New hope

Mr Esther came home from hospital this afternoon. 🙂 He still needs rest and some monitoring but he’s well enough to be at home. He has follow-up appointments at the end of next week to see whether further action is necessary but for now he’s good and he’s home. My view this evening is very pleasant (Mr E with cup of tea in hand, listening intently to my daughter and some theory she was putting forward)…

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Now that he’s getting better, I am not so well, with a bad cold (but not sick enough to stay in bed). That’s OK, though, because he’s home and that’s what counts.

What is also good is that I have a job interview tomorrow. All is quiet at work right now but all is as yet still unresolved and I am waiting for the next eruption. In the meantime, I’ve been looking around for other work and applied for a job elsewhere last week. They called me today and want to meet with me tomorrow! Who knows, maybe they will be my ticket out of my current job mess? There are three of us at the heart of the current protests: one colleague’s contract will not be renewed and the other colleague is also applying and doing interviews elsewhere. Now, wouldn’t it be a coup if the three of us would at the same time be able to give them the finger? That would mean that half of our sub-department would be leaving – watch them scramble to fill that up! Anyway, a new hope is dawning, now that I am at least able to get invited for job interviews at organisations that interest me. Fingers crossed that I want them and they want me. 🙂

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A smile back on my face

First off, news on the Mr E front is very promising as his health is improving! They want to keep him in hospital for a little longer to see if his improvement continues. If blood levels are good on Monday morning (which looks likely going by how much better they were today), then he can come home again on Monday afternoon. 🙂 This is a great relief and now leaves a little room in my brain and heart for other, more fun, stuff again.

One such fun thing is what my younger brother shared with the family today. He is staying with my mother for a few days and came across these two pictures from my childhood. Going by how small my younger brother and sister were (they are 7 months apart in age, two babies that had joined our family from Nazareth in 1973), and the sweaters we were wearing (this is just outside Jerusalem, which got a little chilly in winter but was warm in summer), these pictures must have been taken in the winter of 1973/1974. I know the pictures but haven’t seen them for ages! I was close to 4 when these were taken, I’m the little blonde girl on the right. I have a fleeting memory of these pictures being taken as I distinctly remember sitting on that wall for these pictures, something I wasn’t normally allowed to do on my own.

20181231_092535img-20190111-wa0011The brother who shared these pictures is the little baby in the front in this second picture. The guy in the back with the curls is not a sibling of mine but is a violinist who stayed in our small back garden guesthouse for a while. I have no idea how he came to stay there or how my parents knew him. He gave my older sister (in front with the babies) and brother (beside me) violin lessons. His name is Volker Biesenbender, I just looked him up and he is quite prolific. He was a student of Yehudi Menuhin and I even found clips of him on YouTube, like this one:

I remember Volker’s face and his name, but I don’t recall what he was like or how long he stayed. It’s so sweet to see the little black dog in Volker’s arms. He was our family dog, Lalo, and we absolutely adored him until he died when I was 10.

I can now walk around with a smile on my face: Mr Esther is getting better, I had to finish off some work today which I at first totally botched but then managed to fix again and then got the task done as well, and I have sweet childhood memories flooding back. Real life duties call now, but that’s not so bad if you can smile. 🙂

Hamburg

Well, real life has started again… Went back to work again on Friday and the shit still keeps hitting the fan. In fact, I think I’m done now with this job when I see how they are treating one of my co-workers who is in this whole protest thing with me. She is the youngest (28) with no fixed contract, recently pregnant and the most vulnerable one of us protesters and they’re picking on her like you wouldn’t believe. Others in my department are now also becoming aware of the shit attitude of not only micro manager but now the manager above him as well! So, this is getting big…

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I am so not in the mood for this shit, I have now started looking around for other work. Sent out a first application for another job elsewhere yesterday evening.  I can’t quit before I have something else lined up, so I need to make the best of it for now.

Meanwhile I am trying to hold on to fond memories of Mr Esther’s and my trip to Hamburg over New Year’s. So, to cheer me up, here are pictures from that trip. We’d both forgotten to take our ‘real’ cameras with us, so these are all mobile phone pictures.

