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

Friday, June 30, 2006

well, that was fun

I left work early today to go watch the Germany-Argentina game in an apartment full of noisy soccer fans. I got a front-row seat and it was hella fun, but also very stressful, but also very joyful when Germany finally won. And also very, very loud. This is a day (and there are not very many of them, honestly) when being into sports is a Good Thing, and makes up for all those days when you kick things and say, "I hate soccer ( / football / basketball / hockey / rugby / whatever)." Now people are driving around and honking and blowing whistles and waving flags and I'm enjoying the euphoria.

Bittersweet, though, because Italy slaughtered Ukraine, 3-0. Ouch. And lest you wonder about my soccer loyalties, well, Ukraine is a newcomer, this is the first time that they even qualified for a major soccer tournament, and I'm totally impressed that they got this far. Also, I like underdogs, and now Portugal is the only one left in the running.

Also? Italy is a beautiful country, fantastic culture, food, art and architecture, but watching them play soccer is like watching a dogfight. They play dirty: They hurt people and act all bewildered and victim-y when they get caught. They run into (or trip over) an opponent and then fall over howling and clutching a shin, to try to get the other guy in trouble. That's how they beat Australia, you can see in the replays that Neill didn't tackle Grosso. Grosso took a dive, the ref bought it, and awarded Italy the penalty shot that won the game. That is both lame and sucky, and I want them to lose because I don't like the way they play. And as if that weren't enough, their jerseys this year! Pre-installed pitstains! Oh my God! And the numbers? Yes, you saw that right: shiny gold stuff. Ew. I'm sorry Samirah, but violence + whininess + fashion crime = Bad soccer.


There's loads of stuff I should be writing about, but it's late and I need my beauty sleep (snork). So instead I'm going to steal a fantastic idea from Catherine, who I'm beginning to suspect may be some kind of genius, and give you a review of the movie I saw this evening. In haiku.

American Dreamz:
Monument to bad taste? Yes...
Pretty funny, though.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

what have I done to deserve this?

Ignatz just got home from camp, yay! We missed him, though I have to say it was extremely convenient, when we had to leave for the hospital at 7 yesterday, not to have to leave him to get himself ready for school and all that. Fantastic timing, eh?

Anyway. Upon arrival, he scampered up to me and said "close your eyes and open your mouth!"

I radiated skepticism.

He said, "It's a surprise, but I think you'll like it."

I said, "What if I don't like it?"

He said, "Then it'll build character."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

everything okay

Well, the surgery went fine, no hitches except for the inconvenient kind - why, if they weren't going to see him until 9, did they tell us to come in at 7:45? I hate that. But nothing important went wrong. The Sniglet was scared and shaking when we went in for the anesthesia, but he was very brave about it all, no freakouts or anything, and now the problem is the same one we had last time: there is really no way to get such a busy little monkey to "take it easy for a few days," per doctor's orders. He's already all over the place. Totally bummed that he has to miss the kindergarten soccer tournament this Friday. While we were still at the hospital he leapt out of bed before his legs were really functioning and went kerflump. Fifteen minutes later he wanted to try again.

He is so his father's son. DrBob taught an evening class the same day he had knee surgery. Bonkers, both of them.

Anyway. I'm hugely relieved, even though I've been through this before and knew intellectually that there was nothing to worry about. Maybe if I start saying it aloud, this headache I've been carrying around for three days will take the hint and go away.

Song du jour of the day: Arctic Monkeys, The View from the Afternoon.

Monday, June 26, 2006

rejoice, mothers of girls

Your offspring's clothing will usually not be in this state when you pick them up from kindergarten on a sunny day.

The sandals were so wet they made a squelching noise with every step he took. And, when he got home he changed into clean clothes and then headed out with the sidewalk chalk. He is now on his third pair of pants of the day, and lest you think this is some kind of isolated occurrence? I'm afraid not.

More things I forgot

The expatblog part: Germany doesn't have summer camp, as far as I know. They do have something called uh, Landschulheim? Schullandheim? Um. Something combining the words "school," "country, in the sense of not-the-city, you know, the boonies," and "home." It happens during the school year (why yes, they are still in school, until the end of July - muahahaha) and they go to some campsite with their teachers and go on nature-hikes and I dunno, learn to identify different kinds of trees or something. Ignatz's class has been doing this every year since second grade, but this is the first time he's been allowed to go along. The last three times, he always did something stupid and ADD and then was Not Sufficiently Sorry, in the week before the trip was scheduled, and so was excluded from it. So okay there's your background info.

The momblog part: um, yep, this is another thing that I forgot until the last minute. And the Sniglet's surgery is tomorrow (the day I'd promised to work but then I had to reschedule for Thursday. Hold onto that thought for a moment), so I'm already a basket case. So I let Ignatz pack for the trip, which was just so smart of me, because now I get to spend the next 2 1/2 days worrying about what he might have forgotten. You may also recall (and if so, yay you! Your memory is way better than mine) that the Sniglet is going to a sort of transitional first grade next year. Good news! And he gets to go in one day this year for a sort of "trial" day, to check out the routine and the space and all. That day is this Thursday. Yep, two days after his surgery. Yes, the day I said I'd work because I can't Tuesday because whoopsie! My son has surgery that day. Sheesh.

