Dixie Peach: March 2005

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Just 'cause I'm a stinking thief...

...and because I needed something to post today, here's a bit I nipped from Zoe's blog. Check out her blog too. She's a lovely, sweet lady.

LAYER ONE: Just the facts

Real name: Kimberley. I know y'all thought it was Dixie.
Birth date: January 19, 1962
Birthplace: Groton, Connecticut. I'm not ashamed to say I was born in Yankeeland. Couldn't be helped. Daddy was stationed there in the Navy and we lived there less than a year after I was born.
Current Location: Magdeburg, Germany
Eye Color: an alluring smokey blue
Hair Color: If you could dig through my lovely copper red locks created by my hairdresser every six weeks and locate my original color at the roots you'd see it's a medium brown with a fair amount of gray.
Righty or Lefty: Righty
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn

LAYER TWO: On The Inside

Your heritage: Southerner. Southerners just say they're Southerners but if you want that "where did your ancestors come from" thing then I'll say I'm Scotch and Welsh with a measure of English and a dab of Irish.
Shoes you wore today: Indoors: Birkenstock Arizona in navy blue. Outdoors: Birkenstock Boston in cocoa brown.
Your weakness: Sweets
Your fears: Dying before my husband, fire, falling
Your perfect pizza: Hand tossed crust, pepperoni, Italian sausage, extra cheese

LAYER THREE: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Your most overused phrase: Bottom line is...
Your thoughts first waking up: What day is it?
Your best physical feature: My eyes and my fingernails. My fingernails are virtually indestructable.
Your bedtime: Usually between 4 and 4:30am.
Your most missed memory: Moving back the furniture and dancing in the livingroom with my friends.


Iced Tea or Soft Drink: Iced tea. Good grief, I'm from Mississippi, aren't I?
Soup or Salad: Usually a salad but if there's a lovely broccoli cheese soup on the menu...
Single or group dates: Single
Slip-ons or Lace-ups: My Birkenstock clad feet vote for slip-ons
Fruity or Herbal: Fruity
Jell-O or pudding: Pudding
Coffee or Hot Chocolate: Hot Chocolate


Smoke: Not anymore
Cuss: Shit, yeah!
Sing: Yep. Lots.
Take a shower every day: There are some days I miss but for the most part, yes.
Still talk to your first love: No
Like your job: Wouldn't change it for the world
Like(d) high school: I'd say it would be 50-50.
Get motion sickness: Very rarely. Usually only when driving in the mountains.
Think you're attractive: I don't think I'm so bad looking.
Think you're obsessive-compulsive about anything: Oh jeez, no. I'm too lazy to be obsessive-compulsive. It would cut into my reading/knitting/napping time.
Get along with your parents: Yes
Like thunderstorms: Very much
Play an instrument: drums

LAYER SIX: In the past month have you...

Spent more than $100 on a single item that wasn't an obligatory thing (bills, etc): Yes. I just bought a new kitchen.
Had a verbal argument where you screamed at someone: Not screamed. Raised my voice but it wasn't screaming.
Purchased Cottage Cheese: Dear Lord, no!
Surprised someone for a special event: no
Purchased a new CD: no
Gone to the mall: As a matter of fact I was there today.
Purchased an MP3: Purchased? No, I didn't purchase one. Okay, okay...I didn't rip one off either.
Sent your resume out for a new job: Don't make me laugh!
Been on stage: no
Moved: no
Had lunch with a group of ten or more: nope
Changed your hairstyle: My hairstyle changed about 6 weeks ago so the answer would be no.
Taken a vacation: This chick doesn't get vacations


Played a game that required removal of clothing: Yes but don't tell my mother
Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: Yes. It's what I majored in in college.
Been caught in a lie: Yes
Been called a tease: I don't remember. Probably due to the fact that if I were being a tease I would have been trashed or extremely intoxicated.
Caused a car wreck: no
Shoplifted: About 30 years ago, yes

LAYER EIGHT: Getting Older

Age where you believe your life really began (if not yet, give a guess): 35
Do you have children, if so, how many and what are their ages: no kids
What do you really want to be when you grow up: I'm already doing it.
Where would you like to retire to: here
One fear about getting older: Debilitating illness

LAYER NINE: The Opposite Sex

Eye color: Anything but hazel
Hair color: All my husbands have been redheads
Short or long hair: Short
Height: At least 5'10".
Best first date location: Casual restaurant

LAYER TEN: In The Numbers...

Number of jobs I've had in my life: 6
Number of people I could trust with my life: 10
Number of CDs that I own: Somewhere in the range of 400
Number of piercings: Just one in each ear
Number of tattoos: Needle phobic me has none.
Number of times my name has appeared in the Newspaper: 5
Number of scars: One big scar on my abdomen and a few minor ones from burns.
Number of things in my past that I regret: I don't know that they're true regrets because all my past has led me to now but there a three or four things that I think I could have avoided that may have made life easier on me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Just idling

Slow day 'round these parts. I swear, except for dusting I got nothing done today. Just took care of B - you know, doing what needs to be done with him and else I didn't do one productive thing. Didn't even knit on the bear, otherwise known as the eyelash yarn cowl I've been working on for the past week or so. I did read a lot though so that was something. And I cooked supper and I did two loads of wash so I wasn't quite as idle as I thought.

But I did knit like a fool last night and I have to say that I simply can't tell if this cowl is going to be a stroke of genius or a ridiculous looking fuzzy black tube. Right now it looks too short but too wide as well. I can knit it longer and will but I can't make it more narrow. Still maybe I don't want it narrower because I don't want it snug against my gigantic melon head. I just keep knitting and knitting but with more and more of a sinking feeling that when I'm done all I'm going to have to show for this work is something that will take me a good hour or so to unravel and roll up because it's completely unusable as a cowl.

I have to go downtown tomorrow morning to get a photo frame for a gift for my doctor's birthday. And I'll be down there with yarn. Yarn that calls to me.

There's some really gorgeous boucle yarn that I'm itching to get and make something with but I shouldn't. I mean I just bought a kitchen and I don't need to be blowing money on yarn when I have yarn at home. I keep buying gorgeous yarn and then realize that I can't knit a five things at once. Or I can but each will then take forever to complete. But then I worry that if I don't get it now I won't be able to find it later.

I never did learn patience.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Out of sorts

Yarg. I'm tired, my stomach is in knots and I'm cold. If I had any smarts I'd get offline and go lay down and snooze.

Well I never said I was overloaded with smarts. Let me try to hit the daily highlights.

The kitchen has been purchased! That's a big reason for me being tired - I had to get up early to meet with the kitchen dude. I told him that I'd like to see about getting rid of the stove in the corner and the vertical sliding cabinet and with a few other adjustments I found myself saving 1100 €. Good enough for me...consider it sold! Now a carpenter need to come by to make final measurements and to see where the outlets and plugs are located and then the kitchen will be ordered. Sometime in June (I think!) I should have a completely remodeled kitchen.

And that whole ordeal was the easy part. It only gets tougher with picking out flooring and paint, getting light fixtures, hiring electricians and someone to do the painting and floors, getting the old kitchen torn out, blah, blah, blah. Enough for now. My stomach is upset enough as it is.

Then this afternoon it was off to the eye doctor for me. Since I have diabetes I (as well as my doctor) wanted to be sure my eyes were healthy and to see about my blurrier vision.

I'd forgotten this eye doctor was an unpleasant, curt, bossy bitch.

After dialating my eyes and making me wait and wait and wait the doctor finally saw me, looked into my eyes, said nothing about what she saw and then proceeded to bitch me out for not having new glasses made last year when she prescribed them.

Now she's the one who told me my prescription had barely changed anyway and you know I just didn't get to it. I mean, shit! If I wanted to be bitched at for neglecting something I'd get my mother on the phone.

Then she proceeded to tell me that until my blood sugar was "stable" she couldn't prescribe new glasses for me because my vision would fluctuate if my blood sugar fluctuated. I can only assume that my doctor thinks my blood sugar is stable because she's the one who wrote the referral to this cow. Dr. Pissy Pants gave me a note to give to my doctor that for all I know chews her a new one for daring to refer me to an optomitrist.

