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

Thursday, March 30, 2006


It's like magic. Now that I've actually gone to the attention-seeking extreme of seeing a doctor about this stupid thing, it's gone away. Still a tad under the weather, but nothing like it's been for the past week and a half. It's a lot like when Aunt Flo is late, so you go buy a pregnancy test and then she shows up while you're driving home from the drugstore, and you realize you've just paid $9 to jump-start your period. Yes, that has happened to me. Twice. So okay, I'll cancel the labwork and be happy that it's over. And yet again, I'll swallow the grumpies over the fact that if I'd just waited another day, I wouldn't have wasted my money and the good doctor's time.

Not at all irritating.

Song du Jour of the Day? I'm watching a dippy special about the top 20 Abba songs, so here, for your viewing horror enjoyment, is the winning entry for the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest! I bet you didn't know that this is how Abba hit the big time. I am so groovin' on the blue satin knickerbockers.

Another step in the continuing dissolution of the Former Yugoslav Republic of People Who Can't Seem to Stand Eachother.

(annotated for people who don't feel like clicking all the links.)

Despite the name, Serbia & Montenegro is actually one country. But not for long. After this (they pulled out of the contest because they can't agree on a song), can political separation be far behind? Also, what the hell is with the Serbs? Look how hard everyone in the area tries to get away from them. Do they have really bad breath, or something?

I know, I know, it's that whole genocide thing. Maybe not so much that it happened, as that many Serbians (BBC roundup of Balkan press coverage on Milosevic's death) seem genuinely perplexed as to why everyone's so upset about it. And honestly, I can't explain why without resorting to tautology, because it's just so self-evident to me. It's very hard to explain something to someone if you can't understand their position, and "genocide is fine in some circumstances" is a cognitive leap that I am simply unable to make.

Okay, change of subject: I realize it's a bit of a stretch to link one nation's history of bigotry and violence to another's via this incident (Duke lacrosse team rapes exotic dancer at a party) in North Carolina, but I'm gonna do it anyway. Because I kinda see a similar dynamic. According to Ancrene Wiseass,
The lacrosse team has closed ranks and refuses to offer any information about the incidents
That's right - the team stands by the criminals in their midst. And why not? Members of this team have misbehaved before (15 team members' prior offenses) and gotten away with it, so they already know that they're above the law. And clearly, it hasn't yet occurred to them that what they did - racist barking? rape? strangling? hello? - was, you know, wrong or anything. Because it's not just an isolated event, but the product of a system that assigns more value to some people based on their race, class, income and athletic ability, and that value basically amounts to a get out of jail free card. I hope Duke comes down hard on them - the University owns the building where it happened, and they could legally suspend the entire team for obstructing a criminal investigation. But will they? Duke, like other universities, has obviously bought into the system (special privileges for athletes) for a long time.

Conservatives accuse us liberals of moral relativism. They say there are absolute truths, absolute good and evil. If this gets picked up by Conservative bloggers at all, I'm guessing they'll blame the victims. I bet they'll ignore the fact that if the race/class of the people were reversed, if it had been black athletes from N.C. Central assaulting a white girl from Duke, they'd already be wearing orange jumpsuits. Will they recognize their own moral relativism?

I don't usually post politically-oriented things, because I usually don't have time to do the research to back up my assertions (damn my journalistic principles, even though very few actual journalists seem to have them anymore). But I'm not a journalist, I'm just a housewife with a blog. I think the story should reach as many people as possible, and I really hope it makes us all question the assumptions we have about our society. Not just question. Change.

A good writer would bring this back around to the Yugoslavia thing, but I worked all day on this post, so now I have to go do something else.

The situation is being tracked over at Justice 4 Two Sisters.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Not as better as I thought I was

Still dragging. Usually I spend a day in illness rehab (the part where I feel like I might be getting better), and then it's over, but it's been longer than that. I promised Mrs Next Door I would go to the doctor today - I would never have done it if I hadn't made that promise. In fact, when I got there, I had to do preliminary stuff because, it turned out, I had never yet been there as a patient, in over four years of living across the street from this clinic. I was always The Patient's Mama. Turns out my usual method of dealing with illness (ignore it and hope it goes away) has been even more effective than I'd realized.

Even now, having been weak and weary for eight days (nine?) I still think it's just a virus that will eventually be over. I've just reached the point where I'm willing to cough up the €10 copay to find out when.

So the doc was supposed to hear my symptom and grimace and say "Yeah, that's been going around. Usually lasts about two weeks. Drink water, try to rest, buh-bye." Unfortunately she doesn't seem to have read her script. So poke prod listen, reflex hammer, stethoscope, blood pressure, close my eyes and march in place. etc. Then she told me to make an appointment for labwork and an ultrasound, and the earliest one they could give me was next Tuesday.