Okay, I didn't actually schedule this trial-day: there was no time when I looked at my calendar, saw Camp and Surgery listed for this week and said "sure! The 29th would be great!" But I didn't notice until today that it needed re-scheduling either.

So when I go to buy a house? I want y'all to come take a look before I sign anything, please, so you can point out things I may not have noticed, like, say, a basement full of alligators, or that the roof appears to be missing. Thanks.

Song du jour of the day: R.E.M. Find the River. Dangit, it was here just a minute ago...

Sunday, June 25, 2006


WOW, that was one helluva soccer game. 16 yellow cards, 4 red cards, I think it's a FIFA record. Though Boulahrouz's first yellow really should have been a red, he totally shouldn't have gotten away with that kick to Ronaldo's leg. Anyway, it was definitely a game for hockey fans. Brutal, somewhat hilariously so (DrBob says it's not a coincidence that this always happens to the Dutch), especially since we wanted Portugal to win and they did. Also? DrBob says I'm crazy, but the referee totally reminds me of the tall blond guy from the Drew Carey show. Lewis, or something like that?

Song du jour of the day: (Everybody was) Kung Fu Fighting... by, well, everyone. Carl Douglas, Wang Chung, Fatboy Slim, Kool & the Gang, and - how could they not? - the Foo Fighters (hi Nate!).

something new

Sometimes it's an expatblog. Sometimes it's a momblog. Sometimes it's a dealing with ADD-blog, studentblog, geekblog (yes, I still dream in code: PHP, lately. Help!). Sometimes it's a sportsblog, knitblog or memeblog. Occasionally, much more rarely than I would like, it's a bookblog, or a musicblog, or a travelblog. Wow, I do a lot of stuff. Anyway, uh, it looks like I'll be adding a new element soonish, and hoo boy is this going to turn my hair gray, as nothing else has managed to do yet: I think... deep breath... I think we're going to buy a house.

WHOA nelly, now hold on a minute. That there's grown-up talk. I know, I know, it's almost too much to contemplate. But we have a buyer for Mom's house, and they're impatient to close, and our wonderful new conservative government feels that what they really need to do is raise the sales tax by 3% so if we buy a house next year it will cost us about $12,000 more than if we sign this year - money that won't go to the seller (I'd be okay with that) but to a government whose priorities I do not share. They won't use it to feed the hungry or provide medical care for the poor or jobs for the unemployed, so I don't want to give it to them. Neener.

So "we might should think about buying a house once DrBob's career settles down a bit and we know where we're going to be, say in the next five years," has morphed into "we need to buy a house by Thanksgiving or so." Ack. And there are so many decisions involved. Where do we ultimately want to end up? (In the city.) What's best for the kids? (Not a city.) Old house (charming, expensive to heat, needs a lot of maintenance) or new house (boring, expensive to buy but efficient thereafter, surrounded by smug petty-bourgeoisie neighbors)? How much noise can we cope with? How far out in the boonies could we stand to live? How much space do we really need? How much housework and gardening do we have time to do?

We pondered moving to the in-laws' hometown for about fifteen minutes, but ack. Ignatz is on the verge of teenagerhood, and DrBob reports, from bitter experience, that said town is not a good place to be a teenager. Perhaps it has changed in 25 years, I say naively? Look at it, he says. Even now there is not a single coffee-shop. Downtown consists of a hardware store and a gas station. Oh, I say. Good point.

Munich. Expensive. We could probably afford a shoebox in a crappy school district, and there's the vicious circle thing I talked about before. Without the Oompas (in-laws) nearby, I could only work part-time, because I'd have to put more time into childcare. But we can only afford to live in Munich if I work full-time, which I can only do if we live closer to the Oompas.

Right, but it turns out there are lots of shades between The City and The Sticks. OurTown has a train station, swimming pool, and excellent schools. Therefore everyone wants to live here and it's kind of expensive. Here's something local in our price range.

A bit farther out, say Velden, and Ignatz would bus to our school anyway, and we could afford this:

Can I get a wow?

So expect a lot of dithering in the next few months. I'll understand if you check in less often. We're going out right now to look at two possibilities. Just from the outside. We didn't tell them we were coming.

Song du jour of the day: Talking Heads. This Must Be the Place. I'm just an animal, looking for a home...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

It's just me, right?

One of the things that happens when your (well, my) life gets kinda crowded, is that you (okay, I) tend to hyperfocus on the next deadline, and not think much beyond it. And people ask you to do things and you say "No problem! Next week," completely forgetting that your younger child is scheduled for hernia surgery on the tuesday of next week, and that's going to throw things off, um, just a bit. And then people think know you're flaky, because 1) they can't really count on you to do what you say you will, and 2) you forgot about your own child's surgery, jeez whathehell is wrong with you? Okay, right. Me.