Hey, if all I wanted was a vision exam then I'd go see an optician (in Germany opticians are the ones who test your vision - optomitrists diagnose eye disease). All I wanted was for this woman to look in my eyes and see if I had...I dunno...cobwebs or lizards or some shit in there. She looked in my eyes alright but all I got out of her is a bunch of lip. AND an appointment to come back in June. You know if I'm going to go around with my eyes dialated like like I'd just dropped out of a Cheech and Chong movie without the added benefit of my own fattie then I don't want to be chewed out by some uptight hag.

Ya know, I'm grouchy, tired, have gnawing stomach cramps and a bear I need to finish knitting. Time to say g'nite, kiddos!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter niblets

It's Sunday and a holiday to boot so we'll just wind up - or start off, depending on your perspective - with a few random things.

1. Contrary to evidence supplied in my 100 Dixie factoids, I am not a complete dumbass. Yeah, I can't sew or play the flute but I can name you off the top of my head the generals in most if not all major battles of the American Civil War so it all balances out.

Whether it's more important to know sewing or know Civil War battles is completely subjective.

2. I've lived in Germany for 7 1/2 years. And I am completely convinced that my mother will never remember that I am 7 hours ahead of her. She calls when it's 7pm here and asks me if we're sitting down to eat lunch yet. She'll call when it's 3pm here and ask me if we're awake yet. She'll call me at 4am here and ask me if I was the one who just called her and hung up before she had a chance to get to the phone.

Mother: Y'all had lunch yet?

Me: Mama, it's 7:00 here.

Mother: 7 in the morning?

Me: (muffled sound of me cracking my skull against the wall)

And long ago I gave up trying to get her to understand that Europe moves its clocks forward one hour a week before it's done in North America so for a week there's a 8 hour time difference between here and Mississippi. I tried to get that lesson across to her a few times and you'd think I was trying to tell her that the earth had shifted gears and for one week would be rotating backwards.

3. Blueberry muffins. Blueberry muffins. Blueberry, blueberry, blueberry muffins. Mmmm. Oh ye lucious blueberry muffins....

4. Still working on the cowl I'm making from black eyelash yarn. I think when this skein is finished it'll be finished. Hard to say what it'll look like but I think when I can try it on without the needles stuck in it I'll get a better idea. Right now though it looks like I'm knitting a bear.

5. I'm going to make the prediction that the plants my MIL gave me for Easter will be dead by Pentecost.

6. Normally the weather back home is so much more wonderful than what I'm currently having. So it is bad of me to be secretly gleeful that the weather in Mississippi this fine Easter Sunday is the same shitty mess I have in Germany?

7. I hope everyone has had a pleasant Easter weekend. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go knit my bear.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

100 things about Dixie

1. If I could live at the Peabody Hotel, I would.
2. When I was 10 I hit my brother in the back so hard he cried. I still feel bad about that.
3. I wish I still had my LiddleKiddles .
4. I was a complete disaster in college.
5. If I ever saw Miss Stille, one of my 4th grade teachers, I'd call her a bitch to her face. And blame her for number 4.
6. I'm fascinated when I watch film footage from World War II but any color film of Hitler scares me.
7. Bacon. Bacon on a sandwich. Bacon on a salad. Bacon with eggs. Bacon with pancakes. I'm fairly certain I'd eat dirt if it came with a side of bacon.
9. Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp. My definition of unfunny.
10. Alternate definition? Nancy.
11. I'd like to get dozens of roses, press the blooms close together and push my face into them.
12. I like sitting on my father's headstone.
13. I often threaten to tell others off but seldom do so. Miss Stille is probably safe.
14. I've been coloring my hair for twenty years.
15. A good way to make me scream was for my brothers to tell me there was a snake in my grandparents' outhouse.
16. I'm now no longer feeling so bad about hitting my brother in the back.
17. By the time I was in kindergarten I could read whole books but couldn't write a number 5.
18. Mow grass? Only after first receiving a death threat.
19. I have no idea where Südtirol is.
20. If I were forced to remain indoors for months at a time I doubt it would bother me much.
21. You Ain't Just Whistlin' Dixie by the Bellamy Brothers makes me love being a Southerner but Song of the South by Alabama embarrasses me.
22. I used to fear getting ovarian cancer even though it doesn't run in my family. I was actually relieved to have my ovaries removed so that the fear would no longer be there.
23. I had four 2nd degree sunburns before I was 20 years old.
24. There are days when I don't think I can stand to listen to one more word in German.
25. I don't like bad-mouthing my ex-husband. And I'd prefer if he wouldn't remember that I exist on this planet.
26. I love taking communion in church.
27. I'm convinced that I didn't fired for mistakes I made at work because my bosses were scared of me. Good call on their part.
28. I can remember the names of kids I went to kindergarten with but can't remember the names of former neighbors.
29. My mother has threatened to cut off any tattoo I might get.
30. My husband has threatened to give her the knife.
31. I've had my vision corrected via one method or another since I was 10 years old.
32. I think the Dutch language sounds cute.
33. I took viola lessons for two years and flute lessons for one year and was a complete disaster at both.
34. Janice Joplin. I don't get the attraction or fascination.
35. I can't help but be fascinated by .
36. I don't think Stalin gets quite enough notice for being the ruthless motherfucker that he was.
37. Pop a balloon around me? Say goodbye to your ass.
38. I'd never fried an egg before three weeks ago.
39. I told my P.E. teacher to shut up when I was in the 5th grade. One of those things that was meant to stay in my head and just jumped off my tongue. Sorry 'bout that, dude. But you actually were a dickhead.
40. My father's funeral was on my 30th birthday. Save your "I'm having a shitty birthday" for someone else.
41. As far as I'm concerned the only shoes I ever need to wear for the rest of my life are Birkenstocks .
42. Titty twister. Yarg. Hate that phrase.
43. Dragostea Din Tei. Play that hokey Romanian song for me tens of thousands of times. I still won't get sick of it.
44. I'm one of those weird food non-touching people. If the water from my spinach runs into my steak you may as well throw the whole thing out.
45. I've kicked holes into walls while in the midst of fit pitching.
46. I've outgrown wall kicking. Good thing as where I live the walls are made of mason block.
47. I had a chocolate wedding cake the first time I got married. I had no wedding cake at all at my second wedding.
48. Not liking cheese, wine or coffee makes me feel like I'll never really be sophisticated.
49. I've just now realized that me loving Birkenstocks and bacon already made me ring the bell on the never-will-be-sophisticated scale.
50. I never want to attend a high school reunion.
51. Chilhowie, Virginia. The name of that town has cracked me up for a good 30 years.
52. I spent my teenage years with a big crush on Peter Frampton.
53. Yes, I am fully aware that Peter Frampton is now bald.
54. Both times I've been hospitalized was for surgery.
55. I got a D on my sewing project in home economics when I was 13.
56. I've been to Canada, England, Holland and Poland as well as the USA and Germany.
57. I once told Senator John Warner of Virginia off for calling our class "little assholes" under his breath. See? Number 13 doesn't always apply and I got practice with number 39.
58. My idea of ice cream bliss? A hot fudge sundae with peppermint stick ice cream and Spanish peanuts. Load on that whipped cream, bitte.
59. I once watched Gone with the Wind ten times in five days.
60. The inscription in my wedding ring is Ich bin Dein 31/7/99.
61. My dog is named Bonnie. I'm the one who named her.
62. When I was quite young I liked the taste of Fletcher's Castoria and would sneak swigs of it. I had no idea it was a children's laxative.
63. Evidently there was a time in my childhood when I had an extremely clean colon.
64. The only sewing I can do is attaching a button. The D in home ec left lasting scars.
65. My first job was in a dry cleaners.
66. I can't watch The Joy Luck Club without becoming nearly hysterical crying.
67. My last phone bill was 21.30 € even though I had nine trans-atlantic phone calls on it.
68. Some people I greatly admire: Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Hans and Sophie Scholl .
69. I've seen episodes of The Flintstones to the point where I can recite dialog.
70. If I'd married my first boyfriend my last name would be Barbee.
71. The scent I wear most often is Chanel Allure.
72. I have the best memories of going to high school dances.
73. My first husband has 7 siblings. My second husband has none.
74. I've never read A Wrinkle in Time, The Little Prince or Little Women.
75. I've never ridden in a limousine.
76. The guy who took me to my senior prom was named David. For the life of me right now I can't remember his last name.
77. I've been to Graceland three times. I pray in ernest that I never have to go again.
78. Many folks think I love Elvis. I don't love Elvis. I love to goof on Elvis. A clear distinction.
79. One of my earliest memories was drawing with a brown crayon that had a bit of grit on it and the grit making a scratchy noise on my paper. And it bugged me.
80. I can still tell you the phone number we had when I was between the ages of 3 and 6. It was 533-1606.
81. In fact I can name you all the phone numbers I had after that as well. 378-6349. 968-7337. 978-0305. 335-2999. 330-7476.
82. None of those phone numbers is my current phone number.
83. All the clothes I wear are made of either cotton or wool.
84. I wasn't given a middle name when I was born.
85. I like to just ride around on streetcars.
86. Alt wie ein Baum is the first song I learned to sing in German.
87. If I have to pick whether a noun in German is der, die or das I'll pick the two wrong ones first every time.
88. Three is a Magic Number is my favorite Multiplication Rock song.
89. I think Mohamed al Fayed has ruined Harrods .
90. I eat bratwurst with ketchup and it embarrasses my husband.
91. I'd like to slap the dog shit out of Joan Rivers. Damn phony.
92. I have a serious fear of falling down. I purposely avoid activities that may increase my chances of landing on my ass.
93. I can remember what I wore to my 4th birthday party. A red dress with a white yoke. Black patent leather shoes.
94. To me every song from Norah Jones sounds like the last one.
95. I'm not so sure that caning isn't such a bad punishment for the assholes who spray graffiti everywhere.
96. Should the power go out I'm set for candles to last for a week. However I'm not quite sure where the matches are located.
97. Never have cooked with gas. Not even sure how to do it.
98. I love to take photographs of large churches.
99. I'm sometimes guilty of believing my own publicity.
100. I've lost 22 pounds since December.

