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

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Anxiety, much?

We're going to try Ritalin on Ignatz in April. We'll give it two weeks. That is The Plan. Here's me plagued with doubt. What if the side effects are really horrible? Do we cut the dosage or decide it's just not for us? What if it has no effect at all? Do we up the dosage, or do we decide it must not be ADD after all? What if it enables him to focus at school but turns him into a boring little Borg drone? Then it's not worth it. But what if that's just because the dosage is too high or too low? How much tweaking? For how long do we have to test each tweak? What if it causes insomnia? He already barely sleeps. What if it suppresses his appetite? He already barely eats. What if it helps with the academics but makes his social behavior worse? Or vice versa? Will we have to go through this whole process with Concerta too? Cylert? Dexedrine? Methylin? Strattera? Wellbutrin? That could take forever.

I don't even want to medicate my kid. Seriously, I can have a headache for 24 hours before it occurs to me to take an Advil. I just don't tend to think of medication first. But people with similar problems say it's helped. It might help him, and he needs help. He's suffering, and not in a character-building way. I don't remember her exact words, but Mrs Next Door said something like "Stop criticizing him for things he can't do anything about. Either give him something that will enable him to be what you want, or accept him the way he is." Man oh man, is she ever right. And of course I would tend toward the latter, but the world is not going to accept him as he is, and he has to exist outside this family as well. He goes to school, he forgets to hand in tests, he forgets the rules, he can't restrain himself from talking to his classmates, and those all have consequences. Those consequences fuck with his self-esteem, his behavior deteriorates even further, et cetera. Know what I just found out? He didn't hate hockey. He liked playing, he was proud of the things he learned. But the team picked on him because he was small and slow, and getting picked on made him hesitant and even slower, which made them pick on him more. Et cetera.

Anyway. I'm just venting, okay? We will try it. He's in therapy. We will call the special school and set up an appointment. We are doing all we can. This is just the stuff that cycles through my head while I wait to fall asleep.

Monday, January 30, 2006

once again, I wock

Got this from my teacher today:
Really nice job on the Final Exam. Your grade is a 4.0. Your answers were very thorough and clear. You did an excellent job in the course, and will obviously receive a passing grade.

Wow. I did well on the exam. I'm a little...surprised. But very, very pleased.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Gentle Guidance for Husbands

The Sniglet finally has his very own room, what was formerly Dr.Bob's sanctum sanctorum. Which means He Who Must Be Taken Seriously has moved in with me, and now it seems my bedroom/office could use a bit of spiffing. The piles in the corners, for instance, have got to go, and the whole mattress-on-the-floor thing is also a little too college for a pair of suburban parents beginning the slide into middle age. Today I needed to change the sheets and I noticed we don't really have enough bedding. And I could use a desk. So yes. Housy things must be purchased, and we all know what that means. Come on, sing it with me...

That's right. The single greatest threat to marital stability in the Western World, Houseware Hell, Particle Board Unlimited itself. And he did say we need to go and get some stuff. Some time. In the future. Not now. That's okay, I can wait. And while I wait, the Bob the Builder sheets are on his side of the bed.


Oh, yes. Winter.

Yet another annual tradition that I'd managed to forget about. The heater's broken. Again, yes. Mm-hm, every year since we moved in! Fortunately we rent, so we don't have to pay to get it fixed, but if I were the landlord I'd be pretty annoyed by now. Anyway, the fixit guy came yesterday (at weekend rate$, oy vey) and fixed it, but this morning it was down again and Dr.Bob decided to wait and call tomorrow. On weekdays they charge slightly less, and the problem is apparently a part that needs replacing, and you'd never get that done on a Sunday, so even if we called the fixit guy back in, basically it would cost the landlord a bundle and achieve nothing for us. We would still be without heat for an entire day. In the winter. When it's like 15° out.

Annoyed? Of course not! You all know how much I loooooooove being cold.

