Wet Socks and Ice Blocks

February 25, 2009

Living without petroleum products for a day was tiring, to say the least! The camera crew came to our house at exactly 9:30 am as promised. They set up a few shots ahead of time, filmed us having breakfast in our normal fashion, and took footage of, well, my feet. I should have known they were up to something when they did that. It wasn’t until it came time to figure out what we could wear that I realized I couldn’t wear shoes because all the soles were made of plastic.

Yikes!

So they ‘filmed’ me walking in the snow in wool socks. In reality, I walked perhaps twenty paces, but it felt like walking on ice. Freezing! They were very forthcoming, however, and quickly rushed me back to the house in their van. It wasn’t really a complete day without petroleum products, but the concept was beautifully presented and they were extremely polite. As a gesture of my gratitude for their kindness (except for the sock thing), I gave each of them an autographed copy of my book SAHM I Am in German (Erkenntnisse einer Vollzeitmutti). You should have seen their eyes light up! For a split second in time, I felt like a celebrity. It was a sweet moment!

The show is slated to air on March 15th. More then!

Just Another Hour…

February 20, 2009

The phone jangled me awake this morning. I decided to sleep in after a massive headache told me I’d better.

The good news is my headache was gone by the time my friend called an hour later. She was calling to tell me she had read about a casting happening for a TV docu-drama on ZDF (think ABC news). She thought I should apply. Curious, I dragged myself out of bed and went to her house to get a copy of  the announcement.

It is great fun to pretend for a few hours. Acting is like being a different person for a while. It tests your limits and allows you to see the world with different eyes. Whether or not the gig works out doesn’t really matter in the end. The neat thing is I tried. And if it doesn’t work, there will be more hours to sleep in!

Soap Opera Slowness

February 19, 2009

I admit I used to watch Young and the Restless religiously. It was the only soap I followed and, with some irony, I was invited to an awards’ ceremony in Las Vegas last year. The host was Melody Thomas Scott, the actor who has played Nikki, one of my favorite characters on the show, for decades.

sturmAfter wondering for years what it is like on a soap opera set, I have been privvy to a behind-the-scenes look at one of Europe’s most popular soaps – Sturm der Liebe (Storm of Love). The funny part is they have asked me to come again to play a hotel guest. This would be the third time in as many weeks. It is not hard work, but it’s very tiring as we typically wait three to five hours between sets, which last about ten minutes of us walking back and forth through the ‘hotel lobby’. In reality I wonder why I continue to say ‘yes’. Perhaps it has to do with the memories of being home from school with a cold, sitting with a steaming bowl of Campbell’s soup balanced on my lap, as I watch Nikki trick Victor yet again.

Unslow days viewed slowly

February 18, 2009

I had anything but a slow day. The difference this time was I noticed as my day unfolded how unslow it felt. Instead of immediately getting wrapped up in the frenzy, I took things as they came, and made room for a twenty-minute power walk through the snow and sun to get some fresh air. It was in between phone calls, homework help and shuttling kids to and from destination A, B, and C. Through it all I kept thinking “This is going to be over soon. It will be! Then I’ll take a bath and unplug.”

I managed to take the bath I had promised myself yesterday after being in the cold all day in Munich. It was divine.

Want to know another irony? I sent my fully corrected manuscript via DHL (for tracking purposes -honest!) on Monday. They said it might take two days. It arrived exactly 24 hours later on my editor’s desk in New York. It went from Munich to Leipzig to New York in that time.

And I swear the delivery guy looked just this one!

dhl

The power of intention!

A TV crew is filming my husband and me next Saturday. They are going to observe what happens when a couple tries to live without petroleum products for a day. We’re not just talking about the classic stuff such as heating oil and automobiles. We’re talking about the mineral oil in your oilmake-up, the plastic spatula to dish out food, the hairbrush you use in the morning. Even your toothbrush! Ewwww!

It is for a good cause, though. The science program, Faszination Wissen (Fascination Knowledge), is trying to show how far-reaching our use of oil goes. We’re excited. And nervous. And wondering how slow our lives will be in a week!

Oh, and you want to know the best part? It turns out I know the TV host, but that’s not how we learned about the opportunity. If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me. Synchronicity, and the power of slow, are at work once again!

Stewardship, not destruction

February 12, 2009

A few weeks ago I sat down for a phone chat with Montreal-based Karen Coshof, a smart, forward-thinking film producer who made a 2006 documentary called The Great Warming. It is not only a direct look at what we are doing to the planet, but what we can do to avert more damage. I found out about the movie through a Balance magazine article with Alanis Morissette, who happens to co-narrate the film with Keanu Reeves.

The movie did not get as much as play as it could have because Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, came out simultaneously. It was unfortunate timing; nonethless the movie merits attention for its straight-forward approach. Besides, Karen went to amazing lengths to secure her fellow Canadian moderators. Both Alanis and Keanu agreed to do the voiceover for virtually nothing.

In the film, Karen advocates stewardship, not destruction; personal responsibility, not the blame game. She views the Earth as an intelligent organism that can do very well without us. In fact, the Earth will survive. We, the human race, may not.

