A year in random pictures and posts - 2013 part 1

Here goes a wacky year. Two thousand THIRTEEN indeed! No smooth running on this one - as I have elaborated in another post.

But we made it and it's time for a collection of all those pictures I took along the way and that didn't make it into their own blog entry.

I will also add some of my Facebook posts. For those of you who don't follow me there :-) Like this one from the very start of the year - after my two gigs at a Lebanese restaurant and Turkish club:
"There's nothing like the combination of wearing false eye lashes for hours and shisha smoke that makes you want to scratch your eye balls out!"
Oh yeah, the glamorous life of a dancer....

My dear boyfriend has been my dealer for TV series for a while - but 2013 is probably the year I spend watching the most of them. As I wrote on January 8:

"In case you didn't know: The TV show "Grimm" is great - and highly addictive!"

And here is a very interesting observation I made on the same day, in preparation of my trip to India:
I also have two different versions of Emirati bills and strongly suspect that one of them will not be accepted anymore...
Conclusion: spend it while you can!"

"If you keep your foreign currency bills in a closed plastic bag for too long, they become very yucky. Especially the smaller bills are often very dirty and I suspect that the dirt starts to "work". 
Fortunately, money bills can be washed in the machine. Yes my friends, I am talking about money laundry here, and I am doing it right now!
Your 50 rupees look so much better after they have been washed.... 
And this is what happens when you hide your money too well: Years later you find it and realize that a good part of it is not in use any more! Austrian Schilling, Italian Lira, Deutsche Mark, Greek Drachmes.... All replaced by the Euro!
I can't escape the memes. Here is the first one, Trekkie style of course!

I certainly tried my best!

Here's an amusing post from January 25:
"Just went through my credit card bill. It's rather embarassing to see how often I went to Starbucks in Paris... But believe me, it was the less expensive alternative to many of those overpriced cafés!"

And on I went, preparing for the much awaited India trip, as per February 8:
"Being the extremly early packer that I am, my suitcase for India has been standing around 90 % packed for a week. Now I only need to 
- unpack it all and remove at least 3 items (there is always something you pack too much!)
- add the last few things 
and I am ready to go!
Yes, I want to travel as lightly as possible because I intend to go SHOPPING!!!!!"

Some of my many non-dance projects this year was in March:
"Since my CD player in the kitchen stereo stopped working many years ago, I have been cooking to my 80ies tapes for a long time... Now they are slowly dying and I am creating a playlist with these songs.
There's a lot of stuff that will never make it to a "best of Eighties" show! Because some of them are not exactly musical jewels....
But this one is quite cool: http://youtu.be/blI6TxZDpDc"
If you were anywhere near a French speaking radio in 1985 you have heard this song a gazillion times! http://youtu.be/qa5imHu635A

Something I noticed at the office on March 18:
"Have you ever noticed that whenever you have a computer problem, the IT guy will often say "That's impossible!" or "That can't be!" - when the problem is right in front of your eyes!?! If it wasn't happening, I would not call!"

A heart-warming post of March 19:
"Over the past few days I had several great experiences of community, sharing and caring. Feeling good - and really thankful for all those wonderful people I get to meet. Some for longer, some only for short encounters."
Part of this was due to my participation in an Oriental dance festival in Stuttgart the weekend before this.

And an observation on March 20:
"As an outsider, I find it quite interesting to observe changes in the use of English language.
Nowadays it's customary to "love" just about everything, as long as it's an inanimate object. As in: "Oooh, I love your sweater!" - when the speaker most probably does not have a deeper emotional attachment to said garment.
But when it comes to persons, it's very different. "I like him" has become quite a serious declaration of affection. 
Back in the days when I first learned English, most of my vocabulary came from Agatha Christie books. "To be fond of somebody" was used to express deep emotions for a person. I don't think I have heard or seen this expression in a long time."

And finally, the first "random picture" of the year! I take great pride in creating elaborate hairstyles for my Bollywood dance performances. Here is an example from March 22:

The next day I changed into my ski gear. Went to Flumserberge to enjoy one of the last good ski days. This was actually the only time I went skiing this winter.

