rope. tree. fan. spear. snake. wall.

Saturday, December 31, 2005


Tony's been up to the Pacific Northwest lately, taking pictures and writing about the quirky little stores and ocean views and the rain and all the nothing for miles - no people, just trees and sky and road. I shoulda told him to go up and check out those little buildings that guy made out of rocks, the world (not to scale) in miniature. Eaglemount Rockeries, that's it. Maybe a bit out of his way, though.

I was there on my birthday, the day before Mom died. Baby Evan and Heather and her mom Shanghaied me and we went to a pumpkin patch and had ice cream at the little ice cream shop in a defunct train - the only time I've ever seen that place open. And then we stopped at Eaglemount and took some pictures, and then they dropped me at Mom's house. A few hours later, she was delirious, and ten hours after that, she was dead.

This wasn't supposed to be another post about my Mom. It was supposed to be about how, reading the busblog, looking at Tony's pictures, I can smell the rain in the evergreens and feel the damp air on my skin and the hum of the car wheels on the wet road. Tony'll be back home in southern California soon, and I'll be glad, because it's wonderful to read his words and see the pictures and know he's as enchanted by it as I am, but it also makes me homesick.

It's been beautiful here, too. The snow is pretty and it hasn't been too cold and the sky was even blue yesterday. But the weatherdudes say some bad stuff is coming tonight. Also coming tonight is Nigel - his flight gets in at 7:30 and I hope the storm doesn't delay his flight or muck up the roads so it takes forever to get him back to the house.

This is the last day of 2005, isn't it? I sure had some hopes for this year. I sure hope next year is better.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

whatever that means...

Well, looks like I've made it through my first Christmas since Mom died. I'm not sure what Making It Through something actually entails, now that you mention it, but. Here I am on the other side of it, more or less intact. As alive, as sane, as whatever-I-am, as I was before.

I haven't wanted to write about her, about what happened, about how I feel now, because I can't seem to articulate it. I haven't talked about it either. But even though I haven't put it into words, I'm still thinking about her.

Every day.

Every minute.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Haven't written in seems-like-forever, and it's not because blogging is like work and I'm on vacation, oh, no. It's because blogging is like fun and I'm at work. The kids can: entertain himself with his new swag (Firstborn) or hang out at the Oompas' for three days because he has to be home this weekend when Nigel comes (Secondborn) and Da Husband has to write Da Book so I have a quiet house to work in and my whole brain has been poured into works like this:
CREATE TRIGGER DelAuthor ON authors
(SELECT 'true'
FROM Deleted d
JOIN titleauthor ta
ON d.au_id = ta.au_id
RAISERROR('Author still has titles in the database. Delete failed.',16,1)

So much talent. Tragically wasted. After all this struggle, someone dang well better give me a job.

And now, more homework. Gah.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


I don't know, I keep feeling there should be an easier way to hack this template. Meh. I'm probably just lazy.

Oh, and Merry Christmas all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I just don't know how she does it!

How does the busy housework-addled, supportive wife-type WAHM, StAHM, (slahm, bahm, thankya mahm) get everything done? Let's listen in:
Adorable Moppet: Mama, will you read me a story?
Highly Efficient Mother: Certainly, dearest. Shall we read Managing and Using MySQL, or JavaScript for the World Wide Web?
AM: No, I want I Was So Mad.
HEM: Perhaps I should book your therapist now.
But seriously, I've been reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to Firstborn, one chapter a day, and today we reached the delightful chapter 8, which is almost a whole page long! I was pleased, but he felt a bit cheated. I told him he had to go to bed now anyway because I still have presents to wrap, and he made a grouchy face, grasped the door handle, said "Slam!" and then closed it carefully and quietly.

This is a new thing. I like this new thing.

Yuletide crabbitude

My lungs hurt when I breathe in. That's a good sign, right?

I got all the Christmas shopping done today. The boys are giving their grandmother one hell-ass ugly candle, but hey, that's what she gets for already owning everything in the universe, isn't it? They got their grandpa a ham, for pretty much the same reason. In fact, I bought both items by myself and wrapped them, so the kids will see them for the very first time on Saturday when they're opened. They have been instructed to try not to look too surprised. Shortcuts at Christmas? Yes, I am overworked and overwhelmed, and not getting enough sympathy for the fact that my mother died, so I am Queen Badass.

Incidentally, one of the many tragic side-effects of that is that I no longer have my favorite emotional blackmail line - for the past year I've been telling my husband, "My mother has cancer, so you have to be nice to me!" No, I am not sorry I said it, it was funny. There are a lot of things I regret about the last year of her life, but being able to find a joke somewhere in all that mess is certainly not one of them. Cass'll back me up on that, though he'd probably say as jokes go, that one is pretty pathetic.

However. I am still only 2/3 through my database administration certificate thing, and I went and signed up for another course (yes I know what you're thinking, but there is an explanation. Perhaps one day I will supply it.) and my book (yet another JavaScript book - can't you people just pick one text for all your classes? The CSS people do.) came today but I haven't enrolled yet and I have one or two more things to do for the webmaster job and of course the other job isn't going anywhere so there goes my Friday. Oh poop, and I haven't even made the lemon cookies yet! Clearly, I already have enough going on, so this year Christmas can pretty much bite me.

Oh, and Firstborn? Had an English test today and forgot to turn it in. Automatic F. A native English-speaker in a German high school, in a class full of kids taking only their third year of English instruction. The Husband and I were assuming that here was at least one class where he couldn't tank.

Apparently we underestimated him.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I've been tagged! This is so cool!

My existence as a blogger, validated by the Goober Queen!

Seven things to do before I die:
1. Live in a city again.
2. Exercise regularly.
3. Work for a nonprofit outfit.
4. Make the pilgrimage to Santiago.
5. Work for a publisher or bookstore.
6. Get organized.
7. Get (and stay) on top of the housework.

Seven things I can (or will) not do:
1. Take up jogging.
2. Learn to play a musical instrument.
3. Skydive.
4. Give up coffee.
5. Stop fidgeting.
6. Get over myself.
7. Be consistent.

Seven things that attract me to my spouse:
1. His smell.
2. His shoulders.
3. His muscles.
4. His faith in me.
5. His sense of humor.
6. His hands.
7., no, sorry, that would be TMI.

Seven things I say most often:
1. You should be nicer to me.
2. Bummer.
3. This is my skeptical face.
4. You're so cute.
5. I dunno, you decide.
6. *SIGH*, Boys! (or Germans!)
7. Because I'm a bad mother, that's why.

Seven books (or series) I love:
1. The Narnia books
2. Pride and Prejudice
3. The Amelia Peabody series
4. Lost Horizon
5. Jasper Fforde's Tuesday Next series
6. Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
7. The Miles Vorkosigan series

Seven movies I watch over and over again:
1. The Princess Bride
2. Muppet Treasure Island
3. The Fifth Element
4. Casablanca
5. Beauty and the Beast
6. Galaxy Quest
7. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Seven people I want to make suffer would love to see play along (yike, do I even know seven people who haven't already done this meme? Probably not...):
1. Kel, who is way overdue for a blog entry anyway.
2. Camellia, who is too.
3. Linda
4. Kimberly Di
5. Firstborn, see #7 on the Things I Say Most Often list.
6. Vicki
7. Jeneane

a cringe to the inevitable

We all go through the same milestones, right? First tooth, first steps, first self-inflicted haircut. Today it was Secondborn's turn. Firstborn, now, he just cut a chunk out of his bangs and scotch-taped it to his upper lip to make a mustache. Nothing, comprehensive, and fairly easy to repair. But Secondborn dreams bigger, I guess.

God, it looks like he used a lawnmower.

He's making that face, by the way, because we were cackling like hyenas and he couldn't decide whether to laugh with us or be offended.

UPDATE: I got out the clippers to "even it out" (i.e., cut it all down to 1/8") after dinner. Unfortunately, the Husband gave him a mirror at the mullet stage and 2b was distraught. He slid off the chair, buried his face in my lap, and howled, "I'll never be cool again." Oh dear.

Monday, December 19, 2005

i know, i know...

I haven't blogged in what, four days, which is like a decade in internet-time. I can't remember what I did during those days, but I was probably busy, since I'm rarely not. And today I have That Headache. You know, the one that feels like my right eye is digging a tunnel through to my left ear? Yeah, that one.

I think it was spawned by my job. Again. This outfit, um, publishes books, sort of, sometimes (this is me being circumspect because I blogged something about half the texts being "crap anyway" some time ago and got in trouble for it, though I did not get dooced, for which I cannot decide whether to be grateful or not. But I digress). Where was I? Oh right, books get published and subsequently reviewed, and if the reviewers are proud residents of the 21st century, the reviews are online somewhere and all I have to do is post a link to them. But come on, this is the Humanities we are talking about, so most of them haven't even caught up with the previous century - boy are they gonna be ticked if they ever find out it's been and gone. Don't worry, they won't find out.

So sometimes I get a ditto-copy of a review, three pages in two columns this last time, and I have to scan it and put it up as a readable image, which is not exactly difficult, but it's tedious, time-consuming, and so bizarrely, counter-intuitively wrong-on-so-many-levels that it gives me That Headache. I mean, I expect a certain amount of tedium from webmastering, there are some things you just have to slog through. But the cognitive dissonance created by scanning and posting three pages of text as an image makes my brain hurt.

And then I write only to complain, so see, you should probably be glad you haven't heard from me in four days!

