Dixie Peach: January 2005

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Saturday, January 29, 2005


Tea, tea, tea, tea, tea. How I love thee, tea.

I have never liked coffee. Oh, I tried. I've had all sorts made in all sorts of ways but I never could develop a liking for it. The closest I could come to enjoying a cup would be to drown out the flavor with enough sugar and milk and whatever other flavoring I could come up with. I was a coffee fraud and I finally gave it up for good. If coffee were declared illegal tomorrow I'd scarcely bat an eye.

My love affair with tea drinking began in very early childhood. Being a Southerner means I was drinking sweet tea directly after being weaned off baby formula. My exposure to hot tea, however, was pretty much limited to sick times when the prescribed diet for any malady I may be suffering would be hot tea and toast.

Drinking hot tea just for the pleasure of it wasn't something I got into until I was in the fifth grade. It was during that time that my class was studying Japan during social studies class and as a sort of treat or incentive or whatever our teacher allowed us to drink tea twice a week during class. We had to bring in our own cups and tea and sugar but it was something we kids looked forward to - even the boys. I discovered that tea could be great to drink when it wasn't soaked in sugar and poured over mountains of ice or given to settle an unruly stomach.

For years afterwards I drank tea but limited myself to Lipton tea, completely clueless that other teas were in the world. And while there's nothing wrong with a good mug of Lipton tea, there's so much more out there. I set out to learn about different types and blends and what I liked and didn't. Lapsong Souchong with its smokey flavor. The citrusy flavor of Earl Gray. Pleasant Darjeeling. Strong Assam. White tea that's akin to sipping silk. I learned what Tippy Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe is. I fell in love with chai (And please, don't call it "chai tea". Chai means tea. It's like telling people your Cabriolet is a convertable.). I learned to brew a proper cup of tea (Hint folks - hot water from your Mr. Coffee ain't gonna cut it!) and developed my own brand of tea drinking snobbery such as I have no problem with tea in bags (it's only tea that's is broken so fine in the fermenting process that it's not good to sell loose - same tea though) but I have an enormous problem with people drinking tea with the bag still lolling in the cup like some drunken uncle you can't get out of your house. I began collecting teacups and tea canisters (haven't moved on to teapots yet but I can see that coming) and I have wicked dreams of remodeling my kitchen and adding a Samovar - hot water contraption used in Russia and elsewhere to make tea.

Some of my tea likes and dislikes - brands and blends:


~ Messmer Vanilla Chai - great for making your own chai at home and being able to control the sweetner and amount of milk added.
~ Celestial Seasonings Original India Spice TeaHouse Chai - ditto above.
~ Twinings Peach - One of the best peach flavored teas I've had.
~ Twinings English Breakfast - Good morning! And I'll have extra milk, please!
~ Assam tea - Great in the afternoon.
~ PG Tips - One of my favorite all around teas. I have to get it from a British tea shop (with the imaginative name of The Tea Shop) but it's worth the trek halfway across town.
~ Messmer Klassik - Very good German brand of black tea. Makes terrible iced tea though.
~ White Peony white tea - Possibly one of the best things I've ever drank. Complete pain in the ass for me to find though.


~ Bigelow Constant Comment - I really dislike the cinnamon/citrus blend flavor. I just don't really care for citrus flavors in tea unless it's iced. Honestly, I am not impressed with Bigelow tea blends in general. There are so many other brands doing better jobs.
~ Earl Gray tea - Bergamot oil. Yuck.
~ Herbal teas - I never drink them except for medicinal purposes. Chamomile tea for upset tummy and fennel tea for a gassy tummy. I just hate the flavor.
~ Rooibos tea - Well, it's herbal tea so that's a strike against it. And I have yet to find a brand that doesn't have me making one cup and throwing out the rest.

Now if you'll pardon me, my kettle is whistling.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Little more to the right...ahhhh...right there!

I am within seconds of clawing the living hell out of my neck. If I hadn't been proactive and hadn't cut my fingernails down to the quick, my neck would be bloody shreds, a la Griffin Dunne in An American Werewolf in London.

I won't go into gory details because even I get ooged out by them but a little over a week ago I had a cyst on the back of my neck that had gone a little crazy removed. Now I get the thrill of climbing onto a number 9 streetcar each morning and heading down to the university hospital to the clinic of dermatology and venerology (and personally I think the venerology patients need to be forced into wearing a sign just as a warning to the rest of us!) to have my incision site cleaned and rebandaged. I only have perhaps one or two days of this left and then I supposed I'll just have to drop by every week or so for a little look-see. Let's hope the bandages keep getting smaller because honestly I'm getting pissed beyond belief at having them stick adhesive tape in my hair. It's got "have you by the short hairs" having a whole new meaning.

In the meantime I am being driven to the brink of insanity by how it's now itching. Yes, yes, I know it's a good sign. I know it means it's healing. It also means that I'm starting to obsess over this and if I don't get control over it, I'm going to end up going into a scratching orgy and doing more damage. You know, not like I haven't had enough of navigating slippery sidewalks and riding with the drunks who stay on the streetcars all day to stay warm. I need screw this up and make my treks to the hospital continue.