It's a very big, very international company, and apparently I could get in legal trouble for making some general statement about them involving words like "useless" or "garbage" or even "duh". So let's put it this way. Our heater was made by Viessmann, and it has broken down every winter, four years in a row. Draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

a somewhat-sick child

Nothing worth complaining about, of course, especially since the Next Doors had some vile stomach virus last weekend, and with a newborn in the house too, eyuurgh. No, the Sniglet just has a little cold, not a big deal at all. But I still kept him home for two days. Tuesday was a no-brainer - it was their "Wandertag". This is a German thing: every so often, the school or kindergarten takes the kids on a long walk, through a forest or to a sunflower field or something, for the whole school day. A nice tradition, when it's not colder than a welldigger's ass (thank you Mr. Waits), but can we get real for a minute? Lately, you go outside and you can feel the blood vessels in your face freeze and snap. And call me an overprotective helicopter-mama if you will, but even a slightly-sick child should not be marching around the woods in subzero temperatures for three hours. So I kept him home on Tuesday.

Keeping him home on Wednesday was more in the nature of a public-service decision. He refuses to blow his nose, and forgets to cover his face when he sneezes, so I can just see him blatting snerkies all over the kindergarten train-set. Way to make friends.

And that really is about all we've had going on. The Peanut had his appointment with his shrink today. She does some kind of play-therapy, so all he ever reports is "We played Monopoly" or some such. I try not to press him for details, it seems like I should try to make this whole process as stressless as I can for him. Besides, she'll tell me whatever she thinks I need to know at my appointments.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

oops, clarification

Yeah, that was ambiguous, wasn't it? Okay, not ambiguous, it very strongly implied something that is not even slightly true. Very sorry. The Seattle Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl, not me and someone else. I meant we in the sense of our guys and not someone else's guys. I will be watching it in a pub in Munich, though, so I'll still be missing the commercials.

But even so. DETROIT, BABY!


So I staggered to bed at 4 a.m. after the NFC game, and set my alarm for 11:30 to be sure I'd get up in time to pick up the Sniglet from kindergarten - Dr.Bob got up with the little vipers at 7, so I didn't have to. Yes, I am well aware that I have the Best Husband in the Universe, thank you. Anyway, I slept through all that. He did wake me at some point to tell me he was leaving for work, at which I opened one eye, croaked "We won!" and flomped back to sleep. Since then I occasionally break into a little happy-dance, or feel compelled to shout "Detroit, baby!" but mostly I've got it under control.

I finished the Final Exam for the database course, which was mind-bogglingly worse than the Final Project which I had thought could not be topped. Life is full of surprises. If he doesn't send it back for revisions, I am done with the course, which would call for a "yay", but I'm so wrecked by the whole experience that a feeble "whew" is all I can manage. The course was fine, materials good, teacher great - zero complaints on that score, but I was just so wildly out of my depth. Not to mention overwhelmed by outside events that bore no relation to the course but still affected my work some.

Which makes it all the more important that I get a job in database administration right away, quick before I forget everything. Except that oops, the very husband who was all keen for me to have a career and get out from underfoot and all that is now...not so much. Because around here, jobs are mostly in Munich, and if I have to commute every day, I'll be gone a lot, and more childcare and housework duties will fall to him. This is not bad per se, see Best Husband comment above. But he has to finish this third book by July or some unspecified form of Career Death will result, so for the next six months he really does need to be writing every minute. Getting up with the kids is a superb thing, because it enables me to sleep more, and gets him up early so he can start working. But it really is the most he can do right now.

In my snarkier moments I used to say that he desperately wanted me to have a career until he found out that it would require me to leave the house occasionally. But I'm not so snarky these days, probably because I'm getting enough sleep.

