Dixie Peach: August 2005

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

God bless them all

Let me thank those of you who have emailed me and asked about my family in Mississippi. Corinth is in the northeast of the state and therefore is well inland from the devestatioin of Gulf Coast area. I just spoke with my nephew - school was cancelled for him today and last night they lost power for a while but luckily it's back on now. He reported to me that he's now able to see a bit of sunlight coming though.

God, that area needs that so much. That sunlight breaking through the clouds. Not just the real sunlight but that sunlight of the soul. That sunlight of spirit. That sunlight that gives you reason to hope again and to keep going on after such devestation.

My dear friend, The Barefoot Cajun, has posted on her blog a few emails from her brother, a reporter at the Times-Picayune, and they are chilling. He describes not only the devestation he's seen and the fear but the deep sadness of loss as well.

It must feel like a death of a loved one to lose your home. Not just your personal dwelling but the city or town where you live. Where your roots are deeply dug in. Where all seems familiar to you and you have that sense of belonging. To have it suddenly taken away must feel like a death. Then add to that the chaos, the worry, the sense of displacement. Where will you live? How can you earn a living when the place where you work is gone? How are you going to keep your family together and keep them fed and safe? How does anyone get past that grief and despair and worry?

And yet they do it. Not without struggle and not without stress and pain. Not without a lot of sleepless nights. Not without feeling like they're one step away from going off the ledge. Not everyone makes it but most do. Somehow people show how incredibly resiliant they can be and how determined they are to hang onto hope.

Life will be different for the victims of Katrina's wrath. The people of New Orleans and Biloxi and Gulfport and Mobile and the dozens of little towns scattered around will find that their lives will be different. Their towns and cities will be different. It won't have that same familiar look any longer but eventually all well loved places change over time and many times due to harsh events.

And eventually these places will bloom again because when the people are rooted deep, they can't help but grow.

God bless them all. And if you can please help those who are in dire need, give as generously as you can to America's Second Harvest or the American Red Cross. Thank you.

Show offs

Is there any particular reason that TV news reporters assigned to cover a hurricane feel the need do hurricane stunts? That "Okay Bob, just to show you there in the newsroom and our viewers at home how really windy it is I'm going to walk out into the middle of the street where we've recorded 125mph gusts and see if I can stand up..." and then they proceed to walk out and nearly get their brains gouged out by flying spears of debris.

What's next?

"Okay Bob, I'm going to run out into the street while wearing a tutu, golf shoes and a tri-corner hat and will attempt to flap my arms and become airborn just as the gusts reach 137mph, do a one-and-a-half backwards flip with a twist and stick the landing next to that pile of siding that just flew off that Holiday Inn..."

Monday, August 29, 2005

"We have much fuckin' ass fun together!"

...said the German immigrant.

I'm watching a evening news magazine type show that's been following a German family that up and moved to Texas because it sounded like a fun thing to do. After a year that's a typical English sentence the dad is able to say.

I'm not sure whether to be embarrassed as a resident of Germany because the fair people of Texas think that's a typical German or to be embarrassed as a U.S. citizen because Germans think that's the way Americans speak.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

"You sendin' the Wolf?"

In this case, my version of the Wolf today is my MIL. No dead bodies to hide or itty bitty bits of skull to pick up but had she not saved me that might have been the case because my head would have exploded. No need for Vincent Vega's gun to go off by accident.

I was sneaking in a bit of knitting on my Aibhlinn cowl before having to get on to some chores and that right there should have been a warning for me that disaster was looming just over the horizon. Any time I rush knit and am distracted I'll screw up and screw up I did. At least I'm consistant. The row I was on called for p3, k3 to the end of the row and as I neared the end of the row I realized I was going to end the row with p3.

Bring me a brick wall on which I can bang my head.

I started to unknit back to where I believed the error to be but in my rush to hurry and fix my mistake I didn't look at the stitches carefully enough. I knit forward again and noticed that I was still ending the row with p3. All my unknitting hadn't changed a thing.

Now panic is beginning to set in because I know the more I fool with it the more likely I am to bollocks up my work. Back to unknitting and now things are becoming a blur. I see now that where I got off pattern is waaaay back in the row and somehow I've lost a stich somewhere but I didn't seem to have dropped it.


I am now faced with not knowing where a stich is, I think I've got at least half of my stitches on the needle backwards and I know that unknitting back to where the original error is just going to create more. I am now faced with frogging over twelve inches and nearly three skeins worth of work - over three hundred meters of yarn - and starting all over again. Doing those damned bobbles again. After starting this piece five times now I am the expert bobbler but I'd like to do something else, thanks.

And yet in an ususual moment of clarity was able to stop my impulse to rip out the needles and start frogging and instead decided that I'd wait until my MIL came down to visit. She's a master knitter. She's custom knit for people for years. Surely she has encountered such a mess and has the ability to fix a master screw-up. If she can't fix it, it can't be fixed at all and then I can give up and start again.

She showed up around 6:15pm and I handed her my knitting with an explaination of what I'd tried to do. Without hesitation she started in to work and with an ease I don't even have when I'm knitting forward she unknit the whole row from where I'd left off. Still she wasn't able to find where I'd lost a stitch so she took up the needles again, hunted around and ended up unknitting back into the previous row in order to regain my lost stitch. I'd somethow knit together two stitches during my unknit-knit-unknit debacle - something I'd have never been able to fix on my own - and my MIL was able to fix it without a problem. All together my mess had been set right within fifteen minutes.

I have decided that should I get off pattern again I'm not going to subject myself and more importantly not subject my work to my half-assed attempts to fix it. I'm simply going to get up, go up to the eighth floor and hand it all to my MIL and know that she'll make it all better.

She's like a superhero in sensible shoes.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

All tricks performed with the accompaniment of a Green Day CD

As sure as the sun will rise in the east I know that if any sort of household cleaning chore involves me repeatedly climbing up and down a step ladder then my less-than-toned-and-fit (read: flabby) body is going to be reduced to a groaning, shuddering mass of aches after said chore is finished. The tops of my kitchen cabinets are grease film and dust free (and smelling of the Williams-Sonoma countertop cleaner Mollie sent me) and I'm getting slightly concerned that when I stand up the creaking of my knees drowns out the sound of the TV.