Um. Tuesday. You know, I really wasn't planning to stay sick for that long.

Song du jour of the day: Interpol. A Time to Be So Small

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

French Toast

I once heard someone say that the tradition of drinking "á votre santé," to your health, dates back to the days when it was considered a courtly gesture for a gentleman to drink from a lady's shoe. Apparently drinking to her health was an acknowledgement of the risk he was taking – if she had any funky foot diseases, he'd be drinking major cooties, so before he took a swig, he hoped she was healthy.

I sure hope that's apocryphal. Because, ew.

Your Questions Answered

Kelly asks, re the Eurovision stuff, "and what the hell is up with Germany?!"

There are about six sets of backstory I could give you if I wanted to make this really long, but I could go on about Eurovision the way I could go on about Star Trek: either you are an initiate, and you already know, or you're not interested and I'm boring you. It really is an amazing social phenomenon, though.

So, long story short, each country used to use a jury to choose the song that would represent it at ESC, but as technology and democracy have advanced, more and more have moved to televoting (vote by phone).

Germany sent um, songs of a certain, uh, type for a really long time. (Example? Okey-dokey). Then, in the late '90s, Stefan Raab, Germany's version of Leno/Letterman, decided to involve himself in Eurovision, and the voters liked his extremely irreverent approach - not just in Germany, but in Europe as well: his song "Wadde Hadde Dudde Da?" came in like third or something in the 2000 ESC. Okay, fifth. Still pretty good. However, there are people who take Eurovision very seriously indeed, and they were horrified, which for me just adds to the humor of the whole thing.

So this year, the Forces of Boring took a giant step backward for democracy, and a jury chose three (dreadful) songs, and let the People vote on those. Wikipedia says Raab's bored of Eurovision, which is quite likely, but I suspect the FoB also set this up to keep him out. And his ilk, because the German competitions have featured a fair few very silly acts in recent years. Which is why Germans had to choose from three really, really bad songs this year. I don't know why they chose the worst. I don't know why they couldn't be represented by Germans Being Schlocky, instead of by Germans Being Schlocky While Pretending To Be Texans. Maybe they hoped the rest of Europe would think these really were Texans, not Germans, and direct their scorn across the Atlantic.

Wikipedia on the Eurovision Song Contest

Monday, March 27, 2006

On the mend

Well, finally! I am by no means back to normal, but I'm on the way. I can swallow, yawn, and even cough without crying. When I sit still for awhile, I feel almost normal. So, for instance, if I need something upstairs I'll leap out of my chair and scamper up the stairs in my usual way, but halfway up I'm like remember that Bugs Bunny cartoon, where he tunnels to the Sahara, but he thinks he's at some beach, so he leaps out and runs, yelling Yahoo! Whoopee! etc, and then he's staggering along with his tongue hanging to his knees, gasping Yahoo! *gasp*wheeze* Yippee! *wheeze*choke*? Yeah. I'm like that.

Still. It's better than it was. The last six days I've been hearing the phone ring and groaning because I knew I'd never get to it before the caller gave up. The phone is like ten feet from my desk.

Also, remember this charming entry about the um, metal band that will be representing Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest? Right, well, I forgot to give you the link for their website, how terribly remiss of me. Better yet, if you go back to the Eurovision site I told you about before, and click on "Multimedia Lounge", and then choose the "Video" option, up pops a list of 2006 Participants. Click on Finland - you can see Lordi's video! Then, you can see the German entry (Have a basin handy)! Then you will understand why I want Finland to win, and maybe, instead of a trophy, they'll get to eat the Germans. The pink fuzzy bolero alone is enough of a reason to want to see the German singer's head on a pike.

EDIT: Oh! Right! The song du jour of the day! Well of course it would have to be Hard Rock Hallelujah, by Lordi! I mean, it's the Arockalypse! Also, the Day of Rockening!

Another edit: An easier way to see the Lordi video: click here.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


I haven't had a song du jour of the day for a long time, have I? Sorry about that. Well, going into day 5 of a sore throat that makes it difficult to swallow anything, let's go with Like Eating Glass, by Bloc Party.

Oh, and via Negro Please, hahahahaha!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

oh information...

Actually, they do have a baby, they just hadn't told me yet. Born Thursday evening. I work for the dad, and he was going to tell me at work yesterday, but of course I called in sick. So he called this morning to give me the news, because I'd already told the mom I'd want to visit her in the hospital, but of course now I'm sick. So I can't. Dang.

And, after all my talk against froofroo baby sweaters, and after I made them a nice manly dark-green-and-white sweater for their new human, they went and had a girl! So unfair. Well, at least I can finally knit girl-things. Actually, maybe I should take Amber up on her offer. They're moving to Scotland. It'll be cold...