So there's the conundrum. By July I will have forgotten everything I learned in this class, I promise. By the time I got to the Final Etceteras I'd already forgotten everything before lesson 4 (of 8), to my chagrin. But I'm still webmastering. Still taking the ambiguously-named Web Techy-Thingy course. Still working for the AHF on fridays. Still helping my husband be a translator. Kinda, maybe, still a bit on the busy side, to be looking for another job. Sigh. I guess timing is everything. Anyway, techie-types don't actually remember ALL that stuff, they just keep their reference books handy. I'll just be using my reference books a bit a lot more.

Monday, January 23, 2006


First! Time! EVER!

Woooot! And I can't even jump and down and scream, because it's 3:30 a.m. here and I don't wanna wake the guys.

hooray for Austrians!

Because they're showing the NFC final on TV. It's times like this I wish I lived in Munich itself, and could go down to the Arc and watch the Hawks kick some Carolina butt on a big ol' Satellite sports-bar TV. But it's a school night, and the trains don't run between midnight and 6 a.m. and I really can't be gone all night under the circumstances. But at least I can see it, thanks to the Austrians. Woohoo!

I'm getting tired, though. It's been a really long time since I stayed up this late.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

one piece of progress

I talked to He Who Must Be Humored, er, tuesday maybe, and pinned him down on the Ritalin thing: we're going to try it for two weeks in April. Because the kid's just about to start up with the therapist again, and we want her to be fairly well-acquainted with him so that she can help us assess its effects. We'll also be conferring with his German and English teachers, both before and after.

And then we'll know.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

ten things you didn't know about me

I didn't know them either until just a few minutes ago! Annotated by yours truly.

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Alala!

  1. Alalaology is the study of alala. (Try saying that three times fast.)
  2. Neil Armstrong first stepped on alala with his left foot. (She was asleep at the time, and didn't notice.)
  3. About one tenth of alala is permanently covered in ice. (Yeah, my toes.)
  4. Humans share about fifty percent of their DNA with alala. (Wow. I would think it would be much less.)
  5. The first American zoo was built in 1794, and contained only alala. (That, actually, is not altogether impossible.)
  6. Every day in the UK, four people die putting alala on! (That's right - you try that with me, I'll open up a can o' Whupass!)
  7. The military salute is a motion that evolved from medieval times, when knights in armor raised their visors to reveal alala.
  8. Alala is the smallest of Jupiter's many moons!
  9. Some people in Malaysia bathe their babies in beer to protect them from alala. (Hah. That would SO not work.)
  10. Wearing headphones for an hour will increase the amount of alala in your ear 700 times. (Eeeeuw!)
I am interested in - do tell me about

Ganked from Amber. I just couldn't help myself.

how to study

Aaargh. He got a C on his German test. *Sigh.* This sucks on many levels. He could do so much better if he would just put some effort into it. But he does have a problem with apathy, and I can sorta see why it might seem hopeless so why even try. Plus which, I'm not altogether sure he knows how to put some effort into it. Did you know how to study for a test when you were 11? I didn't. Even now, with all the studying I have to do, sometimes the information just doesn't sink in. I have a few strategies for getting around that, and I could probably teach them to him, but then we run into the apathy problem. I've tried showing him little tricks for focusing his attention or remembering things, and he's all, yeahwhatevermama. And, canIgonow?

The other level on which this sucks is it gets the Lord and Master all hair-up-his-ass, and he lectures the boy, who - face it - tunes out after the first four words. And he rants to me about the whole thing, which, Hel-lo? That is MY son you are gritching about, shut your face before I hit it with a brick. The fact that it's his son too? Does not make it anything like okay. It makes it worse.

So now there's an impending math test. The LnM will be in Munich the night before and morning of, so I am instructed to "remind him to at least look at the stuff". Hey kid? Go look at your math stuff.



*sputter, sputter* What? That wouldn't even work on someone who doesn't have ADD! Not for the first time, I feel the urge to ask my husband if he's even met this child.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

my new favorite word



Meme again

Tagged again! Hoohoo! Okay, here's the meme:
Ground Rules: Write a blog entry about your Five Guilty Pleasures, state the rules clearly, and tag five people to carry it on.