To console myself and at the same time ease around the problem of being unable to think of anything new, exciting, tasty and healthful to cook for supper I assembled a conglomeration of ground beef, jarred spaghetti sauce, mushrooms and egg noodles and after stirring it all together and shoveling it into a casserole dish, covered it all with an insane amount of shredded mozzarella cheese in order to form a sort of crispy brown mozzarella crust which ends up giving me an ridiculous amount of mindless pleasure as I take a fork and stab into over and over it to feel its crustiness once I remove the casserole from the oven.

I believe that perhaps I have just written the longest rambling sentence of my life.

So after cleaning, complaining about my aging body and scarfing down one of my ultimate comfort food pleasures I'm now going to ease onto the sofa and knit until either my fingers grow numb or I nod off to sleep.

I am Hausfrau, hear me roar.

Friday, August 26, 2005

X marks the spot

It never fails that when I'm trying to get done with walking Bonnie - say, it's pissing rain or something - she chooses that time to take forty-nine-forevers to find a place to take a crap.

Sweet Marie, Robert Hanssen didn't put as much care in finding the perfect drop spot for passing information to the Soviets as Bonnie does in finding the perfect blade of grass on which to deposit her poop.

Friday Shuffle - Grand Ole Opry Edition

Out of my Country Music I Grew Up With folder. Makes me want to have a Goo-Goo Cluster and some Pet milk.
  1. Jackson - Johnny Cash and June Carter
  2. My Tennessee Mountain Home - Dolly Parton
  3. Country Sunshine - Dottie West
  4. Okie from Muskogee - Merle Haggard
  5. Honky Tonk Angels - Kitty Wells
  6. Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man - Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty
  7. Blue Moon of Kentucky - Patsy Cline
  8. Jambalaya (On the Bayou) - Hank Williams
  9. Foggy Mountain Breakdown - Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs
  10. The Race is On - George Jones

It's a shuffle. It's a geography lesson. It's two treats in one!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Blogaversary/Delurking Day

One year ago today I started this blog. While at first blogging felt somewhat awkward to me, with a little persistance and a lot of memes I've kept it alive for a year.

So to celebrate, let's have a delurking day. Come out of the woodwork. Step out of the shadows. Leave me a comment and let me know you're here. Even ask me a question if you wish.

C'mon folks. Dixie needs a bit o' sugar.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Where's Sylvia Browne when you need her?

Yesterday when I woke up I told B that I'd had quite vivid dreams all night. I described what I could remember and we got a laugh out of how silly they seemed in the light of day and then B said "I had a very vivid dream last night too. Very vivid."

"My dad was at the door [B's father has been dead for ten years] and he was dressed in the same heavy jacket he'd wear to work. He came in and my mom and I were both so surprised to see him and he said 'Oh I can't stay. I just came for a little visit. Burkhard, I wanted to let you know that there will be an opening for you with me next year.'. I replied that I wasn't really interested - that I liked were I am now - and my dad replied something like 'Well the opening will be there for you.'. I woke up after that."

B didn't seem necessarily upset but was almost amazed at how vivid the dream seemed to him. I gave the standard and likely non-comforting reply that it was just a dream and didn't necessarily mean anything and we didn't speak about the dream any further.

This afternoon just before B's physiotherapist came over for his appointment he and I got into a bit of an argument. I was annoyed that he wasn't listening to what I was trying to say and he was annoyed that I was raising my voice. As fights between married people go it probably wasn't so bad - and in some marriages it would qualify for standard conversation - but we hate it when we get cross and irritable with one another. We decided that we were just misunderstanding one another and not being very patient and so we apologized to each other and B said "I hate it when we fight. Life is too short for us to be fighting like that. We shouldn't spend our time fighting when time can be so short.".

B doesn't normally talk like that. He's not normally one of those people who talks as though he learned to speak from Hallmark cards and bumper stickers so it caught my attention right away.

"Honey, is that dream still bothering you?"

He admitted that he was still thinking of it and I was worried that he was worried that he'd die next year. This is even more unlike him because, while he's a realist and he knows that quadriplegics can have complications like pressure sores or infections that can cause death in very little time, he's also not one to believe in premonitions. He scoffs at the psychics one sees on TV and he's not one to believe in omens or signs.

And you know, I have to admit that I was worried about it as well but was trying to not recognize it. I'm not really one to take stock in psychics either but I can't discount them because I do believe there's a lot more going on beyond our scope of consciousness than we know.

But what good would worrying do? It won't change anything. We already do the best we can to keep B as healthy as possible - always being diligent about avoiding pressure sores and keeping him away from people with colds or the flu. He sees two physicians a month and I'm just not sure what else we can do to keep him around with us for as long as we can.

After talking about it we've chosen to believe that if we were getting some sort of "sign" from the dream that it didn't necessarily mean that B would die next year. Instead we've chosen that if the dead can come back and give us messages that B's dad was telling him to enjoy his life as much as possible and to not spend it bickering over petty things that don't matter anyway. To spend our time together with as much happiness and passion as we can muster because life is fleeting.

We're just going to stay together for as long as we're able and hope to have as much love as we can hold between us.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Can you call it a collection...

...if you have only one?

I already collect teacups and tea tins and when I had the kitchen remodeled I'd decided that it was a perfect location to display a collection of teapots.

This arrived today:

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And it's in perfect shape - no nicks, chips or scratches. I consider the sugar bowl and creamer to be just an extra treat because I can always use them.

I got it for 1.99€ plus 4.90€ for postage. Well worth the cost of postage considering this guy packed to the point where I could have launched it into space and it wouldn't break.

Now I've got the teapot collection monkey on my back and Ebay is my pusher.

Tagging fulfilled

As directed by Katya:

10 years ago: I was freshly unemployed and at the absolute depths of depression to the point where I could barely function as an adult.

5 years ago: I was still converting Deutsche Marks to US dollars to figure out the value of something.