Oh, but here's a very small story about my neighbor: I bumped into her Saturday, both of us having recently had spats with our husbands and still seething, and I made a joking reference to Strangers on a Train. She didn't get it, so I sketched out the basic plot for her, and she said "Oh, okay. Well then, please don't actually kill my husband, all right? Because I really do want to do it myself."

hahahahaha(um, you're scaring me?)hahahahaha...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

And a good time was had by all

Today was the day of dread, Ignatz's birthday party. Wherein we invite seven of his closest little hoodlum friends to hang out with us for an entire day (we would have invited more, but we only had two cars and two drivers, so there was only room for 8 kids altogether), with great trepidation. The weather turned grim last night, so it was all slushy roads and bad visibility and of course I hate driving in the best of circumstances, so I concentrated fiercely, and now I'm so tired I feel like I kept the car on the road through sheer psychic force. Gah.

We took them all to the Burger King at the airport, and they behaved themselves, mostly, and then we hustled them all to the movie theater to see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the German title of which translates to "The King of Narnia," further proof, as if we needed it, that Germans Just Don't Get It (you know what the German title of Little Women is? Do you? It translates to "Betty and her Sisters." Seriously. Somebody needs slapping for that.). And there were no crises, no fights, no disappearances, and no car accidents, and everyone seems to have had a good time, miracle of miracles. So that's that survived.

I actually did enjoy the movie, even though I saw it not in its original English, but dubbed into German by actors who talk like typewriters. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was THE book that really hooked me on reading at the age of 9 - it was the first chapter-book I ever read all in one sitting, and my dad let me stay up til 4:30 a.m. on a school night to finish it. So it's very important that I get to enjoy the movie, and that means seeing it in its original language.

The rhinoceros was a nice touch.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Boys rock

In response to the "I have an 11-year-old" post, Kimberlydi says,
Wait until he's 16 going on 17, wearing size 14 shoes, and towers a head taller than you... It just gets better. :)
I am so looking forward to that! I think it's really cool that my boys will be bigger than I am someday. Potentially a lot bigger: my brother-in-law is 6'4". Okay, I'm not looking forward to how smelly boys get, but I can deal with that. My friends who have daughters have fabulous wonderful daughters, but still, I'm really really glad I have sons. Can't wait till they wear the same shoe size as me and I can buy them really nice shoes which then become my shoes three months later. Heh.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Happy Birthday Ignatz!

That's right. As of today, I have an 11-year-old son. Does it ever go away, that sense of astonishment over the fact that you have (more or less) successfully reproduced? My friend Dan, whose kids are 18 and 20, says no, it will be perpetually amazing. But some days you feel it more than others.

Eleven. Wow. Happy birthday, kid.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

just to clarify...

In response to my last post, about ambivalence and Texas, my brother emailed: "There are good people in good quantities just about everywhere." Which is absolutely true, and I'm not ambivalent about the people there. Mainly I was thinking about how West Texas is sort of in the desert-y bit of the USA, and I come from the more rain-foresty bit, and I can get a whopper of a sunburn in about ten minutes. Also, I read in "The Bean Trees" about how you need to drink a lot of water in the desert or you'll die or something, and I've posted before about how much I hate water.

On the other hand, I would have regular access to Mexican food. Okay, that settles it. I'll start packing.

Monday, December 12, 2005

an entry from my personal dictionary

ambivalent, adj.
  1. Robert had a job interview today with a school in Lubbock, TX
  2. It didn't go well. They probably won't offer him the job.

Lemon Stars-n-Moons

(makes oh, 2 dozen I guess)

1/2c. room-temperature butter
1/3c. + 2T. sugar
1 egg
1/2t. light corn syrup
1t. lemon extract
1t. grated lemon rind
1 3/4c. all-purpose flour
1/8t. salt
for the glaze:
powdered sugar
lemon juice
yellow sugar crystals

Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in egg, corn syrup, lemon extract and lemon rind. Gradually beat in flour and salt. Divide dough into two parts and refrigerate at least an hour. Set out at room temperature to soften before rolling it out to 1/4-inch thick between two sheets of waxed paper. Cut out moons and stars. Bake oh, 12 minutes, or until very lightly browned just on the edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire racks and let them cool thoroughly, or the glaze will be too slimy. Oh right, the glaze: Mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice, ice the cookies and dip the edges in the yellow sugar crystals.

Christmas Crinkles

(makes about 3 dozen)
1c. sugar
1/4c. vegetable oil
1t. vanilla
2oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1c. all-purpose flour
1t. baking powder
1/4t. salt
(1/2t. peppermint extract)
1/2c. powdered sugar

Mix sugar, oil, vanilla and chocolate (and mint extract, if you're using it) in large bowl. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. Grease cookie sheet and heat oven to 175C/350F. Drop balls of dough (those little trigger-action scoopers are great for this, if you can find the 1-inch size) into the powdered sugar and roll 'em around a bit. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 10 or 12 minutes for 1-inch cookies, probably more if they're bigger. Cool on wire rack.

Mmmm, cookies...

Speaking of holiday traditions for the catastrophically disorganized...

What that means is that even though I have lots and lots of holiday traditions, I observe them extreeeeemely patchily, and this year so far I've only managed the Advent calendars and the "wreath" with candles (this year's wreath is a bowl of water with floaty-candles in it: for the last three years it was a real (well, fake, but very wreathy) wreath with silver candles, which we hung from the ceiling to keep it away from Son2, but I think he's finally old enough that we can stop that). If you judge by the "annual" ornament tradition, Son1 is about 6, and Son2 is probably 3 or so (IRL, they are about-to-turn-11 and just-turned-5, respectively). Candy canes for the tree? Uh, not yet. A tree? Er, still arguing about that one. The Nativity scene is Playmobil, and I think it got mixed in with the other stuff. I'm fairly sure I saw a pot of frankincense in the luggage compartment of Son2's airplane.

But I'll be doing cookies this year, by cracky! Two years ago I did Total Cookie Warfare, I must have made 10 or 12 different kinds. Gave them to everyone we know, and still had lots leftover. Last year I was about halfway through the Whole Thing (you prep them in advance, and then freeze them, it's the only way a person with a job can make 12 different kinds of cookies and still have at least a few of each kind around when Christmas arrives) when that pediatrician told us we should try to cut sugar completely out of Firstborn's diet. And there's me with a freezer full of cookie dough. Gack.

So anyway! Cookies this year! Because we decided the pediatrician was a crazy man! But I don't want to make myself crazy (okay, okay, crazier) this time, so this year there will only be four kinds, two of which are recipe-ed here. If you try 'em, let me know what you think.

Diva, thwarted

So as I was saying, in three weeks my contract expires and I won't be renewing at the JOB. That's right, I'm quitting, though in a no-hard-feelings kind of way. Even so, I must admit that in the darkest corner of my evil little soul, I want them to miss me. I want them to tear their hair out and cry "Why, oh why did we ever let her go!" Unfortunately, their publications maven is also leaving, at the same time I do, and an urgent email has already gone around, to the tune of "OMG K is leaving, does anybody know anyone who might be persuaded to take her job, OMG we are so screwed." That's right, my thunder has been thoroughly stolen. Dang.

Of course, a large part of the story is that they all understand what she does, and they don't understand what I actually do there (okay, two of them do, but one of them is my husband, so he doesn't count). So they have no idea how easy or difficult it will be to replace me. My dread secret? I have restructured the whole site so that a reasonably intelligent chimpanzee could run it. So it actually wouldn't be that hard. Hm. May have shot myself in the foot there.

Which means that if I were to go bounding into the office, say, next June, and say "Didja miss me?" (which I won't), they'll be like, "Um, why, did you go somewhere?"

That's okay (grr, is not, grumble grumble). My inner diva probably shouldn't be fed anyway.

Friday, December 09, 2005

bit late to be asking this question, but...

Your Career Type: Social

You are helpful, friendly, and trustworthy. (harf, harf, harf)
Your talents lie in teaching, nursing, giving information, and solving social problems.

You would make an excellent:

Counselor - Dental Hygienist - Librarian
Nurse - Parole Officer - Personal Trainer
Physical Therapist - Social Worker - Teacher

The worst career options for your are realistic careers, like truck driver or farmer. (That's right. No realism for me, thanks.)

circadian hell

Is there any logical explanation for this? I spent nearly the whole day studying (database backup and recovery) and worrying (der Husband is pushing himself perilously close to mental breakdown just in time for the holidays, and frankly, I don't have enough reserves to cope with that right now), and by 5:30 I was so tired I thought my eyes would fall out. But I'm a mother, and I have to stay up long enough to get the kids (well, kid, since Son2 is with the grandparents tonight) fed and watered and put to bed, so I stare miserably at the clock and cling desperately to consciousness - just survive till 8:00 and then I can collapse. And what happens? It's 7:30 now, and foink! I'm wide awake.

This makes no sense.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Boxes arrived yesterday.

For those of you who are joining us late, the division of labor regarding Mom's estate is as follows: my brother is the executor of her will and therefore handles all accounts and pensions and insurances and whatever else - the money end. Which is good, because I am so absolutely clueless in such matters that I can't even come up with an example of how dumb I am. My job is (well, was) the stuff. I had two weeks, which turned into nearly a month, to clear out her closet and dresser and go through knick-knacks and books and paintings and letters and... just... stuff. Which I did, and it was a very strange and awkward business, done in too little time.

Maybe other families do it differently, but it seems natural to me that the daughter would absorb the stuff into her own life, as much as possible. Especially the kitchen things should find a new home with someone who grew up with them and knows their stories. The pot that Mom used for making stew, which is still comfort food for me, or the griddle we used for pancakes, the muffin pan that makes flower-shaped muffins, or the baking dish that must have held at least a thousand tuna casseroles. The stories are lost if you pass these things to outsiders.