Song du jour of the day: Cracker. Eye of Fatima, Pt. 1. Because no one ever conquered Wyoming.

Friday, June 23, 2006

one thing crossed off the list

Well, that's the Summerfest, survived. Preschooler pageantry is cute for not quite as long as it usually takes, partly because the head of the Sniglet's kindergarten is clearly Public Speaking Impaired. And also, of course, because getting a bunch of 3- to 6-year-olds to do anything is like herding cats. Aside from the circus song-and-mime, there were, I dunno, food and weird activities and stuff... Events, carefully structured for Having Fun, tend to bring out my inner angry goth bitch, and DrBob is no better, so we always end up sitting around wearing black and glowering and asking the kids if we can leave yet. Oddly, the other parents never try to strike up conversations with us.

DrBob made a little video with the digital camera, and I'd love to put it up here but I haven't figured out how. You'll have to settle for a still photo.

Song du jour of the day: Staring at the Sun, by TV on the Radio. Since that's what I spend most of this afternoon doing. DrBob took a horrible photo of me all squinty and harpy-like, because he had the sun behind him and I could barely see. That'll be one for the scrapbook.

two more things to know about me...

The Stupid Quiz said I am "Pretty Smart!" How stupid are you? Click here to find out!

Heh. I'm stupid up to 11. Or smart up to 11? Is there a difference?

And my personality disorder, from the ever-scientific Quizilla:

Which Personality Disorder Do You Have?

Take this quiz!

That's a bit exaggerated, but the 'avoidant' bit is certainly accurate. Actually, anybody who's ever spent more than 20 minutes with me could have told you that.

hee hee

Picked this up over at He's got to be a bit gay.

right, the other meme

Thanks for the reminder, El, I almost went to bed without doing your meme.

So here's something taken from Elemmaciltur's blog, that I believe he came up with on his own, which = cool. (Erm, "my" meme was ganked from the Toytown boards, and I'm betting whoever put it up there in the first place found it on someone's blog somewhere). Anyway.
  1. Think of the first word that comes to mind when you think of me.
  2. Run a google image search on that word.
  3. Reply to this entry & post one of the pictures from your search (or a link to the pic uploaded somewhere. Don't hotlink though), but don't tell me what the word was.
  4. Put this on your blog, so I can post a picture for you!
And here it is. Not that the pic necessarily reminds me of Elemmaciltur, but for the word I google-imaged, this was the funniest thing that came up.
Okay, El, my turn! And anyone else who wants to play, too, of course.

Song du jour of the day: the Doors. People Are Strange

(@ ~d: someone sent you Astroglide in the mail? And that didn't strike you as a little bit weird?)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

quick poll

Do me a favor? Go watch this video, and then come back and choose one of these options:

a) Aaaahahahahahaha! oh my! snif... okay... BWAAAAAAHAHAHAHA!

b) alala has been in Germany for too long.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Love my peeps

So ~d and Kelly both picked up my music meme and RAN with it, and a buncha really hoopy froods picked it up from their blogs, and I'm having a sack of fun following the links around. Yay.

I should clarify the rules, though, I suppose. Yes, you can absolutely get out all your CDs, how do you think I did it? I also ran through the R.E.M. list on my media player, and visited the Righteous Babe site for Ani songs. I did choose only songs that I have actually listened to, but you don't have to. Also, if your artist was in a band and then went solo, you can use songs from both ends of their career (i.e. Annie Lennox/Eurythmics, Robbie Williams/Take That (*cough*Lisa*cough*), Natalie Merchant/10,000 Maniacs), and also covers they've done of other people's songs. I wanna make this easy so it'll be fun for people, so more people will do it, so I can read more lists and have more fun!

Know what else makes me momentarily happy? Some soccer players exchange jerseys with a member of the opposing team at the end of a game. That's right. They run around and get all sweaty for 90 minutes... and then they take off their shirts. Hoo boy.

Song du jour of the day: apropos of nothing (ahem), Marvin Gaye. Let's Get It On.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

uh, well, I thought it was kinda neat...

Okay, random thread on the Toytown Boards: I actually wrote an answer, even if I didn't post it, and it's too late to revive a dead thread now, besides it may reveal more than I want to share with that crowd, I dunno. But I can tell you guys, right?

And it was fun. So I did it twice. And now I'm tagging the music-heads among you, Kel, ~d, landismom, elemmaciltur, cmhl... I'd also like to see what James would do with this, though I know he's not real into memes. Anyway, it is of course optional for everyone, har as if that needed to be said. Like what, I'm gonna come to your house and hold your fingers to the keyboard? Anyway. Music memes are cool.

So uh, yeah. I did wind up taking Kel's advice after all. I got the barbell done, though. Cool story there - I went to the craft store and they had the same suggestion KimberlyDi had, though it turned out none of their styrofoam balls were big enough. They did have some hollow plastic garden balls, but no black paint they could sell me. So the shop lady told me she'd paint them herself and I could pick them up in the afternoon. Then when I did, she glue-gunned them onto the dowell for me. SO very nice. The moral of this story is: BUY LOCAL!

Okay, the meme. Twice.