1 year ago: I was considering writing my own blog.

Yesterday: I knitted until my fingers ached.

Tomorrow: I need to vacuum my completely funky floors.

5 snacks I enjoy: yogurt, chips and salsa, popcorn, cashews, cookies

5 bands/singers that I know the lyrics of MOST of their songs: The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Blackmore's Night, The Rolling Stones, The Who

5 things I would do with $100,000,000: Build/pay for homes for my family, set up trust funds for my neice and nephews, build a home for B and I that's perfect for a quadriplegic, contribute generously to my favorite charities.

5 locations I'd like to run away to: My hometown, B's cousin's home in Australia, London, Scotland, Los Angeles

5 bad habits I have:: Procrastination, losing my temper, raising my voice, eating poorly, not getting enough sleep

5 things I like doing:: knitting, reading, watching soccer, watching classic movies, playing Sacred.

5 things I would never wear: Very high heels, leather pants, tank tops, satin, horizontal stripes

5 TV shows I like: The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Desperate Housewives, Gilmore Girls, Lost

5 movies I like:: To Kill a Mockingbird, Pulp Fiction, The Godfather, Dogma, Lord of the Rings Trilogy

5 famous people I'd like to meet: Oprah Winfrey, John Edwards, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Harper Lee

5 biggest joys at the moment:: My husband, Mollie, my knitting, my dog, my new(-ish) kitchen

5 favorite toys: My computers, HDD/DVD recorder, mp3 player, DVD burner on the computer, digital TV service

5 bloggers tagged (if they made it this far & if you feel like it): Brandi (and I mean it this time!), Poppy, the Shunner of Shoes, Miz, and Zoe. And I'm going to cheat and tag Sari too because she's got a lovely (and amusing!) new blog y'all should check out.

Monday, August 22, 2005


My weekend has consisted of two things - knitting and Kinder Überraschung Eier, the latter because they've just introduced SpongeBob SquarePants (or SpongeBob SchwammKopf as he's know here) figurines. So far I have two SpongeBobs, two Patricks and one Gary.

Today's trivia: In Germany Squidward is known as Thaddäus Tentatcles.

I'm two 50 gram/105 meter skeins into Aibhlinn and have yet to screw it up. I'm sure I've just jixed myself so stay tuned for the scream heard 'round the world if I have to frog this project again. And today for a change of pace so that I don't screw up my cowl I started to knit a scarf for my neice - one of those long, 5 inch wide scarves done in eyelash yarn. Bubblegum pink eyelash yarn. She's thirteen and her favorite color is pink and she lives in Los Angeles so an eyelash yarn scarf should be perfect for her. And of course since a skinny eyelash yarn scarf done on 8mm needles is as close to perfect mindless knitting as one can get, I've got twenty inches of it finished already.

Chocolate, toys and yarn. It's like visiting a Kindergarten around here.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Grungy revolution

I can't decide which disturbs me more - seeing a sixteen-year-old not know who is depicted when shown a Che Guevara t-shirt or her guessing that it's Kurt Cobain.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday Shuffle - Under the Wire Edition

I've got thirty-eight minutes before this becomes the Friday Shuffle - Procrastination Edition.
  1. Fist City - Loretta Lynn
  2. Lift Me Up - Moby
  3. Leb den Tag - Laith Al-Deen
  4. Madrigal - Yes
  5. The House that Jack Built - Aretha Franklin
  6. Hot Dog - Led Zeppelin
  7. Ariel - Rainbow
  8. Have You Fed the Fish? - Badly Drawn Boy
  9. It's All True - The Lemonheads
  10. I Wanna Know - The Mavericks

Evan Dando and Raul Malo. Swoon.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Dullsville ahead, Exit 87

We're not quite there yet. I can see in the rear view mirror where we've only just passed Exit 82. We've got a few miles left before we get there and maybe in the meantime we'll have a flat tire or be waylayed at an especially interesting looking roadside stand.

A few amusement for the day...

1. Digging knitting with my new rayon/microfiber yarn. Bobbling was easier than ever - and I ought to know because I've started this cowl for the fifth time now. I'm not quite sure if this yarn will end up being suitable for this project but I'll never know for sure until I get it finished and off the needles. In the meantime it's knitting up so easy - which makes me suspicious that it'll end up being for naught.

2. As we've had a rare sunny day here B and I were able to get out and walk down to the lake. We sat at the lakeside cafe for a couple hours (nice thing about restaurants here is they don't rush you away). I took a few pointless pictures and a few of B which weren't pointless at all and were actually pretty cute. Looking all sporty in his sunglasses. He still makes me swoon.

A little boy about two years old ran up to B in his wheelchair and said "Mama! Look! Little car! Want little car too!". Uhh...not this sort of little car, you don't. And certainly not in the way B got it.

3. I've been digging the Pope in Germany coverage on TV. I'm loving the happy, excited people who have flooded Cologne (which I would normally call by it's German name but I'm too tired tonight to change the keyboard to type umlauts) and seeing their faces is rather uplifting. I find that sort of enthusiasm infectious. And the Pope seems like such a shy, unassuming man. I have to wonder what he makes of thousands and thousands of people straining just to catch a glimpse of him.

And can I add that I just love the president of Germany - Horst Koehler? As head of state he's got to greet all the other heads of state and be at other major national functions and he always looks like he's having the most wonderful time. Always dignified and yet never too uptight and stiff, he does Germany proud. You could just tell that today he was loving his job.

4. I'm on a serious lemon yogurt kick these days. Lemon stuff in general but I'm mostly feeding my lemon cravings with yogurt. Sour fruit, sour milk - by golly they just to together!

Tomorrow's Friday. Certainly I can waylay an arrival in Dullsville on a Friday, can't I?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Ever in dream, in dreams...

I can't stop wearing my new sunglasses. Nevermind that it's just a few minutes before midnight.

I'm feeling a little bit like Roy Orbison.

Visiting knitting paradise

I'm on that new yarn high right now.

