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

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.