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

Sunday, August 28, 2005

more about the vacation

Oh my GOD. I only just looked at Kilian's blog for the vacation. He played a game called "Spies" with a bunch of other boys. He climbed trees, and collected sticks with them, and they peeled and sharpened their sticks with their Swiss Army knives, and Kilian wished he'd brought his, and they had a hideout and we had four-course dinners and whatever we wanted for breakfast and lots of foozball and Monopoly and Settlers of Catan and cake in the afternoons and read from Harry Potter and he wrestled with Gus and got stung by a wasp and hung out with Josef and Matthäus and Philip and Johannes and there's nothing! Nothing at all about all that, just that he played some stupid computer game!

I am so sorry I brought that along, jeez. He gets so wound up about it, too, it makes him really tense and he snaps at people when he's losing and I tell him to get off the computer and he says okay and then doesn't, and when I make him stop he screams at me, and...and...and I am beginning to think that these computer games are not altogether good for him. I mean, it's a normal part of childhood and all, and if he could approach it with any kind of moderation I wouldn't worry, but there's something wrong here. It makes him sneaky and obsessive and temperamental and incredibly tedious, since it's his only topic of conversation. And he screams at me when I tell him his time is up. I mean seriously, that cannot be healthy.

I really wish I had someone to ask about this.

minimal travelblog

21 August 2005, 10:21 pm

Oh right, the blog. Completely forgot about it yesterday. We are on vacation in Bad Dreikirchen with our friends, H and J Zedelmaier, and G Murrer - Robert occasionally refers to them as the Zedelmurrers.

We left around noon, got stuck in traffic at Rosenheim (not really stuck, we just had to stop for a few red lights and go really slowly once or twice), and waited 45 minutes at the Austria-Italy border for the Zedelmurrers to catch up with us. Robert maintains that this is why the drive took 6 hours, instead of the two and a half he'd predicted. I'm, uh, skeptical.

Anyway. No crises, no throwing up, one tiny spat about ice cream, one very nice picnic = a Pretty Good Trip. We got to the hotel more or less in time for dinner, which is quite late here, and Robert got settled into his hotel. Dinner is over around 10pm, so then I had to put the kids to bed. I brought my computer here with the intention of getting some work done, but yesterday once the kids were settled in I was so tired I just crashed. No work, no blog, nothing.

So today was our first full day here, and I must say, it's a bit draining, this vacation thing. Robert's hotel room has only one very small window and is not nearly as nice as here, plus it's quite a hike from here, so I am wracked with guilt. And Kilian is miraculously self-sufficient, but Gus requires a lot of attention - first because he has fewer ways to entertain himself, since he can't read and there's a heap of kids Kilian's age here but no 4-year-olds, and second because Gus is not the best-behaved child ever, and needs to be corrected (ahem: make that restrained) frequently. And since I can't ask Robert to do any of it, I am "on duty" all the time. And the duty is entertaining a preschooler, which has never been one of my talents. He is being pretty good, but it's still a lot of mom-work for me.

Which means I'm exhausted at the end of the day. Which means not a lot of work will get done. But I do have to blog every day, because Kilian does. It's only fair.

Tuesday, 23 August, 10:09 pm

Ooops, forgot all about this, even though I made Kilian do it last night. He and Robert had some kind of Foozball Death Match against Helmut and his son, and Gus wanted to play too, and it got really late, neither of my kids got to bed before 11. Bad idea, that. Staying up late, I mean, not foozball.

Bad morning, lots of fighting, but the weather got acceptable around 2pm and suddenly the kids were outside, having fun, being happy, for hours at a time! Wow. This is a very nice hotel, but what it's really good for is being quiet so you can read, which doesn't appeal to Gus, and hiking, which is also not really his strong suit. But there are a lot of kids around, so if they're not trapped inside by bad weather, they can entertain eachother quite nicely.

Actually, reading and hiking are Robert's thing (okay, I also read, but I can do that anywhere), which makes it doubly bad that I kicked him out of this hotel, because he could have enjoyed it so much more than I do, not to mention two grouchy, TV-addicted kids.