You cannot imagine, and it would kill me to tell you, how hard it was to limit this list to just five. That's right, I'm a freakshow.

  1. Okay, since I was tagged by a fellow knitter, number one will be Knitting. It's so tactile, so rewarding, so fun. The rhythm is lulling, and it keeps my fidgety hands busy. I especially love knitting plain ol' jersey in the round while I read - in fact, it really helps me focus when I have to study. I love cabling. Unfortunately, I buy a lot of yarn that I don't wind up using. I have a real problem throwing anything away. None of my relatives are really into hand-knit stuff, and I don't knit quite well enough to sell it. Hence the guilt. I really do it only for myself, because there is no one else to benefit from it.
  2. Genre Fiction! Novels! The fun kind, not the weighty Block o' Literary Merit kind. What lit-snobs call "trash" and I call a cracking good story. Jennifer Crusie, Lois McMaster Bujold, Elizabeth Peters, Jasper Fforde, Christopher Moore! Hahahahaha! I'm not sure why I feel like I should be Improving My Mind every time I pick up a book. I'm not sure why these books are less Improving than some big depressing tome where everybody dies. But still.
  3. Movies. Same as above, the fluffo stuff. I don't go to be scared, or to provoke thought, or to jerk tears. Poignant, my ass. Make me laugh or gimme my seven bucks back. Nyah.
  4. Chocolate milk. Yeah, me and the nine-year-olds. What can I say? It's yummy.
  5. Blogging! I spend way too much time on it. I read other people's blogs and am so impressed, and then I come to mine and think, meh. But still, it's a compulsion. I wish I were a better writer, and I guess that's where the guilt comes in. People make me laugh, and I do my best to return the favor.
Tag five people! In a wholly optional and non-binding way, of course. Um, Kris, Kel, Amber, and Linda. Sound good? Oh, and Gene, because dude! Write something! It's been like a month already.

Thanks, E! That was fun.

Other things you should know, if you don't already

Kilian's been diagnosed with ADD, and the principle that Parents Must Present a United Front is being severely tested. El Husband and I have very different ideas about what's going on, and we've had a lot of fights about it. For the record, he's won every damn one.

In a nutshell, there is strong evidence for a physical component to ADD's etiology, and I think it might be worthwhile to try Ritalin. It has helped in some cases, and might make a difference in his ability to concentrate and remember things. There is all kinds of conflict Out There about this, and I don't want to get into it here. Yes, I've read both sides. Yes, if there's a chance Ritalin can help, I think it's worth a try. If it doesn't work, at least we'd have tried it and we'd know for sure. Even if it did work, I don't think it would be a total solution because of the attendant psychological problems.

The psychological problems. Hm, yes. Chicken-or-egg debate, that one. Are they the cause of his behavior, or are they a result of his condition? I say the latter: his inability to function at the level of his peers is wrecking his self-esteem and making him act out. Da Husband says the former: some buried inner conflict his making him have ADD. I advocate trying ritalin or some such to see if it can help him focus, and then working out some coping strategies to help him get around this limitation. I hope that if he can function better, he will feel better about himself, and some of the depression will lift. Husband advocates sending him to psychotherapy to locate the source of this inner conflict that is making him depressed and apathetic and forgetful. Frankly, I expect that after two years of therapy, the therapist will tell us that his ADD makes him unable to function at the level of his peers, which is wrecking his self-esteem, and she recommends ritalin and coping strategies. And we will then be where we could be now if a certain spousal unit would listen to me.

The other thing is that he is "Gifted", a term which I hate. It is not just a gift: a 130+ IQ is also a curse for a kid in an ordinary elementary school. Especially when that kid has behavior problems. (No, the behavior problems are not just a result of the giftedness: we checked.)