In her view, overpopulation is the number one reason for our problems today. Not only do we need a paradigm shift about what to do with our empty yoghurt containers, but also about how we populate the planet. She admits she has gotten into some hot water with conservatives who disagree with her theory, calling her an offense against Nature.

To truly get to a Slow Planet, we need to reevaluate our thinking. The Great Warming is a great start.

Notes from the Universe

February 11, 2009

universeIf you don’t get TUT…A Note from the Universe, I’ll share mine with you here. Today’s is particularly appropriate for the power of slow. It’s all about perspective.

One of my favorite things about time and space, Christine, is that absolutely NOTHING can ever happen there that can’t be seen as a blessing in some wonderful way.
Perspective rules,
    The Universe

Life really is about perspective. If you think the world is going to hell in a handbasket, guess what? It is. Or if you think the sun is shining brighter today than any other day, you’re right. Nothing’s true but thinking makes it so. I’m saddened by jaded people who play the ‘ain’t it awful’ routine. It is a dead-end way of thinking. Find your own voice and sing the scales to your own tune. Make the world a better place by remembering it’s all a matter of perspective. No one’s is right or wrong, but yours is right for you.

 

Stimulus Addict

February 10, 2009

Obama’s stimulus package proposal has gotten a lot of play in the news of late. But what hasn’t been addressed is how addicted we are to our own stimuli. I’m not talking about billion-dollar injections to get your engine running. I’m talking about all the digital devices that ping us awake, keep us at the ready, and grease our attention wheel.

I’m guilty of it myself.

The ever-increasing desire to be hyperconnected leaves me exhausted. In the wake of social networking check-ins, instant message connections and quick text messages from booking agencies looking for TV talent, I’m a bit awhirr by days’ end. So that’s where the power of slow, and its strategies, come in handy.

Despite my US media work and my Munich location, I typically snap off my computer at least an hour before bedtime. While that may sound late to you, I used to work until all hours to get the job done. That is, until I realized I can do an even better job doing less.

When I am in a hurry, I deliberately drive slower. Getting into an accident will certainly make me late. Stressing will make me tired. I now choose to apply my resources more powerfully.

When I feel tired, I eat something from outside. Whether it’s an apple, an orange or a carrot, eating something in its own packaging boosts your energy more sustainably than a candy bar.

What’s your stimulus, and how might you slow it down a notch today?

Slow going

February 9, 2009

If you have ever tried something new, you know how slow going it can be. That is perhaps one reason why we procrastinate. Vacuuming the home office floor is ultimately more appealing than facing our inner demons. blubThat’s when you create a plan in your head. Bite-sized pieces make your progress seem more visible.

I’ve started thinking about a screenplay idea. In fact, I have so many ideas they seem to be a jumble in my mind. So I’ve written the ideas down to clear my head for the most creative thoughts possible. You have to get rid of the junk to get to the jewel. The writing process can be slow going, especially if you don’t have the practice. Since I’ve never written a screenplay before, I have to amass lots of knowledge first, and pay attention to the ideas by writing them down on colorful cards.

What types of projects have you always wanted to start, but never had the patience to finish? Perhaps it is time to dust off that idea and go for it. It’s amazing what energy you can unleash when you do.

Safe Text

February 3, 2009

One aspect of slow living is understanding you do not need to do two things or be two places at once.

With this in mind, Shane Neman, CEO of EZ Texting offers these 5 tips on the dangers of text messaging (meant for parents and kids, but can be applied to anyone):

 
1)      Never Text & Drive. While this may seem obvious, many people ignore their common sense and do it anyway, especially teenagers. Many states have banned talking on mobile phones without a hands free device while driving. They have the right idea, never text and drive. Don’t let the cost of a few headsets stand in the way of your child’s safety. If you have to, suspend driving privileges.
 
2) Sexting. Another ‘seemingly obvious’ rule. Talk to your kids about the practice, and about peer pressure. A survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that more than 50 percent of the girls who “sexted” did so under pressure from boyfriends. If either party involved is under 18, the pictures may be considered child pornography. Make it clear to your child that ‘sexting’ is not a way of being intimate with another person, and that there are other, more private, more appropriate, alternatives.
 
3)     Text and walk. This one’s for parents & kids: Always keep your eyes ahead of you, not on your phone. This is especially true when walking on a busy sidewalk or crossing an intersection. When using your cell phone, it’s very easy to get distracted and lose focus on what is taking place around you. A study by the University of Alabama found that children speaking on a cell were 43 percent more likely to be hit or to have a close call in simulated street crossings than kids who weren’t on the phone.
 
4)     Think before you text. It only takes seconds of poor judgment for a private thought to hit the airwaves. Once you send a text message, even to a friend, you can’t take it back and you never know who might see it. Prevent embarrassing moments by thinking twice before you text – just as you would before you speak.
 
5) Avoid paying additional fees. Call your carrier to block third-party applications on your child’s handset. Think of it as a V-Chip for the phone. Explain to you children – ringtones, games, apps – they all cost money and can contain explicit content. As children are granted cell phone privileges at such young ages, not all have a true understanding of money and the value of a dollar. If an explanation doesn’t cut it, take control and limit the programs and features your child can and cannot access with their phone.

~~

So the next time you see your kids, have the text talk. You’ll be glad you did!

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