I had to go downtown to pick up my prescription sunglasses at the optician and since I was headed that direction anyway I rode a few streetcar stops farther and went to the new yarn store. A very nice place. The owner was sitting in the center of the room with a few other ladies and they were all knitting and chatting and it made me want to plunk myself right there next to them and join in. Instead though I picked out new yarn for my Aibhlinn cowl. Fire engine red yarn that's a 50% rayon 50% microfiber acrylic. It's very soft with a bit of give to it and the shop owner said it knits up nicely. I couldn't remember how much yarn the pattern calls for so I ended up buying nine skeins that are 105 meters each. That's either just right or way too much and either way will be okay with me.

As I am not one to wait patiently I came home and cast on and got started knitting. So far the bobble making has been easier than ever before. This yarn does have some give to it and I'm not struggling like I did with that stiff ass cotton.

If this turns out nicely I'll take it back to that shop and show it to the shop owner. When asking her about the yarn I was trying to tell her I was knitting a cowl but didn't know the word for cowl and ended up calling it a hood. She thinks I'm knitting a red hood. I'm surprised she didn't tell me to watch out for wolves.

Stay tuned for in progress photos.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

It was not meant to be

Within the span of 45 minutes I not only completely screwed up my Aibhlinn cowl but screwed up the Wavy scarf I was knitting for B (and had put down while I worked on the cowl).

Aibhlinn, I discovered, had a dropped stitch way on back and I had to unknit an ungodly amount to get back to it. Wasted effort because I suck at fixing dropped stitches and ended up fouling things up even more until I had a ladder of dropped stitches. Ten inches of swirling rib to be frogged.

To console myself (and because I was in the mood to knit) I picked up Wavy and while watching The Sopranos (note to self: No watching The Sopranos while knitting!) proceeded to twist up three stitches in such a way that I couldn't fix them. By this point I was so angry with myself I just yanked out the needles and started frogging.

I am, however, choosing to look at the bright side and have started Wavy again because B likes the tan yarn I was doing the cowl in. And I suspect that the yarn I was using for Aibhlinn is too stiff to give the cowl a nice drape so I'll restart it in a thin wool or nice cotton. Depends on what I find when I go this week to the new yarn store I want to check out.

And speaking of yarn stores, my darling buddy Lorrie sent me some yarn she bought last week. A yarn store near where she works was having a summer sale and she couldn't resist going in. Lorrie knows little to nothing about knitting but knew I'd love some lucious yarn and so she bought me some cashmere-marino blend wool and has sent it my way. Tell me my friends aren't wonderful to me! I can't wait to get that little wooly bit of confection and start something truly scruptious with it.

But carefully. I don't want to frog my cashmerino and wear it out.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Grace at the end

Yesterday's crash of the Helios Airways flight has disturbed me to no end. Tragic events like that are always upsetting but this one has clung to me in a way I haven't experienced in a while.

From what I can understand from the current news reports the terrible loss of cabin pressure caused the problem but the pilots weren't able to get oxygen like the rest of the people on the plane and it was flying unattended until it finally crashed into a mountain. It's the idea that these people, while likely dying from freezing before the actual crash, still knew they were going to die. The one person sending an SMS message to his cousin to say farewell tells us that much.

And so what disturbs me so deeply is the idea of these people knowing what fate was in store for them. It doesn't seem to be the same sort of knowing that death is around the corner that those who are ill may experience. To me it's more of an one-minute-you're-okay-the-next-you-know-you-will-die thing and that seems terrible to me.

What happens to you when you know that shortly you will die? Are your last minutes filled with terror? Regrets? Do you weep for your fate? Maybe it's the opposite. Maybe you somehow find a sense of peace and resignation that is reserved for such times. Maybe God has provided us a way of shutting off the terror so that our last minutes of life aren't filled with fear. That's something that's always bothered me - the idea that someone's last minutes of life are nothing but sheer terror. I hope that people are given the chance to somehow face their death without fear.

I would hope that if I were ever in such a situation that I could face the last moments of life with some sort of reflection. Some sort of happiness even. I'd want to spend those final minutes remembering how my husband's cheek feels against mine or how soft and clean his hair smells after I wash it. I'd want to think about how fireflies look on a velvety June night or how snow falling seems to have a strange, silent sound. I'd want to remember the excitement of my first day of school or my wedding day or how happy I was to buy a new car. I'd want to remember all the hugs I've ever received. I'd want all those feelings and memories to flood my mind so fully that I wouldn't have any room for fear or sadness or regret.

Bless those lost people. I hope their last moments found their souls at peace. And bless their grieving loved ones and may they eventually find their own sense of peace.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Leg Crossing

It's very possible - in fact I'd bet the contents of my wallet - that I have a UTI (for those not knowing what that is, get out your secret decoder ring). No actual flaming pain - more irritation and discomort - but I can see it being on the verge of going in that direction and I definitely have the shit-I-gotta-pee-again?? thing.

And what fabulous timing for this malady. My GP just left today for a four week vacation in Alaska. A brief spark of inspired thought gave me the idea that I could just call and beg my gynecologist to fit me in until I remembered that she is always on vacation for all of August. The normal substitute my GP refers me to while she's out of town just retired so I'm down to going to some neighborhood quack. I was wondering whether I could just will the infection away and that's when I remembered that when I had a sinus infection a couple months ago she wrote an extra prescription for Doxycillin just in case B came down with the sinus thing as well. Aha! And it says on the package insert that it's for UTIs as well. Call me cured.

Yeah, yeah...I know. Taking an antibiotic for an undiagnosed UTI will probably send me to hell to sit in the rickety metal chair by the kitchen but I know that if I could somehow transport myself onto that Lufthansa flight heading towards North America my GP would say "Take the Doxycillin. And could you ask the flight attendant to bring me another glass of merlot?".

What's the worse that could happen to me anyway? I'm not allergic to it. Can't be any worse than flying to the US to eat a few pounds of antibiotic laced meat and wash it down with hormone laden milk.