So that's the background to our problems re his relationships with everyone in the family, his steadily slipping grades, why he dropped out of hockey and broke his mother's heart, and why he keeps getting in trouble at school. He was diagnosed shortly before his tenth birthday, it took us a year to get an appointment with a therapist, we are trying to figure out what all our options are, and that's about where we stand now. Just so you know, because this is sure to come up from time to time.

long, depressing post

Well, it's open-book, and I suppose technically I have until february fourth to finish it, so that's why I'm blogging right in the middle of my database exam. I should get it done, just to be finished and able to move on to other things, but I can't concentrate.

Ugh. Son1 keeps hitting Son2. Son1 is 11; Son2 is 5. And no matter how many times we explain it, S1 just can't seem to understand why it's wrong to hit somebody smaller than he is. So he keeps doing it. This morning Two coughed as One was passing, and One hit Two, hard, in the middle of his back, because "he coughed on me on purpose". I snapped. I screamed at him until my throat hurt (gee, how dignified, and we wonder why he doesn't respect his mom...) and I slapped him a few times too. Not hard enough to hurt him, but still, not very nice of me. Not nice, she says...sheesh.

Firstly, it is not legal or ethical anymore to beat, starve or shun children, and outside of those options, I can't think of anything that hasn't already been tried, to no avail.
  • Time outs? Tried that. It does help to defuse a situation, but it does not lead to any change in behavior. Besides, I can't levy a 10-minute time-out five minutes before he has to leave for school, and we already know that delaying consequences doesn't work.
  • 1-2-3-Magic? On 3, you have to impose a Consequence, and finding workable, effective consequences is where the problem is.
  • Lecturing? We do that. He hates it, but he doesn't change his behavior.
  • Natural consequences: I like this one, let the results be the punishment - you break a toy, now you don't have it to play with, what have we learned today? But there are no natural consequences to beating on people smaller than you. That's why so many people do it.
  • Logical consequences also sounds good. Consequences imposed from outside that bear a logical connection: if you break curfew, then you can't go out tomorrow night. If you fight over the TV, we turn it off for the day. Etc. Well, the logical consequence of hitting a little person would be to be hit by a bigger person, wouldn't it? But of course, it also demonstrates that under some circumstances hitting a smaller person is okay, and we don't want to teach that.
  • Sticker charts and rewards? I can't keep track. I've tried this one so many times, and it always falls apart after a few days. I run out of stickers. I don't have any change. I promise I'll get to it later and then I forget. This is one of the reasons I suspect I may have adult ADD, because I simply cannot behave consistently from day to day. I've been trying, and failing, for years. And I'd be willing to blow along like a tumbleweed for the rest of my life, accepting my chaotic nature as part of my unique charm, except that it makes me a Not Very Good Mom, and I'm messing up my children. That's a consequence I can't accept, but Just Try Harder isn't working. And getting help is impossible. I can't even get anybody to believe me.
One friend helpfully told me, "I just wouldn't put up with that behavior." When I pressed for details, i.e. what exactly does that mean, what do you do that constitutes not-putting-up-with something, she simply reiterated that she would Not Put Up With It. Umm, thanks for some completely useless advice.

Secondly, and secondarily, of course it is morally wrong to beat, starve or shun a child, and of course I know that. But to be brutally honest, I'm beyond caring about that at this point, and the real reason I don't try it is because I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work.

I always said my first job is to protect my kids from anything that might hurt them, and when I feel they're threatened, Mama Bear comes right out. But how do you protect one of your children from your other child? When you want what's best for both kids, and those goals conflict, what do you do?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


John McCrae said it long before me:

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.

Admittedly, he was talking about the Kaiser's armies, but I face a more implacable foe - the weather. And now that Mom is gone, the task of bitching about the weather falls to me. It's grueling, gut-wrenching work, but someone has to do it. Besides the English, I mean.