Friday, March 25, 2005


I don't normally like bitching about my life because in all honesty there's very, very little to bitch about. And I don't normally see much point in it but today I'm going to need to get out the bitch because...well...I need to and you're kind enough to indulge my whims.

For the most part I take care of B alone. I am the one who feeds him and washes him and fetches things for him and sits him up and puts him down and turns him and on and on. And that's fine. It's what I do. I don't expect pats on the back for it nor do I expect people to be in awe of me or think I'm some hero. I'm not a martyr. I'm not up on the cross because, frankly, we need the wood too much for that.

However I would like some understanding from the world at large that since I have a quadriplegic in my home that I take care of every single day that I don't live on nor am able to keep up a life and schedule like everyone else. Almost every thing I do I do for two people and frankly it takes time. And my priority is to first care for my husband and for myself.

Today is a holiday in Germany. I mean a real holiday where stuff is closed and people don't go to work. This means that today I don't have to worry about physiotherapists coming over or me having to go to the store or running to fetch the mail or anything. It's on these days where I like to keep my schedule as loose and free as possible. We wake up when we want, eat when we want, bathe, tidy up, whatever, when we want.

So we did sleep in today and had a late breakfast and I watched TV with B for an hour. Afterwards I rode my stationary bike for forty-five minutes and I sorted some laundry. It was now after 3:30 and my plan was to take a shower at 4pm and bathe B at 5pm. His baths can take any amount of time between 1 and 1 1/2 hours to complete and should it take even longer, that would be okay. My MIL usually comes down each evening around 6pm to visit for forty-five minutes or so and if I wasn't done with B's bath, no big deal. Point is it's a day that I wanted to take my time with stuff and not feel under a time pressure.

As I was sorting the laundry my MIL called and said that Wolfgang was coming up to see her at 5pm and they'd both be down sometime after that to our apartment. She had something she'd brought from her old summer home that I wanted and Wolfgang was going to carry it for her.

I did not want Wolfgang down here today. I didn't want to rush my shower or B's bath and I didn't see the point of him carrying this thing - it's a large laundry hamper actually - when I could have come upstairs after baths were done to carry it down myself. With Wolfgang showing up it meant that I had to get all bathing for the both of us within the next two hours because God knows I had to be available to greet the delivery of what essentially is an empty box with a lid.

B said to my MIL that he still needed a bath and her response was that we had plenty of time for that. I emphasized that I needed a shower as well and it didn't a whole lot of reation from her. Finally I said to her that they shouldn't show up a minute before 6pm.

It just irked me. I didn't want to have to rush through everyone's bath today. I wanted to take my shower and take my time with it and then do B's bath and not worry about having to finish by a certain time. Were my MIL coming down alone it wouldn't be a big deal because if I was still bathing B it would be okay. Now I had to do his bath first so that if I did run over on time he wouldn't be having his privacy compromised by Wolfgang like it was two weeks ago and then with my own shower I'd have to hurry as best I could to get done before the invasion.

I know I shouldn't let this bother me and I do understand that in the grand scheme of things it's not that big a deal. As it turned out I got it all done before 6pm. Got done at 5:58pm, actually. I was slinging washcloths like a woman posessed.

But here's what is actually irking me. I don't get days off. I don't get sick time. I sometimes get a couple weeks vacation every few years. I take care of B by myself the vast majority of the time. I have to practically jump through hoops to carve out enough time for me to get out of the apartment by myself so I can do something on my own. And I'm not complaining about this. I don't want a new life and I don't resent B nor do I find what I do for him to be a burden. All I ask for is that on holidays I get the opportunity to take it easy. I want the chance not to live by the clock and to do what I want when I want and not worry about guests or doctors or therapists or anyone else popping in like they do on normal days.

And what I want most of all is for people to simply understand that B and I don't have a life that's anything like theirs. I keep a different schedule than many people and my priorities are not going to be the same as many people. We work with what works for us and it has to be that way because we're different than other families. I know it sucks that we need to be called before someone visits but there are times when we just can't tolerate any surprised orchestrated by someone else. Sometimes I can be flexible but sometimes me being flexible causes me a whole lot of stress.

Okay. I guess I got it all out of my system. Thank you for indulging my little hissy fit!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Hair, holidays and that giddy feeling

Okay, I'm using the shitty keyboard again today so don't expect War and Peace here.

Things are on the quiet side here anyway, the highlight of my day being when I got my hair cut and colored. I was telling my friend, M, today that while my hair is now styled in a cut that could be considered out of date, I'm not sure my hair can handle being in the latest fashion. This is not from lack of effort on my part. I've tried having my hair short and I don't like it. Hate having my hair cut over my ears because I find it lends an un-feminine look that I really dislike on me. I've tried layers and they tend to make me have hair that simply sticks out. I've tried having hair longer and completely one length top to bottom but it looks flat and dull and make my head look bigger.

I've liked parts of haircuts I've had in the past but not the complete style. I like it short and layered on the top because it gives my hair lift and balances out my face but I don't like the sides and back being short. I like it bobbed on the bottom but don't like it flat against my head on the top. And while I've tried to get rid of bangs in the past, it's a no-go. I have to have bangs, not heavy ones though, because I have to cover up my gigantic forehead. I can show a movie on my forehead. Just goes along with me having a big melon for a head in general.

So my hair is now the combination of things I like. It's layered just on top and I can fluff it up or leave it be more feathered as time and patience allows. I have wispy bangs that now tend to lay down better and not turn into a curly fright. And the constantly sticking out layers are growing out, are almost finished growing out actually, so the sides and back are laying smoothly.

I know deep down this isn't the most in-fashion hairdo. Would I ever be around folks in the know they'd tell me that my hair went out of style in 1995. But you know what? It looks good on me. It suits the shape of my head and my face and so instead of me saying I'm out-of-date I'm going to claim that my hairstyle is a modified classic. I mean a bob is a classic, right?

So my hair is freshly cut and colored and all for the reasonable price of 39 € - about $51 for those who don't wish to convert. I feel pretty...oh so pretty!

