog proofed the fence and gates this weekend, we went shopping on Amazon and Pets at Home and make sure everything is set for Rosie’s arrival. We cannot wait. The kids are very excited and so are we. Whilst the last few weeks I was wondering how cute a dog could really be, the puppies at 7 weeks are just adorable! Seriously, they are amazing. I got all soft ;-)

It was also nice to have my cousin over for the weekend. She is really good with the boys and good to us too. Whilst I was in Zurich myself I didn’t have time to buy chocolate. She did :-) Again, this is going against the healthy eating regime but how couldn’t you ;-) Swiss chocolate is heaven. And an extra pair of eyes to watch the kids is nice too.

A mixed bag of feelings this week. Mixed weather. Yet it all worked out at the end. Another two weeks before I have half term off to really work with Rosie. You can just see her loving me already, I even ordered an extra bag of treats ;-)

Have a great week yourselves, enjoy what is left of the Indian Summer, rain and winter are slowly taking over.

Cheers
Volker

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Sunday Column (291)

This week I was in Turkey. Nothing like the Asian/European emerging market cities – a buzz going through the streets, lots of cars honking, everyone making their own rules. It is like you see it on TV or I have experienced it in Cairo back 8 years ago. Maybe Cairo was a bit busier.

The people are great. Friendly. Particularly with Germans; one waiter said to me “we are one country with different flags”, which shows you the deep connection between our two countries. Amazing. For generations. It is something special.

I enjoyed the trip. As always when you go on business there is little time to squeeze in sight seeing. A bit was ok but I would have loved to spend more time looking at more things. There is just too much to see. But my wife already said she would come with me for a long weekend, I cannot wait!

Friday was a holiday in Germany for the reunification, or celebration thereof. East Germany joined West Germany. I don’t remember how many years it has been. Twenty at least. I wrote about it before, I remember my Latin teacher trying to explain the unexplainable, that Germany after 40 years of divide was reunified. I never understood why my mum was crying. I didn’t understand. How could have I? It was something deep inside the older German people.

On my flight to Istanbul I watched Lore. A movie about a girl of a German Nazi commander who was left to rescue her siblings and take them from the Black Forest to Hamburg through the occupied territories, the American and Russian sector. A girl, maybe the same age my mother would have been, born during the war.

And watching this movie I cried. I am crying because I feel for the generation of my parents and grandparents. Most people wouldn’t understand the way this generation would have fought for food, for things to be better and make do with the little they had. All that whilst coping with guilt.

I never forget my grandparents. Without saying they taught myself all I needed to know about surviving, to never give up no matter how complicated life would get. They are my heroes. My ideal for resistance against order and subordination. My heroes of, no matter what, bringing up their children and giving them the best future possible. An attitude that I believe sits deep down inside most of us.

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I had this discussion over the past few weeks a lot, deep down, we as humans want to help other humans. We have the urge to protect others, help them and particularly with our own blood, our own heritage, we would put our lives over theirs. This is instinct. An instinct like the one for a dog to be loyal and please their “master”. Maybe not the best comparison yet I couldn’t think of anything else :-)

It happens to me regularly but more so once a year when I reflect on life in general. To praise Buddha, to thank “God” for my happiness, for the fantastic family I have, my wife, my parents, my heritage and the future of it, my two boys. I feel truly blessed with life. Deep inside me I am hoping to pass those values I was given, and those we added in our generation, on to my boys, to never give up and to always look forward in life. To trust that things in life will work out and things going to be ok. As long as we believe in it. As long as we keep our head over water and keep on paddling with our feet. To never ever give up, or to accept anything on face value.

Deep inside me I am hoping that my kids will show an interest and read this or other thoughtful posts, and trying to understand where their heritage is coming from. Why people get emotional talking about the devastation through war, separation, reunification and rise of a country. A country that will make up 50% of what one day they might stand for. Their choice. We can only educate, hope and suggest.

I know that people will read that saying to me, once again, ‘I had no idea what a deep thinker you are’. I take that as a compliment. I believe I have always been like that and writing a blog helps me a lot to express my thoughts and feelings over the week.

Given you have read this far, I hope you enjoyed this post. It puts me back in time just to realise that we are living for the future. And that we are living in the very moment, the moment we call now. Only now can I change the future of my children. For the better.

Have a fantastic week ahead.

Volker

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Inspiring TED Talk: 30 year history of the future

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Sunday Column (290)

A week that starts off with a headache, a 5K run with lots of muscle pain and a temperature drop of 5-10 degrees is not a good week, or at least not a good start of the week. Whether it was the weekend where I overdid my exercise or the amount of chocolate and sweets I ate at the kids party, I do not know. Yet something triggered a typical Monday which turned out to get worse as the day went on. Of course the week changed to the better and I got used to the rather nice autumn weather and went on another trip. But this weekend, I felt it again – so maybe I just need a break :-(

This week I went to Paris for a night and a day to visit a few clients. As this gets published I finish packing my things for a trip to Istanbul. I have never been to Istanbul in my life, so I am very excited to go. A few years back I went to Egypt realising that I will see the pyramids. Being on work travel schedules doesn’t mean you are doing some sight seeing. Having said that, I went to Iceland before and my wife was annoyed that I saw Iceland and Egypt/Kairo before she did. Now I also see Istanbul. I am not into travelling as much as my wife, I just do my job, but that’s where we differ I suppose. Maybe that is why I am quite happy staying at home with a dog at the weekend, putting my feet up and enjoying “being home”. Istanbul of course is different. I will report back next week of course.

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What else happened this week? I think there are a few things transport wise worth mentioning. I was on the train towards Gatwick when the train stopped. Then we heard someone got hit by a train. Lucky for us it was behind us and with some delay we managed to get to Gatwick. I did get a bit stressed and was glad I didn’t travel the other direction that night. Bad enough for the person that got hit, it is a bit of pot luck tbh to sometimes make your journey home. At Gatwick I got served an undercooked chicken at Jamie’s Italian. Fancied some superfood salad and ended up with an awful meal. Not great to travel sometimes. The view of course, as of my earlier post, was amazing.

Anyway, things are good overall. One never has enough time for the family it seems and weekends are too short. I caught up with a uni friend and another good friend this week. I have another few people I need to call. I spoke to my granny for her 94th Birthday. I am lucky, all my grandparents reached the age of 90+. Maybe a good omen. None woke up at 5 am to run 10 K, then worked all day and commuted for 3 hours per day. Life seems as if it is in the fast lane at the moment. I like that though.

I know the next few weeks will be busy. I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. I couldn’t to be honest. But I am learning a lot too. Prioritising, time management, letting go. All those passionate topics I am writing about over at tidWOWs. It is as if I am fine tuning a bit.

It is good to know that in a few weeks time, probably around mid December, things will slow down. When the dog and I will be having a cuddle with the boys under the Christmas tree and watch the fire, when we think that we are so grateful for what we have. And, that next year we take more time for each other. And this will repeat for another few years. Why I think that? Because I believe that is how it is. Life is living in extremes, on both ends. And I am truly blessed with it.

Love living!
Volker

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Rosie at 5 weeks

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Travelling

Hopefully this picture doesn’t show up too large.

Just managed to sit down for some food with a amazing view, washing away the strain of the day.

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