I'll have the exploitation with a side of oppression, please

New elections are scheduled in Germany in about a month and the political party signs are going up all over. One I saw yesterday for the MLPD party - one I'd not heard of before - said "Trust is good, control is better". And if that didn't raise my eyebrows the drawing of Lenin on the poster did. And then I put together that the party is the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany.

Evidently they haven't gotten the memo yet.

Juuuust right

The other day I was musing as to why you can't find here Slurpee-type drinks. B attributed to their being too cold and Germans not liking things that were too extreme - nothing too cold or too hot.

Darling, you're telling me that while we sit in a country that went from fascism to communism overnight, right? If they'd swung from one extreme to another any faster they'd have stripped the country's gears.

Rats. I need to go pee again.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Saturday time killer

Just wasting a little time until B's ready to play Sacred with me.

Cheerfully swiped from shaymo.

1. Nervous habits? Drumming on everything.
2. Are you double jointed? Why I'm typing this behind my back as we speak!
3. Can you roll your tongue? Yes
4. Can you raise one eyebrow at a time? No and it's not from lack of trying.
5. Can you blow spit bubbles? Of course. Guys dig that.
6. Can you cross your eyes? Yes
7. Tattoos? Nary a one.
8. Piercings? I had my ears pierced as a child and that's as daring as I've gotten with it.
9. Do you make your bed daily? Absolutely. And if you had a German style bed you probably would too.


10. Which shoe goes on first? Usually the right but I'm not obsessive about it.
11. Speaking of shoes, have you ever thrown one at anyone? I'm sure I have at a sibling.
12. On the average, how much money do you carry? About 250 euro.
13. What jewelry do you wear 24/7? My wedding band, my diamond band, my tri-color gold interlocking band ring, my diamond pendant and a gold foxtail link wrist chain.
14. Favorite piece of clothing? My jeans jacket.


15. Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it? Twirl it in a spoon.
16. Have you ever eaten Spam? Not in many, many, many years.
17. Do you use extra salt on your food? Usually only on steaks, spinach, broccoli and green peas.
18. How many cereals in your cabinet? Just one box of Special K.
19. What's your favorite beverage? Tea
20. What's your favorite fast food restaurant? Sonic or Back Yard Burger.
21. Do you cook? With a few exceptions, I cook daily.


22. How often do you brush your teeth? Twice a day.
23. Hair drying method? I blow it around to get the bulk of the wetness gone then I use a big paddle brush as I dry the one-length part of my hair straight. I then switch to a large round brush to get the ends to turn under and then I use a small round brush to dry the layered top part of my hair and then back to the big round brush to dry my bangs.
24. Have you ever colored/highlighted your hair? Coppery red every six weeks.


25. Do you swear? Fuck yeah!
26. Do you ever spit? Fuck no!


27. Animal? Koalas
28. Food? Crab and shrimp and pasta. Together if I can swing it.
29. Month? May
30. Day? Saturday
31. Cartoon? Bugs Bunny - my kind of smart ass.
32. Shoe brand? Birkenstock
33. Subject in school? History
34. Color? Smoke blue
35. Sport? Soccer and baseball
36. TV Shows? M*A*S*H and The Sopranos
37. Thing to do in the spring? Take long walks at the lake.
38. Thing to do in the summer? Get on a train and go explore another city.
39. Thing to do in the autumn? Watch soccer, bake
40. Thing to do in the winter? Decorate for Christmas, go to Christmas markets, read
41. In the CD player? The Beatles
42. Person you talk most on the phone with? My mother, my sister and Mollie.
43. Reading? Mystery series books, history books
44. Do you regularly check yourself out in store windows/mirrors? Virtually never.
45. What color is your bedroom? The walls are ice blue.
46. Do you use an alarm clock? Yes
47. Window seat or aisle? Window if it's a short flight, aisle if it's a trans-atlantic haul.
48. What's your sleeping position? Usually on my left side or my stomach with my head turned to the right.
49. Even in hot weather do you use a blanket? In Germany we used covered duvets so your sheet and blanket are the same thing but in hot weather I sleep on top of the duvet.
50. Do you snore? Fairly often.
51. Do you sleepwalk? Never even once.
52. Do you talk in your sleep? Seldom
53. Do you sleep with stuffed animals? No - just with a wee little pillow.
54. How about with the light on? No
55. Do you fall asleep with the TV or radio on? Never
56. Last interesting person you met: Angelika

Friday, August 12, 2005

Clouds in my coffee

We haven't strayed so far on our crazy Internet trip together that we're not but a stone's throw away from being back in Dullsville. I blame the shitty weather we're having. Yeah, y'all bitch about your hot summer - at least you're having a summer. I, on the other hand, have gone from winter straight into October with little glimpses of June thrown in just to tease the hell out of me.

Some glimpses into my lily-white, sun starved life...

1. Tonight around 6pm B and I were speaking with my mother on the phone. The doorbell rings and left B to chat with Mama while I answered the door.

You knew it was going to be Wolfgang at the door, didn't you?

I said hello and said "Hey, right now we're talking with my mom on the phone." and his response to my informing him that we were in the midst of a trans-fucking-atlantic phone call with my mother was to stroll right on down the hall and begin to talk to B.

2. I have a pair of prescription sunglasses just waiting for me to pick them up at the optician but not even the temptation of coupling a trip to the yarn store can convince me to go out into the pouring rain for that exercise in futility.

3. How shameful is it for me to admit that I've washed the same load of clothes three times before finally taking them out and hanging them to dry? I'd wash them, leave them in the washer for two days, wash them again because I'd suspect that even though it's cool out, the clothes have soured in the washer, leave them in the washer once again, rewash them.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

They were towels. Screw 'em. If they're funky smelling after they dry I'll pitch them. They're getting on the threadbare side anyway.

4. I want a week where my entire diet consists of pepperoni pizza, french fries and chocolate ice cream. Nice to know I still daydream the same as I did when I was four-years-old.