Oh well, at least I'm learning a lot. The reason we don't go on holiday much is not money, but time: specifically, Robert doesn't have any. I've considered taking the kids somewhere by myself, and this trip is a sort of trial run, since Robert comes around 2 or 3 and then leaves after dinner. So I'm on my own for half a day, and I'm learning that that's quite enough. So any trip with just the kids will have to be a lot shorter, that's one thing. Will also probably contain only one child per trip, and be very centered on his interests: science museums for Kilian, Playmobil fun-park and Legoland type stuff for Gus. Or train trips.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

on holiday

Well, the hotel where Kilian and Robert were planning to go, the place we went two years ago, they didn't get any cancellations, but they mentioned another place, about a 20-minute walk away, which did have a vacancy. So the plan now is that the kids and I will stay at Bad Dreikirchen, and Robert will stay at the other place, and join us for dinner.

So we are all four leaving on saturday, and will be gone a whole week. Wireless - no email, no blog updates, though I will take my computer. Kilian and I will still blog, we just won't be able to upload it until we get back. Also (Mom), you can phone the hotel if there's an emergency.

Um, yay? I feel massively guilty for displacing Robert. He says he doesn't mind, he has an article to write, will appreciate the quiet, etc. But I still feel guilty. The place is much cheaper than B3K too, and I can't help wondering why it's so much cheaper. What if they just hand him a blanket and point him to the cowshed?

Monday, August 15, 2005


It's like multi-tasking! Only not. I should email various people, I should work on this redesign, or that one, or send out a few postcards to some Luddites I haven't heard from in years, or clean up the kitchen - I did fold the laundry, so I'm doing better than most days - but most of all, it's 11:15 and I should go to bed.

But I'm not tired. But I don't want to commit to anything that takes more than 15 minutes or so, because I might be tired then. Or not. So tonight (and I do this often) I've been lurching from time-killer to time-killer, checking the forums, reading my feeds, making cocoa, etc. Not that the feeds are solely for time-killing purposes, but that's what I've been using them for tonight. But I was reading Eric's blog, and it led me to Molly's blog (I feel weird writing about them by their first names, since I don't know them - I may be being very rude, in which case I apologize), both blogging about why they blog. Hm. Metablogging?

Anyway. They're both very smart people, and their main points seemed to be about combining their personal and professional lives in their respective blogs, and about how much your blog reflects your personality, and of course That Got Me Thinking. (Also, blogging, for me, is a time-killer, and allows me to stave off work for a while and hope I get tired soon.) Well, I did blog about work a lot, since it was the only thing I did besides housework (boring) and raising my kids (and people who drone on and on about their perfect children are unutterably tiresome, so I try really hard not to do that, even though my (im)perfect children are the grandsons, bio or step, of about 75% of this blog's audience). But then I got called on the carpet at work, as I'm sure you recall. Also, yesterday on the phone my brother noted that I complain about my job a lot in my blog, which I hadn't noticed. Don't like that - it was never my intention to publish a big wad of complaints.

So there's not so much professional stuff anymore. I'm not Molly and Eric, anyway, so my musings about web design are not really that groundbreaking, not to mention that it's not a suitable topic for the aforementioned 75% of my audience.

Then there's the second part. I wonder how accurately this blog represents my personality. A fair bit gets left out, unfortunately. Today I wrote two emails, to Jenny and Kelly, and told them both a lot of the same things. Thought 1: hm, general interest - maybe this should go into the blog. Thought 2: nah, I've already typed it twice. So okay, the laziness is an accurate reflection. Also the repetition, because I do tell people the same things over and over again. But I don't know that it accurately reflects my priorities. Things to covet was a big long entry about the Sarpaneva pot, and really, that's about as much thought as I've given to that subject over the last two years. Gus losing teeth was much more important, and I think it got less air time. And the Fair! That's been a big deal so far, and this is the first time I've mentioned it.

So bleh. Should I blog more, and risk (even more) repetitiveness, or save it for the really pithy stuff? No idea. Guess I'll just continue to operate on instinct.

