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

Saturday, October 21, 2006


You guys! Are so cool, and there are new people in my comments (hi! welcome!) and comments I want to answer but I still don't have my own internet, am still grabbing moments here and there with DrBob's computer when he goes to the gym or the bathroom or something, and it's just difficult in the time I have. I'm sorry about that. Also, has eaten my password, so I had to start a new blogroll, but I didn't get around to digging around in my blogger template to put the new code in. The blogger template's kind of a pain, actually. Which brings me to my point:

A Thing I didn't tell you, but it was true neverthess, is that I've been considering leaving Blogger for awhile now. I've been sniffing around LiveJournal, WordPress and Typepad for awhile, and I decided that I like WordPress. The interface is spiffier, I like the templates better. Someday I'd like to download the WordPress software and move my blog to my own site. It'll be awhile before I have time to do that, but I set up a free blog on their space, and today seems like a good day to start new there. For reasons that will be revealed when you click over (sorry for the sentence fragment, but the previous sentence was just getting too damn long).

So I hope you'll follow me to my new digs, change your links and stuff like that. And bring some tequila. Here's the address:

Song du jour of the day: Moving, by Kate Bush

Friday, October 20, 2006

I don't always want the truth

Do you? Are you sure?

So I was having coffee yesterday with one of my new neighbors, Susanne, who is very nice (all my new neighbors seem to be quite cool - not sure how I got so lucky, but I'm glad), and I mentioned that one of the things I miss about the States is common courtesy from service people. Like "Can I help you?" or "Have a nice day." Now I've heard that Germans think Americans are superficial, but this is the first time one's actually said it to me: she said, "But it's not really sincere, is it, it's just superficial. They don't really mean it." (I'm translating and paraphrasing here.)

I've been thinking about that today. Americans who read this: when you say something polite to a stranger, are being truly honest? Do you really want them to have a nice day?

Now here's a better question: does it matter? Look at it from the other side: You walk into the post office, all you want is a stamp, what would you rather hear? "Can I help you," from someone who may not really mean it, or "What the hell do you want," from someone who really does mean it? Fake manners, or honest hostility?

I think I'd rather have the fake manners. I don't really need random strangers going out of their way to make my day even more unpleasant than it already has to be. I mean, I value truth and all that, and from my best friend I'd rather have complete honesty. But from a cashier at some store? Not so much.

So this makes me wonder about Germans. Do they consider rudeness a virtue?

Hmmm... what do you think?

Song du jour of the day: Where is the Love? by the Black-Eyed Peas

Thursday, October 19, 2006

They say...

... we'll have our dsl connection "early next week." They've said similar things, a lot, and been wrong every time so far. The ISP and Telekomm have to work together on this, and so far our ISP has been great, but Telekomm demonstrates exactly why monopolies are bad - they know you can't go anywhere else, and they treat their customers like crap just because they can.

This is one of those differences that I think is interesting between the U.S. and Europe - a few Europeans have asked me why cel phone service was so patchy and took so long to get going in the States, and the answer is easy - because our regular phone service actually works. In Europe, demand for cel phones was huge from the start because people couldn't WAIT to get away from Telekomm (here) and Telefónica (Spain). A lot of people dropped their land lines straight off and just relied on cel phones all the time - it was more expensive than regular phone service, but not by much (they still don't itemize phone bills here, so they can charge whatever the hell they want and there's no way you can appeal), and "service" is a laughable misnomer for the shameless incompetence that characterizes every Telekomm "worker" (another misnomer) we've ever had the misfortune to speak to. I've heard Telefónica is at least as bad.

Anyway. This is all just to say that I'm still grabbing moments here and there on DrBob's computer, because I still have no regular internet access, so posts tend to be under-edited, overlong, and incoherent. I'm also having lots of cows about my schoolwork, which is being totally neglected and making me hugely nervous because I've always been a total Hermione and this quarter I am a Bad Student. Crises at work? Illness? Moving? Subsequent loss of internet access? No excuse. In 2000, I had a baby mid-semester and didn't miss a single assignment. I don't do this. My teacher is being really understanding, but I still feel like a worm.

All of this ranting is probably a way to avoid talking about our meeting with Ignatz's therapist today. I guess, since some of you actually know who we are, and since my bloggerID is linked from DrBob's class webpage (bad move, honey), I should not do the details, but it was, um, frustrating.

Song du jour of the day: Fortress Around Your Heart, by Sting

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Yay, I lost again!

Only this time, losing was a lot harder. Yep, there's a parent council at Ignatz's school too, and remember me being one of seven candidates at the Sniglet's school? Um. There were fewer, this time. That is to say, there were none. Less than none: not only no volunteers, but no one who was willing to be drafted. I even asked Ignatz, awhile back, if Mrs Lallet's daughter signed up for French (I was pretty sure she would, and I was right), because I was wondering if we'd have to elect a new speaker this year.

Okay, quick background on German schools. Umm, one thing is that they provide basic religious instruction here (four separate classes: Catholicism, Lutheranism (remember, Europe doesn't have a zillion little freaked-out variants of basic Protestantism - they sent all those weirdos to the Americas in the 18th century), Islam, and ethics), which I think is a good thing because they don't tell the kids that they have to believe it all, but they do tell them the stories, which are a good thing to know so that when they read or hear about a pillar of salt or a widow's mite, they know what that means. It's the same reason I think English speakers should at least read Shakespeare, because half of what you read has some figure of speech or metaphor drawn from one of his plays, and you want to know what's going on.

Anyway. What I DON'T like, and what would be soundly illegal in the U.S., is that they divide the kids into classes by religion. They do this because it makes scheduling classes easier, and I understand that, but of course in the States it's been well-established that administrative convenience does not justify sex discrimination (Reed v. Reed, 1971), so I'm guessing it wouldn't be an acceptable excuse for religious segregation either. Anyway. We've protested, but there's nothing we can do on our own, so, you know, whatever.

So they keep those classes together until sixth grade. Halfway through fifth grade, each student chooses what second foreign language they'll start next year (the first is English, started in third grade, and it's compulsory) - our school offers Latin and French. Then in sixth grade, they're divided up by language, again to make scheduling easier. So that's why it mattered that Mrs Lallet's kid took French, because she wouldn't be in my son's class anymore, and we didn't have an automatic speaker. We had to elect one.

It's very difficult not to make eye contact with 25 people all at once, even if you're sitting all the way in the back of the classroom, as I was. Nobody wanted the job, and finally the teacher went around the room and made each of us say why we couldn't do it - the person with the most pathetic excuse would then be dragooned into acting as the parent-teacher liaison. My excuse was twofold: I'm a foreigner and I only understand about half of what is said to me; and my husband works out of town so I'm not available in the evenings because I have to be home with the demon spawn. It worked, I don't have to do it, but it was a harrowing evening. I think I may just volunteer next year, to save us all the trauma.

That is, if things have settled down. I've just moved house, and have to finish up my server-side technology course and look for a job. Once I get a job, I will be like a normal person, in that when people ask what I'll be doing in six months, I'll probably know. As it is, I might could squeeze in a few evening hours a week right now, probably, but I don't know if that'll still be true in two months, or four months, or six months, so I can't commit to something that'll last through next July.

Of course, if DrBob gets a job anywhere other than Munich, he'll be out of town all semester, and I really won't have any evenings free until the Sniglet's old enough to be left home alone. Oook.

Song du jour of the day: Don't Fear the Reaper.

Two people have now sent me this song, which is doubleplusgood, because I can throw away that ancient Blue Öyster Cult tape which I only kept because of that one song. Yes, a cassette tape, an ancient means of recording data - the damn thing's older than Samirah, but not as old as Monty and me (yes, I know it should be Monty and I, but Monty and me is so nice and alliterative - besides, language rules are effectively shaped by common usage, and we may not want to accept the validity of this particular construction, but it will be legalized someday - maybe not in our lifetimes, but it won't be much longer. I'll betcha). And yes, I have loved the song since I was six, even though I will never again be able to hear it without saying to myself, "Needs more cowbell."

Well that was interesting...

If, by "interesting," you understand "a fucking nightmare from start to finish." Umm, I don't write a lot here about my relationship with my husband's best friend, because it's too complicated. He's... well, my husband's best friend, and my firstborn's godfather, and both my kids really like him, but he and I don't really get along, but I have to be nice to him, and sometimes he is nice too, and then I decide to forget about all the other stuff and that's when he strikes. I can never decide whether he's evil or just Really That Clueless.