1. Choose a band/artist:
Ani diFranco

2. Answer each question using the title of a song by that band/artist

3. Are you male or female:
Not a Pretty Girl

4. Describe yourself:
32 Flavors

5. How do some people feel about you?
Wrong With Me

6. How do you feel about yourself?
I'm No Heroine

7. Describe your ex boyfriend / girlfriend:
Hide and Seek

8. Describe current boyfriend / girlfriend:
Bliss Like This

9. Describe where you want to be:
Willing to Fight

10. Describe how you live:
Studying Stones

11. Describe how you love:
Both Hands

12. What would you ask for if you had just one wish?
So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter (okay so that's an album title. I cheat. Big deal.)

13. Share a few words of Wisdom:

14. Now say goodbye:
Out of Range

1. Choose a band/artist:

2. Answer each question using the title of a song by that band/artist

3. Are you male or female:
Crush With Eyeliner

4. Describe yourself:

5. How do some people feel about you?
There She Goes Again

6. How do you feel about yourself?
Half a World Away

7. Describe your ex boyfriend / girlfriend:
What's the Frequency, Kenneth?

8. Describe current boyfriend / girlfriend:
Near Wild Heaven

9. Describe where you want to be:

10. Describe how you live:
I Believe

11. Describe how you love:
Man on the Moon

12. What would you ask for if you had just one wish?

13. Share a few words of Wisdom:
Sweetness Follows

14. Now say goodbye:
Swan Swan H

So then the song du jour of the day would be any of the above. No, wait - it's Ani diFranco's Studying Stones, because I just discovered that one today and it's my new favorite song. Totally cool = Righteous Babe puts some of the songs up so you can listen to them before you buy the album. Love that. Even better, I found Studying Stones, available for download at amazon. Free! Woot!

Advice, please

So my bff wants to set up a recipe database, and asked me to do the code (she'll handle the design side, thank God), which perfectly jibes with my own plans and is therefore fabulous. I've chosen said recipe database as my final project for the PHP class, and it's doing my head in because it must actually work, as well as meeting my teacher's standards (y'all are my beta-testers. Watch this space). I've put hours and hours and hours into it, and I'm not even close to done. Bff is totally cool, and she'd happily give me another couple months, but now I've made it into a school project, so it has a deadline. The quarter ends June 22nd, but I can take a bit longer if I need too. On the other hand, I've been a good student up to now, and I don't really want to geek that.

DrBob has been applying for jobs around Germany, and may be getting a few interviews soon, we devoutly hope. He wrote in the applications that he was writing a book, so if he can bring the finished manuscript to the interview, that will look Very, Very Good (it's not unusual here to take 10 years to finish a book). He needs me to proofread, and I've already done the first two of three chapters, but I missed a lot - obviously I wasn't concentrating. And chapter three is sitting on my desk. Staring at me.

Usually about once a week one of the grown-ups here will get a wild hair and do a housecleaning blitz because he or I just can't stand it anymore, but we're both so swamped with work that we can't bring ourselves to put down. The last one was maybe 4-5 weeks ago. Seriously. It's cleaner outside than it is in my living room. Gross.

It's the World Cup! It only happens once every four years!

The Sniglet learned to ride a bike last October, and then we had the 5-month deep-freeze and he, quite logically, forgot how. Somebody needs to re-teach him.

The weather is so beautiful right now, and it could stop being beautiful any second. I really should enjoy it while I can.

The garden? Well, if you like the Everglades look...

There are 159 unread emails in my in-box.

The um, institute I work for publishes two books a year, and they go to press at the end of July. It's All Hands On Deck for the next six weeks.

With the Pentecost holiday over, my English classes resume this Wednesday. Lesson plan? Umm...

The Sniglet's kindergarten circus-themed Summer-fest is this Friday. He is to be a Strong Man, so I need to construct a barbell for him. No idea how.

So I need help prioritizing: how should I spend my time today, on my one "free" day this week?

(Aside from blogging, I mean.)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

some notes for the knitterati

just poking my head out of the PHP trenches for a minute to throw out some stuff I been meaning to tell you knitters out there.

So HELLA-CUTE I might just have to have another baby: Catherine knitted some BABY UGGS! Aaaagh! I keep going back to look at them because they are so fabulous.

Also, stop me if I'm the last person on the internet to find out about this, but I stumbled across a site where you can make and print out your own knitter's graph paper, set to whatever gauge you specify. I don't have a printer, so I haven't test-driven it yet, but it's definitely bookmarked.

Finally, ends are tucked in on two sweaters (and it's like 99° outside every day - timing, much?) though I haven't blocked them yet, and the current project while I'm watching the World Cup games, because I have to have something to distract me or I will get waaaay too emotionally involved... is a tree. I always thought it should be possible to knit a tree, using cables on a purl background. And now I have some nice smooth green cotton to work with, leftover from the strawberry and tomato baby hats I made (umm, anybody have a really new baby? The tomato hat still needs a home), so we'll see how it goes. Remind me to dig out the battery-sucking vampire digicam and take a picture once it's a little more identifiable.