I'll tell you about the fair tomorrow. Probably. I think I'm tired enough to sleep now.

pitter patter

It rained all day, so I am in That Mood again. OH, but hey. I did do something coolish yesterday: R had his 20th high school reunion a couple months ago, and he got some of them to send him photos from it, and I put them up in a series of slideshows. Now, the code is about 98% Eric Meyer's, so no kudos to me there. But looky here, all the way down in the bottom-left corner: there he is at age 19. Isn't he cute?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Things to covet

I think it's safe to say that there are certain kinds of people, and if you are of a certain kind, it is difficult to deviate from the expected behavior associated with that. Yes, since you ask, I am going somewhere with this. There are people who will spend $200 on a pot, and there are people who buy their pots for $3.99 at the grocery store. Yeah, you know who you are. And I think it's fairly obvious that I belong to the latter sort.

But I really covet this pot. I think it might be offended to share a kitchen with all my cheapcrappy aluminum. I am so not the type to spend $200 on a hunk of metal - a houseware. It is a wholly inappropriate thing for me to own. But still.

Robert has carefully pointed out that it's a large investment for someone who doesn't even like to cook. I said "If I had that pot, I would love to cook." He was (understandably) skeptical. But isn't it beautiful? It can go from stovetop to oven, and it even won a design award.

Yes, I know it's just a pot. I know this proves that I've been living in the suburbs too damn long. What can I say, I did it for my children. I hope they appreciate that I sacrificed my personality for their well-being.

Friday, August 12, 2005

cat names

Robert says we can get kittens after the vacations. If we know we're not moving to North Carolina soon, which is looking less likely. Oh, sidenote: some months ago, he told me that things were looking really good on the job front - oh right, May. Because he went to Kalamazoo to collect that award. I said oh, hm, whatever.

Not long after that, he told me he had a Feeling he'd have a job within a year, and I went into a frenzy of pre-packing plans. He said first you don't react at all, then you overreact. I said "What? You said you had a Feeling!" That's enough, right? I mean, hunches are important.

So a month or so later, he tells me the feeling went away. Great.

So I couldn't tell you what's going to happen next, but if I push it, we can have cats pretty soon. Of course we are now waiting for the vacations to be over because they will be chaotic, and then it will be "Wait till the MLA joblist comes out" (October, I think), and of course there will be some good possibilities there so it will become "Wait till after the convention, when we see how my interviews go," and then he'll have a good feeling about one or more of them, so it will change to "Wait till I hear back from them, should be in March..." See how that works? But as I said, if I push it, there will be kittens. Soon. So we are already discussing names.

Gus (of course) wants to name them SpongeBob and Patrick. Um, I Wait, make that No Effing Way. I suggested we name them Kilian and Gus, so we can say things like "Oh no, Kilian peed on the floor!" Kilian, however, wants to name them Phobos and Deimos.

I keep forgetting how smart he is.

Matthew in Beirut: Backstroke of the West


finally, an extreme sport for me

I saw this article in Wednesday's Guardian. Admittedly, it doesn't say anything about extremism, but golf in Spain's natural landscape has got to be a bit rougher than on those gigantic, water-sucking, carpetlike regular courses. I think you'd be tempted to hit that ball just a bit harder, WHOCK! And if I could wear my combat boots and decorate my clubs with feathers and studs and carry them in a ripped-up army duffel - yeah, Punk Golf. That'd open up the market a bit.

Not Your Mother's Golf.


Monday, August 08, 2005

bad weather blues

It's COLD! There was hail today. Yes, it is August 8th here too. This is so unfair. Blues is actually the wrong word, since it connotes depression, and what I'm feeling is more like annoyance. But "bad weather snit" doesn't really have the same ring to it.

If it stays like this I'm definitely not going to the reggae thing - ankle-deep in mud with a bunch of stoned teenage white rastas, I'm sorry, that's just too much. But maybe that's just the snit talking. I am in a rotten mood, what with work and Robert's job stress and he also has an injury that isn't going away, and the weather and my cold feet and two coldsores and having to wait two years for another Harry Potter book (just kidding, that's not a real problem) and okay, my kids are fabulous but everything else is just ticking me right off. Except my mom - she's not feeling too good right now and that doesn't irritate me, but I am a bit worried. And I tried to call her tonight but just as I started dialing I noticed that the phone's battery is on its last legs so I have to charge it first, and that's irritating.