He came to our house on Sunday. And he cleaned a lot (um, hello? MY house), and rearranged furniture and reorganized things that I now have to fix and restore and put back. He kept saying I could say no to his suggestions, but when I did, he ignored me and did them anyway. And I can't trust him to be civil, so I have to be on guard all the time (on guard? what for? It's not like I can retaliate in any way, since I have to be nice to him, see above) so I can't relax when he's in the house, which he was for TWO DAYS. And some of it was good, he found some special wood-polish and made the interior doors look not-so-crappy. And some of it was bad - some of the tools are on one shelf now, and others are on a different shelf, and then there's one wrench - part of a set, mind you - that now lives in the kitchen? For some reason? And some is both good and bad - he trimmed the bushes in the back yard, thank you, and now there's a big pile of branches and crap waiting for me to cart it away, thank you very much.

And he stayed overnight. In MY office. DrBob's office has a sleepable furniture in it, but it's the only room with internet, so it was logical for the Best Friend to stay in MY space, the only place I can be ALONE, instead. (Well, okay, I can hide in the laundry room. I did that a lot, actually.) But see how that worked? It was logical for him to sleep in my office, so I couldn't object without seeming irrational. And the doors really did look crappy, and he really did make them better, but somehow that gave him the right to mess with everything, and he always made it sound so logical and anyway it was always just a suggestion and I could put it back if I wanted (tell that to the plants he cut up), and I could never object without sounding both ungrateful and unreasonable. So I just skulked around the house like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, and got increasingly pissed off.

When Ignatz got home from school yesterday, BF dragooned him into reorganizing his room, steamrollered over all his objections, kept him busy for two hours (making changes that we will now have to un-make). Ignatz had made plans with a friend, and he was now late, so he rushed through his homework and sprinted out the door. BF checked his homework, marked all the errors, and told me to make Ignatz re-do it. Which I couldn't, because I was taking the Sniglet to his first soccer practice (awww...), but I talked to Ignatz later about it. We made a deal: he doesn't rush through his homework, and I don't let anyone drag him away from it, for any reason.

So now it's over, he's gone, but I'm still twitchy because he kept talking about "next time," and I have to be ready whenever the question arises with a list of reasons why "next time" is not going to happen, and um, that's bad. Because I hate, hate, hate conflict, and when I know it's in my future I get very jittery. Also because every time I turn around I see something he changed that I now have to change back.


Song du jour of the day: Get Out of My House, by Kate Bush

Friday, October 13, 2006

boogie, boogie, boogie!

Right, right, I'd forgotten that the Sniglet already has a fiancée - I hadn't actually gotten around to telling him about it yet, but I've remedied that, and even shown him her pictures. He's not too impressed, to be honest. I told him that by the time he's ready to get married she won't be a baby anymore, but I don't think he believes me. I'll work on it.

So happy Friday the 13th, y'all! I went back to work for the first time in forever, and I discovered that I really like my job when I only do it for six hours at a stretch. The ten-hour thing, not so much.

And when I got home, I had MAIL! (Okay, html sucks, 'cause if I could I'd be drawing little stripey and shadowed letters and stars and lightnings and stuff, like in The Monster at the End of this Book, but I can't. Grr.) from Samirah, and it is two CDs which will be fabulous as soon as I listen to them which I will pretty soon. And I am fantastically happy about them, and also nostalgic about when I had time to make fabulous art-collage envelopey-casey-things for stuff I sent or gave people. I still have the instincts, but not the time or headspace - this, for example, took me maybe five minutes. I'm glad he liked it, but I think it looks as rushed as it was, and he deserved better.

So my Friday the 13th was actually pretty good. They usually are.

Song du jour of the day: I Put a Spell On You, by Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

hee hee

On the way home from school yesterday, the Sniglet told me about Elena, who is "verknallt in me. That means she love me." I asked how he felt about her, and he said "Okay. But not verknallt."

Later, and apropros of something else, he said "I hope I can find a wife when I grow up." I said "oh don't worry, there's lots of women around. Oh hey, why don't you marry Elena?" He sighed heavily and said, "Okay. I'll see what I can do."

Song du jour of the day: Isn't It Romantic, by Ella Fitzgerald

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Gotta make this quick because I'm using DrBob's computer while he's at the gym. No, no internet yet, though he can pick up on the next-door neighbor's WLAN signal (because his office shares a wall with the neighbor's office, and mine's on the other side of the house). We should be back online with our own signal next Monday.

It's going well, but it's an enormous job because we didn't really summon help, but decided to do it all ourselves. There's a big, but diminishing, pile of boxes in the middle of our new living room - my fault, that: he'd just sock it all away in the basement, I'm the one insisting that every item start its new life in its proper place. Even so, I'll have a heap of organizing and rearranging to do, but every little bit I do now, when I don't have internet, will save me time that I can later spend surfing. Dude.

And the old house. Once we got all the Stuff out, it looked like a family of Tasmanian devils had been living there. Now the spackle-fairy (i.e. DrBob) has been there, so it looks blotchy but not quite so structurally unsound. Next is the cleaning, every minute of which I so far hate. But someday it will be done, and will stay done since we got the Tasmanian devils out - oh, speaking of evil-minded rodents, apparently there's a weasel in our new garden! How cool is that?

Anyway. It's progressing. My schooling is not, and I'm trying really hard not to get totally stressed out about it. Partially succeeding, because I look fairly relaxed, but my skin's a mess. Well, this too shall pass. Meanwhile, I love my new house, while at the same time finding it very hard to believe it's actually mine. Well okay, half of it's really the bank's, but they're letting me live here, and even that is hard to believe.

Song du jour of the day: Buddy Holly, by Weezer

Sunday, October 01, 2006

au revoir

Okay, this is the actual, official moving day, so our internet will be turned off at some point today, or maybe very early tomorrow. In either case, they said it'd take them two weeks to turn it on at our new house, so I will be mostly netless until then, barring an occasional net-café visit or something. So be good, okay? Don't trash the place.

See you soon.

Friday, September 29, 2006

I didn't win! Yay!

Okay, a number of people (and that number is two, but I know the rest of you are thinking it) asked me why I ran for the parent-council-thing if I didn't want to be on it. And it was partly because, you know, parents should be involved and stuff, and also because every year in Ignatz's class there have been fewer candidates, until last year there was nobody, and after about two minutes of absolute silence Mrs Lallet said "Oh all right, I'll do it. Again." She's been on the job since they were all first graders. I figured nobody'd want the job, so I should step up.

And that is more or less what I said when it was my turn to introduce myself. And then the other candidates were all sparkly and saying crap like "I served for five years on the kindergarten parent council and it was so much fun!" or "I've never done it before but I just love organizing things and I'm so excited about this opportunity!" After that it's a wonder I got any votes at all, but I did. I got two votes, which is exactly how many votes Jonas's mom got, and she didn't even show up at the meeting. I have to wonder what some people were thinking.

So I didn't win, and I survived another parent-evening. All good.

The shelves are over at the new house, most of them. Tomorrow starts two days of packing and maneuvering furniture up and down stairs and cursing and saying "How the HELL did we accumulate so much effing STUFF!?"

I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself.

Song du jour of the day: Wait for Me, by Hall & Oates. But not just any version, oh no. The live version at the end of Hall & Oates's Greatest Hits. I know what you're thinking: Hall & Oates? Greatest Hits? Isn't that an oxymoron?

No. No it is not.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Back to Life... Back to Re-a-li-ty...

Well, so that was vacation. During the kids' summer break I wasn't teaching English (because most of my students have school-age kids), and I took leave from work for August and September, and I was going to get so much done with all that extra time! Only I didn't, and I can't even really blame it on my illness. It was laziness and the illusion that I had all the time in the world. So now I still have to finish this database course and move house, only now I have to do it while losing Fridays to my job and teaching English on Wednesdays. This is not going to make things easier, is it? I'm so good at making plans, and so bad at actually doing them.

Or envisioning the consequences. This moving thing... one of the basic elements of my grand plan is to get the shelves over to the new house so we have a place to put the stuff when we take it over. So now all the contents of my kitchen shelf are on the counter and I can't really use my kitchen. Um, oops? Sensible would be to move the shelves and the stuff over on the same day, but DrBob had to leave for this conference-thing at noon, so we only had time for the first half of the plan today. The second half of the plan is supposed to happen on Saturday, but the number of things we have planned for that day is probably in the high thousands. So we'll see what actually gets done, eh?

Song du jour of the day: Halloween on the Barbary Coast. By the Flaming Lips.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Is it time to give in to despair yet?

My to-do list today:
clear basement shelves
plan tomorrow's English lesson
grocery shopping
put together the two wardrobes we got at Ikea yesterday
write Samirah to say Ooo, yes please!
mail stamps to Melanie and Ruby

That doesn't look impossible, does it, for a day's work? DrBob and I, together, managed to finish ONE of the Ikea wardrobes (this one). That was it, that was all we accomplished today. Sheesh, we told everyone we'd be out of this house next Sunday, but if every little thing takes an entire day to do? Or longer, since we'll all be faint with hunger shortly, since I didn't go grocery shopping and there's no FOOD! Also, DrBob has a conference to go to, and will be gone from Thursday to Saturday, so I have to do it on my own. Without lifting stuff. Because I am strictly forbidden to have a relapse on the whole pneumonia thing.

