Boldly Going ……Vienna

We arrived safe and sound in Vienna on late Sunday evening and got settled in our apartment by 1 am Monday morning.  A quick sleep for John and then off to work on the subway.  He is very adventurous and had a great first day. He arrived home with stories of awh!, as the OSCE office is situated in an old palace with numerous statues and ancient wares.

Our apartment is a studio suite, with all the modern conveniences and very, very clean.  The building is well lit at night time and I do not have to worry about rats and cockroaches, unlike some of our other travels.   We are located on the edge of the downtown core in the artists District so we are surrounded by beautiful buildings, beautiful landscapes and beautiful people.  (Very artsy!)  Our apartment is right across from an open air market (called the Naschtmarkt) that is two full blocks, so we have our choice daily of fresh bread, fresh fruit, cheeses, wine, beer, spirits and meat that is recognizable.  I was happy.

The streets are active and alive well into the night.  One night we were awakened by a serenade of German drinking songs choired by a group of young men on their way home at 4 am. They actually were very good and I went back to sleep with a snappy tune in my head.

I have taken time in the afternoons to go for my camera walks but I must admit a video camera would be a better choice.  The museums, architecture and statues are so abundant; I am visually exhausted by the end of my walk.  Carvings and statues on the buildings, covered in gold guild are the norm.  The parks are huge, with beautiful trees and plants, ponds, benches, statues and little spots to rest and have a glass of wine.  People bring their beer and wine and walk around the parks.  The parks are policed by surveillance and the “Polizei”.  The park I was in today was next to a university so it was full of young people, with coloured hair, body piercing and riding their bikes.

Everyone travels by bike and I have to be alert so I do not get run over by a bicyclist.  I haven’t quite figured out the German word for “idiot” but I know from the tone and the looks I have been called such a word, as I was unaware that the sidewalk is divided in two, one for pedestrians and one for the bikes.

Last night after a supper of fresh bread, cheese and tomatoes with the smoothest red wine I’ve tasted, John and I went for an evening walk and came across a runner’s event (Vienna Night Run) comprised of lots of people, runners and entertainment.  The streets are busy with outdoor cafe’s, the horse drawn carriages and happy German speaking people.  We have only run into a few of the merchants that do not speak English, but we seem to manage to make our purchases known.  We had our first Vienna ice cream and it would not take much to become addicted to an evening walk with an ice cream cone.  The night was beautiful and the treat was lip smacking delicious.

Yesterday, I took my camera and my book for a stroll in the downtown centre for the tourists; it was very busy and exciting.  Around every corner is another surprise as the streets all interconnect by passageways and side streets.  Cafe’s everywhere and even a Starbucks, which I refused to go to, after all I am in Vienna.  I settled for a little café for my afternoon coffee and a treat of apple strudel.  ( I must confess, it was the only thing on the menu I could pronounce, so that is what determined my choice)  and a good choice it was for the strudel was delicious.  I sat in the sun and read my book, relaxing in the warm autumn air listening to the din of a very busy city.

After, I decided to window shop in the very expensive part of town and actually saw a pair of runners priced at $519 (Euros).  The store windows are full of long evening gowns for a night out at the opera, jewellery so lavish I dare not even look at the price and fashions new to the shopping world.  I did however notice the shoes are very sensible.

The streets in the shopping area are closed to traffic so there are lots of people dressed in costume (old century Mozart era) selling tickets to the museums, the operas, the music theatres etc.   The art museums alone would keep you busy for a week.  I got tired of fighting the crowd, so sought a more peaceful setting and ended up in a large park with beautiful trees, blooming flowers, water fountains and numerous statutes.   I found a seat so I could people watch and nearby, two older gentlemen were playing waltz music; one on a violin, the other on an accordion. It was a perfect spot to self reflect as I  listened to beautiful music, children laughing and the chime of a church bell every fifteen minutes on the hour.  I wrote in my diary, read my book and spent a quiet couple of hours being grateful for my good fortune.

The evening weather has been very warm and we are walking in just our shirt sleeves and have the windows open all night while we sleep.  Very unlike the -8 degree weather you are having back home.    Well enough prattle for this week’s adventure.  We are off to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan tomorrow at 8 am and have been told the adventure is quite something to see.  The cultural influence is Asian and quite different from Vienna.  So until next week, we send our love and prayers.