On March 28 I was...
"Stuck in the mother of all traffic jams..."
It was the Thursday before Easter and EVERYBODY seemed to be on the road. Add a broken water pipe in the city and you have a perfect chaos. It took me more than twice the time to drive to Wil, my hometown, where I was supposed to take part in my father's birthday party. 
The weather was awful too and by the time I finally arrived after a 2 hours drive I was exhausted, tired and hungry...  Thankfully there was food and later a cool concert we all went to.

This was followed by Easter and a visit from Olivier's brother Raphael with his wife Laurence and children Elvis and Mia. Yes, I admit, the best thing about kids is that I get to play with their Legos!
Let's build a beach bar!
Oli being a good uncle

Back to doing useful stuff on April 5 - because I like organizing my things!:
"It starts out with a little thing... I was looking for an old article I wrote years ago. So I went to my backup CDs... Next thing I know I go shopping for colored paper sleeves and am sitting on the floor, organizing my many dozens of photo, video and whatever CDs!"

Here's a picture of two great girls! They are students of mine who took my "prepare do be a pro dancer" classes in April. It's cool to see how they have developed since then!

Olivier has been telling me about the colorful hairstyles he had back in the Eighties for YEARS. I demanded proof but never got any, until early this May. Oli at 19, now isn't he just adorable?
His mother sings in a choir and we go to see their concerts from time to time. This one was awesome, especially since we got to sit in the front row where the music really hits you in the face!

A very unexpected thing happened on May 7:
"I am still in SHOCK! My boyfriend sold his beloved Ford Mustang from 1974. 
Not that I object, that car just swallowed money like crazy... But still, I didn't think he ever would do it."

In preparation of the next visit of our dance photographer Michael Baxter I bicycled to Neu-Oerlikon for a round of location hunting. 
I found some interesting potential backgrounds:

The tower of Oerliker Park

 MFO Park
 The Pacman fountain!

And I noted:

"I feel like I am the only non-German guest sitting in the Starbucks in Neu-Oerlikon!"

Seriously, there seemed to be ONLY Germans at the tables around me!

And of course I had to note this on May 9:
"Star Trek Into Darkness is truly spectacular!"

On May 16 I did this:
"I seldom post pictures of food... But this "Plunder" is so delicious, our entire office is in extasy!"
My balcony motto: 50 shades of orange!
We went for a little car trip on May 20. And I noted:
"How I know that my boyfriend really loves me: Today he came over to show me his new car and the first thing he asked me: "Do you want to drive?"
And here is how you can tell that a car belongs to my boyfriend: You turn on the music - and out come Hawaiian songs"
This little trip also included more location hunting. One of my goals for this year was to have dance pictures with a waterfall. This is the one we found in Rorbas.
We also kind of liked this fountain by the nearby castle
And the finally our dear Michael Baxter arrived! We had various studio location, one was a big room in Winterthur, basically the backside of an Oriental restaurant.
We worked there on Saturday and Sunday of May 24 / 24
You can have a look at the pictures that Michael took of me on my website.

On May 29 I passed by this corner in my neighborhood - who would think that this is in the middle of Zurich! 
And I wrote this:
"Also nur zum sagen: Wenn sich irgend jemand im Laufe des Sommers beschweren sollte, es sei zu heiss, dann werd ich rabiat!"
(Just saying: If somebody should complain that it's too hot during this Summer I will get aggressive!)
Yes, the weather this Spring had been exceptionally lousy. Cold and rainy, more like Autumn!

So we only did very little outdoor photography on May 30, despite my preparation.
This is Michael, demonstrating a pose he wanted for me :-)
We took pictures in the Sukkulentensammlung (conveniently covered) and Kreis 5, the new trend area of Zurich. 
Once we were done we ate dinner there and went over to a cinema.
Which resulted in the following comment:
"Star Trek: Into Darkness was just as awesome the second time as it was when I saw it first.
This time Michael Baxter was there with me. After the first quarter of the film he turned to me and said: "Let's watch it again tomorrow!"
(Actually, we did it 2 days later!)