I'm so tired.

Song du jour of the day: Little Black Heart, by A-Ha. Don't try to cheer me up, just cyberslap me and tell me to get the hell over myself.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Moving week - Los geht's!

Well, Saturday the brother-in-law came over and helped DrBob move some of the heavy stuff to the new house, which was way fun for me - I love watching boys flex their muscles. I spent Saturday putting DrBob's books in boxes, he spent Sunday taking them out of the boxes and putting them on his shelves (in the new house, that is). In about half an hour we'll go to Ikea and see how many fights one couple can pack into one day, that'll be fun. And then tonight some potential renters will come to look at the house (what, already!? I know!), and some more on Tuesday. It's lovely, our couch is gone so the living room looks huge, and the fifteen or so cardboard boxes provide an excuse for the dust. I managed to get most of the filth removed, but of course I have sons, so that'll last until they're home from school.

Anyway, that's me not blogging, and not even doing much worth blogging about: measuring rooms, putting things in boxes, taking them out of boxes, cleaning, I'm sure you don't need the grisly details. Wow, did we ever manage to accumulate a lot of stuff in five years! And I'm gonna feel really guilty about throwing so much away, but really, I just can't keep holding onto all this crap. Did you know I was into rubber stamps as a teenager? And I still have the dratted things? I've been trying to think who would want them, and frankly, I'm drawing a blank. I thought of having a Vicki-style potlatch, but the postage to the U.S. would ruin us financially and I don't have that many friends in Germany. Ugh.

Speaking of friends in Germany, we need a couple big strong guys to help us next Sunday (I'm not supposed to be lifting things yet). We pay in pizza and beer. Any takers?

Song du jour of the day: La Vie Ghetto, by Wyclef Jean.

Oh! AND, I discovered today that one of the kids in the Sniglet's class lives in our new neighborhood. Fellowmom neighbor, yay! Also, I'm running for the um, parent-council... thingy. What do you call that in English? I'd say wish me luck, except that I really don't know whether I want to win or lose.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Things I've been meaning to tell you...

I had to bail on the 9/11 Mixmania, which made me really, really sad because I put a lot of time into the song lists, and then my computer pooped out on me. Rats, drat, and also darn. So I'm not signing up for the next Mixmania, even though I want to, because I don't know if I'll have my computer fixed on time. Well, I probably won't, because I don't actually know what's wrong with it.

But you can! Please? For me? Also for you, because this is a really great group of people and you should get to know them and reading their blogs will make your hair shinier. Go sign up for Jim's Halloween Mixmania, because it's way fun and if I can't do it, it'll make me happier if you do. It really will.

I am feeling somewhat better, thanks Elemmaciltur for asking. Almost normal, mostly, except for some reason I keep getting drunk, and then there's the hangover, and it's always too late when I think "heywaitaminute... wasn't I supposed to be taking it easy?" But, you know, there's always a good reason for it. Like, "But the second beer was FREE!"

I know, I know. Gotta stop that.

Apropos of which, yes I had a friend from Back Home visiting, a college friend, which is lovely. You need people who remember what you were like at 19, and love you anyway. And of course she had only a few days here, so we went to Munich yesterday to check out Oktoberfest. We had something like seven hours in the city, so I thought we'd have a beer (a whole liter of beer, which is about a quart to you normal people, with a higher-than-usual (especially if you're American) alcohol content), look around, and then go see the city. Hah. You sit down at one of those tables, you're not getting up again until it's time to get up and dance. On the benches (because the tables are too slippery with spilled beer). Seemed like the most natural thing in the world after the second tank of beer, which was bought for me by someone, and was therefore FREE, so I had to drink it. We sat with a group of lovely Australians and some Toytowners and had um, a lot more fun than you would think you could have, sitting on a hard wooden bench, eating giant pretzels, and singing along with an Oompah band. For seven hours.

After which I put Krystal on the train to Paris, caught my train home, brushed my teeth (probably), and collapsed in bed, only to wake up at 3 a.m. and realize I was still drunk. That part really wasn't fun at all. Remind me not to drink anymore, okay?

Umm, what else? Oh, we set an Official Moving Date of October 1st (i.e., when the phone and internet and everything are supposed to switch over), and then found out that my big strong brother-in-law couldn't do it then, howbout this Saturday? Yep, the day after tomorrow, all the heavy stuff goes, so I'm trying to get all the laundry done and clear shelves and, you know, Not Freak Out or anything. Because I distinctly remember planning to do this right, use the time I had to be organized and sensible about moving. What the hell happened? Oh, right, I remember - I was me, instead of someone, you know, organized and sensible. Oops.

Also, the internet people say it'll take them two weeks to flip the switch, so we'll be without internet for two weeks. Egad, it makes me woozy just thinking about it.

Okay, I think I've talked long enough to lose all but my most dedicated readers.

Song du jour of yesterday: in however-many hours of standing on a bench, swinging a giant beer glass and singing at the top of my lungs in a tent with about 9,000 other people, the only song I can actually remember is Hang on Sloopy, as presented by these charming fellows.

Okay, on my to-do list for tomorrow: grow up.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

still here, sort of

Got a houseguest from Back Home today and tomorrow, so blogging, as you may already have noticed, will be pretty light. I'll get back to you on Thursday. Probably.

Song du jour of the day (more like week, now) is still Tout Est Permis, because it's Oktoberfest.

Friday, September 15, 2006

about school, mostly

Well, there's the first week of school, survived. The Sniglet came home from his first day (thursday) disgruntled because he didn't learn anything, which is such a typically Sniglet thing to say. Heh.

Ignatz is starting Latin and Informatics this year, very exciting. He is under orders to come home and teach me everything he learns.

So both my kids are back in school, yes only now - Bavaria has the latest holidays in Germany, as far as I know. That's why we take our vacations so late, so we only have to share the road with other Bavarians, and not with all 80 million Germans. The Bavarians alone are bad enough.

So this is good, this school thing, because I can sort of establish routines now. Everything goes out the window during the vacations. But also bad, because I have to go back to work and teaching soon, which will leave me less time to move and finish my class.

Also, we're moving. Bet you'd forgotten about that, huh? You'd think I'd forgotten too, if you could see how little I've done about it. We got the keys, though, and we can go over to the house and grin to ourselves from time to time. I took Mrs Next Door to see it, and she discovered another room that we hadn't noticed. A little half-room off the attic. Yes, duh, but we're lucky to have intelligent friends.

What Ignatz said today: Mama? Don't you think our freezer's a bit too cold? I think it's because it has too many popsicles in it.

Finally, the song du jour du jour (because it's in French!). Tout Est Permis, by Noyau Dur, discovered today via Pandora. I love this! Click the videos link on the Noyau Dur site to see/hear Tout Es Permis.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More from the peanut gallery

Vicki said...
That's a hefty tag on health insurance. What happened to socialized medicine?
This is socialized medicine: those who have more (that's us) pay more, so that people who can't afford health insurance can still get medical care - the price we pay for living in a healthy society, and mostly I think it's worth it. We are pretty solidly middle-class, but our rates are at the top of the scale, because there are a few flaws in the system. One is that costs are high in general because nobody ever tries to rein in the pharmaceuticals giants, who are laughing all the way to the bank, believe me. Another is that if you have even a little more money than we do, it's cheaper to go with private insurance, and a lot of people do that: they pay lower rates while they're young and healthy, and then when they get old, or develop a chronic illness, their private insurance drops them like a hot rock. Then they come back and sponge off the public fund that they couldn't be bothered to contribute to when things were okay.

What that means is that the many Germans who can't afford health care depend on ordinary middle-class families like us, because the people who have money don't pay into the system.

Melanie said...
And hey, haven't your cast of characters aged yet? (Still 11 and 5?)
Nope, still 11 and 5. DrBob turned 40 in March, but the rest of us don't age. It's too expensive.

elemmaciltur said...
Weren't you allowed to knit in the hospital?
Probably, but the placement of my IV needles didn't give the range of movement I would need for knitting: I couldn't use the fingers of my right hand for four days, then I couldn't use my left arm at all for another day. Plus the yarn would've gotten caught in the IV tubing, that woulda sucked.

Actually, the reason they let me out is not because I'm better, but because I'm ambulant - because I can take the meds in tablet form instead of needing them intravenously. Technically I'm still sick, and supposed to be taking it easy.

kimberlydi said...
Take every single antibiotic... You don't want a relapse.
No, I sure don't. Last time, with the bronchitis, they didn't give me enough antibiotics, that's why the pneumonia hit me - because I stopped treatment before I was well (NOT on purpose, because they under-medded me).