Friday, March 24, 2006

Skip if you don't knit.

No, not like the "honk if you love Jesus" thing, though if you want to skip, I won't try to stop you. I mean, do not bother to read this entry if you are not a knitter, as it will be boring and make no sense to you.

The sweater I mentioned in the March 11 entry is long-done and delivered. The baby, not yet. Poor Gabriele. Anyway, I documented the process and have finally scraped together a page with instructions. It's a modification of the ubiquitous five-hour baby sweater, and I'm actually surprised at how cute it turned out to be.

I put the pattern up on my free webhost, and it did something weird with the formatting, and I'm too tired now to try and fix it. I Hope you can read it anyway. My first-ever published knitting pattern!

5-hour baby sweater

Three f*cking days

Still sick. House = mess. Yard = mess. Called in sick to work, a job for my webmaster gig that should have taken me an hour took me three days. I am so tired of this.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Those penguins in my avatar? They will go away when there is no longer any snow on the ground. It's not too far off, yesterday was actually sunny, and warmish, and I was able to dry some laundry out on the patio. Hooray!

But today I am sick. Wretchedly so, with a sore throat (which is my least favorite of all symptoms, even worse than spontaneous eyeball tumors), and a bone-deep fatigue. Fortunately, ~d has saved the day by tagging me for the Universal Meme, so now you have something to read other than how crappy I feel.

Four of the jobs I have had in my life:
  1. Prep Cook - Sea Galley, Port Townsend WA
  2. Projectionist - Neptune Theater, Seattle WA
  3. Canvasser - WashPIRG and MassPIRG. Absolute hell.
  4. Cook - Last Exit on Brooklyn, Seattle WA
Four Movies I would watch over and over again:
  1. The Princess Bride
  2. The Fifth Element
  3. Galaxy Quest
  4. Casablanca
Four places I have lived:
  1. Columbus, Ohio
  2. Frösön, Sweden
  3. Seattle, Washington
  4. Munich, Germany
Four TV shows I (would) love to watch if I lived in a civilized country:
  1. The Daily Show
  2. Star Trek reruns. Any series.
  3. Third Rock from the Sun
  4. Frasier
Four websites I visit daily:
  1. The ones in my blogroll
  2. Toytown
  3. Gmail
  4. The Guardian
Four of my favorite foods:
  1. Taquitos from el Puerco Llorón at Pike Place Market
  2. Mint-chocolate-chip ice cream
  3. Campbell's tomato soup (made with milk, not water!) and goldfish crackers
  4. Real mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy
Four places I would rather be right now:
  1. In bed, sleeping off this stupid flu or cold or whatever
  2. Helping Kelly settle into her new house
  3. Spain. Anywhere except the tourist-hell coast.
  4. Visiting my brother and his family in Denver
Four people I would tag, except I'm pretty sure they've already done it:
  1. Amber
  2. Elemmaciltur
  3. Kelly
  4. KimberlyDi
All right. Off to bed. Bleah.

Monday, March 20, 2006

This and that. And a hat.

The work I didn't want to do a few entries ago is still getting done. It's a web site update, so lots of tedious little fiddly-things, which means that I'm too busy to blog and also have nothing of interest to blog about.

I've also rediscovered knitting, so I'll post the pattern for a baby sweater I just made, as soon as I get it looking nice. The pattern, not the sweater. The sweater already looks fine.

I also made a hat, with some scrap yarn. The pattern said size 13 needles and size giganta-huge-a-mongous yarn, and I used size 8s and regular yarn, so it turned out to be a baby hat. A really, really warm baby hat. Um, does anybody have a cold baby? Because I don't really have anyone to put this hat on.

Yesterday evening I finally remembered to call my future students and tell them I'll start up the conversation class on April 5th, and also call the woman who's in charge of the space we'll be using at the Women's Center. Evenings are usually the best time to catch people at home, but evenings are really busy for us, so I kept forgetting to call. I thought it was Freudian forgetting, you know, that I was so wigged out by the prospect of teaching that my forgetfulness was sort of subconsciously intentional. But when I finally did remember, I made the calls without any wittering or excuses or out-wimping, so I must have a pretty good grip on my fear after all. That's good.

Song du jour of the day. The Hippopotamus Song, by John Lithgow. Yes, really. I bought the CD for my kids, but I like it way more than they do.

I like this a lot


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Eight hours of "fun"

Two things you should know first, by way of exposition.

1: I hate parties. I want to like them, I really do. I want to be nice and sociable and friendly and liked, but I'm too socially awkward. No really, I am the Black Hole of small talk. Alala's four-step plan to surviving parties?
1 - arrive late
2 - park myself by the food
3 - only talk to people I know
4 - leave early
It's the only way I can do it. I know, I'm a loser. I hate it, but there you go.