But these things are heavy, too. A lot of them are breakable. Shipping is expensive, and if I ship more than $50 worth of stuff to Germany I have to pay import taxes. So I had to leave a lot of things behind. I got the pie pan. A few wooden spoons. Some photographs of great-grand-relatives. The Muppet DVDs she was sending us one at a time, for birthdays and Christmases. A file of my childhood art and schoolwork. Two coffee cups, one of which broke in transit. Some cookie cutters. The light-bulb spice jars, which crack me up every time I look at them. Only a little bit of history. And I shipped them over, and worried for five weeks that the Customs guys would mess with them, because they have done before - they ripped all the wrapping paper off the Christmas presents Red sent us a few years ago. But these, they didn't even open, and everything came through okay except the one coffee cup.

And I'm relieved, I am. I'm happy that the stuff arrived safely. I can surround myself with little bits and pieces of her life, use them myself and add my own history to them, and that way she won't be forgotten. Wish I'd been able to find a way to bring over the stew pot, though.

Sorry this went on for so long.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

They all liked the jambalaya, which can only mean one thing.

The aliens must have gotten them all at the same time.


He: What's dinner?

Me: Jambalaya! Hah! Son2 will hate it!

He: Is this a new policy? Are you out to get him or something?

Me: No, I've just figured out that I can cook a lot more stuff if I don't have to care whether he likes it or not. He hates everything I make anyway.

He: That's not true, there are some things he likes.

Me: Yeah, like two things. He's like your dad. And I respect your mom, but I don't want her life.

He: You could occasionally make something he likes.

Me: He could occasionally eat something I make!

He: Well, I guess you're even then.

ooop, there goes another one

I do believe it's "warming up", in the sense that the snow is melting and another giant wodge of it just slid off the roof past my window, and...nope, didn't get the mailman. This time. It is not warming up in the sense of feeling any warmer, and you still risk your life if you venture outside with any exposed skin, unfortunately. Excuse me, I need to go work on my list of excuses not to leave the house.

Monday, December 05, 2005

ode to the Body Shop

Partly because I like the nice bright colors, and the no-animal-testing and the fair trade aspect - I'm sure there is a German company that does same, but I don't wanna stand around reading labels in German. I'm lazy like that. But has anyone else noticed that the Body Shop is gradually shucking all their floral stuff? I mean, with the body scrubs and shower creams and lotion and shampoo and conditioner, you have a lot of competing smells anyway, but howcome over the last few years it's gone from some-flowers to all-fruit? I used to could smell like this:
And now, I smell like this:

Not that that's necessarily a Bad Thing, I just, as a matter of personal taste, don't really like to smell like food. Just a thing I have. The blueberry lotion is way OTT, but the foodless alternative is "shea butter", and the "unscented" stuff is never without-smell, it just smells like soybeans or something. I miss the roses and gardenias, a bit. Okay, maybe more than a bit. Maybe I should start reading labels in German. Weleda has flowers, I think.

girl, put some clothes on!

I think my WeatherPixie's been smoking crack. 32°F out there, and she's wearing this little belly-baring t-shirt. She never puts a coat on unless it gets below 0. Fahrenheit! I'd chose a more sensible Pixie, but none of the others have such cool hair.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Yeah, Baby!

Hah. Five loads of laundry, sorted, folded, and waiting to be put away (the sixth load is still in the dryer - betcha it's still there next Friday), two grumpy sons because I made them help me fold stuff, two shiny bathrooms, one house full of clean floors, and one metric buttload of peeled cooked potatoes for use in whatever culinary adventure I stumble into next. In the words of Son1's kindergarten pal Richard, ca. 1999, I Wock!

Overcompensate much?

Um, no, why?

Oh okay, I admit it. For the last two three (four?) weeks I haven't been very good at keeping up with the laundry, and you know, starting to have trouble finding warm socks for Secondborn, or any underpants I don't hate. So this weekend I addressed that problem, and there are now five loads of laundry (in baskets and crates, not just piled up any-old-how) on the couch waiting to be folded. And another load in the drier. Which is enough to make me wonder why a family of four has six loads of laundry? More than that, because there are no sheets in there, and not all of the towels, and none of us are running around naked - we're not even wearing our grubbies or our fat clothes. Clearly, we consume too much, and it's time to donate some of it to the needy.

Yay, another project.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Lame Duck Job Syndrome

It's not really that bad a job. Okay, the people who tell me what to do don't have any idea about HTML, so no - I mean literally, zero - clue about what is easy or difficult, possible or im. But come on, how many people work in a similar situation? Most, I would bet. It's not uncommon, and not really unbearable. And I'm not quitting because I hate it hate it hate it. My contract expires at the end of the year, is all, and I've decided not to renew because I have to look for a job that goes with my shiny new database management certificate. I'm movin' on up. Admittedly, I have the distinct impression that they will be happy to see the back of me, because I'm a lot more uppity than they expect from women around here, but for my part, I have no real hostility toward them.

Okay, now that I've gotten that out of the way, AAAAAAARRGH! Not at the job itself, but at the lame duckness of it. The simple fact that I will not have this job in four weeks makes it unutterably cringeworthily horritudinous now. A few simple page updates, that's all she wants, she asked for it Thursday and I am now, Saturday night, banging my head on my desk (ow!) trying to convince myself to do it.

I was going to blog, but I couldn't think of anything to say. So I open up HTML-Kit and download the .doc with the changes on it, and babing! I'm inspired! To blog! Not to work!

(Babing! Babing! We took Thing1 to a birthday party in A Nearby Town, and on the way we passed a sign to a place called Babing. Heh.)

Dinner tonight: garlic lemon salmon, broccoli, and rice. No children present, so we were able to have an adult conversation. For the uninitiated, "adult conversation" doesn't mean it contains swear words, violence, and/or sexual situations, it just means no interruptions of the "Mama! Look how many rice grains I can fit up my nose!" variety. We should do this more often.

Okay, now I really really have to do those page updates.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

winter fog

It freezes into crystals, and lines every little thing, every branch, leaf, defunct spiderweb, chain-link fence with tiny white spikes, and it's so breathtakingly beautiful, everything ghostly-pale against the gray sky.

But it's also FUCKING cold out, so I think I'll keep my blue funk for a bit longer, thanks.

I did go to and order some Christmas CDs. Umm, Bach cantatas, a Brian Setzer Orchestra thing, and...oh, right, tinkly instrumental celtic stuff. I also bought wrapping paper today AND...went to the gym! Yay me.

Oh yeah, I also made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner today, homemade sauce and from-scratch meatballs, I'm so June Cleaver. Except I forgot the salt. Other than that, though, they were fine.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Oh, right. Christmas.

On the afternoon of the last day of November, we zipped out to the store to buy Advent calendars for the kids. We brought them along to choose their own - I don't think I'll be up for engineering surprises this year - and the stores were nearly sold out, which is what I get for waiting till the last minute. No, I haven't even started thinking about shopping yet.

This is going to be a rough season. Over and above the fact that Thing1's birthday is on the 15th, which complicates things every year, I just don't feel like I can pull it all together this time. The cookies and the parties and the cards and the fact that nobody in the family knows what to get the kids or my husband so they all ask me - it's always overwhelming, but this year I still haven't caught up on the month of everything I missed while I was Home in October, and I'm still waiting for the grief of Mom's death to catch up with me. While I wait, I stare into space a lot. Oh no, I think we're out of wrapping paper too.

Christmas music might help me get into the spirit of thing, and maybe even remember that Christmas is looming long enough to get some stuff done. But finding and ordering a CD that doesn't suck sounds like too much work right now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Okay, ganked this list from Kelly, and the word gank from her friend Mario, whom I do not actually know. But he taught me a new word, so he can be my friend.

A: Area Code You Are In Right Now: 8081
B: Birthday: October 21st
C: Current Crush: John Cusack
D: Favorite Drink: Coffee
E: Eating Currently: gummi bears, stolen confiscated from my sons
F: Favorite Food: mashed potatoes with lots of butter and gravy
G: Who Do You Go To For Advice: My next-door neighbor
H: Happy or Sad: yes
I: I think: too slowly
J: Job: several
K: Any Kids: two sons
L: I Love: my family
M: Favorite Movie: Princess Bride. Yes, I am a dweeb.
N: Your Phone Number: not tellin'.
P: Favorite Perfume or Cologne: something lilac-y would be nice.
Q: A Little Quirk About Yourself: I tell the truth when people ask me how I am.
R: Last Road Trip: Andalucía, about three weeks ago. El woohoo!
S: Tell Us One Secret: I don't have any secrets
T: Favorite TV Show: haven't seen anything other than kiddie shows for four years. I hate them all.
U: Color of your Underwear: usually black
V: Last Time You Were in Vegas: umm, New Year's, 1992. 1993?
W: Wishful Thinking: the only kind I do
X: X-Rays Taken This Year: None
Y: Your Favorite Year of your Life: almost always the one I'm in, except for this year. This one was not so great.
Z: Zodiac Sign: Libra

Thing1 and therapy

So this morning I went to see Fr. W, the only psychotherapist-for-kids here in OurTown. This was the last of the 8 um, trial sessions. She had four with Thing1, and two each with me and Robert, and will now write to the insurance company, describe the problem as she sees it and say that she thinks Thing1 will benefit from therapy. If they approve it (i.e. agree to pay for it), we can start seeing her regularly - Thing1 once a week, the parents probably once a month or so.