Still, going on two weeks of antibiotics now, and it's doing bad things to my digestion and my teeth. I will take them all, but I don't know what condition I'll be in by the time they're all done.

Let me just take a moment here to state the blisteringly obvious: Being sick? Sucks.

Also, while I've got you here, I wonder if anyone has an instruction manual for husbands, as mine seems to be malfunctioning. He's sick, but refuses to go to the doctor, because he's sure the doc will only say he needs to cut back on stress, and he can't do that, so he's driving us all crazy swanning around like La fucking Traviata not getting better of course, and his mood is affecting all of us. Clearly, he needs a tune-up. Or a pipe wrench to the head.

Song du jour of the day: Machinehead, by Bush

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Well that was stupid...

Pneumonia. I mean really. What a stupid thing to happen right when I have so much stuff to get on with. Apparently stress is a major factor - stress? Moi? I have the best life of anyone I know, I don't have stress. (DrBob: Why didn't you tell the doctor that your mom died of lung cancer last year? alala: I dunno, why, is that important?) Anyway, it was all a big, dumb waste of time - not being in the hospital, that's a good place to be when you're really sick, and I was - the being sick part. That was dumb. And a waste of time.

And it's not quite over. Another... uh. Hospital doc says another week of antibiotics, regular doc writes me a prescription for five days. That doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, does it? And I'm supposed to take it easy, while moving house and getting up early to get my kids to school, that starts tomorrow - would've been today, but everybody gets a day off because the Pope's here, something that ticks DrBob right off, but whatever.

What was I talking about? I dunno. I went on vacation not knowing how sick I was, but pretty sure when I got back that it wasn't good. First day back I went to the doctor and was not at all surprised when she tossed me straight into the hospital. Which was lovely at first, to be taken care of for the two days when I was in a fever-induced daze, but when clarity returned, I was dreadfully bored. And they made me stay another five days.

Song du jour of the day: Truckin', by the Grateful Dead. What a long strange trip it's been...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

feet greet

Many thanks from alala for the kind wishes! There are no complications and she's recovering, although this is apparently a longish process. alala's increasingly annoyed by hospital life; definitely a good sign. The treatment involves an intravenous drip, orthopedic stockings (very sexy, see above), some really neat gadgets she has to use to bring her lungs back to full capacity--and 'food'. My theory is that the organic matter served instead of breakfast, lunch and dinner is supposed to trigger archaic survival instincts and mobilize the body's resistance. The only chance to escape this culinary rogue regime is to get healthy. Here's a sample of 'food' (administered 9 September, 12:00 CET):

Health insurance receives about €1,000 monthly from us. I know now that the money is well spent.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dr. Bob's medical report

Hi, I'm afraid that I have to dissappoint those who are waiting to read about alala's Balkan adventures: Istria is not part of the Balkans, and I'm not alala but the "scarily multilingual academic" (who is somewhat linguistically scared about having to go public without alala's proven editorial help). The trip was great, and now she's in the hospital with a pneumonia. It was probably an overdose of recreation. This pneumonia is a pretty nasty thing, but, given the circumstances, alala's fine and in good spirit. We hope that she'll be back next week.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

This is my 400th post! Isn't that cool?

*ahem* la la la... *ahem*. Okay.

Happy Birthday to you!
You live in a zoo!
You look like a monkey,
And you smell like one too (but not really)!

Happy Birthday, Bro!

It's after midnight, and I have to get up at six, yay me. More feedback-feedback, because you all leave such great soundbites that get me thinking, and I almost never follow up on them, bad me.

KimberlyDi said...
Hey, a vacation is still a vacation. Enjoy the change in routine. Taking a laptop with ya?
You're absolutely right, and I'm not complaining. DrBob and I are major culture-heads, and most of our trips are such a whirlwind of cathedrals and churches and castles and whatnot that once it's over, I can't remember which was where. But: 1) kids hate that shit, and 2) where there's culture, there's usually also traffic and pickpockets, both of which make traveling with children much more trying than necessary.

So yeah. This Generic Family Entertainment Complex could be anywhere in the world, and might be a bit on the boring side, but I could do with some boredom. And the kids will be happy, I love that. Plus, being what we are, DrBob and I will probably drag the little monsters off to Venice, or at least to the cathedral in Rovinj (also, I hear there's an aquarium! cool!) at least once. So that'll be okay.

No, no laptop. Trying to go as un-wired as possible this time, because it's supposed to be a vacation. Last year I took my laptop and spent the week restructuring the entire JOB site (the job I quit in March), and while I rather enjoyed it, I kinda feel like I probably should have spent my vacation ... um, not-working. I may hunt up an internet café mid-week though, just to see how y'all are doing.

~d (tilde) said...
Amazing life you are giving your children.
You know, you're right. Thanks for reminding me. Because it's kinda true, isn't it, but I forget that most of the time. Maybe because it's not nearly as amazing as I want it to be - I still haven't managed to take Ignatz to Dublin as promised, plus I owe him a trip to Venice, just the two of us. And the Sniglet's trip to the Playmobil Funpark was canceled first by rain, and then by my bronchitis. Hm. Memo to self, get sh-- um, act together (trying to clean up my language now that I know that my niece reads this. She's three).

Also? You think this is amazing? Come visit, we'll take you places and show you cool stuff. Just ask Melanie if you don't believe me.

Song du jour of the week, probably, since I won't be back with a new one until next Saturday: um, how about the Star Trek Theme Song. The original series, of course.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Umm, we're leaving on Saturday! For Croatia! Do you know as vanishingly little about Eastern Europe as I do? Well, what the hell, back when we paid attention to that sort of thing it was behind the Iron Curtain and we were never gonna go there (didn't you just say you went to Leningrad in 1987? Um, yes, but that's... different. Drat it, you've ruined my narrative flow!) anyway. It was also part of Yugoslavia, and they redrew all the borders (in blood, basically, but, you know, whatever) in the early 90s while I was busy being young and self-absorbed. In stark contrast to the way I am now, which is middle-aged and self-absorbed. Anyway. Croatia. It's across the Adriatic from Italy, so I guess the climate is similar.

The place we went last year was booked solid by February this year, so we had to think of something else. DrBob found this thing in Croatia (sorry, I couldn't find anything in English), which is like a Family Entertainment Complex - totally not our usual thing, but we have to do something, right? I mean, already this year we are only taking one week of vacation, which is so totally un-German that they'll probably kick us out of the country if they find out. Anyway, the kids might enjoy it.

Me? I'm gonna take a bunch of novels with me and hang out by the pool and let the sun bake all this phlegm out of my lungs. Culture, schmulture, I'm too tired to enjoy it anyway. Though we might take a ferry to Venice. Once we decide whether it will be fun for the kids or the Amazing Carnival of Complaining.

Song du jour of the day: Emotional Rescue. The Rolling Stones

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Well, the coughing has abated, and I don't need to spend a couple hours lying down every afternoon - well, that and I'm not allowed to. I feel almost normal, until I try to do something. Today I walked to the Doctor's office. Twice! How's that for an achievement? It's across the street from my house, why do you ask? Well, across the street and down a bit, not right across the street. Okay, probably about 100 feet from my house. What's your point?

I'm sorry this is all I can write about. Things really are this boring right now.

Song du jour of the day (hee hee hee) (via Evhead):

powered by ODEO

Monday, August 21, 2006


The soccer game was pretty fun, and I didn't pass out or anything, so that's all good.

We had houseguests this weekend. I'm sure they had a grand time watching my Bill the Cat imitation for two days. Wouldn't you love to come visit me now? Yup, still sick, and quite worried about the offspring - since they've been exposed, but don't have it now, it's altogether possible that they'll come down with it while we're on vacation in Croatia next week, and how much would that suck?

Other stuff I've been doing...

AAAahahahaha this is fun! However, Jeneane's point (in a nutshell, howcome nearly every celebrity in their database is white?) is extremely valid, and MyHeritage? If you could work on the diversity thing? Kthanks. (Yes, I sent them a real email, I'm not just hoping they'll happen by my blog.)

Also, I went and did that mappy-thing, picked up from James's blog:

create your own visited country map
I love how I get to fill in half of Asia on the strength of a weekend in Leningrad in 1987.

create your own personalized map of the USA

create your personalized map of europe

Your travel type: Culture Buff

The culture buff needs to see a museum, an art gallery, a 16-th century church every day during his holiday. When he travels he is always well prepared. He has read history books, speaks a few words of the lingo, knows about the strange habits the locals have.

top destinations:

New York

stay away from:

North Korea
Darien Gap
get your own travel profile

Song du jour of the day: All Over the World, by ELO! Ha!