Song du jour del día: La Araña Picua, by Los 50 de Joselito. Hard to find songs about knitters, so a song about a spider will have to do. The logic is sound, at least.

Apropos of nothing, I have no idea why the song needs to relate to the rest of the blog post. That's a stupid limitation, I think I'll drop it.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


swamped with work and homework (and housework? pfff, don't make me laugh). too stressed and busy to blog. I know I owe some of you emails, they're coming, honest.

Meanwhile, the next mixmania! is up! Check it out, sign up, and be sure to read the rules. Yes, all of them.

Song du jour of the day, gack I have CDs stacked all over my desk okay let's go for the kitsch: I Knew You Were Waiting for Me, by Aretha Franklin and George Michael. Ahahahahaha! I totally cannot keep a straight face through that one.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Do I speak German?

Samirah asked:
Ok, what are you doing in Germany? Are you German? Do you even speak German?
Well, the story of how we met is here, and the short version of it is that I went and fell in love with a German (ahem, not German - Bavarian. Mustn't ever confuse the two), and we had to live somewhere, so we chose the country that gave him a job. Two years in Munich, during which we had an insane baby. Then he decided he needed another Ph.D, so we moved to Madison, WI for five years. We had another baby there, who seemed reasonable at first, but his insanity has developed gradually. DrBob has yet to notice it. When he finished his Ph.D in 2001, he didn't find a job in the U.S. There was an offer from Puerto Rico, but it was abruptly withdrawn - we think we may have run afoul of some departmental politics there. Anyway, we decided to go back to Germany because we didn't know what else to do, and a job sort of fell into DrBob's lap shortly afterward. Whew.

So no. Not German, but I do speak it... sort of. Not well. Partly because DrBob and I have always spoken English to eachother. We've tried to switch a few times, but it never worked. So my best teachers have been his parents, who don't speak any English at all. Unfortunately, they also don't really speak German. They speak Bavarian, which is a bit like German, only without consonants. So, um, not at all like German, then, which is pretty much all consonants. But because Bavaria has a lot of money and good schools and pretty decent weather and all that, a lot of outsiders are moving in, so German is also very widely spoken here. Which means I've had to learn both. Simultaneously. My grammar skills are abysmal - really dreadful, so bad I can't even write a simple email. But because I have a kind of talent for picking up accents (thanks Dad!) people tend to think I understand more than I do, so they talk fast.

So, um, yeah. I can get by. Do the shopping, take my kids to the doctor, understand most small-talk, pretty much. I can't pay the bills or do the bureaucracy stuff or deal with the bank or the insurance people, which means if DrBob got hit by a bus I'd be in real trouble. And I keep meaning to learn about all the paperwork etcetera, and he keeps meaning to teach me, just, you know, once he gets the book done and hang on let me finish folding the laundry and oop there's the phone and all that.

Song du jour of the day that I have to spend in the too-hot city in the tiny office, where windows open = NOISE, and windows closed = no oxygen: Billy Idol. Hot in the City.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

the Playmobil funpark trip, heavily condensed

The Germany-Poland game was a nerve-wracking experience. I watched it with Ignatz and he kept having to tell me to calm down. Now I'm all tense and headachy. I'm beginning to think maybe I shouldn't watch three games a day for the next two weeks. It might be a bit... uh, what's the word? Unhealthy? But Germany won, at the last possible moment, Oliver Neuville I LOVE YOU! (call me!) (okay, just kidding.)

So bleah, no thoughtful blogging from me tonight, I have to go to bed. Instead I'll give you this, which I had hoped to do with the Sniglet's cooperation but now I've decided that he's already cooperated enough. At intervals during our visit to the Playmobil Funpark I whipped out a piece of paper and told him it was a blog, and asked what he wanted to remember about the trip. Here's what I wrote down, at his request:
  • We took the Intercity Express from Munich to Nürnberg and had an Egg & Cress sandwich (he pronounces it Eggncrit).
  • The pirate ship had a scary rope bridge, wobbly.
  • The stupid thing was there was a guy who shook the rope.
  • We saw a locomotive hitch to a passenger car.
  • We rode the bus. The first bus was the right one, and we were the only passengers.
  • We went through a jungle thing with Amazon indians and a waterfall.
  • I played in the water and got wet.
  • I played trains in a big playhouse, with the same train like I got.
  • It was my best day.
  • We ate a donut.
  • I got really wet because I played in the water with the freight ship.
  • At the hotel I got Coke, which I never get for dinner.
  • The chair in the hotel room turned into a bed.
So there you go. A good time was had. Today I took him to Munich to see The Wild. I liked it, actually, it appealed to that aspect of my personality that DrBob calls Queen of the Non Sequitur. There were a lot of WTF moments, but they were funny ones. Anyway, it was hot in the city and on the train, which may be contributing to my general fatigue.