Have I ranted yet about how inappropriate I think psychotherapy is for a kid with ADD? Probably. There's really no point in objecting, though, because there is nothing else here. To have any kind of choice in what to do for Thing1 we'd have to move to Munich... which we may yet do, but moving to another city is a huge process here, usually takes half a year at least, and if Robert finds a job in the next year or so and we have to move anyway that will have been a lot of trouble and expense for nothing. Anyway, she's really nice, and may yet be helpful. I should and will give her a chance. But I'm frustrated at how little input I have in these decisions about Thing1's welfare, and it makes me wish we could go back to the States, where at least I know how to navigate the bureaucracy and how to find out what the options are.

Monday, November 28, 2005

about Niklas's sweater...

Thing2 cut a hole in it. With scissors. At kindergarten, last Wednesday. He says it was unintentional, and his teacher confirms that there did not appear to be any hostility behind it. Apparently, he just...did it. Which is why, she says, she recommends that he not start school next September, but wait a year. Apparently he has some, uh, maturing to do. Which is a bit confusing because he was so cheerful and friendly and socially... uh, ept (opposite of inept? Okay, okay, I know it's "apt", I was just playing) when he started kindergarten two years ago. He seems to be going backward.

So now we have to call Niklas's mom and figure out how to replace the sweater. I never realized how mortifying parenting is. Oh, especially since remember the Thanksgiving thing? Where Thing2 was not very nice to the hosts' little boy? Well, the little boy's mom is a database administrator, and therefore a potential asset in my imminent job search. Or was a potential asset, until she met my son and I left my purse at her house.

By the way, if you can stand waiting for it to load, this is pretty funny. Unless you hate cats, of course.

but I digress...

So I've been thinking that photo up there deserves an explanation - I mean, are those birth-control glasses, or what? What happened to the rest of my face? Why am I even wearing glasses, since those of you who know me know that I've had 20/20 vision all my life. And it's a funny story, or maybe it isn't - the whole situation struck us as deeply and hilariously weird at the time, but it's probably one of those "Ya had to be there" things. And of course it was long enough ago (a whole month, wow!) that I've forgotten some of the details. I did take notes, in that little notebook I mentioned in a previous entry, but I don't have that notebook to hand, because of another thing that happened. Which is that I left my purse at someone's house. We, except for Thing1 who went to see his godfather instead, went to a sort of Americans Gathering For Thanksgiving thing in Munich, on Saturday. Which was fun, yadda yadda yadda, oh except that Thing2 was a surly-butt - the hosts have a 4-year-old son, a charming little boy who was very happy to have someone his age to play with, except that Thing2 wouldn't play. Which not only embarrassed me, because he should be nice to other people (even though he has nobody to model this behavior for him, since his parents are surly-butts as well - oh no, remind me to tell you about Niklas's sweater sometime), but also annoyed me because he wanted to crawl all over me while I was trying to talk to grown-ups. Gad, is it time for a new paragraph yet?

Sure, what the hell. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, reasonably fun and not terribly eventful, except that, as the punch line of a comedy of errors, I left my purse there. With the notebook in it. And my cel phone, and my PDA which has little alarms to help me remember to do stuff, and I devoutly hope no alarms are set on it right now, because Robert won't be able to pick up my purse until Tuesday. Also hope nobody calls me. Because the family who hosted the Thanksgiving Thing were very nice, and my son has already been rude to their son, and I have already demonstrated my complete scatterbrainedness, and on top of everything else, I would really hate to annoy them in absentia with random beepy gadget noises.

So that's why the story of the glasses will have to wait. Because this entry is already long enough. Maybe I'll remember when I've got my purse back, Tuesday evening, or maybe the story will be supplanted by whatever happens tomorrow morning, at my appointment with Thing1's shrink. Which I sincerely hope I remember to go to, because it's at 8.30 am, and I don't have my PDA to remind me.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

been remiss

You know, given that I am Tom Waits, it's actually kind of embarrassing that I haven't bought any of my albums since Black Rider. Okay, the label should be sending them to me free of charge, and I shall send them a very stern email, but in the meantime I should pick up a few, and this requires some thought. Because there's a sort of Tom Waits continuum, with, say, the mellow bluesy Semi-Suite at one, and the clanky, shrieky, Earth-Died-Screaming at ten. And if I recall correctly, Black Rider was about a twelve, a little bit past my level of dissonance-tolerance. And every time I look into buying another Tom Waits CD, I wonder where it is on the scale. Somebody should set up a Listmania! list. Oh look, somebody already has. Welcome to Stream-of-consciousness blogging, folks. Anyway. The point was: asking the general public for input! Yes! Because I take advice from strangers! Okay, not really. But still, here's a chance to put some pictures up, and we all love pictures.

So there's my collection so far, in order from bluesy to clanky. Those of you familiar with the canon, please tell me where you think the others fall in that spectrum. And I'll go buy the two or three that suit my mood the next time I visit



Turns out, it's not just me. Ask pretty much anyone from the Left Coast what they miss most, living in Munich, and they all say the same thing: Mexican Food!

So that's good, I'm not alone. Misery loves company. Of course, I'd swap all my companions in culinary deprivation for a shredded beef and bean burrito, but that's okay. I'm fairly sure they'd do the same for me.

another crisis, been and gone

And then I didn't post for a coupla days after I found out that I'm Tom Waits, which is reprehensible*, but here's why: I have lots of time, but it's all in 10-minute chunks, which doesn't seem like enough time to cover the latest crisis, which is now basically over. That is one of the cool things about parenting, actually, that the world collapses on a regular basis, the problems get solved before you even have time to tell anyone about them, and if you're me, and you don't document them, then they're forgotten two days later. Not that I have forgotten that Robert's parents bought Thing1 an Xbox even though we have clearly, specifically, and repeatedly said no, but it doesn't seem like as big a deal as it did a few days ago. Because at least we agree 100% on what to do about it, so all we have to do is tell the Oompas that we said no, and we meant no, and please get rid of the damn thing, then wait a few weeks to see if they actually do it.

*(I mean that not posting is reprehensible. That I am Tom Waits is self-evident.)

I do feel the need to qualify this a bit, as we do have one dear friend (that we know of) who bought a Nintendo (or something) for her kid, and I don't want her to think that I'm judging her. NintendoXboxPlaystation is not inherently evil. It is a fine thing for some kids, but not for Thing1. Because he acts like a crack addict, I swear. He plays online games on his computer, maze-things, or shooty-things, or whatever, and he gets really, really, really tense about them. Tense? How about wigged-out? It's scary. He screams at you if you interrupt him while he's playing. He hits the keys so hard he's actually damaged them, and now some of them don't work - which is particularly sucky because when Thing1 gets Robert's laptop next year because R is upgrading, the Dell which Thing1 now uses was supposed to go to Thing2. But the Dell is pretty useless without a working A-key (among others), and it's Thing1's fault, not Thing2's, so it's hardly fair that Thing1 gets a shiny nearly-new computer and Thing2 gets a POS. Hm. I digress. The upshot is that Thing1 lacks the interpersonal skills, manners, concentration, etc. that are appropriate to his age, and computer games will not help him develop them. Plus there is the fact that when they bought the Xbox, he picked out a game that is so violent it's not supposed to be played by kids under 16. Sixteen!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all

you are Tom Waits!
Tom Waits... charismatic story-teller with a
penchant for freaky people and unusual
settings. You thrive on the concept of the
underdog coming out on top.

Which fucked-up genius composer are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

via Slacktivist.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The sun came out today.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

100 Things

I realize that this is a hoary old meme, an ancient meme, probably a cavememe, but I like reading other people's 100 Thingses, so I might as well put up mine.

  1. I was born in California. Bay Area, woo.

  2. We left when I was 4 months old, so I remember absolutely nothing about it.

  3. I lived mostly in Columbus Ohio until I was 13.

  4. I also remember very little about Columbus. Just the house.

  5. And the park.

  6. And some people.

  7. I'm never bored.

  8. I like number games.

  9. And crossword puzzles.

  10. My feet look just like my dad's (except I don't think he wore red nail polish on his toes).

  11. My B.A is in Social Science: psychology, anthropology, history...

  12. But I'm moving into IT, which I am not at all cut out for.

  13. Because I want to have a job someday.

  14. We'll see how that goes.

  15. I am utterly, absolutely inept at making small talk.

  16. I am a coffee snob. Starbucks can bite me.

  17. I am not a good cook.

  18. I have two sons.

  19. I live in a suburb of Munich (Germany), which has me in a sort of permanent identity crisis.

  20. I have one friend in this town. She's English.

  21. I love happy movies. Don't care much for the other kind.

  22. If I could read all the time, I would.

  23. Fiction.

  24. I like science-fiction, but there sure is a lot of crap getting published lately.

  25. Ditto sword-and-sorcery stories.

  26. I've been proofreading off and on for over 17 years, and I have no patience with bad writing.

  27. I would love to have one of those zippy, informed, aware, interesting blogs about What's Going On, but I just don't have the attention span.