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Huh. Turns out, when you don't do a lot, you don't have a lot to blog about. I could tell you about my new croaky voice or the hours I spent counting the ceiling because I couldn't sleep last night, but that would be extremely boring. See, I'm bored already. So I'll just tell you about my Bad Idea, which is to go to a soccer game. Just the second half, and it's not like I'll be playing. Just watching. Everybody's been on summer break since before the World Cup, so I'm jonesing, man, and the team (DrBob's hometown team) is really good. But with the ride there and 45 minutes of soccer and the chitchat with in-laws and the ride home, I'll have to remain upright for something like an hour and a half, so I'd better go lie down for awhile. Store up some strength.

Nothing but excitement here at casa alala.

Song du jour of the day: Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne, If I Close My Eyes Forever (Will this Fucking Headache Go Away?).

Friday, August 18, 2006

Well, that explains a lot

It's bronchitis. Not a cold, and just waiting for it to go away was not a good plan. So now I have antibiotics and a decent excuse for having been such a slug for the last few days. A hacking, gagging slug. A slug with hairballs.

Better news: the weather is improving! We were even able to eat dinner outside yesterday. That is to say, the guys ate dinner while I snored in my potato salad. And it was raining when I woke up this morning, but now it isn't. This is progress. This is good.

Song du jour of the day: Stay Fly, by Three Six Mafia

aaaand now we're coughing.

I try really hard to post every day, because I've noticed that if I let one day go, it turns into five. And of course, it would be cruel to make you miss a day of the glamor and fabulousness of my life. Bleah.

So the glamor and fabulousness today consisted mostly of napping. I think there may also have been some laundry, but it was mostly napping. I talked to Mrs Next Door briefly over the fence - I've been avoiding her, because I didn't want to infect her with my disease, but as soon as we greeted eachother in our new-improved basso profundo voices, I knew she already had it. And she's been to the doctor, and gotten antibiotics for it, so I guess I better go to the doctor too. Apparently, this particular "cold" has been making the rounds here in OurTown, and just waiting for it to go away is not going to work.

Bleh. Tune in tomorrow for more glamor and fabulousness. And probably coughing. Betcha just can't wait.

Song du jour of the day: Strange Colour Blue, by Madrugada.

Ganked from Kelly...

You scored as Angel. Angel: Angels are the guardians of all things, from the smallest ant to the tallest tree. They give inspiration, love, hope, and positive emotion. They live among humans without being seen. They are the good in all things, and if you feel alone, don't fear. They are always watching. Often times they merely stand by, whispering into the ears of those who feel lost. They would love nothing more then to reveal themselves, but in today's society, this would bring havoc and many unneeded questions. Give thanks to all things beautiful, for you are an Angel.













What Mythological Creature are you? (Cool Pics!)
created with

Pffft. Yeah, right. Angel with hairballs.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

now we're committed

Today we went to the Notary's office. I don't actually know how to go about buying or selling a house in the U.S., never having done it - my brother is the go-to-guy on that one. So I can't really compare and contrast the two systems, all I can tell you is what happens here, as it happens. And as I understand it, since DrBob does most of the bureaucratic work. So the Notary drew up a contract last week, we read it, the Bank Guy advised us, yadda yadda you know this. We suggested some amendments, they made them, and today we and the Fishers met at the Notary's office, which here is like a business, where a lot of people work there and we saw a sort of junior-notary-intern person. She read the entire contract aloud, stopping to explain this or that point, and then we all signed it. It took hours, and I could see the others starting to nod off too. I had to squint to understand everything, so that kept me fairly alert. I also had some non-sleepy-formula cold medicine in me - what the hell is in that stuff, by the way? Because we already used up the sleepy-formula stuff (Nyquil and Dayquil knockoffs, both of them, thank you Walgreen's) (because we can both tolerate being sick when we have to work, but we tend to want to mask the symptoms so we can sleep), and I figured I should be able to sleep with the non-sleepy stuff because I was assuming they put something sleepy in the sleepy stuff, and the non-sleepy stuff is the same thing only without the downers. But it may contain some kind of uppers, because my sleep has been very very strange, and when I'm awake I'm a little loopy, whether from lack of sleep or the uppity cold medicine I don't know.

Um, where was I? I dunno, but I did find out how much our space in the underground garage will cost us (€12/month) and, that we'll just take over the house insurance and then we'll be insured against fire and burning (?), and also lightning strikes and something else, and against being crashed into by steerable flying objects. That means if an airplane or space shuttle (or a cruise missile, adds DrBob) hits our house we're covered, but if it's a meteor, we're not. I'll have to see if I can get that changed. How much extra do you think they charge for meteor coverage?

Also the Fishers gave us some photos of the house, which I will scan and put up for you when I'm a bit less of a freakshow. Have I mentioned that I'm sick? I am. I'm getting really tired of it, too.

Song du jour of the day: Crazy, by the Jesus and Mary Chain. I think I already used that one... oops.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Two updates, one rant

Let's see, the house really did sell, and the money really did get transferred into my account, and we really did wire-transfer a little over half of it to our account here in Germany, so we are ready for the signing tomorrow - the notary fee should be something like €3500, and there are taxes and taxes and taxes to pay. Oook. But it's all going forward, and I'm excited.

I just got the tickets for my trip to the States - a week in Seattle and a week in Denver. I wish both weeks could be longer, but I learned something last October, when I was in Port Townsend for a month: two weeks is as long as I can be away from my husband and sons. After that I get really jittery and strange and can't think about anything else. There's also the moving and the kids in school and the starting my freelance webdev business and DrBob going to Spain in mid-December, so two weeks is about as long as my life can spare me. I'm still fairly excited about seeing my people.

I'm not too excited about the new security measures resulting from the terror plot that was conveniently foiled right when both Bush and Blair needed something new for people to talk about. I hope by the time I have to fly they will at least allow books on board.

Oh, also? Pardon me for getting all Language-Nerd AND left-wing AND academic on your ass, but according to the BBC, British Home Secretary John Reid said:
had the attack gone ahead it would have caused a loss of life of "unprecedented scale".
And, from the same source:
Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Paul Stephenson said the alleged plotters had intended "mass murder on an unimaginable scale".
Why are these idiots holding public office? "Unprecedented"? Maybe so far this month, fuckwit. "Unimaginable"? Excuse me, it wasn't just imagined, it was done, a lot of it in your lifetime, asshole.

The English language has more words than most comparable world languages - it's an incredibly rich resource, and the reason we have so many words is so that you can find the right one for the occasion. Yes, it would have been tragic and horrible for 3-10 airplanes to crash, but using words like unprecedented and unimaginable is, quite simply, telling lies. Pretty fucking insensitive lies, too. These nitwits didn't "mean" to say that 2,996 people were not killed on 9/11, that a million or so Tutsis did not die in Rwanda in 1994, that 9-15 million people were not systematically murdered by the Nazi regime. But that is what they said.

And lest you think I'm nitpicking on some basically decent guys, let's just look at what they really meant: "Biggest hugest scariest-ever deal, ohmigod everybody PANIC!" Which is exactly, exactly the wrong approach to take with a situation like this. So, nice try, but no: two stupids do not make a right.

And nobody called them on it, except zefrank - am I the last person to find out about this guy? He's fab. And cute. I may like him even better than Ask a Ninja.

Song du jour of the day: Janine, by Soul Coughing.

comments? I love comments!

Melanie said:
Why That Is, my opinion...
Subtract 5 year old = increased predictability, less noise and stimulation.
Subtract poppa = increased choice and control???
Momma alone = more attention and patience.

That's my official consultant thinking... What do you think?
I think those are some excellent points. I was thinking you'd have to take into account the various relationships in the family, i.e. that DrBob is a lot more bothered by - um, well, just about everything Ignatz does - than I am (the same is true with regard to me and the Sniglet), but actually, now that I think of it, when he and Ignatz are home alone they report very little conflict. Relationships increase in complexity the more people you throw in, I guess.

Nate said...
Just So You Know: "Ridin' Dirty" is my suburban white-dad closet rap fan code word for "currently wearing a diaper full of poo." I love it when the older kids say it without knowing that it's from a rap song. Makes me feel like I have a secret. heh.
AHAHAHAHA! That adds a whole new element to the Sniglet's karate-dance! Thanks. I don't think I'll tell him about it, though, at least not for awhile.

samirah said...
I'm just going to give you permission to go ahead and throw out the old ass, used wrapping paper. Why? Because as far as I know you are not my grandma.
Much appreciated, thank you.

~d (tilde) said...
HAHAHA! Try cleaning out a fridge after the power has been out for several weeks-and its summer. Nevermind-not a good time! HHAHAA
I love Ridin' Dirty. They mention the 504 Boys-that is New Orleans' area code. There are a few other post-katrina refences in it.
Raindog told me to ceck out Boy Kill Boy, but I can't FIND it-can you???
Yeah, here. Very interesting stuff, worth checking out. Tell Raindog thanks, and while you're at it, you should both check out Madrugada, if you haven't already.