Opulently decorated breakfast room at the little traditional hotel we were staying at…

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Mr Esther wasn’t feeling that great but on pills was able to walk around the city during the day of December 31st. It was especially foggy in the morning. That cleared up a bit but it remained grey all day. We walked from our hotel near the train station along shopping streets to City Hall…

… and then on to the harbour from there. If you click on the images to enlarge you’ll see a yacht named “Tolkien” and another one named “Loth Lorien”.

… and if you look on this tower you see the remnants of a Nazi Reichsadler (Eagle). The little circle underneath it used to hold the swastika but that part has been removed.

There was also a plaque commemorating the 1947 ship ‘Exodus’ with Holocaust survivors trying to make it to Palestine. That ship had also been brought to Hamburg, after it was denied entry into Palestine.

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Right around the corner from that plaque, we stopped for lunch in a restaurant which houses its own brewery. It was a good break for Mr Esther and we sat there for quite a while.

We walked through the harbour district with the Elbphilharmonie concert hall (with the roof that looks like a wave) and old warehouses, now made into apartments…

We passed by the location of where “Die Zeit” newspaper is located which is also the location of the first fort around which Hamburg was founded (those lighted blocks represent where the fort used to be)…

We passed by a shop with nautical hats and a charging station for electrical cars which looked like an old gas station pump…

We were back at our hotel at 4 pm where we laid down for a rest for a few hours. Two hours later we found a restaurant close to our hotel that still had a spot for us for 45 minutes, everything else was completely booked…

Back to the hotel for another rest and then Mr Esther was brave enough to attempt a walk down to the harbour again (about 30 minutes). We saw Hugh Jackman on the way there  (yes, looking forward to seeing his show in Amsterdam next summer, he’s apparently also playing Hamburg)…

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The Landungsbrücken part of the harbour was already full by the time we got there at a little after 11 pm, so we found a spot not far off, right outside the Baumwall station. Fireworks were already going off around us (people bring their own) and that went into full gear at midnight! Alas it was impossible to get good pictures but you get the idea…

By 12.30 am Mr Esther had had it. We squeezed into the metro to the central train station near our hotel and got to our room by 1 am.

We slept in on January 1st, were the last ones at breakfast and didn’t leave the hotel until the beginning of the afternoon. We took a train to the nearby suburb of Blankenese where we were told there was a nice “Treppenviertel” (“Stairs quarter”) leading down to the river. As Mr Esther still wasn’t well, we stayed in a café for a while so he could relax with tea. He felt much better after that and we were able to walk down those steps to the river.

With Mr Esther still feeling OK we decided to get off at the Reeperbahn Station in Hamburg on our way back. The Reeperbahn is known for its red light district and leads up to St Pauli with theatres, casinos, and all that jazz. It was already dark by the time we got there. Mr Esther wasn’t well enough to do the district, so we just walked from Reeperbahn Station to St Pauli station. Didn’t see that much action…

… but we did pass by the “Panoptikum” which is a sort of small Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. We decided to go in, to warm up and for Mr Esther to sit a little. Apparently the Panoptikum was founded in the late 19th century and the collection still houses some older wax dolls from before the war. German politics was well represented with former chancellor Helmut Schmidt, I “met” Angela Merkel, we saw former foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and former chancellor Helmut Kohl sit at a table together, and we saw Erich Honecker and Konrad Adenauer and Mikhail Gorbachev and Erich Honecker from former East Germany (DDR).

In this museum, they apparently prefer to still see Obama as president with Trump giving Obama a thumbs up (if only). Mr Esther decided to whisper into Obama’s ear…

We saw people from international entertainment like Michael Jackson, Julia Roberts and Adele. I thought particularly the 1950s dolls of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Elvis were really quite bad…

There was Harry Potter (who was more like book cover Harry than Daniel Radcliffe) and Toulouse Lautrec and Charlie Chaplin and the pope and Karl Lagerfeld…

… and some more historic figures like Queen Elizabeth next to Sissi (the Austrian Empress from the 19th century – I didn’t bother taking a picture of nearby Princess Diana as that doll was truly awful), Napoleon and Henry VIII and Mr Esther pretended to understand what Einstein was on about.