Song du jour of the day: have I done City of Dreams yet? It makes me homesick, and it's pretty droney for the Talking Heads, but I love it anyway.

earthquake news

Something I should have done awhile ago has been done for me. You may remember that there was an earthquake not too long ago in Yogyakarta. A few of you may also remember that my sister-in-law and niece live there, and have been sending reports and pictures to my stepdad, who has been keeping the rest of us posted via email. I have a draft email asking him for permission to blog some of what he sent, but I never sent it because other things grabbed my attention. Bad me.

Fortunately, he's smarter than I am, and he blogged it himself. So for on-the-ground reports on the aftermath of the earthquake, do please check out And maybe fling some prayers in my niece's direction, if you have any. This is a lot for a teenager to go through.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Some thoughts that wandered through my head today while I waited for webpages to load, commercial breaks to end, water to boil, etc.:

It was a beee-yoooo-tee-full day today, and I spent a lot of it outside, working on DrBob's manuscript and figuring out php stuff with a clicky-pencil and a spiral notebook - so primitive! I bet Chaucer did his programming in exactly the same way. Also, I think my eyeballs are sunburned.

Clearly, the Sniglet is engaging in a campaign to transfer all of the sand at the kindergarten to our house, via his shoes. From his point of view, the campaign is going splendidly. From mine? Not so much.

~d asked:
Ooh, ooh! how did the haircuts come out!?
Well, my kids generally look like they had their hair cut by rabid weasels anyway. This time it looks like the weasels at least used scissors instead of their teeth. 'Round here we call that good enough.

Song du jour of the day: Feed My Frankenstein by Alice Cooper, from my mixmania CD. For this line: "Well I ain't evil, I'm just good-lookin'". Hah.

Monday, June 12, 2006

what you get when I blog while watching TV...

samirah said...
I try to cheer for America, but my heart just isn't in it.
I kinda have to agree. Socccer just wasn't that big when I was growing up, not like it was and is here in Europe (and, um, everywhere else in the world), so I have a hard time taking Team USA seriously. But I was working on it. DrBob says they're good, which he doesn't say often about anyone. But, MAN. Slaughtered by the Czechs today. Slaughtered! Augh! SIGH. Rats. Oh well, this was never gonna be our year, we drew a really, really tough group. But still. Drat. Well, they'll just have to kick Italy's butt on Saturday. Fingers crossed.

Okay, enough soccerblog. Momblog! I cut the boys' hair today. Usually I love their hair, it's so thick and strong - Ignatz's is straw-straight, like mine and my mom's; the Sniglet's curls when it gets long enough, like his dad's and my dad's. So cute. But also so hot, now that the weather's finally (and about frickin' time) gotten good. I have to cut their hair myself because I'm too damn disorganized to make appointments for them, but they are squirmy and utterly without vanity, so I do it grimly and with great speed. We'll know tomorrow if I missed any significant spots, and then if I want to fix them I'll have to sneak up on the boys while they watch TV.

Elsewhere, progress is slow. I think I'll have to work on DrBob's book while watching the Italy-Ghana game. Yeah, way to turn out quality work.

Song du jour of the day: If I Should Fall from Grace with God, by the Pogues.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Considerably less was achieved today, though I don't quite know why. The headache, maybe. Some laundry, some proofreading (which probably caused the headache), more end-tucking, another three soccer games - this is really grueling. Poor me (grin). Anyway, I have nothing to talk about, really, and I wouldn't have posted at all except that I kind of have to post every day, because if I let one day slide it'll turn into five, somehow. But the really excellent news is that the Fafbloggers are back! Yay! So go read them instead of me.

Song du jour of the day: Rooms On Fire, by Stevie Nicks. That one would definitely go on my guilty pleasures CD, if I ever made one. No idea why I like it so much, but I do.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

not too bad

Progress today:

figured out how to connect to a database on a different server. You know that proverb, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step? Well, this assignment is the thousand miles, and that was a step. Still, at least it wasn't a backward step.

cleaned the bathroom and master bedroom

proofread 1/3 of DrBob's chapter two

planned the week's menus and did the shopping

tucked in all the yarn-ends on the Sniglet's sweater - I would conservatively estimate that there were about two kazillion

watched 3 whole soccer games. Not quite as thrilling as yesterday's games, but even so.

So, not so bad, considering. I've decided to be happy with it. Song du jour of the day: dang, I gotta get some new music. Umm, Talking Heads. This Must Be the Place

Friday, June 09, 2006

Oh, right.


Now I remember: the reason I can't spend the next month watching every game, of course, is that I went and got myself a life. Dang, you can bet I wouldna done that if I'd seen this coming. DrBob has that book to finish, and he needs me to proofread it as soon as possible - he's got some job applications in, and having this book finished will count in his favor. The books we publish at my office job go to press at the end of July, and they've already told me they'll take as many hours as I can give them this month and next. I need to get that recipe database up and running for my PHP class final project. Also, there are two blondish boys hovering around me... they seem to think they live here, and they keep asking for trivial luxuries like food and attention.

Gee, when you put it all together in one paragraph it doesn't look like all that much. But it's probably going to take most of my waking hours for the next 30 days or so.

Song du jour of the day: Housework, by the B-52s. That's about as close as I will get to actually doing any for awhile.