All righty, let's jump right in, shall we? It was COLD! Hideously cold, for days and days, I swear I could feel the blood vessels in my face bursting every time I went outside. Ack! Clear, though, the sky and the frost-covered maples across the street were very pretty. Then yesterday it snowed a bit so I sent the Demon Spawn out to shovel sidewalk and driveway and while they were at it, the sleet started and undid all their lovely work. Then overnight it warmed up and rained and turned all that sleet into slush, which then froze solid. We had a giant pile of heavy, slushy snow fall off our garage roof, that had to be cleared so we could get the car in and out of the garage. And now it's all killer-slippy, frozen slush, and worst of all, it's COLD again! Aaagh!

And the worst thing? It's still. Only. January.

I've changed my mind. There is no more ambivalence: I want that job in Lubbock.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Um, backstory: one of my Christmas gifts, from Firstborn I think, was a computer accessory kit that included, blessedly, a number keypad - the only thing I miss about having a laptop. El husband thinks I'm crazy, but there you go.

Anyway, Secondborn is fascinated with it and wants to sit on my lap and press numbers, so I opened a .txt file for him to play in and he typed all the numbers. Then he said he wanted to type another number and I said go for it kid, and he said, "It's a number that's not here on this paddington!"

Which I will concede is only mildly cute, but I typed it in the .txt file so I wouldn't forget it, and now I want to close that file (there is no reason to save a bunch of random child-generated numbers), but that quote is in there, and I have to put it somewhere. So here you go. The depth of my commitment to you, my readers, is... no, let's not finish that thought.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Brunch, he said.

That brunchy-thing He Who Must Be Humored went to, for a friend's 40th birthday? Yeah. He got there a bit late, around 4 p.m., and just called me now (10 p.m.) to say he's leaving. A brunch. From 4 to 10. PM.

Hello, Germans? I think maybe we should clarify the meaning of the word Brunch? As in, even this far north, even in the dead of winter, a meal eaten after nightfall is not brunch. No, not even in Spain. Okay?

and of course I forgot...

to mention my brother-in-law's birthday today. Have a good one, bro.

since wednesday...

Thursday: I scrabbled together my last assignment and the dreaded Final Project, made them look reasonably nice, edited out all the swear words and turned them in. This doesn't mean I'm done - if either thing doesn't get at least a 3.0 I'll have to redo it, and there's still the exam to survive. But even so, it means there is light at the end of the tunnel, and if it is the headlamp of an oncoming train, well, at least the situation will change soon, one way or another.

Also went to a concert, Art Brut - great show, and I highly recommend them to... um, well, gee, do I know anybody who likes that sort of thing? Aside from my illustrious husband and his über-cool friends. Talking of whom, we were supposed to meet them at the concert hall. So we step in the door and I say however will we find them in this poorly-lit, crowded room, and he says "Easy. Head toward the beer." Sure enough, we walk five steps toward the bar and bump right into Sam. And Carsten and Tobi find us two minutes later. Wasn't that convenient? A benefit of keeping your friends for thirty years, I guess.

Friday: work.

Saturday: a Clean House! All by myself, because Himself is off to some brunchy-thing for a friend's 40th birthday.

Sunday's forecast: another tricky assignment for the webmaster gig, and whatever Assignment 2 is for the WebTech course - I haven't even looked at it, how bad am I? I wanted to go to Stitch-n-Bitch in Munich, but it's far too cold to leave the house. Ever again.

So I guess the best part of my weekend was Thursday night. It'll do.

Howbout you?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Garden Ghosts

This is being such a weird winter, and our garden has been wretchedly neglected. Ooo, "garden" - false cognate, sort of. In German, "garten" also means "yard". And I guess if you mow it once a week and weed and prune once a year, it's a yard. Anyway, last October while I was in Port Townsend with Mom, and el Husband was here on his own with the kids, of course the annual fall pruning didn't get done. Apparently, Annoying Neighbor asked Mrs. Next Door if she would bug Robert about the pruning, and Mrs. Next Door was all, "Um, I'm sure that when Anna gets back from burying her MOTHER, who just, you know, DIED, they will attend to the shrubberies which so annoy you."