Tomorrow begins the big Easter weekend here. Everything is closed on Good Friday but open again for Saturday. The everything is closed again for Easter Sunday (everything is closed on Sundays anyway) and for Easter Monday. I never got the concept of Easter Monday. However it could make a little sense considering that there are two Christmas Days in Germany - December 25th and 26th. They're literally called First Christmas Day and Second Christmas Day. Reckon whoever thought this all up thought that Jesus needed two days to be born and two days to be ressurected. As tomorrow is Good Friday I've been considering watching The Passion of the Christ. I have yet to see that film and perhaps Good Friday would be a proper day to take it in. Is it a hokey idea to watch The Passion of the Christ on Good Friday? Maybe not. I remember watching as a kid all sorts of Easter/Passover movies during Holy Week. Back then it didn't seem quite like Easter if I didn't see at least some of movies like The Ten Commandments and The Greatest Story Ever Told and The Robe.

On to other things...

B got the add-on to his favorite PC game, Sacred. Normally he's played through a game and is thoroughly sick of it within...oh...two or three months. He's now been playing Sacred for about 10 months with no sign of being tired of it in sight. With it he has the ability to play online and he's loving it so he keeps going on and on and on. Now with the add-on he's got more characters and so on and he's been as giddy as a child today. I couldn't be happier for him. I know that feeling of looking so forward to getting something and then being so tickled when it arrives. And honestly I love it when he's so happy.

Hmmm. I typed more than I planned without going insane from this keyboard. Maybe it's loosening up a little.

Or perhaps the constant stream of foul language I direct towards it has scared it straight.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I've been everywhere, man!

Three or four years ago one of the government-owned TV stations in Germany began to show one of my favorite late night TV viewing obsessions. I don't know the name of the show - I guess it had one but I don't recall ever seeing it. Maybe it didn't have a real title because it's got to be one of the cheapest shows ever made.

All the show consisted of was a guy in a Ford with a camera mounted on the dash. The radio was tuned into some jazz station, a blurb would appear on the screen that they'd be driving from, say, Pottsdam to Braunschweig, and off he'd go. Just a guy driving on the state roads listening to jazz and whenever they'd enter a new town of any real size you'd see the name pop up on the screen. That's it. The utter simplicity of the show was inspired. No commentary, no special effects, no plot or message - just a guy driving from one German city to another. I loved it. In a strange way I was fascinated at the little villages and towns and cities they'd drive through. I liked seeing what people had in their yards. I liked seeing what grocery chains other towns had. I liked seeing bad drivers passing the car and see the scenery along the roads. I even liked hearing the jazz on the radio and liked it even more if they happened to be taping the show during radio show featuring big band music. All in all it was a peaceful, relaxing show to watch as one winds down from the day and gets settled for sleep.

Then they stopped showing it. Very disappointing because I'd begun to look forward to seeing where we'd travel (by this time I felt like I was a personal friend of the driver who was never shown...more than his right arm anyway) and to seeing the German terrain. Disappointed me quite a bit actually.

And then I found a new late-night TV treat. Not quite as good as the car tour show but close. It's a train tour show! Like the car tour show I get to see the countryside but there are some differences. Unfortunately there's no music. Maybe it's because the train engineers aren't employees of the TV station so you can't predict what music they'd play. But on the upside, it's not just trains in Germany. These are trains traveling all over Europe. So far I've seen some of Germany, a bit of Scotland and lots and lots of France. Same premise as the car tour - just a camera up front and little pop ups telling what town they're in if they happen to stop at a station.

I've learned a few things so far. First, the train stations in the little towns in France look way shittier than the ones I've seen in Germany. Second, there are backpackers waiting for a train at every single train station they stop at, regardless of what country they're showing. No exceptions. You see the train approach the platform and without a doubt there will be two or three scroungy looking fellas hefting large backpacks waiting to jump on the train. And as the train pulls out of the station you can see two or three others walking to the station exit. Third, people build their homes amazingly close to rail tracks. How do they stand it? You can be rolling through open country and when you see a lone house it's built up thisclose to the tracks. Fourth, there are an amazing amount of sheep in Scotland. And they all run like the devil when a train rolls by.

If they take this off the air they'd better replace it with something else just as good. I'm thinking that a camera-on-the-bridge-of-a-river-barge show would be good.

Maybe then we can see if sheep run from boats.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Dreamy...but expensive!

Oh jeez. This picking out a kitchen thing isn't as easy as I'd fooled myself into thinking. And it seems to be a hell of a lot more expensive as well.

After spending three hours in the kitchen studio store and deciding on where I wanted things, which sorts of cabinets and shelves, which appliances I wanted, what sort of sink, blah, blah, blah I came up with what would be a lovely kitchen...and have it be about 5,000 euro more than I'd planned on paying. Now the decision making starts. Do I cough up the money and pinch pennies on other things for the next couple years (I mean I can buy it but I hate cutting my available cash to the bone and then spending a lot of months building it back up) or do I start cutting back on my wish list?

One big ticket item is the verticle sliding pantry and the killer is the oven being set into the corner instead of just being flush against the flat wall. With it being diagonal I'd have to have diagonal cabinets and shelves to finish off the range hood's hard to describe without the visual aids to go along with it but let me just say that a pair of small diagonal cabinets costs more than three regular square cabinets.

B's caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand he doesn't want to spend a king's ransom on a kitchen, lovely as it may be, but on the other hand it upsets him to no end to tell me no or to think that I'm being disappointed. And I've tried my best to let him know that if he's uncomfortable with forking out so much money for this that I will be happy with cutting back on things.

We've looked at the drawing of the proposed kitchen and we've come up with a few ideas. First, the range in the corner is a luxury we're probably going to have to pass over. The kitchen planner told us that it's a pretty expensive way to go and having it against the wall in the normal manner would help a lot with the expenses. However I have to have some sort of cabinet in that corner to join with the cabinet I have planned for where my refrigerator sits now so I'll put in some corner job that has a carousel inside. Pricey as well but not like the whole range-in-the-corner arrangement. I'll see at that point how we're doing price-wise and if I need to peel off some more on the price then I'll see about changing the full height vertical sliding pantry for a half height one. There's already going to be on at the end of that same cabinet row so perhaps a half one next to the refrigerator and a wider hanging cabinet will make up for some lost space.

And if all this doesn't whittle down a good...oh...1,500 or 2,000 euro off the price I don't know what I'm going to do. I can't get a different refrigerator and a cheaper dishwasher or sink or oven isn't going to make that much of a difference.

I have an appointment in a week to see this kitchen guy again and so in the meantime I'll write down my suggestions and hope the guy can accomodate them. I like the cabinets and the countertops and how the drawers and other stuff is so I'd like to get this kitchen and come to a good compromise in regards to price. I'd really like to go back tomorrow and see if the compromises are going to be money-saving but I don't have time and on Thursday I have a hairdresser appointment and then we have the whole Easter holiday thing. Everything is closed here on Good Friday and Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.

I wish B could come with me to do all this but we'd have to hire a van to get him there and these kitchen planning things can take longer than he's able to sit up. But the second head around when decisions need to be made would be wonderful.

You know maybe if this all doesn't work out I'll just keep the piece of crap kitchen I have now and just hire a personal chef to deliver supper each night.

Monday, March 21, 2005

On my very last nerve

You won't get much out of me today. Not only do I not have much to say but I'm about to take this piece of shit keyboard and throw it off my balcony.

I'm using B's computer today (if he's not online I have to use his because his computer has the internet cable connection) and last week he got a new wireless keyboard. He had one bought about a year ago, a black one, and the white print began to wear off the keys. He uses a pencil eraser on the keyboard so I guess he literally erased the print.

A month ago he bought the same keyboard on Ebay from a company for a super cheap price and we know why it was super cheap. The space bar sucked and only worked if you banged it down.

So we bought a third for about $25 and this one is the biggest piece of shit of all. I can hardly type a word without it skipping letters, not spacing correctly, and generally driving me up the wall. B doesn't have quite the same hard time because he doesn't type with fingers but I spend the evening getting more and more pissed off with it.

Yes I could buy a new one but we may buy a new compter soon and we'll see what we get with that first. In the meantime when I use his computer I try to keep the typing to a minimum.

I'll leave you now. In just this short posting I've made roughly the same amount of keystrokes as I would had I been typing out the complete works of William Shakespeare. And my blood pressure can't stand anything more.

I'm going tomorrow to look for a new kitchen. I'll report back how it goes. Using another bloody keyboard!