5. Yesterday while at my hairdressers (a most Steel Magnolias type of place minus having to endure listening to Olympia Dukakis do the worst Southern accent on record) while waiting for my hair coloring to do its thing and watching my hairdresser work on the hair of another customer with a blow dryer that sounded vaguely like a Harrier jump jet cranking up, I thought I could hear in the background the faint rumblings of bass on Carly Simon's You're So Vain and proceeded to sing the song in my mind. Halfway through the hairdryer shut off and I was rather tickled to find that I was right on cue with Carly when I could finally hear her voice.

...I had some dreams they were clowns in my pocket, clowns in my pocket and...

Friday Shuffle - Summer of Love Edition

Let's dig into my 60's hippie-dippie music folder for this week's shufflin' fun.
  1. White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane
  2. All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
  3. Up on Cripple Creek - The Band
  4. I Can See for Miles - The Who
  5. Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) - Melanie
  6. Brokedown Palace - Grateful Dead
  7. Green River - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  8. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes - Crosby, Stills and Nash
  9. A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum
  10. Marrakesh Express - Crosby, Stills and Nash

A Janis-free shuffle. Groovy baby.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Toes and nose

A conversation with B while I turned him in bed onto his right side:

Me: Damn. I hate hitting your toes on the end of this bed! Why can't this bed just be one inch longer?

B: Didn't feel it though.

Me: That's not the point. I'm going to break your toes one day smacking them on the footboard. Why can't the bed be longer? Or more to the point, why can't you be shorter? You're 6'4". It's wasted height.

B: I've been trying.

Me: Doesn't it stand to reason that if you're not using your limbs that they should shrink? Your bones shrink? Your tendions shorten up? Why can't you shrink up like a little old lady?

B: I can only do it like a little old man.

Me: Do they shrink? I know their waistbands get higher. Do little old men shrink or do they just get gigantic ears as they age?

B: I don't know.

Me: And nose hair. They get that long-ass nose hair.

B: I think I'm getting the nose hair thing down.

Me: Tell me about it. I'm the one having to wield the Noseo-Rooter around here.

B: And it hurts.

Me: The pain free toes make up for it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

He's gonna strangle me for showing this

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My guy at sixteen - thirty years ago. Y'all didn't know I married a 70s rock star, did you?

"I'm telling Mollie on you!"

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"Stop! Get back here and put my shirt on right! Come on now! Don't take that picture. Don't. Don't. Don't. I look goofy! Oh why did you do that? Now get over here and put my shirt on me right. I mean it. Get over here or I'm going to call Mollie and your mom!"

Some days he's better fun than a toy!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

How to have a frenzy

Just follow these simple steps:
  1. Knit while watching a movie on TV.
  2. Pay more attention to the movie than the knitting.
  3. When reaching the end of the row, notice that you're knitting three stitches instead of the three purled stitches the pattern calls for.
  4. Mutter "shitshitshitshitshitshitshitshit" for at least 90 seconds.
  5. Search back through the row for the mistake.
  6. Find the mistake, in this case six stitches purled instead of three, about 60 stitches back.
  7. Imagine frogging work. Imagine beating your head against a wall.
  8. Begin process of unknitting. Miss end of movie you were watching.
  9. Get back to error, begin to reknit.
  10. Notice that when you unknit that you got the stitches on backwards. Stop and turn stitch before knitting it.
  11. Get halfway through row and notice stitch marker laying on coffee table. Realize that since you are knitting in the round without a marker you now don't know where the row ends.
  12. Mutter "shitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshit" for at least 2 minutes. Increase volume after 1 minute.
  13. Search row and find where you have four knit stitches together. Believe this is the end of the row.
  14. Mutter "Okay, I started with three knits and here are four wait I ended with three knits but I unknit them so this isn't the right spot oh wait the last row ended with one knit yes there's three purls and then one knit and these three are the first knits of the new row OH THANK YOU GOD!
  15. Be thankful you use a hoop earring for a stitch marker and can just open it up and slip it on the correct spot.
  16. Finish knitting row correctly. Begin the next. Wipe panic sweat from brow.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Five down, nineteen to go

Inches, that is, on my Aibhlinn cowl.

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I've spent pretty much every spare minute over the weekend working on it. I'm a slow knitter so I figure it's going to take me another week or more to finish it.

Thank you, Mary Burr, for designing a pattern I'm enjoying very much. I figure by the time I've made a couple of these I'll be able to bobble blindfolded!

Sunday, August 07, 2005


B hasn't always been a quadriplegic. He was 24 years old when he had the swimming accident that left him paralyzed so he's actually spent less than half his life being, as he terms it, a professional cripple guy.

Back in his old life B was a cook. A chef actually - chef in the European way of using the word meaning that he was not only a cook but was the boss of the kitchen and he did the hiring, assigned duties, set the menus, did the purchasing and all the other management of the kitchen that is the responsibility of a chef. The restaurant where he worked was a basic German restaurant and that's his speciality - classic German dishes.

B's no longer able to cook or really get in and our of our kitchen so I'm the one responsible for food preparation in our family and that's fine. While I can't say I particularly enjoy cooking I don't mind it either and what I cook tastes good so I consider that to be a success. On occasion B will say he wishes he could cook for me and wistfully he'll describe to me what he'd like to treat me with and how he'd thoroughly enjoy the whole process from picking out the menu to cleaning up after eating.

While I'd love to be spoiled with having meals planned and prepared for me I'd gladly give it up if B were able to do one thing for me. Fry.

I'm a Southerner. Southern with a capital S. And being Southern means that if I want to eat foods from my homeland I need to on occasion indulge in frying them.

Here's the drawback. I'm terribly afraid of frying anything. I'm not very good with heat or fire as it is and frying takes it to a whole new level. The qualms I have about taking hot dishes from the oven and me even feeling warmth through my oven mitts is magnified tenfold when one considers that with frying I may not just feel warmth but have actual burning hot oil spritzing on my bare skin.

I know. You're thinking "It's just tiny droplets of oil that barely sprinkle on you! Stop being such a wuss!". Oh it's more than that, my friends, and I have the scar on my hand to prove it. My reticence to fry foods was at one time rather mild until the fateful day when while frying chicken water came from underneath the skin, splashed into the hot oil and a wave of it sloshed up and onto my bare hand leaving me with a round scar between my middle and ring fingers on my right hand. Okay, you can barely still see the scar because it did happen nearly 25 years ago but the memory is still fresh! From that time I've carried the mental scar from frying gone wrong.