Had my birthday last week and while the literal pain in my neck was sort of detracting from the festive mood, it wasn't so bad. I got to talk to my mother and got supper delivered. And I got flowers and money. And some peach cake (Yes, I ate it. I'm going to blood sugar hell for it. Who's my birthday, dammit!). If you've got all that, then quityerbitchin and enjoy. B gave me a lovely new watch (What? You mean the 10 euro number I bought from a sidewalk sale wasn't pretty enough?) and seasons three and four of West Wing. I understand that show has gone into decline but I'm only so far into it that it's still the good stuff and I'm going to enjoy it and not think about it's impending downhill slide. Used some of my birthday money to buy four new books... Stich 'N Bitch by Debbie Stoller - my buddy PoppyDawn has inspired me to take up knitting again. A twenty-five year hiatus from it shouldn't hurt me too much should it? I got three novels as well - The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner and I'm currently reading the third, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. I'm loving it. I knew it was going to be funny and quirky but I was pleasantly surprised to find it's also touching and rather poignent in places. But still full of that smart-ass humor that I love.

Made me laugh out loud today as I read it while I was waiting at the hospital. People must have thought I was one of the has-gone-crazy-from-syphillis venerology patients.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Wrap it up, I'll take it

1. I've come to the conclusion that if I watch something on TV in English while riding my stationary bike then I can stay on a lot longer. German TV watching doesn't capture my attention enough to distract me from the ever growing ass numbing discomfort of the saddle.

I need one of those gel saddle covers or to record more stuff in English.

2. I want to go on a trip. Back to London perhaps. I loved it there but being with Gabi, a friend of mine who is, shall we say, less than cultured, didn't make it the great time it could have been. First, I had a lot of trouble speaking with her. Back then my German was pretty pathetic (as opposed to now where I can claim that my German is merely pretty bad) and all she wanted to do was go shopping and no where interesting, may I add. Yes, I realize that prowling around the used book shops wouldn't really hold the interest of a non-English speaker but for God's sake, suck it up for an hour. I just wish I could get back there and do the things that I really wanted to do. I'd even go by myself if I had to.

3. Tell me it's not fate that my microwave falls apart mere months before I buy a new kitchen with all new appliances. Tell me that the timer knob falling off in my hand isn't a sign that I was born under an unlucky star. Like I've got time to haul my ass over to MediaMarkt to get a new one. Eh. I'll just order one online.

I swear, if I could get reliable grocery ordering and delivery online I may never leave my apartment. Except to go to London.

4. Okay, now I'm looking online for microwaves. Daewoo makes microwaves? Better than their piece of shit automobiles, I hope. Ah. Here's one with a radio included! And here's another with a pizza cutter included - free! How about one that has someone come by on a regular basis to scrape the greasy crud that seems to make its way into my kitchen?

5. B's ordering the microwave now. I mean how could I resist the free pizza cutter?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Buckle Up and Shaddup!

Let me preface this by saying that my mother-in-law is a fine woman. A lovely lady who loves me very much and treats me as if she were my own mother.

But by golly she is never going to figure out that I had a life before I moved to Germany and I have experience with many, many things. I owned a home. I held down a job. I drove every day and even made long trips alone to unfamiliar cities. I owned a variety of dogs and was able to successfully care for them. I managed to function successfully as an adult without landing in jail or burning down my home.

Then why in the name of all that is holy does she feel the need to act as if the first day I stepped foot into Germany was the first day I was ever alive on this planet?

This week has been a good example. She's going this week to her brother's house for a party for her sister-in-law's birthday. They live in a town about 30 miles outside our city and she hates it there. They wish her to stay overnight - actually for two nights - and my MIL is not keen on that idea. Not that I blame her. I'd rather sign up for that deluxe ass whipping than stay overnight in that pit of boredom. So instead of camping out in Horror Town I'm going to drive her there on Sunday morning and come pick her up later that evening.

You would think that we're planning a road trip to Mumbai with as much as she's obsessing over it.

At least five times she's gone over how we'll get there ("We'll take the Ring to the Autobahn and then you get off at the exit outside of Schönebeck and follow the state road for about 10 kilometers..."). Okay, okay, I got it! I'm pretty sure I can handle this simple trip. Hell, I found the bus station on New York Avenue in Washington, DC with no help and no real idea of where on New York Avenue the damn thing was. I found a freaking hotel in Wilmington, Deleware and up until about 10 minutes before I left home I wasn't even quite sure where in Deleware Wilmington is located. I think I can find this stinking little town, especially since you'll be with me and you were born and raised in this place!

After shopping today she insisted that we gas up the car. There's slightly less than a half tank of gas left but since I did have the car out I thought it was fine to go ahead and tank up. Saves me doing it another day. However time saving wasn't my MIL's concern - she just thought it was safer to make this trip on Sunday on a full tank.

It's a Toyota Starlet. I could have driven to Berlin and back on what gas was still in the tank. Would never convince her of that though.