Oh, P.S. the Sniglet and I kept a pblog of our theme park adventure. When he gets back from the in-laws', we'll put it up here.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

20 hours

Waaaugh! Less than one whole day now! The World Cup starts tomorrow at 6 and I'm SO DARN EXCITED I COULD JUST BARF! Okay it sucks a little bit because I'll get to watch Germany vs. Costa Rica in a smoky apartment full of noisy, beery Germans, but then I have to catch a train home so I'll miss most of Poland vs. Ecuador. Also, we're looking at a solid month of soccer-fueled hysteria and I can't seem to shake this nagging feeling that there's something else I'll need to be doing over the next 30 days, some reason why gluing my eyeballs to the TV would be um, bad. Somehow. Oh well, I'm probably just imagining it.

Also? They (no idea who "they" are, just, you know, "they") design a new ball for every World Cup, and they've chosen a panty-shield motif for this one. See?I'm having trouble understanding why, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Look, Elizondo's all, "Ese, we got a problem, okay?"

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

desperation drives alala to do mad-crazy things...

Yet another two-week holiday in Bavaria, they just had one for Easter and now it's Pentecost. For the Easter holiday we did abso-feckin'-lutely nothing, except I almost killed my children for being toxically annoying. Fighting, whining about being bored, clamoring to watch ever more TV (so sue me, I said yes. I certainly wasn't going to entertain them myself) got SO OLD after two weeks. This time? They were already at it on the Sunday, which was not even technically the holiday yet. Gargh!

So today I dragged the kids to the train station and bought train tickets to Zirndorf so the Sniglet and I can visit the Playmobil Funpark. Oh but it's even worse. To get there on the train is such an odyssey, such a chaotic mess of connections that the day's half over when you get there. So we will go Have Fun™ for about six hours, and then we will sleep in a hotel so that we can to back in the morning for more Fun™! Ugh. Have you figured out yet that I hate theme-parks? And then we will catch a mind-boggling variety of transport media home. Bus! Walk! Regional train! Express train! Run! Another regional train! And then the car, because even though the train station is only a mile from the house, I will be a gibbering wreck and will definitely need a ride.

All this because, even though I went to all the trouble and expense of marrying a German, and we know the Germans are notorious travelers, I appear to have landed one of the non-traveling sort. Other Germans use their weeks and weeks of vacation time: we are spending one (lousy effing) week in Croatia this August.

We get holidays out the wazoo, but our family doesn't use them because a certain Husband is always, always too busy. Bitter, much? So I have accepted that if I want it to happen I have to do it myself, but I am unable to cope with two squabbling children on my own in a foreign city. Yeah. So a couple years ago I took Ignatz to Amsterdam, just the two of us. I think he was eight. A bit later we went to Paris with my mom, but she was so decrepit she wound up spending most of the trip on this tour bus, so it turned out to be another Ignatz-n-me adventure. And I was thinking it may be time for another one, but the Sniglet is now old enough to recognize the fundamental unfairness of this tradition, so I have to start taking him places too. And I am beaten down enough by now to accept that what is fun for a five-year-old is a theme park. Gah. So this is not just a day out, it's basically the Sniglet's vacation.

I'm trying to put something together for me and Ignatz for next week. I started with Dublin, but I didn't jump on the cheap airfare fast enough, and now it's up to €660 (about $850). Ditto Helsinki. I'm thinking of Vienna, but that's a bit anticlimactic, since we already live in a German-speaking, schnitzel-eating part of the world. It's a bit like visiting Canada when you live in Washington.

Well, I guess we'll see. We'll see if I survive the Playmobil thing first...

the CD of the Beast

At last. The Evil Mixmania list, the one that was to reveal the pimpled, hairy side of my icky little soul. At first I thought I'd never find enough songs: I don't have a lot of overtly evil music lying around, but I do have a lot of songs about the nasty, minor-seeming day-to-day things we all do to increase the amount of misery in the world. Once I included those, I had to cut waaaay, waaaay back (Oh, DUH! some people made two CDs. Okay, here's my (pathetic) excuse for not doing that: I only had one empty case left). Anyway. Apparently my Dark Side contains a lot of jealousy and paranoia - or maybe that's just what people mostly write songs about (howbout we not examine that question too closely).

So here's my list, annotated because I'm feeling defensive today.

Keep Young and Beautiful - Annie Lennox
Keep young and beautiful / if you want to be loved.... No! But, um, kinda. I mean, we try to tell our kids and ourselves to look beyond appearances, but marketing is pervasive and calls bullshit on our best efforts. So unfair.

Hard Rock Hallelujah - Lordi
Europe's favorite pop song! Hahahahaha! It's not really high-quality metal, but it'll do. The song includes references to both the "Arockalpyse" and the "Day of Rockening," so there's some linguistic evil right there, and it's cheesy and funny and strange. I bought the CD, specifically so I could include the song in this mix, but I actually find myself listening to it. For real.

Black Planet - the Sisters of Mercy
Environmental disaster, anyone? And however much we try not to be part of the problem, we all are.