But we didn't, because not long after that, FLOOMP! A winter's worth of snow descended on us and it hasn't really gone away, ever. So all these plants that we usually trim down to about six inches (except the traffic-hazard lilacs) are still huge and looming and ratty and oh-so attractive. Especially the ones with all the dead leaves still attached. Suburban Living Magazine, here we come!

And then yesterday and today have been clear-as-a-bell and sunny and blue and even warmish, in a wintery way. And then around dusk the fog rises, the temperature drops sharply and all that fog goes gnkkkkk- onto every surface. And the giant looming spindly ratty shrubberies are frost-limned and ghostly and almost-beautiful. Except for the ones with the dead leaves. They're still kind of yucky.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

hopeful news

There's a job opening for a medievalist at the FUBerlin. Keep your fingers crossed for us, yeah?


side note

Oh by the way, I know I do a lot of grousing about how disorganized I am, so I thought you might like one little bit of happy news in that area: I actually have figured out The Food Thing. I mean, I have a sort of plan for getting food on the table/in the lunchboxes on a regular basis that hardly ever falls through. Unlike the old wait-for-inspiration method, this works, and I've actually been using it for more than a couple days. So I have managed to Get Organized in one tiny little facet of my life.

This is progress. This is good.

Monday, January 09, 2006

and there was much rejoicing...

Oh. My. Gawd, I finished it. Not the whole course, just the Final Project - I still have assignment 8 to go back and do. And the exam, which is open-book so how bad can it be? But the hair-raising, terrifying Final that I was all freakin' about is done. Not perfect, okay, maybe not even good enough, but that doesn't matter because if I turn it in early enough I can get feedback and fix what's wrong. For the first time I feel like I actually might be able to finish on time and BE DONE with the course.

Oh great. You know what this means, don't you? A big, fat I Told You So from el Husband. Argh. Oh well, I'll get over it.

Oh! And Mrs. Next Door is home with her baby, whom I will go and see just as soon as my cold is all the way gone. Yay!

Take this job and...uh, hang on a sec...

I was just thinking today about how I could take the JOB site off my bookmarks toolbar, but I didn't actually do it, which turns out to be a good thing. They haven't found a replacement webmaster. I guess there was a bit of he-said, she-said, some crossed signals and miscommunication, such as can happen around the Christmas vacations. Anyway, Da Husband asked me if I'd consider stepping in temporarily, and I said oo, er, ah, um, oh all right. So there I am. Maybe. If they can agree on my salary. Glad to be bringing in some money, a bit bummed about the free time and brain space I was looking forward to having. BUT it's only a 3-month contract. By March they should have someone else.

And actually, this is probably a good thing. Because my reason for quitting at the end of last year was that I was going to be done with the database thing early in November, and so January would be a good time to look for a job or internship. But Mom's death and the surrounding events set the course back a bit, so I'm still not done. And Da Husband has to finish his book by July, so will have to spend more and more time away from home, so I kinda have to be here. All in all, I probably shouldn't look for a new job until summer anyway.

So okay. Deep breath. Change of plans. Okay.

We don't need no steenking resolutions

The problem I see with New Year's resolutions is that you are supposed to put them into action in January. January sucks. Post-holiday letdown is no time to get all virtuous. Consider:

  • It's still dark and cold and wretched out. There are very few reasons to leave the house that justify the half hour of extra socks-boots-sweater(s)-coat-hat-scarf-gloves application. Incipient starvation, maybe. Nothing else leaps to mind.
  • Icy sidewalks. You could break an ankle walking to the gym.
  • Diet? Want some fresh vegetables with that? Too bad, there won't be any until March! Hah!
  • Housework? Cleaning in artificial light always results in streaks, missed spots, and dust bunnies bison that somehow escaped the vacuum, and I'm not going to waste my three hours of daylight cleaning.
  • Get organized, declutter, unload all your excess stuff? Sure! Perfect weather for a garage sale! Not.