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Lottie is my sock monkey.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past that I was a-skeered a-sock monkeys. They were just so weird looking to me. I think it was mostly the mouth. Big ol' red mouth that looks like a knife gash. I simply found nothing adorable about them. They just seemed like a weird thing for a kid to love.

Being as I try to be honest about my fears and phobias, I shared my fear of sock monkeys with my friends. One of them, Sari, told me she actually made sock monkeys before the demands of motherhood sucked up her free sock monkey sewing time. Now Sari's a lovely, sweet, kind lady. She would never make anything completely creepy, would she?

Other friends tried to help. My friend, Jen, sent me a sock monkey button. Others send me cards with sock monkeys. Then Sari sent me a wee teensy sock monkey, only about three inches high. Wee sock monkey (known to me as just Wee) was actually...dare I say it?...cute. Shortly after receiving Wee I had surgery and was in the hospital for two weeks. Wee went with me and was strangely comforting, even if he did spend most of the time in my nightstand drawer.

I considered myself cured. But there would be one final test. Could I own a regular size sock money and not be reduced to a quivering mass of tears?

When I was in the US last fall I decided that I must buy a sock monkey. I looked at a few places but didn't find one and my sister, who surprisingly didn't think I was completely bats for wanting a sock monkey, suggested we'd find one at the gift shop of a Cracker Barrel restaurant, the closest to my hometown being a good 45 minutes away in Tupelo. We made plans to drive down there for breakfast the following morning and snag one.

Evidently I was destined to go home with a sock monkey because there was one waiting for me - the last one in stock, as a matter of fact. Price was no object and by the time I was grazing on grits and buttermilk biscuits I had a sock monkey in a little brown sack at my side.

As I didn't want a nekkid sock monkey we set off to get some sock monkey sized clothes as Toys R Us. It was tough to find a dress for her that didn't have ducks or other babyish print on it but I did succeed in getting her a brown and red plaid dress. Sorta matches her skin and everything.

Note that I referred to her as...well...a her. I can't say that her gender just jumped out at me because let's be real. It's a sock monkey. It's whatever you want it to be. And mine got to be a girl because of one simple reason. It's easier to deal with a monkey tail in a dress than in a pair of teeny pants.

Now all she needed was a name. I liked Sophie but my sister insisted that my sock monkey would be a German sock monkey. Right. Sewed in Ohio and bought in Mississippi. I can see where the German part jumped out at her. Okay, so on to German names. I ran through my repetoir of German names until came across the name of B's great-grandmother, Charlotte. And thus she became Lottie.

I have photos of Lottie doing just about everything. Lottie helping me put up the Christmas tree. Lottie helping me bake muffins. Lottie at Borroum's Drug Store at the soda counter. Now that spring is literally on our doorstep there will be photos of Lottie at the lake and Lottie climbing trees in the park. Lottie dining at our favorite restaurant and Lottie attending the city festival. I have been liberated from my sock monkey phobia and I now celebrate it with having Lottie be a well traveled and adventuresome sock monkey.

Could be worse. I could have gotten over a phobia of camel spiders. Imagine me photographing my favorite camel spider at my favorite restaurant. Mmm...'lish. Pass the schnitzel.

Friday, March 18, 2005


Just a few little things...

1. Praise this day. I have found some delicious ice cream for diabetics. I went shopping today at the giant Walmart-like store today where they have much bigger selections than what is available at my local (and smaller) markets and they have ice cream for diabetics. Right there on the label. "Recommended for diabetics" with the seal of the Deutsche Diabetiker Bund (German Diabetic Union). So I bought two 3/4 liter cartons of chocolate and on the label it says the package is four 2BE servings. When I opened it I was happy to find that the ice cream was scored in four servings to make sure you don't have trouble getting a 2BE serving. And it's tasty to boot. No funky aftertaste or anything. Now I have an alternative for when I'm jonesing for a chocolate treat.

2. I finished the scarf I was knitting for my MIL. No pattern and I had no idea what the finished product would look like so it was interesting to see how it would turn out. It's a triangular scarf made of eyelash yarn and while it's not a style I would wear it looked nice and it's just what my MIL wanted. I started with ten stitches and added three stitches at the beginning of each row. I knit through one 50 gram skein of yarn and had just barely gotten into the second skein when my MIL declared it finished. She's the one who knew what it was supposed to look like so I took her word for it. It's worn with the triangle in front with the long ends wrapped around your neck so it just fills the V opening of a coat. A little too matronly for me but it's perfect for my MIL's style.

3. Last night I started on a cowl for myself. If you're not sure what a cowl is, take a look here: . Again, no pattern, just knitting what seems will work. I have black eyelash yarn (a little obsessed over eyelash yarn, ja?) , 7mm, 80 cm long circular needles and about 160 stitches (don't ask me why I didn't count how many I cast on...I guess I'll count them when I bind off) and I'm just knitting what essentially will be a furry tube. Furry tube will either look great slung around my neck or slipped up over the gigantic Celtic melon I loving call my head or it will be extremely silly-ass looking. Should the latter be the case I'll just frog it and make something else. That's the beauty of knitting - if it sucks, just rip it out!

4. I have just realized that, dispite the cold and dreary weather, Easter will be here in a week. Must get hot on getting the apartment tidied up a bit better. Right now things are in big need of being polished up and scrubbed down to the shine.

5. Speaking of shine, my new favorite product, aside from the diabetic ice cream, is the...well shit, what would I call it in English? I don't know what it's called in English - I'll assume the same sort of thing is sold in America with a proper name - but what it is is a power booster for the dishwaher. A powder you just sprinkle inside the door of your dishwasher before turning it on and it deep cleans burnt on shit from your pots. Remember that stuck on pudding scrim from earlier in the week? I soaked the daylights out of those pots and it would not all come out. Sprinkled in some of this power booster stuff, ran some hot water in the pot and about 10 minutes later that burned on gunk just rinsed out. Added some to my load of dishes and the dullness on my stainless steel pots and pans was removed. It's not for everyday dish dirt but it sure saved me from being pissed off about pudding crud that wouldn't come out.

6. Bayern-Münich was drawn to play Chelsea in the quarter finals of the Champion's League. Shit. I was hoping for Eindhoven or Lyon but maybe it's just better to go ahead and bump off Chelsea now. With the two Milan teams taking care of each other and only one making it out alive that will help a lot. I don't envy Liverpool having to take on Juventus and I'd sure be happy if they could bump them off as well but I wouldn't bet on it. Right now I'd just like to see Bayern kick Chelsea's collective asses. I can't stand Chelsea. The only English team I hate worse than Chelsea is Manchester United.

7. Don't laugh but I'm going to teach myself to play the recorder. You know, that little flute-y thing you probably learned to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star on when you were in grade school? I did actually master that Mozart classic when in grade school but I have since forgotten how to play a recorder and I thought that maybe I could teach myself again but I didn't know where to start and didn't want to plunk down a bunch of money on a real recorder. So yesterday I saw in a store I was in a little teach-yourself-to-play-the-recorder kit. A little plastic soprano recorder with a plastic stick you can run a cloth around to swab it out, a little plastic case and a little book that tells you how to play, read the notes and so on. Helpful since I've always sucked at reading music. And best of all it's for ages six and up! Now if a six year old can master this, I can too, right?

God help my neighbors as I take on this new little journey into the world of music...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Put down the spoon and back away slowly...

I am in dire need of keeping my ass out of the chocolate pudding.

I didn't have any treats in the house for B tonight so I made him some chocolate pudding. Not the good sugar-free Jello kind that my darling bestest buddy, M, sent me last month but the high octane full o' refined sugar kind that my sister sent me months ago - before my diabetes diagnosis.

And it's not the instant Jello pudding either but the cook-on-the-stove-oh-look-at-how-it-makes-a-scrim-of-pudding-crud-on-the-bottom-of-my-pan kind. After it was cooked I poured it into a glass bowl with a snap on lid, as I don't happen to currently own parfait glasses and left it out to cool before putting it in the fridge.

Twice now I've succumbed to temptation and with the rationalization that I was merely scraping off (and eating) the pudding scum that forms on hot pudding. And of course I had to use the spoon to neaten up the top again and of course that scraped off pudding had to go into my mouth as well.