Deb and John


Avenue News

It looks like more changes are in store for 10th Ave. West of 14th Street as the city will be creating an intersection on 14th Street and 10th Ave to take the traffic pressure from 11th and 12th Avenue.  The City will also change 12th Avenue feeder as it will be restricted it to one lane from Crowchild/Bow trail.  This will take place some time this year.  As the development continues on the Sunalta LRT Station  parking will be changed to reflect the traffic flow and expect further restrictions.  The good news is that the LRT station at the North end of 16th Street on 10th is going to be a very nice looking complex with patterned cement and lots of trees.

Building on 10th

1. 16th Street SW – Sunalta LRT station – [PROGRESSING]

2. Midtown Condo complex [PROGRESSING], finishing end of 2011.  Two towers, East about 22 floors and the West tower about 27 floors, parking underground, a couple of floors of retail.

3. Condo Complex stalled out on the block between 8th & 9th Street.

4. Condo/Office Complex 201 – 10th Ave. SE The current plans are commercial on bottom, 7 floors of offices, and up to the 29th is condos.  This project was stalled but will be progressing shortly.

For the Techno Gal @ Valentine’s Day

Wow check this out.  What would the look be on Marie’s face if she were to get this beauty for Valentine’s  day?  Not only does it look great but it holds a gig of memory.  Not a lot of space but when we’re out for the evening and she just has to store that very special file.  Wow did I just score the right gift.

About $150.

Digital Dan

Boldly Going….

As I blew out the candles on my 55th birthday cake, I threw my spontaneous wish out into the universe asking for the following year to be one of adventure, and then continued in the moment by cutting my cake to share with the awaiting party participants.  I really didn’t give my wish a second thought until later on in the evening when cleaning the table of the remnants of the company and the celebration.

A year of adventure; what was I thinking?  But the thought wouldn’t go away and so “adventures” became my quest as I realized, adventures don’t just happen, I have to make them happen, for I am the captain of my own ship.  So over the next several months, I created my own mini escapades and on occasion dragged somewhat unwilling participants with me to new restaurants, picnic excursions, day trips with my camera, bike riding (after a thirty year hiatus) and even a short story writing course.  I soon discovered life was filled with new possibilities if you have an open mind, and are willing to try new things, creating a journey of excitement and exploration. The other important lesson I discovered in my quest, was not in the asking of the universe for what I wanted, but having the open arms to receive what the universe would throw back my way.

This realization came to light on a late afternoon, when I received a phone call from my husband, who explained he was successful in a job competition and would be traveling to Europe for eight weeks, leaving within the next couple of days.  After expressing my congratulations, I hung up the phone and wondered what adventures I would find while he was away, when it dawned on me, the universe just handed me the biggest adventure opportunity yet.  I immediately called him back requesting a ticket for two ‘cause I’m coming with you.’   No hesitation, no worries about my job, no second thoughts…. just seizing the moment and making my wish come true.

A spontaneous wish made ten months earlier had created a thrill seeker who ended up spending the next eight weeks in Europe visiting Vienna, Austria, the city of Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, Skopje in Macedonia and Belgrade, Serbia. Now I am inviting you to come and join me over the next few issues of the 10th Avenue View  as I journal my voyage to family and friends; for every ship’s Captain must keep a Captain’s log.


Deb Middleton-Hope

Dealing With Difficult People

If you are like most of us, there are people in your world you are forced to interact with everyday that represent a source of aggravation to you.

Dealing with these kinds of people doesn’t necessarily have to be the greatest challenge you face from day to day. Clearly, we can’t control the actions of others, yet one option that is available to us to deal with difficult people, is to change the way we interact with them. We can’t change them yet we can influence their actions through our own actions.

When we change our approach with the difficult person, our actions may well influence their actions and demeanour. When trying to manage any difficult person or conversation, one strategy that has proven to be effective in the past is the strategy of shifting our communication from a place of “advocacy” to a place of “inquiry”.

So often when we encounter one of these situations, we believe we can be effective by meeting their emotions (often anger, aggression or frustration) with similar emotions. This strategy is counterproductive, as escalation will likely be the by-product of that exchange.