Song du jour of the day: Suzie, by boy kill boy.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Cleaning out the refrigerator is always a Good Thing To Do, because you find things that must be used up and sometimes the results are excellent. This time the result was chocolate zucchini bread.

Spent more time grubbing around in the basement, putting things in boxes today. Lots of things to be Gotten Rid Of, hopefully to some deserving charity, and the Christmas stuff is now ready to move to the new house. I'm one of those people that unwraps presents very carefully, so that the wrapping paper can be reused. We have quite a bit of old wrapping paper now, so could someone please give me permission to throw it away? Thanks, I'd appreciate it.

DrBob was in Munich all day, and the Sniglet is at the Oompas', so I was home alone with Ignatz. It was interesting in that it was an almost conflict-free day: he did what I asked him, I listened to his information about Bionicles and sharks, we got along really well even though we were cooped up in a house together on a rainy day. Zero fights. I need to think about why that is. Or rather, why that isn't, when either of the others is around. Hmm.

Song du jour of the day: Discover a Lovelier You, by the Perniece Brothers, from the mixmania! CD Chuck sent me. I like the song a lot, but the Sniglet loves it - that and Ridin' Dirty, from the CD that ~d sent me. Whenever either song comes on, he "dances" to it, using karate moves he learned from SpongeBob. It's pretty entertaining.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

grousing, general and specific

Right. Shaking off the Osmond-induced bafflement to try to think of something to write about.

This not-working thing is really weird. With the kids underfoot all the time and no reason to be in Munich on any particular day, every day is just like another, and I never know when it is. I know what it is though: cold, mucky, rainy. We had that two-month heatwave that was so bad, the elementary school actually sent kids home because it was too hot (schools here don't have air conditioning, because it only gets that hot about once every fifty years). The day - THE VERY DAY - vacations started, the weather broke, and it's been Seattle ever since. Except that, I hear it's nice in Seattle right now. Damn. DrBob says "I think that august is definitely broken," because last year august was sucky too.

So as you can imagine, I'm getting a lot of use out of these - remember them?

Tragically, even though I love them, now that they are bought and paid (a lot) for, I discover something even better: Drat.

Um. Wednesday we sign the contract to buy the house. Pray for us.

Song du jour of the day: Take You On a Cruise, by Interpol. Yeah, right, like we'll ever be able to afford anything like that ever again - we're about to promise somebody €250,000, people! Aaaagh! Commitment! Run away!

Friday, August 11, 2006

I... uh... speechless

I thought it was a hoax, I really did, but there's just no mistaking those teeth. It really, really is the Osmonds. I just... I... oh my God.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Dang, this is turning into a House-buying blog, only without any interesting details because they all talk funny here and I never know what's going on. We saw the Bank Guy today. We like him. He seems to like us. We have to borrow more money than we thought, because the dollar has dropped two cents against the euro since the last time we checked, and that lost us $2500 right there. Wow. But he said that was fine with him, so we get to borrow €125,000, ack. And we made some decisions about how many loans and what kinds and monthly payments and all, that I'm pretty sure I understand, but if I try to explain them I'll realize how clueless I am. Also we showed him the notary's draft of the contract and even though it's not in Bank Guy's job description, he read through it and told us what we should change. God, I love small towns.

Housework/Packing progress? None. I did a bunch of ironing today, that's all. I am the anti-Martha.

BUT (drumroll, please) my Mixmania! CD arrived yesterday! Huzzah! Now the move has a soundtrack! It totally wocks, and I = stoked. Woot. Thank you Chuck!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The massive moving project, part 1

First up is the laundry room, and I've been working on it for several weeks. Uh, let me rephrase that. It's been at the top of my list for several weeks, and every five or six days I manage to putz around for an hour or so. Let's hope I pick up some momentum on this, because at this rate it'll take me longer to move into the new house than it'll take to pay it off.

So today I finished the photos - over ten years' worth, and until recently they were still in the envelopes in which they came home from the drugstore. My scrapbooking days are still years away, but at least the photos are filed somewhat chronologically, in nice, stripy boxes.

The next item in the laundry room was a laundry basket full of sewing - well, patching-projects, actually, jeans outgrown by Ignatz, and waiting so long to be patched that some of them were actually too small for the Sniglet. Oops. But some are still salvageable, so I dug my ancient (how ancient? It was my first birthday present from my in-laws) sewing machine out of the attic and set it up.

Guess what? I still know how to do it! Okay I'll never be an expert, but at least I know my way around a sewing machine (thanks, Mom!) and have all the equipment I need (thanks, MIL!). And it's really kind of gratifying, restoring something with my own hands, however humble the results. My kids may be shunned by their little yuppie-larva peers for wearing patched clothes, but Ignatz, at least, wouldn't even notice being shunned, so for now I don't care.

So that's two! Two projects that I finished, or at least moved to a reasonable holding pattern, instead of transferring them, incomplete, to a new basement to languish for however long I was able to avoid them. Yay me.

No news on the car yet. I'll keep you posted.

Song du jour of the day: Wuthering Heights, by Kate Bush. I just love that song, so swoopy.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Things Proceeding Apace

We're going to see a tax advisor today! Who will be our "tax-guy" from now on, egad we need a regular tax-guy. Further evidence of grown-upness. Because DrBob works partly from home and I'm going to launch a freelance web-development thing this fall and I'll be working completely from home, so we can deduct the home-office bits of our house which may require a separate loan and it's all just too complicated for a regular brain. We need a properly educated one.

Once the tax-guy is seen we make an appointment with the bank-loan guy. Oh, wait, does that happen before or after the notary? Um, the notary just got back from vacation and is working on a contract. We'll have a week or so to review the draft (maybe we should get a lawyer too? hmmm) and then the signing will be on the 16th, if all goes well. At that point we hand over €50,000 and the Fishers give us a key.

Then we have several metric assloads of packing, cleaning, painting, spackling, unpacking and arranging to do, and Princess DrBob is already griping about how busy and stressed he is (as you may recall, he finished a book last month, so ever since March or so, whenever anyone asked him to do anything he said "Sure! After July." Turns out there was a lot of that, so even though the book is done (sort of) he's still up to his ears in reviews and articles and conference presentations and proposals and evaluations and translations and ack), and anyway men never do anything right (sorry, shorthand for a much longer story there), so yeah. Not only is the packing going to fall entirely to me, I have to be happy about it, because the alternative is much, much worse. But we'll pay someone to do the painting and possibly the spackling, and DrBob has got the bureaucracy and the griping covered, so it's not like my job is unfairly huge. It's just huge.

But today? After we see the tax-guy? We're going to go to Ampfing and test-drive Subarus! Whoopeeeee! Oh, and we're also going to visit the hearts of the Bavarian Kings, since we'll be in Altötting anyway.

So I'm sorry there haven't been any thoughtful posts in a long time. There hasn't been a lot of thought, is why.

Song du jour of the day: Week on the Rag, by Arlo Guthrie

Friday, August 04, 2006

a lot to think about

The new Mixmania! theme is up, and it's a corker. It's been almost five years since That Day, and I'm still not sure how to feel about it all - not only the event itself, but its legacy. So how very challenging-yet-appropriate: a music-mix for my mixed emotions. Here's what The Man Himself has to say...

Use this mix as a therapeutic exercise. As a country I think the US suffered from collective PTSD (vivid memory being a feature of that) and maybe a little group therapy is needed to put things in perspective and help us move foreward. Whatever it is we're doing as country isn't working. If the highjacker's intent was to put us Americans at each other's throats, they've succeeded.
I suggest you go read the whole thing, check the rules, and I hope you sign up.

It's a big assignment, but I've got a few ideas...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

big stuff

The sale of Mom's house closed on Wednesday. Yesterday.

Today we met with the Fishers and settled on a price of €225,000 for the house. Just a verbal agreement for now, but DrBob and I are very Klingon about our promises, so unless the Fishers back out, it'll go ahead. We'll see the tax guy on Tuesday and the notary on Wednesday. We'll give them the down-payment (€50,000) as soon as we can, at which point they'll hand over the house key.

I've promised to give somebody a WHOLE LOT of money. Augh. Is it time to freak out yet?

Song du jour of the day: I Don't Want To Grow Up, by Tom Waits.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mixmania! Woo!

(Note: everything in here was true when I wrote it, but today - today, August 1st, it's drippy and gray and chilly and sad. I can't believe it.)

Well, I wish I had that We're Havin' a Heatwave, a Tropical Heatwave song on hand. We really are, even the weatherdudes are now giving morning ozone reports and advising us to keep our kids indoors from 11 to 5 or so. Yep, it's hot. Too hot even for gettin' your freak on, so I will be disingenuous and pretend that I didn't understand that interpretation of hotHotHAWT! So the mix is all about heat and the sun, fire and burning as a metaphor for teenage angst, finishing up with a few ideas for cooling off, whether your pain is physical or just psychic. Note that most of these remedies do work for either situation. Wish I'd known that when I was a teenager.

