Tag: merry christmas

Sunday Column (417)

Please accept my apologies for the late publication of this blog – the scheduling let me down 🙁

Merry Christmas.

We have been, and are celebrating, with our families today. So I have already written the post and by the time you read it, I hope you are sitting down, chillaxing after a fat turkey dinner, glass of sherry or wine, maybe a cheese board, and you are creating an experience and memories with your families. That is what Christmas is about. Having a good time and spending some amazing time with your loved ones. For years to come you will look at your pictures from Christmas, remember the moments when the kids unwrap the presents, the sound of the fire and the taste of cheese and wine. There are so many experiences you’ll remember, the funny and sad stories. Moments that matter.

Christmas, end of year, is time to reflect. An amazing year it was. It started actually with an interview on the first day back after Christmas in 2016. This year was for me to create my life. To find out what I want to do and how I want to do it. Given the recent developments, I mapped out what I want to do what I shall focus on moving forward. And the reasoning for anything is around a few things that are very important for me: values. What I value. What I cherish in life and what is important to me. And my career is important to me. Lots of things to do, so much opportunity out there.

One value for me, without any question, is family. I want to have the flexibility to see my boys growing up and make the good night story more often than just at the weekends. Or the school pick up. At least once a week I’d like to be at home and be there for them, around them and help them grow up. I want to be their sounding board and advisor, friend and lecturer all at the same time. That is important for me. And, it is important for me to allow my wife to go back to work too. That will hopefully happen early 2017. So more change to come.

Another value is energy. I want to put energy into things and projects where I get energy back. I enjoy working with people that work hard and put a lot of energy into things to make them work. Honesty. Trust. Not being able to funnel your energy into the right direction or not being able to funnel energy whatsoever, just doesn’t work for me. So a part of 2016 is learning about my energy household, about meditation techniques and on that note I concluded more than 365 days of daily meditation. It helped me a lot!

This year saw my oldest joining middle school. The youngest going into year one. Those are big steps. I don’t believe how quickly or too quickly they grow up. Whichever cliché you think it is, we don’t have enough time to see our kids grow up. See earlier point. My wife re-trained and is ready to go back to work. Life is moving on slowly but surely. You would have noticed me mentioning the driveway a lot, yet it is a completion of the house for now. All work has been done, the next few bits and pieces are repairs and cosmetics, some plastering, some decorating etc. After 4.5 years we are finally done with the house and the outside in a way we wanted to have it. A great, satisfying feeling. I can sit in my chair, have a glass of wine and happily say we are done with the house. A very satisfying feeling. We have good health. My wife even ran a marathon. We are surrounded by family. What else can we ask for?

We saw Trump’s election this year. We saw Brexit. Latter resulted in me sending off for the naturalisation this week, to become a British citizen. I love this country, love living here, so might as well have a British passport in order to be 100% sure I can stay. Most probably I can anyway, but after 15 years it was about time to get this sorted. The likelihood of me moving back to Germany is very slim. And Trump – I follow politics and I am a bit concerned, yet we have to evaluate as we go along. As anything in life, there is a German saying, nothing is eaten as hot as it is cooked – let the news die down, see them taking office and see how much they actually do of what they threaten to do. Yet, given the German history, I am cautious to not ignore early warning signs. Fingers crossed.

At the same time we see terrorism in Germany and I am glad I don’t know of anyone being affected. I lived through 7/7 in London in 2005 and that is over 10 years ago now. We almost expect terrorism daily and luckily not much is happening. Let’s hope that we will see less of it rather than more. Paris, Madrid, London, Berlin….why can’t we all live in peace. Aleppo. I feel better by donating £50 to Unicef for some winter blanket, shoes and cloth for a child. But I am still very detached from what is actually going on. I wouldn’t say bubble wrapped but distanced. Fortunately or unfortunately. Trying to explain to your kids that having a turkey for Christmas, presents and the fire on, sitting in the warm and enjoying ourselves is something that they shouldn’t take for granted. I am trying. We should value every little thing in life and cherish those moments we create. Share the love whilst it lasts. Enjoy the good moments, and cherish them.

We also had a few nice holidays. Nothing fancy but great memories for the children. Memories and experience that matter. York in autumn. Centreparks. A few days at at the beach, Scotland with the MIL. The kids do not care if it is Cacun or Littlehampton, and when they are older I hope to show them more of the world. At the moment we are struggling to communicate some basic principles of what the European Union is or that the world is round. And just because Power Rangers are in New York, doesn’t mean going there we will see them 🙂 The world isn’t that simple, or maybe it is and we lost touch with the simplicity of it by making it more complicated than it should be. Anyway.

What I wish for in 2017 is simple: more time with the family, more happiness and health – latter is key to anything we do. Nothing is more important than health. So I continue to run my 20K a week, doing some weight training and maybe take up swimming again. We encourage the boys to take on different sports. Food is key too. What you put in, results in energy and output. Bad food will result in diseases. Very simple, so making sure to choose the right ingredients, cooking and eating healthy is in stock for 2017.