Instead of meeting their anger with our anger, there may be value in coming from a place of curiosity and one excellent tool is the word “Why”? While I am not talking about the application of “Why?” we often hear from our teenagers, this application sounds more like “You have taken a strong position with respect to this issue, can you help me understand why.”  Another application may sound like: “Why do you think it is okay to treat me with disrespect?”

Again, tone is a critical component when asking the “why question” as it is not our intent to inflame or escalate, rather to engage in a rational conversation and put the difficult person “on notice” that we won’t be treated badly.

The first time a person treats us badly, we are a victim. The second time they treat us badly, we are essentially a volunteer. Truly, we teach people how to treat us and letting the difficult person know in a non-offensive way that we refuse to be treated badly is a good start to influencing their behaviour.

Try the “why question” the next time you face a difficult person or difficult conversation. Coming from a place of inquiry is a non-offensive and a productive way to manage challenging people or situations.

Good luck.

Gary McDougall

Conflict Solutions Limited

How Many Hats Are You Wearing?

As business owners we ask ourselves to wear many hats every day of the week. But how do we do this with any degree of success? Here are three keys to help focus on your priorities:

1) Delegate or ‘outsource’ those tasks that are not your core business competencies. Take bookkeeping for example. Yes you can do it, however, take into respect how many hours it would take you to do it versus a competent professional who does it every day. “My bookkeeper does my quarterly books in 3 hours! This same work would take me about 3 days!”

2) Spend about 70% of your work week on sales and marketing!  Yes, you read that correctly! You must keep filling the funnel in order to get new clients or customers. End of story.

3) Educate, educate, educate! Educate yourself, your staff, and your clients every day. We have all heard the saying, ‘education is power’. Never close the books on business. Fill your brain with Knowledge and you will always be continuously improving your bottom line.

Shauna Baty is the President of her own company, The Business Block, which teaches ‘Business Classes for Busy People’. For further information on educating your business, please contact her

friendly staff at: or email

The Avenue to Health and Well-being

Information in the media about H1N1 is vast. Not only is the information important and pertinent, it is required in order to scare people and instill a sense of health-consciousness in our society. We are reminded to wash our hands regularly and sneeze into our sleeve, however, at the core of living in a healthy and positive manner requires a shift in consciousness. The media may actually exacerbate our fear and increase negative and pessimistic states of thinking. In turn, such fear has negative affects on our health and well being. The question is how can we best manage our health and well-being? Is getting the flu shot the real answer? How about slowing down in our busy lifestyle and attending to the needs of our whole being?

Christine Northrup, author and medical doctor, writes “Illness is the only acceptable form of meditation in Western society.” Instead of stopping to take a break to rest or recharge in our daily lives, illness becomes the acceptable form of meditation and rest. Illness gives people a reason to take a break from the busy grind of daily living, and also gives our body permission to rest. Is getting a cold or the flu a bad thing? Perhaps not! Maybe our body needs the rest and it is better to rest with a cold or flu than with a more serious form of illness.

In some Latin American and European countries, a siesta, a nap in the middle of the day is culturally acceptable. In Asia meditation is a good form of reflection and mindful living. In other countries prayer is a good means for connecting with a deeper purpose and meaning in life. In Western society the majority of focus is on success and work. In order to shift our thinking about health and wellness, we need to change at a much deeper level of consciousness. Listening to our body is the key. Our bodies are wise resources – we need to pay attention to the language that it speaks. Our bodies speak a very different language than what is taught in Western society.

If we could tune into the language of the body, it would speak gently to us urging us to rest and to be kind to ourselves. Some suggestions for checking in with our body and providing the space it requires for rest and healing include: art therapy, mindfulness meditation, body scan, yoga, prayer, tai chi, creative activity, journal writing, walking, massage, to name only a few. Start speaking the language of kindness and your body will soon resonate at a level of consciousness that invites health and well-being to your daily living.

Take the time to reflect, evaluate and change your life so that the song in your heart may be more in tune with the melody in your mind.

~Rachela Buonincontri, BA, MC:AT, CCC

Certified Canadian Counsellor, Art Therapist