Health concerns and my fear of the oil should keep me from frying anything now but I still have to ocassionally fry the odd schnitzel or fish filet or bacon. I've tried a few methods to ease me through the process. I've used splash screens and they help right on up to the time when you have to turn the food and then you're just as exposed as before. I've tried taking the pan off the burner, waiting until the frying frenzy subsides for a moment and then quickly doing the food turning before putting the pan back on the heat. Fairly effective for turning but you still have to get your hand on the pan's handle and that spritzing oil doesn't give a damn what you're doing, it still splashes.

I finally came across the best frying method, humiliating as it may be. I began to wear an old woolen glove on my right hand when I had to handle the frying food. I call it the "frying glove". B calls it the "frightening glove" becuase he says I look like a half-assed strangler with it on. Creepy looking or not, it worked very well until I discovered that I was still getting spattered with hot grease on my bare arm when frying in short sleeves. Not giving up, I soon modified my summertime frying method to include me putting on a light jacket so I'd have my arms covered as I turned the food frying all golden brown.

Please. I don't want you to miss fully appreciating this scene. I want you to imagine me in my non-airconditioned apartment with the blazing summer sun streaming through the windows as I fry chicken while wearing a tan cotton jacket and one gray wool glove.

Try to out-nerd me. Just try to come up with something more humiliating and ridiculous than that scene. I dare you.

But while I freely admit that I look like a complete idiot at that moment, it works. I can fry with success. Or so I thought.

The grease has found a way to splash me on my face. Just the other day when frying fish I had a splash come up and burn my face just below my eye and naturally I freaked out.

I'm now seeking to have a full body Ove Glove made.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Friday Shuffle - Slap and Dash Edition

Okay, let's make this snappy. I'm watching the opening game of the German soccer league (Bayern-München vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach) and my team's ahead by a goal.
  1. Lust for Life - Iggy Pop
  2. Long Train Runnin' - The Doobie Brothers
  3. Pressing Lips - Pursuit of Happiness
  4. Lemon (The Perfecto Mix) - U2
  5. Lay Lady Lay - Bob Dylan
  6. Fields of Gold - Eva Cassidy
  7. Born Yesterday - Everly Brothers
  8. Holiday - Green Day
  9. Across the Universe - Fiona Apple
  10. Ever Fallen In Love With Someone (You Shouldn't've Fallen In Love With)? - Buzzcocks

Ahhhh. Shuffle done. Game over. Bayern wins.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Head bobbling, yarn bobbling

Six-thirty in the morning is just too early for me to get up and let a painter in. All morning I had the feeling that acid had been poured into my eyes.

Little Painter Dude arrived about 7:20, dropped off paint, left, came back about 8:00 and got finished around 9:45. I spent the time watching two episodes of The Sopranos that I'd recorded last night because I figured grow men saying "fuck" every 90 seconds would keep me awake. It worked for the most part. I think I nodded off while sitting up with my head lolling back and forth only a few times. No nap drooling reported.

Painting finished, tip given, Little Painter Dude happy, all is well again.

I've started to knit the Aibhlinn cowl once again. It was time for me to start a new project and I wasn't in the mood for another rectangle at this point and I am anxious to see how this cowl will turn out. However the cotton yarn I'd used pissed me off to no end. It wasn't the best quality stuff and not twisted very tightly so when you combine yarn that has no give whatsoever and yarn that splits all the time, you end up with one cranky knitter. I threw in the towel and frogged it (actually I had to take scissors and hack it apart to get it off the needles because that cotton yarn was so unstretchy it wouldn't come off) and thought about maybe just using another skein of the cotton yarn and decided against it. However, I don't have enough wool to knit the piece and won't have time to buy any until well into next week and I wanted to knit it now. So I got out some not-so-bad acylic and started again. It's not very stretchy either but better than the cotton (and certainly better twisted than the cotton). I'm done with the bobble making and so it's just easy peasy knitting until I get to the end and I have to do the bobbles again. Making bobbles is actually fun but it would be more fun with better quality yarn.

The day didn't end up so bad after all. I was even able to catch a nap, albeit not until after 6pm. Felt wonderful though.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Oh how I love to be tagged!

And this time I've been tagged by the fabulous and prolific knitter, Kirsti.

n. pl. id· i·o·syn·cra·sies
-A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.

Write down five of your own personal idiosyncracies.
  1. I don't really like poetry. Some is alright but I don't seek it out to read. You have to write something pretty original and stirring for me to like it.
  2. I hate seeing "y'all" spelled as "ya'll". Y'all is a contraction of you and all, not ya and all. The apostrophe replaces the "ou" in you and therefore the word is spelled "y'all". If you can't remember the rules, just leave the apostrophe out completely before you do it completely wrong.
  3. I eat peaches or something containing peaches or something peach flavored every day. I only miss when I'm traveling.
  4. I listen to at least one Beatles song every day. Songs by an individual Beatle counts as well. And like with the peaches, exceptions are made for travel.
  5. While I love all sorts of flowers, my favorite floral arrangements are made of a mixture of red and white flowers. The type of flowers making up the arrangement isn't as important to me as it being a mix of only red and white. I love red velvet cake as well so maybe I just have a thing for red and white blended together.

Time for the tagging. Brandi (ha! you can't escape me!), Poppy, Shunner of Shoes - get busy!

Stinks like wet paper, too

I'm tired. I'm cranky. I'm about half irritable and I'm not likely to see an improvement for the next 36 hours or so.

After a refreshing 4 hours of sleep I had to get up and get everything moved out of the bathrooms. The guy from the painting company hired by the rental company to fix the water damage caused by the dolts living above us was due this morning to repaper the bathroom ceiling and an adjacent wall and to paint the ceiling in the smaller bathroom.