And maybe this is the same tune I had on last year. Sunday Column 364 and 365 talk more about sick bugs which we seemed to have avoided this year, at least the nasty stomach ones, so far. I also talk about my exercise routine which I kept up throughout the year, and still even then the work life balance wasn’t 100%. Guess it never is. And I do talk about the driveway LOL.

With that closing, thanks for being a regular reader of my blog and thanks for your support and help throughout the year.

Have a Happy Christmas, great start into the New Year and I hope that you are as excited as myself to embark a new journey in 2017. A year where I like to look back to and say it shaped my future. Yet every year does 🙂

All the best and stay safe and well,
Volker

Sunday Column (199)

I thought I had overcome the jet lag but when I tried to get up for my 5 am run on Monday I just couldn’t move. Worse I slept the whole train journey into work. On a high side our new family iComputer arrived and it is fantastic. A lovely little toy. And beautiful too.

20121219-073601.jpg There are a lot of things you need to get used to but ultimately it is my wife’s working machine. Future proof I hope 🙂

I often feel a little overwhelmed on a Monday. A lot of people want to know lots of things all the time from you. Particularly if you have been out of the office for a week or so. This is ok but if you have deadlines to meet it can be quite annoying. So I try leaving early on Monday and catch up with the stuff that needs done at home or on the train. Too much information these days. The year end stress of course accelerates things, so I was very glad when it was Friday. Time to chill out for two weeks. Family. Toy story. Christmas I suppose 🙂

Not sure if I will put a goal or wish list together for 2013. I am excited about the opportunities at work. I am excited about Colin starting proper school. I am excited for Rohan to start talking. There is so much life has to offer us. And it is just there to grab and live the moment. I am tired just now (in general at the end of the year) but full of enthusiasm and positive energy for next year. Bring it on, I can take it!

Now, going with the flow, I plan to do some catching up over my holidays. A bit of writing and reading. Running. This week seemed like running wasn’t possible because of tiredness and Xmas parties. I got a massage this weekend which helped me to relax. My muscles are much looser than in the summer when I had my back ache. I got a few plans for the holidays. Spending time with the kids and going down to Sealife in Brighton again. But, going with the flow (this will be my new mantra I think), there is no pressure for anything but to spend time with my loved ones. Look at what kind of family man I become 🙂 I am loving it too.

20121219-074837.jpg You probably heard a lot about sleep and tiredness there but there is one detail I haven’t mentioned: C sleeps through the night. He now wears socks and has a gro clock which shows him stars when he is supposed to sleep and a sun after 7 am for waking time. He loves it. He gets up and is all excited to have seen the sun. Bless. R also, after almost 2 years, sleeps through the night. A bit more food, a bit of crying and off he went. So after two years I seem to get my life and wife back. Catching up with sleep I never thought I would get back.

I believe I survived our Christmas party alright-ish. I was fine to the point I came home and my wife offered me a few zips out of the bottle of wine she had open. So it got later than anticipated and I did feel it a bit the next day. Crimbo drinks with some “industry veterans” the next day were a bit messier but I survived even that. A bit ropey on the Friday but lucky me worked from home as all trains were cancelled into London. Due to a fire in the signaling box along the line trains were cancelled even at the weekend. So that all worked out well, overall a good last week in the office. I am now off until the 7th of January, a proper break.

We got a couple new fish at the weekend too. Some Neon Tetra, two plecos and more catfish. A friend advised me on the right set up of the fish tank, so fingers crossed this all works out.

Cory-Punctatus

pleco

To be honest, this is concluding the highlights of the week. We are very fortunate and happy. Things are good in our little village and our little home. All set for Christmas. I am sure I will post a picture of a few toys that are meant to be for the boys but I will spend most Christmas Day playing with 😉 Christmas is really for the kids and hence we are more excited for them than for us. We already got our Christmas iPresent this week, so we are all set.

This year has been a bit rocky road. With the move, some changes at work, some changes with the kids. But overall it has been a really good year. It went fast but not too fast. We didn’t manage to catch up with as many friends as we wanted to but you never have enough time for everyone. That is mainly true for the guys living in Scotland or Germany. Having said that we saw a lot of the family this year. The move is probably still the biggest thing that happened. One of the best things that we have ever done. We slowly settling in our little village, found friends and just going with the flow.

Maybe one last comment or thought. I read the other day a quote that went like this: “Just because it is better, doesn’t mean it has value. Value comes from improving people’s lives, not impressing them with your technology.”