Meine Ex(Plodierte Freundin) - Die Ärzte
Last night my girlfriend exploded / I didn't expect that, that's why I'm blood-smeared / I must say, I'm really irritated / Last night my girlfriend exploded
Ah yes, three guys who've made a musical career out of juvenile jokes. Very popular with eleven-year-olds, including mine. I liked them too, at first, but eventually their jokes get kind of samey. So sort of like the Dead Milkmen, only German.

Alarming = the Sniglet can sing along with this one.

Steak for Chicken - Moldy Peaches
This one is really evil not only because the two singers are saying different things at the same time, so you have to listen really hard, but also because when you finally understand them, you can only say "Ewwww...." Hella funny.

La Bruja - Conjunto Jardín
"The Witch", a Mexican folk song. Not my favorite version, but the one I happen to have on CD. It's a jaunty little tune in 3/4 time about flying at night and sucking the blood of small creatures.

Over You- Aaron Neville
The creepy jealous boyfriend song. I don't necessarily agree with the sentiment, but the tune is toe-tappin'.

Cemetery Polka - Tom Waits
This one is just so gleefully sick-n-wrong, all about rich, elderly relatives and greeeeed. Uncle Bill would never leave a will / And the tumor is as big as an egg / There's a mistress, she's Puerto Rican / And I heard she has a wooden leg. Bwaaahaha.

Welcome to the Occupation - R.E.M.
Yeah, in line with Black Planet, this one's about colonialism as economic rape, another thing we all buy into (including me) and just try not to think about how wrong it all is.

Golden Boy - Natalie Merchant
Another one in the theme of Keep Young and Beautiful, about how appearances matter more than actions.

Little Black Heart - A-Ha
I'm not actually sure what this one's about, but it reminds me of me and my tendency to get into wretched little moods about nothing.

Watch Your Step - Elvis Costello
1. It sounds threatening, doesn't it? You better watch your step. Oooo, booga booga.
2. I simply couldn't NOT include a Costello song, and this was the best I had on CD. Probably.

Foul Play - Robert Cray
Yes, it's true: I'm not a real blues fan, because I like the pretty stuff. Robert Cray and and Al Green and BBKing make me want to lie on the floor, that's how much I love them. This is a perfect song about a relationship dying of jealousy and suspicion that may or may not be unfounded.

Read About Love - Richard Thompson
So effing funny, and also tragic because there must be a guy like this in your past - if you didn't date him, then your best friend or sister did.

Beat of Love - Voice of the Beehive
About the icky little things we do to fuck eachother over.

(I'm Gonna) Burn Your Playhouse Down - the Proclaimers
I've got an achin' in my heart / Arson on my mind.... Just funny. And hostile. And sung in a heavy Scottish accent, which makes it somehow cuter.

Who's That Girl? - Eurythmics
More jealousy and paranoia. A classic.

He Likes Me - Violent Femmes
Admit it, you have so been here. You want to be grown-up about the break-up, and all gracious and shit, but you're just not feeling it. These guys are the patron saints of sarcasm.

Turn Around - They Might Be Giants
More quirkiness. It is via this song that the phrase "Paper-white mask of evil" entered my vocabulary.

Mr. Wrong - Cracker
A country-flavored song about the date from hell, basically. Now do you have a girlfriend / and does she look as good as you? / Hey - would she like to meet my brother? / He'll be out of jail in a month or two...

Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Well, it sounds evil. Actually, I haven't been able to figure out what this song's about, but I really like it, for being so happycute while being about tidal waves of blood.

So, the song du jour of the day: any of the above.

Oh right, and my Mixmania benefactor who sent me such a fab CD which I have already talked about how much I love? Is the Daily Bitch, who totally wocks.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

All apologies

This wretched, wretched weather has unleashed my Inner Bitch, and all my attempts at posting result in tedious rants. I had a doozy about how DrBob hasn't lifted a finger to help around the house lately, but then he made dinner and picked the Sniglet up from kindergarten without being asked. And he hadn't even seen my Angry Wife rant, he's just being instinctively infuriating.

So anyway, expect a lot of quiz results, memes, and funny stuff shamelessly ganked from other sites until I manage to get my head out of my butt. Like this gem from Izzy Mom:

The following are answers given by elementary school age children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She’s the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. To clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men’s bones, then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other Mom?
1. We’re related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people’s moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your Mom?
1. My Mom has always been my Mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don’t know because I wasn’t there, but I bet she was pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did Mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $100 a month? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your Mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn’t have her thinking cap on.

Who’s the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn’t want to be boss, but she has to because dad’s such a goofball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more stuff to do than dad.

What’s the difference between moms and dads?
1. Moms work at work & work at home, & dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms are the boss cause that’s who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend’s.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your Mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don’t get spare time.
2. She pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your Mom perfect?
1. On the inside she’s already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. A diet. You know, her hair. I’d diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I’d get rid of that.
2. I’d make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on her back.

Song du jour of the day: Nirvana's Negative Creep is apt for today, because of the weather and my resultant cold toes and rotten mood.