Gritch, gritch, gritch. I try not to have too many blog entries like this, but then sometimes I go weeks without blogging and that's bad too - not that I'm grouchy for weeks, but I get busy. Anyway, here's a news flash: blogging is no longer cool! Can you believe that? Guess I better stop, then.

(Sheesh. Who gives a rip if it's cool or not? If that's the only reason you were doing it, you should have your computer privileges taken away permanently. I'm just sayin'.)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Something to ponder

My brother, along with his wife and many children, and my mother, are going to Hawaii next summer. How, oh how, can I gatecrash this party? I'll have to give it some serious thought. If I do manage to pull it off, then travel vengeance will certainly be mine.

Hm. It would be easier if they were all going to Jamaica.

Friday, August 05, 2005

should I, shouldn't I...

I'm dithering about going to the Chiemsee Reggae Summer this month. It's happening right when Kilian and Robert take off for Italy, without me, about which I will be bummed for No Good Reason (this was covered in the oops-sorry entry), and it would be good to take my mind off things. Yeah, but it's been a really rainy summer, and a music festival in the for 20-somethings on drugs, frankly. Not for Mom + Kid. But getting out of the house would sure be good. But Jimmy Cliff and Sean Paul are playing at 9.30 and 11.30, respectively - too late for the Gusalus. Even Toots and the Maytals (6.30) might be pushing it. All that way just to see Desmond Dekker... I'd really like to see Desmond Dekker... I'd also really like to see Jimmy, Sean, and Toots, though. Dither, waffle, seesaw. Meh. Probably not. Too much risk.

But jeez, I just went to Legoland last weekend, and saw Herbie this weekend, and have promised the Playmobil Funpark later this month. Could we submerge our personality in motherhood just a bit more, hm? The non-mom is still here, studying database management, but she doesn't get out much, does she? She should have some fun.

On the other hand, she is 34. Maybe she shouldn't try to pick up where she left off, when she got pregnant at 23.

I'm in love

Right, blogrolling isn't working right now, so I have to tell you about it here: the first man I've run across in a long time who can make me spray coffee on my screen. He doesn't seem to be rss-able, so I'll just have to remember to read him on my own. A lot like busymom. But definitely worth the effort. And you know that for me, remembering things is a big effort.

a day out, with children

Oh right, I have this blog. Sorry, I sorta forgot. There seems to be a fair bit of work piling up, odd since it's August. Bavaria usually slams shut in August, and L isn't working (and how do you like that, eh? Back when we had the whole translation/exploitation debate, she virtuously informed me that she and K work more than their contracted hours, heavily implying that I should too ... well, because they've both worked so very hard, they get the whole month off - paid in full, if I understand this correctly. So much for virtue and dedication.) but right before she took off for the month, she asked me to put up a page for a conference, and 14 "little pages", one for each speaker's abstract. Two words for ya: Yeah. Right.

Anyway. In light of my massive workload (not just the 15 new pages, which, in case I did not make it clear above, I will probably not do, I have a few site updates and the redesign also), I decided to take the boys to Munich today. To be a Good Mom, and to have some Time for them, because I'm almost always too busy. So we took a tram ride, and went to a store to buy some Duel Masters thing for Kilian, and bought an airplane for Gus, and went to Burger King, and then went and saw the Herbie movie.

And the little monsters spent the whole time hitting eachother and mouthing off to me. This is exactly the way they treat their grandparents, who bend over backwards to be nice to them. Today I was nice, and I got the Oompa treatment. Perhaps this is a pattern.

Robert comments on this a lot. Not so much with Gus, he says, but with Kilian, it's really hard to do nice things for him. You set aside a whole day to do something fun, and he's like, no thanks, I want to hang out with the world's most annoying neighbor kid and play Yu-Gi-Oh, just like I have every damn day for the last four years (okay, I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist). And then if you make him go, he might have fun, but he's just as likely to complain the whole time. It's exhausting. And Gus, well, he's generally nicer, if moody, but he worships Kilian, and imitates him, even in his worst behavior.

So I guess the solution is not to take them both anywhere, just take one kid per trip.