I work and sell technology. I try and help people to improve their lives. That is very enjoyable. But sometimes more technology, a better computer, a nicer tablet, another laptop, a faster car or just a bigger TV won’t get you anywhere. Just because things are better than others doesn’t mean you add a lot of value to your life. A 42 inch TV doesn’t add more value than a 32 inch TV. It isn’t about “the longest” or “the biggest”, it is about what value you add using technology. And I am determined that this will always be the case for me. With work and with my private life. Value adding, giving and sharing is so important. And, if we can do that utilising technology to make it better, faster and more valuable for everyone, then this is a good thing. That is why I love technology, embrace Facebook and Twitter.

Enough now. I hope you and your family, wherever you are, have a fantastic, peaceful and happy Christmas and a great break.

Love and Kindness to you all.

Yours, Volker

Review of 2009

Dear Diary, Family and Friends,

Whilst I had many thoughts this year and published many ideas and deep thought pieces, it is always a pleasure to sit down just before Christmas and have a yearly review. Just a review of things that happened, things that should have happened and dreams I had, and of course dreams that came through.

Let’s start with work, not because it was the most important part in 2009, but to get it covered 🙂 The year started with a big pitch and lots of work, many long nights and a great learning experience. However, it ended with my work not managing to secure the business. We had to make people redundant too, including one of my staff. It was a sad time at work. Privately, the times got more and more exciting, looking forward to my wife giving birth to our son in June.

I started writing weekly reviews as of March, just after the “big London snow” in February. The weekly columns helps me to keep track and sometimes I go and read them again. Our male cat Hansel for instance got his balls chopped off in February and we went to a Baby Show. Thinking about it, I still remember every minute of it, particularly the Baby Show 🙂 We also changed our mortgage, thinking that interest rates had hit rock bottom. They hadn’t but we are still happy we have done it. A crystal ball could have helped with a lot of decisions this year. Santa, please put one under the tree this year 🙂

Also in March I went to a conference in Oslo and had a very busy schedule leading up to another big pitch. On the private side of things, leading up to mid April, we had another scan and went to concert of Kate Rusby. Two weeks later I found out that my work closed the London office and since I couldn’t relocate to York, I had to find a new job.

Between anticipation of the arrival of Colin Heinrich Ballueder on June 12th, I went for interviews and could secure a new job which I started as of July this year. I was glad to not have to wait around for too long to find a new position and was very excited about the opportunity. However, as you know, things didn’t work out at the end.

I had never thought how Colin would have changed my life. Not only did you see my 8 weeks review, there was another one later on. He is great and we cannot wait to have another one soon. But when would be a good time? It was a steep learning curve for me to have a boy, and my focus shifted only slowly from “this is my wife’s job” to “I want to get engaged with my son”. I don’t want you to misunderstand this, but I think for someone who is very focused on his job and work, it is not the easiest to adopt to a baby. But, particularly with my time off in December and the great support of my wife Jenny – and of course the cutest smiles and laughs as of month four – I absolutely enjoy fatherhood.

In October I decided to get myself a career coach which helped me a lot towards goal definitions and motivations for my job and private life. Thanks to him, personal contacts, a lot of networking and long ongoing discussions, I decided to start a new exciting job as of January 2010. I think that the next year, from a work perspective, will be the most challenging and most exciting yet. And, whilst being a little bit scared of it, I am very much looking forward to making things happen. I will be starting a new technology service company for display advertising in the UK. The company already exists in Germany and I know the founder for many years. I appreciate his trust and I trust in him and his team’s expertise to conquer and grow in the UK market. Updates will follow next year but I can tell you that I am very much looking forward to it.

So, before we knew it, Christmas is here. I cannot believe that the recession might be over, I changed jobs twice and that my wife gave me the greatest of all gifts: a healthy boy. And, that I was blessed with a lot of family time this year too. (PS: of course we will still feel the recession for years to come unfortunately, but things will get better!)

Below are two pictures we took in the recent snow. My parents have been over to visit recently, and we are looking forward to seeing my mother in law for Christmas and finishing the year with a reflective detox. With us maybe having the last ever Christmas turkey as we might go 100% vegetarian (or Pescetarianism) next year, this Christmas, and with it being Colin’s first Christmas, it will be a very special one.

Wherever you are, we hope you have a peaceful Christmas. This year, more than any year before, made me appreciate what I have, that I am healthy and how well we are doing.

We wish you love and kindness from our home in Kent, just outside London.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

With Love from Volker, Jenny & Colin

Merry Christmas!

I was wondering the other day. At our supermarket you could buy the first bigger tins of peanuts designed to last you a few days over Christmas. Some nice decoration on the tin already, I was thinking that is wrong. It is too early for Christmas products.

Saying that, we are all aware that it is getting, or seems to get, earlier every year that the Christmas products come into the shops.

So here we go: Lidl’s weekly offers from next Monday, 13th of October.

Wow, I can now enjoy my Christmas cakes, Stollen and Pandoro 10 weeks prior to Christmas. How nice. Maybe I get an advent calendar for November and one for December – who really cares these days?

HoHoHo, Merry Christmas!!!!