  28. I tell people I'm from Seattle, unless they're from Seattle.

  29. Then I say I'm from Port Townsend.

  30. Well, nobody else knows where Port Townsend is.

  31. It's beautiful, though. I miss it every day.

  32. Even though living there drove me crazy.

  33. I like to knit, but I'm not all that good at it.

  34. I have one brother.

  35. My dad was married three times. I still keep in touch with both my step-moms.

  36. I've been with my husband for eleven years.

  37. I hated every single minute of high school.

  38. College was better, but I still dropped out 6 times.

  39. I finally got my B.A. when I was 31.

  40. I am a cat person.

  41. I have three tattoos.

  42. I really like graph paper. I have a lot of it.

  43. I am very difficult to wake up.

  44. I think trains are cool.

  45. My birthday is October 21.

  46. I am geekily fond of Star Trek.

  47. And the Muppets.

  48. I should be studying right now.

  49. When I'm not a student, I feel restless and bored, like I'm just treading water.

  50. So I sign up for a course (currently, Database Management) and then I feel stressed and overwhelmed.

  51. The thing I miss most about the U.S. is public libraries.

  52. And used bookstores.

  53. I don't like really hot weather. I hate really cold weather.

  54. Big cities intimidate the hell out of me.

  55. I wear jeans almost every day.

  56. I am almost never on time.

  57. I have a bad temper.

  58. My favorite color is green.

  59. I wanted to be a dancer.

  60. I should have tried harder.

  61. Silver. Not gold.

  62. Sometimes little kids ask me if I'm a witch. Not in a nasty way, they're just curious.

  63. I had waist-length hair when I was 20 or so.

  64. Then I had green hair.

  65. Then blue.

  66. I shaved my head after my dad died.

  67. I dance in the kitchen, while I'm cooking or cleaning.

  68. I can't sing at all, but I do it anyway.

  69. When my older son was little he used to cover his ears and cry when I sang to him.

  70. I really should take better care of my teeth.

  71. I got my first driver's license when I was 26.

  72. I don't like to shop.

  73. I really like being a webmaster, but I doubt I could make a living at it.

  74. I'd like to, though.

  75. I can write, but I don't. It's too much like work.

  76. I fall over a lot.

  77. I smoked for five years, but then I quit. It was hard, and I'm proud that I did it.

  78. I like palindromes.

  79. And big words.

  80. I don't like housework. Okay, nobody does. But other people seem to bear it better than I do.

  81. I don't care for sausage. But I live in Germany, so I have to eat it anyway.

  82. I am always trying (and failing) to get myself organized.

  83. I love my PDA, but I mostly use it to play games.

  84. I want to like spiders, because they kill the bad bugs, but the fact is, they give me the heebie-jeebies.

  85. When I get stressed out, I lose weight because I forget to eat.

  86. I don't like vacations much. I like my normal life.

  87. Weekend jaunts to Rome, however, or a few days in Spain, are a different story.

  88. Yes, I do realize how fantastically fortunate I am, thanks.

  89. I could theoretically count to 1,023 on the fingers of one hand. I say theoretically because I've never actually done it. But I could.

  90. I think I'd like to have another baby, but my husband says it's not a good time. By the time he thinks it's a good time, I probably won't want to anymore.

  91. Some people think I have a talent for languages, but all I can really do is mimic accents.

  92. My dad died at 45. I think about that a lot.

  93. My mother died recently. Now I don't have any parents. I do have the stepmoms, and that's almost the same, but not quite.

  94. My favorite thing to look at when traveling is cathedrals.

  95. I also really like castles. Not chateaux, big-fancy houses for people with too much money, but the real, feudal, defensive structures. Buildings as weapons.

  96. I really need to live near water. Ocean, lake, river...something big and obvious.

  97. Mountains would be good too, but water is more important.

  98. I've mostly stopped biting my nails.

  99. My older son calls me the Queen of Sarcasm. He's probably right.

  100. I thought of all 100 things in one day. Another useless skill to add to my arsenal.

cookies, continued

Update: they showed up after all. They ate most of the cookies. So no harm done.

Oh, yeah: and it's snowing. Again.

ya like cookies? we got cookies!

darn, darn, dang it, drat...poop.

SO the Sniglet has been wanting to play with Jakob, from kindergarten, and Jakob's mom and I have been trying to plan a playdate (incidentally, does a playdate between two pre-schoolers require more planning than the Normandy invasion, or does it just seem that way?) and finally settled on today. Jakob's mom talks a bit faster than I hear, but the gist of the conversation was that his big sister was going to be at a friend's house from 2 to 5, so JakobsMom would bring him over and then she'd be free to stay and hang out if Jakob decided to get all shy, since this is his first visit, and if he didn't get all shy she could take off and have some she-time. Whoa. I may have a grown-up visitor. Or, not!

Okay, race home and make lunch for the kids and turn the kitchen inside out looking for something to offer her, because you have to serve coffee and cake, or something equivalent, if an adult German comes into your house. I'm not sure what happens if you don't, but it's probably something like when you feed a gremlin after midnight.

Anyway, I whip out some Christmas cookies that I mixed up last year and then froze for later use - let sit at room temp for ten minutes, put in 150°C oven for 10 more minutes, voila - and I'm hurling melted chocolate on the vanilla stars and mint bells, and an icing-sugar glaze on the lemon moons, and JakobsMom calls to say he's a bit unwell, so she's taking him to the doctor.

So no visitors today. That's part I. Here's part II: We don't have dessert every night. We don't think a sugar bomb is a daily need, and we feel the kids get quite enough sugar already. So last night I said no, no dessert, unless you want a tangerine or something. In which case, have at it. Well, while I was upstairs, Ignatz helped himself and his brother to some gummi bears that were left over from the Sniglet's birthday party. Even though I'd said no dessert. So the punishment for this instance of direct disobedience is, logically enough, no dessert for the rest of the week.

So now I have about two dozen cookies sitting around, and no people to fling them into. What the hell am I going to do with all these cookies?

A is for Adrenaline

The reason I got such good grades in school, even though I am catastrophically disorganized, is that I can hyperfocus on schoolwork - but only under the influence of a deadline-induced panic. I've actually done reasonably well at this database course so far, because I gave myself a week to do each assignment. I told the teacher at the beginning of each quarter that I would turn in one assignment every Tuesday. I'd sort of start poking at each one on Thursday, achieving nothing, fritter away my whole kid-free Sunday on trivial things like housework and web-surfing and "oh I really must answer this email". Then on Monday I'd realize it was due tomorrow, freak out completely, and devote two solid days to the material (toast for dinner, yum! Sure you can make it yourself, you're four years old already!), and usually manage to claw my way through the assignment in time. Of course, occasionally the material would baffle me to the point of needing to ask the teacher a question, and it would take a couple-three days to get the answer, and then I was essentially screwed, but the system worked, more or less.

Until now. Now I'm baffled nearly every week, but that's not the worst thing. The worst thing is that I have an extension until February 4th, and I really can't convince myself of the need to get it done before then. I had set myself the informal deadline of the end of the year, but I'm on assignment 5 (of 8, plus a final project and open-book test), and Christmas is looming, and I know there's no earthly way I will get this done by December 31st. Since that is the case, I can't seem to convince myself that it should or could be done any earlier than February 4th. Especially because of the other worst thing: once I pass the course, I will have no choice but to look for a job, a process that ranks right up there with emergency dental work on the list of Things I Hate.

By the way, I bet you think I wrote this entry in order to avoid having to study. Not so, though that is the case for the last week or so of entries. No, this time I did it on a genuine study break, and made actual progress on the assignment as well. Yay me.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I was wrong about the snow

It did stick, boy howdy did it. And more fell, and it's all over the place now. Of course, it's a tiny bit warmer today, so it's starting to melt - great lolloping wads of it are falling off the roof, making our front path a fairly thrilling place. I'm sure the mailman is excited, since all the houses in our neighborhood are the same. Every mailbox an adventure.

I saw the Harry Potter movie yesterday, and it was pretty good, in spite of Kilian's constant remarks about how this or that scene was different from the book. Oh well, at least he wasn't totally wigged out by the scary scenes. Yay, autism. I also saw the new Pride and Prejudice last friday (without Kilian), and liked it better this time around. Some bits still bother me, but on balance, I think it's a fairly good movie.

I have to call Jerry and see how he's doing. I should have done it last week, or the week before. I did try the other day, and left a message on his voicemail. Tomorrow it will be a month since she died. And the day after will be her 60th birthday. I really should give Jerry a call.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

missing Mom. sort of.

Not as much as I should be missing her, because it really doesn't feel like she's all the way gone yet. I mean, intellectually I know she is, but I don't feel sad yet, I just feel kind of empty.

To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
Oscar Wilde

I still have the step-moms, though. So I shouldn't feel so weightless and lost. But I do. I keep waiting for the realization to hit me, but I can really only grasp the edges of it, the lack of Saturday phone calls and the fact that I probably won't ever be inside that house again. And somebody else will get the phone number, I really liked that phone number. The garden will never be the same again, nobody would be able to keep it like she did. The kitchen stuff I left behind, and my sewing machine, and the dresser she got for her 16th birthday, I hope the people who get them love them as much as we did.

You see? Only the really trivial stuff penetrates, and I feel like I'm being petty, letting all these trivial things bother me. There's a wall, and only the tiny things can get through. I'm not ready for the big one yet. I don't know if I ever will be.

I'm sorry I was so exasperated with her sometimes. I'm glad I never told her how exasperated I was. I hope she didn't know anyway.

Hoss's wife died yesterday. I hope he's holding up okay.

Friday, November 18, 2005

first snow!

Of course it won't stick, November snows never do, but it looks very promising right now. And even though it will also cause lots of problems, re traffic and dirt in the house and cold, I've decided to be all excited about it because the kids are. Gotta get out and build snow-stuff with them this year.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

kids. and sports.

Looks like we have a problem here. We haven't called the Track-n-Field people about Ignatz yet, but we have pulled the Sniglet out of soccer. Apparently yesterday at practice he was sauntering around the gym not making any effort at all, and his teammates were gritching about it - yes, five-year-olds. And I'm all, sheesh people, get a freaking grip. And DrBob's all, sheesh the Sniglet, get the freaking lead out already. And lo, a fundamental disagreement was revealed. Yes, even after eleven years of marriage, your mate can still surprise you.