2: I hate to drive. Always have. I hate the responsibility of controlling a 2-ton death machine, hate having to concentrate so hard, ack. I didn't even get my license until I was 26, and then only because we'd moved to Wisconsin, Land of Crappy Public Transit, and I had to learn to drive or starve to death. So I do drive, but only when I absolutely have to, and then only to the grocery store.

So now that you have the information necessary to understand the story, here it is:

DrBob shared his birthday party with 3 other guys we know who turned 40 or 41 this week. The party was in Munich last night. We got there at 7:30 to set up, and we had to stay to the end, which was around 3:30 a.m. It was loud and smoky and I knew very few people. There was only one person I could speak English with, the rest of my conversations were in Spanish or German. And? I agreed to drive us home so that DrBob could enjoy himself without having to worry about how much he drank, which meant I drank alcohol-free beer all night.

DrBob's all, "hey that was fun, we should have another party sometime." I'm all, "Just shoot me now Of course dear! When?"

Song du jour of the evening: the Hives. See Through Head

Oh, Lordi, Lordi

A little known fact that I just made up: Eurovision is the progenitor of the WTF phenomenon. Hey, it could be true. You take about 50 WTF-moments, string 'em together, and you've got the Eurovision Song Contest, pretty much. I mean hey! It's a pop-song contest, with one entry from each participating country! In Europe! How could this not be fabulous? It's like...a giant, festering kitsch-bomb. It's like pearls with plaid and sequins and fringe! And bearskin capes and leather bikinis, of course.

Seriously. You have got to see this. Umm, over here if you click on "Multimedia Lounge", and choose "video" you can see a selection of Eurovision offenders entries through the ages.

Anyway, at the moment I'm hoping Finland's entry wins, on the principle that, even though two wrongs don't make a right, five wrongs most certainly do.

a little whine with the daily grind

I don't WANT to work. I am finding all kinds of reasons not to do these two little puppet-head jobs. It will probably only take a few minutes, but they'll be really, really tedious minutes. More tedious than vacuuming or folding the rest of the laundry? Ooo, tough call there. I'd better flip a coin. Hey, the dolphin dish has a buncha foreign coins, mixed in with the euro-coins! I should sort those out, put the American ones in DrBob's room for when he goes to Kalamazoo in May, and the rest in Ignatz's coin collection-which-is-really-just-a-box, and maybe put the euro-change in my wallet. Oh that reminds me that my wallet needs cleaning out. But first I better have a snack...

Song du jour of the day? Gotta be Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head by They Might Be Giants

Saturday, March 18, 2006


This needs a wider audience.

~d's quizzes.

Okay, really I started it. My donut-thing set her off, and now she's set me off...this can only end in tears.

Your Irish Name Is...

Alannah McGrath
What's your Irish Name?
Hmph. That's a boring name.

Your Musical Tastes Match: Weird Al


Your Porn Star Name Is...

Champagne Waters

Your Stripper Song Is

Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard

"Love is like a bomb, baby, c'mon get it on
Livin' like a lover with a radar phone
Lookin' like a tramp, like a video vamp
Demolition woman, can I be your man?"

Break out the baby oil, you rock it old school.

Your Christmas Song Is

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Then I saw mommy tickle santa claus
Underneath his beard so snowy white
Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing santa claus last night

At Christmas, you feel like a kid again
Complete with major Christmas eve insomnia

You Are 60% Weird

You're so weird, you think you're *totally* normal. Right?
But you wig out even the biggest of circus freaks!

Okay, I actually really like this one...

You Are a Chick Rocker!

You're living proof that chicks can rock
You're inspired by Joan Jett and the Donnas
And when you rock, you rock hard
(Plus, you get all the cute guy groupies you want!)

You Are Coke

A true original and classic, you represent the best of everything you can offer.
Just the right amount of sweet, just the right amount of energy... you're the life of the party.

Your best soda match: Mountain Dew

Stay away from:Dr Pepper
What Kind of Soda Are You?
Mountain Dew!? EEEYuck!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I fell asleep this afternoon. DrBob woke me at six so I could make dinner (because I'd promised I would, not because he's one of Those Husbands) and propped me up in front of the stove. I burned the chicken. I don't know what happened to the noodles. And I'm pretty sure the sauce is not usually that color. Damn. There go all my June Cleaver points.

This morning Ignatz said "I think we should get a cat and a dog, so we can have bilingual pets."

What!? No sprinkles?