For the first mixmania! I was too stupid to think of making 2 CDs. For this one, I was too stupid to find empty CD cases for sale anywhere. I'm still looking, but meanwhile, I'm cannibalizing the ones I have, which are few anyway, and now I have all these naked CDs lying around. Memo to self: get shit together.

Anyway. The songs.
  • Feels Like Rain - John Hiatt. Okay, this one actually works for both interpretations of hot.
  • Miazis Me Fotia - Anemos. My Greek is pretty elementary, but I do know that φωτιά (fotia) means 'fire'.
  • Among the Suns - BrainStorm. Happycute Latvian stoner band. Obviously listen to the Cure a lot.
  • Time to Burn - The Rasmus. Angsty Finnish teenagers with a thing for crows.
  • Witness - Sarah McLachlan
  • Staring at the Sun - TV on the Radio
  • Rooms on Fire - Stevie Nicks
  • The Humid Press of Days - Camper van Beethoven
  • Smooth - Rob Thomas/Santana
  • Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes
  • Shy - Ani diFranco
  • Too Hot - the Specials
  • Ancora un Minuto di Sole - Eros Ramazotti. Italian king of pop. Again, 'sole' means sun, so this is probably relevant. Not that I really understand what he's saying.
... and now the cooling-off bit ...
  • The Hippopotamus Song - John Lithgow. Yes, that John Lithgow.
  • Nightwsimming - R.E.M
  • Take You on a Cruise - Interpol
  • 60 Miles an Hour - New Order
  • Jesus Gave Me Water - Sam Cooke. See, even 2,000 years ago they knew that water's good when you're hot.
  • Popsicle - Talking Heads. So are popsicles. I'm sure if they'd been invented at that point, Jesus would also have given people popsicles.
So there you have it. Er... I hope you have it. The German post isn't um, as reliable as you'd expect something German to be, so uh... if you are my match and you haven't received it yet, please ask Jim to tell me to send you another copy, okay?

List of participants is here.

Song du jour of the day: any of the above.

Monday, July 31, 2006

progress report

I know, I'm not blogging. Here's what I'm doing while I wait for my computer to boot...

Also working on this... I need to reduce my massive yarn supplies, and I can't stand to throw anything away. This kind of knitting goes well with the masses and masses of reading I'm having to do for school.

Still working madly - I was supposed to be done after yesterday, but due to an accident which is nobody's fault, they've had to push the deadline back a week, so I've got one more day. I hope it's only one. The ant-labor, yes, very grueling and brain-deadifying. (See? If I were lucid I would have been able to come up with a real word. Brain-deadifying. Sheeesh.)

House purchase? In progress. We'll meet with Mr Fisher tomorrow evening and set things in motion. Unless he's decided he'd rather rent to these other people than sell to us. Fingers crossed, I really love that house.

And a translating project that we're not really qualified for, but unfortunately, the people who are qualified probably don't exist. Did you know that translators choose a specialty when they qualify? No, not Spanish or Russian or French or whatever, but a particular area of expertise: economics or technology or medicine. Our specialty is Humanities, i.e. history, philology, linguistics and philosophy. Anyway, what we have is a jargon-heavy piece on picture-framing. Do we have the vocabulary for this? We sure don't! Neither, tragically, does Google.

Also? Something that's always true, but for some reason I need to tell you about it Right Now: the neighbor kids have two pet rabbits, and they named one of them Shtupsy. No, they don't speak Yiddish, and have no idea that they've named their bunny Fucksy. Are you gonna tell them?

Song du jour of the day: Jumpin' Jumpin' by Destiny's Child.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

speaking of blogging milestones...

Overwhelmed With Joy has just put up her 100th post, and she wants to see your 100th post too! Pop on over and add your name and the url of your 100th post to her nifty little list (I gotta learn how to do that...), and spread the word! Because it's kinda fun.

Here's mine. Although, to be honest, it's actually only my 100th since switching to Blogger. I can't show you the real 100th, because I hand-coded my blog for the first three years (yeah, I know) and I'd never be able to find it.

Song du jour of the day: 1000 Stars, by Big Country.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

See? It's not just you!

I know you think that everyone else gets an annual Christmas card with photo from me, and timely thank-you notes and all that, and it's only your birthday that I forget Every. Damn. Year. But it's really not true. Seriously, get together, compare notes and you will see that there is no connection whatsoever between my love for you and the sending of pretty pieces of paper on or around significant dates.

And this time, the date I forgot is one of mine - my fourth ... uh, whaddyacallit? Blog-iversary? Blog-thday? I dunno, but my first blog post happened on July 25th, 2002. And no I can't post a link to it because 1) it would lead the stalkers right to my house, and 2) since my blog originated as an open letter to my parents, essentially, it's a really boring entry.

Anyway. Tuesday was a biggish day. And I forgot it completely.

Oh, and p.s. um, Happy birthday Melanie! Couple days late! And Krystal? Your card's in my bag, I just can't seem to track down your address. I know it's around here somewhere. (jeez...)

Song du jour of the day: A-Ha. The Sun Always Shines on TV

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Guess what I have!?

A fistful of permanent markers...

a new pair of sandals...

... and a Cunning Plan.

Heh. Heh. Heh.

And the song du jour of the day is in honor of James, who will be leaving us soon: Go West, by the Village People. Good luck with the move James! I loved visiting Amsterdam, and I know you're going to love living there.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Dear kindergarten lady,

I gave him a water-bottle, every day, until YOU told me to stop it. Now you want him to have one last Wednesday, today, and this Thursday? Do I look like I have time to remember that kind of crap in the morning? Tellyouwhat: since YOU see fit to change the rules every couple days? Maybe YOU should supply the water-bottles.

Just a thought.

love, alala

Song du jour of the day: Roy Orbison (among others), Mean Woman Blues. Though, if it were to be relevant to this post, it'd have to be called Mildly Annoying Woman (Who, Thank God, I Don't Ever Have to Deal With Again After Next Week) Blues. Hm. That's not very catchy, is it? Guess we'll stick with the original, then.

Friday, July 21, 2006


I always mean to answer my comments, but you've probably noticed by now that I'm not real good at getting around to things. Until now, heh heh. So, on the post that linked to photos of what, God willin' and the creek don't rise, will be my next home:

Kelly said...
I think it looks great, though I am a bit confused- is the first two images of the top floor? Or a basement?
The um, upper-attic. The attic room is actually divided into two rooms, and I didn't photograph the first one because it was too dark in there, but it already has a wardrobe in it, and is really quite nice, with a sloping ceiling and a lot more space than you think at first glance. And the second one, that's in the photos. With the built-in shelves along one wall, and the little spiral stairway up to a storage area with skylight, and those things on the other side are also for storage. Giant drawers on the left, hingey things up top, and a bar for hanging clothes from in the middle. Love. It.

You should come see it. We'll figure out a guest-room.

Honestly? I know this is what I'm supposed to be doing for a living, but I canNOT figure out how to get the pictures to line up the way I want them. I'm all, <barbie-voice>Something about "div"...</barbie-voice> It's brain-fry from work, normally I'm not this clueless.

braddahspud said...
built-in bookshelves? BOOyah. and I think those are the attic-type space. Word on the dark kitchen? Under-cabinet lights and indirect lighting (for example, if you have or create space between cabinet-top and ceiling, lights in there pointed toward the ceiling), with light paint/cabinet colors will help a fair amount. And the kitchen goes, right? nice place!
I don't know who you are, but I like you a lot. The under-cabinet lights are already there (and dude - you turn them on just by touching them. HOW COOL IS THAT?), but the cabinet-top light idea? effing AWESOME, man! Please come back and give me more suggestions, because you clearly know your shit.

~d said...
I sent mine out too.
Very eerie!

What do I do next, Ms. Mixmania-been here done that?!
Wait for yours to come in the mail. Be ready to rhapsodize about it when it arrives. Keep an eye on Jim's blog and be ready to post your songlist when he gives the word - that'll be July 31st, and you put your list up on August first.
OOOH! OOOH! Is that really gonna be YOUR house?!?!

Hope so. You're gonna come visit, right? We'll figure out a guest-room.

~d (also) said...
P.S. Thing 1 thinks hizzle is cool looking-and wanted to know if thats your kid-in the pix.
Yes, that is the Sniglet, trying to look Cool. Apparently cool people do not smile for photos. Beware - the younger ones grow up way faster than the firstborn. Tragic, but true.

Song du jour of the day, apropos of nothing in this post but total song virus which I'm loving lately: Promiscuous, by Nelly Furtado and Timbaland. Sent to me by ~d, to my undying gratitude.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

three days

Tuesday I left work early (5 p.m.) to get home in time to go look at the Fisher house with the bfil, DrBob, and a tired, cranky five-year-old.