Evidently, DrBob believes that Sports=Fun is the default setting for kids, especially boys, and if they don't think sports are fun, it may be because somebody (that would be me, I presume) has geeked it for them somehow. I believe that if you really want your kids to be interested in something, you have to foster that by showing them that you have an interest: by watching sports all weekend, for example, or by playing a sport yourself and - this is key - taking them with you to games. Which is not something we have ever done, and lo, our children are utterly indifferent to the joys of competition. As was I, at that age. So I'm a bit disappointed, because this closes off a potential avenue for fun and fulfillment, plus a way to stay somewhat healthy despite a less-than-optimal diet, but I am not altogether surprised. Whereas DrBob seems to feel a bit betrayed.

Okay, I really really wanted to dance, but was afraid to ask my parents to pay for it. At least I had one interest, and here we get to what bothers me - the boys don't want to do anything. No music lessons, no collecting, no filmmaking or website making or sports or anything hobbylike at all. We've offered everything, we keep trying to provide opportunities. It's not like they have some burning desire they can't share with us, no, they just don't want to do anything. And honestly, I don't think this is good, particularly in Ignatz's case. Because he's about to be a teenager, and I was a teenager with no particular hobbies for about three years there, and it was absolute hell. A few healthy obsessions would have made those years so much more bearable. Would have made me more bearable, because I was really self-absorbed and unpleasant to be around.

In stark contrast to the way I am now.

Oh shut up.

genius inspiration

Hah! Kelly came through for me! She suggested Picasa, which I already have on my computer and did not delete during the most recent housecleaning. Turns out Picasa is actually pretty cool, brought to you by our friends at Google, who also do this blogstuff here. It rustled me up a slideshow out of the Spain photos, so here ya go. I haven't cropped the photos or messed with the page at all, because I'm a lazy git, but I may at some point. It also didn't give me any place to tell the stories that go with the pictures, so I may get around to adjusting that as well. Hope so.

even better!

Anthropologist-Lacerating Abomination from the Legendary Abbey

Anthropologist-lacerating. Yowza.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


In the traditional sense, not the webdesign sense. Nike made up their "Just Do It" slogan just for me. I've been sitting at the computer for half an hour, trying to decide how to get those Spain photos up. There aren't even that many of them. Individual blog entries? A slideshow? I think the travelblog thing didn't work out, since I never finished the dratted things, and actually I can't remember why I wanted to do it that way in the first place. Maybe because, then as now, I didn't know what to do instead.

Maybe tomorrow inspiration will strike. Like, Bam! Ow!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

further proof... if we needed it, that Busymom is a genius: Laundry grenade

a note or three

I will get those Spain photos from DrBob and put them up, honest I will. Soon.

Ignatz and the Sniglet now have gmail accounts. They never actually check them, but by gummy, they have'em. If you are um, someone who should know their email addresses, email me to ask for them, yeah?

And finally, it is a really beautiful day today. I didn't get out much, but my desk is at a window, so I did get some good out of it.

Monday, November 14, 2005

rant on clothing my boys

Tchah! The catalogs and department stores keep having stuff that's almost okay, except for its utter crapness, like oo, a rugby shirt! I like those! Only, do you have any without the faux-private school patch, iron-on skateboarder, and words on the chest? "Beach & Fun"; "Teen Style"; "Off Roader Coalition"; Urk. You want me to pay to put your inane message to the world on my child? Hell no, you'd have to pay me, and here's a hint: there ain't enough money on this planet. Ditto the flannel shirts, only can we also take out the sewn-in collar and sleeves of another shirt to create a layer look without any actual layers?

So okay, maybe we go a little upmarket - last friday I actually went into an H&M store, even though I've sworn to boycott them for showing the worst ad ever in the movie theaters, where you can't get away from it, and it's ten whole minutes long, and you want to laugh at how pathetic and stupid it is, but you can only sustain that for maybe three minutes and then you're left with nothing but "Dear God, please please make it stop." But the store is a mob scene, and I didn't buy anything because the baying and snapping of the other shoppers skeeved me out.

Esprit? Hm, is orange the new black? I'm gonna go with "No". And every item says "Esprit" on it, which again, you want people to advertise your stuff, you should pay them. Ditto the Tommy Hilfiger store, I didn't even bother to go in. As for Zara, listen: if you have a daughter, go there. Cute, colorful, fabulous. If you have a son, you get more shirts with words on them. SIGH.

I made Red take me to Target when I was in Seattle. I love Target, I wish it had come to Germany instead of stupid, evil Walmart. But still, even though I spent a whole lotta money for a single shopping trip ($270 or so), I couldn't actually bring myself to buy a whole season's worth of clothes. I'm now regretting that.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

german-flavored english

One of the most frustrating things I do is proofread texts written by youngish German academics with multiple advanced degrees in some branch or other of the Humanities - either written in English by the author, or translated into English by my husband, a youngish German academic with multiple advanced degrees in the Humanities. Wow, frustrating and highly specialized!

At the moment I'm blogging in order to avoid doing that very thing, because I'm almost halfway through a 16-page book review and it's driving me crazy. The same mistakes, every time. I think I'm getting worse at this with practice, not better. Because I've been married to a German for 11 years now, and I live in Germany, and half the time I think in German anyway, which probably means my own English is getting German-flavored. I bet if you asked any of my family, they'd ... well, they probably wouldn't admit it, unless you got them drunk, because they wouldn't want to seem disloyal. But I bet I'm putting my verbs at the end of the sentence at least half the time. I know I do that in Spanish, which is bad.

And I bet I'm letting my authors get away with murder by now (metaphorically speaking, of course). You know, you say (or read, or hear) something often enough, it starts to sound normal. I don't think the work I'm doing is good enough anymore.

Am I getting worse at this, or just more critical? Or have I simply managed to stall on the book review long enough that I can now legitimately go to bed? Bingo!

the new face of alala

Got tired of the green, what can I say? This looks much more Novembery, don't you think? Though I may change the background soonish: at the moment brown seems very hip and retrofunkycool, but I'm pretty sure there's a reason why I don't own anything brown.

I also tried to clean out my blogroll, because the sad fact is, I don't have time to read all that stuff. But in addition to the stuff on the list that I do read, there are several things that I just want you to think I read, so as to seem smarter and better-informed than I actually am. So I couldn't get rid of them. Maybe later.

No news. As I've said before, either I have time to blog, OR I have something to blog about. It's never both.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Oh yes, and speaking of how fabulous I am, let me tell you how I got to be both a great sister AND a great wife - treasure this moment. It probably won't come again.

So yeah, watching football in Port Townsend with Nate (until Mom told us to shut up), somehow we got around to the subject of Lego Basketball players, and I said I wanted to get Robert the Dirk Nowitzki one. Robert's big into the NBA, and his favorite team is whichever one is currently fielding a German player (can you say fielding when the game is played on a court? No, but courting doesn't work either...), so the team du jour is the Mavericks. Because of Dirk Nowitzki. Okay, /backstory. Anyway, I mentioned that there's a Gary Payton Lego guy too, and Nate got all excited, so after Mom banished us we checked the internet and Lo! Gary and Dirk are actually in the same set! Along with Vince Carter. Not shabby. AND, even though Gary's with the Miami Heat now, LegoGary's still a Sonic! So of course we had to buy the set. We had it sent to Nate's house, and that is how I got to be a super sister and be the first to tell Nate about Lego Gary Payton. I'm so proud.

So once they arrived in Denver, Michelle sent Dirk on to us, and he arrived today while Robert was at the gym. Robert was pretty impressed when he got home, and when I mentioned that Nate had gotten Gary Payton and Vince Carter, Robert said "There's MORE of them!? I have to get them!"

My work here is done.

check out my bad self

Artificial Lifeform Assembled for Logical Assassination

That's right. I'm dangerous, me.

Heh heh heh.

whoa, ambush

Ooog. My PDA just popped up a reminder that Mom's birthday is soon. Very weird feeling.

photos forthcoming

Robert has put the photos on his computer, and from there it's just a short hop to mine, so there will be Spain photos up here somewhere, at some point. Probably soon.

TOTAL dirtbag on the school front, haven't touched my database books since before I left for Spain. I had a fairly big project for the JOB, which I've just now "finished" - I say "finished" because I think I'm done, but L will probably have a few changes to make, and will probably think they are simpler than they really are, so there is probably actually still a bit of work to be done. Which, fine. It's only another month, really. And maybe I can be a bit sluggish on the database course until that and Christmas are past, and then get it done in January. Or not. Maybe I shouldn't leave it so long, as the final project looks decidedly hairy, and final exams are never, ever fun. And this course is about ten times harder than the first two. I should just plunge in and get it over with, but I'm being very weird. After all that time away, I can't seem to settle down. It's bugging me.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Spain? What Spain?

So DrBob and I went to Andalusia for the weekend, and it was fun. When we got home Monday night I was so tired I nearly fell asleep while brushing my teeth. Today I had to go to Munich to pack up my stuff at the office because my job (which I will not name, having learned that particular lesson the hard way) is moving to the University district, and then tonight was Parent Evening, when we parents all stand in line to talk to our kids' teachers up at the gymnasium, which, since our kids have like 8 teachers, means a lot more standing in line than actual talking.