I'm not supposed to be doing this! I'm supposed to be beyond these silly sweets temptations and am supposed to be favoring healthy eating over fat and sugar laden treats.

"But it's chocolate pudding!" I mentally whine.

"And when you have to go on insulin because you couldn't control your blood sugar any other way you'll be cursing every bite you took of it as you jab yourself a couple times a day, you needle phobic shithead!" I mentally scold.

I'm really in a serious slump with this healthy eating, change your life stuff. I don't like it right now. I sailed through Christmas virtually unscathed because it was all new and I was still scared shitless after having blood sugar that measured over 400 but now the fright has worn off a bit because I've been having good if not great blood sugar numbers. And it's Easter and I'm being sorely temped by Milka chocolate eggs.

And by golly what milk chocolate lover wouldn't be tempted by those delightful looking treats? An egg of Milka chocolate filled with delightful looking milk cream? And it comes with a wee tiny purple spoon that you use to scoop out the delightful looking milk cream as if it were the yolk of a soft boiled egg.

A wee tiny spoon! That alone makes me want to buy it!

A-ha! I'm on to something here I believe. It's not the sweets. It's the spoons! Pudding/spoons. Milka egg/spoons. All I need to succeed and to get over this slump in which I'm wallowing is to avoid any delightful taste sensations that are consumed with a spoon!

No pudding. No Milka chocoate eggs. No lemon mousse. No creme brulee.

Thank God you can eat ice cream from a cone!

Hmm. Nice to know my ability to rationalize still works...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Regan? Is that you in there?

I'm pretty well convinced that the people living below my apartment have someone in there who is posessed by demons. I don't know whether it's an adult or a child because those danged pesky demons sound the same no matter who their posessing but I'm pretty well convinced that there's one in there somewhere.

I had to go up to the 8th floor to my MIL's apartment and when I came back down and the door opened on my floor I could hear what can only be described as an unearthly sounding voice on the floor below me. No specific words spoken...just a devilish "WRRRRAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!" sound.

I walked over to the stairs and looked down over the banister expecting to see a puked on Max von Sydow running for the door.

More "EEEEAAAAAAUUUUUGGGGHHHH!" and "RRRAAAAAAEEEEEEIIIIIGGGGHHH!" sounds and finally I ran for the door of my apartment and dashed inside. I imagine it was just one of their kids doing God only knows what but I wasn't going to take my chances.

Honestly, I have no idea what goes on in that apartment below us. They've got seven kids, five of which are living there (I think two are grown enough to get the hell out of there and I can't say that I blame them). And unless my eyes deceive me, I think Frau Breedsalot is pregnant again.

Of the five kids still a home, three are pre-school age so it goes with the territory that they're loud. And I don't even mind it so much. Kids crying don't bother me. And kids playing don't bother me. But there are sounds that come from that apartment that just shock me at times. Loud slams and sounds like stuff being thrown. Shrieks and screams. Really outrageous crying and finally the mother or father (mostly the father) screaming "STOP IT!".

I could be wrong but I think it's still all within the realm of being normal. I mean with that many kids in a small-ish apartment (the apartment is fairly big but there are just so many in there that it's not so big anymore) there's gonna be some outrageous noise, right? When I see the kids they all look fed and tidy and I don't see bruises or anything on any of them. I feel for the most part that I shouldn't be concerned at all and then the next thing I know it's Sunday morning at 7am and it sounds like utter Bedlam has broken out.

But I'll try not to worry too much. Unless I happen to see a priest bouncing down the crookedy stairs.

Friday, March 11, 2005

It never fails

My personal bad penny, Wolfgang - the goofy neighbor - just keeps showing up at the most inappropriate times.

B didn't feel well this afternoon so I'd delayed giving him his bath. Quadriplegics get rolled and tossed around during washing as it is so it's understandable that he wouldn't want to be rolled and tossed around if his stomach wasn't feeling so great. As it turned out I didn't get to start his bath until around 5:30pm. Around 6pm B's mom came in and we heard her talking to someone. At first I thought she was talking to the dog but then realized it was a person, identity as yet unknown. I start covering B up and my MIL walked in and said "Oh! You're still doing the bath. Sorry, I didn't know." and just then Bad Penny's...ahem...Wolfgang's head peaks around the corner.

"Oh! You're washing now. I'll leave you alone."

Good call on his part but did he leave us alone? Of course not! He absolutely can't resist asking B some computer questions.

Now let's keep in mind that Wolfgang's a computer moron. You can tell him fifty times how something works and he just doesn't get it. I will freely admit there is a pantload of stuff I don't know about computers but by golly you don't usually have to explain something more than once to me.

So the questions go like this. Keep in mind I have a naked, half washed man here that I've covered up with a big towel.

W - Hey dude. I want to send a picture in email. How do I do that?

B - How big is it?

W - (Using fingers to make a rectangle) I dunno. About that big?

I know my husband. I know at this point he's using every ounce of self discipline not to roll his eyes.

B - No. I mean how many bytes is the picture?

W - I dunno.

Wow. That doesn't surprise me any.

W - And I want to put smilies in my email. How do I do that?

B - (clearly not interested and clearly wanting to finish his bath) I dunno. Never did it.

Of course B knows how to do it. And so would Wolfgang if he read the help section of the email provider. He simply will not try to figure things out on his own. Plus we'll add in that B's not in the mood to give a lesson in email basics when he's in the middle of bathing!

I later suggested that B go to his apartment and ask Wolfgang about paint when he's in the middle of having a shower. See how that goes over.

Like I said, there's plenty of stuff I can't do with computers. Stuff that stumps me. I understand a lot but there are little things that just escape me. But by golly I at least try to read the help sections before I ask for advice. Wolfgang just doesn't try to figure things out on his own. And you know even when B does try to explain stuff to him, he doesn't get it. He says he gets it and then two seconds later he asks you again how to do whatever he wants done. Nothing sticks in his head.

Especially the instruction "Wolfgang, don't touch the TFT display. You can't use Windex on it like a regular monitor. Keep your fingers off of it.".

So Wolfgang stands there a little longer and I can tell I'm starting to get the look on my face that says "GET THE HELL OUT OF MY APARTMENT!" and it's then that he starts to get the clue that this isn't a good time to chit chat.

"Okay. Well, I'll call you up soon."

Thanks for the warning.

My MIL goes with him down the hall to the door and Wolfgang calls back over his shoulder "Hey, Dixie! When you get done with B, you can come upstairs and wash my back.".

Now is it just me or is that a wildly inappropriate thing to say to your friend's wife?

I gave one of those obviously fake you-are-so-not-amusing laughs and said goodbye.

Gack. Wash his back? What that grove of back hair he's got going on there?

There's a thought that out to keep me off my feed for a while...

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The ball is round and the game is 90 minutes

My nerves are as brittle as kindling wood right now. Bayern-München are playing Arsenal in London playing the return game in the Champion's League and Arsenal is leading 1-0. That's okay long as that score holds Bayern will still advance. Would be better though if Bayern would just go ahead and score a goal. they'd have it sewed up then.

Only 4 minutes left in the game and God only knows how many minutes of injury time will be added to that. Guys! Score a damn goal, will ya?

Shit!! Kahn damn near let in a goal and now there's a corner kick.

Less than two minutes in the game. Hello!!!! Tie up the ball and keep Arsenal away from it!

Fifteen seconds left. Blow the whistle, pleeeeze!

THREE MINUTES OF INURY TIME? Get the hell out of here! Three minutes? I can't stand this!

FABREGAS JUST SPIT IN BALLACK'S FACE!! Fucker!!!! FUCKER!!! Fucking poor sport loser baby!

20 seconds left.

Three minutes is over. BLOW THE FUCKING WHISTLE!

It's over! It's over!!! Oh thank goodness. Bayern loses the game 1-0 but they advance because they won the first game 3-1.

Whew. What a ride that last ten minutes was.

God I love soccer. I love it. Didn't know jack about it before I moved to Germany but from the minute I hit the ground here I set out to learn about it. B loves soccer the same way guys in America love football and I wanted to at least have a working knowledge of the game. I watched and asked questions and learned and in the meantime I learned to love it. Not in that nostalgic way that I love and will always love baseball but in that fanatic, loyal-to-my-team, must-watch-every-game love.