Wednesday I left work middlin' (7) and went straight from the train station to the building where I teach my English classes. Didn't get home till 10.

Today I left work late - 8:00 late - and came home totally dizzy and strange and even more conversationally-challenged than usual.

Add sangría, stir a bit...

This is your brain on drugs... this is your brain with two strips of bacon and a side of toast...

fabble gleep.

Go read Kelly's blog, she's got some really cool stuff up lately. Come back when I've had time to floss my brain and introduce myself to the alarmingly self-sufficient little blondish boys who live here. And who haven't seen their mama for three days.

Oh! And? If you haven't already, go sponsor Monty in the blogathon, please? Because I really need to hear her do that Witch Doctor Song. Seriously. I need it.


Ooo eee, oo-ah-ah, ting, tang, walla walla bing-bang...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Well, I sent out my Mixmania! cd on Monday, two days late, because I didn't think the post office would be open on Saturday. Turns out I was wrong, gack. I must admit, I don't feel too good about this one, I was never able to give it the attention it deserved. Bummer.

We took Georg, the bfil (that's my best friend-in-law, i.e. DrBob's best friend) to see the two houses we are seriously considering. We've had our, ahem, differences, in the past, but I do at least try to be honest about his strengths, and he does have a good eye for houses.

He likes the one I like. The one that I think is a characterless box in a zombie-Stepford neighborhood? He thinks it's a characterless box in a zombie-Stepford neighborhood. I was all set to respect his opinion and give up on the Mr Fisher house if he said it was basically a big wad of dry-rot that just hadn't gotten around to collapsing yet but would any minute, and by the way, what the hell is with the alligators in the basement, I really was. But he likes it, and he didn't see any alligators, and he thinks we should make an offer.


Which we will, just as soon as we are absolutely, 100% sure there will be actual money coming in, on the sale of my mother's house.

The kitchen is dark. Really quite dark. That's because there's not a lot of light coming in, because the window has all these BIG, GIANT TREES in front of it. Yes! Actual, grown-up trees! Trees! I like trees. Anyway, I have thrown up some photos, totally disorganized and all, maybe I'll make it all nice later, but for now, this'll have to do: house.

Also? I worked today. My co-worker calls it ant-work, what we're doing now. One tedious fiddly task that requires careful attention and must be done approximately 841,000,000 more times by the end of the month. And I'll be working tomorrow and the next day, which will totally fry my brain, so if I blog before Friday, it'll probably be a lot like "fabble gleep? B-fwaeh, halebidada."

Song du jour of the day: My Bloody Valentine. Swallow.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

nervous nervous nervous

DrBob flies to Berlin tomorrow for his job interview. I sure hope it goes well.

Jitter jitter jitter.

Song du jour of the day: Sexy Boy, by Air

say WHAT?

So I've been bumbling along, thinking we're going to buy a house soon here in OurTown, thinking the major issue was about the two houses, which one do I want, which does he want, how will we decide, blah blah blah. Last night we went out to dinner (in celebration of his third book, which still needs polishing, but is effectively done), and he's all on about we need to consider all the options, we could move to Munich, we could move to any one of the thousand little hobbit-towns around here, we could invest the money and just wait some more, until we know more about our future - oh, that last one? Hel-lo? Pay rent for another year when we don't have to (sound of toilet flushing)?

Okay, the thing is. The job that brought us here was for two years. The project got another three years of funding, so we found out, in October of 2003, that we'd still have jobs in January of 2004. In around that was all the applications to universities on two continents, so even if the project continued there was always the possibility that we'd be moving anyway. So even though we've been in this house for five years, there has never been a time when we could definitively say that we knew where we'd be Next Year. Our furniture is mostly lightweight, easy to move or disposable, we don't have anything nice - we sleep on mattresses on the floor, DrBob and I - because we might have to move at any time. And he's always saying soon we'll know more, and wait a bit, and here it is again. And I tried to make nice at the restaurant last night because fighting in restaurants is such a horrible thing, but frankly? I'm a little irritated.

Because I'm tired of this instability, indeed I am. I am sick of not knowing where we'll be next, or when Next will start - to the point of being willing to accept that he might have to spend half the year in Berlin, but the kids and I are staying here, dammit. Think about the kind of pressure that would make you willing to be a single mom for half the year. And I thought here we had at least part of a decision made, that we'd narrowed it down to a particular town at least, but no, apparently those conversations didn't happen and it's all up in the air again. Daaargh!

You know how they say libras have a hard time making decisions because they can see both sides of an issue? Right, well I'm here to tell you that when an issue has forty sides? It makes us very, very unhappy.

Song du jour of the day: Crazy, by R.E.M.

Oh also? I forgot to say that I ganked the pirate quiz from Kelly. Thanks, Kel, yes I am very pirate-y. Hee hee hee.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Let me help you with that... um... I mean... AARRRR!

Dread Pirate Roberts

Letting people think you are a billy bad ass keeps you in business but when it comes down to it, you'll do the right thing every time. You are a good person at heart and just can't help being the hero.

Dread Pirate Roberts - 100%
Captain James T. Hook - 100%
Mary Read - 100%
Captain Jack Sparrow - 100%
Sinbad - 100%
Black Beard - 92%
Long John Silver - 75%
Captain Barbossa - 42%
Morgan Adams - 33%
Will Turner - 33%
What kind of Pirate are you?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

it doesn't exactly scan...

To be sung to the tune of the Happy Birthday song:

Happy Anniversary to meeee
I've managed to stay married to the same guy for 12 yeeeeears
Pretty impressive considering my dodgy family backround
Happy Anniversary tooo meeeeeeeee...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Yawn. More house stuff.

We saw two more houses, both not pits, today. One was an apartment, actually, fabulously located right near Ignatz's school - literally, two blocks. A vast improvement on the four blocks away we live now, because those blocks are level, while ours are uphill (both ways <grin>). But the yard belongs to the downstairs people. But it has lots of rooms. But there'd be traffic noise from the highway. But the dining room is almost all windows, which is pretty. But this, but that, but whatever. We're probably not going to buy it.

The agent had another house up his sleeve, though (yeah. REALLY big sleeves). We'll call it the Decker house, because the agency is Decker, Inc. It's in the new neighborhood that's being built up north of the high school, and it's just floors, walls and a roof right now. So we'd get to pick the interior doors, the floor-coverings, etc. The guy even said they'd be willing to put an extra wall in the attic room for us, turn it into two rooms. There's a garage. The house'd be brand new, it isn't even done yet, so nothing would need to be repaired or replaced for a good long time. Most of it will even be under warranty, so if something did plotz in the next few years, the folks who installed it (all local) would come out and fix it for free. And the kids wouldn't have to cross the highway to get to school, like they would from the Fisher house. There's a traffic light, so the highway crossing's not hugely dangerous, but my sons are both Cocky McKnow-It-All, so it's a bit more dangerous than it really needs to be.

Umm, so yeah. Definitely better than the Fisher house in a lot of ways, but of course more expensive. Probably about €80,000 more expensive, which would be prohibitive in most situations, but we could swing it. We just have to weigh the pros and cons, I guess. DrBob is obviously very keen on the idea of getting to pimp the house ourselves (well, himself, since we'd never agree and he usually wins). But I really like the Fisher house, for reasons I can't articulate. We are both not keen on the whole debt-thing, to be honest. So I dunno.

There will be photos at some point. Then y'all can help me decide.

Song du jour del día: Dilema, by Los Tradicionales de Carlos Puebla. (Yes, in Spanish it has only one m.)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Oh, I could perish from the cuteness

Exposition: I hate shopping for clothes. You ever see those 12-packs of t-shirts and think "Now whothehell would buy something like that?" Me. I buy t-shirts in 12-packs whenever possible. (This will not be news to those of you who have actually seen me.) That's how I shop for my sons' things, too. If Aldi has kid-clothes on special, I get in, grab whatever they have in the boys' sizes and get out before some baying mommy-shopper bites off my hand. Which is why I have to check the tags to figure out where to put the folded laundry, because my sons have a lot of the same clothes, just in different sizes.

Story: Anyway. Tonight Ignatz put on his truck jammies, and requested that I put the Sniglet in his truck jammies tomorrow, so they can match. Awwwww, that is so cuuuuute! Especially since, with six years between them, they've never been all that close. And now Ignatz is 11 and I know these moments will get fewer and farther between.

Also, look! This is the grapevine that tries to eat our garden shed every summer. We were wrestling with it when we spotted the birds' nest, and decided shaking the babies was not nice. So we cut the vines back instead of trying to bind them. See the baby blackbird in there? No? Zoom in a bit...

There. Now isn't that just so darling?

Song du jour of the day: Loveable. The cheerfully affectionate Sam Cooke version, not the mean, sarcastic Elvis Costello version. Though, admittedly, the latter is miles better.