There was a World War II corner where the Geschwister Scholl (Scholl siblings), famous Nazi resisters, were prominently displayed. Through a little window behind them you could see Hitler and Goebbels, apparently busts that had been made in the early 1940s…

… with a group of Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt close by…

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German entertainers were also there. I thought especially the doll for German comedian Otto had turned out really well…

… but Udo Lindenberg was quite good too. Herbert Grönemeyer was OK (a little too plastic looking)…

After our brush with celebrity, we took the train back to the central station, picked up some Vietnamese food at a takeaway place there and ate it all up in our hotel room…

20190101_190849Spent a quiet evening there so that Mr Esther could recuperate. The next morning we went back into town as right next to city hall there was an exhibition with photographs by Anton Corbijn that I wanted to see.

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I took very few pictures but the photographs were truly wonderful! I loved seeing them. I had never before realized that this picture that I know very well of David Bowie in The Elephant Man from the late 1970s was taken by Corbijn…

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There was also an absolutely fascinating photograph of John Lee Hooker’s hand…

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I don’t think I’d ever seen Mick Jagger like this before…

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And a few other quick shots I took of Corbijn pictures I didn’t know (although, really, I could have easily photographed almost every picture, they were so good and many of them were already familiar to me too)…

This one was of Frank Sinatra. So much going on, he is almost part of the furniture in it…

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Another part of the exhibition showed Anton Corbijn dressed up as some of his own music heroes while he was visiting his hometown. He dressed up as Janis Joplin, for instance, or Jimi Hendrix.

There were also some pictures he had taken of statues at graveyards, fascinating as well.

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After seeing that exhibition it was back to our hotel to pick up our suitcase and then on the road again for our drive home (this time I drove it all, about 6,5 hours, including traffic jams and two breaks).

The next day (January 3rd) in the evening I picked up the kids from the airport. They had of course had a marvelous time with their uncles and nieces in London…img-20190102-wa0009

Now that we’re all home again we see that Mr Esther is somewhat better but still not OK, so he called the doctor on Friday while I was back at work. He had to go in for a blood test (my daughter is fascinated by hospitals and went with him) and we found out today the results show that something is off. They suspect he may have another stone blocking some duct that may have slipped past his gall bladder that was taken out last fall. Abdominal ultrasound tomorrow and we’ll take it from there. Poor man. Luckily he isn’t as miserable now as he was then around that operation.

To recap in a nutshell: I’m fervently hoping everything will work out for the better for Mr Esther soon, I am trying to ignore work and I am very fondly remembering Hamburg, thinking that one day we should go back there again.

Battle stations & brace for impact

This was Monday at work:

This was Tuesday (yesterday) at work:

I think I may have to watch Star Trek Nemesis once again, I barely remember what it’s exactly about, but while thinking about work, Jean-Luc Picard’s “All hands battle stations” and “Brace for impact” echoed in my head. While searching those keywords this morning I came across the two clips above and I find they illustrate perfectly what’s been going on at work these past few days.

The micro-manager battle has commenced and is in full  swing. I just wish I had as much command of my emotions as Captain Picard has (I tear up easily). Today I have the day off.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings!

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Micro-manager

We have a manager at work who is so busy with policy stuff, he was rarely available to us as a team. Nice guy but a bit of a macro-manager. We have now hired someone for middle management and he is turning out to be a micro-manager…

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The new guy hasn’t started picking fault yet, but all the signs of a beginning micro-manager are there… I get that he wants to understand what I (and others in my team) do but when he starts telling me to ask permission to occasionally work from home (I really think I am old enough to decide for myself when to work from home or not – most days I’m at the office anyhow!) or he looks at me sceptically because he thinks my workload isn’t enough (hope I cured him from that when I sent him my work list), then I start feeling hemmed in and my irritation rises to an extremely high level!

I think I’d rather have the macro-manager back who lets me get on with things as I see fit and where I see fit (and it’s been going very well for the past year and a half now).  I get that the new guy wants to find his place but leave me the f alone and let me do my thing! I’ll call you if I need you…

Sorry, just venting for a bit. This situation shall not prevail in the long run, I will work towards that!