You Are a Glazed Donut

Okay, you know that you're plain - and you're cool with that. You prefer not to let anything distract from your sweetness. Your appeal is understated yet universal. Everyone digs you. And in a pinch, you'll probably get eaten. (Okay, that's kinda gross...)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Oh, heavens

Well, Mir said something about Blogging for Books, which I have never heard of before, so I followed the link here, only to find that it is Sadly Endangered! This must not be, I thought to myself. I, indifferent-yet-inconsistent writer that I am, will step in and add my voice and Save (but probably never win, which is actually fine with me, as I don't have a lot of pride invested in my writing ability) this noble contest. Then I found out what this month's topic is: the Military.

Okay, that is one topic that I know NOTHING about. Seriously. I have a few opinions, of the bumper-sticker variety, but basically I'm just a big ol' sack o' clueless.

But you do (Kelly)! I bet some of you (Kelly) have military or ex-military family members (Kelly). Some of you (Kelly) may even have grown up on various military bases around the world (Kelly)! What a wealth of experience you would bring! Also, I'll try to come up with something this week, but it'll hafta suck since Joshilyn totally ganked my idea about the Trojan Horse. (Okay no, she didn't really).

[Edit: This Just In! I found out over here that you can link to an old post. So I may just post a link to one I wrote a few months ago, if I'm feeling, you know (gotta call my students and set up the English class, gotta meet with the tax guy next week, set Ignatz up with Track&Field and the chess group, sign up for the next course in my web-tech-cert program, take those jeans out to the seamstress for repair, oh shizzle I forgot to pick up the dry-cleaning today, gotta put in some work on the site before Kel gets justifiably snippy about having to do it all by herself, find out about small business and freelancing laws here in Germany and how the project will affect my tax status, both here and in the States, need to get to Ikea soon) lazy.]

In music news, ~d is totally my hero! Because she pointed me to Pandora, which I am loving. So my song du jour of the day is ALL OF THEM! Okay, no, I'll think of something. Um, If You Love Me, by Van Morrison and BB King. I was listening to that tonight while I cleaned the kitchen. Sorry for all the Moldy Oldies, I haven't gotten any new music since the Arctic Monkeys and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, which was - egad - two whole weeks ago!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Geek Dreams

I had a dream early this morning that I was trying to talk to someone using dot-notation. Specifically, I was trying to tell someone about this by saying Kelly.sister.husband.mother(died). Only I was talking, not writing.


thank you for the days...

I've been thinking about Elvis Costello all day for my song du jour of the day. But I couldn't settle on one song, until I went over to Vicki's. Her Mom passed away this weekend, and now my favorite blogistan sitcom, the Bud and Jan show, is off the air. And even though I went through this myself quite recently, I'm starting to realize that every situation is different, and having Been There helps you empathize, but it doesn't teach you the right words to say to someone who's going through it now.

Anyway. I listened to Days a lot right after my Dad died, thirteen years ago. A whole lot. Oh, and incidentally? He used to go into restaurants and ask "What's the soup du jour of the day?" just to see the waitress look bewildered. Frequently. That's why I keep repeating that joke, in case you were wondering. It's kind of a tribute to my Dad. So no, even if you're really really tired of it and you never thought it was funny in the first place, I'm not going to stop.

And I found this! Neat, huh?

get your own

Monday, March 13, 2006

and another milestone

Sometimes, when my children master some new skill, or start on some new phase, I find it hard to supply the unqualified rejoicing that such an occasion demands from other parents. Or perhaps the parents of other kids. What the Sniglet has done is, he's written his first spontaneous word - that is, he didn't copy something we'd written for him, he generated it without any model, purely from memory. This is good news! Unfortunately, the word he's chosen for this first step on the path to literacy is:

Oh well, at least it's a palindrome.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

because ~d asked...

...yes, I have neglected my song du jour of the day lately. And even though it's DrBob's birthday, I don't have a birthday song, because I think the song du jour of the day should be something I love, even if it's only for the moment, and there aren't any birthday songs I love. But today's song is one for the ages, my first-ever Tom Waits song. I was 20 years old, and it was playing at Keith's house, when our relationship was on its way out anyway, and even though we were barely speaking, I called him two days later to ask him what that song had been. It is my favorite love song, because it admits that lovers can have problems but still care about eachother.
Please call me, baby
Wherever you are
It's too cold to be out walking in the streets
We do crazy things when we're wounded
Everyone's a bit insane
But I don't want you catching your death of cold
Out walking in the rain

just quickly...

DrBob is 40 today, and we've got guests to entertain. So nothing much to see here, but I have a guest post up over at Crouching Mommy, Hidden Laundry that you can check out.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

also... work the server did something bad, or something bad happened to it, I dunno what, and the computer guy was up in Dortmund or somewhere. So he called a buncha times and told me what to type and asked me to tell him what it said. I helped! I did something Linuxy! It was like being talked through landing a plane! Only I failed to fix the computer, but still! I Linuxed! I bet that'll knock my geek score up a notch or two.