Our floors, walls and ceilings are made of plates of concrete. You can't paint directly onto the concrete walls and ceiling (unless you are going for that looks-like-shit appearance) so wallpaper has to be put on and you paint over that.

The boss of the painting company came by a few weeks ago to check the damage and say what would have to be done to fix the water damage (for those who don't remember, the pipes in the apartment where the Loud family lives leaked like hell, the water ran through the seams in the concrete plates and I have a huge water stain in my bathroom) and he told us that the big bathroom with the big stain would have to be repapered and repainted. Today the painter showing up said he was there just to paint the ceilings and wall.

Not so fast there, big fella. You're not painting over that big ass stain because #1 I don't want mildew starting up there and #2 the stain will eventually show through again. I had that confirmed by the painting company boss and Wolfgang, who is a professional painter as well.

I kindly informed Little Painter Dude that I was told a different story, he expressed some doubt, I kindly invited him to step into the livingroom to speak with B and B could tell him we were told it would be repapered.

Little Painter Dude backed down and went out to get what he needed to strip off the wallpaper. And by golly it took him forever. I'll bet that guy was cussing me all morning.

Four hours later the ceiling and wall were repapered and he said he'd be back tomorrow to paint the ceiling and he'd bring paint that matched what I already have on the walls. Actually I only need him to paint the ceiling. Wolfgang can do the rest as I want the rest of the bathroom painted with the paint I have leftover from the kitchen.

But Little Painted Dude will have his revenge on me for having him repaper the ceiling. He's returning tomorrow morning at 7am.

7am. That hurts to even think about it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Hey! Four eyes!

Late this afternoon I was able to get out of the apartment and get downtown to pick up our new glasses. B couldn't go with me so if his end up needing adjustment we'll have to go back next week.

Until recently buying glasses for me has gone like this.

  • Pick out new glasses.
  • Be convinced that I've made a good style choice.
  • Wait in anticipation for them to be made.
  • Pick up new glasses.
  • Wear glasses one day.
  • Begin to have doubts about how I appear in new glasses.
  • Begin to hate glasses.
  • Wear glasses only when desperate.
  • Wait two years and begin process again.

I've been wearing glasses since I was ten-years-old and most of that time I've hated whatever glasses I had. They were too nerdy. Too heavy. Too thick frames. Too big lenses. Too old lady-ish. Too whatever. I spent the first six or seven glasses wearing years only putting them on when I absolutely had too and as soon as I was able to talk my chicken shit self into it I began to wear contact lenses. I was convinced that I simply didn't have the sort of face that looked good in glasses and I'd never find any that were truly comfortable.

I don't know if my ability to choose decent glasses changed or maybe styles changed so that they accomodated my face but as of the last pair of glasses I bought I've finally started to like wearing them. I was able to find a style that was flattering to my face and didn't touch my cheeks (I go insane if the bottoms of my glasses touch my cheeks) and for the first time I started wearing glasses as often as I wore my contact lenses. No more was I making sure my lenses were in before making a quick trip to the store or freaking out because my eyes were too tired to tolerate contact lenses. I began to wear my glasses so often that I switched to wearing one-use contacts because it ended up being more economical. I still like the freedom that contacts give but when I'm at home - and that's pretty much 90% of the time - I'm just as happy to wear my glasses.

I was worried this time around that I wouldn't find glasses I liked as well as my old pair. They suited me well but the finish was coming off the frames and it wasn't worth having new lenses put in them. But I was lucky and found a pair that's rather similar to my old ones. The new ones are better quality - lighter, better made frames - and the lenses are oh so slightly larger this time around but I have a big melon of a head so it's appropraite.

As soon as I put them on in the shop they felt great. No touching of my cheeks, no pinching of my nose, no digging behind my ears. They're my first pair of bifocals so there was that sort of I'm-being-sucked-into- The Outer Limits swirling feel for a moment but I believe that since my farsightedness isn't so bad (so far!) it's not a huge change for me.

So far I'm feeing good about my new glasses and believe that for the second time in a row I've been able to break the buy-glasses-end-up-hating-the-glasses cycle.

What did I do to celebrate? What else? Ordered new contact lenses.

You know. Just in case.

I wear my sunglasses at night

I hate the overheard light in my kitchen. It's a holdover from the old kitchen and I have yet to replace it.

Not only does it resemble something Carol Brady may feature in her own home, this throwback to the 70s is determined to blind me. Even when I had the old kitchen I hated this light. It's much too bright, throwing a harsh, blinding white glare and I try to avoid its use as much as possible by relying on my under-the-cabinet lighting instead.

Light switches in Germany don't resemble switches you find in the US. Instead of a toggle switch where you definitely know whether you've flipped it on or not, Germany has light switches that are more like flat pads that you push on and nothing about the switch changes. You may hear the relay click in your breaker box but the light coming on is the only real way to know whether your pushing was successful.

The kitchen light is a florescent ring bulb and about half the time it doesn't come on immediately. I don't know what the deal with that is. I don't know if it's got to warm up the gas in the bulb once in a while or if it's merely trying to piss me off but there's the chance when I push the switch that the light won't come on right away. You can look up at the light to see if it's glowing and therefore successfully turned on but you take your chances with it. Look up at the light to see if it's on and you'll have it suddently burst on bright and blind you.

So to that end I don't play its little game. I push on the switch. I think I hear the relay click. The light doesn't come on. I wait. Still no light. I'm tempted to look up but I deny myself. Hmmm. It's taking a little longer than normal for it to finally come on. I'm not going to look though. Head down. Head down. Don't give in. Is that damn thing going to finally come on? Don't look up. Don't look up. Don't loo....


Light flashes on. Retinas seared. Curses uttered.

Now I know how Captain Kangaroo fell every time for those dumbass knock-knock jokes from Mr. Moose.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Moisturized by lemon Pledge

This weekend while attending a birthday party at her home I noticed my friend, Ines, has succeeded in tanning bed baking her skin to a freakishly unnatural deep reddish brown. It's the same color as a cherrywood dining table and appears to have the same texture as my cowhide wallet.

Well. At least she finally caught on to post German reunification life and shaves her underarms.