On June 2nd I decided to go for an early morning walk. In case you didn't really get what I meant by this being a season of "exceptionally lousy weather", look for yourself: The river Sihl rose about 2 meters in just a day!
And by the time I took these pictures, the worst was already over!
 Yes, I had to walk through mud that the river had flooded on the floor!

 Normally these bushes stand on little islands in the river...

We spent most of the day taking pictures of classical Indian dance poses, then had a late dinner.
No wonder that I wrote on the morning of June 3rd:
"I feel as if I had been run over by a truck tonight. Twice."

And then suddenly it was Summer after all!
I went back into Nordic walking mode and climbed up a hill on June 7, just to present the world with this lovely panorama of Zurich:
Later in the day I took this picture of a big, fat crane in our historic part of town
And it was Zurich Pride weekend!
I always preach the "no dancing barefoot in restaurants" rule. And here's why: The soles of my brand new dance shoes after just one gig! Who honestly wants all that dirt on their naked feet?
After all that rain in Spring, one would think that we would want to spend our Summer vacation in the sun. But my friend Mona and I had chosen the Azores as our goal, and it was to be expected that there would be some rain. Plus I could really do with a rain jacket / coat for my daily bicycling to work. 
So I went to the new mall in Europa-Allee that has a bunch of sports/outdoor gear shops and tried on a lot of jackets!
 In the end I had narrowed the choice down to these two: similar cuts and colors, same price, I liked them both... So I ended up not buying anything because I couldn't decide.
I later searched for them online and ended up buying the one that I got a better deal on - in red. 

On June 13:
"Built up my grill on the balcony. This Summer I will be grilling like a boss!"
Haha! So I thought!
I ended up doing exactly ONE barbecue with my boyfriend and his mother. And that was it...

Maybe it's to compensate the fact that I don't want children - Olivier collects godsons like stamps!
Here he is with his third, Valentin, on June 15, shortly after he was born.
Enjoying the "beach bar" at Sihlcity on June 17
And on the same day I posted this:
"A quote from the Big Bang Theory: "...there are man-made objects on the moon, put there by a member of a species that only 60 years before had just invented the airplane."
I think that's pretty awesome!"
Think about it!

It got even better on June 18:
Now that's what I call a tropical paradise!

The next day I went into preparation mode. Because preparation is everything!
"Since I will soon have my dear friend Willow Chang Alléon visiting me and must prepare for a short trip to Montreux AND a week on the Azores.... I guess I better start packing now!
Starting with the most important things: Bikinis!"

Color-coordinated beach stuff? You bet!
Left: for the Azores
Center: for Montreux
Right: for Zürich (I might try to go stand up paddling!)
Packing nearly done, hahaha! 
(And yes, I buy all my towels at the ABC store. And all my bikinis in Waikiki. Because that's just how I roll....)

And this was not the end of it, as my post of June 21 illustrates:

"Last quiet weekend for a while (thanks to the weather. barf.) Perfect to prepare for the next few weeks of pleasurable craziness! Willow Chang Alléon in town! Weekend in Montreux! More Willow  Big Bollywood gig! Bellydance gig! Week on the Azores! 
I am totally obsessing over packing two PERFECT suitcases."

Zürich West is where a lot of old buildings have to make space for new ones. Sadly also the place where I had danced so many nice milongas. I took a picture of it on June 27 to say goodbye...

On June 28:
"Sometimes the STRANGEST songs pop up in my head! I am sure I haven't heard this since 1975 or so...."

And on June 29 followed a post that would have consequences for 2014:
"The universe somehow keeps telling me that I must go to London and Japan. OK, putting it on the list for next year...."

And I ended the month doing this on June 30:
"Sewing new covers for my balcony pillows. You know, just in case Summer should come back"

As you see, there's quite a lot of material for this year, so I will split it in two parts. 
July to December will follow soon...