I pull up to the tank and she tells me at least three times to put super in the tank. Super? You mean the kind I've been putting in the car for years? That's the kind you mean?

"Oh...and don't forget to pull that little lever on the left side to open the gas tank." Thank God she told me that because using that screwdrive to pry open the door was getting to be annoying.

I filled the tank, screwed back on the cap, closed the little door and got in the car to drive to the payment booth.

"You remember which pump it was? It was number seven, right? You remember to look at which one is was?" Well hell, if I did that then I wouldn't have the fun of annoying the shit out of the cashier making her play "Guess the Pump"!

By now I'm convinced that making this little trip on Sunday is going to be an exercise in testing my patience....all at 120 kilometers per hour. She doesn't do well with the Autobahn anyway and I just know she's going to pee her pants at ever turn.

Wonder how she'll take to the idea of riding in the trunk?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Best Laid Plans

I'm not going to mention my diabetes. I'm not, I'm not, I'm not. Except to say that my blood sugar has been fabulous and I'm going to cry like a slapped child if I get back my HbA1c and the numbers suck. For the love of God, if I'm going to give up Ritter Sport almond bars and french fries, and I get my ass on a stationary bike every day, I want some results!

Once again I woke up with all good intentions of getting lots done. I didn't loll in bed this morning and after taking my blood sugar (drat! wasn't going to mention diabetes again!) I put on some work out clothes and jumped on my stationary bike. I've found the ass torturing ride goes down much better if I can pedal while watching The Sopranos. They're showing it here now in English but it's still seasons behind what's being shown in the US. How far behind I don't know but it's gotta be pretty far back because Tony's mother is still alive.

And that reminds me. I need to find online the transcripts of Six Feet Under for the third season. They started the third season here but I didn't realize it was new stuff (thought my digital TV service was starting back again at season 1) until a few weeks into the season. Now I gotta go back and read what I missed.

Anyway, back to my day. I did the bike torture, ate breakfast, got very sleepy and took a nap for an hour. I had it all planned out. Nap for an hour, wash my hair, go to the store for weekend supplies, come back and give B a bath. And I was sticking to the schedule too. Had a 45 minute nap and was just about to move on to the hair washing when B's friend from Heidelberg called saying he was in town and that he'd like to come over for a short visit.

Skip the hair wash and hope he didn't notice that I looked like a train wreck.

It was 4pm by the time our friend left and by that time I had lost all interest in keeping with the schedule. Hair washing is put off until tomorrow, I skipped going to the grocery store and I had B call for supper to be delivered. So much for good intentions.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


So it's six or so weeks after being diagnosed with diabetes and I can proudly say that so far I'm still doing fine. I'm eleven pounds lighter and am keeping my blood sugar at good levels. And honestly some days I get so sick of obsessing over it each day. That's the thing about diabetes - you don't get a day off from it. Your whole day revolves around what you eat and when you take your medication and when you take your blood sugar. It's a freaking pain in the ass some days. Well that's the price you pay for worshipping the god of Backyard Burgers.

So after a somewhat quiet if not downright dull Christmas and New Years I can say that the holiday season is completely behind me. All decorations are down and stored away and I'm settled in for the long ass haul to spring. One of the annoying differences between German and Mississippi is that in Mississippi I only have to wait until mid-March to get some warmth and to see some springtime. In Germany I'm sometimes waiting for warm, sunny days well into June.

My mother called me this evening rather late. A phone ringing here at 11pm doesn't tend to bring cheerful news. All she said was "Call me back." and after getting settled in to get the trans-Atlantic blow I called her back. I'm all set for death or illness or accident.

Accident I got.

My father's sister, Jewel, who we called Aunt Sister, gave me a tiny china teacup with a magenta flower on it when I was three or four years old. I vaguely remember her giving it to me and for many years it was my prize posession. The only real "keeper" type thing I had that wasn't child oriented. All during my youth it stayed in the china cabinet and on occasion I'd ask my mom if I could take it out and look at it. After I got married it stayed in my parents' china cabinet - I don't think I ever had it with me in my own home.

After my mother sold her home and moved in with my sister, the teacup went with her. It stayed on a small shelf in her bedroom. On visits I'd remind my mom that it was my teacup and later on when she was no more, I'd want it back. Mother would try to get me to take it with me but I'd decline to take it home with me. Even after I'd moved to Germany my mother would ask me if I wanted to take it home and I'd refuse. It looked nice in her home and I was a little afraid of breaking the cup and forever cursing myself for not leaving it where it was safe.

Evidenlty where it was wasn't safe.

Mother called me to tell me that she's broken my teacup. She'd become tripped up while taking something out of her storage closet and while trying to save herself from crashing to the floor, the cup went instead.

And you know it didn't bother me that much. I'm sorry that cup is ruined but it being broken didn't upset me nearly as much as I may have thought it would. Hell, it's just an old cup. Throw it out and don't worry about it.

Unless I find out later it's some priceless treasure. Then I'm gonna be a little miffed.