So even though going to Spain was very interesting and all, two whole things have happened since then, and the Spain trip has receded a bit. I tried to find an internet café so I could blog during the trip, but even though we did pass one, once, DrBob is a very um, busy traveler, and there's no way I could have found time to sit down and blog. Sightseeing with DrBob is a lot like the Bataan Death March, with a history lesson thrown in.

So I may mention some things that happened there, like buying a g-string from a truck stop vending machine, but it's kind of not my focus right now. A lot of what makes blogging interesting and important is its immediacy, and the Spain trip doesn't have that anymore. My blog is also a chronicle, for me to look back on, especially now that it's no longer an ongoing letter to my mom, so as I say, I may get back to it. I may not worry about being timely and upfront and inyaface and right there being real, man. Hell, I don't anyway, do I? If I wanted to use this as a raw, immediate, powerful form of expression, I'd have been in the computer room blogging Mom's death as it happened, like the really hardcore bloggers do. Instead, I waited and processed and thought for 12 hours before I wrote anything about it.

I'm still processing, by the way. I don't know what form that will take as time passes, but for now, she's so much in my thoughts. A week or so before she died, she said, "I guess it's okay that I never made it to Spain, isn't it?" and I assured her that it was fine, that she probably hadn't missed much. Yeah, so I lied. You have to be nice to dying people, and sometimes that means telling a few white lies.

The garden at the Alhambra was amazing, and I really wished she could see it. Everything we did, everywhere we went, I thought about what she would have said about it. I made DrBob take a photo of a purple rose, even though I won't be able to show it to my mom. Maybe I'll show it to his mom instead.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

something to remember

I read this somewhere:
"Good judgement comes from bad experience, which comes from bad judgement."
I'm trying to remember it, to remind myself to be more tolerant of Kilian's mistakes. And of my own.

whoopee, hooray?

Okay, correction on the hockey-thing: Kilian says the coach wasn't being rude, he was just asking why Kilian was downstairs in civvies and not upstairs climbing into his hockey gear. So that's all right then.

So it's been a really empty week for Kilian. There's no school, and he didn't have hockey, and we can't sign him up for track now because it's a holiday week, and most of his friends are on vacation because same. He's been hella bored. I did teach him how to change his blog stylesheet today, not that it'll do much good because he won't be blogging for several days. He'll be in Buchbach with Gus while Robert and I are in SPAIN!

Okay, can you say ambivalent? I should be skipping at the thought of heading south for a few days of sunshine in the culture-geek paradise of Andalucía. We'll be staying in Córdoba, and Robert wants to go to Granada and check out Andújar, Jaén and Úbeda on the way, and maybe see Seville too, if we have time. Three days. Uh, no I don't think we'll have time. Okay, I am kind of excited. But I also feel kinda bad about missing even more work, and pressured about school - though that's really my own thing. My teacher gave me an extension until February, but I wanted to be finished by the end of the year. I may have to let go of that. I'm still thinking a lot about Mom, and feeling... not exactly sad, though that's part of it. More like lost. Cut loose, drifting, weightless but not in a good way. And of course, I feel really guilty about leaving my kids after being home only five days. But when the whole Mom-thing came up, Robert and I talked about cancelling the trip, and we decided that after everything that's happened in the last month, I would really need a vacation, so we should go. So we're going. I guess I just probably won't enjoy it as much as I otherwise would have.

We will be staying in a pretty snazzy hotel (click on the More Photos link, I dare ya) - one of those off-season deals, otherwise we could never afford it. So this is one fantastic birthday present, I'm sure you'll agree.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

no more hockey

So that's it. I'm not a hockey-mom anymore. Dang. I really liked that community, the moms were nice and some of the kids were too, I thought. But it all went so weirdly, and I'm not sure how I feel now. I was feeling sad and let down that Kilian had so little value for this opportunity, and so little commitment to his team. But I dragged him down there to officially quit, instead of just pulling a disappearing act, and to thank the Coach and Karin, the head Hockey-Mom, and all the kids on the team were like, "What are you doing here?" which is really rude. And then the coach said the same thing, which is even ruder, considering he's supposed to be an adult. We didn't see Karin. So now I'm still disappointed in Kilian's side of the whole fiasco, but ticked off at the hockey people, so then I shouldn't be disappointed in Kilian, should I, I should be relieved that he's not hanging around with those jerkwads anymore.

This also spawned an argument with Robert about Kilian not taking responsibility and about Robert expecting a 10-year-old with ADD to behave like an adult, and about who's being unfair and why. And it also meant that yet again I had to miss Gus's soccer practice, because I had to take Kilian down to the ice rink to Do The Right Thing for a coach who had no appreciation for it. Jackass. Reminds me of Mr. Emrich, that teacher who wouldn't accept Kilian's written apology.

So maybe there's a lesson here. Maybe, when Kilian has a conflict with an authority figure, it's due at least in part to the fact that the authority figure is a fuckhead. Maybe next time Kilian has a problem with a grown-up, I should remember this and not be so quick to blame him.

I want to go home. I want to move back to the States, so when some dickweed decides to pick on my kid I can tell him where to shove it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Gus just called me a snuggle-hun.

Wow. A snuggle-hun. Kilian calls me the Queen of Sarcasm. I really can't decide which one I like better.

So yes, I am back home and the weather is CRAP and I feel a bit overwhelmed about all the stuff I have to do, so I haven't really posted because I didn't want to sound all miserable when really I'm glad to be home. Sort of.

Okay, I was overextended before the whole Mom-thing happened. So now I'm overextended and three weeks behind. That's not great. And Kilian is having problems in school - the usual, sloppy, disorganized, late, doesn't finish things - and problems in hockey, of the not-participating variety. He just stands around on the ice, so when he's playing the team is effectively a man short, and frankly, I'm amazed they haven't turned on him yet. We've decided to pull him before they start blaming him for their many losses, and not without justification, frankly. So that's depressing and disappointing.

I don't know how I should feel about Mom. I think I'm numb right now. Or maybe I had time to digest the information and I don't need to go through the whole denial-and-anger thing. I'm very short-tempered lately, but that may well be because I'm overextended and three weeks behind. And the weather's bad. And I'm very likely premenstrual.

On the slightly-brighter side, my brother days I can cuss all I want. Poophead! Booger! Fiddlesticks!

Hm, that wasn't very effective. I may need some time to work up to it.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

en route

I pblogged this on the plane, so here I am transcribing:

I really like this airline. This was pretty much the least-bad transatlantic flying experience I can recall. Flying is never yayfun, but this was not nearly as unpleasant as I've come to expect. I'd say we should ditch Lufthansa and fly SAS from now on, if that didn't mean we'd have to fly up to Copenhagen to get down to Spain.

I made a few swaps Stateside. E.g., I found a green denim jacket hanging on the coatrack, and after much deliberation, I adopted it and left my blue denim jacket behind. Ditto daypacks. The one I brought was given to Robert by Georg - not as a gift from the heart, but as an alternative to chucking it - and it was, you know, an okay daypack. Gray. One hole. But Mom's daypack is black (I still can't imagine why she had it - she hated black) and has water-bottle pockets and packs smaller, so is better for traveling, so I ditched the gray one. Hope Robert doesn't mind (note from later, 1 November: he hasn't even noticed yet).

ANYWAY. The point of this unnecessarily long exposition is that I found a little notebook in the backpack, and it's her "Medical Journal". She started it in June of 2004, and it tracks the whole thing, the discovery of the tumors, her symptoms, changes in medications. Not very in-depth, it's just notes, but it's weird to see the whole thing documented, and to see her handwriting deteriorate over time. I didn't follow the process, here in the blog or anywhere else, because I held onto the hope that it was no big deal and she'd get better. Right up until Tuesday, 11 October, when Dr. C called to say the tumor in her back was spreading, and we knew then that she was much too weak for anymore therapy, and she wasn't going to recover. Not even temporarily. It really seems like I should have known sooner, in hindsight, though I can't say when I should have realized. I just spent so much time reading about cancer survivors that it didn't occur to me that she wouldn't beat it.

Friday, October 28, 2005

ready to go home

Well, I guess I had my long mopey good-bye to Port Townsend. I went to see the Wallace & Gromit movie yesterday, and it was a fine movie, but I'd much rather have seen it with the kids. It's good for moms to have Time Away From The Kids, but I'm finding that there are limits...specifically, two weeks is about as much as I can really stand. Probably not even that, actually. I spent the first two weeks here being really glad I didn't have to take care of my kids on top of everything else, but if that hadn't been true, I'd probably have started missing them a lot sooner.

In any case, I miss them now, and Robert too. I'm being kind of a social zero now, I don't feel like talking anymore. I just want to go home. Red picked me up today and brought me to Jack & Mary's house, and lots of fun foody and social things are planned, and I'm just sort of sitting around waiting to get on a plane. In about 25 hours. Long wait.

So the next question is, how will this change my blog? Mom and Kelly were my only regular readers, and now half my audience is gone. I guess this means I can cuss more.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

gradually sinking in

We picked up Mom's ashes from the funeral home today. Jerry plans to scatter them in her garden, so we didn't need to go the heirloom-urn route. We said we'd bring our own, since it was going to be sort of a temporary thing anyway, and then the only thing we could find that was really big enough, without being a clear glass thing (that would be too much information, I think) or a plastic bucket (disrespectful) was the old ceramic cookie jar she used when we were kids. When I say "used", of course, I mean she filled it with honey-sweetened health-nugget pseudo-cookies loaded down with sesame and sunflower seeds and whatever other nutrition-bombs she could pack in, and which we generally refused to eat, since they hardly qualified as actual cookies. I think they were low-fat too, and I know she used whole wheat flour. One of the things I will remember about Mom is how she was always trying to sneak an extra little bit of nutrition into everything we ate. It's certainly one way to show love. So anyway, that cookie jar is now on the dining room table, with Mom's earthly remains in it, and it'll stay there for another few days. Apparently I am the only one who's weirded out by that.