Titles are for organized people.

hello darlings,

sorry, sorry, yes I've been a flake about blogging. I got a wild hair - yes, we knitters are a craaaaazy bunch - and suddenly decided that I need to make a sweater for my friend Gabriele's baby. The baby is due on Tuesday, and I cannot in good conscience hope that s/he comes late, because both my babies were late, and the days between the due date and the actual birth? Hell. On. Earth. So my only alternative is to knit like the wind! Which keeps my hands too busy for typing.

Also too busy for folding laundry, which explains the four loads on the couch. Also I've done some rearranging: moved my office from our bedroom down to the living room; totally upset the basement to make room for a guy to come and install a radiator, and of course I can't just put it back the way it was, no I have to be Martha Stewart and take the opportunity to ORGANIZE IT! Kids' rooms=mess. Both of them are suddenly outgrowing and/or trashing all their clothes. I found 9 pairs of Ignatz's jeans which I put in my sewing basket and ignored for so long that if I get them patched soon they will fit the Sniglet. They're on the steps waiting to be taken to the Sewing-Lady, because we've already established that even though there is no reason I can't do it myself, I won't actually do it.

And by the way? The house has to be spotless in time for DrBob's 40th birthday, which is, oh, the day after tomorrow. Shoot me now.

Song du jour of the day: Sala Keba, by Papa Wemba. Great percussion, very cheerful. "Sala Keba" apparently means "Be Careful", that's all I know. But it makes me happy.

Oh, and I got the tickets. Woot! Hm, actually, you probably can't say Woot at a Sisters of Mercy concert. Gee, I better go make sure I have enough eyeliner.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

re snow on the roof

Kymberlydi mentioned reading news reports about collapsing roofs. Yes, that is a concern here. At the moment the weight isn't too threatening, even though there's a lot of snow, but if it rains, that weight could triple and then it'll be time to worry. Ignatz says the fire department was at his school today, clearing snow off the roof. I'm going to ask at the kindergarten tomorrow - there is one section with a flat roof that looks potentially troublesome. Otherwise, I think we'll be okay. Most of the houses have fairly steep red ceramic tile roofs, very slippery when wet, so the snow will eventually slide off. You won't want to stand too close to any of the houses when it warms up, though. And the mailmen will all deserve hazard-pay.

time to breathe into a paper sack

Mrs Next Door called yesterday morning to say that her students all want to continue their English conversation class, with me instead ofher as the teacher. Um, ulp?

So I went and dug out all my old materials from the TESL (um, Teaching English as a Second Language, that is) certification course, hoping they would sort of refresh my memory. They sort of did. That is, I don't know that I remembered a lot about planning and structuring lessons, but I certainly recalled how grueling that course was. It was the first time since high school geometry that I tried to do something I have no talent for, and ended up actually having to work at it. It was a solid month of struggling, and I think I got a B- out of the course. For a straight-A student, that was demoralizing.

But. I paid a lot of money for that course and worked my butt off, for a certification I have not used, except for seven lessons with a neighbor's four-year-old that were an unmitigated disaster. This is different. These are grown-ups. Motivated ones. And I have that certificate, and I'm damn well gonna use it.

Um, ulp?

Song du jour of the day: I have a really persistent song virus from Banaroo, Germany's latest manufactured teeny-pop atrocity. Hm, an interesting problem. The song to exorcise a demon song virus must be terminally catchy, with really good percussion, so I'm going to have to go with Talking Heads, and Sax and Violins. Yeah.


You can't see me, but I'm doing a little happy-dance.

Just a small one.

Monday, March 06, 2006

more snowpics

So here's DrBob and the kids, and the Next-next-door kids, making igloos in the garden. DrBob decided to build one from the ground up. The younger set opted to hollow out an existing hill. Myself, I think DrBob's is much better, but that's me thinking as a Mom. Which one would you rather have collapse on your kid?

Ahem. By the way, that hill of snow? The one that's taller than the neighbor's car? Yeah. I made that. All that snow came from our driveway. And that wasn't even all there was: Mr Next Door and I were dumping snow across the street yesterday morning because there was no place to put it on our side. I can't tell you how unusual that is for this area. This is just so weird.

And, um, no I didn't go out and help build igloos. Because I am, uh, much too er, grown-up for that sort of thing. Egad, what a horrible thought. When did that happen?

I'd like to thank the Academy...

I am nerdier than 90% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!
(Via the Goober Queen)

Okay but no, that score is unrealistically high. I'm flattered, I really am, but there was lots more room for geekitude in that quiz. I have miles to go before I'm as geeky as I wanna be.

DrBob and the boys built igloos today. Photos to follow.