And while it may be considered wimpy to automatically like a team because it's my husband's favorite team, I really do love Bayern-München. There are other teams that I like - Schalke, Stuttgart, Wolfsburg - but I am an honest to God Bayern fan. They can play great, they can play shitty, rain or shine they are my team. I love the coaches, I love the management, I love the players. The players, the players...they're the best part. I know them, I know their styles, I know their personalities and quirks and personal stuff and I get sad when favorite players leave for another team or retire.

I have never followed a sport like I follow soccer. Not even baseball, and I seriously dig baseball. But while I love baseball, I didn't pin myself down to watching games on TV or even attending games in person. Only the championship series and the World Series would glue me to my TV set. But soccer is different. I watch every game on the weekend (Saturday or Sunday depending on which day Bayern is playing), I watch the DFB cup games, I watch the Champions League. I watch the German national team play. I'm tuned in to even dull games during the European championships and when it's World Cup time, I don't miss a minute of it.

I don't know what drew me so strongly to it. Maybe it's the unpredictability of it. You just never know if your guys are going to go out and score three or four goals or just end up holding back the other team from scoring. You can think your team is down for the count and in the 89th minute they'll score to win the game. You never know who will be pulling dirty tricks (although if you team is playing Hamburg or St. Pauli you can count on a few) or whether the referee is going to catch the striker who's diving or catch that a team of off sides.

I also like the idea that soccer is popular virtually everywhere. Maybe not in North America, with the exception of Mexico of course, but elsewhere they know and love the game and it helps you feel a bit of kinship with the rest of the world.

Next summer is going to be fabulous. The World Cup will be in Germany and I'm looking forward to it. My favorite sport right here at home. Doesn't get any better.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Outside World

As we're snowless today I was able to get downtown to get a little shopping done.

Just a few observations and random thoughts from the experience...and I'll throw in anything else that may occur to me, downtown trip related or not.

1. Good God, could the old ladies of Magdeburg wet their pants a little more over eyelash yarn? I went to get some so I could finally make the scarf I'd promised my sister (and one for my MIL as well) and I practically had to beat these ol' gals away from it. Dang ladies, leave some for the rest of us!

2. Upon observing a guy standing at the streetcar stop sporting a faded orange much-too-long mohawk, cammo pants and Doc Martins I had to ask myself "At what point does wearing your self expression just turn into you wearing a cliche?". The rebellious punk look is no longer rebellious. It doesn't give people a start any longer. It doesn't make us do a double-take nor does it make one actually stand out. It's actually boring now.

3. I went Müllers today (think of a three storied Walgreens with no perscription counter but department store makeup and perfume sold self serve) to get some shampoo and conditioner and while checking out the clerk said to me "Do you really like this brand?" I answered that I did and she said "I had to ask because..." and that's where she lost me. Between her talking too fast and too low and the beeping of the scanner and the general store noise, I couldn't really follow what she was saying. I thought at first that she was saying she had to thought to try it herself and wanted my opinion on the product but as she went on and was gesturing to her hair I got the idea that perhaps she was saying she had tried it and it didn't help her dry, frizzy hair. I, of course, due to not only my lack of time to get into a in depth conversation about this stranger's hair but also my genuine lack of interest, didn't ask her to clarify her meaning. I merely said "Yep. Right. Right. I understand." except I really didn't understand. She seemed pleased with how I was responding to what she was saying and I took my change and my shampoo, said goodbye and split. It made me think that over the years of living in Germany I've developed the ability to bullshit my way through conversations so that the person I'm conversing with doesn't readily detect that I'm not quite following what they're saying. I try to observe their facial expression and body language and of course if I hear them say "Blah, blah, blah, blah...ja?" I know to follow with my own "Ja!". I could be agreeing with just about anything but so far I doubt I've done anything henious like agree that Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands should be stripped naked, forced to do needlepoint with her toes and be beaten senseless with a box of cornflakes.

I think.

4. International Women's Day. Never heard of it before I moved to Germany but it's observed here and therefore I dig it. One more day on the calendar for me to receive flowers for no more of a reason than I exsist on the earth and am loved. While waiting for the streetcar I saw two women, one pushing a stroller, one holding a toddler and both holding the hands of two other small children. All four of them were howling crying. And I got the distinct impression that the women wanted to join in the crying jag as well. Somehow I doubt they've been honored today for being an important woman in someone's life.

5. I love streetcars. I know lots of folks hate mass transit but I love my city's streetcars. I can walk two blocks to the stop, hop on and I'll be downtown in 12 minutes. I can't walk to the garage and get my car out and close up the garage again in 12 minutes. I don't always like the people on them but I dig the convenience.

6. Can we go back to the eyelash yarn thing for a moment? I've seen it before and seen photos of the stuff used in knitting projects but I haven't touched it nor knitted with it before. I came home and started my sister's scarf and can I say that I love this stuff? It's sort of a bitch to knit with until you get the hang of it (not that big of a learning curve but for the first five minutes or so you can't see what's what) but it's soft and silky and looks groovy right away. No wonder those old gals were doing a happy jig over it.

7. While standing at the streetcar stop waiting to go downtown I saw a guy sitting on the bench drinking a beer with another sitting next to him. It's not unusual around here. There's about 20% unemployment in Magdeburg and a hell of a lot of depressed people who are over the age where getting a job will be a reality. Anyway another man, one obviously dedicated to a life of not working and plenty of drinking, sat down next to him and they exchanged a few words. I recognized the second man. He hangs around that market square where the streetcar stop is located and it's possible he's homeless. I do know he's there drinking very early in the mornings and he's there until late. And he happens to be a nice man. Once I'd been shopping at the grocery store that's just up from the streetcar stop and I had my dog, Bonnie, with me. I took the cart outdoors to where they're stored and packed the few things I bought and untied Bonnie and just then the man ran up to me and said "You've forgot a package in your cart. You forgot the dog treats for your nice little dog.". Just when you think the drunk bums are busy being depressed and zoned out they come and do something nice for you. So back to today. The two men chatted for a moment and then the second guy - the one who was looking out for Bonnie - stood up and next to him I saw a bag of tangerines he'd bought from the produce seller in the marketplace. Maybe it's just me but I don't see tangerines and drunk guys going together. But then again that's twice now that he's surprised me after I thought I had his character pegged so maybe someone's trying to teach me something.

Now if you'll pardon me, I have some ruby red eyelash yarn that's calling my name...

Monday, March 07, 2005

I'm thisclose to calling it done!

Just ten little rows and the demon scarf will be finished. And it's not the demon scarf anymore. Since I got past the halfway point it's been a lot of fun and I've been enjoying the process. But still and all I'll be glad to get it finished.

The store across the street from me had yarn on sale today for dirt cheap. Five 100 gram skeins for five Euro. Ooo baby, I can be knitting a boatload o' scarves now! It's nice stuff too so I think whatever I do with it will turn out well.

Anyway I'd planned on getting the scarf finished this weekend but I was thwarted at every turn. I'd planned on doing the bulk of my knitting and do some baking as well in the evenings but on Saturday night I remembered that I hadn't called my mother in two weeks so I gave her a quick call just to chat. Of course her phone was busy so I spent another 45 minutes trying her line over and over until I got her. Talked with her for over an hour and just as I was hanging up she said "Have you talked to your sister? You should call her. She was asking me about you.". No problem. I called my sister and had a great time talking to her as well. For an hour and a half. You get us on the phone and we just can't shut the hell up. Thank God for cheap overseas phone rates. At 2.2 cents a minute you can do a lot of talking for cheaper than I could mail her a letter.

So that left Sunday to finish the scarf and I'd done two rows after supper when I suddenly didn't feel good at all. Terrible stomach cramps. V and D. Use your secret decoder ring to translate that. After I was able to get out of the bathroom for more than 2 minutes I just left B playing his computer game and went to bed for a couple hours sleep. Woke up at nearly 1am to put his computer away and I felt better then. I have no idea what brought it all on except for that I perhaps at too much at supper and perhaps it kicked off my gallbladder. Well anyway I didn't get much more done on the scarf until today and now it's nearly finished.