Hell, I'm weirded out by the whole thing. I think I've absorbed the fact that my Mom has died, but the collateral stuff isn't really sinking in yet, the fact that I can't list this as my permanent address, and who am I going to call every saturday evening now, and what am I talking about when I say "home"?

Sigh. Anyway. A little restless now, not sure what to do. I've bagged up the clothes and boxed up shoes and picture frames and stuff and stuff and stuff, Nate's taking the photos and heirlooms to Denver, and he's sorted out all the files and records. I've established with Jerry that the kitchen should be cleaned out by women who live around here and can take proper care of things...absorb the spices into their own kitchens instead of just throwing them away, for instance. And the dishes should just stay in the cupboards until the garage sale, it's the safest place for them. So really I guess there isn't much left for me to do here, except wander around and sort of say goodbye. I feel weird being here in what is essentially Jerry's space until it sells, but I'm not sure I'm ready to go back to Jack & Mary's in Seattle yet. I guess there really isn't any more work for me to do here, so I guess I can go pretty much any time I want, I just don't know when that will be.

Oh, and Gus's birthday was today! Sounds like the party was pretty exhausting, from what Robert says. Gus had fun, though, and that's what matters most. And now he's five, wow, what a thought. And he rides a two-wheeler, another milestone achieved while I was gone. How things have changed in the last three weeks. I really can't get my head around it all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Life Going On

So Saturday was mostly phone calls and consulting with the funeral home guy. Sunday we took the ferry to Seattle and visited the stepmothers and I did some shopping for the boys. Have I mentioned that I love Target, and wish it would come to Germany instead of stupid, evil Walmart? Yay, at last decent clothes for my sons. Ooo! And we saw orcas off the port bow of the ferry!

And we're now working on emptying the house out. Much less difficult now that Mom is actually gone, because it's somehow less offensive and vulture-like. It's just a job that needs to be done. A big, big job. The hospital bed and wheelchair and stuff went today - they were on loan from an outfit called ECHHO (Ecumenical Christian Helping Hands Organization - yes, Christians, helping really sick people for free, regardless of their religious affiliation, so quit complaining about them, okay?). We have to wait for the death certificate before we can arrange for cremation and talk to the lawyers and cancel credit cards and internet service and start on selling the house and all that.

There may be a buyer for the house, maybe. Nate's wife's younger brother is about 21, plans to stay in town, and is considering buying a house. It would be good to keep this house in the family, sort of, and I hope bad family politics don't arise if the house turns out to be worth more than he can afford. Well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I guess my main concern has to be how I'm going to get my stuff from here to Germany. It's not a lot of stuff, just some books and CDs and a few kitcheny-things and clothes, basically so that I have a lot of little things to remind me of her in everyday life. The rest has to be packed up and somehow disposed of. A bunch of stuff went to the landfill today, and Mom's friends will organize a garage sale at some point, and things are gradually getting done, but the job looks pretty overwhelming right now.

Sunday was yucky, but the sun came back today. I'm glad I get to see Port Townsend in the sun. Now that Mom's gone, I don't know when I'll be back here. I really love Port Townsend - yes, I hated it as a teenager, and couldn't wait to get out, but when I came back here with toddler Kilian and was a small-town mom it was great. I know we can never live here because Robert wants to be a college professor, and that makes me sad because it really is my favorite place. But it's so remote that without the family obligation I have no idea when or even if I'll come back. So I'm glad I get to see it in sunshine for what might be the last time.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

it's over

Mom died this morning, a little after 8 a.m. I suppose if I were a true netizen, I would have blogged it right away, but that didn't seem like the right thing to do, somehow.

I never really got why people euphemize in these situations - dead is dead, right? No point in prettying it up. But today I had to call people and tell them, and it was really hard to say the D-word, so I found myself using all those other expressions that used to make me wonder. When it's real, it's too hard to say. Awkward.

I was out of the house yesterday for about three hours, and Kate (the nurse) told Nate and Jerry what to expect, i.e., what it looks like when someone dies. It's nice that they tell you these things, because you can't really help wondering, but you feel weird asking. Anyway, (Nate told me later) what happens with lung cancer is that the lungs fill up with fluid, very gradually, and the person gets too weak to cough it up, and as their lung capacity diminishes, their breath gets shallower and shallower, and ultimately the lack of oxygen to the brain is the cause of death. So basically, it's like drowning, only very slowly. So it can be kind of horrifying, and therefore it's really good to know beforehand what to expect.

This wasn't that bad, not as horrible as it could have been, anyway. She started wheezing around 8:30 last night, talked for about two hours and then settled into something very weird. She was vocalizing every exhalation, but not like moaning or anything so emotional. She didn't seem to be in pain, she was just...making noise. There was no apparent suffering, no visible struggle, for which I am immensely grateful, but the noise, the vocalized exhale, continued for almost ten hours. So even though she didn't seem to be suffering, that was kind of stressful for us, because it's very hard to concentrate on anything, but it's also very hard to sit by someone for such a long time.

Nate went to bed around 11, I went to bed around 1, Jerry dozed intermittently but didn't get any real sleep. We were told that this vocalization is not that unusual, and it can last quite awhile, so Nate left for the airport around 7.45, since he was scheduled to fly back to Mississippi today. He was barely out of town when I called him to tell him that Mom had passed, so he just turned around and came back, and the rest of the day has mostly been phone calls, funeral arrangements, and that sort of thing.

It was a bright sunny day, though, probably the last nice day for awhile. The sky was blue, and the garden looked beautiful. I'm only occasionally sad today. It will come upon me gradually.

(Happy birthday to me. I turned 35 yesterday.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

waiting, mostly

Huaugh. Well, it's getting harder to find time to write, especially since Mom's keyboard is kind of loud and I don't want to disturb her. I don't know how to describe how she's doing, partly because I've been here in the middle of it for so long, it's hard to know what changed when. Also because I don't really know how much detail would constitute an invasion of her privacy. And also because I'm not sure how to articulate what's galloping through my head.

She's getting weaker and sicker, the lucid moments fewer and farther between. She does wake up to ask occasionally why she doesn't die - not in a wretched, suffering way, though. She doesn't seem to be in pain, she's just decided it's time to go and is wondering why it's not that simple, I guess.

We're doing a lot of work on getting the house cleared out, but it's challenging. The dust makes me sneeze, and makes my eyes itch. There's so much that we just don't know what to do with, and it's weird to be throwing away things that were important to her, or that she put so much work into. And there's a lot of just-junk lying around, but also a few pieces of genuine history mixed in. There is also a lot of genuine garbage that I left behind, so I'm scratching my head a bit over the motives of my earlier self.

Aaaand I'm staying a bit longer. Now that we know she's actually dying, and how much there is to do around that, two weeks is not nearly enough time. She's barely conscious, but she's still glad I'm here. And even if she weren't, I would not be feeling a lot of self-respect if I scampered off and left this enormous amount of work to be done by her friends and neighbors, and by Jerry, who is a lot more than either of those.

Arranging to stay longer: gack. Apparently I had a completely non-changeable, non-refundable ticket, not even for a death in the family sort of thing, and Lufthansa wanted $3000 for another ticket at a later date. Way to capitalize on other people's misfortune, and don't let anybody tell you that European businesses are less vulture-like than American ones, okay? I did find a decently-priced ticket at SAS, so no major harm done, but Lufthansa will be receiving a nasty letter. Yeah, I got all kinds of time for that. So but anyway, I'll leave here on the 29th, and the general understanding is that I won't be back, for whatever funerals and things end up happening. That it was better to be here while she was still alive, and to make myself as useful as possible under the circumstances. So I guess I better get back to work.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Well, she's started eating again, and she seems a bit more alert. Nate's here, and we're trying to get things cleaned up and sorted out. It's very creepy to be stripping the house and deciding how to dispose of Mom's stuff while she's still lying there in the living room, listening.

We've been trying to make sure we caregivers get out at least once a day, but I guess I've been gone too much, because Mom's complaining. This makes me feel very squeezed, and irritated. Robert keeps calling to ask me exactly what is going to happen, when will I be home, should he cancel the Spain trip, should he bring the kids out here, what? We all know what is going to happen, but nobody knows when, but he keeps asking, like if he nags me enough an answer will miraculously appear. Which is also fucking creepy, because Mom can hear every word I say, no matter where I am in the house, so my half of that phone conversation has to be heavily censored. It is nice that he misses me, and the kids do too - I rather like feeling needed - but I also feel pulled in opposite directions.

Meanwhile, Mom's getting ... um, querulous is a good word. Annoyed when I spend time with anyone but her, but I can't watch TV - well I can watch, but I can't listen because the sound annoys her, and today Nate and I tried to watch a football game (Seattle vs. Houston) without sound, but she got mad at us for talking about it. And I "wear her out" when I'm bustling around cleaning and organizing things. So yeah. What little shine there was on this trip is wearing off real fast.

But we talked with Jerry about it, about how much time out of our busy lives we can really afford, and I said I didn't feel I could stay beyond the 30th of October or so. He said well, by then she will either have died or stabilized, and in either case, I can reasonably go away. Fortunately, Nate is the executor of her will, not me, so he's the one who will have to come back and deal with stuff. Even more fortunately, he doesn't mind.

I can't believe how much I miss my family.