Plus I don't know about you, but this is when I usually get sick, and this year I'm bang on target with that. It's just a cold, but still. I am so not in the mood to become a Better Person™ right now. Check back with me in April.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ho(ly) Ho(ly) Ho(ly)

Whew! Despite the nap, I have managed to finish the middle third of the Final Project From Hell today, so I've decided that I deserve a break. A very small one. No, my lovelies, I haven't been gone, I've been right here at my desk, slaving away at my homework, not even reading your blogs, let alone updating mine. Even though you were never more than a few clicks away from me. That makes it just that much more poignant, doesn't it?

Anyway. Friday was a holiday here, Epiphany in the Catholic calendar. They call it Heilige Drei Könige (Holy Three Kings) in Bavaria, and these fellows go house to house. Yes, there are four of them. No, I do not know why. Ours looked much nicer than the guys in this photo, much spiffier duds. And they sing a song in 4-part harmony and swing a...censer? with burning frankincense (yes, it turns out that is a real substance, though I am still skeptical about myrrh) and play recorders and collect donations for 3rd-world poverty-type causes. And then they write their initials and the year at the top of your front door, like this: 20 C+M+B 06. I think it's a charming tradition, but Mr. Cool (da husband) is of course much too cynical and worldly for such things.

So our house is blessed for the year. We missed them last year because we were in the U.S. on the 6th, and so got no blessing for 2005. Hey, maybe that's why it was such a bummer of a year.

Oh, I also got the first assignment for my webtech course done and submitted. This looks to be a lot easier than the database course. Um, yeah, a grain of salt with those words, please, because I'll probably have to eat them later on.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

this is for all of you who freak out when your children say darn

So Mrs. Next Door had her baby, and I needed to find a newborn chew-toy, which is the only reason I even took my kids into the toy store at all. On the way out, I spotted a bag of giant dice and said "Hey look!"

Son2 (the 5-year-old) said "Cool! Arschwürfel (Ass-cubes)!"

Yes. He. Did. The lesson, I guess, is never go out in public with your sons without duct tape.

I know!

I can't believe I was gone so blog.txt file is all huge, because I start all these ideas and don't finish them. Because I want to write well for you, my dearests. I want to be both coherent and concise, and - dare I whisper it? - interesting! I want well-crafted, mindful, thinky-head posts that uplift and inspire you. I might be willing to settle for posts that don't make you scream that you want the last five minutes of your life back.

But I don't have time for that. I only have time to blat out whatever's galloping through my head at the moment, which, after four days, is always "Gah! I haven't written in so long!"

So in a nutshell: My webmaster contract has ended with nary a bang nor whimper. How do I feel? Well, with everything else going on, I guess I'm glad not to have to worry about it, though the site is kind of my baby. Grew it from a pixel, I did. Ah well, onward and upward. It's probably not my last-ever webmastering gig.

I have less than a month to finish more than a month's worth of the database course. The anxiety of this is a sort of whining chartreuse blob on the edge of my vision, which may also be a factor in why I don't blog for days at a time. I'm sitting. I'm typing. It should be homework. Oh right, last night I met a database administrator. Friendly guy, said if I had any questions I could ask him. All I could think of is "Duh, what the hell is all this?"

I've started another course, it began without me noticing and the first assignment is due Monday. First assignments, as you probably know, are always reallyreally simple, but require about 50,000 pages of reading. Hm. An interesting puzzle. I wonder how I'll solve it.

Curry night! Yay! I used to work at the AHF on Wednesdays, but I had to switch to Fridays for about 40 different reasons, and what I missed most was Curry Night - dinner at an Indian restaurant with 30 or so of Munich's anglophone community. Fortunately, about 15 of the 30 are diehards who never miss a Curry Night, so I got to see some familiar faces. That was nice. Almost like having... friends... (cue pathetic wistful music).

All right, I've been up for an hour and a half already, and the kids are coming home soon. Homework. Now. (aaaaggghh! Noooooo!)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year, y'all!

Please don't let me drink anymore.