Today's song du jour of the day is by Lyle Lovett:
If it's her you want
I don't care 'bout that
You can have my girl
But Don't Touch My Hat

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I'm boring.

There's like 40 blogs on my blogroll, and most days I don't have time to check them all. Today I did, which can only mean one thing: I didn't do anything else today. Okay, I shoveled the driveway and the sidewalk out front. All by myself, despite the talk of shiftwork in the last entry, because Ignatz had friends over and DrBob's wrist is messed up and I didn't want him to hurt himself even more. And the Sniglet's five, which is an age that wants to be helpful, but very often isn't.

Here's the thing. When I do stuff, I have stuff to write about but no time. When I don't do stuff, I have time to write but no stuff. Unless you wanna hear about my fabulous bathroom reorganization yesterday. No, actually, sharing that memory would diminish its fabulousness. I'll just hold it close to my heart. Good times, good times...

Welcome to Suburbia. Home of the Slow, Creeping Soul-Death.

Song du jour of the day? Breathing, by Kate Bush. She sang it with such anguish, and it seemed so possible, so near-future, in the 80s. Remember how we all thought we were just a breath away from nuclear annihilation, and that thought informed everything we did? Watched "The Day After", read "On the Beach", and thought of them as documentaries...Who cares, man, it's all gonna go to hell any minute anyway. What a fucked-up way to grow up.

I loved that song. Still do, actually, even if it doesn't ring quite as true these days.

snowy day photos

Well, I hear that public transit in Munich is effectively shut down. I can tell you for sure that we're not going anywhere, and we're going to have to shovel snow in shifts, since it's too much for any one of us.

This is a snowman that Ignatz built yesterday. Look, he even has feet! Well, had feet. Yesterday, when this picture was taken.

The next one is part of the yard to the side of our house. Ignatz's snowman is in there, too, in the lower left-hand corner. But this picture was taken this morning.

Today's song du jour of the day is Shaking the Tree, a duet by Peter Gabriel and Youssou N'dour, because with every breeze, an avalanche of snow falls from one of the trees across the street. It's better than TV. Of course, the song has nothing to do with snowy trees, but still, that's my song virus at the moment.

And finally, the view out our front door. Ack.

Better get out there with the snow shovel.

Well, winter's back

The drive to Munich yesterday was hair-raising, we lost traction and went off the road just outside Mittbach. It's always Mittbach, for some reason. That's where we had to turn back a couple Fridays ago, because a stranded truck was blocking the road. Anyway, we hit a curve and went whoosh, whoosh, missed a sign by about a foot and wound up in a snowdrift off the road, with a need to go backward and uphill to get back on the road, and tires with no grip. DrBob was so cool, he didn't look surprised or scared at all while he was fighting the skid. He was so calm that when we finally stopped I said "did you do that on purpose?" I mean, he'd just been telling me how to deal with a skidding car (yes, I really don't know. I'm a crappy driver), and then he was so calm when it happened I thought maybe he'd decided to demonstrate or something. Anyway, he was on the phone to ADAC (German version of AAA) when a random guy with a Mini pulled over and TOWED US OUT. Sometimes, I just love people. But the freeway was buggered - apparently some of the snowplow drivers are on strike.

Tough to know how to feel about that. I know y'all in America hear about European workers striking at the drop of a hat, and yes, sometimes they can get a bit frivolous. The snowplow drivers are striking because they're being asked to work more hours. Well, there's more snow, so on the surface it's not an unreasonable request. But I know that workers in other industries have lately been forced to accept wage freezes (cost of living goes up, but your paycheck stays the same? Gee, that wouldn't suck much), or more hours for not more pay, and I suspect that the latter is what's going on here: they are expected to work more for the same money. But I don't know for sure and am too damn lazy to check. Here, if you want to, you can look it up.

By the time we drove back home last night, it was 7°C (umm, that's uh, 44°F) and most of the snow was melted. This morning, it was back. And it snowed all day. I shoveled the driveway clear at 10 a.m., and that's how I know that we got at least six inches of snow today, because that's how deep it was when I went out again at 9 p.m. Apparently the weatherdudes are predicting another 20 inches or so tomorrow. You don't need me to tell you again how tired of this I am, right?

Song du jour: Lucretia My Reflection. The Sisters of Mercy are coming next month, and I can't figure out how to buy tickets online. Plus I just bought tickets for the Arctic Monkeys. Plus I have a few things to hand, plus DrBob just told me he wants a lava lamp. Also, he is seriously entertaining the idea of buying a new computer. He's due this year anyway, and when he does the kids will inherit his old one, and the Dell from Hell can finally retire, so the Sniglet had the fabulous idea to get Papa a new computer for his birthday! The child has no idea how much a computer costs, no idea at all of the value of money. When he has it, he gives it away on the flimsiest of pretexts. But still, DrBob is due for a new one, and how cool would it be for the Sniglet to be able to say it was from him? On the other hand, how sucky would it be for Ignatz, that his brother gives Papa a new computer and all he has to offer is a lava lamp and a belt?