Tomorrow I'm going downtown to look for eyelash yarn.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Later, taters!

Get your fill of me now, folks because this weekend is an offline weekend. I'm taking a self-imposed break from the online world for two days. No computer. No internet. No email that I'll be avoiding anyway and neglecting to respond to for three or five days. Or three or five weeks. God only knows why I suck at email. It's not that I don't like email or having something against it. I'm simply lazy at answering it.

Anyway, it's an offline weekend for me and instead my time will be well spent ("time well spent" is something I'm not terribly familiar with but I'm willing to give it a go) getting my apartment tidied up, watching soccer, reading, cooking, taking naps with my head on Lottie my sock monkey and knitting, knitting, knitting. I'm halfway through the keyhole scarf project and by golly that thing is going to get done this weekend or I'm setting a match to it. Then I guess it'll be well done.

And baking. Maybe on Sunday I'll do some baking. My friend, M, sent me a package that included Splenda Blend and now I can bake some cookies that I can eat more than 1/4 of. I mean 1/4 of a cookie, not 1/4 of the whole batch.

Of course I may just rationalize in that charming way I have and actually eat 1/4 of the whole batch. Oooo! Good thing I bought a few extra liters of milk the other day!

Can I just take a moment to bitch about how Germany (at least where I live because God only knows what goes on in the western part of the country) doesn't have any decent sugar substitutes? There's the old stand-by, saccherine, which I use in my tea. There's Canderel which I believe is like Equal but it makes my tea taste horrible. And that's it. Nothing you can cook or bake with.

Now if the United States can have Splenda, why can't I? Is it some diabolical scheme dreamed up by the European Union to keep me from baking brownies? I need Splenda, dammit. I need Splenda Blend too. If I'm going to have diabetes then I need something to help me out. Damn, throw me a bone, will ya Germany!

Y'all have a wonderful weekend. I'll report next week about how the scarf is finished and is fabulous. Or I'll be reporting how I managed to ram my head through our cinderblock walls in an act of despiration and self annihilation.


Thursday, March 03, 2005

Little irritations

Please, please Lord let me please just finish knitting this dopey scarf. It's not really dopey, but it's causing me to practically break out into hives because I can't get the thing finished.

I'm knitting a rectangle with a slit in it, for pity's sake! Why does it have to be so complicated? Better question: Why am I making it so complicated?

I'd got to the part today where I'm knitting the slit (and seeing that written out like that makes it sound a little kinky) and all it took was me to look up for maybe two seconds to see was was going on with the 7th Heaven rerun that was on TV to make me pick up the wrong strand of yarn and instead of me knitting the other side of the slit, I knit it closed.

Smooth move there, Ex-Lax!

I was determined this time that I wasn't going to rip out sixty rows of knitting to fix this. Not this time. So I unraveled it and tried to catch the stitches and transfer them to the right needle. Only took me three tries and I lost about fifteen rows in the process and I put the stitches back on the needle backwards which necessitated me turning each one before knitting it but I saved most of my work. I've reknit what I'd lost up to the point where the slit starts so once I get my nerve up I'm going to tackle it again.

Last chance. Last chance to get it right before I just have to take break from it and start a different project. I next want to tackle a triangular scarf in eyelash yarn. Easy work. Garter stitch and add three stitches to each row until you knit up 100 grams of yarn. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Unless 7th Heaven is on, that is.

Moving on...

I want a bacon cheeseburger from Sonic. I want my cousin Wanda's (God rest her) chocolate pie. I want a pulled pork sandwich from Corky's and I want a pepperoni pizza. God bless it, I want something that's not a fruit or a vegetable or chicken breast or some sort of whole-grain-so-full-of-fiber-I-could-poop-out-a-birchbark-canoe food. I just want some junky, trashy, makes-me-fat-and-my-blood-sugar-sky-high food. Something that comes wrapped in paper or cardboard and you have to wear a bib while eating it or else you'll be wearing half of it on your front.

I've hit the "eat sensibly" wall and I'm not digging it at all. It's not that I need recipes and tips for making fruits and vegetables and chicken breast and whole-grain wonders more exciting. I can do that. I'm just looking for that instant gratification thing. I don't want to take the time to prepare what's good for me. I just want to open a package and shove something into my mouth that tastes good and sustains me for about thirty-five minutes.

I'll get over this. I think a lot of this is winter blues so I'm stepping up my exercise another fifteen minutes a day. Maybe that'll help. Because I know I'm probably to the point where if I did indulge in my eat-just-for-the-taste-of-it cravings I wouldn't enjoy them as much as I imagine I would.

Of course if you waved a bacon cheeseburger from Sonic under my nose I'd glady test that theory.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The value of the what?

You know it's a slow day 'round these parts when the high point of my day was signing up for a new online DVD rental service and picking the wish list. I liked my old service fine but with the new one I get more DVDs for just a couple Euro more.

Speaking of Euros...

Tell me, how many of y'all don't know how much a Euro is in American money? Or British or Canadian or Australian money for that matter?

Seriously, I'm curious as to what people think a Euro is worth. Not to point out any sort of ignorance but just curious as to whether the value of the Euro against their own currency even shows up as a blip on anyone's knowledge radar.

I could be wrong but it's my guess that most folks just don't know what a Euro is worth. I have a sneaking feeling that when I say something like "I got a great deal on cotton tops today - only 9 Euro!" they don't know whether I've paid the equivilant of $3.99 or $25.99.

For the record, 9 Euros is currently worth a little less than $12.00. I really did get a nice buy on cotton tops.

But anyway since I think folks don't know what I'm talking about I just go ahead and convert for them and just try to talk in terms of dollars only. I often times just don't even bring up Euros at all and that leads me to wonder whether people even know what currency I use. I assume people have heard of Euros but maybe they don't know what countries use it.

And then again maybe they do know but simply don't give a damn. I know that ten years ago you could have put me in that catagory.

Knit wit

Well after a rather undramatic weekend I am well into an undramatic week. I should be grateful for the lack of drama around here since I don't do so well with drama around here.

Please people, pray for my knitting. I can knit but unfortunately I don't know how to fix any errors I make. I try to . I look at my knitting books and view their poorly drawn illustrations like a cow looks at a new door. I read the descriptions of how to retrieve a dropped stitch or fix some gunked up stitch and it makes about as much sense to me as the Unabomber manifesto. So how do I solve my inevitable knitting fuck-ups?

I unravel the SOB. Not too bad when the fuck-up is on row number 17 but when it's on row number 82 I want to kick my feet and sob like a slapped child.

I'm knitting a scarf for a dear friend of mine. And it's going to be a really lovely scarf when I'm done except for one little thing. I've started the friggin' thing thirteen times now and I can't get but so far without screwing something up. I'm now so desperate to finish this scarf that I'm knitting at about the same pace that old people screw.

I didn't want to do it but I'm now going to admit defeat and decide that after I finish this scarf - which should be about the time that cold front whips though hell - I'm going to learn to knit continental style. Throw away all I know about English knitting and learn the way most Germans and, more importantly, they way my MIL knows how to knit. That way she can teach me how to fix errors - much easier than trying to decipher drawings that look like the were first discovered on the walls of a cave in France - and if I can't fix them myself, she can do it for me.

On to other things...

It's March. Stop snowing. I'm sick to death of walking on slippery streets and through icy parking lots. I have a fear of falling as it is and I don't particularly like walking like I'm made of glass. Just. stop. snowing. And get warmer than fifteen degrees while you're at it because if you don't get above freezing that icy-ass shit on the streets will never melt.

No progress on buying a new kitchen. For starters I'm avoiding beginning the process and add to that that it snows every day and I can't drive to the kitchen store on snowy streets. The car has summer tires on it since we just don't tend to drive when it's snowing and even if it did have snow tires, my MIL would still not get into the car. She simply feels that since she's never driven in snow that it means that I also have never driven in snow and any attempt to do so will cause the earth to tip off its axis or something.

Hey. I drove a Jeep Wrangler. And worked for a power company. Suffice it to say that I've driven in the snow a plenty of time out of necessity and most of the time with yellowed, hazy windows hindering my visibility.

Okay. Back to my knitting now. I mean I just can't get to sleep tonight unless I've ripped out the stitches yet one more time.