Maybe Ignatz won't notice.

And even though I have enough presents I will probably still try to get Sisters tickets.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Auntie Meme! Auntie Meme!

Tagged again, and this is a fun one. (Oog, that reminds me that I've had this one I ganked from Eric Meyer in my blog.txt file for ages, gotta get that one up too...). Anyway. From Landismom over at Bumblebee Sweet Potato:
List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they are any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.
Right, well, I haven't learned how to put a song in a web page. I know I am woefully behind on the whole internet-music-thing, and if I were Zazzafooky I'd be all "Click to listen, right-click to download" and then I would be just Too. Damn. Cool. But I'm not, and I am really sorry about that. If I'd-a known this meme was coming, I woulda figured it out.

So I'll start with the song virus that is in my head right this very minute: Riot Van, by the Arctic Monkeys. This is new to us, and I'm really liking it. And yeah, I bought the tickets. Even if I can't surprise him, this show's gonna be too good to miss.

Then there's Marvin Gaye's Can I Get a Witness. So much fun, that song is. Makes me hop around the kitchen. Also, the opening piano bit reminds me of something...the Sesame Street theme song, maybe. Which came first? Who cares, it's cool.

I love, love, LOVE Mando Diao lately. I got Bring 'Em In for DrBob for Christmas, and let him keep it for almost 40 minutes before I stole it back. Poke around the site, check out the lyrics, observe how they make absolutely no sense. Fabulous. Sheepdog is the first track on that one, the hook I suppose. Worked on me.

Speaking of shrieking Swedes, The Hives' B is for Brutus? Best. Riff. EVER! This is the song that makes me dance like I'm being riddled with bullets. But, you know, in a good way.

Shy, by Ani DiFranco. Yeah. Take that, motherfucker.

Hm, Lighten up a bit? Okey-dokey! RuPaul's A Little Bit of Love, just to show I'm not all about the angry stuff. I am, however, all about jumping around the kitchen.

I'd love to include some Talking Heads, something by the Cure, maybe Violent Femmes or XTC? We just bought Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, which reminds me of all of those. Here, it says on their site that you can listen to Over and Over Again (Lost and Found), and they won't mind.

Is that seven? Okay, then!

Seven people to tag:
~d. Mentions music in her profile, and I've been meaning to ask anyway.
Jeneane. Actually, I don't think Jeneane does memes. But I bet she knows a lot of good music, so this is worth a try.
Amber. Because I bet Amber's cool enough to know how to actually link to .mp3 files. If that's legal.
Elemmaciltur. Quick, before you leave! What will you be listening to on that 13-hour flight, when the barbarians won't let you knit?
Kevin. Because he's neglecting his blog lately, and to give Kelly a break. Since she called me "bad" the last time I tagged her. Hmph.
James. Getting to knoooooow yoooou, la-la-la...Also running out of unique reasons.
Mabel. Just wondering.

Hi, I'm Stupid

So DrBob's 40th birthday is next weekend, major big deal and all, and do you think I can come up with any decent ideas for a present? Can I bollocks. The gypsy knife-sharpeners ruined our bread knife a few months ago, and replacing it was a good idea. DrBob said he might buy a new one and I said "NO! You may NOT buy a bread knife!" I wasn't even quick enough to use the usual standby of "erm, we've...uh, done f-fine with this uh, crappy one for awhile, might as well save our money, eh?" Which is our long-established Secret Code for "no, that's what I'm getting you for [insert upcoming gift-occasion here]." Urk.

So yeah, I bought a bread knife intended for his birthday, last Thursday. The VERY NEXT DAY was San José Day, the anniversary of the day we met, and he had a gift for me. And I had...a gift for him! Yes! A lovely bread-knife! Wasn't I thoughtful? Okay, back to the drawing board on the birthday thing.

Chapter two, part of his San José Day gift to me was an Arctic Monkeys CD. We like them, they're good. Not much later I found out they're going to play here in May. Did I scamper off to the internets and secretly buy a couple tickets to give him on his birthday, to indicate that he is still all rock-n-roll, even at 40? Did I bollocks. No, I immediately IM-ed him to say hey, this concert, cool, should we go? He says he can't decide, he's so busy, I should decide for both of us, and that is when I think hey wait - I need to come up with a birthday present whippety-quick, he gives me concert tickets for gift-occasions all the time... wait ... it's coming to me ... a thought ... hang on ... two ... plus ... two ... hang on, I've almost got it...

But of course, I've already told him.

SIGH. Can I get a DUH?